Self-righteousness​ should not replace our Humanity!

There are many gaps in international human rights laws; especially on subjects that were unmentionable in the epoch of 1948, when the international human rights laws were being initially adopted.The topic Of Sexual rights for both genders while is seemingly mundane for contemporary society would have been considered unethical and too scandalous for politicians to explore.By lacking space to discuss sexuality, unsafe abortion, denial of HIV treatment, and a range of acts of “culturally-justified violence against women”(McVeigh, 2016) have normalised its presence in the world.However, in modern society, while no such barriers exist for raising the discussions as it did back then, the same issues and preexisting violations of sexual rights still have yet to be adequately overcome by the international community.Being approached most recently in today’s society are policies in which prevent and protect which such infringements and violations on the rights of the individuals concerned but strong opposition has the advantageous position.

Recognising and the direct relation between religious fundamentalist communities with overbearing patriarchy and the engaging of violations against sexual rights typically set the unofficial lines in which states are not willing to call out upon for reform and criminalising regressive behaviours. Most religions across the world in fundamentalist contexts see women’s bodies as carriers of cultural integrity and often become the territory ground for disputes in religious and political control(Shameeem, 2016).In the case of women specifically around the world, the foundation for their perceived value to a  traditionalist community primarily lies in their reproductive capacity but only legitimised under the regulation of families, religious institutions, and governmental authorities and not through the will of the individual(Shameeem, 2016).

Most religions across the world in fundamentalist contexts see women’s bodies as vessels of cultural integrity and often become the territory ground for disputes in religious and political control(Shameeem, 2016).In the case of women specifically around the world, the foundation for their perceived value to a  traditionalist community primarily lies in their reproductive capacity but only is legitimised under the regulation of families, religious institutions, and governmental authorities and not through the will of the individual(Anon,2016).

Religious fundamentalist belief or domination in politics is also one of the dangerously more degrading sides of the patriarchy for women around the world. Women of an unmarried or single status can be denied access to sexual and reproductive health services and can suffer verbal classifications by religious authorities as well as marginalisation from society. Where contraception and Abortion are restricted and criminalised in the world it unwilling forces women to resort to unsafe and illegal methods of abortion, posing a significant risk to their lives and health. Anna Rocca, a 32-year-old woman from Tennessee, reverted to such a method when she was denied the help of any health services or contraception attempted to abort the 24-week pregnancy with a coat hanger, subsequently leading to her incarceration for First-degree murder(Huaser,2016).

 

State legislative authorities failing to address sexual violations not recognised by Religous fundamental and conservative communities on women allow the systematic and continuous abuse of the justice system. The horrifying truths like the cases of marital rape in the United States, female genital mutilation and circumcision in the tribes of East Africa, honour killings amongst the cities of Pakistan and living in the terror of mass rapes in Congo ,provides the crystal clear picture that policy makers and states have failed vulnerable women across the world.

Even world organisations such as the UN (United Nations) have similar histories in ignoring pleas for intervention and prevention of sexual assault due to external pressure(Hilsum,2010).In the Democratic Republic of Congo 6 years ago, the UN civil affairs bureau in Walikale was investigated for directly ignoring appeals from the village for protection just days before an upsetting number of 240 villagers were raped by rebel forces.A sickening age range from a month-old baby boy to an 110-year-old woman was raped in that particular attack(Smith,2010).

congo-rebels-accused-of-m-007fig.Recovering victim of mass rapings by rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now the after the initial shock, the hangover reality of Donald Trump’s win has finally set in;   just contemplating the ramifications of his presidency for women and the LGBT community is enough to cause any liberal Democrat to develop real hangover symptoms.” Whatever his personal opinion may be, his appointees and their actions could put reproductive health care out of reach for millions of women, especially those living in poverty”.(New York Times,2016)The Board of the New York times commented as such to reference the president elects lack of experience and opinion in reproductive and sexual rights but his taking his position on the matter from the newly appointed guiding figures surrounding him. Mike Pence’s record, however, can be described as destructively favourable to the borderline of even saying its successful extremism for the anti-choice movement. In fact, His “achievements” in this fields are listed as followed: deny abortion coverage in health insurance exchanges,  attempt to defund embryonic stem cell research and successfully defund Planned Parenthood in his state which consequently leads to clinic closures and an HIV outbreak(Cader,2016 ). Remarkable, simply, utterly and despicably remarkable.

The confirmed future attorney general, Jeff Sessions reaffirms the suspicions that the action plan from the Trump administration will be the abandoning of abortion providers with little to no protection from anti-abortion extremists threats to both doctor and patients. Predictably with the closure of clinics the prohibition to access treatment and services since they are so-called ‘sinners’ and possess low moral standards, many living with HIV and AIDS will suffer dramatically(Flory,2016).Moreover, sexuality could be considered as taboo and scandalous once again, taking away the opportunity for positive dialogues on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues to make its way back into policy.

  Policy makers, enforcers, observers; Human rights laws should define the borders that distinguish instances in which human dignity is threatened or violated, circumstances of depriving a person or people of their dignity are no longer acceptable regardless of religious affiliation and gender.

