Climate Change: Solution
Albeit the desperate need to take action on climate change, there is minimal effort to reduce climate change induced natural disasters to preserve the lands of the Indigenous communities. Often, policy makers attempt to compensate the Indigenous people who have been displaced with money or aid in relocation after the Indigenous homeland has already become inhabitable. Although policy makers might argue that it is common for people to relocate during times of globalization, a loss of homeland cannot be fully compensated or replaced by other communities. De Shalit uses the “stepfather metaphor” to provide a better understanding of the rigor of the issue of forced displacement. The loss of a biological father is irreplaceable for an individual regardless of the amount of care and love the child receives from their stepfather (de Shalit 2011, 325). Similarly, the new location and community the Indigenous refugee is put into is not a real substitute for their homeland, regardless of the quality of the living situation. To clarify, although the government can compensate and rectify the physical space that has been lost, it cannot fully rectify the loss of sense of place of the original homelands.
The current legal system does not hold the high carbon emission producers accountable and disregards the Indigenous communities’ claims to a right to their homeland. Under the current legal framework such as the Intellectual Property laws or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the right to natural resources is separated from their cultural resources (Chen and Gilmore 2015). The current treaties and aid programs often recognize the importance of either the preservation of natural resources or the recognition of the culture, but not both. However, the preservation of unpolluted natural resources is indivisible from the Indigenous culture and sense of functioning identity.
Indigenous force mobilization is the ideal solution to forced displacement and loss of functioning identity. Increasing the level of cooperation between local individuals, especially Indigenous leaders, and international policy makers is crucial for Indigenous representation. Individuals in Indigenous communities must mobilize themselves to collaborate with international organizations that are capable of asserting influences on powerful countries with high carbon emission rates. The prevention of the loss of another Indigenous community’s homeland is only achievable with active and accurate policy changes. Individuals contain the most accurate knowledge of vulnerabilities and necessities because they directly experience injustices such as loss of habitation, forced changes in lifestyle and repeated injuries from natural disasters. Using this knowledge, Ackerly specifies the categories of actions individuals can take to guide transformation in power inequalities (Ackerly 2018, 111). One of the five ways she mentions is to “make visible the complexity of forces that create obstacles to rights enjoyment through connected action” (Ackerly 2018, 111). When Indigenous individuals cooperate to fight for their rights to live in their homeland through performing connected action, complex injustices derived from high income countries can be tackled.
An example of an Indigenous community joining forces across borders to tackle climate change injustice can be seen in the Inuits. Tsosie cites that “the Inuit have organized themselves collectively across international borders as the ICC” (Tsosie 2007, 1672) to publicize that the United States has not followed international environmental law obligations and performed activities within its territory that caused transnational harm (1672). An individual Inuit might not have the power to change the United States’ policies, but when multiple local communities joined forces, it became possible to take on large nations and substitute international policies. Therefore, Indigenous individuals should bear some responsibility to hold accountable the main contributors to high carbon emissions to fight for climate change justice and basic human rights to a home.
Furthermore, Caney places a large emphasis on the responsibility of international institutions, especially coordinating bodies. Large international institutions like “European Community and the World Trade Organization'' can use the benefits of joining the organization to “induce compliance by stipulating that those joining their organizations must honor certain environmental standards” (Caney 2014b, 139). International institutions, as the final level of coordination, should create policies for displaced Indigenous individuals because they can create policies without the national interest in consideration. In addition, Indigenous forced environmental displacement should become a more pressing matter of discourse at the international level as Indigenous communities compose a large part of history and culture in many countries.
However, it is important that local Indigenous communities not rely on international institutions entirely but keep them accountable. Too much dependence can lead to a surrender of power and loss of voice for the local communities. Hayward illustrates this point: “as international institutions create new rights -- for example, carbon emissions rights or intellectual property rights in genetic resources -- old rights, and particularly rights of territorial sovereignty, are being significantly modified” (Hayward 2009,283). When international organizations are hindered by the power structure of the high income countries, the local Indigenous leaders can mobilize forces to create a larger basis for advocacy. Self determination is not achievable on the local level if there is no representation on the international level. Therefore, local communities and international institutions should all take responsibility to cooperate and create change.
