Category Archives: Current Events

Global Awareness: Kony 2012

With the powers of social media, news can spread to millions with a simple click of a mouse.

Many of you may have already seen this, but if not, please watch this video created by Invisible Children titled Kony 2012.

For those of you who don’t really know too much about this, I’ll try to explain what I know this in a simplified way, especially since the situation is well over my head and complex with politics, government systems and who knows what else.

Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), which is a guerrilla group in Uganda, Africa. His rebellion began in 1986 and ever since then, he has estimated to have abducted over 66,000 children to use as child soldier and sex slaves; “Kony’s fighters have been accused of murder, rape, torture and sexual enslavement” and “reports say they have massacred civilians inside churches, forced them off cliffs, burned them alive and even made them eat dead bodies” (ABC Melbourne). To add to this, “Many of them are carried out by brutalised children recruited to serve as sex slaves, cannon fodder and killers”(ABC Melbourne).

On October 6, 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Kony on 21 counts of war crimes, including 12 of crimes against humanity. But…what does this mean? For those of you who don’t know, the ICC is a tribunal (institution with authority to judge/dispute/etc) to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

So if he’s been indicted by the ICC, what’s the problem? Well, for one, the ICC have “no teeth,” basically, all bark, no bite. There are many shortcomings to the ICC, such as a lack of an institution to enforce international criminal law, instead, the effectiveness depends on unstable political will from world capitals. Well, “without the cooperation and support of individual states, international courts are doomed to impotence: for example, they have no power to arrest, to compel the production of evidence, nor to enforce judgments. For these reasons alone, a rigorous system for the rule of law cannot at present be established; justice cannot meaningfully be administered without regard to the volatile and complex world of international politics (Yale Law School).”

However, this is not to say that the ICC isn’t effective, it just needs the support. Raising public awareness is one of the biggest struggles of Kony’s indictment. Think about it, why would other, powerful-booming countries need to take part in Uganda’s issues? Many will ask, why is this America’s problems? What about the children in America getting kidnapped and raped? Why does everyone think America should be the peace keeper? There is no money to be made in Uganda, nor is there a financial lost or economic impact for the US, or in most other cases, any other country. As ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said, “Kony is difficult, he is not killing people in Paris or in New York. Kony is killing people in Central African Republic, no one cares about him,” he said. “These young people from California mobilizing this effort is incredible, exactly what we need (CBCnews).”

Next steps? Capture him and put him on trial…some other problems though, is that he is most likely out of Uganda…and two, rumor has it, he might already be dead or already defeated. Plus, even if he were put on trial and caught, would that stop this systemic problem? Has Invisible Children addressed the long term goals? or even the ICC? In the end, Africa NEEDS to become independent from foreign aid. But…that is another long rant to go on about…And finally, is the LRA STILL all that powerful? If you go around and do your research, you’ll find that Uganda is no longer experiencing violence from the LRA and have moved into Congo, and Uganda is in the middle of peace talks. To add to this, Kony has been inactive for the last 6 or so years, yet the LRA is still in motion. So if we assemble troops in Uganda or fund the Uganda military who cannot cross boarders, is this fixing long term problems? There are many questions to be asked…

Whether you choose to support Invisible Children, that is completely up to you, but at least now, you know a little more. If you think supporting Invisible Children is a scam, then that’s fine, do your research and get educated, it’s your money after all, heck, here are some links for you to look at below for more info! For me, it is about global awareness and spreading the knowledge about these atrocities that is the most important. There are several other programs out there, so look into them and find something that fits you! whether its locally or internationally! A good one to start off with is Amnesty International if you want to think internationally.
Skeptic about Invisible Children?
1) Charity Navigator
2) Invisible Children: Critiques
3) Visible problems of Invisible Children
4) Kony 2012 video misleading

Also, keep in mind that these attrocities are NOT just in Uganda, but also in other countries and within our own. Liberia for instance has horrifying numbers of killings and sexual violence. According to the World Health Organization a study found that “over 90% of women in some of the areas most afflicted by the war experienced some form of sexual violence, 75% were raped, many of them by gangs, and 49% were forced into sex work, many of them as “bush wives” to militias. Almost 14% of the victims were under the age of 15 (Guardian)”

So…be aware. There’s a lot going on in the world and a lot of ways to help out, but remember, keep informed, do your research, ask questions, and get educated.

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Filed under Current Events, History, News, Politics, volunteer

2011 Flying By

The older I get, the faster time seems to be flying by. December somehow sneaked by me, and 2012 is right around the corner.

The best word that would describe 2011 for me is “work.” 2011 was a year that gave me a job of opportunities and new friends. When I think back throughout the months, my memories are enshrouded by work life and all of the things that came with it, such as stress, laughter, bills, overtime, projects, change, and so on and so forth.

Overall, it was an amazing year in its own way. I wasn’t able to travel the world as I hoped for, but I found stability for myself and future goals to look forward to.

The year is coming to an end…so take a moment to think back on it and embrace it, whether it was good or bad, because in the end…it’ll always work out :)

Below is a great video to recap the year done by google

Happy Holidays everyone! Have a fun, safe and amazing holiday! I wish you all the best!

