From the Soil Blossoms Rise

The American Dream has dripped through the cracks. Like liquid neatly filling fissures in the gravel and dissipating, our concept has perished without a sound. It was a concept once defined as having the opportunity to attain vast success and happiness regardless of ones background. The house, the car, the family, the money, what have you. Despite these claims of glory in defining the American Dream, it is a debilitating truth that the dream has devolved into a pursuit of the most basic liberties and securities one could expect to receive in this land. From the government invading privacy, to secure safe retirement, down to simply trying to survive in a pool of income inequality the American has been reduced to a struggle to get by, rather than climb to the top.

Those pursuing the American Dream have refocused from success incomparable to safety and security in a country where perhaps the guarantee is not so profound. The definition of success in pursuit of the American Dream has been less focused on things such as a nice car or a nice house, but instead for financial security. It is nothing short of appalling that a dream once defined as having a home you could be proud of has been torn down by economic turmoil and uncertainty into a hope of simply having a home at all. This modesty suddenly prominent among Americans can be argued to have rooted from the economic inequalities prevalent in our society, for example the big house and shiny car are no longer so commonly being seen as attainable by all, but attainable by all in a particular economic and social caste.

Many Americans abandon the pursuit of  success for a pursuit of security with the former not being such a grand guarantee.  As citizens of this country we must ask ourselves what can be done to avoid a fate of working deep into our old age just to spend our final years as we spent the early ones: just getting by. A call for a refinement of social security and the safety of personal investments must be made in order to challenge a vicious cycle of lost money in a void of mismanaged borrowing and sharing.

The American Dream is no longer and ideal defined by glory as once was ascribed to it in the past. Gone are the days of pursuit of happiness, but instead we usher in new times of managing to beat a system with the intention of infringing on the liberties and refuges once promised by the very same system. No longer a dream of attaining success unparalleled in the face of possible hardship, but a vision of overcoming guaranteed hardship without destroying oneself in the process. As a nation projecting such complacency with its circumstances, we are charged with the blame for not standing up and calling for reform when the problems were not elevated to the dramatic scale they have reached today. Whether we want this to be our new definition of the American Dream is up to our discretion, it is vital as those having to live within the system to decide if the dream need be changed from one of survival to one of triumph. -Shivite12

Endgame

Hello readers, it’s good to be back at the keys and even better to be resuming the dissection of varying international circumstances. When examining the Syrian conflict I tend to first place a spotlight on Assad: Can he run? Will his funds save him? Is there an option for Assad outside of simply winning or losing the war? The answer to each of these questions: No. Assad has more money, arguably more military might, but an even worse international standing than former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, and as you may recall he received no asylum in his final days. It is certain this thought haunts Assad each night before he sleeps and every morning he awakes.

His desperation has led him to seek help from abroad via a strategy now commonly utilized on the international stage: the portrayal of opposition as a terrorist force. His portrayal of the FSA as terrorists serves to invite anti-sunni extremists from over the borders to engage in a “Holy War” against the Sunni majority, for Assad’s Alawaite sect makes up roughly 12% of the islamic population in Syria. Assad needs the conflict to be portrayed as a holy war against terrorists lest he be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Declaring the FSA as a terrorist organization isn’t entirely accurate however, while the FSA has fought alongside terrorist groups such as Jabhat al-Nursa the FSA is not linked to al-Qaeda. Further, if and when Assad falls, the groups maintain polarizing views on what direction Syria will head in post-Assad, which will likely lead to further years of civil strife. Had the FSA been armed early on by the United States, Al-Nursa’s involvement would not have been needed by the FSA for military support against the Syrian Government Army, and thus the call to global jihadists and international mercenaries would have likely been weak if present at all. The mess the United States feared of Syria should the rebels be armed: it being a state supporter of terrorism, supporter of Iran, have a grudge against Israel and the U.S, that human rights violations could occur within the borders amidst political distrust and corruption, yet these are all aspects of present Syria with the Assad regime. Had the rebels been armed before their desperation lead them into Jihadist hands it can be argued that the FSA’s influence would have remained prominent and allowed Al-Nursa no time to establish itself as a prominent force in the nation. Had Nursa not grown and the United States stepped in as it did in Libya, the conflict likely would have concluded hastily and with less bloodshed.