An example of a local community taking independent initiative against a national government without the help of an international organization can be seen in the case Community Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni v Nicaragua (2001). Jaime Castillo Felipe, a leader of the Mayagna Awas (Sumo) Tingni Community lodged a petition against the Nicaraguan government that practiced commercial logging (ESCR-Net). Commercial logging can degrade the ecosystem functions of the natural forests, increasing the likelihood of severe fires, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing biodiversity (Sierra Forest Legacy). Supporting the advocacy of Jaime Castillo Felipe who recognized these dangers through years of direct local knowledge, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights ruled that the Nicaraguan government must adopt necessary measures to create an “effective mechanism for demarcation” (ESCR-Net). The action of one local leader was able to mitigate the detrimental effects national commercial logging has on global warming.
Therefore, Indigenous communities must utilize the decades of local knowledge they acquired about natural resources to promote the creation and modification of climate change policies on the national and international levels. Local knowledge is extremely valuable for policy makers to design “apposite adaptation and mitigation strategies to address the challenges of climate change” (Rahman and Alam 2016). If Indigenous individuals mobilize forces to hold the main drivers of climate change accountable, the prevention of further forced displacement of other Indigenous communities will be achievable.
“Case of the Mayagna (SUMO) AWAS Tingni Community v. Nicaragua [Eng].” ESCR, https://www.escr-net.org/caselaw/2006/case-mayagna-sumo-awas-tingni-community-v-nicaragua-eng.
“Logging Impacts.” Logging Impacts - Sierra Forest Legacy, https://www.sierraforestlegacy.org/FC_FireForestEcology/FFE_LoggingImpacts.php.
Ackerly, Brooke A. 2018. "Responsibility for Climate Justice: A Human Rights Approach to Global Responsibility for Environmental Change and Impact." In Human Rights and Justice: Philosophical, Economic, and Social Perspectives, ed. Melissa Labonte and Kurt Mills. New York, NY: Routledge, 102-122.
Caney, Simon. 2014b. "Climate Change, Intergenerational Equity and the Social Discount Rate." Politics, Philosophy & Economics 13, 4: 320-342.
Chen, Cher Weixia, and Michael Gilmore. “Biocultural Rights: A New Paradigm for Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources of Indigenous Communities.” International Indigenous Policy Journal, vol. 6, no. 3, 2015, https://doi.org/10.18584/iipj.2015.6.3.3.
de-Shalit, Avner. 2011. "Climate Change Refugees, Compensation and Rectification." The Monist 94, 3: 310-328.
Hayward, Tim. 2009. "International Political Theory and the Global Environment: Some Critical Questions for Liberal Cosmopolitans." Journal of Social Philosophy 40, 2: 276-295.
Rahman, Md. Habibur, and Khurshed Alam. “Forest Dependent Indigenous Communities’ Perception and Adaptation to Climate Change through Local
Tsosie, Rebecca. 2007. "Indigenous People and Environmental Justice- the Impact of Climate Change." University of Colorado Law Review 78: 1625-1677.
Climate Change Justice: The Issue
Climate change injustice is the imbalance between individuals who directly suffer the damage done by climate change and the policy makers who hold the power to control the rate of climate change. Although policy makers have attempted to rectify climate change injustice through money and aid, these injustices, especially the loss of the right to a homeland, cannot be substituted -- especially for the Indigenous communities. Therefore, in order to achieve climate change justice, Indigenous individuals must mobilize themselves to establish a larger force of advocacy on the international level. The following article will describe the severity of loss of homeland for the Indigenous community, followed by the description of the current reality of the legal framework and conclude with possible solutions and successful examples.
According to the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), scientific findings conclude that global warming due to human influence has been the main driver of landscape changes in the last 50 years (IPCC 2021). Human influence is “very likely” the main driver of global retreat of glaciers, global mean sea level increase, global surface temperature increases and extreme changes in the land biosphere (IPCC 2021, 6). Not only has the landscape and biosphere changed drastically, but extreme natural disasters have also increased in frequency and intensity. In addition, the increase of frequency and intensity of heavy participation, monsoon precipitation, cold extremes and hot extremes demonstrate with “high confidence” that “human-induced climate change is the main driver of those changes” (IPCC 2021, 10).
Extreme natural disaster induced landscape change is variable by region. For example, heavy precipitation and flooding are more intense and frequent in the Pacific Islands but extreme agricultural and ecological droughts are more intense and frequent in Africa, South America and Europe (IPCC 2021, 33). However, there is a unilateral pattern of injustice that lies beneath the regional variabilities. The low-income countries are most often the victims of the high-income countries’ consumption habits. When Jorgenson modeled the interactions between the economic growth of a country and the “carbon intensity of human well-being” (CIWB), findings suggested that “the effect of GDP per capita on CIWB is relatively large, positive and stable in magnitude” (Jorgenson, 2014). With the rise of GDP, high income countries often develop a pattern of “income, infrastructure, social organization and culture” that affect “expenditure patterns and investment” and in turn have a direct effect on the production of carbon emissions that affect global warming (Leichenko & Solecki, 2005). Therefore, regions with the most developed and comfortable modern lifestyles cause the destruction of landscape of the regions with natural lifestyles with minimal infrastructure and consumption habits.
