International Update: 11.01.18-11.08.18

Featuring the United States in this week’s International Update was emotionally exhausting.

I’m so glad it’s over.

This week, I did something I never thought I would do on an International Update. I wrote about the United States.

I find that US news often hits me harder than other countries, probably because of proximity. I was even talking with a friend recently about the anxiety our national news gives us and how we can combat it.

I find myself looking at international stories with more optimism. Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe I should be equally as harsh and as critical of every news piece I read, but I’m not. It’s like how I’m more critical of myself than I am of other people. I know I’m accountable for my own actions. I weirdly feel the same way about the United States when I read the news. I know we can do better.

This is not to say that I’m not critical of the decisions made by other nations (just check out the Europe Article for this week as proof). What I am saying is that featuring the United States in this week’s International Update was emotionally exhausting.

I’m so glad it’s over.

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, opinion, and rants.

International Update 2Africa Article

Title: PICS: Village in the city tries to save Zimbabwe traditions

Source: News24

What Happened? 

Hatifari Munongi, a retired school teacher, has taken it upon herself to teach urban children in Zimbabwe about the country’s cultural heritage by building a traditional homestead in the middle of the suburb of Marlborough.

Munongi is known throughout Zimbabwe for gaining a degree in sociology, gender, and development studies in 2016 at the age of 78. Now 80, she’s dedicated to educate children about Zimbabwe’s past. Her indigenous-inspired homestead was built with savings from her teaching career. It includes a round hut, cattle pen, rabbit hut, and traditional men’s court.

Admission is currently set at $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children. Visitors that have moved from villages to the city feel a sense of nostalgia when visiting the homestead. They get the opportunity to play traditional games, listen to folk stories, and eat traditional food while there. Munongi hopes to start hosting cultural events like traditional marriage ceremonies at the homestead as well.

Why Should We Care?

I hope someday I have the funds and ability to help educate kids like Hatifari Munongi is educating the children of Zimbabwe. Teaching children about cultural heritage and traditions will help ensure that lessons of the past will be carried on into the future.

Take Native American heritage and tradition as an example. Many Native American languages are dying or have died because they are not seen as essential parts of day-to-day life. Native languages have literally disappeared when they could have evolved, like English does on a daily basis. Cultural pride and a society’s willingness to cultivate and nurture their cultural heritage could have easily prevented this.

Munongi’s homestead is an attempt at making sure her cultural stays a part of her evolving world and that’s awesome.

“PICS: Village in the city tries to save Zimbabwe traditions,” News24, 03 Nov. 2018,

International Update 1Americas Article

Title: Tree of Life Congregant Shares a Message of Strength

Source: NowThis Opinions

What Happened?

NowThis’s Art Director, Brian Dunn discusses his experience growing up in the Jewish community in Pittsburgh roughly a week after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

He goes into detail about the love, acceptance, and community he always felt while going to temple at Tree of Life and how the community is centered around the Jewish teaching of tikun olam, or the concept of ‘repair the world.’

He said that this attack, while devastating and tragic, has not broken the community’s strength. It has brought them closer together and has made him proud to be Jewish.

The video ends with Dunn urging us to vote on November 6th. To vote, not only for stricter gun laws, but also for more inclusive government officials. He expresses his grief and shock at this time and shares his solidarity with anyone who has suffered bigotry and hatred because of their beliefs, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

Why Should We Care?

The shooting at Tree of Life synagogue broke something in me. I often avoid US news on here because I’m trying to bring more awareness to the global news. I want people to realize staying informed is more than just staying up-to-date on what’s going on in your own backyard. But after this shooting, I knew I needed to write about it.

So many people were appalled by the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue, and to some extent they should be. But to another extent, their shock proves that people are completely ignorant to the bigotry and hate that actually exists in this world.

Anti-Semitism is something that has tragically always stood the test of time, but some people seem to think it doesn’t exist any more. Or that, because we’re in the United States, it just didn’t exist here. As someone who has Jewish relatives, this shooting hit closer to home than others have and reminded me how real hatred is, no matter where you live. I’ve felt helpless due to shootings in the States. I’ve felt heartbroken. But the shooting at Tree of Life, this one filled me with anger.

We just had another major shooting in California on November 7 killing 12 people along with the 11 lost at Tree of Life. That’s 23 lives lost to mass shootings in less than two weeks. I truly stand behind Brian Dunn’s stance on gun reform. The fact that shootings like this one have become such common place here in the United States is disgusting. It’s terrifying. IT IS NOT OK. 

To quote Brian Dunn directly, “Republican or Democrat, look out for those helpers who aim to live in a society without fear or hatred.” We now know that, after the midterm election, our Senate and Congress are more diverse than ever before. I hope that this diversity will result in more acceptance. I hope that the shift in our Congressional demographic will help create laws that make our country a safer and happier place.

But, unfortunately, my sense of hope feels very small; the view from my own backyard is very bleak right now.