Let this toxic version of patriarchy wither away along with sexual and reproductive intolerance.Following the example of his holiness the Pope Francis who redefined the boundaries of what can be forgiven, with the simple grant of extending priests throughout the world the right to grant absolution for abortion. He has magnificently disowned the whole process institutional injustice against sexual rights(Stack,2016)

“promote a culture of mercy based on the rediscovery of an encounter with others, a culture in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters.”(Pope Francis,2015)

The correct implementation against disparities and gaps exists when the rights are wholly translated into national law and practice not well-meaning intentions.

“Pope Francis delineates the path of the future life of the church so that it can always be an instrument of mercy toward everyone, without ever excluding anyone,”( Archbishop Fisichella,2016)

Lack of political will to start or maintain the necessary procedures is now the responsibility of social society; excuses such as conscious or unconscious prioritisation of the fragment issues; or a lack of technical understanding in how to implement procedures to fulfil obligations are completely accountable in the hands of everyone equally.Redefine the definition of the issue together, the significance of sexual rights and injustices, stigmas of women and sexual minorities.let us redefine them all together .politcal activism is the answer.

Georgia Rebecca mae massey (Dubai Campus)

Bibliography

Anon, (2016). Protection Gaps in Sexual Rights: Taking an Intersectional Approach and Perspective. [online] Available at: https://www.awid.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/protection_gaps_in_sexual_rights_-_awid_presentation_at_hrc30.pdf [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].

Board, T. (2016). Protecting Reproductive Rights Under Donald Trump. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/opinion/protecting-reproductive-rights-under-donald-trump.html [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

Flory, T. (2016). What does a Trump presidency mean for reproductive rights?. [online] Theweek.com. Available at: http://theweek.com/articles/661152/what-does-trump-presidency-mean-reproductive-rights [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

hilsum, l. (2016). Congo women relive terror of mass rape: ‘This is our cry for help’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/oct/12/congo-unitednations [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

May28.org. (2016). Linkages between Religious Fundamentalism and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Global South | May 28. [online] Available at: http://www.may28.org/linkages-between-religious-fundamentalism-and-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-in-the-global-south/ [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

McVeigh, K. (2016). US aid for women’s sexual health worldwide under threat. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/12/us-aid-women-sexual-health-worldwide-could-be-cut-drastically-under-trump [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].

I am lost in you Globalization

The main reason for globalization is to spread national goods internationally, where both national and international parties then benefit. But what happens when agreements are not upheld and national identities suffer?

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The easiest way to know if a place is globalized is to look around you; if you have a McDonald’s near by, then you are definitely in the globalized market. I mean who wouldn’t want to be, especially when it concerns food? With the various arrays of foods and delicious nothings from all over the world. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to have access to such exquisite cuisines sometimes mixed with just a pinch of fusion from others. Lets not forget the aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs who bring their own culture’s delicacies. Or perhaps just the influx of migrants and the only way to truly make it feel like home is through their own comfort foods of course!

But what about us? What about me? What about my people?

You see, just recently I was exposed to a shock that I still am trying to recover from; a shock that you may even laugh at, but a shock nonetheless.

In efforts of trying to represent my country (the United Arab Emirates) during the wondrous event of ‘International Day’ at university, the best way to do so is by sharing our traditional Emirati cuisine. I had wanted to share the flavors of my upbringing and childhood. I wanted to share #MyDubai. But in the quest of doing so, I had begun to realize that it was almost pointless. Because initially taking on the task of wanting to make things traditionally at home from scratch, it seemed as though all the ingredients managed to disappear from the shelves at the stores. I had gone during the celebration of the UAE National Day (2nd December), knowing that there should definitely be a lot of flags around to purchase, and so why not the ingredients too?

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I was wrong on both accounts. Yes there were flags (due to the celebrations), but not for sale and no traditional ingredients. After going to countless stores and asking different people, I continuously got the same answer. “We only get those during Ramadan”, I asked them “why?” to which they replied, “Because no one buys them any other day.” Essentially telling me that these traditional ingredients were seasonal and not the nature kind. These included: Dibs al-Tammar, Khubz Raqaq, Luqaimat, and many others.

I sought out an alternative; surely there must be restaurants that I can order from right? Yes, there were a few and not more than a few, by that I mean only three. Two of which were completely capitalist (unreasonably overpriced) and one seemingly unreliable. This made me question, how could this have happened? Within the famous city of Dubai, there are only three Emirati restaurants? I could find hundreds of Italian, Chinese, or Indian places to order from, but for my own traditional cuisine, it doesn’t even complete the number on a single hand?

Dubai is a multicultural city, and with that come diverse tastes, traditions, and identities. But has it become so diverse that the efforts of trying to sustain it’s own national identity are trivial? I definitely do not believe in the ‘low demand’ aspect of it all. When individuals visit a place, they want to view its culture, heritage and traditions. But it seems as though Dubai has invested so much time in making others feel at home, it lost its own.

Dear Globalization,

I am lost in you.

We were meant to be a team in this. You were interested in me, and I was very intrigued with what you had to offer. You told me that people would love what I had, only for you to come in and cover all that I had, with your large labeled brands. You said you’d take me abroad, but instead concealed me as though I was flawed.

We had a deal Globalization. I kept my end of the bargain why are you shying away from yours? You make your big brands cheaper and more demanded for. You grabbed that niche. But now I am suffering.

