Astudia Updates

Educate yourself about international issues and become a more aware global citizen! Our updates are short reads that will inform you about the humanitarian, scientific, and environmental issues that are taking place around the world, and how you, as a young person, can make a difference. 

Astudia Current Events Update: 

  1. Climate Change Update: By Daliya Rizvi

  • Climate change is a global issue, largely caused by human activity on earth. Increasing CO2 emissions globally are leading to increased temperatures, rising sea levels, and more natural disasters across the world. Deforestation and mass agriculture are leading to a loss of habitats and increased CO2 and methane gas emissions. Many see climate change as a far-away issue that isn’t impacting them. However, climate change has begun to have an impact on people everywhere, and that impact will only increase.

  • Smoke from wildfires in California and emissions from factories in China have led to increased levels of respiratory illnesses among people living there. Increased air pollution in European and Asian cities have had the same impact.

  • Hurricanes and floods have damaged buildings and increased homelessness and levels of depression and anxiety. Typhoons, tornadoes, and tsunamis destroy entire villages, leaving people homeless as well. Such natural disasters also destroy food supplies and agricultural areas, leading to a food shortage. This then leads to the cutting down of more trees to provide more agricultural land, which leads to increased emissions and more health issues for humans and animals. It is a vicious cycle.

  • Rising sea levels aren’t only affecting animals and their habitats. By 2050, it is predicted that cities across the world will be damaged or destroyed, leaving their inhabitants to seek other places to live. People from Monterey to Mumbai and from New Orleans to Ho Chi Minh City could all face dire effects from rising sea levels and increased natural disasters.

    The situation seems daunting, and dire. However, there is hope. Researchers across the globe are working on technology to help human beings become more eco-friendly. Philanthropists are investing billions of dollars towards ground-breaking research. New technology has even allowed researchers to take CO2 out of the air and store it underground. Human beings are not ready to back down, and people are making changes. There are a few small things you can do to help combat climate change: eat less meat, use less water, turn lights off when you’re not using them, recycle, plant more trees, upcycle your clothing or buy from eco-friendly stores, don’t use lawn fertilizers, carpool, take public transportation, and walk/bike when you can. If you want to have a bigger and more significant impact, here are some great organizations you can get involved with:

*We provide these organizations for climate change often because they are proven and have made an impact!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Conflict in Syria: By Ronak Mir

     I want every one of you who’s reading this right now to think back to your childhood home. The neighborhood you used to bike around as a kid. The yard you built a snowman on. And now, imagine it going from that idyllic landscape to what Syria looks like now. The pictures or videos that you find all over the internet with just a click of your finger are not from any video game or movie. They are the living reality of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Displaced from their loved ones, their livelihoods, and everything they hold dear. A whole country laid to ruins. The work of a dictational regime doing anything possible to maintain its claim of power. Miles rendered uninhabitable. This is what has happened in Syria. A place that was once considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world has been reduced to a pile of dirt and dead bodies. Syria is currently in the midst of a conflict and genocide that has taken over the lives of 47,0000 souls and has left more than 11 million displaced from their original homes. 11 million people... It has been labeled as the greatest tragedy of our century, this disgraceful humanitarian calamity that historically has had no parallels since World War II.

       The story of Syria began on April 29th, 2011 in the city of Daraa. A group of young boys wrote on the school walls, “Down with the government, the Assad regime must go.” Local officials proceeded to arrest and torture a young boy named Hamza Al-Khateeb, killing him in the process, and then having the despicable audacity to send his body back to his family’s doorstep. This became the catalyst for the Syrian people to revolt. To revolt for their freedom and for their democracy. Peaceful protests turned to organized uprisings when the government targeted the civilian crowds. Imagine that you have a family member from Syria. Every time you call them you hear the fear in their voice. The fear of not knowing when they will die. The fear of not knowing if they will see a tomorrow. And then imagine the fear in your voice. The fear because you don’t even know if you’ll listen to their voice again. Imagine what these people must be going through on a daily basis because this is their routine. While you wake up for a jog and some cereal, they wake up to another death.