Global warming has made the homelands of many communities, especially in low income regions, inhabitable in multiple dimensions. “Environmental displacement,” a term coined by de Shalit (2011), refers to the phenomena where global warming yields and exaggerates natural disasters such as desertification, floods, and a rise in sea level that causes communities to “be evacuated from their homes and never return to them” (de Shalit 2011, 310). Although there are multiple levels of environmental displacement, extreme cases involve the creation of “environmental refugees” who lose their homes forever because the damage that has been done to their homeland is irreversible (de Shalit 2011, 311). These extreme cases of environmental displacements are forced as there is no other viable option because the land has become physically inhabitable and there are no remaining natural resources for the human beings.
Although forced environmental displacement is a tragedy for all environmental refugees, there is a special need to focus on the destruction of Indigenous homeland caused by climate change. Besides the obvious monetary and physical losses that come from losing Indigenous homelands due to natural disasters, and the humane psychological fear of moving to a new place with no previous exposure, environmental displacement is often followed by a larger problem for the Indigenous communities. The loss of homeland is not only a loss of place but also a loss of functioning identity. To further expand on the term “functioning identity”, Amartya Sen describes “functioning” as an individual’s abilities to perform activities, ranging from basic activities such as being healthy to leisure activities such as swimming (Sen 1999). When Indigenous environmental refugees are forcefully displaced due to global warming, they lose a specific functioning that is crucial to an Indigenous individual’s sense of security. The refugee’s functioning of self-identity, especially the part that relates to the sense of ‘place’ becomes lost along with the physical space itself (de Shalit 2011).
The idea of sense of place is especially crucial to the Indigenous communities because their culture and beliefs are deeply rooted in the “connectedness to land” (Brown 2018). The “aboriginality” of the Indigenous communities emphasizes their connection to nature as these communities have managed different types of agrosilvipastoral systems, agrisilvicultural systems and woodlot plantations for their survival for decades (Rahman 2012). The survival and culture of the Indigenous communities are heavily dependent on their natural resources.
Brown, Lilly. “Indigenous Young People, Disadvantage and the Violence of Settler Colonial Education Policy and Curriculum.” Journal of Sociology, vol. 55, no. 1, 2018, pp. 54–71., https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783318794295.
de-Shalit, Avner. 2011. "Climate Change Refugees, Compensation and Rectification." The Monist 94, 3: 310-328.
IPCC. 2021. "Press Release: Climate Change Widespread, Rapid, and Intensifying – IPCC."
Jorgenson, Andrew K., Shirley Fiske, Klaus Hubacek, Jia Li, Tom Mcgovern, Torben Rick, Juliet B. Schor, William Solecki, Richard York, and Ariela Zycherman. 2019. "Social Science Perspectives on Drivers of and Responses to Global Climate Change." WIREs Climate Change 10, 1: e554.
Leichenko, Robin, and William Solecki. “Critical Surveys Edited by Stephen Roper.” Regional Studies, vol. 39, no. 2, 2005, pp. 241–253., https://doi.org/10.1080/003434005200060080.
Sen, Amartya Kumar. Development as Freedom. Oxford University Press, 2001.
Public services did not always look like the privileges we enjoy today. To analyze the process of development in public services, in their critical analysis Inward Conquest, Ansell and Lindvall address two main goals: a) accounting for the sheer expansion of public services and b) analyzing political conflicts over emerging public services (Ansell and Lindvall 12). Ultimately, Ansell and Lindvall attempt to answer the question of “how public service is provided and by who” (Ansell and Lindvall 12). The authors observe data on legislation, government employment, proportion of the population that was incarcerated, attended school or were committed to mental institutions in 19 Western countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with specific emphasis on police force, prison, public school, public library, mental institution, vaccination, and midwifery. In order to address the two paths to centralization and two dimensions of service delivery, the authors highlight the vertical dimension of power distribution among local, regional and central authorities and the horizontal dimension of public monopoly vs mixed provision (Ansell and Lindvall 12).