There was a point where you needed me, in fact were obsessed with me. But for you to continue to grow just know your market needs us both.

Sincerely,

National Identity

Fadhila Al Asmawi | Dubai Campus

Bibliography

Continue reading “I am lost in you Globalization”

‘High Time for Change’ on Refugees “THE UNANSWERED PLEAS AND HIDDEN SCARS ALL REFUGEES CARRY”

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The world right now is facing one of its largest humanitarian crisis. With the 65th anniversary of the United Nations refugee convention being put into place, there are now approximately 65 million refugees who are displaced globally, the most since the end of World War 2 (The Irish Times, 2016). Out of the 65 million refugees close to one-third are children being caught in the crossfire and what have they done to deserve all this?

Last year, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set in place a few proposals for a game-changing global deal that would mean all world states had the shared responsibility to protect the refugees. The initial plan was to coordinate a global response to the ever so increasing movement of the refugees, including that of developing countries where they host more than 86% of the world’s refugees while the richer nations may recognize refugee rights but often tend to back away when accepting these refugees into their lands. A better, rational solution, in which the rich countries would share the responsibility of taking refugees was on the cards. But now this plan, a Global compact on Responsibility-sharing for refugees- hangs in the balance. Before the end of July, the member states of the UN in New York have the final opportunity to formulate the proposals before the UN adopts them in September.

Last year, there was an agreement by the UN to put forward 17 goals to transform the world we live in. This was a sustainable development criterion that promised that “all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment” (http://www.hindustantimes.com/, 2016). These SDG’s promised all the people the much-needed chance to a prosperous and a fulfilling life. This could be a historic breakthrough if it turns out to be a success.

However, instead of being a historic breakthrough, we could now face it to turn into a historic failure. The thousands of refugees that are languishing – at times for years – in countries that aren’t equipped to host such numbers of refugees must not wait a moment there suffering for a chance at freedom. A co-operated agreement between countries that doesn’t deliver action would perpetuate unwanted suffering resulting in the loss of innocent lives. It would also symbolize a senseless waste of the tremendous human potential of vast numbers of women, men and children.

Amnesty international has begun a proposal for a five-point plan for the member states of the UN to share equal responsibility for assisting and hosting the refugees. In my personal opinion, I think this would be beneficial as the responsibilities are divided amongst the countries based on their GDP, unemployment rates and other criteria’s. I like to think that such actions of sharing responsibilities would and will go on to saving millions of lives from death and suffering or by drowning or disease. This would offer refugees with a real, legal and safe escape routes from war-torn zones across the world and wouldn’t have to worry about their families or themselves.

Tackling the current crisis of refugees is completely possible. The international community has started to show vital signs it can conquer complex challenges such as SDG’s and also the climate change criteria’s which were approved in Paris last December. I tend to think that the current global crisis is more of a crisis of leadership rather than a failure of resources. A good example would be the Indochina refugee crisis in the 1970’s where the global community came together via the UN and showed how to combat the root cause of the problem. It went to show how richer countries can collaborate and accommodate thousands of people and show how working together and sharing responsibilities can go a long way. There isn’t much time left for the UN states to act. Do we want to go down as the generation that squandered this historic opportunity to protect thousands of refugees or does we go down as the leaders who seized the chance?

Some people tend to say, I’ve heard too myself that, ‘Hey, let’s not support those refugees from Syria because there are high chances that those people are highly radicalized Muslims’! Thus categorizing them before even thinking that they’re human just like the rest of us who are trying to flee from war-torn zones! How could we all forget the Golden Rule? (Nguyen, 2016) What if we hop onto to their shoes even for an hour? What if you and your family were a refugee? If by any chance the U.S. banned refugees from Europe back in the 17th and 18th century, then North America would be only occupied by the first nations. This obviously wouldn’t have been bad but this would’ve stopped the immigration to North America and our way of life would’ve been completely different to that of now. What I understand from this situation is that the wealthier countries through this mandate that has been passed should come forward and give a lending hand to the people who need it the most right now. Let’s all gather every bit of humanity we have within us and help these helpless souls without categorizing them into which religion, gender or ethnicity. History has proven that it doesn’t long for even the greatest of civilizations to fall. So let us all keep that in my and help the refugees with every chance we get.

Charith

Dubai Campus

References

  1. Sayigh, Y. (2016). Facing the Refugee Challenge: Time for a Paradigm Change. [online] Carnegie Middle East Center. Available at: http://carnegie-mec.org/2016/02/01/facing-refugee-challenge-time-for-paradigm-change-pub-62570 [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].
  2. Nguyen, V. (2016). The Hidden Scars All Refugees Carry. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/opinion/the-hidden-scars-all-refugees-carry.html?_r=0 [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].
  3. Anderson, J. (2016). States are ducking their responsibilities to refugees. This U.N. declaration might just start to change that.. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/09/23/states-are-ducking-their-responsibilities-to-refugees-this-u-n-declaration-might-just-start-to-change-that/ [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].
  4. BBC News. (2016). UN focuses on refugees – will it be enough? – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37389648 [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].
  5. The Irish Times. (2016). UN summit on refugees fails to offer solutions. [online] Available at: http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/un-summit-on-refugees-fails-to-offer-solutions-1.2797049 [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].
  6. org. (2016). Refugees, Displaced People Surpass 60 Million For First Time, UNHCR Says. [online] Available at: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/20/482762237/refugees-displaced-people-surpass-60-million-for-first-time-unhcr-says [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].

