Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How To Contribute To A Revolution

You can contribute to current events around the world by getting off the couch and buying a plane ticket tonight! Choose a very unstable country, bring your own flag, and pack a sleeping bag. Leave as soon as possible so that you can join the revolution while it is still young. You can leave your mark on the country’s history by waving your flag and shouting for liberty and freedom. This is how you help an uprising.

Or…you can leave the protesting to the local citizens, and instead spread the word online. Social media sites are great for starting campaigns to support people overseas. Spread the word to your friends and family first and they could pass along the news. You have the power to influence those around you and that power is only a few clicks away.

If you feel that social media is not enough, you can speak to your local officials in office. You can appeal to the state governor or a congressman from your state. By calling these people and voicing your opinion, you are helping them to know what is important to the American people and it reminds them to focus on important international affairs.

America is blessed to be a country where its people can voice their opinion and determine which policies are made. The important decisions may be in the hands of politicians, but it is the American people who must guide these political figures. Show your gratitude for a representative government by getting involved and reminding the policy makers about revolutions around the world that are worth fighting for and worth supporting.

Go and change the world through your voice. Exercise your freedom of speech, and influence those who have the power to support worthy protests. Sometimes it is the voices of foreigners that determine the outcome of a country’s revolution.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Reporter Detained In Ukraine Crisis Tells His Story

When should free speech be censored to ensure stability in government?
Shouldn’t a people fighting for their own rights be free from the opinions of others?

For one to answer yes to this last question would mean that they are against freedom of speech. This is what a self-proclaimed mayor in Pro-Russia Ukraine did. He saw how much Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky showed the ugliness of the Pro-Russian takeover of Ukrainian government buildings.

Vice News is an excellent agency that gets to the forefront of the action where reporters risk their lives and obviously risk the chance of being captured and beaten.

It appears to be a pattern that when a reporter delves deeper into the Ukraine Crisis and reveals how involved the Russians are or they show Pro-Russian troops using force, the Pro-Russians respond by silencing that person.

This only happens when a government or ruling body cannot provide justification for what they do. They know that their taking of land by force is illegitimate and they have no excuse for what they are doing. All they can do is put a bag on the head of the public and hope that no one sees what is behind the scene.

This is as a regression of modern day life. We live in a world where communication is paramount. People don’t want to loose their reputation because the social media will be sure to know. People must take full responsibility for their actions. Pro-Russian forces have done just that, well as long as those actions show them “improving” their town.

It is not the path of liberty to prevent free speech, and the path of liberty is the path of the future. The Arab spring, Syrian Civil War, and Ukraine Revolution is all about fighting for liberty. It is sad to see this liberty being squashed by Pro-Russian fighters that are being guided by a country that uses force rather than international negotiations.

Do you ever think that free speech can be more harmful than helpful? Comment below!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Forgotten Revolution: Bahrain Uprising

The Bahrain Uprising began in 2011 with the rest of the Arab world taking part in the Arab Spring. Bahrain citizens have organized about every month to claim rights for Shia Muslim citizens.

In Bahrain, Islam is the religion of nearly every citizen. The ruling government is Sunni while the population is mostly Shia. The Shia majority was not allowed high positions in government and related high-level job positions. The protests began to allow Shia citizens to have more job mobility.

Peaceful and Violent
The protests in Bahrain started peacefully. I was on one of Bahrain’s main highway as I accidentally emerged on a street parallel with thousands of protesting Bahrainis. The men were all in the front with their young kids on their shoulders while all the women were in the rear of the parade of people. They appeared to be going to a giant family picnic rather than wave their red and white flags in protest.

These protests occurred nearly every month in the first year. They remained peaceful for a short time, but then anger had its way bringing violence to the protests. Some protestors set tires ablaze and threatened the safety of everyone by putting these in the road. Gunshots could occasionally be heard and explosives were used. Shia and Sunni citizens no longer felt as safe in Bahrain.

External Intervention
Because Bahrain has such a large majority of Shia Muslims, they hired foreign policemen who would not have emotional ties with the “assailants.” The uprising led to such a level that the surrounding nations sent forces to deal with the violent protestors.

The Arab Peninsula has a defense force composed of most of the nations of the peninsula. The Peninsula Shield Force sent forces into Bahrain to handle protestors.

