Shameful Performances

Shameful Performances

Yesterday, Crimean citizens voted in a landslide 95% majority, to secede from Ukraine and align itself with its previous ruling power, Russia. This particular piece of democratic action has been at the center of the global stage since protests climaxed in Ukraine in January. Since then events have continued to escalate, almost setting off a bloody conflict between Russia and Ukraine amidst a myriad of provocations. The Ukrainian government, however, was wildly put off by the secession, and like the United States, Japan, and other western powers refuses to recognize the democratic(that some would argue corrupt) process that took place in this southern coastal region. I find myself haunted by many questions in the aftermath of the vote, with two in particular unable to leave me be. The first is for Vladamir Putin of Moscow’s leadership, I ask: With all the protests outside the Kremlin, and the economic sanctions placed on you by the U.S. and the E.U., was it all worth it? I speculate you miscalculated and now sit with an entire caribou kicking and screaming on your plate rather than the delicious flank you were awaiting. Eat up. And a question for the desk of POTUS, Barack Obama, Is military dominance in the world worth running to the rescue of every European country that experiences strife? And on top of that is it worth our international reputation to turn all red in the face with Russia when our international rhetoric is already filled with lies and double standards(I.e. Russia violates Ukrainian sovereignty, which we proceed condemn, yet we violated Iraq’s among others)? Hypocrisy rarely benefits the international community. -Shivite12

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Assad VS. “Terrorists,” Frontlines

(WARNING: Graphic violence)
When examining this video one thing stood out in particular:The disparity between how the government made the conflict look and feel versus the people trapped within. We see the governments’ portrayal of the casualties inflicted as a positive one in the quest for a supposed “reimplementation of the state,” in which it is likely Bashar al-Assad will once again run for President. Should he attain power at its fullest once more all the lives lost to remove him from the seat of power will have been for not, and the state of Human Rights in the nation will likely not improve. Despite the image trying to be projected of Assad being a “People’s President,” tasked with ridding the nation of terrorist threats, his military has been ruthless and closed to negotiation as of late, particularly in his air assault and ground campaigns. While I will concede to Mr.Assad the terror wings of the Free Syrian Army(i.e. Jabhat al-Nursa; ISIS) are a national and international security issue with their training and sending home of various volunteers, easily influenced by extremist ideology. Despite this risk, however, the absolute bludgeoning of ones own people in the name of security is unjustified and devoid of empathy. This is a man considering to run for leadership again? Despite a large margin of the country’s people fighting and dying, that he may never again be able to hurt the Syrian people again? In contrast to the video’s message of military glory, slain but well respected freelance photographer Molhem Barakat paints a dark picture of not just an air raid on Aleppo, but the harshness of life on the frontlines in such a conflict. -Shivite12

LINK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527992/Teenage-photographer-haunting-images-native-Syria-circulated-world-killed-capturing-battle-rebel-regime-forces-hospital.html

Putin’s Poker Face

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Let’s be transparent with ourselves reader, we understand Russia’s global image. One of rigidness, adaptation in harsh circumstances, tough demeanor, the list goes on. Let’s face it during this chaos in Ukraine Vladamir Putin’s PR team has been banking on the “tough Russian,” and “non-negotiable James Bond villain,” look. Yet this show of muscle from the Kremlin since the occupation of Crimea has done little to boost international faith in Russia. The Kremlin would do well to ask themselves this: What kind of economic sanctions is Crimea worth, and in the fallout should they choose to dominate the region what will be their next move? -Shivite12

(Title link leads to Daily Beast article discussing the risks Russia undertakes with their decision to occupy Crimea)

A look at economic consequence

When examining the Syrian conflict we often become enamored by the bullets flying and the mess of politics that surround it. I was particularly drawn to this video due to its portrayal of a lesser known victim: those burdened with the economic fallout. Jordanians find themselves trapped in a paralyzing economy clogged by a massive influx of Syrian refugees, pouring into Jordan to escape a likely demise. The conflict in Syria shows little to no signs of losing momentum, a foreboding sign of only greater casualties and human rights violations to come. Let us once again hope for an end to this strife before 2015. -Shivite12

You can donate to SaveTheChildren here: http://www.savethechildren.org

Whatever Happened to the Personal Bubble?