If I had a quarter for every time I got paid less than a man…

The gender-pay gap is still prevalent across the world and there is an urgent need to address it. Perception of development is skewed if we do not account for the progression of women’s participation in the global economy. 

Historically, a woman’s place has always been secured in the private sphere. During the course of World-War I, we see the first large movement of women into the public sphere. Women had entered the workforce to compensate for the men who had to vacate their jobs to head out to war. However, women were getting paid lower than that of the men they were taking place of. The first ever equal pay strike took place in 1918 when women who worked on the London buses and trams demanded equal pay as men. Women had won the strike. Fast forward almost a 100 years later and women are still fighting for parity

Women face a range of issues within the workplace in today’s world. In the recruitment stage, women need to over-achieve and be close to revolutionary to even be considered for the same role a man with lower qualifications could easily secure (Forbes.com, 2016). In fact, women tend to hold a lot more jobs that tend to be under-paid and under-valued; more than half of those who work in minimum-wage jobs are women. Understanding the gendered nature of poverty can also help emphasize the necessity for gender parity; women are more prone to be pushed into poverty due to the precariat state that they live in.

'Here's your family dental plan.'
(Image Credits: CartoonStock)

Often times, women are seen to be linked with conventionally “feminine” traits; emotional, irrational and soft. Whereas men are seen to be linked with conventionally “masculine” traits; cool-tempered, rational and firm. These associations are one of many factors that go into the large gender gap in senior-managerial positions, such as in Fortune 500 CEOs, where in 2014, women only made up 5.2% of the list. Employees often deem women as inadequate for certain positions under the impression that they would be too emotional and would be unable to fulfill the job requirements in the same measure as a man would.

When women are blessed and lucky enough to score a job, they still face discrimination in the workplace. If we look at the figures, more than half of women claim that they feel discriminated against in the workplace. This doesn’t just lie with a lack of opportunities being given to them in contrast to their male colleagues, but also in terms of harassment. One instance can be seen with the case of Harvard-trained lawyer Ellen Pao, who filed a lawsuit against her company, Kleiner Perkins (Who, conveniently fired her 6 months later, but claimed the lawsuit was not a factor into her being dismissed) for their unfair treatment of both her, and other women at the company. Pao’s case claimed gender discrimination, where men (All her peers, practically) were promoted over women, men were paid more than women and there was little support for women who faced sexual harassment (The Economist, 2016). Unfortunately, Pao’s case is not an isolated incident.

tel_1060915                                           (Image Credits: CartoonsGroup)

COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has consistently been pushing for gender equality and equity in the workplace, by urging people to Lean In. Sandberg claims that “equality is not a zero-sum game”. In fact, she points out that companies that have gender equity tend to fair better, by generating more market-value and better net-income growth, in addition to being more stable and prosperous. Painfully, instead we have seen that in 2015, the World Economic Forum announced that at the rate we are currently moving in, women would only achieve parity in 2133. As if this wasn’t sobering enough, this year’s report clams that a dramatic slowdown in progress predicts that it could only actually be achieved in 2186. In fact, the report even noted that on average, women work approximately 59 minutes more in a working day than a man does- to put this into perspective, that adds up to 39 more working days per year. Combine this with the fact that on average, a white woman makes 77 cents to a man’s dollar. A women of color makes even less than that.

A common misconception is that these gaps and inequalities are only prevalent in developing nations. However, when we look at it from a country to country break down, the United States stands at 45th on the list, the UK at 20th and Australia at 46th, respectively. What’s interesting to note is that all the aforementioned countries are considered “developed”. What are the factors that we consider when we look into development? This paints an ugly picture; we don’t even account for how a country treats their women when we look at their progression. In fact, to the surprise of most, Rwanda places amongst the Scandinavian countries in the Top 5 on the list.

In 2003, Rwanda included a quota system that would secure women up to 30% of seats in decision-making bodies to their constitution. While their democracy may not be perfect; it is pluralistic. Which is a lot more than can be said for other more “developed” countries, such as the United States- whom with which the last time I checked, have a record score of 0 women in all the 43 Presidents who have served term so far. Globally, we require a movement. A movement that insists on progression, a movement that pushes for the complete abolition of the gender pay gap, and a movement that condemns every nation that does not treat their women equally.

Bibliography

Striking-women.org. (2016). World War I: 1914-1918 | Striking Women. [online] Available at: http://www.striking-women.org/module/women- and-work/world- war-i- 1914-1918 Forbes.com. (2016). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomwatson/2015/01/30/the-social- sectors-glass- ceiling-why-women-in- leadership-jobs- matter/#1c0c41076897

Forbes.com. (2016). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyjadesimi/2016/08/08/female-leadership- the-glass- ceiling-is-cracked-not- broken/#699c7be01c2c

Identity, G. (2016). Gender Identity | Stereotypical Masculine & Feminine Traits. [online] Plannedparenthood.org. Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexual-orientation-gender/gender- gender-identity

Dugan, E. (2016). ‘More than half of women are discriminated against at work’. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/more- than-half-of- women-are- discriminated-against- at-work- 9029535.html

Americanprogress.org. (2016). The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty – Center for American Progress. [online] Available at: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2008/10/08/5103/the-straight- facts-on-women- in-poverty/

The Economist. (2016). Lean in, push out. [online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/03/sexual-discrimination

The Huffington Post. (2016). [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-friedman/looking-to- rwanda-for- les_b_147833.html

Global Gender Gap Report 2016. (2016). Rankings. [online] Available at: http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender- gap-report- 2016/rankings/

Sumaya Nair
Dubai Campus 

Only 60 years of farming left…

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Some believe in it, and some do not, as Trump—what am I talking about? The answer is climate change.

