The International Relations Review
FALL 2010 VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1
Published independently by the undergraduate students of Boston University since 2009 Edward Hill, Editor
The International Relations Review
Fall 2010 In this issue:
Pariah Status: Why Integrating Romania’s Roma is So Difficult
Hassan S. Awaisi, CAS ’11
Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition p. 5 Shazi S. Usman, CAS ’11
Jerusalem’s Silver Lining
Jacob A. Geller, CAS ’11
Staff Editorial: A War Weary America
Letter to the Editor: Reflections on WEMUN 2010
Dan Freehling, CAS ’13
The International Relations Review Volume 2, Issue 1 Print date Nov. 2010
Edward Hill, Editor-in-Chief Giuseppe Caruso, Managing Editor
CAS ’11 CAS ’11
Kaitlyn Kiernan, Copy Editor Joshua Levkowitz, Copy Editor Caitlin Lesczynski, Copy Editor Meenal Vamburkar, Copy Editor
CAS ’11 CAS ’11 CAS ’13 COM ’11
The International Relations Review, ISSN 2151-738X, is a fully independent publication of the undergraduate students of Boston University. It is a subsidiary of the Boston University International Affairs Association.
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Pariah Status: Why Integrating Romania’s Roma By Hassan S. Awaisi, CAS ’11 “Gypsies are the only group about which anything could be said without challenge or demurral.” 1 “We are not slaves anymore legally, but we are still in a state of ‘social slavery.’”2
Widespread misperceptions about and discrimination against the Roma are worldwide phenomena with ancient roots. After migrating from northern India in the early 12th century, Roma have been met with fascination, fear and hatred in every land along their travels.3 The misleading label “Gypsy,” which arose from the myth that Roma originated from Egypt, sheds light on the misunderstandings prevalent in xenophobic Medieval Europe surrounding these darkskinned, non-Christian foreigners. The Roma became the scapegoats for every social ill from witchcraft to crime to the Black Death.4 Since their arrival in Romania in the late 1300s, the majority of Roma have lived as social outcasts.5 Centuries of slavery, genocide and pervasive discrimination have locked the Roma of modern-day Romania in a complex cycle of dire poverty, substantial unemployment, poor education and social isolation, all of which— coupled with the disregard and insensitivity of politicians, the media, and average Romanians to the Roma’s plight— have perpetuated failures to integrate this ethnic minority into mainstream society. An estimated 1.8 to 2.5 million Roma, 8 to 10 percent of the total population, currently reside in Romania, making this Eastern European nation home to the world’s largest Romani
community.6 Even after its accession to the European Union in January 2007, the Romanian government has continued to neglect the myriad problems plaguing this marginalized group. Roma suffer from poverty, unemployment and illiteracy rates exponentially above the national average.5 While some reside in non-segregated housing, the majority of Roma eke out a living in slums lacking running water and electricity.8 Roma are also overrepresented in prisons and mental institutions.9 Forced evictions and razing of Romani dwellings are commonplace and are often accompanied by police negligence and brutality.10 Distrust of and hatred for Roma runs deep in Romanian society. A 2003 Gallup poll revealed that 82 percent of Romanians think Roma are criminals, 36 percent believe Roma should live separately from other ethnic groups, and 31 percent want to legalize forbidding Roma access to public places such as restaurants and clubs,11 something that occurs regularly today.12 Numerous reports reveal cases of doctors refusing to treat Roma on the
basis of race.13 One of the most detrimental consequences of the status-quo discrimination against Roma is the exclusion of Romani children from many schools. This forces them to attend racially segregated, poorly funded classes or to drop out at an increasingly early age.14 Instances of physical abuse and humiliating treatment from school faculty and nonRomani classmates, such as back of the classroom, are routine. The institution of Romani Romania by the 15th century, further illuminates this pariah’s present situation. Edicts relegated Roma to the status of chattel. Slave auctions where mothers wailed as buyers tore their children from their arms, iron-chained Roma, were daily spectacles throughout Wallachia and Moldavia.16 Punishments for a slave’s misdemeanors included being impaled on a stake, suspended over smoking Continued on page 4
Cultural Roundabout The Roma have been traveling— both physically and politically. Photo credit: Aura Lunde, CAS ’11
