Not much else to blog about this week (I hope that will change soon), but there is lots of diversity in the things that caught my eye on the net this week, from a lobbying Queen to a new blog and much more. So here we go for The Good Stuff part 2 (in random order).
First, the lobbying Queen. As was published in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant this week, in 2002 during a state banquet in honor of the visiting President of Nigeria Dutch Queen Beatrix gave the president of the Dutch chapter of Amnesty International the opportunity to lobby in favor of a Nigerian woman who was to be stoned to death for having commited adultery. This was the case of Amina Lawal, a case that attracted a lot of international attention at the time. The judicial ruling was overruled later on. This was the first time a human rights organization had been invited to an official banquet for a visiting head of state.
Queen Beatrix is known for having strong personal opinions, but that is exactly what they are: Personal. She very rarely vents or shows her personal opinions in public. According to the article, behind the scenes she sometimes arranges meetings between people who would not otherwise meet so that certain people can lobby for their cause in a way that would otherwise be impossible. In the newspaper, the Queen is called Holland’s “most underestimated lobbier”, “the most experienced and the most broadly oriented” lobbyer in the country.
The article (in Dutch) is unfortunately by now only available if you pay for it, but more on this can be found here (in Dutch). More in English can be found here (scroll down to “Royal activism”).
The “blog-find” of this week is Zarchka, who used to blog on One World. She has started her own blog, Life Around Me and has already written some very good posts. One of her first posts is about corruption at Armenian universities. Those people who are bribing themselves through university, what will they know when they graduate? Nothing, zero, niks! And these young people are the future of Armenia, future doctors, lawmakers, lawyers, teachers….Good for you, Zarchka, to tackle this subject! A few days later she came up with another great post on the importance Armenians give to what others think of them and the lack of importance they give to other areas that should matter. You can find her blog here.
Apparently, March 23 Dutch public tv will broadcast a documentary about a Dutch man with a Dutch mother and an Armenian father. After his father’s death he decides to find out more about his father’s history, a journey that takes him to Lebanon and to Turkey, where his father’s family lived until the Genocide.The program will be broadcast on Dutch public tv’s first channel on March 23 at 23:00 Dutch time. More information can be found here (in Dutch).
From Armenia to Latvia. Through Global Voices I found a link to All About Latvia. One of the topics it covers are the problems the large Russian minority in Latvia faces in receiving education in their own language instead of in Latvian. These posts can be found here. Why am I interested in this? I wrote my Master’s thesis in Public International Law and Human Right’s Law at Leiden University about the Russian minority in the Baltic States Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (a rather controversial subject, as you will notice if you follow my links to the Wikipedia-sites). I did research on the laws in these countries that regulate the position of minorities in those countries and to what extent they comply (or don’t comply) with standards laid out in international treaties and documents such as the Council of Europe’s Convention on Minorities, UN-treaties etc.
Finally, Cafe Babel provided me with a nice surprise: an interview with one of my favorite musicians Goran Bregovic, probably best known for composing the soundtracks of several of Emir Kusturica‘s movies.
[edited to delete dead links]