A good week and weekend of research (part 1)

Last week was an amazing week for news, which made my weekend rather busy amidst studying for classes and researching for volunteer opportunities and funding.

Let’s start with this article by Dan Hind from Al-Jazeera <http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/08/20118258255817992.html>, which details a couple of points as made by their Twitter summary: 1) the struggle against starvation, violence and disease is also the struggle to understand the world, and 2) as long as foreign news stories are presented as far away disasters, people are not interested. I highly recommend you read it, because it’s one of the reasons I want to make my dream of running the company happen and present global issues in a fun way. Still working on the fun part though since I’m learning the ropes of good vlogging and presentation, considering I’m still trying to procure equipment.

It was also a bad week for governments worldwide with Wikileaks releasing thousands of cables, which is good news for me because I can find a lot of resources that anger and inspire me on the issues of sexual violence, refugees, and sex slavery. Let’s see what some of those cables are:

Diplomatic honey traps (kind of a conundrum when you consider the sex slaves and mistresses that many politicians have)

Mistresses for politicians and leaders (see above comment)

The U.S. encouraging GMO foods in Thailand! (looks like that food won’t be so tasty next time I visit)

A Finnish company and slave labor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (slavery still exists)

A ban on camera crews on child prisoners in the Philippines (now I’m mad)

An appalling summary of the number of foreigners going to Pattaya, Thailand’s vice city (Pattaya is the new Miami if Bangkok is Thailand’s Las Vegas?)

Turkey making it clear that Americans, bikinis, and gays are not welcome (well I sure am glad that I don’t “look American”)

France’s biotech bill at risk (more Monsanto nonsense)

Vatican admits sexual abuse of nuns by priests (again, not surprising)

Child trafficking in Mozambique (I’m ready for action against this)

Israel and organized crime (no, really?)

The Philippines and corruption of law enforcement (reminds me of my childhood in Manila)

China’s focus on resources rather than security and rebuilding Afghanistan (sounds like they’re following the American model)

Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan playing a disruptive role in the negotiation of anti-human trafficking (“it’s the economy, stupid!” better not be their excuse)

Violence in Kenyan refugee camps and aid vehicles being hijacked by armed men (where’s the UN peacekeeping force?!)

Saudis “marry” underage girls from Yemen to smuggle them in and put them up for child prostitution (can you feel the love tonight?)

Almost half of the overseas Indonesians are trafficked and over half of them are minors (they are definitely not going to Disneyland)

Freedom fighters in Cambodia denounced as terrorists (that term is overused and abused, or as George W. Bush says, “misabused”)

Young boys unable to defend themselves who are sometimes gang-raped by men at weddings (another reason I will never get married)

A U.S. diplomat’s guide to the Hanoi sex scene (I was going to say “Sex and the City Hanoi style” but that’s what they called the cable already!)

Now I’m going to say what my old global politics teacher in community college used to say every time I brought up a world issue that concerned me: “Who cares?” and “Make me care”. When most people are concerned with paying bills or more focused on petty things in life such as not eating French crepes the way they expect them to be prepared because a restaurant is not up to their standards, why does child trafficking in Mozambique or GMO food in Thailand matter?

Taking into account how the media sensationalizes other issues, especially trivial ones (cough, Fox News), it’s hard to know what to take seriously, whats is propaganda, and why it matters to us. In the simple example of Japan’s nuclear disaster with Fukushima, it creates refugees, it poisons much of the food supply in the Pacific Ocean, the radiation goes as far as the American west coast, it affects shipping routes because of the radiation, and as a result, the interconnected global economy is disrupted–which is why at Whole Foods, I saw coconuts from Thailand jump from $2.50 to $4.00 this year. Wait, Thailand? Yes, because of shipping. You want your organic coconuts? Tough, the Japanese economy, trade, and supplies affect Thailand’s ability to produce or ship them overseas to your Los Angeles Whole Foods market. This is an example of the world being affected by everything, and yes, you can say it’s Chaos Theory, I say it’s reality.

So why should we care? Because nobody is an island, no matter what you think. Animals and species going extinct have been happening for long before humans, but that doesn’t change the fact it is wrong, especially since we are causing it. If the selfish person who believes she is above animals because she is a human, then I have news for her: the ecosystems they are part of start collapsing as a whole because of human interference, so she can’t indulge on all her honey and milk because all the bees are disappearing in the world, and bees are integral to the growth of plants, which is, yes: our food.

It is my goal to find issues that we must be aware of and present it in a way to make us care, to entertain us, and to educate us. It is my goal to travel the world and show everyone its beauty, to show there are no “others”, simply people who are like us, only with different circumstances. It is my goal to show this is all worth fighting for, living for, and dying for. Check back Tuesday to see some of the news I have from how Couchsurfing.org is now a B-corporation and the possibilities of being a B-corporation instead of a nonprofit and how a fellow Third Culture Kid on Denizen is in tune with the passions of this project.


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