NowThis Opinions. “Tree of Life Congregant Shares a Message of Strength.” Facebook, commentary by Brian Dunn, 02 Nov. 2018,

international-update-3.jpgAsia Article

Title: Japanese island completely disappears

Source: New York Post

What Happened?

Esanbe Hanakita, an uninhabited islet off the coast of northern Japan has disappeared. The disappearance was first noticed by a local fisherman looking in to secret islands surrounding the country.

Locals and scientists are struggling to even find the islet on any navigational systems. It was one of 158 uninhabited islands used by Japan to mark the country’s territorial waters. The disappearance could have an impact on Japan’s trade and security in international waters.

Why Should We Care?

An entire islet just went and disappeared. And apparently this isn’t the first island to up and vanish. According to this article, an entire Hawaiian island also vanished only weeks before.

We all know that neither island walked away, so what could have possibly happened to them? (can you hear my sarcasm through the computer, I’m curious?)

Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s difficult to believe that climate change is to blame for the disappearance of this islet and its Hawaiian friend. It’s more than probable that the islands were swallowed up and lost due to the rise in water levels. But, that’s just my take.

For a more humorous spin on an otherwise tragic event, the Internet seems to think Godzilla is to blame.

Deutrom, Rhian. “Japanese island completely disappears,” New York Post, 05 Nov 2018,

international-update-4.jpgEurope Article

Title: EU criticises Austria for not signing UN global migration pact

Source: The Guardian

What Happened?

As of Wednesday, October 31, Austria has decided not to sign a UN global migration pact that has been approved by most countries. The country’s government fears the pact could lead to “a human right to migration.”

The Austrian government feels that the pact blurs the lines between the rights of asylum seekers and those of economic migrants. During the 2015 migration crisis in the EU, more than 90,000 people applied for asylum in Austria. This was exponentially more than any other EU country.

Hungary, the United States, Poland, and the Czech Republic have all also pulled out of the proposed pact.

Why Should We Care?

This is a perfect example of how a fear of the unknown can be more harmful than helpful. After reading this article I decided to do more research into the UN global migration pact so we could see what the big problem was.

From what I gathered, the pact is attempting to strengthen international understanding of migration. It also hopes to reduce the use of immigration detention, combat and eradicate human trafficking, and help insure that all migrants have the legal and necessary documentation needed for their migration.

The pact is non-binding and allows each country the right to determine their own migration policies and the right to govern migration within their own jurisdiction.

Here are the objectives of the UN’s global compact of migration, verbatim. For more on each objective, you can view the full document here:

  1. Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies.
  2. Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin.
  3. Provide accurate and timely information at all stages of migration.
  4. Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation.
  5. Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration.
  6. Facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work.
  7. Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration.
  8. Save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants.
  9. Strengthen the transnational response to smuggling of migrants.
  10. Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons in the context of international migration.
  11. Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner.
  12. Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral.
  13. Use immigration detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives.
  14. Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle.
  15. Provide access to basic services for migrants.
  16. Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion.

All in all, the pact is only trying to make legal migration safer for everyone. It is not trying to establish an international right for migration.

In a globalizing world, it is extremely important to improve and address the issues that come with migration. This is what the UN’s global compact of migration is trying to accomplish.

Rankin, Jennifer. “EU criticises Austria for not signing UN global migration pact,” , 01 Nov. 2018,

International Update 6Oceania Article

Title: New Zealand fisherman’s ocean rescue of toddler ‘miraculous’

Source: Associated Press

What Happened?

Gus Hutt, a New Zealand fisherman, grabbed an 18-month-old boy out of the ocean on October 26. He had thought the boy was a doll floating passed his boat.

The little boy, Malachi Reeve, had escaped his family’s tent that morning while they were on a camping trip at Matata Beach. He had floated about 50 feet before Gus Hutt found him.

Hutt took Malachi to the camp owners who helped track down the boy’s parents. One of the camp co-owners stated that Malachi’s parents were horrified and filled with disbelief when they were finally reconnected with their son.

Hutt, a regular at the camp, said he had decided to fish a different spot than usual and the ocean was particularly calm that day. Malachi was taken to the hospital for a check-up after they returned to shore.

Hutt stated that Malachi was just fine when he and his parents stopped by to thank him for his miraculously heroic act.

Why Should We Care?

The world is a crazy place. There’s no question about that. But, some times, the things that make the world crazy are also miraculous and wonderful. The fateful rescue of this little boy is one of those crazy-wonderful situations.

This story could have ended horribly. It probably would have if timing and sheer luck hadn’t lined up just right. But for some weirdly wonderful reason, it did. Articles like this one are what remind me that not everything in the world is bad and not every news story ends in tragedy.

And that reminder is a bit miraculous itself.


Perry, Nick. “New Zealand fisherman’s ocean rescue of toddler ‘miraculous’,” Associated Press, 05 Nov 2018,

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