Thayer Hastings

Thayer Hastings (Alternative Information Center - AIC): Thayer received his BA degree in International Studies with a focus on Human Rights and the Middle East at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, and graduated in June of 2011. After graduation, Thayer worked as a research assistant on human rights at an international development consulting firm, Williamsworks. He also contributed regularly to Real Change, a street newspaper based in Seattle, and interned in South Africa. After his fellowship Thayer wrote: “My fellowship with the AIC has exposed me to the application of grassroots organizing and information dissemination. AIC's advocacy work is natural, extremely well connected and morally honed. I have had the opportunity to utilize the AIC's network and reputation in order to deepen my understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and develop my writing skills. The broad issues and experiences I have encountered through my fellowship will have lasting impressions on my continuing work on Palestinian human rights issues.”


14 Jun

On June 8th Richard Falk, United Nations rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, spoke to a (mostly) grey-haired audience. My superficial and insufficient demographic poll only demonstrates the relative absence of my generation in the crowd. Why is it that one of the most prominent human rights figures of the Israel-Palestine conflict doesn’t draw a more diverse crowd? Is it because he’s grey-haired, too?


Preaching to the choir?
Preaching to the choir?


Possible answers include: the ambivalent character of Seattle culture or an under-appreciation for the seriousness of protecting and preserving human rights. Increased political activism, particularly among the youth, can certainly shift Seattle’s a-political trend away from apathy. However, I want to discuss the human rights lens – it’s strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, I agree with Richard Falk in prioritizing the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over other values such as state-sovereignty, religious mandates or ethno-cultural tribalism, e.g. the worldview expressed in Samuel Hutington’s The Clash of Civilizations.

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Posted By Thayer Hastings

Posted Jun 14th, 2012