If terrorist influence has finally grown to the point where the U.S. believes the situation should be reevaluated, this could be the last opportunity to aid the FSA before the conflict spirals further into civil conflict corrupting international volunteers and spitting them back out as hardened soldiers of fortune, possibly bent on wreaking havoc abroad. The United States has an obligation as a world superpower to help where needed, yet it is common for nations in such a position to do so only when personal interest is being served. In this case personal interest would have been served with aid to the FSA and their eventual victory possibly leading to a strong bond with the new Syria and an additional ally in the region, yet for once when the right thing was to get involved we didn’t. The nations track record of interjecting, ranging from Honduras, to Vietnam, to Iran is despicable yet eerily consistent, but when the time comes to really provide needed and requested help, particularly on a military scale, the United States somehow falls through. My hope is that some kind of foreign power, if not the United States, will aid the FSA before its dwindling influence fades to nothing, allowing for Nursa to become the primary force battling Assad, opening the door for a much more likely Jihadist home base when Assad topples. -Shivite12

Polio and the Syrian Crisis

Polio and the Syrian Crisis

In the past couple months there has been a news spotlight on the Polio outbreak taking place in Syria and Iraq, an outbreak some have dubbed “the most challenging in history,” but why the challenge? It would seem any populace, despite whatever political or idealogical differences may be present, would have the common goal of eliminating catastrophic disease from the pool. Yet as conflict rages, both in Syria and Iraq, Polio continues to creep upon the population. The Syrian government has been accused of refusing aid to civilians in rebel held cities, aid that could make the difference for starving and infected individuals uninvolved with the conflict, yet Assad’s forces wish to use this as a siege tool, effectively crushing the opposition forces by allowing innocents to die with no access to food, medical aid, and sometimes even fresh water. Villages in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan controlled by militant forces also have a difficult time obtaining international aid as well due to the negative stigma that comes with foreign involvement, particularly in Middle Eastern nations with colonization history. So Polio rages, big deal? If this outbreak cannot be dealt with properly, and soon, generations of Iraqis, Syrians, and even more nations, could face a polio bug greater than man has had to battle since the 1900’s. Below I’ve included multiple organizations who are working to stifle this outbreak despite threats from government forces such as Assad’s in Syria, to militant groups such as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Please take a moment to visit their pages. -Shivite12

Doctors Without Borders

UNHCR

UNICEF

Save The Children

#notabugsplat

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I came across this blog the other day via the news, and I must say this deserves a spotlight like no other. Predator drone strikes are a terror not only new but particularly horrifying. Envision yourself walking down a road, you spy another pedestrian on the other side of the street and within a moment the silhouette is replaced by a strong explosion. You learn after the fact the individual was no state threat, rather just a father on his way home to his kids. The target the drone pilot was after was only a few meters away, but was missed, thus the enemy continues his movement whilst the victim does not. Everyday citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and so on must live in fear of being wiped from the face of the earth by a robot buzzing above, on the hunt for the approximate location of supposed enemy activity. In the name of saving our own troops from perishing, the civilians make the sacrifice being caught in the crossfire. I recommend the support of the #NotABugSplat movement, for the violation of sovereignty and human rights committed in drone warfare absolutely deserves conversation. -Shivite12

A Letter to the DPRK

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To the desk of Mr. Kim Jong Un Great Leader of the DPRK,

The recent provocations from DPRK have struck a chord with the international community, and now the sympathy is so great we’d be happy to honor your temper tantrum with foreign aid. Yesterday, your drills came into our allied waters, and we upheld our promise to deliver fire right back at you. But now the fear of your retaliation is so great it only makes sense that we roll over and give you what you want.  Were it only that easy for you. Humor me a moment: when a child sobs and throws a fit, is it right to reward that behavior with what the child wants? Of course not! This only encourages the poor behavior and leads to further confrontation down the road. Now why then, would you replicate this behavior? Do you see it leading to a place of positive result? When at the negotiating table, and lets be frank you have little to barter with, why put pride and the illusion of grandeur before the wellness of your nation? With outdated weapons, a poor infrastructure both socially and economically, atop famine and poor training amongst your people’s army? What’s your game? How long can you last in a tug-of-war you have, for all intents and purposes, already lost. Holding on to your old weapons and the dead dream of nuclear proliferation, abandoned by the International Community since the conclusion of the Cold War. I prefer not to make things overly personal when concerning the abuse of the rights of man, as it makes it harder to fight those who do wrong when blinded by passion. Yet I admit without regret, the abuses the DPRK have committed against a people they claim to only want the best for make me absolutely furious. I am not a violent man, nor am I one who typically wishes violence on my fellow man, but your regime in its entirety deserves no remorse upon your imminent downfall. You have picked the scab of the Korean War so profusely it has scarred into a chasm so great its image will not soon leave the memory of those affected and unaffected by your crimes. There will be order one day on our international stage, I truly hope you abandon your power and allow your people, at the very least, a chance at survival. The world is not unlike the wild Mr. Kim, and if the tiger may just let the antelope run, the antelope would be wise to seize the opportunity and live to fight another day. 

From the Desk of Shivite12, Editor-in-Chief of UnfoldedOP 

Happy April Readers!

