Welcome to the 2009/2010 edition of Muckraking for Pennies. I had this long piece of dramatic rhetoric (it’d put Marc Anthony in Julius Caesar to shame, believe me) planned for this occasion but I figured that that would be a bit pretentious and boring right now. Instead, let’s focus on Afghanistan.
Maybe it’s because Michael Jackson has died—it’s a sad and unnerving feeling to think that he’s gone—but today has had a very peculiar quality to it. Even for Iran, today was rather strange.
Let’s look at what’s happened.
Seems like Iran is in a state of flux, alternating between days of horrific violence and tense calm. Today is the major exam day of Iran, during which the Konkoor—Iran’s college entrance exam—is administered. It’s of a different mode than the SATs.
Much to my dismay, it looks like I’d spoken too soon about things appearing relatively calm in Iran. Today was chaotic.
The major point of incidence in Iran was at Baharestan in Tehran. Baharestan is where the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) meets. Protesters amassed there today (the 24th) in an effort to again show their rejection of the election results that had President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overwhelming reelected to the presidency. As is now frequently the case in Iran, where there are protesters there are Basij paramilitary forces. And where there are Basiji there is sure to be violence.
If you’ve kept abreast of what has been going on in Iran, then you’ll have noticed perhaps that things seem somewhat calmer in Iran. That’s all relative of course; compared to Saturday, anything even slightly tamer is bound to appear calm. Beyond that, however, the government has increased its efforts to curtail communication between the protesters and the rest of the world.
To a point, they’ve succeeded. But, information is still seeping out via twitter and other routes of internet communication.
Unless you’re apathetic about news and/or foreign policy (if you are, why are you reading this blog?) then you’ll have heard by now about the protests in Iran.
I won’t rehash the whole events of the past week,–they can be seen here –but it is important to note just how monumental the events of the past week have been in Iran.
For the past 30 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not been much in the way of democratic towards its people. Every time it has taken one tentative step towards political reforms, as it did during the presidency of Mohammed Khatami from 1997-2005, mild protests have ensued. It would be as if after having a taste of water, you’d suddenly become thirsty for more.
Doesn’t feel particularly good to think about in the abstract, let alone face as a reality. But, that’s what the United States has done, torture. We’ve probably done it for a long while.
Writing this blog, I saw two options as to how to handle the issue. I could just talk about how we justified torture in several ways, ranging from the “greater good” argument to avoiding the issue on technicalities (e.g.
By now, anyone with a computer and an internet connection has seen the photos of Rihanna after she was allegedly assaulted by Chris Brown the night of the Grammys a few weeks ago. In the wake of this incident, adults and teens alike have struggled to talk to one another about abusive relationships. It is unfortunate that such society needs such an event to provoke this conversation, but what is even more disturbing are the trends that seem to be emerging from the national dialogue.
While Liz continues on her analysis of international woes from a European perspective, I’ve decided the time is ripe to pipe up with some American vision about recent events.
Let’s begin with an anecdote. Last Thursday, as many began to celebrate the start of spring break a bit early, I was holed up in my room writing papers (yes, plural) . As I typed, my roommate barged into my room to decry Obama’s economic policy solutions. Claiming that they were destroying the banking system, he explained that there was a clause in the recovery plan (hire-American) that mandated all companies receiving government support hire only American employees. This has been at the cost of the jobs of many foreigners in the United States.
When writing last week’s article about the Swiss perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it was a little difficult finding people who were native to Switzerland because it is populated with people from all over the globe. In my article, there are only two native Swiss people present and even then, they have exposure to many different cultures and ways of thinking.
However, the population’s make-up ultimately contributed to a richer understanding how other parts of the world perceive the conflict. I am very grateful that I work at a place like the International Labour Organisation and just Geneva in general because people from all regions of the globe also work there, providing a multifaceted outlook to different social, political and economic issues.
Where do you go when you want to hide? If you’re from a war-torn country, you go to a place populated with people from all over the world and where you can easily blend in with the crowd. Geneva is convenient in this regard – it’s a city filled with people from all over world and you can find almost any culture here. Some say that’s Geneva’s downfall – the city lacks its own identity. But Geneva is also a great place if you want bring national attention to a certain issue, as it is host to several international organizations devoted to helping the impoverished and under served.