Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter is an activist movement that has received backlash from across the world for ‘overlooking the importance’ of other kinds of people. Obviously, all lives do matter, but black lives are being focused on because the American judicial system treats them like trash. Black Lives Matter isn’t just a statement, it is a reaction to the hyper-criminalisation of black people and the disgusting amount of state violence they’re subject to. If you can’t seem to understand why people are talking about BLM, you’re either missing the point or are part of the problem (or both).

‘All Lives Matter’ is a disgusting movement that tries to paint black people as aggressors and white people as victims. It refuses to accept the very real problem at hand and is the embodiment of white supremacy.

“I’m white, and I have friends who are black, and we’re all treated the same.. so why does this movement claim that only black lives matter?” Ignorant statements like these are often flung around with nonchalance (side note: please don’t make assumptions about something you are so painfully unaware of). White privilege demonstrates that if you are white, you automatically have a superior systematic position to black people. Consequently, hundreds of white people are not killed by the police (most of whom happen to be members of the oppressing group) based on the colour of their skin. Violence against black people has escalated so much in America that black families now have to teach their children how to react when they come across a policeman, to prevent losing their lives. BLM is about the system that affects more than just one person and his/her friend circle; this racism affects black people, NOT white people. It is downright disrespectful to try to divert the attention from the black community by supporting a movement like ‘All Lives Matter’.

White police officers continue to get away with the murder of innocent black people and never face any repercussions. Most of the time, they don’t even go to trial; and when they do, they’re proven ‘innocent’, solely because of the fact that the black community simply cannot be given priority over white murderers. Another question posed my many people is that of ‘black on black crime,’ which is completely and utterly irrelevant. Black on black crime is between CIVILIANS, while police officers killing black people is STATE VIOLENCE. The two are very different and cannot be compared.

If you are white, please recognise your privilege. Racism exists and is still very real. Please understand the motives of BLM. Their anger is justified in every way.

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MEMBERS OF THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY TORTURED IN AZERBAIJAN

Men belonging to the LGBTQ+ community have been arrested and tortured by police in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Those arrested have been subject to brutal violence, including electrocution, in an attempt to gain information about other members belonging to the community. The capital has denied charges of conducting a violent campaign that violates multiple fundamental rights. Instead, the crackdown has been ‘justified’ on grounds of public health and security.

There have been unconfirmed reports of over 100 arrests – out of which 83 are confirmed. Transgender women have also been arrested. Human rights activists, who are representing the arrested claim that the police forced the women to shave their heads.

‘Same-sex conduct’ was decriminalised in the country in 2000 – however, no LGBTQ+ group functions openly. Moreover, the grounds for arresting these innocent men and women are ‘disobedience of police orders’ and ‘petty hooliganism’. Funnily enough, the Azerbaijan government has a history of using false charges to arrest those they have an issue with.

No one seems to be talking about the ordeal these people are going through. Such appalling behaviour needs to be investigated and justice MUST be served.

Zika Virus: the Bite of Torment

The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947, within caged rhesus monkeys placed in the Zika Forest to monitor yellow fever. It was first reported in humans in 1952 in Uganda, and its first large outbreak was in 2007 in the Island of Yap.

Although this virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito (mainly the Aedes mosquitos), sexual transmission and transmission through blood transfusion is possible as well.

One of the biggest problems in tackling the Zika Virus is that its symptoms are common to most viruses. These symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. Furthermore, only one out of five people show symptoms, which leads to many cases going unreported.

The virus is rather mild itself, as symptoms last 3-5 days, but it can trigger many defects like Microcephaly and the Guillain-Barre Syndrome. A woman can transfer the Zika Virus to her fetus during pregnancy, which can cause Microcephaly, a birth defect wherein a baby is born with a head smaller than the average size. Microcephaly can lead to seizures, developmental delays, hearing loss and vision problems. Similarly, the Zika Virus can trigger the Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which is an auto-immune disease wherein a person’s own immune system damages his nerve cells. Most people never fully recover from this syndrome, and some are left with permanent nerve damage. The Zika Virus can thus lead to very dangerous illnesses and must be prevented and treated accordingly.

However, there currently exists no specific vaccine or medicine for the virus, and its only treatment is treating the discomfort-causing symptoms, which can be remedied by drinking plenty of fluids, getting adequate rest and taking medicines like paracetamol to relieve fever and pain. Since the virus has no real cure, we must focus on its prevention.

