Recent Blog Posts
While the world focuses on the democratic revolutions in the Middle East, similarly stirring protests in Tibet have seemed to receive less time in the spotlight. The Tibetan people have been protesting the Chinese government for equal rights for nearly 23 years, the longest democratic protest in modern history. As the world shifts its focus away from Tibet, the Tibetan citizens have grown more desperate in their demands for equality and freedom. Since 2009, Tibetan citizens have been setting themselves on fire in order to show the Chinese their dedication to Tibetan freedom. So far 38 people have immolated themselves since 2009, with 25 of these self-immolations happening in 2012. This is a growing trend for protestors, as the most recent self-immolation happened on May 28th and May 31st of this year. Memorials took place in Dharamsala (northern India) for those who sacrificed themselves for the cause they believe in.
Of course, the United States' relationship with China makes this a complicated situation for the U.S. to create a firm consensus on foreign policy. However, this is not an excuse to stand idly by as protestors kill themselves in the name of freedom and equal rights. It's important to support these protestors in order to support freedom, democracy, and civil rights in all situations, rather than only supporting those of political convenience.
When Iran is discussed in conversation, it's typically associated with two phrases: military action or nuclear proliferation. While obviously these are important issues to discuss, especially in light of the current nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers, there seems to be another issue which is continually overlooked. According to the 2010 United Nation Report on Iranian human rights, written by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Iranian government is guilty of, "excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and detentions, unfair trials and possible torture and ill-treatment of opposition activists in relation to the post-election unrest in 2009." While the events in 2009 were terrible acts for a government to inflict upon its own people, these atrocities have not stopped since 2010 and existed for decades. These issues were recently discussed in an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an event which honored the sacrifice of Iranian journalist and film critic Siamak Pourzand.
What began as a day of potential peace for the Syrian people quickly turned into continual despair. Both the Syrian government and anti-government demonstrators agreed to a peace plan, drafted by international envoy Kofi Annan and endorsed by the United Nations, which called for a ceasefire by tomorrow. In order for this plan to be effective, the Syrian government initially agreed to begin withdrawing its troops from Syrian cities, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad demanded written guarantees that the demonstrators would disarm themselves before troops were removed from the city. Not only must demonstrators be forced to lay down their weapons, but the Syrian government also demanded that foreign states promise to cease all funding to the anti-government demonstrators. The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the primary anti-government resistance force, denied these unacceptable terms, which the government has used as an excuse to not withdraw their troops. On April 10th, when the ceasefire should've begun to take effect, Syrian activists report heavy artillery has not stopped and that at least 23 people have died. For now, the strongest possibility for peace is failing to resolve the Syrian conflict.