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Awareness and Inspiration

I graduated in the summer of 2009 and in the overall outlook of things, I have it pretty darn good. Even with the economy in the crapper, I’ve been fortunate enough to constantly be employed since I was willing to take a leap on a 3-month contract and always keeping my eyes out for what’s next. In the end, I’ve moved on to a different company and am now full-time working at one of the biggest corporations out there and have a pretty solid desk job…yet, I’m not fulfilled.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful everyday for having a job and a constant paycheck, but I know there is more out there, and in the end, whatever is out there…is where I want to be. Will I get to where I want to be some day? Maybe…I have a lot of responsibilities at home that I must take care of first, so I completely understand why some people can’t. But who knows…Maybe one day I can…or you can?….All I know is there are thousands of people out there like me… So whether you make that leap, or you’re dreaming of that journey…I want to open your eyes to what is out there, so for the next few posts I make, I want to focus them on specific organizations, websites and/or videos.

When I stumbled upon these organizations, I was inspired, so now I want to spread the awareness of what is out there, what you can contribute to and all of the opportunities.

Escape The City

‘Do Something Different’

Start Something You Love: Escape the City…1 year on from Escape the City on Vimeo.

This first organization was introduced to me by my friend Whitney (thanks!). When I saw the video, it struck me straight in the heart. This organization focuses on helping people who are struggling in their careers answer the question “If not this, then what?”

We are on a mission to help talented people escape from unfulfilling corporate jobs. We believe there is more to life than doing work that doesn’t matter to you.

Check out the video and the website. Get inspired. Make a difference. Do something that matters.

Good luck!

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Filed under Current Events, Fun Read, FYI, Life, News, volunteer

Current Events: A World of Hate

Can you believe it? The end of October is drawing near and in no time, the end of the year will be approaching. The older we get, the faster time seems to fly.

The big day is coming near! I’m casting in my vote for the 2008 presidential election! o geez! Let’s hope our country can gain back its legitimacy.

Well with that I’d like to express my thoughts on the issue of racism and discrimination…why? because the issue has come up a lot with this presidential election: click >here< to read more about this news.

Here is a little bit of the article:

Candidacy Fits Into Ideology

Part of the problem is that Obama is playing into the neo-Nazi and white supremacist narrative, said Brian Levin, who studies hate and extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

What the groups were saying — “Jews and blacks coming out of the urban areas are going to take over this white nation of ours” — has occurred, he said.

You only have to look to the Internet to see how white supremacist leaders such as David Duke are using Obama to rally their troops. Duke has called Obama a “visual aid for hate groups.”

He says an Obama presidency would provide indisputable proof that whites have lost control of America.

“This is a cultural and racial battlefront,” said Levin. “Barack Obama is symbol No. 1 of the worst the future has to offer.”

Personally, I don’t get it nor will I ever. Given, everyone is racist or discriminatory to some extent and has their own preconceived notions, but when it reaches a point to where it is beyond thought and effects others in a negative way, I think it needs to be toned down. It is the year 2008 and every race has proven themselves worthy in my opinion. Every person has the right to live, no more or no less. Why does the skin color your bear, the religion you worship, the gender you are, the person you choose to marry and so on and so forth, determine your worth and preferential treatment?

When given the same choices and opportunities, it isn’t because of who you are innately that makes you superior, but everything around that has cultivated you. If you deprive a person of education, luxuries, and other socioeconomic needs, it is no wonder that they become less of a person. Ethnocentrism has no place in our society. White supremacy is completely illogical and what makes it worst is that the people with this mentality will not understand anything else because of their narrow minded insight to life that has bred them day in and day out.

No one should be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment just because of who they are and what they believe in. Not only does this human right SOUND intuitive, but it is clearly stated in our Bill of Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Civil War Amendments. How does a persons choice of religion (as long as they aren’t forcing it on you), being gay/lesbian, or a persons skin color effect someone else’s daily life? Why does this resort to hate crime?

Well…I could go on and on about how immoral and non-sensible these issues are..but then I would just be completely ranting. I’m not an activist or some crazy hardcore liberal, but when judgments reach a point where they can hinder others just because of WHO they are, I think it’s time to readjust some priorities.

Oh!! Although this is going a little off topic of racism and discrimination, I’m going to add this because its on the same line>>

Today there are more than 27million slaves in the world, ranging from sex slavery, labor slavery, to child soldiers. And no..it’s not just in third world countries where this exist, but all over the world in places like the United States, Europe, Asia, and etc etc. What makes a person think that they have the right to ownership of another person? Some people believe that it’s survival of the fittest that proves ethnocentrism, but as stated earlier, people only resort to a lower type of life style if there is no other alternative. Economics and the rate of crime go hand in hand together. Places where there is a stronger economy and unemployment is less, tend to have lower crime rates. People result to drastic measures when in need. In the case of human trafficking, brothels, and present day slavery, do you think people would still sell their children, leave their homes believing they were getting better opportunities (but later find out they were deceived), or sell their bodies if they were better off or given better circumstances? Would you put yourself in these situations if you had a choice? These acts against humanity are disgusting and the people that take part in this business, whether they are the buyer or the seller, need to be punished.

