Published Opinions

Submitted from Students Worldwide

October 25, 2017

HOWARD SIMMONS VIA NY DAILY NEWS

*For the protection of my friend involved in this still active and open case, their name has been changed. The name Nat was chosen as a tribute to Nat Turner, a former African American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831.

As I write this, two shots have rung off just minutes ago, a helicopter has been circling overhead for ten minutes, and police cars are only now beginning to converge towards the shots. It's Friday, October the 13th, 2017.

In this part of Brooklyn, gunfire is a normal occurrence from about April until November, when the weather is the warmest and most people are outside. This area, with a population of 48,000, is covered by 3 housing projects, brownstone townhouses, and patrolled by 3 police precincts and 2 NYPD Police Service Areas (PSA)—strictly dedicated to patrolling these towering project complexes courtyards, stairwells, and rooftops with their controversial vertical patrol tactic.

This small community, however, lead...

IMAGE VIA MERCO PRESS 

As Argentina is trying to come out of its economical instability and show progress, one thing stands out: the fact that both the "villas miseria" or ghettos and the gated communities don't appear on Google Street View in Argentina. One because it is considered dangerous to go there, supposedly because only criminals live there; the other out of fear of the aforementioned criminals. How ironic that those places that don't appear couldn't be more different from one another. In the middle stands the middle class, which is neither poor nor rich, but nonetheless is the only one that appears in Google street view. The other groups live in their own bubbles, isolated, and their paths rarely cross. As the gap between rich and poor expands, I ask myself how we can change or improve and not become a society that is disconnected and selfish. If we don't change we are doomed, not just a group of people but everyone. We live in a free country, not different ones.

The issu...

December 31, 2016

ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS VIA NEWSWEEK

More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. Some 11 million have been forced from their homes and 13.5 million are in need of dire humanitarian assistance as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule (including jihadist militants from the so called Islamic State) battle each other. As the conflict continues, a number of countries have opened their doors to refugees, though a select few are receiving the majority of them. Countries neighboring Syria are reaching a saturation point with regard to their abilities to absorb refugees. For example, the influx of refugees has increased Lebanon’s population by 25% and it now has the highest per capita number of refugees. Edward M. Gabriel, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and Vice Chairman of the American Task Force for Lebanon has said that this...

How does it feel to know that you, in this moment, are living in a social bubble? Let that sink in for a moment. You, and I, are so unwillingly ignorant of this world, so blatantly protected from the things that mainstream media doesn’t want us to see, that the divisiveness that we find in our current society is natural. How can we expect to live in a society in which opinions are not refuted if our cultural and worldly awareness is so restricted? Facebook alone has more than 1.7 billion active users. This becomes an extremely significant number when you understand that 61% of millennials use Facebook as their source for political news (according to Pew Research). Regardless of this, Facebook has yet to acknowledge its status as a news source, concentrating its resources on increasing engagement rates. This means that our very own Facebook feeds are created based on past clicks and likes. So, why is this significant? The unique algorithm that makes Facebook generate these posts to stim...

October 10, 2016

IMAGE- REUTERS VIA EXPRESS TRIBUNE 

Bwambale. Omar. Babucarr. Modou. Mehreteab. What do these names have in common? Each of these people is an African refugee living in Germany who had risked his life to search for a safer future. Working as an intern in Germany for six weeks over the summer, I had the opportunity to interact with them and learn about their experiences coming to Europe and their lives as refugees in Germany. While many were excited about the opportunity to begin a new life there, I quickly began to discover that this pursuit of a better future is fading from reality.

When refugees first began arriving in Germany, the public welcomed them with water, toys and candy. As thousands of migrants in Hungary began making their way towards German borders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy delighted not only the majority of the German population but humanitarians worldwide. A country with deep-rooted memories of atrocities committed throughout the 20th ce...

August 24, 2016

I have a few questions.

I witness death, disease, desensitization, destruction and an abhorrent lack of empathy among the people of this planet.

'What makes one man unavoidably the enemy of another?'

I have a few questions.

I see the beauty of architecture in the mosques, synagogues, churches and temples and I smile to myself at the amalgamation of human intellect with nature.

Then I see blood flowing from the eyes of the mountain as a church crossed paths with a mosque.

'Was the lesson of peace not enough to overcome your differences?'

I have a few questions.

I see people of the world laugh and cry together yet if one claims that a book can be interpreted differently from what the majority believe, it can lead to an early conclusion... of their life.

'Why are invisible beliefs more important than real people themselves?'

I have a few questions.

I see the earth, in all its infinite beauty and natural landmarks. I see the rivers and mountains and valleys and trees.

Then I see rivers of blood streak...

August 21, 2016

The following is an adapted piece from a presentation series featured at Yale University's Young Global Scholars Program for high school students in the study of international affairs and security. 

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Nation — imagined communities


We all have nationalities, look at everyone here: they come from different countries and have different [physical characteristics] colors of skin, speak different languages and have different believes. In short, they belong to different nations.
But if you think nations are just about these physical attributes, and is one of our intrinsic feature you are wrong. 


In the 16th century, a lot of Spanish colonists came to South America, and hundreds years later, many of those Spanish colonists, who shared the same physical feature, the same language and same religion, started to fight against the Spanish rule. They started to believe...

August 11, 2016

Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Freddie Gray. I’ve heard the names of these African American men paraded across the endless stream of news media in the past couple of years. The tragic frequency of the same stories, of unarmed black men killed by police officers, is striking. It’s often horrifying to think about the all too many more people who share the exact same story that don’t become household names. 

The widespread racial profiling, police brutality, and unjustified killing of unarmed African Americans has sparked protests and demonstrations in cities across America, from Chicago to New York. Certainly, the rally cries of the Black Lives Matter movement speak to the collective frustration of the African American community, “Hands up, don’t shoot”, “I can’t breathe”, “Is my son next?”, among others. And more disappointingly, in their aftermath, the police officers responsible for the killings are not charged. 

The traction gained by the Black Lives Matter...

In March 2011 a bold statement appeared on walls in Darra, a small Syrian town near the border with Jordan: "The people want to topple the regime!" The irate secret police detained the 15 boys suspected of painting this graffiti, brutally torturing them to check if a subversive element was instigating rebellious movement. What started as a demonstration to protest the deaths of these 15 boys soon expanded to demand the ouster of Assad; when the government responded with violence, a full-fledged civil war broke out.

The international community needs to address the ongoing Syrian Civil War by bolstering the ongoing peace negotiation and eliminating the IS. To address the increasing number of refugees, nations have to agree on the accommodation of Syrian refugees. An exceptional diplomatic tact is crucial in ending the war in Syria since the conflict is turning increasingly “grey”: with both sides overlooking civilian casualties and committing crimes against humanity, it is neither wise no...

It began with post-World War I Germany; a period marked by out-of-control inflation, few jobs, and a bruised ego. Those who could see no end to the disaster needed a scapegoat and that was the German Jewish population. The NSDAP Party, known as the Nazi Party, won a sizable portion of the vote in 1932 and from there, the rest is a confusing but extremely xenophobic path to 1945. 


Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s recent ability to attract new, elusive or Democratic voters with blatantly racist policies, particularly concerning Muslims, cannot be compared analogously to the Nazi’s rise to power. However, it can explain why his Islamophobic comments are so attractive to the working class in particular and why they cannot be ignored. 


The Financial Crisis from 2008-2009 and the 9/11 Attacks define the American public’s view of the world. People now read labels that say, ‘Made in China’ and see America’s lack of self-sufficiency. They behold a world no longer strong like it was in Wo...

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