Sunday, September 28, 2014

By Convention

One of the earliest formulations of international law was the First Geneva Convention (1864)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Engaged in the congress of Vienna

The first and oldest intergovernmental organisation is the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Treats and treaty

Any prospect of a lasting peace treaty has to be tempered by the knowledge that this form of agreement goes back to 1283BC and the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty or to the border agreement between the rulers of the city-states of Lagash and Umma in Mesopotamia in 2100BC.

Four thousand years of war would give anyone pause as to the efficacy of international agreements if peace accords are anything to go by, though one must allow for a number of border changes to occur over that time, significantly altering the landscape and affecting allegiances.

Trade has taken place for most of our recorded history. Obsidian was bartered  in the Stone Age.
Long distance commerce has been taking place for 150,000 years

The exchange of currency for favours is rooted deep in our past and slaves have been kept in the earliest records circa 1760BC
Slavery has been outlawed completely but human trafficking continues.

Homo erectus migrated across the Levantine Corridor and Horn of Africa about 1.8 million years ago, settling in Eurasia. Ancestors evolved into modern humans 200,000 years ago in Africa. 125,000 years ago, Homo sapiens sapiens reached the Near East from where they spread through Asia and Europe.

Refugees  were fleeing persecution and danger 3,500 years ago, during the flourishing of the great empires.

The Ancient Egyptians performed diagnosis, prognosis and medical examination. The Ancient Greeks added medical ethics with the Hippocratic Oath dating to 5th Century BCE.

The odd epidemic was enough to encourage cooperation in disease control.

Opium growth and use dates to 3,400 years ago when the opium poppy was cultivated in lower Mesopotamia.

The earliest law we have evidence for is The Code of Lipit-Ishtar (dated to 1860BC) The law courts of Athens drove society in the 4th and 5th century BC

True justice, while evolving from earlier legal systems, did not arrive until the 1200s: trial by jury, the right to face one's accuser, and swearing an oath were introduced as norms.

Intellectual cooperation is more difficult to establish since the further back one goes, the more simple and mechanistic is the assistance. Do we measure the engagement of the intellect by the standards of the day?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Diss emanation

The country code may not be one we want to decipher; too busy discerning other directions in our day to
day. This nation's saving grace assumes a commonality of purpose or implies we should adopt one. In a postmodern and multicultural society living in the twenty first century, this is debatable.

I know the character of my nation by virtue of being a part of that character. Start talking about too many exceptions and the meaning one has attributed to the nation and its pursuits crumbles. It doesn't matter which global trend you embrace or ironic NY singlet you wear, it starts to make the average citizen only nominally a part of their landscape or sense of place.

I like the laconic and marking the character of different times. Australia means so many things to me but I hold these within. If others want to postulate further on our Aussie traditions, let them.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nay, shun the nation

Irish Free State became Ireland in 1937 and Siam transformed into Thailand in 1939.

The notion of nations is not set in stone or baked in clay but the activities conducted by the nation state are not without consequence. Citizens may disengage but the skirmishes continue and the ideologies encroach.

I'm not writing a history book so refer you elsewhere as to how the League of Nations' own failure to sustain, made way for the United Nations. Or whether they are separate entities borne of different times.

The thing that always strikes me about a nation is how serious it is. It may be filled with jousts among jesters but the nation acting as one is always intent in purpose and drives a hard bargain. Alliances are determinant on the main players at the time.

These were dangerous times with Tojo in Japan, Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany and Stalin in the USSR. There were countries from both the Allies and the Axis represented in the League and activity revolves around invasion, exit and expulsion


The first secretary-general was Sir Eric Drummond. He held that position from 1920 to 1933.

League of Nations comprised of Secretariat, Council and General Assembly. The Council was made up of Permanent Members - United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan - the major powers at the time, and countries voted in as Non-Permanent Members by the General Assembly (every member nation) - held once a year. The first Non-Permanent Members were Belgium, Brazil, Greece and Spain.

While they couldn't prevent the big one, other wars were averted by the League. The League of Nations administered a number of seminal bodies

Sunday, July 27, 2014

League of Nations

The Covenant forming the League of Nations was part of the Treaty of Versailles and came into force in

Given the times and the parties involved, membership was turbulent. Following are the countries with the year they joined (details of leaving and/or returning not given here)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Losses and Discoveries

While there is no shortage of ignorance and indifference, there is no doubt that we have an impact with extinction and new discoveries.

As long as we preserve our old growth forests and wilderness we will also continue to discover new plants.