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naked into a frozen river. When Roma achieved full emancipation in 1864, an estimated 600,000 slaves existed within the borders of present-day Romania.17 During the 1930s, the Roma began factoring into the evil arithmetic of Aryan supremacists. By 1940, the pro-Nazi Iron Guard had risen to power in Romania and shipped tens of thousands of Jews and Roma in cattle cars to labor and extermination camps.18 Hitler’s genocidal military murdered an estimated 220,000 to 500,000 Roma. A Gallup poll in 2003 chillingly revealed that 75 percent of Romanians did not know or did not believe that the Romanian government actively participated in the Nazis’ Final Solution20. This glaring statistic exposes much of Romanian society’s ignorance about the Roma’s past suffering. By the end of
marimè. To orthodox Roma, jails, hospitals, restaurants, restrooms and any other public spaces potentially polluting.26 This is why some Roma today designate guests, which is either destroyed later or kept for other non-Romani visitors.27 and elsewhere have historically treated Roma as untouchables, so have Roma attributed the source of all misfortune, obscenity and
rape or murder in racist attacks in the seven years between 1989 and 1996 than in the four decades following WWII.22 After centuries of persecution, the Roma developed a culture of isolation from the mistrust of the non-Romani world. The Romani language, known only to a handful of researchers, offers a telling look at the foundations of this pariah’s worldview.23 Roma use the term peasant or uncivilized person and connoting “barbarian” in English, to refer to all non-Romani people.24 25
Because non-Roma fail to adhere to Romani cultural and ethical
Works Cited 1. Valeriu Nicolae, “Words that Kill,”
“After centuries of persecution, the Roma developed a culture of isolation from and mistrust of the nonRomani world.”
policies had transformed Romania into “the Ethiopia of Europe,”21 average Romanians targeted a familiar scapegoat. After 1989, a surge in anti-Roma attacks gripped the nation. More Roma had their homes burned, were forced
society and sever roots with their culture or continue living as marginalized, second-class citizens. Bridging the gap between these extremes means that the state and media must radically improve public perception of the Roma and tackle the problems plaguing their community while promoting awareness about and respect for Romani culture and heritage.
“bad luck” literally translates as the Roma’s attitude to the outside world.28 While Romani newspapers, radio, television shows and human rights organizations have begun countering the prejudice permeating Romanian society, many manifestations of virulent anti-Roma sentiments go largely unchallenged. A Romanian evening talk show covering the 11-year-old Romani girl by an ethnic Romanian on October 25, 2005, featured audience members who expressed disapproval over Romani parents’ inability to supervise their children. One caller that night unreservedly stated that “Gypsies should be shot dead.”29 The chasm between today feeds into two polarizing prospects for Romania’s Roma; either assimilate into mainstream
137-41. 2. “Romanian Gypsies celebrate 150 years since emancipation,” December 11, 2008. 3. Walter O. Weyrauch and Maureen The Case of the ‘Gypsies,’” In Gypsy Culture, edited by Walter O. Weyrauch
4. Steve Watrous, “Moving Beyond Gypsy Stereotypes,” Shepherd Express News Digest, 19.14 5. Viorel Achim, The Roma in Romanian
6. David, Crowe, A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia 280. 7. European Roma Rights Center Rights Abuse of Roma in Romania,” September 2001. Stinking Gypsy,” Transitions, 4.4
11. Valeriu Nicolae, “Roma Rights Communication Problems and Barriers,” In Intercultural Communication and Diplomacy, edited by Hannah Slavik
Continued on page 9
Fall 2010 important dimension to that train of the status quo of the ummah evinces a poignantly ignorant ethos, one where many Muslims have failed to understand, above all, the canon of By Shazi S. Usman, CAS ’11 Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1982. 172 pp. Notes. $21.00, hard bound. This incisive book by the late Professor Fazlur Rahman addresses the topic that has been on the minds of academics, politicians, and laymen alike for several years world. Since 9/11, many countries have attempted to assuage this situation through diplomatic and military means, yet the tensions seem everescalating, as Islamic neo-fundamentalists continue to sprout up not only in Muslim-majority countries, but also in the West. Some contend that what we face is a “clash of civilizations,” an impasse, while, on the other hand, others aptly suggest that we are witnessing a “clash of ignorances,”1 which can be remedied with time. Rahman would agree with the latter camp’s theory, and in this well-researched and intensely argued book he discusses an