The first step towards its prevention is the reduction of mosquitos by removing or modifying breeding sites. Many people disagree with this, arguing that the process is complex and is not the most feasible option. However, given the seriousness of the Zika Virus, the WHO stresses that the elimination of mosquito breeding sites is the most effective intervention for protection against the same. Furthermore, ‘Fogging’ (the spraying of insecticides) should be carried out during outbreaks, when mosquito activity is most intense. Personal precautions should be taken, including the use of repellents and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitos from entering. Pregnancy measures should also be taken in areas with active transmissions of the virus to prevent sexual transmission. More preventive measures for the same include strengthening the capacity of laboratories to detect the virus, supporting health authorities to implement vector control strategies and engaging communities to understand the risks associated with the virus.

In May, 2017, three laboratory-confirmed cases of the Zika Virus were reported in Gujarat, India. It is clear that the virus is spreading across the globe and must be combated effectively, especially because of the severity of its complications. In a world that has already been through so much turmoil, we cannot risk another epidemic.

 

Ebola Virus: The Killing Machine

Ebola virus is said to have originated from fruit bats and other forms of bushmeat. This virus enters the human population through close contact with the blood, organs or surface material of infected animals often found ill or dead in the forest (or of those that are hunted). It then spreads through humans by direct contact with the secretions of those who are infected, or through materials like bedding contaminated with the same. Even burial ceremonies of the deceased can lead to the transmission of Ebola, because people remain infectious as long as their blood contains the virus. Healthcare workers have also frequently been infected while treating Ebola patients due to being in close contact with them.
The Ebola virus first appeared in 1976. It is most commonly known for its recent 2014-2016 outbreak affecting Guinea, Libera, and Sierra Leone that reported more than 11,000 deaths.
The World Health Organisation led the trial for an experimental Ebola vaccine in 2015. This vaccine proved highly protective against the virus in its trial in Guinea. Unfortunately, there currently exists no proven cure for the virus. However, treating the symptoms of Ebola separately has proved to be effective in combating the same. An efficient way to combat it once it has entered the blood cells is through supportive care rehydration. Furthermore, community engagement is vital, including infection control practices, surveillance, contact tracing, safe burials and social mobilisation.
Risk-minimisation should also be followed. Animals should be handled with gloves and should be properly cooked before consumption to minimise the risk of transmitting the disease. Healthcare workers should wear gloves and appropriate body equipment while dealing with suspected patients, and should also wash their hands regularly with soap.
Moreover, laboratory testing on active samples should be conducted under intense biological containment conditions, using the triple packaging system while transporting the virus.
Ebola virus is extremely serious and deadly. It has killed thousands of people, and is capable of killing thousands more – which is why it is imperative to find its cure. In a world that is already in so much turmoil, adequate measures must be taken to prevent its spread across the globe.

Unrest In Kashmir

A year after the death of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, Indian authorities are still trying to subdue the unrest in Kashmir. The death of this terrorist sparked multiple riots throughout the state and is the root cause of the disturbance that still exists. More and more of the valley’s youth has been actively participating in the ‘stone throwing’ that is said to be funded by Pakistan’s ISI through the Hurriyat. The Hurriyat is promoting its separatist views in its attempt to radicalise Kashmir’s youth, perpetually trying to convince them to fight for its ‘independence’.

The problem is that the Kashmiri economy has not benefited the same way from growth as the rest of India has; youth unemployment remains extremely high, leading to immense dissatisfaction. The youth of Kashmir has, as a result, become more prone to influence of the Hurriyat.

Kashmir remains unwilling to look up to the Indian Government, mostly because of the brutality of the actions of both the sides. In 2016, the underprepared Army used pellet guns on the Kashmiri protestors who attacked their bunkers, severely injuring and blinding many of them. The Hizbul Mujahideen militants, on the other hand, have been repeatedly attacking the army and torturing those who are apparently ‘aids and informers’ of the police.

The situation continues to be going on a downward spiral. Initially, dialogue between the Indian Government and Kashmir was open, but now, this too has stalled as the Government has a robust and strongarmed approach towards the Kashmiri protestors.

However, the use of force does not seem to be helping the conflict in Kashmir; in fact, it is only aggravating it. The problem of terrorism cannot be solved by alienating the people – yes, the terrorists can and should be strongarmed, but the people should not be isolated. The Government needs to find a way to bring Kashmir back into mainstream politics and economy. Local political parties like Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti should be actively involved in promoting the same while simultaneously battling the terrorists. This will be an undoubtedly long process, but it is the only way to solve the problems raging in Kashmir – the state that, after more than a year of riots and unrest, deserves peace.

Security Dilemma

“Security dilemma, is a situation in which actions taken by a state to increase its own security cause reactions from other states, which in turn lead to a decrease rather than an increase in the original state’s security.”