I remember seeing caravans of black and blue armored cars driving across the highways into Bahrain. These vehicles came equipped with tear gas launchers and many policemen armed with shotguns.

The Pearl Roundabout
The main gathering point for all of the protestors was the Pearl Roundabout. I say was because it is no longer around. The Shield Force thought the best way to stop a protest would be to plow down a national monument that was erected in celebration of unity among the Arab states for the Gulf Cooperation Council. The roundabout was destroyed by the very nations the Pearl Roundabout was built for.

The King’s Response
What did the king of Bahrain do when the protests began? Well, he changed the picture of himself that you can see when you enter Bahrain from him simply smiling in front of a Bahrain flag to him waving a Bahrain flag in front of the thousands of protestors. He appears as the leader of the whole protest, but whom were they all protesting against? The king himself! So does this mean that he supports his people even when they protest against him?

Should Bahrain continue protesting? When should a revolution just end? Post your thoughts below in the comments.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The American Civil War And The Ukraine Crisis

“While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came” –Abraham Lincoln

Tension, when is it strong enough to break a bond apart? New conflicts between pro-Russian Ukrainians and the Ukrainian government have arisen in Ukraine. We can look closer into this ongoing conflict in Ukraine by also looking into the past at the American Civil War in the 1860’s.

A Turn After The Revolution

America’s revolution was a fight for freedom from tyranny and for the rights offered in a democracy. Ukraine’s revolution also fought the oppression of a dictator and sought to establish democratic rights.

In America, the rights were solidified in the U.S. Constitution while Ukraine is still in the process of constructing the rights that the Ukrainian people have protested for.

America’s civil war came 85 years after the revolution was won while Ukraine only had its revolution nearly five months ago. Ukraine hasn’t been able to focus on instituting firm and clear democratic rights in the nation because it has been faced with constant tension. In order for it to be the Ukraine that its people protested for, it must achieve peace and order in the nation.

To Save The Union

President Abraham Lincoln when giving his second inaugural address said, “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.” His word’s still ring true to this day. Ukraine and Russia both declared that they wished to evade war. They did, and now Crimea is in the hands of Putin.

The acting president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, has begun military operations against the armed pro-Russia gunmen who have take over government buildings in eastern Ukraine. Like Lincoln, Turchynov is attempting to save the union of Ukraine instead of letting parts of Ukraine leave the nation and fall into Russia’s control.

Foreign Intervention

The American Civil War was seen as a fight against slavery. This deterred foreign involvement in America because European powers did not want to appear to be pro-slavery.

Ukraine does not have this humanitarian call to battle that the U.S. did. Ukraine’s battle is largely not against itself, but against its neighbor. Russian intervention will not allow Ukraine to settle its own interior conflict and be a stable nation once again. Russia’s interference will only weaken the nation of Ukraine without strengthening the pro-West side or the pro-Russia side.

Ukraine Must Be United

Abraham Lincoln wanted peace. He cared for the South and sympathized with the Southern people. They offered to secede the union peacefully, but Lincoln did not see it in the power or right of the president to allow the union to be divided and the nation split.

The government of Ukraine cannot continue to let Eastern regions of Ukraine secede. Although much of the population of Eastern Ukraine may desire secession, it is not in the power of the Ukrainian president to allow the nation to peacefully dissolve.

Do you think Lincoln was right in his argument against peaceful secession? Is peace more important than unity? Look comments below to express your opinion.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Top 10 Revolution Songs

When you’re in a crowd of thousands waving flags and you are under the heat of the sun, what is one thing that can help you stay there to demand your rights? A revolutionary song is one thing that will keep people going through the struggle of protesting.

The following is a list of the top ten songs for protests or revolutions that are sure to get your foot tapping and keep your fist shaking:

1.     Revolution by The Beatles

If you need a song about a revolution, look for the one entitled “Revolution”

The British band is sure to help you start a revolution like the Americans or the Indians or the Zulu or the Iraqis.

2.     We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel

Not only will the historical highlights in this song make you remember all that has happened in the past, but it will also encourage you to change the future.

3.     Imagine by Elton John

This is a song for the peaceful protestors who aren’t quite sure if they want rights, or if they just want to hug each other while wearing daisies.

