This week’s international update really highlights the importance of international relations. Many times I find articles that focus solely on one nation and their particular struggles or triumphs. This week, the articles I found show how nations are often interconnected and can be influenced by one another.
Every one of these stories shows how an event in one nation, big or small, can have a ripple effect. I hope you enjoy what I’ve found and are inspired to read some more international news because of it. Have a great week!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the articles used in this post and have provided links to them below. All images were found through WordPress’s free image library or taken by me. A bit of additional research has gone into this post, but a majority of this is my own personal interpretation, opinions, and rants.
Title: Ethiopia appoints its first female president
Source: CNN: African Voices
What Happened? Sahle-Work Zewde was appointed the first female president of Ethiopia Thursday, October 25.
Sahle-Work has served as the UN’s special representative of the African Union since June and has also held top positions in international government, representing Ethiopia in France and Djibouti.
Sahle-Work’s appointment came after the resignation of Mulatu Tesshome on Wednesday, October 24. Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed recently reworked his ministerial cabinet and has given half of the positions to women, including appointing the first female defense minister. This is a huge historical move for Ethiopia, and could potentially help normalize females in power positions in the country.
Why Should We Care?
This article is a true representation of growth, not only for Ethiopia, but for the world as a whole. Ethiopia has struggled with very patriarchal ideals throughout its history and still has issues with gender inequality today.
According to an article published by the Population Reference Bureau, in many Ethiopian languages, there are feminized insults and expressions that compare women to animals. The median age of marriage in Ethiopia for women is 17 and social standards pressure most girls to hold up to “good girl” standards set by society. The gender expectations of girls and women has created a negative impact on women’s sexual and reproductive health as well. Sexual violence is also often overlooked in Ethiopia.
I found some of these examples of gender inequality eerily similar to those in the United States (mainly the biased language and the dismissal of sexual violence). However, there seems to be one major difference. Ethiopia has officially managed to elect their first female president. The United States, on the other hand, has not.
Giving women power in government will help normalize gender equality. It will show little girls that their big silly dreams aren’t quite that big or silly. It’ll help these same girls strive for greatness and possibly help them create a world where gender equality is expected and not fought for every day.
Adebayo, Bukola. “Ethiopia appoints its first female president,” CNN: African Voices, 25 Oct 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/25/africa/ethiopia-first-female-president-intl/index.html
Title: Migrant caravan on the move from Mexico-Guatemala border
Thousands of Central Americans– primarily from Honduras– started walking northwards from Mexico’s border city, Ciudad Hidalgo, in hopes of reaching the United States, October 21. Mexican authorities tried to stop them at the Guatemalan border by firing tear gas at the migrants. A number of migrants jumped into the Suchiate River to reach rafts and enter Mexico illegally while others turned back.
Some migrants remained at the border where the Guatemalan authorities organized transportation for those who returned home voluntarily. The Mexican government offered some migrants 45-day visitor permits and all migrants with documentation were let in immediately.
President Trump has warned the migrants to turn back and has threatened to close the US border, although it is unclear exactly what that means. According to international law, the US cannot deport asylum seekers without first determining the legitimacy of their claim.
Why Should We Care?
Stories like this are why I do a bi-monthly international update. Every country and its people are interconnected some how. The worries and woes of one nation influence the worries and woes of another. This is why we have international and humanitarian laws, and even the UN.
I have had the opportunity to visit Honduras. I even wrote about it on this blog. The story I tell in that blog post really only focuses on my own selfish experience. It doesn’t go into the dichotomy you see when you’re driving down the streets of Honduras. There are two sides to the Honduran landscape: the villas and tourist traps versus the homely shacks and natives roaming the streets. Honduras is a naturally beautiful country, but with that beauty comes a lot of danger and sadness.
It’s filled with poverty and struggle, and I can say with honesty that the desperation of these migrants is real, if only based on what I saw during a short bus ride to a private beach. The people in this caravan deserve mercy. They deserve help. The help offered by Mexico was some, but slim, and the United States is showing very little mercy.
I’m curious as to how this caravan and its mission will progress and what will result from it. The caravan chants include, “Let’s all walk together!” and “Yes, we can!” I hope their determination and hope earns them something. With international laws in place, hopefully these asylum seekers will not be instantly turned away. At the very least, I hope they find some solace in their journey.
“Migrant caravan on the move from Mexico-Guatemala border,” BBC, 21 Oct 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45933845
Title: China Plans to Launch an ‘Artificial Moon’ to Light Up the Night Skies
Chinese scientists hope to launch an artificial moon into the night sky, above the city of Chengdu by the year 2020.
The ‘moon’ will essentially be an illuminated satellite covered in a reflective coating that’ll send sunlight back to Earth during the night (like the real moon). The scientists working on the project think the ‘moon’ could be eight times as luminous as the real moon.
It is estimated to save the city of Chengdu $173 million dollars in electricity costs per year. If it’s successful, the scientists hope to launch three more moons over the same city by 2022. The scientists have stated that much more testing needs to be done to make sure the project will not be detrimental to the natural environment.