Climate change is when the usual weather in a place becomes changes. As for instance, a change in how much snow or rain a place usually gets in a year. Or if a place’s usual temperature becomes changed during a season, that is counted as climate change too. The weather changes in a couple of hours, but changes in climate are supposed to take hundreds or million years. Unfortunately, that is not the case of today’s world.

The evidence of a rapid climate change are many. One of them are the global sea level that is arising—it arose 17-centimetre last decade and in this decade, it has doubled. Another evidence is the rise of global temperature. Most of the change in the global temperature has occurred in the last 35 years, including the 15 of the 16 hottest years happening since 2001. However, the list of evidence is long with warm oceans becoming one of them. The oceans have absorbed the heat and become 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit warmer since 1969, which is much in this short period. Another evidence is the shrinking ice-sheets in the Antarctic, glacial retreats, extreme events as heavy rainfall, and ocean acidification (NASA, 2016).

Then the question is, what causes climate change? Let me tell you. The answer is that human and natural causes are the reason for it. Natural causes as volcanic eruption, ocean current, earth orbital changes and solar variations. But let’s remember that the natural causes have always been a part of the world’s history but because of the human’s activities, climate change has speeded up. The United Nations, and important scientists are saying that we have to take actions against it. One of the major factors contributing to climate change is the man-made greenhouse gases. The emissions of it are responsible for more than 75% of the carbon dioxide (CO2). Clearing of land for industry, agriculture, deforestation, energy production, fuel for vehicles and home heating are some of the contributing factors for the greenhouse effect that is among other causing climate change (Climatechangechallenge.org, 2016).

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Here comes the terrifying fact: Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues! A senior UN official said that to generate three centimetres of top soil takes 1000 years, and if the present rate of degradation continues, there would be no more top soil within 60 years, which means no more farming. Topsoil provides nutrients to growing plants. The reason why soil is becoming destructed is because of chemical farming techniques, deforestation, and global warming, which as I mentioned above, are the contributors of climate change. And the worst part is to know that it is caused by the human being! However, 95 % of our food is from the soil —so that shows how dependent we are on it (Scientific American, 2016). Our food-security is threatened!

The United Nation’s SDG 13, (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), highlights the climate change issue and wants the world to combat it (United Nations Sustainable Development, 2015). Considering that there are people as Trump who does not believe in that climate change exists, it is good to know that an international body as the United Nations are addressing the issue and even have it as one of their goals in the Sustainable Development Goals. SO WAKE UP PEOPLE, LET’S COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND SAVE THE WORLD!

By Marjam Chahrour

Middlesex University Dubai

References
Climatechangechallenge.org. (2016). Causes of Climate Change. [online] Available at: http://www.climatechangechallenge.org/Resource%20Centre/Climate-Change/3-what_causes_climate_change.htm [Accessed 11 Dec. 2016].
NASA, (2016). Climate change evidence: How do we know?. [online] Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Available at: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2016].
Scientific American. (2016). Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues. [online] Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2016].
United Nations Sustainable Development. (2015). Climate Change – United Nations Sustainable Development. [online] Available at: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change-2/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2016].
Image references
1st  image Available at: http://climate.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/details/original/103_shutterstock_88550854-740px.jpg [Accessed 13 Dec. 2016].
2nd  image Available at: http://www.cartoonmovement.com/cartoon/26036 [Accessed 14 Dec. 2016].

Is Feminism Anti-Motherhood?

There are a lot opinions out there about women who choose to not bare children. There are also women out there who have children but later feel regret. They may feel that they might have been living better, more meaningful, and possibly more exciting lives if they did not have children. There is an interesting article on this topic titled, “When Did Feminism Become So Anti-Motherhood?” published on the Huffington Post. The article argues that “It’s not the kids who are at fault for ‘ruining’ their mother’s lives. You can instead thank a feminist movement that has failed women” (Hyatt, 2016) feminism_vs_motherhood2

The term ‘feminist’ was first brought to the English language during the 1880s to seek support for equal, legal, and political rights for both women and men (Bryson and Campling, 1999). Feminism is centrally focused on eliminating the oppression of women through social, political, and economic institutions. It is a group of social theories, moral philosophies, and political movements that advocate for social, political, and economic equality between the sexes (Grimsley, 2003).

Feminism is a movement where the aim is to accelerate the social role of women and it puts women’s concerns, perspectives, and efforts on the forefront so that it is more exposed and so women can be recognized as integral members of their societies (Grimsley, 2003). Female reproductive rights were brought to light during the second wave of feminism. This movement began in the 1960s and continued through the early 1980s (Grimsley, 2003).