(btw If you’re interested in this topic, check out the movies, Born into Brothels and Call and Response).

Oh ho ho..did I bore you yet? Did you actually read this all?? good for you if you did! Although I know a lot of people don’t agree with me..these are MY thoughts and I’m sticking to them.

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Current Events: Sichuan Earthquake

UPDATE: May 16, 2008

Myanmar: Myanmar cyclone death toll nearly 78,000

  • “The cyclone’s official death toll has nearly doubled to almost 78,000 and another 56,000 people remain missing two weeks after the devastating storm, state television reported Friday.”
  • The Red Cross fears the toll may be as high as 128,000; the U.N. estimates more than 100,000 died. The U.N. estimates some 1.5 million to 2.5 million survivors are in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical care. Aid groups have reached only 270,000 so far.

Sichuan, China: Survivors pulled from rubble of China quake(There are also links to videos of the damaged caused if you follow the link)

  • “Officials have said the quake’s final toll could reach 50,000.”
  • “The official death toll had risen to about 22,069 on Friday, and another 14,000 still were buried in Sichuan.”
  • “The U.S. Geological Survey said the latest tremor measured magnitude 5.5, one of the strongest among dozens that have shaken the area.” ( Can you believe that even though it’s been a few days now, aftershocks are still going on and are THIS strong?!)

Bear in mind that these are all “official” numbers and that unofficial numbers tend to be higher.

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Have you guys heard about the earthquake that occurred in the Sichuan Province?? I’d be very surprised if not! It was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and the death toll is exceeding 12,000. Aftershocks from the quake reached Taiwan, India, Vietnam, and so on and so forth. Ahh…Is this world coming to an end? Just last week there was that Myanmar Cyclone, where death tolls reached about 40,000 in addition to the thousands missing. Furthermore, a Red Cross ship with aid going toward Myanmar ending up sinking because it hit a submerged tree trunk -___-

I’ve said this to several people, but I’ll say it again…either global warming is really taking its toll on us and the world is coming to an end, or I’m just old enough to understand what’s going on in the world nowadays.

Although it’s several months away, this summer, as many of you know, I will be going to study for about a month in Chengdu, China. With the current natural disasters going on, people are getting really concerned! Even me! Especially since the school I will be attending is Sichuan University in Chengdu. A student from the university actually filmed the earthquake while it was going on too! Check out the article and video by clicking >Here<.

Our advisor emailed us saying:

“I contact the Sichuan faculty last night. Chengdu is spared from the horrible earthquake, even though it is just 60 miles from the epicenter. I also contacted the IPE office, and they told me that our seminar will continue as planned.”

But yes…I can’t imagine being in their position. It’s heart breaking hearing about these events. Let’s hope for the best to the people in China and Myanmar.

(I think I write too much….time to focus on cutting down again..)

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Filed under Asian, Current Events, News, School, Travel

A jumbo of stuff

Since I don’t feel like writing 3 separate blogs, I will combine these 3 completely different topics into 1:

1. I’ve told several people this after didi informed me about it! So my apologies for being repetitive but here is some news:

Fox News: Yale Student Insists ‘Abortion Art’ Project is Real, Despite University’s Claims of ‘Creative Fictions’

A Yale University student who touched off a campus firestorm with her shocking claims of repeatedly artificially inseminating herself and then inducing miscarriages as part of an art project stood by her story Friday, despite statements from the university that her version of events is “creative fiction.”

Other articles claim that it was a hoax though <click here for article>…So it’s all up in the air at this point. If this is real though, ugh..I don’t even know where to start. The idea of having morals just flew out the door and it just makes me angry. I’m pro-choice, but getting pregnant on purpose in order to have a miscarraige is beyond my comprehension.

2. On a lighter note, check out this article/video:“Enterprising youngster gets himself stuck in a claw machine”

If that was my kid…I would leave him in there and put in some quarters >.> lol jk! but seriously..thats just plain dumb…

3. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I love Downtown, these Japanese comedians are just awesome. Here is an episode of “5 Rangers” =D They’re only 5-7minutes each. If you like it, you’ll find the other episodes linked on the youtube. I find it absolutely hilarious! But…maybe I just have a really weird sense of humor ho ho ho

Got to this link to watch: http://youtube.com/watch?v=xPZ1b1HcJjI

(I can’t seem to embed it in this, o well)

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Filed under Asian, Current Events, Fun Read, FYI, News, Random, TV

Current Events: Lunar Eclipse 2008

I’m a fanatic when it comes to the solar system, so this is quite exciting! Please be on alert! On Wednesday, February 20th, 2008, starting at 5:43 PM PST, there will be a Lunar Eclipse! Check this website by clicking >Here< for further details.

I’m very-much-so looking forward to this =) I can’t think of any other place but home to be at for a good viewing spot, so if anyone else knows a better location without the worries of the city glare, please let me know!

Here’s a diagram of a Lunar Eclipse, just in case you’re somewhat unsure:

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

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