       A lot of you must be thinking that Syrians these days are being taken out of these places, are living safely in refugee camps, and are happy now. Sadly, this is far from the truth. At home in Syria, a refugee's village home was shelled and his leg injured. He could barely walk but he managed to flee and make the hazardous journey to cross the border to Iraq. By the time he reached the camp, his leg had deteriorated to such a degree that doctors had to amputate it. He buried his leg in the camp. “We Syrians had to bury a lot of things in the refugee camp,” he said. “Our joy. Our hope. I think I buried myself there, not just my leg.”

Here are a few ways you can take action to make a difference in the lives of the Syrian people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The Civil War in Somalia- What’s Going On and How You Can Help: By Isra Hussain

     The war in the Federal Republic of Somalia is an ongoing civil war that began in 1991. This war was sparked after Siad Barre, the former dictator of Somalia, was overthrown. Following this, the country plummeted into anarchy due to warlords fighting for a leadership position. Essentially, Somalia has gone without a functioning government since 1991. Without a stable government, citizens undergo poverty and lack adequate food, which has led to a major humanitarian crisis in the nation. 

     So far, different countries have responded by sending aid and forming a UN peace-making mission to regulate food distribution and keep Somalians safe. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 733 and Resolution 746 created UNOSOM I - the first mission to provide humanitarian relief and help restore peace and stability in Somalia after the destruction of its federal government. About 300,000 Somalians died from starvation in the first year of the civil war, so the United States sent troops to help with famine. The project soon escalated and turned into a mission to form a new government in Somalia. As the UN dug deeper into the issue, they soon realized that along with resources and protection, lawmaking and policymaking assistance was also needed in many parts of Somalia. 

     At first, Somalians appreciated the UN’s troops’ efforts, but citizens soon started to believe that UN troops were trying to convert them from Islam. This led to deadly gun battles in the middle of the streets, helicopter attacks, and more. All these graphic scenes were broadcasted around the world. The deaths of troops infuriated Americans, and the U.S. government withdrew all troops from Somalia by 1995. The UN also decided that reintroducing law and order in Somalia was the responsibility of African leaders. However, they did set up an office in Kenya to keep an eye on the situation. 

     In 1999, Ismail Omar Guellah, Djibouti's president, called for a peace plan. He met with Somali intellectuals to create a transitional government. Unfortunately, this government has not established control over the country yet. In fact, many states are declaring autonomy, further dividing an already fractured Somalia.

     In 2006, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) was formed as “an alliance of mostly-secular Mogadishu-based warlords.” They were opposed to the Islamic-Courts Union (ICU), a group that had just gained control of the Somalian capital. They recruited other warlords and pushed the ARPCT out. Then, both parties began to battle for control in late 2006. This caused the American government to intervene for the first time since 1995 to fight against the ICU and support the ARPCT. To make matters worse, the ICU then sparked a war between Somali and Ethiopian government groups.

     It’s not just a political conflict that is erupting in the Federal Republic of Somalia. The nation also struggles with extreme weather conditions, famines, communicable diseases, huge numbers of migrating refugees, a lack of resources, and violence. Luckily, there are many ways we can help. One way you can make an impact is by providing nutritional support for Somalian citizens through the charity Love Army For Somalia. You can also sign multiple petitions on platforms such as change.org to help end the violence. Even one signature makes a difference. More opportunities to get involved can be found with a single Google search! Be an example to your peers and take action to help those who have been suffering for decades.

Demonstration
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Image Credit: trtworld.com

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Image Credit: keepthefaith.co.uk

4. What's Happening to Uighur Muslims in China and How You Can Help: By Isra Hussain

 

     According to government experts, about 3 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were detained in a series of mass detentions by the Chinese government as of 2019. There are currently 380 concentration camps that house these innocent people in the region of Xinjiang alone. Additionally, 30% of Mosques have been demolished, and 50% of Uighur Muslims’ cultural landmarks have been destroyed. How did this happen?

     The Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic minority and reside in the northwestern part of China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) justified their persecution of the Uighurs by stating that “religious extremism” is not allowed in China. Although the Uighurs are not and never were extremists, they were persecuted by the Chinese government and forced to renounce Islam. After the CCP took complete control over their territory in the early 1900s, the Uighurs faced systemic harassment and were banned from being a part of the Chinese government. They also lost their farmland and their jobs, resulting in increased poverty among them.