Sunna. Accordingly, if the ummah is to be fully compatible with modernity, Muslims themselves must effect a systematic, intellectual reorientation toward Islamic thought. The leitmotif that recurs through all four chapters of Islam which Rahman, drawing upon ex“the effort to understand the meaning of a relevant text or precedent in the past, containing a rule, and to alter that rule by extending or restricting or otherwise modifying it in such a manner that a new situation can be subsumed under it by a new solution,”2 that is, in short, personal reasoning. From this premise, Rahman insightfully examines Islamic intellectual history and demonstrates the Islamic Golden Age appreciSunna do not generally render ethical principles, but rather rulings to -
one can personally deduce a moral code. Unfortunately, however, as time progressed many Muslims diverged from this open-minded—as well as fundamentally orthodox— paradigm and began reifying Islam, submitting not to Allah, but rather to an “ahistorical, literalistic, and atomistic” hermeneutic of sacred texts.3 This religious illiteracy, according to Rahman, has led to three praiseworthy Islamic empires; 2. the manipulation of Islam for political, economic, and social purposes; 3. the birth of Islamic neo-fundamentalism and ersatz martyrdom,4 which we have seen with the proliferation of modern-day terrorism. With mastery of the concept of leading nature and danger of applying individual and isolated verses modern-day situations and to the construction of the Shari’a, as several Muslim preachers and even some intellectuals tend to do. Rahman notes, with good reason, that a person—such as Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahaab, the founder of Wahhabism—who ignores the historical context of these texts and uses isolated verses as demagoguery is thus nor traditional intellectual culture, of which he [or she] knows practically nothing.”5 Perspicaciously,
Education in Pakistan, then proceeds to examine case studies regarding the manner in which some educational systems in Muslim-majority countries have diverged from the Sunna. For instance, madrasas traditionally taught sixteen different disciplines—including trigonometry, prosody, and medicine—as Prophet Muhammad encouraged Muslims to “increase their knowl-
Modernity Meets Tradition Photo credit: Hilary Wartinger, CAS ’11
Continued on page 6
The International Relations Review “Islam & Modernity” from page
edge in all subjects…to delve into the [sciences of the] universe, into history, and into man’s inner life.”6 Regrettably, however, many formerly excellent madrasas changed their syllabi and eliminated the study of not only secular subjects, but also religious ones, such as Islamic phiof Nizam al-Din’s madrasa that was taken over by Waliullah. Notably, modern educational institutions that other madrasas should emulate, such as the famous Aligarh, in India, and the Muhammadiya, in Indonesia. Rahman appropriately goes on to place the responsibility for the general demise of Islamic education following in regard to the Pakistani [They] are the most spineless, the most unscrupulous, and the most mercenary in the world…[They] have neglected modern knowledge to an extent that there is no scope left for a dialogue between those who have received modern education and the graduates of [madrasas]…[They have] provid[ed] ill-paid, ill-educated, and ill-informed imams to [many of] these schools. It is quite obvious that such an education cannot help the growth of religious consciousness.7 Thus, as outlined in the fourth chapter of this book, Rahman believes that educational reform in most Muslim-majority countries is the solution, but not one that is akin to the secular systems found in Turkey or the West. Instead, he wisely suggests that all madrasas return to the pedagogy that Prophet Muhammad propagated, one whereby all subjects, including secular ones, are taught within the context of gnostic character education, not religious indoctrination.8 Particularly fascinating is the discussion of organizations that fos-
ter Islamic neo-fundamentalism—a deliberately anti-intellectual movement. In one personal anecdote, Rahman describes an experience where to personally recruit Rahman to his campaign, and when he declined the offer in order to pursue an academic career, Mawdudi said, “The more you study, the more your practical faculties will be numbered.”9 Having dealt with such situations, Rahman uncovers how Mawdudi, Hasbrainwash well-meaning youths by complicated—and, by extension, corrupted—Islam. Further, the students of Islamic neo-fundamentalSunna without exposure to the appropriate historical context of these texts, resulting in dogmatic faith, which fundamentally contradicts the 10
problematic because one might contend that morality does not necessitate belief in the existence of God— that is, atheism does not preclude virtue, for one can simultaneously be an atheist as well as an ethical human being. Second, Rahman makes that the ummah needs a drastic re“cognitive process”; however, without negating the value of its intellectual component, one may wonder whether such a renewal would benone that includes economic, “social, and psychic” dimensions.12 After all, recent studies indicate that Islamic neo-fundamentalism is largely a nihilistic, psychosocial phenomenon, “the result of a degenerating communal life.”13 Third, although Rahman incorporates poetic quotaand Muhammad Iqbal in this study, one may question whether he treats Islamic education in a manner that is too monolithic, as the pedagogies