Ansell and Lindvall also acknowledge the importance of state capacity, especially the government’s role as providers, in developing public services. Ansell and Lindvall specifically state, “the relationship between the Government and the Providers – the public, religious, or private organizations that actually carried out and delivered public services – also mattered greatly for the political choices governments made” (Ansell and Lindvall 35). However, although multiple authors, such as Bates and Lieberman, emphasize the impact of public revenue on public services, Ansell and Lindvall voluntarily chose to omit the important policies and public services such as resource-extracting policies including taxation and resource-gathering policies such as poor relief, unemployment insurance, family benefits and pensions. (Ansell and Lindvall 17). The choice to omit the importance of resource-extracting policies directly concerns the extractive capacity of the state and generates a flaw in the authors’ argument of development. Therefore, although Ansell and Lindvall provide a strong analysis on the development of public services, the argument fails in the horizontal dimension of public service delivery and state capacity.
Ansell and Lindvall place special emphasis on the state’s capacity to provide public services. According to Berwick, state capacity can largely be divided into three dimensions: extractive, coordination and compliance. The coordination capacity refers to the capacity of the “capable and efficient administration that can effectively coordinate collective action both among other state agents and ultimately among citizens” (Berwick). An example of coordination capacity would be a unified market with secure property rights (Toral slides) and bureaucratic institutions. The compliance capacity refers to the interactions between the “higher levels of the state and the lower-level agents.” In cooperation, the agents must “implement their agenda,” in particular, “the capacity to overcome dilemmas in the principal–agent relationship between state leaders and their public sector agents” (Berwick). An example of compliance capacity would be a successful vaccination campaign (Toral slides) or public school curriculum development. Last but certainly not least, the extractive capacity is the system between the state and producers that allow for the production of goods and services. An important and most common example of extractive capacity is the income tax (Toral, slides).
Previous literature place emphasis on the importance of state capacity for state development. For example, Bates illustrates the three dimensions of state capacity in his book When things fall apart. Although he does not address public services directly, Bates studies political order in relation to the level of public revenues, the rewards from predation and the specialist’s rate of discount. Historically, political order generates political stability and increase in stability opens up the government’s availability to provide public services. Not only does the government have more resources to spend on public services, they are more willing to reward the citizens for increased revenue. Therefore, it is logical to make a connection between Bates’ study on public order in African states and state capacity, specifically the extractive capacity, in relation to the study portrayed in Inward Conquest.
The extractive capacity of the state focuses on the relationship between the “state seeking to acquire resources and the citizens who possess them” (Berwick). Extractive capacity such as the national income tax is directly correlated to economic development -- which leads to the development of services and infrastructures -- because it requires the government to gather correct information on citizen’s productivity and public revenue. Public revenue refers to the income of the government and in many countries taxation consists a large part of public revenue. Especially in Africa and other developing countries, “taxes constitute one of the most important sources of public revenue” (Bates 23).
When Bates observed late century African politics from 1970 to 1995, he noticed that a decline in public revenue was a significant reason for the decline of public order. The reduction caused the government in power to turn to means of violence and deviate attention from the protection of civilians (Bates 23). Especially during the time period referred to as the “oil curse,” a “sharp increase in the price of oil triggered a global recession” (23) and created a decline in overall public revenue for many African countries that relied on oil production as their main source of economic income. This decline in public revenue also “represented a decline in the rewards from public service” (Bates 23). As a consequence, the government no longer had the desire or resources to provide better public services for the citizens. As Bates observes African politics throughout the twentieth century, he repeatedly emphasizes the importance of public revenue in relation to public order and ultimately the quality of public services in the twentieth century.
In addition, predation, another area of Bates’ focus, is one of many forms of extractive capacity (Berwick). Bates emphasizes the importance of state capacity and control because the “state presides over police, public prosecutors, and a prison system” and therefore can “transform the state into an instrument for predation” (27). When predation turns into violence and authoritarian control, political stability decreases and the state no longer has the availability to provide rewarding public services. In addition, the authoritarian ruler does not have the desire to please the citizens by providing public service. Therefore, state capacity, especially the extractive dimension of state capacity, is significant because the government can choose to violently extract resources for personal benefit or reward citizens in the form of development of public services.