     In China, the cost of practicing Islam can be deadly. Millions of Uighur Muslims have been sent to concentration camps, where they are tortured, starved, and forced to work. Unfortunately, we don’t have much information about what goes on inside the camps, and human rights groups have been denied access to the information. However, we do know that many Muslims have fled for their lives because of the terrible conditions. According to studies, detainees are forced to bow down and pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and leave Islam. Also, there are cameras and microphones in the camps to detect every move and sound the detainees make. Many families have been ripped apart through these horrifying concentration camps. 

     The Uighur Muslims are forbidden from practicing any part of their faith, including praying. Prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam, meaning that all Muslims are required to pray five times each day if they are able. Uighurs are only allowed to pray once a week, which doesn’t meet the five-times-per-day requirement. Many citizens can’t even set foot in a mosque if they don’t register with the Chinese government. Another barrier Uighurs face is that Muslim women are entirely discouraged from wearing a hijab (a scarf worn to cover the head as a symbol of modesty). 

    The U.S. Government and the United Nations, along with human rights groups, have recently labeled this treatment as blatant religious discrimination and genocide, but the Chinese government continues to torture innocent Muslims merely trying to practice their faith. Although the situation seems far away and rapidly escalating, there are many ways you can help end this unwarranted religious persecution. 

  1. Donate money to support the Uighurs.

    1. https://www.saveuighur.org/donate/?gclid=CjwKCAiAg8OBBhA8EiwAlKw3kmL4fR9ta2mld0hwzN_dSnv-yHcRvQrh4mqYJrBoXXmrhfCf0ysCmRoCghMQAvD_BwE

  2. Sign petitions!

    1. Tell Zara: Stop Profiting From Uyghur Forced Labour

    2. Beijing Olympics: The choice is simple: respect Uyghur rights, close the camps, or lose the 2022 Winter Games. China: Respect Uyghur Rights Before Hosting 2022 Olympics

    3. Read Rahima Mahmut's story. Stand with Rahima and add your name here: Free Uyghur Muslims from forced labor

  3. Share information on social media and educate others. Our platforms may be small, but they can still reach many people who need to hear what is happening. 

  4. Support https://uhrp.org/ (The Uighur Human’s Rights Project)  

  5. Call the US Senate to Pass Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act: https://www.saveuighur.org/congress/

 

Remember: anything you do makes a difference. One donation, one vote, is one step taken to help improve the lives of the Uighurs.

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Image Credit: Chinese Muslims (Uighur Muslims) - Pakistan Affairs

5. Refugee Crisis in Myanmar   By Noraa Alkhamis

 

 Background knowledge and history of Myanmar:

 

     Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia. It borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. As you can guess, that makes Myanmar a very diverse country. With over 135 ethnic groups that the government has officially recognized, Myanmar is one of the most diverse countries in the world. 

Myanmar was under British rule from 1824-1948, there was also a brief Japanese occupation in Myanmar from 1942-1945. It finally gained its independence in 1948 and was named the Union of Burma. The many ethnic groups of that time had many disagreements. In 1962, their Military— lead by Ne Win staged a coup. The leader created a military-established government. This also created a 1 party state that was only challenged in 1988, a movement started by students who declared Aung San Suu Kyi to be their leader. 2015 was the first time that Myanmar held a free and open election. This election was between a pro-military party—USDP and NLD. The NLD (National League of Democracy) won by a landslide. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myanmar’s 2020 Election Results

     On November 8, 2020, Myanmar held an election. This time between Myanmar’s Military and the NLD. The NLD won by a landslide, once again. The military called fraudulence and claimed that there was widespread voter fraud. There was no credible evidence that supported their claim. 

How did the Military seize power after losing the election? 

     On February 1st, a fitness instructor accidentally caught footage of the start of a Military Coup. Behind her were military vehicles on their way to arrest several political leaders, one of them being Aung San Suu Kyi. This way they could gain power and take over Myanmar’s government. Ever since the military overthrew the government, locals have been protesting in many ways. The military has shut down internet access in most parts of the country to stop citizens from investigating further. 