Moreover, as Rahman rightly points out, the élan of Islamic neo-
Chishtiya and Mevlevi—receive no mention.14
Western, and the “leaders” of such groups condition their pupils to equate Westernization with modernization. As a result, these pupils generally identify themselves as distinguished from these ostensibly identical processes by rejecting democratic and pluralistic ideals, feminism and family planning, the
Overall, despite the criticisms
and—most importantly—independent thinking. mation of an Intellectual Tradition is require mention. First, in his analysis of Islamic education, Rahman juxtaposes the religiosity of madrasas to the secularism of Western schools, describing the latter as “necessarily atheistic,” and thus “destructive to the sanctity and universality of all moral values.”11 This view of atheism pervades Rahman’s study and is
Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition is innovative, intellectually meticulous, and unapologetic in both substance and style. Through Rahman’s discussion of the herithat—contrary to what the misguided Islamic neo-fundamentalists say—Islam is dynamic, dialectic, and always mirroring and mirrored by the milieu in which it exists.15 Certainly, this study will serve as an invaluable resource for anyone concerned with the historical roots of Islamic intellectual life, modern terrorism, and the future of the Muslim world. 1. For a compendium on the “clash of ignorances,” a theory originally promulgated by the Aga Khan, see Asani,
Citations listed on page 9
Palestinians and Israelis. That is, since 1970, Israeli policies
By Jacob A. Meller, CAS ’11
Jerusalem’s Jewish majority while shrinking the size of the minority Arab population have not only
Israeli peace process seems to be going nowhere. It has been nearly two years since the last direct negotiations ground to a halt.1 Turkey, which had been a key mediator between Israel and its enemies in Gaza and Syria, withdrew its ambassador to Israel after an Israeli commando raid of a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza left eight Turks dead last June.2 Even the United States, Israel’s traditionally stalwart ally, condemned “both the timing and the substance” of the Israeli
seem strange that Israel, which arguably held the best cards at the table—military, political, economic, and diplomatic superiority—could not succeed in the course of four decades to accomplish this goal. But in light of the relevant history and basic economics, the outcome should not seem so mysterious.
1,600 new housing units would be built for Jews in East Jerusalem.3 Israeli settlers are meanwhile licking their lips in anticipation of the upcoming expiration of the freeze on settlement construction, scheduled for September 26.1 that should contribute, slowly but consistently, to a successful
In 1967, after 19 years of division between Israeli and Jordanian rule, two Jerusalems—East and West—became one. The almost exclusively Arab East Jerusalem was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces, and was formally annexed to Israeli West Jerusalem soon thereafter.4 was 74.5 percent Jewish.5 That is the highest ratio of Jews to Jerusalemites in many centuries, and it has not been equaled since.6 At the time, most Israeli policymakers expected the Jewish proportion to grow quickly and
naturally, so that by the 1990s at the latest, upwards of 90 percent of Jerusalem’s residents would be Jewish.7 But by the early 1970s, those expectations proved to be manifestly false. The proportion of Jews had actually fallen slightly, and there had been a marked increase in the size of the Arab population.8 Faced with this realization, and amid fears that some impending peace agreement might call for the internationalization or re-division of Jerusalem, the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir resolved to strengthen Israeli the size of the Jewish population there—in short, by seeking Jewish demographic hegemony.9 Thousands of new government jobs would be created, Absorption 50 percent of all new immigrants to Jerusalem, and the State would devote some two billion Israeli pounds to building Jewish homes in Jerusalem from 1971-1972.9 The mayor Teddy Kollek, backed by the consensus of municipal experts, protested vehemently, insisting that such a policy would 9
Cohen-Orgad, likewise published a prescient report that warned that the additional construction required by the Meir government’s Jewish housing policy would “triple the demand for Arab
A History of Disupte in the Holy City Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem Photo Credit: Stephanie Sklar CAS ’11
Arabs, which would “give rise to political problems.”9 Meir and her administration ignored Kollek and his municipal experts, as well as Cohen-Orgad’s EPCC report, and continued to subsidize Jewish housing in Jerusalem.9