In addition to Bates, Lieberman also argues the importance of the extractive capacity on public services. According to Lieberman, a study of taxation “provides insights into the development of modern state capacities to wield their authority over individuals and groups within society” (Lieberman 6). Taxation attests to the power of the government because it requires the government to gather data on citizens’ income and express power to yield their income. To further support Bates’ argument, Lieberman states that “states that regularly collect from a wide range of societal actors are generally also able to govern effectively in a range of other areas” (Lieberman 6). On the other hand, “the inability of a state to generate significant revenue through taxation is often a precursor to state failure or even collapse” (Lieberman, 6). If citizens are more likely to cooperate with the government’s power to yield taxes, they are also more likely to obey the government in other areas. However, conflict and disobedience between the government and citizens creates a system of violence that leads to the decline in reward in the form of public services.
In his article Race and Regionalism in the Politics of Taxation in Brazil and South Africa, Lieberman studies the differences in development, especially the politics of taxation, between Brazil and South Africa. Lieberman chose Brazil and South Africa for comparison because they share many similarities such as similar development strategies in the 20th century including industrialization and rapid economic growth, history of long authoritarian pasts, large state and similar government expenditures (Lieberman 3). However, South African states became one of the most effective collectors of income tax in the world meanwhile the “Brazilian state could barely collect 5 percent of GDP revenues” (Lieberman 4). In addition, it cost the Brazilian government approximately three times as much as it did South Africa to collect revenues (Lieberman 4). The difference in the effectiveness of taxation can be explained by observing the relationship between the government’s extractive policies and the citizens’ compliance. More specifically, Lieberman states that “the difference in taxation” is explained by “the politics of taxation in south africa has been characterized more by cooperation and in brazil, more by conflict” (Lieberman 6).
Lieberman also makes an important point that taxation affects development in an independent manner than all other factors. Not only does taxation affect economic development and political stability as an instrumental variable, taxation itself can generate development. Therefore, it is especially important to not disregard the importance of taxation in the development of public services. To provide evidence, Lieberman writes “patterns of taxation tend to reproduce themselves independent of other exogenous factors identified in the political community model” (Lieberman 20). Once certain taxation patterns of collection are regularized, the cost of change increases and therefore the level of obedience between the government and the citizens are stagnant and less likely to change. At this moment, the governments that benefited from obedient citizen compliance gain the skills to enforce compliance in later periods, however the governments that developed a system of violence and disobedience with the citizens suffer from inefficient extraction of taxes.
In harmony with Bates, Lieberman emphasizes the importance of taxation in development, including the development of public services. Lieberman emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the provider (citizens) and the extractor (government) in generating resources and revenues. This relationship has a direct impact on development as cooperative relationships create effective taxation policies and violent relationships hinder development. In agreement, Bates emphasizes the importance of extractive state capacity, such as taxation, in the process of development of public services. Although Bates puts less emphasis on the importance of a cooperative relationship between the government and the citizen, Bates places special emphasis on political order and public revenue. Bates observes the relationship between the increase in public revenue that correlates to the increase in public services in the form of reward.
Ansell, Ben W., and Johannes Lindvall. Inward Conquest: the Political Origins of Modern Public Services / Ben W. Ansell, (University of Oxford), Johannes Lindvall, (Lund University). Cambridge University Press, 2021.
Bates, Robert H. When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa. Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Berwick, Elissa, and Fotini Christia. “State Capacity Redux: Integrating Classical and Experimental Contributions to an Enduring Debate.” Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 21, no. 1, 2018, pp. 71–91., doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-072215-012907.
The Emperor's Club
The Emperor’s Club by Michael Hoffman is an outstanding film that portrays the idea of a temperate person. The protagonist, William Hundert is a passionate and well-liked professor who teaches ancient culture at St.Benedict’s academy. His charisma leads him to be respected amongst peers and students. Especially, Martin, Deepak and Louis are hard-working students who aspire to obtain his attention and recognition. However, Sedgewick Bell, the rebellious and spoiled teenager challenges Hundert’s authority the moment he steps into his classroom. Though Hundert works hard to transform Sedgewick into a honest scholar, Hundert fails and is often manipulated by Sedgewick in the process.
The characters are perfect illustrations of understanding the differences between continent, weak-willed and temperate people. Martin is an embodiment of a continent person. A continent person has unruly desires but manages to control them. Though he feels the urge to go off the school's guidelines, he always follows rules and prioritizes his duties as a student. For example, when the boys rowed to St.Mary's, Martin repeatedly tried to stop them and suggested the right thing to do. Sedgewick is a weak-willed person because he is manipulated by his desires rather than his ethics and morals. A weak willed person cannot keep their desires under control. For example, he cheats numerous times in order for people to acknowledge his academic excellence. Finally, Mr.Hundert is an exceptional example of a temperate person. Hoffman illustrates this when Hundert could've called Segewick out for cheating, instead he waited to talk to him one-on-one. A temperate person has natural desires, or through habit, or second nature, but they are directed toward that which is good for them.