 

Why hasn’t the UN stepped in?

     China has blocked the UN’s condemnation of the coup in Myanmar. They have pledged to release the leaders who’ve been unlawfully arrested. However, not condemning the coup in Myanmar is absurd. The military holds such great power and Myanmar needs help from international organizations to gain their democracy back. 

 

Why Myanmar’s citizens don’t want to be under Military rule:

     The ethnic minorities in Myanmar such as Rohingya experienced little to no liberty under military rule. They were put under arrest for advocating for their rights. The education system was also described as military propaganda. 

 

How You Can Help:

 

Sources: 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-55901067

https://youtu.be/xJRX0KkLcoI

https://youtu.be/E3plcc7bRLA

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/09/21/asia/myanmar-military-the-real-power/index.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-54899170

https://www.britannica.com/place/Myanmar

6. The Oppressive Kafala System by Noraa Alkhamis

 

What is the Kafala System? 

The Kafala system is a system in which the Kafeel (employer), monitors migrant workers. 

The term Kafala is derived from Islamic jurisprudence on legal guardianship and other topics. Beginning in the early twentieth century, the Gulf states developed a new framework to control the care of foreign workers in the pearl industry and other commercial trades.

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: middleeasteye.net

Who are the workers? 

Almost all foreigners employed in a Kafala host country, of all nationalities, economic groups, and occupations, are subject to the system. The majority of today’s staff are from Africa and South Asia. They often work in industries that nationals dislike for financial or cultural reasons such as domestic work, construction, or in service industries.

What risks do employees face?

    Critics have named the system “modern slavery”, claiming that mistreatment stems from a power disparity between sponsors and workers, as swell as sponsors legal impunity. Furthermore, the Middle East lags behind other regions in ratifying international agreements that protect workers. 

    In Jordan, Lebanon and all Arab Gulf states except Iraq, the Kafala system is a legal structure that defines the relationship between migrant workers and their employers. It was established to provide inexpensive, abundant labor during a period of rapid economic growth, and supporters argue that it benefits local businesses and promotes developments. However, the system has become increasingly controversial, with a rising awareness that it is riddled with exploitation. Low salaries, bad working conditions, and employee harassment are often the product of a lack of laws and protections for migrant workers rights. Gender-based abuse and racial inequality are widespread. The Kafala system’s weaknesses have been highlighted by global anti-racism demonstrations, the coronavirus pandemic, and preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup In Qatar, but the future of reform efforts remain uncertain.

 

Sumi Akter’s story:

    Sumi Akter posted a video onto her Facebook in 2019. She was filming a video speaking about the abuse she endured while working as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia. Her employers would pour hot oil on her and violate multiple human rights. This is the unfortunate reality that so many migrant workers face in gulf countries. 

 

How You Can Help:

  • Sign petitions. Yes, they do work. Petitions demand justice for migrant workers and have sparked a lot of conversations on ending and reforming the Kafala system. 

  • Petitions: 

https://www.change.org/p/lebanese-government-end-kafala-justice-and-dignity-for-migrant-domestic-workers-in-lebanon 

https://www.freedomunited.org/advocate/qatar-kafala/

 

  • If you know someone who employs domestic workers, make sure they’re not abusing them and are paying them. Have uncomfortable conversations, if you have to. 

  • Support local organizations such as, @thisislebanon. These organizations organize protests and marches. 

 

In conclusion, the Kafala System is an unjust system that violates the human rights of migrant workers. This system has shaped a lot of the anti-blackness and racism in the Arab community. We must all take action against it!