Betty Friedan, an American writer, activist, and feminist, wrote her first piece that helped to spark the feminism movement titled, “The Feminist Mystique” (Hyatt, 2016). Other feminists may have interpreted that her words hinted that feminism was defined as freedom from men, marriage and/or children. Many feminist have the idea that getting married and losing your single status or getting pregnant could be the ultimate death of your career and sense of freedom. Two of the heroes of the current feminist wave, Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL, and Cecil Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, have received praise for proudly sharing their choices to abort their children because it just wasn’t the “right time” (Hyatt, 2016).

This article argues that feminism may be leading women to believe that in order to be independent and equal to men, they are better off not having children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, in 2014, 47.6 percent of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children. This number was up from 46.5 percent in 2012. These statistics represent the highest percentage of childless women since the bureau started tracking that data in 1976 (Gray, 2015). It is not known exactly why these numbers are so high and we don’t know each woman’s individual reason. However, the article by Huffington Post makes an interesting claim that feminism may be one of the culprits. One can easily understand how the pressures of the modern world and the pressure to be an independent, working woman may affect these numbers.

“As Mic Senior Editor Elizabeth Plank argued, for many women, not having kids may simply be the most rational choice. Given the economic fallout of the 2008 recession, the gender wage gap that just won’t quit, the sheer cost of raising a child, and the double duty demands put on women both professionally and domestically, are we really surprised that greater numbers of women are simply opting out of childrearing?” (Gray, 2015).

In the modern world, women may be faced with the pressures of feminism and this may be the reason why less children are being brought into the world.

By Tanisha Lazarre

 

Bibliography Continue reading “Is Feminism Anti-Motherhood?”

“Is Education a basic human right? Or is it only true if you’re not a pregnant girl from Sierra Leone?”

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Being a girl in Sierra Leone comes with enormous insecurity and risks. With one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world, the most significant challenge facing girls is the barrier to education if they become pregnant (Folan, 2016). Education must be available to all, irrespective of race, gender, age or sex. It is an essential right for all humans, and it permits each individual to receive instruction and succeed socially. It is also a key contributor to the economic, social and cultural development. It enables the individuals to acquire a variety of knowledge and see the world around us a differently. Develops the individual’s personality and identity as well as their physical and intellectual capabilities. And most importantly it provides and enables an improved quality of life, offering the underprivileged a chance to escape from the harsh reality of poverty and struggle.

So is it fair not to provide this chance or the opportunity for a girl who has become pregnant, most likely been forced into this situation against her will or knowledge? Many of these girls become pregnant as a result of sexual violence or a lack of sex education. Don’t these girls deserve the opportunity to come out of this struggle and succeed in life? Build a future to be independent and even take care of their child without the need or support from anyone else. Having to stick by and be abused and judged by society and men.

Sierra Leone has failed significantly to protect these girls from sexual violence, and it has also failed them by getting rid of sexual health education from their school curriculums years ago. One of these unfortunate events to unfold on the children was when the minister of education for Science and technology released a statement which said that to ban all girls who are pregnant from the school setting with immediate effect! How on earth would anyone have a right to snatch away something as sacred as education? How can you expect your country to move forward when a vast majority of the children are getting turned away from getting a basic right still baffles me to this day? But by the looks of it, this doesn’t deter the government officials from passing these absurd laws. They even went to the extent of justifying their acts by stating that this policy was put forward to protect “innocent girls” from been influenced by the negative acts of the pregnant girls. Is this fair? Whatever happened to give a chance to correct a mistake they’ve made doesn’t seem to exist.

Amnesty International’s regional director for Central Africa stated that “The prohibition on visibly pregnant girls attending mainstream schools and taking exams is hopelessly misguided, and is doing nothing to address the root causes of Sierra Leone’s high teenage pregnancy rate, which surged during the devastating Ebola crisis, and remains high despite this ban”(Tine, 2016). What I personally think of this crisis is that, instead of excluding and humiliating these young girls from the education spectrum, they should rather increase the focus on reproductive and sexual health information’s in their schools. Prohibiting these girls from school will not change a thing unless the Government officials related to this issue isn’t going to tackle the root cause of this result, which is, addressing the high teenage pregnancy rate. Unless and until this root cause isn’t eliminated, the cycle of unwanted early pregnancy will only keep rising for generations to come.

There have also been reports on how some of these girls are put through degrading and humiliating treatments, such as being forced to take pregnancy tests and in-depth physical scanning to find any signs of pregnancy. This is not only wrong on so many counts but extremely traumatizing for these young girls who just wanted to only attend school to get a basic education to support their families. Reports state that some of these girls have felt being abandoned and not accepted by their own people. Not only are they feeling the full brunt of the unfair treatment of the government but their own communities and at times their own families abuse them. Where are they left to go? Who is going to accept them? That is where humanity should step in and find a solution for these innocent souls.

These visible actions on these children are a violation of rights which are enshrined in any international conventions and this would only mean the country would suffer in the long run. Education is a basic human right and for a society to step up and move forward they need to ensure that their girls are educated. This absurd ban would only mean more discrimination and violence. Long-term health effects can also be caused by the psychological trauma these young girls go through could mean their offspring could be susceptible to such effects too. Due to the increasing pressure from international organizations, the president of Sierra Leone put forward an alternative “bridging” education system. This would mean the pregnant girls could attend school but still won’t be able to give exams.