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In 1972, the Meir government commissioned the EPCC to draft a second report explaining why the Jewish proportion continued to fall while that of the Arabs was accelerating, despite the policies designed to do just the opposite.9 This second EPCC report amounted to a lengthy “I told you so.” According to the report, the accelerated growth fueled by massively subsidized Jewish housing had resulted in such a spike in the demand for cheap Arab labor that “the growth rate of the Arab sector exceeded that which would [have] come from their natural reproduction.”9 In 1977, the right-wing Likud party came to power and initiated a new era of similarly misguided policies. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin continued Meir’s Jewish housing construction policy, and extended it to Judea and Samaria, in the West Bank.9 The municipality protested once again, warning that the Jews required to settle the West Bank would come primarily from Jerusalem, so that the Jewish proportion in Jerusalem would slip even further.9 Begin’s policy would also suffer from the same defect as Meir’s, namely that it attracted such large numbers of Arab workers that the policy would be self-defeating. In short, rather than increasing the Jewish proportion of Jerusalem, Begin’s policy would only accomplish a shifting of the Jewish population from West to East. similarly called for a “Greater Jerusalem,” which called for the construction of a ring of Jewish settlements around East Jeruaslem in the West Bank.9 Unlike Begin’s less complete settlement policy, a contiguous ring of settlements would cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, creating an Arab-occupied island in a sea of Jewish housing. But the “Greater Jerusalem” policy suffered from
the same defects as Meir’s and Begin’s, attracting Arab workers while exporting Jerusalem’s Jews to the West Bank.9 Since then, Jerusalem has experienced net Jewish emigration almost every single year, just as the municipality had warned.9 Because of the subsidized Jewish settlement of the West Bank, which continues today, each year since 1980, about 4,000 more Jews have left Jerusalem than have entered.9 Net Jewish emigration thus
“...Palestinians and Israelis have a shared interest in ending the settlement policy.” became an even bigger factor for the declining Jewish proportion than the Arab immigration. Worse, Shamir’s “Greater Jerusalem” never materialized— the area east of Jerusalem today is not a contiguous ring of Jewish neighborhoods, but a politically unstable patchwork quilt of ethnically distinct neighborhoods, only about one third of them Jewish.10 In the 1990s and 2000s, partly out of legitimate security concerns but also out of demographic considerations, the State of Israel resorted to more controversial means of promoting Jewish demographic hegemony. The municipal budget became lopsidedly in favor of developing Jewish neighborhoods, building permits for Arab housing became scarce, illegal Arab homes were bulldozed, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem’s roughly 20,000 illegal time.11 Furthermore, of the 14,000 demolitions of Palestinian homes since 1967, more than a third were in the last two years.11 Moshe Amirav, an expert urban planner
who worked in Teddy Kollek’s municipality, observed that “none of these sanctions appears to be impeding the Palestinians... on the contrary, they only seem to further encourage illegal construction... just like the preState Jewish settlers [who were obstructed by the British].”11 Today, despite Israeli settlement than 65 percent of Jerusalem is Jewish, down from nearly 75 percent in 1967.12 Meanwhile the Arab proportion has risen to more than 35 percent, up from less than 26 percent in 1967.12 Some demographers predict that by 2020 some 45 percent of Jerusalem’s residents could be Arabs.13 In 2003, Uri Lupolianski, the mayor of Jerusalem, worried that “in a few more years Jerusalem might, God forbid, no longer be the capital of the Jewish state and of the Jewish people, but have an Arab majority.”14 If the last 40 years are any indication, What does this mean for the peace process? On the surface it sounds like very bad news—some critics call the Israeli settlement policy in Jerusalem and the West Bank “creating [demographic] facts,” while more strident critics call it “ethnic cleansing.”15 But the facts say that it is neither. If anything, the Israeli settlement policy has given Arabs well-paid work, while emptying Jerusalem of its Jews faster than they can be replaced. This means that Palestinians and Israelis have a shared interest in ending the settlement policy. It means that sooner or later Israeli leaders will realize that the sensible thing to do is settle for West Jerusalem—pun intended— and leave East Jerusalem and the West Bank to the Palestinians. Jewish Jerusalem any more than it can realistically build one, and that is a good thing.