 

Eye-blue

All right readers, so what’s the deal with the NSA? In the name of precaution and security of the Nation, the National Security Agency (NSA) has stored millions of Internet and cellphone users’ data, along with monitoring phone calls and various other media activities of those it considers a threat to the safety of the nation. However, in defending their actions the NSA claims that their purpose is justified in the name of detecting foreign and domestic threats. While I concede weapons of mass destruction and terrorism are things I believe we all prefer were kept at bay, it is blasphemous to assert that tabs need be kept on close to a hundred percent of the Internet using population. The NSA’s existence stems from the signing into law of the USA-PATRIOT Act, which declared many invasions of citizens privacy constitutional, ranging from wire taps to invasions of homes and businesses in “sneak and peek” searches. When examining the act it is transparent that “the broad scope and full impact of the act’s provisions did not come to light until after it’s signing,” as stated by Andrew Walter in a review of the homeland security situation. In a haste to protect the borders of our nation from attack in face of a successful one on September 11th, we failed to foresee the results of the sacrifices to privacy that would be made in the name of security in the nation. How do we secure our privacy? At this years South by Southwest(SXSW) Tech festival multiple topics were discussed amongst Ben Wizner and Chris Soghoian of the ACLU, and their guest of honor Edward Snowden. Particularly, the point that mass surveillance can “become too expensive,” and this can be achieved through open ended encryption being provided by websites big and small, and putting security first when designing new apps, computer programs, etc. -Shivite12

Link to ACLU video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIhS9aB-qgU

Second a Day; Save the Children UK

Heartbreaking video by Save the Children UK. Touching on a previous point it is easy in the west to distance ourselves from conflicts abroad, yet as is portrayed in this video even places like the UK can fall to the plight of man. Take a second to watch and consider the consequences when events like this are continually escalated with no intervention by the international community in states such as Syria. If the destruction won’t end now, then when? -Shivite12
SaveThe ChildrenUK: twitter.com/savechildrenuk
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/

3 Years

3 Years

Let us not forget as this three year anniversary of the Syrian tragedy comes around. Over 100,000 have perished in this conflict. Countless have been displaced and fled into neighboring countries as the conflict continues to tear the country asunder. In the west we often put countries in the Middle East and their conflicts out of our minds, yet the people are no different than us. Let’s not allow this conflict to pass into 2015. -Shivite12

Concerning torture allegations

Lately the media has been highlighting Guantanamo bay conditions and allegations that the US government is responsible for human rights abuses against the inmates. Most recently the subject of “force feedings,” have been a hot-button topic leaving many in the public questioning their continued support of an overtly violent war prison run and supervised by those who supervise our own nation. At a press conference last year well-regarded human-rights activist Madea Benjamin became a national and international sensation when she was escorted from President Obama’s appearance for heckling of the president concerning these allegations of prisoner torture. While the president can be applauded for his even allowing a dialogue between himself and Benjamin, the public still awaits the infamous “closing of Guantanamo,” as was promised by the Big O himself in his campaign platform early on. For many Americans its beginning to feel that by the time these allegations are unavoidable and need to be addressed  the President will already be out of office, and thus the “passing of the buck,” will have ensued elongating the publics wait and shirking responsibility for the Obama administration. Madea’s interview w/ Evelyn Nieves @ Global Possibilities  can be found at the following link: http://www.globalpossibilities.org/meet-the-woman-who-stood-up-to-obama-and-made-world-news/
-Shivite12

Dispute among the ranks VS. Syrian Govt.

The conflict in Syria has devolved from what was widely viewed as a fight for freedom against the tyranny of a dictatorial family line, into what many Western and Eastern powers consider being between a rock and a hard place. The rebel movement has become dominated by Al-Qaeda sympathizing groups, namely Jabhat al-Nursa and its’ recently renegade and more extreme offshoot: The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria(ISIS). Commenting on the situation CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen stated: “Al-Zawahiri is clearly fed up with ISIS’s open rejection of his overall leadership of the al Qaeda network. Moreover, he is likely quite concerned about how ISIS is alienating ordinary Syrians by a brutal campaign that has involved the public beheading of opponents and the imposition of Taliban-style rule on the population, including the banning of smoking, music and unveiled women in public.” With one side of the conflict being lead by a genocidal tyrant and the other by a dangerous and unstable terror group unprepared for a conflict, or Holy War, of such magnitude. Observing states debating aid are left with the choice of who to support, and also must consider the future of Syria should their supported side victor or collapse. -Shivite12

(title link leads to HuffPost article with elaboration on this struggle among world observers)

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