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Other titles in the New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies series:
Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War (New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies)by Fred Branfman
Synopses & Reviews
Human rights are paradoxical. Advocates across the world invoke the idea that such rights belong to all people, no matter who or where they are. But since humans can only realize their rights in particular places, human rights are both always and never universal.
The Human Rights Paradox is the first book to fully embrace this contradiction and reframe human rights as history, contemporary social advocacy, and future prospect. In case studies that span Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and the United States, contributors carefully illuminate how social actors create the imperative of human rights through relationships whose entanglements of the global and the local are so profound that one cannot exist apart from the other. These chapters provocatively analyze emerging twenty-first-century horizons of human rights—on one hand, the simultaneous promise and peril of global rights activism through social media, and on the other, the force of intergenerational rights linked to environmental concerns that are both local and global. Taken together, they demonstrate how local struggles and realities transform classic human rights concepts, including victim,” truth,” and justice.”
Edited by Steve J. Stern and Scott Straus, The Human Rights Paradox enables us to consider the consequences—for history, social analysis, politics, and advocacy—of understanding that human rights belong both to humanity” as abstraction as well as to specific people rooted in particular locales.
During the Vietnam War the United States government waged a massive, secret air war in neighboring Laos. Two million tons of bombs were dropped on one million people. Fred Branfman, an educational advisor living in Laos at the time, interviewed over 1,000 Laotian survivors. Shocked by what he heard and saw, he urged them to record their experiences in essays, poems, and pictures. Voices from the Plain of Jars was the result of that effort.
and#160;and#160; and#160;When first published in 1972, this book was instrumental in exposing the bombing. In this expanded edition, Branfman follows the story forward in time, describing the hardships that Laotians faced after the war when they returned to find their farm fields littered with cluster munitionsandmdash;explosives that continue to maim and kill today.
By identifying and embracing the paradox that human rights are at once a transcendent value belonging to all and a reality forged by particular people rooted in specific places, The Human Rights Paradox advances a new way to understand the history, contemporary politics, advocacy, and future prospects of human rights.
About the Author
Fred Branfman (1942and#150;2014) was a writer and activist on issues of peace and climate change who lived in Santa Barbara, California, and in Budapest.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Reflections on History's Largest Air War, by Alfred W. McCoy
Introduction: Laos and the Advent of Automated War
Have pity on the victims of the war!
May the life of a former nurse from Xieng Khouang pass away without returning again
Why did the planes drop bombs on us?
The day does not exist when we will forget
Three jets came together dropping bombs
He and his wife died together in the rice fields because of the airplanes
And so we sang with brave hearts
Then the F-105 warplanes strafed and dropped rockets and 150 kg bombs on the village and people without stopping
A bomb fell about fifteen meters from where my father was plowing
Then they bombed our village; hitting houses, the pagoda, the school; devastating our rice fields; and killing the cows and buffalo
We lived in holes all the time
In the forest, I would go from one hiding place to another
They died like animals die in the forest
This is my house, built of lumber twenty-six years ago. It was struck by the airplanes.
Epilogue: After the War Ended, 1975andndash;Present
Complete Text and Supporting Documents of USIS Refugee Survey as Obtained by Congressman McCloskey
A Survey of Civilian Casualties among Refugees from the Plain of Jars, Laos, by Walter M. Haney
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