(Originally posted by Jason in 4/2012)
Until now, I had been somewhat dismissive towards "unrealistic" thought experiments like the trolley problem. It turned out I was wrong. I had been wrong the whole time.
Panama: Village of the damned (per Aljazeera English)
are not unrealistic -- at least not all of them. They just don't happen
around us, in our daily life. Had I not been interested in issues
regarding indigenous people, I would never notice what's going on in
Panama, or a similar situation regarding Belo Monte Dam in Brazil.
I do not exclude
the possibility that after proper cost-benefit analysis, dam
construction is indeed the right thing to do. But even in that case,
it's obvious that the indigenous people should be heavily
compensated/accommodated. In this case, I don't quite mind indigenous
people talking about dios/deus (Spanish/Portuguese for god). What really
makes me wince is when that minister says it's about "rights". Too many
people are flinging all kinds of rhetorics, while too few people have
the proper framework to think about these issues.