Why Should We Care?
When I think of double moons, I’m instantly brought to a distant land in the Star Trek or Star Wars universes. I know with the constantly changing technologies that are at our fingertips, the possibilities for innovation are endless. However, ethically, some things should be left alone and the moon is one of them.
The end of this article briefly mentions one of my main concerns. There is enough space junk spinning around the Earth’s orbit as it is. We’re already in enough deep shit when it comes to earthly pollution problems. Let’s not make it worse by creating an even worse pollution problem in space.
I have a more sentimental concern as well. I don’t know about you guys, but I like the night sky the way it is. It’s the one thing in the world that is consistent no matter where you go. When you look up in the dark of night, whether you’re in Paris, Chicago, or Cairo, you can almost guarantee that the moon will look the same. That won’t happen if each city launches fake ‘moons’ into their night skies. New York might have five ‘moons’ while Tokyo might have eight.
I find a comfort in the moon, the stars, and the nighttime. The idea of fake ‘moons’ would completely mess that up.
Meixler, Eli. “China Plans to Launch an ‘Artificial Moon’ to Light Up the Night Skies,” Time, 19 Oct 2018, http://time.com/5429288/china-chengdu-artificial-moon/
Title: Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died in Istanbul consulate
Saudi officials admitted Saturday, October 20, that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died inside the Istanbul consulate. Khashoggi disappeared October 2 when he went to his country’s consulate to get documents for his upcoming wedding. The Saudi government has been denying any knowledge of his whereabouts up until this weekend. As a journalist for the Washington Post, Khoshoggi heavily criticized the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
Since the news of Khashoggi’s death, Saudi Arabia’s king has dismissed senior royal advisor Saud al-Qahtani and the deputy head of intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri. Eighteen other Saudi nationals have been arrested. Turkish officials have yet to find Khoshoggi’s body, but are looking for remains in the woods near the consulate.
President Trump has stated he is pleased that things are moving forward with the investigation and finds what Saudi Arabia did unacceptable. Trump has also stated that these findings will not mean the United States will break ties with the Saudi nation.
Why Should We Care?
Again, this article is a wonderful example of how nations that are often viewed as polar opposites are actually very connected. The death of Jamal Khoshoggi is proof of that fact. Saudi Arabia obviously murdered Khoshoggi for his criticism of their crown prince. There’s no question in my mind, or anyone else’s for that matter. Does that mean the United States will cut ties with Saudi Arabia because of their barbaric approaches to silencing a journalist? (who was writing for the United States where freedom of speech is legal and protected). No.
Why? Because Saudi Arabia is the United States main source of oil. If you’re a US citizen, think of any time the gas prices have skyrocketed since 1945 (if you’ve been around that long). A good percentage of the time, this was because we were in a disagreement with Saudi Arabia. The 1973 oil crisis and the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 are all prime examples. So, the US often turns a blind eye when Saudi Arabia does something shady, and in return we get oil at a decent price.
Doesn’t seem right does it? It’s not…but that’s politics.
Abellan Matamoros, Cristina. “Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died in Istanbul consulate,” EuroNews, 20 Oct 2018, https://www.euronews.com/2018/10/20/saudi-arabia-admits-khashoggi-died-in-istanbul-consulate
Title: Ready for royal visit – Granny waits for Prince Harry
Source: The Fiji Times
Litiana Vulaca, an eighty-six-year-old great-grandmother from the Naitasiri providence of Fiji, is waiting for Prince Harry’s arrival with utter excitement and a photograph in hand.
She’s completely honored to meet the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch she served tea to in 1953. Vulaca’s photographic evidence of her time with Prince Harry’s grandmother is a picture of her former boss, Frances Lillian Charlton, next to the Queen Mother. Charlton was the principal of Adi Cakobau School at the time.
Vulaca was given the duty of serving Queen Elizabeth her tea when she was 21 and was diligently trained by a governess for two weeks before the queen’s visit. She never spoke to or saw the queen, but Vulaca does remember Prince Philip putting two sugar cubes into Queen Elizabeth’s tea.
Vulaca worked for Mrs. Charlton from 1949 to 1984, when she retired. She was selected, alongside a few landowners, as one of the citizens meeting Prince Harry at Colo-i-Suva Park.
Why Should We Care?
This is my lighthearted article for this installment of International Update. Look at Oceania with another heartwarming story for the second update in a row.
There are often moments that will forever be etched into your brain as prolific. This story about serving tea was one of those moments for Litiana Vulaca. I’m kind of in love with her story. From what I’ve gathered from this article, she was a career-driven woman who had the respect of her employer at a very young age. She is proud of her contribution to the queen’s time in Fiji, no matter how small it was and is obviously still highly respected in her country.
Her pride is something to admire and I hope her meeting with Prince Harry was everything she hoped it would be.
Mitchell, John. “Ready for royal visit – Granny waits for Prince Harry,” The Fiji News, 22 Oct 2018, https://www.fijitimes.com/ready-for-royal-visit-granny-waits-for-prince-harry/