Fall 2010 Unfortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s political base still clings with hopeless idealism to the idea of settling Jerusalem and the West Bank.16 But a fresh round of negotiations began in August. They are not expected to succeed, but both the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister Ehud Barack seem suddenly and uncharacteristically willing to dismantle Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in exchange for a few Jewish neighborhoods closer to the 1967 border.16 If even right-wing Israeli leaders are willing to give up this much, all that is needed is a Palestinian partner to accept the offer.
Works Cited 1. Bronner, Ethan. “As Biden Visits, Israel Unveils Plan for New Settlements.”
8. Amirav, p. 8. 9. Amirav pp. 8, 24, 84-89. 10. Wasserstein p. 46. 11. Amirav pp. 8, 24, 84-89 12. The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. “Population of Israel and Jerusalem by Population Group, 1922jiis.org/.upload/web%20C0109.pdf
forthcoming Harvard UP, 2010. 15. Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition. U. of Chicago Press, 1982. 8. 3. For an analysis on authentic Islamic martyrdom, see Sharma, Sunil. “The
13. Dellapergola, Sergio. “Jerusalem’s Population, 1995-2020.” European 199. 14. Amirav pp. 8, 24, 84-89 15. Basic Law - Jerusalem - Capital of Foreign Affairs
. Retrieved September
MFA/MFAArchive/1980_1989/Basic%20 Law-%20Jerusalem-%20Capital%20 of%20Israel 16. Bronner, Ethan. “As Biden Visits, Israel Unveils Plan for New Settlements.”
of Death and Meaningful Suffering in Europe and the Middle East from Reichert, 2004. 237. 4. Rahman, 137. 5. Ibid., 158. 6. Ibid., 111. 7. For further study regarding gnosis and the homily in Islam, see Swartz, Merlin. “Arabic Rhetoric and the Art of the Homily in Medieval Islam,” from Religion and Culture in Medieval Islam.
Continued from Page 4
8. Rahman, 116. 9. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, although the students who attend
17. Paul Finkelman and Joseph Miller,
in Arabic—as Dari/Pashto, Urdu, and Persian are all written with the Arabic script—most of them cannot comprehend
Israeli Settlement Freeze Ends, Peace
com/reuters/2010/09/27/world/ international-us-palestinians-israel. html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
Continued from Page 6
Slavery,” by Ian Hancock 19. Michael Stewart, The Time of the
from memory, without having any understanding of its meaning. 10. Ibid., 15.
20. Nicolae, “Roma Rights Activists
The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in
Communication Problems and Barriers,” 272.
Praeger Security International, 2010. 24.
tariqas, see Schimmel, Annemarie. Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel
Theodor Herzl Foundation, 2002. pp. 205-238. 5. The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies. “Population of Israel and Jerusalem by Population Group, 1922-
25. Ronald Lee, “The Rom Vlach Gypsies
The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in
Romani Legal Traditions and Culture,
Praeger Security International, 2010. 24.
Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel jiis.org/.upload/web%20C0109.pdf 28. Ian, Hancock, “A Glossary of Romani
15 For further analysis on the dynamism
Traditions and Culture, edited by Walter
Exploring Muslim Understandings of Islam.
6. Wasserstein p. 46. The Palestinian-Israeli Battle for the Holy 2009. p. 24.
10 Staff Editorial
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A War Weary America America is war-weary. Since 2008, reports of the nation’s struggle to recover from the economic recession have been at the centerpiece of nearly every news cycle. Consistent monthly reports of national unemployment levels of around 10 percent have been a testament to the painfully slow economic recovery; the last time unemployment rates were this high for this long was during the Great Depression. In the midst of this economic struggle, the nation marches on into its ninth year of military operations in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. NATO members throughout Europe, once dedicated to the war effort against terrorism in Afghanistan, have since experienced similar budgetary dilemmas and have decreased military budgets to focus on economic recovery, leaving an even greater responsibility for the U.S. in the realm of international security. Given the stagnated economy, national debt reaching $13 trillion, and an increasingly unilateral undertaking to ensure global security, many Americans would like to see a return to domestic focus. Though many hungry eyes have
Letter to the Editor Sunday, August 8th was a bittersweet day. Just a few days before, the Boston University International Affair Association’s team of six had traveled to the WE Model United Nations Expo in Beijing not knowing exactly what to expect. After traveling half way around the globe we arrived, along with students from various other top universities, to host a for Chinese and international high school students.