The Security Dilemma is a serious problem that affects all states, whether they are aggressive or not. This means that there are multiple ways to solve this problem, but no one way is foolproof, and each one has its flaws. Opening up diplomatic communications through a trusted third party and creating an economic and trade union are probably the safest ways for countries to help decrease the severity of the Security Dilemma. This would be most easily done between two powers, and could lead to not only a safer future for both, but also mutual prosperity through trade.

This process would most likely begin with opening a diplomatic dialogue between two countries through a mutually trusted third party. This would allow safe communication, confidentiality and reliability. Next, both countries would agree to disarmament processes, mutual targets and verification, all while using the third party to keep the communication peaceful and mutually beneficial. Finally, the countries could, depending on their current membership, agree to work together in a common economic and trade union. This would further facilitate peaceful actions and could potentially create prosperity for the respective countries. It would also allow for the free movement of people, goods and services between the nations, creating a peaceful environment. Opposing states could work together to cooperate and compete in a global environment. The creation of trade unions has been very beneficial for the majority of its members in the past, as shown in unions such as the European Union and ASEAN. The reason this method would be effective is because not only does it promote better international communications between each nation-state, removing the ‘fence’ that conceals its neighbours, but also guarantees peace and protection to the nations that sign this agreement. This is important because with lack of communication, nation-states always end up fearing their neighbouring states, leading them to stock up on weapons, which can result in a huge arms race.

All this said, however, there are still some limitations to what this could achieve, similar to any possible ‘solution’ to this dilemma. The main drawback to this kind of solution is that both parties would have to be willing to work together toward a common goal. This can be a problem because some countries are militaristic in nature, due to their Government, and will not agree to disarmament or working together in a trade union. These countries, however, are relatively lesser in number, and the benefits of this system far outweigh the negatives.

 

Letters To The Majority #1

Dear Misogynistic Majority,
I’m filled with so much rage that I don’t even know what to say to you. I’m not sure what to say to anyone as I read the news of Bangalore’s “mass molestation” this New Years Eve. You all know what I’m talking about.
There were approximately sixty THOUSAND people on the two busiest roads in the metropolis that day. Sixty thousand people and yet no one helped as woman after woman faced sexual assault. There were 6-7 men stuck to each woman like leeches. Sounds horrifying, doesn’t it?
It is YOUR mentality that is the root cause of horrors like this. 45 CCTV cameras caught the assaults. If anything, these numbers should shock you – just like they shocked the nation. Our nation cries with agony when we read of cases like Nirbhaya and Bangalore. Our women cry with agony on a daily basis because of the assaults they face, physically and emotionally. Obviously, their cries go unheard, drowned out by jeering voices and whistles. It is not okay to leer or catcall. It is not okay to gently “brush” against someone. IT IS NOT OKAY TO BE A BYSTANDER, MAN OR WOMAN, LIKE MOST OF YOU WERE IN BANGALORE, WHILE HUNDREDS OF WOMEN GOT MOLESTED IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES.
I can’t comprehend what goes on in your mind. First you rape, then you proceed to make jokes on rape, and when we don’t laugh, what do you say? “So uptight, why can’t she take a joke?” What a good question. Well then, enlighten me. What exactly is the joke? What is oh-so-funny about rape that I should be doubled over in laughter?
Thought so. We live in a third-world country with the mentality of the Stone Age. Honestly. The misogyny prevalent in our country is seen DAILY. It is visible by the fact that of the sixty thousand people on those two roads, around a hundred were rapists and sexual offenders. It is seen when out of those hundred, only SIX people have been taken in due to ‘suspicion’ – they haven’t even been arrested. The officers said they would investigate the Bangalore case “silently”. This is what is wrong with our country. Why be silent? Women – shout, scream, fight for your rights and freedoms. Revolt. Do not be silent. NEVER be silent when it comes to your body.
And you, misogynistic men – again, I honestly don’t know what to say to you except that you need to change. Everyone has internalised misogyny buried somewhere within them. Everyone struggles with overcoming it – but unsurprisingly, the rest of us do. It’s about time you start trying too. You are not better than us. You have no right to treat us like objects and then make jokes about our sufferings. You have no right.
If rapes and sexual assault cases like these continue in India, there will be a revolution very soon. I swear to you, we will revolt. We will not tolerate being treated like your garbage.
As for the Bangalore case, go on, keep spreading your mentality. Make sure this happens again…and again…and again…and goes unreported, just like the hundreds of rape cases that go unreported everyday. Try to make rape jokes again. Make sure the nation sees a more horrific version of the Bangalore case. I dare you.
We will not suffer for your sins anymore.
                                                                                                                                     Yours Sincerly,
                                                                                                                      A sixteen year old girl,
                                                                                             On behalf of the Feminist Minority.