 

Sources:

https://www.migrant-rights.org/campaign/end-the-kafala-system/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafala_system

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-kafala-system 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.milleworld.com/kafala-system-racism-end-it-how/amp/

https://www.freedomunited.org/advocate/qatar-kafala/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/10/30/what-will-it-take-saudi-arabia-abolish-abusive-sponsorship-system

https://www.change.org/p/lebanese-government-end-kafala-justice-and-dignity-for-migrant-domestic-workers-in-lebanon

https://www.the961.com/end-kafala-system-petition-lebanon/

https://youtu.be/UIsrA8EWQng

7. What Is Happening in India and How You Can Help By Swetha Krishnamoorthy 


     As most of us already know, India is suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus cases have been skyrocketing ever since the end of March 2021. To show the scale of this disaster, there were 15,000 coronavirus cases reported on the week of March 2, but by April 2, there were 70,000 weekly cases! Currently, as of May 2, weekly reported cases are at 373,000. 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     The pandemic is affecting India so horribly in particular for three reasons. First of all, India is the second largest country in the world, with a population over 1 billion people, which makes it harder to control their citizens. The second reason is due to the new, more contagious variants.The two main variants are B.1.1.7 from the United Kingdom and B.1.617 from India. 

The final reason has to do with people disobeying safety guidelines. Initially, India had a harsh lockdown to keep the cases as controlled as possible. Unfortunately, as soon as restrictions were lifted, many Indians stopped taking the necessary precautions. This is a third reason for the second wave. 

 

     Since the number of coronavirus cases have exploded recently, there are not enough hospital beds and medical equipment to be able to take care of all the patients. There has been a shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, medicine, and protective equipment. Thousands and thousands of people are dying everyday without being able to get inside a hospital, due to the lack of space. Although India is one of the biggest manufacturers of the COVID vaccines, the country has been struggling to vaccinate its own population. According to the New York Times, less than 10% of India’s population has been fully vaccinated.

 

How can you help?
Here are some website you can use to donate: 

https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/india-faces-brutal-covid-19-crisis-unicef-there-help/38520?form=FUNVSQSRNWW

https://www.americares.org/crisis-alerts/covid-19-crisis-in-india/

https://secure.projecthope.org/site/SPageNavigator/2021_04_DPO_r1_ctrl.html?autologin=true&mfc_pref=T&s_subsrc=bt1

https://www.akshayapatra.org/covid-relief-services

https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-transgender-people-1

 

Sources: 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56907007

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/01/india-coronavirus/

https://www.nytimes.com/article/india-coronavirus-cases-deaths.html

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Image Credit: aljazeera.com

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8. Crisis in Palestine- By Noraa Alkhamis and Isra Hussain

 

*Note: this update is an op-ed because it includes the writers' personal opinions on the topic at hand. 

     The living conditions in Palestine are hazardous and fatal. We’ve seen the death toll in Gaza rise to 200 in a matter of one week. Israeli settlers have forced Palestinians out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah so that they could move in. Palestinians have 60 seconds to evacuate their homes or they get arrested. They’ve had to sleep in Schools, hospitals, and mosques because of this. Israeli soldiers have thrown air strikes at them, white phosphorus, and bombs late at night. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

     

 

     Although tensions have increased recently, this issue started more than 100 years ago. Let’s start at the beginning so you can fully understand everything that is happening right now. 

     In the 1920s, Britain conquered the area that is now known as Palestine after World War I. The British tried to implement the Jewish into the Arab land, but Arabs fought back. Although this was the case, over time, the Jewish community in this land grew tremendously. The Jewish people claimed a section of the land as Israel. Palestinians objected, and war began. Troops from multiple neighboring countries (who supported Israel taking over Palestine) invaded Palestine. Thousands of Palestinians were kicked and thrown out of their homes, and to this day, Israel controls most of the territory. Now, none of these Palestinians are allowed to return to their homes because this will threaten the Jewish state. Israel currently resides where the West Bank is, which includes Gaza. Although this is illegal under international law, Israel disagrees. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are suffering from brutality from Israeli soldiers. Last month (the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims), Israeli soldiers bombed up the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is not only illegal and harmful to the Palestinians but highly disrespectful to Muslims all over the world. Israeli soldiers turned a mosque into a battleground. In the past two weeks, Israeli soldiers have arrested more than one thousand innocent Palestinians. Furthermore, they have bombed Gaza, beat up tiny Palestinian children and women, and have declared a write of law and order that will prosecute against any Palestinian who has taken part in a protest (or anything regarding going against Israelis). Palestinians act out of self-defense, but they do not even have an army to protect themselves. 