4.     One Day by Matisyahu

This reggae song is for the one who is keen on international affairs. This song will make you hopeful of a peaceful future in the Middle East instead of reminding you of the tensions in the region.

5.     Wind of Change by Scorpions

This is sure to be the song that brings people together by the masses. All of the protestors will start to sway together and lighters will rise in the twilight as the nation joins together.

6.     We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister

Many of these songs will inspire peace and unity, while this song is for those who are just tired of being oppressed and are ready to start a revolution. It will summon that 80’s rebel inside anyone so be cautious.

7.     I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders

When protestors begin to tire and the movement appears to have failed, this song will revive the spirit within all who hear it. Knowing that someone is beside you is sure to keep you going for at least a little while longer.

If the U.S. is to help Ukraine, this should be the first song they play for the Ukrainian people to rekindle hope and nationalism.

8.     Titanium by David Guetta

This is for those who just refuse to surrender. It would be a reasonable song for the Ukrainian people if the U.S. decides not to further support the Ukrainian government.

9.     In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins

This is for the first night of protests. When this song plays on the streets, people will begin to gather to start the fight for rights.

10.  War by Edwin Starr

For those who want to act cool while protesting for peace, this is your song. You can pose like an 80’s rock star and still fight for freedom.

When the protest ends and the fight has been won, listen to Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles. It will help the twilight end and the sun to shine even brighter!

What songs energize you to want to make a difference in the world? Please comment below!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Catching Up With Time, Western History Repeating Itself In The East

As the economy becomes globalized and the East has increased strength in world trade and production, modern ways are flooding Eastern customs.

As the East evolves, historical events from the West are repeating themselves in the Middle East.

Muslims vs Muslims

Just as Catholics and Protestants were waging wars in Europe, Islam has its two sects divided. Though most Muslims frown upon violence, some do believe that fighting is a righteous plan. The two sects are the Sunni and Shia.

Modernization vs Tradition

As modernization comes in, the doors of tradition begin to close. The countries most affected currently are in the Middle East. The wealth of oil has catalyzed growth in these countries bringing them not only cars, but also has allowed for some countries have gone above and beyond to flaunt their modern ways by doing things like constructing the world’s tallest tower, The Burj Khalifah. Tradition is attempting to hold on while Western ways continue to take hold over region.

Religion vs Agnosticism/Atheism

Islam is a religion that has grasped nearly all of the Middle East. Now, this strongly held religion is being tested. Agnosticism has not pursued the pious older generations of the Middle East as much as it has affected the most vulnerable demographic, the youth of the Middle East.

The changing Middle East presents itself as an excellent environment for a new generation with a vision for the future. However, modernization is threatening the one thing that gives a country identity, its culture.

Countries around the Middle East have been left unchanged for centuries until the mid-19th century, and now the very thing leading it to a prosperous future threatens this land of romance and mystery.

How do you see countries like those in the Middle East change? Do you believe that modernization is more or less beneficial to a culture rich country? Leave your comments below!

Muslims vs Muslims

Just as Catholics and Protestants were waging wars in Europe, Islam has its two sects divided. Though most Muslims frown upon violence, some do believe that fighting is a righteous plan. The two sects are the Sunni and Shia.

Each Middle Eastern country has a majority of either Sunni or Shia. The minority is sometimes oppressed and there are numerous reports of violence between the two Muslim sects. Some Middle Eastern countries base their foreign policy in their majority sect and ally themselves with other countries that have the same majority.

One country that has a majority of one sect has a royal family who is made of the minority. Bahrain is mostly Shia, but the ruling family is Sunni. The revolution in Bahrain has mostly been forgotten now, but protests have been occurring for a few years.

The protests in Bahrain began because the majority of the population couldn’t reach high-level job positions because the majority is Shia. Protests arose and security was heightened. Along the road, pictures of the King were replaced with a mass of protestors with the king photoshopped into the picture holding a Bahrain flag while appearing to lead the protestors, who (in reality) are actually protesting against the king himself.

The government hired foreign policemen in order to not use the many Shia policemen. This would keep the police from being emotionally connected to protestors.

The protests have been unsuccessful in gaining ground in Bahrain so far, but it proves how much tension exists within some Islamic nations.

Do you believe that such religious tension is inevitable in every religion or is it unique only to a few religions? Comment below!