The future of education in Sierra Leone cannot be bright if they keep on neglecting these girls out of schooling. What are the chances one of these “neglected” girls end up bringing Sierra Leone into the world stage in Science? Or a breakthrough in medicine? A cure for cancer? So personally education is a right that everyone should get regardless of their background or struggles.

Charith

Dubai Campus

References

  1. org. (2016). Sierra Leone: Continued pregnancy ban in schools and failure to protect rights is threatening teenage girls’ futures. [online] Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/sierra-leone-continued-pregnancy-ban-in-schools-and-failure-to-protect-rights-is-threatening-teenage-girls-futures/ [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
  2. (2016). Expelled pregnant girls go back to school in Sierra Leone. [online] Available at: http://theirworld.org/news/expelled-pregnant-girls-go-back-to-school-in-sierra-leone [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
  3. (2016). In Sierra Leone, Pregnant Girls Don’t Have to Miss Out on Education. [online] Available at: http://www.voanews.com/a/sierra-leone-pregnant-girls-alternative-education/3207894.html [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
  4. (2016). Sierra Leone Banned Pregnant Girls From School And This Lawmaker Wants That To End. [online] Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jinamoore/sierra-leone-banned-pregnant-girls-from-school-and-this-lawm?utm_term=.ukxkvnL0A6#.vsBZJdRqNy [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
  5. Folan, A. (2016). Shamed and blamed: Protecting the rights of pregnant girls in Sierra Leone – Concern. [online] Concern. Available at: http://www.concernusa.org/story/shamed-and-blamed-protecting-the-rights-of-pregnant-girls-in-sierra-leone/ [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].
  6. International Business Times UK. (2016). Ebola has forced thousands of girls to have sex in return for food, money and school fees. [online] Available at: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sierra-leone-ebola-crisis-sparks-teen-pregnancy-surge-girls-face-sexual-exploitation-1566470 [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016].

Neoliberalism is a legal system of blood money; even war becomes the pursuit of profit.

 

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War is a horrific disregard for human life, resources, and money. Unfortunately, it has been very apparent, that war is a necessary evil for the continued success of neoliberalism, used to generate profits, this can be seen since the birth of neoliberal ideology, when we track the history of creating demand, a key concept within neoliberal thinking, for example, in what is now termed as ‘Fordism’. In the 19920s large amounts of vehicles were being produced by Ford at the automobile factories in Michigan daily, but there wasn’t the demand as it was priced above what many could afford and as a result, America was plunged into an economic crisis also known as the Great Depression which main cause was overproduction. With masses of unsold items, companies were forced to let go of workers leading to a boom of unemployment, meaning people were spending even less which only worsened the crisis.

America was only able to push through the period of depression because of the Second World War because there was a great economic demand which made way for American industry to manufacture unlimited war equipment for Europe before 1942. Between the period of 1940 and 1945 sums of up to 185billion dollars was spent on military equipment, GNP therefore rose to 40% through selling arms to the British and Soviet armies, and US companies such as ford produced all kinds of Tanks, Planes and other war equipment for the likes of the Nazis (Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels), the trigger of the Great Depression was the lack of equilibrium between supply and demand and it was resolved through mass production of Military equipment.

To the average American, military spending meant higher wages than ever, almost full employment and with the second world war the grey gloom of the great depression had blown over, but the American people weren’t the ones who benefited the most because that award goes to the corporations who came to realise the profound profits that can be made from war. Around 2000 of the US largest firms benefited from profits of over 40% and were seldom taxed. Now, More than 50% of US Government Spending Goes to the Military (Lily Dane).

The war against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it. –George Orwell

A previous US marine corps major, General Smedley D. Butler wrote a famous retirement speech titled “war is racket” which he later turned into a small book which spoke of various operations during World War One where thanks to public funding they were able to gain great profits from essentially colossal human suffering, he concluded within his book that war has always been the easiest, oldest, horrific most profitable event, where profit is reckoned In the loss of life and dollars. General Smedley goes on to describe War specifically as a “racket” which he defines as something that ‘isn’t as it seems’ to most people, only a small elite group knows the true meaning of what war is really about, and it is existent for the benefit of few who make absolute fortunes (Lily Dane).

The military industrial complex now consists of thousands of companies ranging from medicine to technology to arms that make a pretty penny from the detriment of others (MIC).The complex is a strong triangle of steel consisting of legislators, the arms industry, armed forces and powerful corporations and elites who approve military spending, lobby to support bureaucracies as well as monitor the overall success of the industry (Samuel Weigley).

It is a major reason we are stuck in a perpetual war.

(Natasha Boyce Dubai Campus)

Bibliography 

Why America Needs War, Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels, 30th April 2003 http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-america-needs-war/5328631

Companies of the Military industrial complex, MIC, founded January 17th, 1963 http://www.militaryindustrialcomplex.com/companies.asp

Blood Money: These Companies and People Make Billions of Dollars from War, Lily Dane, 24th March 2015 http://www.globalresearch.ca/blood-money-these-companies-and-people-make-billions-of-dollars-from-war/5438657

10 companies profiting the most from war, Samuel Weigley, March 10th 2013 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/03/10/10-companies-profiting-most-from-war/1970997/

Mass unemployment : why don’t we reduce the working time ?