 

KEEP IN MIND:

1) This is not a religious issue and has nothing to do with antisemitism. All people, regardless of race and religion are equal, and have the right to be respected. This is a human rights issue. Palestinians are dying and suffering, and the least we can do is educate ourselves on this tragic issue. We are witnessing a genocide right in front of us.

2) Palestinians do not have a structured government, nor do they have an army to protect themselves because Israel is controlling them.

 3) This is not an issue between only the Israeli government and Palestinians. Most Israeli civilians are blatantly in the wrong because they are physically stealing Palestinian-owned land from the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli government fuels this by providing military force to throw out the Palestinian people. Israeli civilians are leaders of this theft. The ones who do not agree with it are not using their voices to speak up for Palestinians. (Keep in mind some are but clearly not enough to make a change).  

4) Hamas is labeled as a terrorist group by the Israeli government. In reality, they are an organization that would not exist if Israel was not killing Palestinians, to begin with. The Palestinians need a way to protect themselves if they don’t even have a correct army. Hamas only acts in self-defense but are used against Palestinians and are painted as the bad guys in this scenario. They are the only people protecting Palestinians.  

  • Hamas acted out in self-defense after the Israeli soldiers bombed Al-Aqsa Mosque twice and confiscated the keys of the mosque from the Palestinians. Israel uses Hamas to make it seem as though it is okay for Israel to bomb Gaza!!

5)  As Subhi Taha perfectly described, being neutral on this topic is equivalent to ALM. By not supporting Palestinians fully, it’s equivalent to supporting genocide, ethical cleansing, and the oppression of Palestinians. You can say the same thing for being neutral on African Americans being oppressed. 

  • Do not gaslight or divert from the true cause: Palestinian oppression from Israel.   

6) The U.S government takes part in funding Israel to oppress Palestine and stands by Israel’s actions. The U.S has funded 3 billion dollars as of now. Scroll down to see how you can help stop this.

How can you help?

A girl tweets that at the age of 5, she was dragged three flights of stairs by her hair by Israeli soldiers. Another woman tweets that when she was 12, 20+ Israeli soldiers barged into her home at 6 in the morning and dragged her uncle out—there are thousands of more tragic stories like this. (https://www.instagram.com/p/CPjL1TsBfjG/ for more stories). 

We can help. We can make a difference. The smallest things do count

  1. Educate yourself. We all have time to research this topic and pitch in thoroughly. Google different issues you are not sure about and use reputable sources. 

  • Subhi Taha’s Instagram account is extremely helpful in learning about this topic. He creates IGTV videos explaining what is happening right now. I encourage you to watch some of his videos. https://www.instagram.com/subhi.taha/    

  • @JewishVoiceForPeace on Instagram, @LetsTalkPalestine on Instagram, @theIMEU on Instagram, @MuhammedElKurd on Instagram (resident of Sheikh Jarrah in Palestine), @eye.on.palestine on Instagram.

 

2. Boycott companies that are owned by Israel illegally occupying territory.  

3. Spread awareness on social media. Some may think that this does not help when in reality, this has helped tremendously in educating others and has actually allowed the Israeli government to extend more time to Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and other places in Palestine before they are evicted. The media is programmed to favor Israel by censoring pro-Palestine content (this is changing though as more people spread awareness on the cause), and it is our job to create a strong enough voice together. Spread awareness through the media but do not be preformative. This will not help Palestinians. Practice what you preach

 

3. Sign a Petition (including the ones below, but there are many more)

 

4. Donate to Palestine: (Women and Children in Palestine are struggling especially)

  1. https://irusa.org/middle-east/palestine/ 

  2. https://www.pcrf.net/  

https://www.unrwa.org/

5. Attending protests is a very efficient way to start conversations in your local community. If you live in the U.S.A, contact your local representatives to support HR 2590. HR 2590, is a bill that was established in hopes that American tax money doesn’t go towards the funding of Israel’s apartheid crimes. With the current propaganda and misinformation in favor of Israel being spread, contacting your representatives is vital. 