I believe that the majority of the people are weak-willed people. Because human beings are always wanting to improve and it is our natural instinct to desire what we don't have, we are subjected to be continent. For example, the rest of the boys in the school followed Segewick's intolerable actions and behaviors later in the school years. In addition, at the reunion party, Segewick's classmates supported him in his senate elections though they knew his actions were inappropriate and ethically wrong.
Saxonia Entertainment’s “Hitler Children” illustrates that hateful enemies can coexist within each other. Furthermore, two adversaries can end up reconciling and understanding each side of the story to an extent. The director, Chanoch Ze’evi, introduces five descendants of Hitler’s closest relationships and provides a detail-oriented perspective on their lives. Each of the four German descendants’ last names were easily recognizable and hated by Germans, while one Jewish descendant’s last name left a big imprint in my heart . Having to live with innate guilt and hatred for the past, each of the five descendants found unique ways to cope.
Bettina Goering, Hermann Goering’s great niece, sterilized herself to prevent her future generation from inheriting the Nazi blood. Hermann Goering was the first to order punishment on European Jewry and the most “colorful” member of the Nazi regime. “I cut the line,” she stated as a symbolization of asking for forgiveness.
Katrin Himmler, Heinrich Himmler’s great niece, is married to a Jewish husband. Throughout their marriage, the question of “At what point does it become impossible to love?”
Rainer Hoess, Rudolf Hoess’ grandchild, lives in constant fear of recognition. To overcome the fear and apologize for Rudolf Hoess’ acts, Rainer reached out to Eldad Back. Back is a descendant of the survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and Hoess is the descendent of the general who created the Auschwitz concentration camp. The two gentlemen travel to Auschwitz together, witnessing the significant contrast between the inside and outside the gates of the concentration camp. Later in the trip, Back honestly states that the short period of time was not enough to feel a connection to the sincere apology Rainer had to offer. Back’s honesty and bravery was respected by many of the viewers.
Monika Hertwig, Amon Goeth’s daughter, recalled when she first watched “Schindler’s List” and realized the true faces of her father. She had to cope with her family’s lies and the shock of the film for the rest of her life.
Niklas Frank, Hans Frank’s son, was denounced by his family due to his efforts to reconcile for his father’s work. His sister now moved to Africa to follow the apartheid regime and he is left with no family near his side.
It is not the circumstances but our actions that define who we are. The ethical and moral compass formed as a community is important in shaping individual and communal identities. The human heart leaves no room for forgiveness of the enemy, but “Hitler’s Children” allowed me to question my moral compass. At what point does it become impossible to love others?
It has always been human nature to be dissatisfied with what one already has and to crave more. Dating back to Shakespeare’s times, greed is pervasive in King Lear’s characters, Goneril and Reagan. Nowadays, greed remains a big part of our society, in the least expected areas. In the most holy hierarchy of the Catholic Church, greed is an unspoken, prevailing notion.
The two selfish daughters of Lear, are hungry of not only power but men also. Even after receiving a third of the Kingdom each, the two sisters continuously attempt to gain Lear’s third of the land. After successfully taking Lear’s power over the Kingdom, in the most brutal ways such as gouging his eyes, the sisters turn against each other in an attempt to possess an mischievous bastard named Edmund. Furthermore, the vile and wicked love triangle destroys the sisters’ marriage with their husbands. The sisters’ greed over land and man breaks the bond of family established through both blood and love. These relationships will never be re-established but always remain broken.
Parallely, the Catholic priests are privileged with not only a firm connection to God, but with the power to move the hearts of hundreds of Catholics with God’s words. However, a large fraction of the Catholic priests were tempted to abuse their privilege and powers granted by God. In the past century, there have been more than 1000 known victims and 300 predator priests who were involved in the Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Scandal only. Victims range from 18 month old toddlers to high school students going through puberty. The broken bond will never be able to cure the hearts of the victims nor re-establish the trust assumed in the environment of the Holy Church.
Adversaries might state that greed fuels human beings to improve and therefore innovate. However, when greed takes over a large part of the heart, it forgets about gratitude and destroys bonds that will never be restored.
