(note: to avoid turning my livejournal into a debate forum i only allow comments from those on my friends list. feel free to add me to your friends list, and i will add you in return.)
i am currently traveling around the middle east and am most likely to be found wandering the streets of damascus, my favorite city in the world. i spent eighteen months traveling around the middle east and south caucasus in 2003-2004, and i missed it ever since. so, now i'm back. i'm planning to spend atleast a year in the region writing, practicing photography, and studying arabic. i'm also putting together an online travel guide to syria, which will be up someday at www.syriaphotoguide.com.
traveling has had a great impact on my life, my views, and my understanding of the world around me. i've become addicted to traveling, and in the last seven years i have visited forty countries across europe, the middle east, the south caucasus, the indian subcontinent, and southeast asia.
i believe this planet is being destroyed and it's resources pillaged at an alarming and unsustainable rate. we have been responsible for irrepairable damage through our excessive wastefulness and exploitation of resources, and we are responsible to preserve what we still can for future generations, as well as the millions of other species we share this ecosystem with. this planet is not ours to destroy, nor is it ours to exploit, and it is tyrannical to insist otherwise.
i dislike materialism, consumerism, and unnecessary waste. especially in the western world, the majority of us consume and waste far more than anyone has a right to. part of this is due to our media and institutions which promote materialism and train us to be superficial consumers, insisting that material possessions will satisfy our emotional needs and wants. not only is this contributing to the destruction of the environment, but it undermines our ability to work together to build a better world, as we're constantly competing with each other in our greed to acquire more (faster, better).
i am against globalization and recognize the extremely unfair concentration of wealth and power in the western world. i am disgusted by the ways western corporations and organizations exploit developing countries, as well as the ways western capitalism decimates indiginous culture in every country it spreads. i hope i see the day when the systems of wealth and power collapse and all peoples of all countries have equal opportunity to develop on their own terms.
i support alternative and independent news media, recognizing that mainstream news outlets have mostly abandoned the basic journalistic principles of fairness, objectivity and accuracy in service to the rich and powerful who manipulate information to advance their own agenda and effectively control public discourse.
i am strongly against war. i've seen the effects of war through my travels in places like cambodia, lebanon, kurdistan, and palestine, and i know what war really results in. war, just as centuries before, continues to be poor people killing each other in the service of those in power. massive profits are made by arms manufacturers, "defense" contractors, and oil companies while the poor are left paying for it, often with their lives.
i support the elimination of borders, believing that all human beings have the right to travel, live, and work wherever on this planet that they please. borders serve to divide humanity not only physically, but culturally, socially, economically, and politically. they create unnecessary divisions between peoples which can often result in misunderstanding, rivalry, or open hostility.
in this same regard, i am against excessive patriorism and/or nationalism. i believe people should be concerned with the greater good of all of humanity, not simply those who live within the same invisible geographic lines or those who share certain cultural and/or linguistic ties. it is one thing to be proud of one's nation and/or culture, but another to consider it superior to or more important than another.
i am concerned about the plight of peoples who have their lands occupied by foreign powers and are denied their right to self-determination, be they palestinian, chechen, iraqi, kurdish, or tibetan.
i am against all forms of discrimination, be it based on race, nationality, religion, gender, or sexuality.
i strongly support gay rights, and believe gay couples should have the same legal/marriage rights as straight couples.
while i don't like the practice of abortion, i believe in the right to choose.
i am against the death penalty. i believe it is entirely unnecessary and therefore immoral to murder someone who is no longer in a position of being able to harm others, and therefore should be considered revenge rather than justice. we can also never eliminate the possibility of flaws in the system. the death penalty is irreversable if someone is later found to be innocent; life sentences are not.
i believe there is a pressing need for social and political revolution, particularly in the united states. i believe the political system in the united states is manipulated and controlled by corporations seeking to exploit the power of government for their own profit and various lobbying groups pushing their own interests; interests which are generally against the needs of the people the government is supposed to represent.
in the united states we're in the unfortunate position of consistently choosing between the lesser of two evils, which only further empowers those who wish to buy influence in government. i believe this needs to change. we need more choices. we need to challenge the two party system by allowing parties to form coalitions, and allowing the people to choose "none of the above". we should demand a government of the people and refuse to accept a government influenced by whoever is passing out campaign donations.
ideologically, my political leanings are basically anarchist, as i don't believe government is necessary if people are brought up to live their lives responsibly and to treat others fairly and compassionately. however, i believe in today's world, which is driven by greed, government is needed to keep individual greed and corporate power in check.
i believe the forces which dictate the universe are best explained through science, and therefore i don't follow any organized religion. i consider myself agnostic as i don't believe there is proof of god, but i don't believe there is proof of a lack of god, either.
i am vegetarian simply because i believe it is wrong to unnecessarily contribute to the suffering of other beings. humans are perfectly capable of surviving on a vegetarian diet, there is no need to slaughter animals for food.
i choose to live a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle because i have witnessed the effects of drugs and alcohol on my friends and family. nonetheless, i strongly support individuals' rights to live whatever lifestyle they choose (so long as it doesn't forcibly interfere with another's equal right), and i support drug legalization.
i am twenty-six years old, was born in los angeles, california, and, aside from my travels, have lived there my whole life.
i recently completed a 6 month americorps program in southern california's san bernardino national forest, part of a project to reduce fuel for forest fires. while most of my past work experience and expertise is in computers, i wanted to try something different for awhile and work outdoors.
music has been essential to helping me get this far in life, especially the music of bad religion. other bands i enjoy include: face to face, strung out, propagandhi, good riddance, pennywise, pulley, no use for a name, nofx, dead kennedys, operation ivy, osker, ignite, hot water music, rise against, thrice, thursday, ten foot pole, lagwagon, refused, social distortion, millencolin, ignite, rancid, and anti-flag.
movies i find inspirational or otherwise enjoy include: contact, good will hunting, gattaca, gandhi, the shawshank redemption, amélie, life is beautiful, dead man walking, the thin red line, traffic, american history x, the killing fields, american beauty, falling down, dead poets society, salvador, fight club, devil's advocate, garden state, i <3 huckabee's, hotel rwanda, the life of david gale, west beirut, the corporation, control room, the yes men, death in gaza, gaza strip.
i don't own a television or watch much of it, though i enjoy the daily show, the simpsons and seinfeld.
aside from what is mentioned above, i'm also very interested in history, anthropology, journalism, sociology, psychology, astronomy, and photography.
i'm just another one of the masses of human beings contributing to the destruction of this otherwise beautiful planet. i'm a product of the genes i inherited from my parents and the environment that surrounds me. i'm no one special.
Some changes have been made to LiveJournal, and we hope you enjoy them! As we continue to improve the site on a daily basis to make your experience here better and faster, we would greatly appreciate your feedback about these changes. Please let us know what we can do for you!