6. Support BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions).

BDS is a movement that helped South Africa when it was an Apartheid country. Palestinians have decided to create a movement that would limit Israel’s funding from brands that have ties to funding it. For example, corporations like PepsiCo that saturate the market send a lot of money to Israel through private organizations like AIPAC.

9. Iran's Political Conflict-By Noraa Alkhamis

     The 13th presidential election since Iran’s revolution was held on June 18, 2021. The election had 4 candidates: Mohsen Rezaee, Abdolnaser Hemmati, Ebrahim Raisi, and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi. 

 

Mohsen Rezaee:

Mohsen is a conservative politician that’s a part of the Resistance Front of Islamic Iran. He holds a position as secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council. He ran for president in 2009, 2013, and 2021.

 

Abdolnasser Hemmati:

Abdolnasser is an academic and politician. He serves as a representative of Iran’s moderate wing of politicians. He’s affiliated with the Executives of Construction Party. This was his first year running in the elections, but he’s held political positions before. 

 

Ebrahim Raisi:

Ebrahim is a conservative principalist. He’s affiliated with the Combatant Clergy Association. He also served as Iran’s first Chief of Justice. 

 

Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi: 

Amir-Hossein is a conservative politician. He’s a part of the Islamic Law party. He’s been a representative of the Mashhad and Kalat electoral district since 2008. 

 

The Results: 

     Iran’s 2021 election had the lowest turnout in its history with a 42% turnout. Ebrahim Raisi won the election. Out of the 28.9 million ballots received, Ebrahim won 17.9 million of them. However, some are questioning the validity of the results. Many believe that this election was rigged in his favor because approximately 4 million ballots were blank, yet counted as a vote in favor of his presidency. 

 

Why are Iranians not happy about the results?

When Ebrahim served as Chief of Justice he executed many journalists and protestors. Iranian citizens are afraid that their freedom of speech will be limited and that they will face many restrictions. 

 

How Can You Help? 

Continue to raise awareness for political fraud around the world!

Sources: 

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/irans-sole-moderate-presidential-candidate-congratulates-raisi-his-victory-state-2021-06-19/

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/6/19/iran-elections-raisis-opponents-concede-as-announcement-awaited

https://www.euronews.com/amp/2021/06/19/iran-moderate-candidate-concedes-win-by-hardliner-judiciary-chief

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Iranian_presidential_election

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Iranian_presidential_election

10. Lebanon’s Economic Crisis

     Lebanon’s economy has been suffering since August, 2019. National debt is at an all time high, and the government has had to increase the cost of living, weaken the currency, and halt basic services such as electricity, water, etc. for hours at a time. This economic crisis has worsened ever since the pandemic started and the major fire took place in August of 2020. Foreign currencies like the US dollar have also contributed to the weakening of the Lebanese currency. Citizens have been using the US dollar to avoid high prices, unfortunately, the government has caught on and has suspended foreign currency deposits. 

The Lebanese lira weakens every single day. Currently, 1 US dollar is about 20,000 Liras. 

 

     Things a middle class family struggles to afford in Lebanon: 

  • Milk (regular, 1 liter bottle) : 4.39$, 6,729.87 Lebanese Lira

  • Rice (1 Kg) : 4.21$, 6,453.93 Lebanese Lira

  • (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment: 165.09$, 253,082.97 Lebanese Lira 

    As you can see, the cost of living in Lebanon along with the cost of everyday items is making most citizens struggle financially. 

 

Organizations that donate to Lebanon: 

  • Lebanese Red Cross

  • Offrejoie 

  • Lebanese Food Bank

  • Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon

  • Lebanon Needs 

  • Windows for Beirut 

  • Emergency Lebanon Appeal

 

Sources: 

https://arab.org/portal/lebanon/where-to-donate/

https://www.google.com/intl/en/googlefinance/disclaimer/

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Lebanon

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/6/4/as-economic-crisis-wears-on-lebanese-cant-even-afford-manoucheh

https://reliefweb.int/report/lebanon/more-half-million-children-beirut-are-struggling-survive

https://lirarate.org/

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/lebanese-cannot-access-money-in-banks-since-late-2019/215878

   

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Image Credit: Albawaba

11. Cuba: An Update

 

What’s happening in Cuba?