     Since the 1970’s, Western countries are facing several economical difficulties with an increasing rate of jobless and a low economic growth. This situation has been dramatically accentuated by the financial crisis in 2008.
According to heterodox economists, it is a proof of the failure of the liberal school of economic thought, embodied by Milton Friedman, its Chicago boys and the set of pro-market reforms led by former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former President of the United States of America Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s. According to the heterodox school, those policies exacerbated the market failures. On the same side, the working time of industrialized countries has been halved since the XIXe century and mostly during the past 60 years, in accordance with datas of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE).
According to heterodox, those two dynamics lead us to think that we need to struggle against the rate of jobless by sharing the working activities in the aim with reducing the working time.

35-hour reform defending by Former French ministry of labour Martine Aubry at the French Parliament in 1997
35-hour workweek, aka ‘Aubry law’, defended by former French ministry of labour Martine Aubry at the national Parliament in 1997.

     First of all, we may assert that the economic growth is less important than the increase of the labour productivity. In 1970, the annual economic growth of France was at 7 % and then declined at 1,6 % in 1980. During the same decade, the labour productivity gone up by 20 %. At the same time, the country knew a dramatic increase of the unemployment rate ; it rose from 2 % in 1970 to 8 % in 1980. Automation and new organization of work increased the productivity of french corporation by destroying jobs. According French historian Jacques Marseille, the increase of productivity destroyed more jobs than company relocations. Moreover, the digital innovation is expected to continue to boost the productivity, as we can observe it in the United States since the 1990’s. Therefore, it is important in accordance with heterodox though to promote awareness of an economic program based on a best sharing of the working time.

     It has been applied in France with the 35-hour workweek reforms adopted between 1998 and 2000 by French government led by socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. The 35 hours is just a legal standard limit ; an employee can work more but will be considered overtime and the employer will pay more taxes. Benefits of this measure are still controversial because the whole world knew a better economic growth at the same period with less jobless. But proponents of the 35-hour workweek argue that France recorded a drop in unemployment twice that of the reference of the european area. Indeed, between 1998 and 2002, 647 000 jobs have been created, while the rate of jobless declined from 11 % to 8 %. According to the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), from 300 000 jobs to 350 000 jobs have been created during this period because of the reduction of working time while the rest was due to the economic recovery.

     Nowadays, some like leftist and former French Ministry of Justice Christiane Taubira ask to a better sharing of working time with the introduction of a 32-hour workweek reforms. Indeed, Netherlands has an unemployment rate of 5 % with an average number of hours worked of 29, while France has 10 % of unemployment for an average still of 37 hours worked despite the legal standard limit. According to the French economist Pierre Larrouturou, up to 4 millions jobs could be created in France with a 32-hour workweek, a reduction of 10 % of worked hours compared to the current legal standard. But the data is well above the current 3 millions jobless in the country. That is why he proposes to delete at the same time the employer’s contribution to the unemployment fund, which represent 10 % of the hourly cost. It would allow the employee to keep the same pay without increasing the cost of labour. However, this roadmap is specific to France and the possibility of an internationalisation of this process may be seriously asked.

     German communist party member Karl Kautsky suggested that an international organization should not be considered on the current policies of its member-States but need to be thought with the alternative and common policy that they can hypothetically lead together. At the beginning of the 1990’s, former French socialist president François Mitterrand campaigned for the Maastricht Treaty and argued that a ‘single socialist country in Europe’ is not sustainable and that the transition towards socialism should be achieved through a european united-front policy. General secretary of the French communist party George Marchais replied him that the european socialism will be suppressed by the empowerment of liberalism in a free-trade zone integrated in the globalization. Indeed the United Kingdom was strongly opposed to any expansion of the social policy in the treaty of Maastricht. Therefore, the protocol of social policy had to be annexed to the Treaty, with UK opt-out. And even if this social chapter allows a common legislation in some areas like working conditions and equality between men and women in labour market, those instruments are still not equal to the european social challenge because common polices are mainly based on a very capitalistic ideology.

     Finally, the French example is a relevant experimentation of the controversial issue of the sharing of the working time. It requires to get out of the neo-liberal though with a new paradigm shift. Of course, France has its own functional specificities and the roadmap to manage with the introduction of such reforms is depending on each country and its own legal and fiscal norms in force. Moreover, the European Union is maybe the larger entity able to lead such kind of policies. And significant developments demonstrated that the drop of the unemployment rate correlated with the share of labour activities in the aim with reducing the working time must not be overlooked.

By : Paul REÏSSI, M00602378, Exchange student

[Reference]
OECD data [Online] https://data.oecd.org/lprdty/gdp-per-hour-worked.htm.
AZSKENAZY, Philippe, BLOCH-LONDON, Catherine, ROGER, Muriel, ’La réduction du temps de travail 1997-2003’ : dynamique de constructions des lois « Aubry » et premières évaluations’, INSEE, 2003.
MARSEILLE, Jacques, ‘Empire colonial et capitalisme français’, Editions Albin Michel, 2005.
MEDA, Dominique, LARROUTUROU, Pierre, ‘Einstein avait raison, il faut sortir du temps de travail’, Editions de l’Atelier, 2016