Happy April Readers!

Hey readers, it’s been a hectic month of March on the international stage, and thus I’d like to welcome April with warm regards in the hopes things cool down amongst our fellow human beings. Pleased to see UnfoldedOP growing at a healthy pace since its start at the beginning of the month, and looking forward to more contributing Authors beginning this April! In march we watched another year of the crisis in Syria pass by, witnessed a separation of a nation with Ukraine’s Crimean territory, but most of all we paid attention and plugged into the world around us. It is only when we turn a blind eye to the plight of man that we abandon our humanity. When you turn on a computer the news is avoidable during your browsing, and I’d like to thank our readers for being brave and not turning away from the information by visiting this page and others. We’ve started a dialogue about it, now let’s take the next step and get into the month of April wanting to make some change in the world. -Shivite12

A Green Apple Until they Painted me Red

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Yesterday a colleague of mine and I got into a minor spat concerning the blanket surveillance tactics utilized by the National Security Agency. (Previously touched on by UnfoldedOP here) Both parties brought up valid points, yet he had one question that stuck with me, for its one I’ve heard asked often since the exposure of these programs by Edward Snowden: “I’ve got nothing to hide, so why should I be against spying measures that ensure my security?” 
Let’s first tackle that vagueness, what does it mean necessarily that you have nothing to hide? For the purpose of argument we’ll apply the simplest definition: having no plans to break the law or harm the general populace. The error with this mentality is that although we’d like to believe in consistency, people, government, and life as a whole do not tend to take the path of little alteration and least resistance. Most consider themselves law abiding citizens, the definition of which is subject to change each year as laws change. Take, if you will, the Russian American population during the current international struggle we find ourselves. Should the United States want to keep a closer eye on their Russian citizens they need only manipulate the info gathered by the NSA, in this circumstance no longer being used for anti-terrorism, now just the broad term of national security. In the 1940’s Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and at home we responded by accusing the Japanese American population of espionage as we rounded them all up into camps, because whats a safer place for your citizens than locked up where they cant compromise your other citizens, a distinction that should try to be avoided by the American Government if it truly wants to serve all of us equally. These Japanese Americans simply had to be registered with the government as japanese to be included in this stain on our nations history.Mass surveillance becomes a problem once it has left the realm of security reassurance for the public, and entered the realm of “tool of the state.” As reported by Human Rights Watch, concerning a similar situation taking place in Ethiopia, “authorities use access to mobile data and call recordings to harass and arrest people they believe oppose the government,” and granted at this moment in time America may not be spooked enough to look past the mass persecution of people in the interest of “security,” but September 11th, 2001 we were absolutely spooked enough and all it took was one attack. When the Boston Marathon bombings took place Mosques around the country felt an uneasy atmosphere surrounding their sites, with a suspicious population circling about with various accusations for the Muslim community. And what if the next attacker is of Irish descent? Or an extreme baptist? Our information is only safe in that massive meta-database so long as a member of our community, culture, or social circle is involved in activities disapproved by the government. Instead of waiting to get up in arms about the spying until the government has targeted you only puts the problem on the back burner, acting now allows for immediate remedy before a greater burn is felt.  The government of the United States having this mass surveillance capability is detrimental to our progress as a nation, for controlled growth by a ruling class becomes a stronger reality each day the NSA is allowed its blanket surveillance. Here’s to hoping Obama follows through on an end to these programs, and pushes towards a more positive international tomorrow. Cheers. -Shivite12

HRW article concerning Ethiopian Mass Surveillance, a great read: http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/25/witness_price-mass-surveillance

The Cold Shoulder

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Today a friend and I discussed the humanitarian crisis in Syria. As we delved deeper into the labyrinth of government kidnapping and extremist jihad ideologies, frustration at the desperation of the situation began to reveal itself on his face. He asked me finally, “why is the rest of the world getting involved then? Even its neighbors attack(Israel and as of yesterday Turkey) when the conflict spills in the slightest, why don’t we just let them eliminate each other within their borders secluded from the rest of the world?” I was awestruck at the notion. The answer I gave was pitiful.
“Because that isn’t the right thing to do.” What a joke. Well now I wish to address this question after some time letting it bounce around in my head.

1. Why isn’t that the right thing to do? When a nation experiences prolonged and costly turmoil, the road to recovery tends to be a long one fraught with despair reminiscent of the conflict itself, as was seen with the fallout of the Spanish Civil War. A steady simmer, as evidenced by the current protests taking place in Spain, remains present among the populace and wears on their nerves considerably. Allowing this to happen in Syria, then the next country and the next, only furthers the precedent of insubordination among the cooperating international community.