     Protests broke out all across Cuba this past month. The sanctions being placed on Cuba by the U.S have completely isolated it and made it harder for Cuba to receive COVID-19 vaccines, engage in global and economic trade, etc. Cuban citizens can’t use Cuban currency and must use the U.S or Canadian dollar. This has made it more and more difficult for the citizens to afford essential things because the U.S sanctions have made it extremely difficult to trade local currency with the US dollar. 

Around 184 countries voted against the blockade of Cuba, while America and Israel voted in favor of it. Since America has veto power, the blockade is ongoing. 

How can we help Cubans?

     Donating money, medical supplies, toys & art supplies, electronics, etc. Cubans ask that you do not donate expired medicine, live plants or seeds, non-functional electronics, and things that can be used as weapons. 

 

Fundraiser for Cuba:

https://www.globalgiving.org/search/?size=25&nextPage=1&sortField=sortorder&selectedCountries=00cuba&loadAllResults=true

 

Sources:

https://cubaexplorer.com/best-donations-and-gifts-for-cubans/

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/07/us-embargo-cuba-protests-sanctions-intervention

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_embargo_against_Cuba

12. The Yazidi Genocide

 

Who are the Yazidis?

 

The Yazidis are an ethno-religious minority in the Middle East. Yazidism is an ancient religion that dates back to 5000 BC which was 7000 years ago. Yazidism is a monotheistic, syncretic faith. It states that 7 angels are in charge of worldly affairs, while God is responsible for heavenly affairs. Yazidi cultural and religious practices are very interconnected, making it a religion that no one can convert to. 

 

The 3/8/2014 Genocide

 

On August 3, 2014 IS terrorists started an ongoing Genocide of the Yazidis. Yazidi men were killed and Yazidi women & children were sold as sex slaves. About 7,000 Yazidis were kidnapped between 2014-2017 and 3000 of them are still being held captive. Yazidis are urging the international community to help them find the 3000 Yazidis that are still missing. 

 

Consequences of the Yazidi Genocide 

80% of all Yazidi women who were trafficked suffer from PTSD. 45% of Yazidis don’t have proper medical care. 43% of Yazidi children are malnourished. 62% of children in Shingal can’t afford education. 

How can you help?

Donate here today!

Donation link:

https://yazidi.carrd.co/

Sources:

https://www.voanews.com/extremism-watch/7-years-after-islamic-state-genocide-yazidi-survivors-still-seeking-justice?amp

https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/yazidis-still-suffering-years-after-genocide

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Yazidi

 

13. Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

 

     Rohingya Muslims are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group that are victims of Ultranationalist, Islamophobic persecutions and hate crimes. There have been two phases of this Genocide. One occurring from October, 2016- January 2017 and another one that’s been happening since August 2017. This has forced over a million Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar.

     Both the the military led government and Aung San Suu Kyi—leader of the NLD party, have denied and denied allegations of commiting mass Genocide. However, statistics show otherwise: 24,000 Rohingya were killed, 18,000 were raped, and 116,000 were beaten. Rohingya hatred is rooted in the belief that Rohingya Muslims are illegal immigrants, and attacks on Burmese border police by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army are used to justify the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya people. (ARSA attacked border police officers because they were killing and raping Rohingya citizens in Rakhine; however, the Myanmar government and Anti-Terrorism Committee have accused ARSA of being a terrorist group.) Because the government supported the Anti-Terrorism Committee’s claims, the Committee began an ethnic-cleansing that has forced most of the Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar.

 

How can you help? 

Get involved with organizations that aid Rohingya Muslims!

 

World Vision provides aid to over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims in all 34 refugee camps. 

GlobalGiving provides healthcare services to Rohingya refugees. 

RISE FOR ROHINGYA is a nonprofit campaign that aims to positively impact the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.

 

Sources:

https://www.riseforrohingya.org/

https://www.globalgiving.org/rohingya-refugee-relief/

https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/rohingya-refugees-bangladesh-facts

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-41160679

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-41566561

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/rohingya-crisis

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/world/asia/myanmar-rohingya-genocide.amp.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_genocide

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Image Credit: Tehran Times