North Korea and U.S. Summit Meeting
On June 12, 2018 the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. shocked the world with an unexpected convention. Kim Jong Un, the notorious leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and President Trump of the United States held a summit meeting in Singapore. The meeting primarily discussed the issues of denuclearization, an official end of the Korean War, and the joint exercises between the Korean and American militaries in South Korea. However, the true results of the meeting are yet to be recognized in the disorientation of pros and cons.
Some critics argue that the summit meeting was an initiation for the continuation of meetings that will eventually lead to world peace. In the past, North Korea threatened other countries with the use of their nuclear power. For example, along with the announcement that North Korea will be sending their athletes to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Kim announced that mainland U.S. was now in striking distance of North Korea’s nuclear missiles. However, Kim agreed to the “freeze to freeze” policy at the summit meeting. In essence, North Korea will freeze its nuclear weapon testing, if the U.S. military freezes its military exercises in South Korea.
In addition, as Kim appears on the media more often, the world has gotten additional footages of Kim as a leader and a person. In the past, analysis of Kim were only available through media clips released by North Korea, or spies. However, it is now easier to thoroughly analyze Kim with the unveil of his mystery through the foreign medias. As media reports, Kim’s behavior presented himself as a gentleman instead of a psychotic totalitarian dictator during the summit meeting and his meeting with the South Korean president. By bringing along his wife, always presenting a smile, speaking in a respectable manner, and making witful jokes, Kim has changed the perception in South Korea and attracted positive views on himself.
Furthermore, the meeting brought immediate positive results to the relationship between South Korea and North Korea. Families who were separated by the Korean War 68 years ago had the chance to reunite with their lost family members. As 89 families came face-to-face with their daughters, mothers and other family members, tears filled up Mount Kumgang. Since the reunion process began in 2015, and only continued when the North Korean-South Korean relationship was favorable, more than 75,000 applicants have passed away. The elderly members of the reunions hope for frequent opportunities to spend time with their loved ones.
To dispute the positive influences derived from the meeting, critics are concerned about the media’s attention on Kim following the meeting. As Trump and Kim were presented as being equal, Kim’s legitimization in the global stage will disguise Kim’s totalitarian policies. His malevolent policies disregard the North Korean citizens. For example, 41% of North Korea’s population is malnourished, and two-thirds of the total population rely on the government’s food distributions. Even though the South Korean government provides North Korea with money and food through the “sunshine policy,” these resources are suspected to be used in nuclear testing, instead of health care.
With the official recognition of Kim as North Korea’s leader, opposing political forces may have been emasculated: solidifying Kim as the absolute power. Previous to the meeting, North Korea replaced its top three military officials. The new replacement officers are loyal to Kim Jong Un, and have experiences with foreign delegations. U.S. officials believe that the replacement was driven by Kim’s concern that the original three might take advantage of outside investments coming into North Korea.
In addition to military enhancement, evidences of nuclear weapon testing still remain after the summit meeting. U.S. officials stated that Pyongyang developed new ballistic missiles and the official nuclear enrichment site as Yongbyon has been upgraded. Satellite images captured on June 21st show additional plutonium production reactors as well as support facilities. The upgrade of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center contrasts Trump’s statement of North Korea’s initiation of total denuclearization.
The source behind North Korea’s rebellious attitude is China. After the meeting between Kim and the South Korean president Moon, Kim immediately visited China and reported transpirations to President Xi. After his recent visit to China in March, the recent meeting in Dalian was unannounced. The symbiotic relationship between China and North Korea remains valid and is portrayed as China does not abide the economic embargoes instituted by the U.N. and the U.S.
Though Kim’s efforts at the summit meeting are illustrated as positive for some, there is little evidence that North Korea will deviate from its traditional ways and keep promises of denuclearization. For example, in the 1994, North Korea promised to give up its plutonium enrichment in exchange for aid. Eight years later, they confessed their nuclear enrichment and practices to the Bush administration. The temporary peace that has been going on between North Korea, South Korea and the U.S. might resemble the fail approaches from the past.
In the following meetings, it is absolutely necessary to demand complete cooperation from North Korea with the use of strict policies of economic pressure and military vigilance. Trump and U.S. officials need to set clear protocols, and establish a way to check up on the process of North Korea’s denuclearization. Simultaneously, China needs to pause its support for North Korea’s rebellious attitude. With successful summit meetings in the future, the world’s biggest rebel will be settled into world peace
The Chinese communist regime has dismayed the world with its hysteria. According to New York Times, the Xi Jin Ping government captured thousands of Uighurs Muslims into high-pressure indoctrination programs. The movement is especially vigorous in the regions right outside of Hotan, an ancient oasis town in the Taklamakan Desert. However, over the past two years the movement spread over the entire Western region of Xinjiang, a deserted area the size of Alaska, in which the indoctrination programs tortured Muslims physically and mentally. Its goal is to “re-educate” the Uighurs Muslims who have consistently resisted against the Chinese government through independence movements.
