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Alex Regimbald

A crisis in West Africa

The recent Ebola outbreak has been called the worst in the history of the disease. Nearly three thousand people have already died, with over 5,700 cases discovered as of this month. As it spreads, panic and chaos follow in it's wake. Liberia has been the worst hit, with citizens openly disobeying advice from both the World Health Organization and their own government, hiding patients and stealing bloody bedsheets and mattresses. At it's worst, armed mobs have been reported attacking hospitals and freeing infected patients, allowing the virus to spread even further. It's hard to understand why people would behave like this. At first glance it looks like an intentional act of suicide on a grand scale. Those who've participated in these raids and thefts have claimed suspicion of the government and actually believe that the outbreak has been intentional. So how exactly did an entire country become so paranoid that it's willing to steal soiled linen? Since 1989 the country has undergone two civil wars, both of which contributed enormously to the nation's current destitution. In both cases a man named Charles Taylor was involved, fighting against a corrupt dictator named Samuel Doe in the former while attempting to maintain his own iron-fisted dominance in the latter. Under both Doe and Taylor, there have been millions killed or displaced as a direct result of the war. Thanks also in large part to the war, the country now faces one of the highest cases of poverty in the world, scoring even lower than Afghanistan on the World Development Index. The illiteracy rate of Liberia sits at just over 60%, and while education is free and compulsory in many parts of the country, classroom conditions are inadequate at best. Life expectancy sits at around 57 years, with malaria and tuberculosis running rampant… Read More

A lesson from Ferguson

“I'm a cop. If you don't want to get hurt, don't challenge me.” says Sunil Dutta, a 17 year veteran of the Los Angeles police department. Having weighed in on the recent protests raging throughout Ferguson, Sunil is effectively saying that disagreeing with an officer instantly puts you in the wrong, that any violence which may erupt as a result becomes the fault of the civilian. Michael Brown, an 18 year old black youth, was shot down in Ferguson, sparking the protests which motivated the article from Dutta. As the evidence continues to pour in, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Brown was a victim of police brutality in the highest regard. Eye witness accounts, and now an autopsy report, both conclude that Brown was most likely in the process of surrendering when he was shot between 6-8 times, twice in the head. Regardless of the events which may have transpired beforehand, which eyewitness accounts are continuing to portrait as an act of aggression on behalf of the police officer, shooting a suspect when they are trying to surrender amounts to murder. I do not believe that this is a case of racially motivated murder, as some have portrayed it. It would be too simple to describe this problem as a consequence of racism. Instead, I think that this is revealing of a deeper problem that continues to plague society, that of the increasing divide between police and the rest of society. Instead of protecting and serving, police forces everywhere have become focused on enforcing and subduing, a mentality that is being encouraged from the highest levels of power. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you spoke to an officer who wasn't in the process of reprimanding you for one thing or another? While I'm sure that many would… Read More

How America created the Islamic State

Right now, as I type this, a genocide is going on inside of Iraq. The minority Yazidi population is currently fleeing for their lives as they're pursued by the Islamic State, a militant group in Iraq and Syria which boasts thousands of members, and has sent the country reeling over the past few months. What many people aren't aware of is that, while they claim to resent Western influence, The Islamic State actually owes much of it's existence to Western involvement. In fact, one could argue that if it wasn't for American involvement in Iraq, The Islamic State would never have emerged. For those who don't know, the group was originally known as Al Qaeda in Iraq until a falling out with the mother group lead to their independence. At it's height, A.Q.I. controlled significant sections of the country, and even managed to establish semi-autonomous governments to administrate the regions. However after some time the group was disowned, partly for being deemed “too extreme”, and since then has become something of a rival to Al Qaeda. If recent events are any indication, I.S. stands ready to overshadow it's predecessors. It currently controls much of Western and Southern Iraq, and has it's sights set on conquering Baghdad as well as Iraqi Kurdistan, with future plans to merge with their Syrian territory. So how did American involvement help to spawn such a fierce enemy? After all, we were told that the whole reason for the Iraq occupation was to fight against insurgents and help bring about stability to the embattled region. To answer that, we need to look back at the days following the fall of Saddam, and a little process the United States implemented called de-Baathification. In order to eliminate possible influence from the former regime, it was decided that the… Read More

Some truth about Gaza

As of last Friday, July 25th, there have been a reported 856 Palestinian deaths with 3,209 targets struck in Gaza. The majority of the dead are civilians, with Israel accused of numerous war crimes by the United Nations. Conversely, Israel has suffered 40 deaths, only one of which occurred prior to the commencement of Operation Protective Edge, the name given to Israel's ground invasion of the region. Additionally, thanks to it's sophisticated Iron Dome system capable of intercepting rockets up to 70 kilometres away, the country has suffered minimal losses to it's infrastructure, while those in Gaza are now faced with the reality of living without access to food, water, and energy. With the recent destruction of the area's only power plant, the conflict is proving increasingly one sided. The I.D.F. is proving to be significantly more prepared for this conflict than Hamas is. Thanks to superior technology as well as funding from the West, there exists very little chance of things changing anytime in the near future. This means an endlessly rising body count as well as further instability. Yet despite this fact, Hamas seems determined to continue to carry out an unwinnable war. The reason for this is not actually illogical. Khaled Mashal, the chairman of Hamas, currently finds himself living in exile in Qatar. This allows him to lead the organization from relative safety while avoiding the same dangers that his supporters on the ground are faced with. Whether one views this as cowardly or tactically necessary is irrelevant, as the end result remains the same. Hamas continues to be provided with direction and leadership as well as opportunities for continued propaganda against Israel. Secondly, Hamas is much more than a simple terrorist organization. It exists as the elected political party of the Palestinians living in Gaza.… Read More

Osama’s Death: What Does it Mean?

By now there must be very few people in the world who have not been informed of the death of Osama Bin Laden. Ever since it was announced, analysts and pundits have been endlessly debating just what this means for a world that has been engaged in a seemingly endless fight against extremism. Despite the opinions of some, I would argue that the death of Bin Laden has a much smaller impact than many would like to believe.The roots of terrorism aren’t found in any single organization or leader. Terrorists do not fight for any one man. They fight for an ideology that they believe is worth dying for. Al-Qaeda is not, and never has been, about Bin Laden. Certainly his role in it’s success has been enormous, but the cause has always been something greater. Frustration, a lack of hope, and the manipulation of the poor and exploited have been it’s foundation. As long as those three factors exist, terror networks will have no problem recruiting individuals for their cause.Some would argue that military might on the part of the U.S. and NATO would discourage and put an end to these attacks. For a time this might work. One has certainly seen just how effective the American military complex has been in the past decade alone. It is hard to imagine that anyone could stand up this 400 billion dollar a year monster, especially when those fighting are poorly supplied, poorly trained, and mostly made up of individuals like you or I. After all, these are not professional soldiers fighting against the U.S. and it’s allies. They are disenfranchised citizens who have become blinded by rage and despair.But how long is this tactic sustainable? The war on terror alone has cost the U.S. billions of dollars to support, and… Read More
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