2. So what? The strongest countries will prosper. A domino effect of countries experiencing civil strife fueled by mercenary forces can spread easily, and despite any interest in war games, civilians are forced to handle the fallout. Why allow Syria to continue to fall deeper into conflict until a nation and a race are practically wiped from the Earth? Further, no country is immune to civil strife and eventual downfall, as even the most powerful nations have internal problems only further stoking the fire.

3. What kind of fallout could be so bad from a civil war that it calls for international intervention? Picture an entire generation of people with missing families, limbs, education, money, homes, trapped in eternal poverty in their war ravaged home, in a prolonged humanitarian crisis that could have been avoided. Then to add to the problem, millions of Syrians will flood the world in a bid to escape a horrific experience on the home front. While I personally couldn’t blame them for wanting to escape such atrocities, its recognized that many countries wouldn’t be quite so receptive to a flood of refugees, atop those that have already ran from the conflict. Why allow things to spiral to such a height? The world powers must address this conflict and come up with a prompt and reasonable solution, for this blasphemous slaughter has dragged on long enough. So why isn’t ignoring the problem the right thing to do? Ignorance is only bliss as long as your conflict isn’t the one being ignored. Is enjoying brief ignorance and avoidance worth letting the fire spread to our allies, let alone ourselves. Action now can prevent greater action later.
-Shivite12

 

Tigers and Lambs

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Are economic sanctions, pinpointed and limited, enough to slay the Russian dragon that has made a spire in southern Ukraine? With a leader willing to okay a land-grab of such grandeur, atop signing the original law into place permitting military force in Ukraine for the broad purpose of “defending Russian-speaking citizens,” is the questions really worth asking at this point? Even with protests of the movements at home the Kremlin appears to be feeling little to no pressure on the national and international front, more or less providing a green light for further violations of sovereignty by other big global players. Human Rights Watch(HRW) reports there has been a “crackdown on free expression and assembly,” while hundreds have been detained “in some cases arbitrary and others by unnecessary force,” principally within Moscow. Could this be Russia back on its way to the Stalinist style power trip fueled by a corrupt government? Putin’s behavior does not bode well for any members of the international community. The precedent of little to no consequence in the face of a hostile takeover of a neighboring country sends a message to other countries with a bone to pick with others that their actions will hold no consequence. While the world makes the call to Putin for an end to the chaos he has unleashed, the spotlight should also accommodate leaders of the EU and US to provide true punishment beyond weak economic sanctions. If the opposing world powers cannot bare their teeth in the face of aggression, how long will we wait before the next snap of a twig that brings the wailing lamb to the jaws of the tiger. -Shivite12

HRW article here: www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/18/russia-government-tightens-screws-after-sochi

You can donate to HRW here: www.hrw.org

The Pit; Syria’s Freefall

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While perusing the news yesterday I came across this article in The New York Times, touching on a concern I’ve had in recent months: how has the conflict in Syria lasted as long as it has? The reasons vary from the religious zeal of extremist ideology to the steadfast pursuit of power by the Syrian government lead by Bashar Al-Assad. In high school I recall learning about the tragedy of the Holocaust, and in my own case the plight of my Native American ancestors(though the information was substantially minimal I don’t mind noting.) When we were educated about these falls of man the underlying theme seemed to be that as a people we had a responsibility to never again let such travesty befall our fellow being. Yet here we stand idly by as a nation burns, children are left homeless, dead, or diseased in a conflict that’s no longer able to find a unifying cause outside of the lawlessness that plagues the land. As explained by Anne Bernard:

“It is not as if the world has no evidence of Syria’s ordeal, which has killed an estimated 150,000 people. Syrians have issued a sustained, collective cry for help from what is now probably history’s most-documented manmade disaster. They capture appalling suffering on video and beam the images out to the world: skeletal infants, body parts pulled from the rubble of homes, faces stretched by despair, over and over. Despite that, to the bitterness of Syrians, the world’s diplomatic attention is drifting. Even as Syria’s epic suffering is remaking the human geography of the Middle East and beyond, initiatives to ease the crisis have sputtered and failed to offer effective help. Already tenuous hopes for an internationally brokered peace settlement have further faded as Russian-American relations worsen.” -Anne Bernard, The New York Times

While the world watches Crimea, and the newfound Russo-US relations that are bound to follow, what will come of the chemical weapons disposal deal brokered by Russia and the US? What will come of Putins support for the totalitarian Syrian Government, let alone the United States’ for a rebel movement now principally inhabited by Jihadists? Whatever your poison, raise a glass in the hopes Russia and America can once again settle things amicably without having to dredge up cold war diplomacy. Evolution only moves forward right? -Shivite12

(Title link leads to Anne Bernard’s stunning piece on the Syrian crisis)

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