The irrational and unorthodox treatment of independent religious minorities parallels the Holocaust. During World War 2, six million Jews were mass murdered along with other minorities such as the Gypsies and homosexuals. The German Nazi regime’s radical leader Adolf Hitler considered Jews as an inferior race, and a threat to German racial purity and peace. The Nazi regime's death marches and concentration camps have come to symbolize crucial treatments against a specific group of people.
Learning from history, “transformation” can not be achieved through radical solutions and the captivation of the minorities. Governments should assure basic human rights to all citizens of the country and respect all individuals. As a ruler of a country who is responsible for all citizens, Xi Jin Ping should guarantee fair treatment of all. In the end, peace will be achieved by unanimous cooperation.
Always, and this past week especially, the Catholic Church’s controversial sexual abuse scandals have been leaving giant footprints on the Church’s reputation. In addition, the Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Scandal has been the biggest Catholic Church scandal in U.S. history. The grand jury report announces six out of the eight dioceses of Pennsylvania as guilty of sexual abuse. More than 300 predator priests and 1000 victims are involved in this tragedy. Victims range from 18-month old toddlers to high school students going through puberty. The event dates back to 1947, in Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Even after the Church’s unjust secrecy of the event for decades, the Church is delaying their process in revealing the predator priests’ identifications. Now, most instances of abuse have become too old to charge. However, the victims’ terrible memories of their past impacted their lives in the most brutal ways. For example, a priest in Scranton already having served jail time for sexualy abusing minors tested HIV-positive. In Harrisburg, a priest abused five sisters from the same family and collected samples of their urine, pubic hair and menstrual blood. In addition, an 83-year-old man said he couldn't show any affection to his wife and children as a result of the abuse he suffered.
The pain victims had to go through is unimaginable and should never be justified. The Catholic Church’s false promise to revise protocol and to execute predator priests have been, once again, proven fruitless. The leaders of the Church lost the members’ trusts due to the temptation of sin. Now, everyone is in danger of sexual abuse, everywhere. However, the entire Catholic Church should never be solely defined by the evil. There is more to the Church than just the disgusting sexual predators. It is necessary to execute all predators and bystanders from the Catholic Church, no matter how important their positions are.
Modernization of Hajj
With globalization of religions and beliefs, interest in Islamic religions are growing tremendously. Especially, Sunni Islam, as the largest sector of Islam, is gaining members at a rapid rate. What fascinates me most about Sunni Islam is their unique five pillars to guide their members through their spiritual journey. There are five pillars in Sunni Islam.
The first one is Shahada: Faith. Members must declare faithful to one true God-Allah and the messenger of God-Muhammad. The second pillar is Salah: Prayer. Members must pray five set times a day, no matter where they are. The prayers have their own name and meaning, and must be facing the mecca. The third pillar is Zakāt: Charity. By knowing that all things belong to God, one grows as they share and provide for others. The fourth pillar is Sawm: Fasting. There are three types of fasting, and ritual fasting is required during the month of Ramadan. During this month, members must eat and drink only from dawn to dusk. However, members with medical conditions, are underage, and travelling, etc can make up in other ways. The fifth pillar is Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca. Mecca is the holiest city for Muslims because it was the birthplace of Muhammad and the place of his first revelation of the Quran. Hajj happens during five days of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Throughout the journey members wear “ihram” two white cloth unstitched, and walk through the city. Members who have completed the fifth pillar have shown submission to Allah through the journey.
Before the mobilization of modern transportation, the pilgrimage to Mecca was only available to people who were financially wealthy, physically strong, and had a stable family who could support themselves, in his/her absence. However, with the present technological systems, Mecca attracts two to three million people every year. Therefore, due to the privatization and commercialization of the Hajj industry, the price of Hajj is rising. Overall, the price of Hajj has risen around 25% in recent years. However, with the popularization of Mecca, and easier access of the trip, the meaning of this holy trip is at risk. Recently the demolition of Saudi Arabia, associated with vandalism has become more frequent. The destruction has focused on mosques, burial sites and historical locations. It is significant that we protect historical and religious sites. Not only Mecca, but other sites must be valued to preserve their meaning and provide a psychological nest for all people.