set on the $700 billion U.S. defense budget, currently accounting for roughly 20 percent of the national budget, scaling back is more easily said than done. As the sole remaining power able to deploy and operate globally, America has saddled itself with the responsibility to ensure global security and stability. But in the face of economic woe the manner and extent to which that duty is done is likely to be dependent upon other stakeholders. Without global support, the U.S. is unlikely to continue down this road of global security. America’s decision to bring stability, by force, to the world’s most unstable regions has been seen as a grave mistake by much of the world, but to turn away now could be just as much of a mistake. In July, President Obama pulled out and has since set the schedule for troop withdrawal form Afghanistan to begin in July 2011. Whether this marks a decrease in U.S. committal to international security is yet to be seen, but if it does, the world will be the lesser for it. by the October terrorist plots in Europe uncovered by the U.S., there have been a series of both
introduced to our seemingly shy and reserved students. First impressions, however, we learned can be deceiving; as time went on these students would blossom into outstanding delegates. We debating skills, and command of the English language grew during the four short days of the conference. It was incredibly gratifying to know the role we played a in this development. While Sunday thankfully meant the end of eating cabbage fungus, millet gruel, and “Jennifer bacteria fuel” from the conference buffets,
seen and unseen security services that the U.S. has provided to the world. While these efforts have undoubtedly brought forth some of the aggression from extremists, it is doubtful that conditions would improve if left unfettered. How to ensure stability without overextension is the great question that faces the United States Al-Qaeda, keep peace between Israel and its neighbors, prevent a likely subsequent arms race in protection of its allies in Asia. Some solutions presented include increased funding to the state department to pursue alternative means of diplomacy, but this type of experimentation is unlikely in times of austerity. Efforts to rally allies could also be implored, but much of President Obama’s good will towards other nations has gone unreturned. The list goes on, but what remains certain is that the U.S. cannot do this job alone. While today’s foreign policies seem to best match American principles, now is not the time for other nations to turn away from an outstretched hand. When it is gone, the world will wish it had acted when it had the chance. would see the vast majority of the delegates we had grown so close to. With awards already submitted, Sunday’s short committee session was intended as an enjoyable close to an, at times, stressful conference. I ran a crisis for my delegates, most of whom had only participated in formal parliamentary model UN before; other BeanMUN directors also hosted somewhat light-hearted BeanMUN’s OPEC 2030 committee to a close. However, I couldn’t escape the room until well after
Fall 2010 presented me with roses and thank-you notes, eagerly asked me to sign their placards, and took hundreds of pictures with me and their fellow delegates. It was indescribably rewarding to know that I had made an impact on these students’ lives in just four days. We left the conference venue at Grand Epoch City for a hotel in night of the trip. Viewing the city through the windows of the taxi was surreal. Wide, congested roads were shared by BMWs and bicyclepowered rickshaws. Ramshackle homes and storefronts occupied the same block as multinational retail and restaurant chains. Massive skyscrapers rose through construction continued for farther than the eye could see. While we had all learned of Beijing’s recent modernization in our classes, our cab ride explained more than a textbook ever could. After getting everyone situated in the hotel, Angie, a WEMUN director, brought the BeanMUN contingent to Lets Burgers, her favorite hamburger place in Beijing. Located in the midst of an outdoor shopping center intended for Beijing’s rapidlyexpanding middle class, Lets Burgers could easily be mistaken
for a new restaurant on Newbury Street, surrounded by an Apple Store, luxury fashion boutiques, and even a Hooters. It was quite evident that Beijing had embraced at least some element of Western capitalism. As we left the heart of the consumer district and returned to the hotel, posh retailers again became crumbling storefronts and gourmet restaurants the charcoal grills of street vendors. While Beijing’s upper middle class is noticeable and growing, they still remain only a small portion of the city’s total population. The weeklong trip was amazing, and I hope to have the opportunity to return to WEMUNC in the future and have more experiences similar to this. I will always remember the impressive delegates, the accommodating
staff, and the fascinating culture that made WEMUNC 2010 so incredible, and I look forward to improving BeanMUN in the coming years. -Dan Freehling
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Thank you to all our editors and contributors Hassan Awaisi Shazi Usman Jacob Geller Dan Freehling Giuseppe Caruso Edward Hill Aura Lunde Hilary Wartinger Caitlin Lesczynski Joshua Levkowitz Kaitlin Kiernan Shivani Ray Meenal Vamburkar
This issueâ€™s cover shot by Aura Lunde, CAS â€™11 Taken in Morocco, 2010.
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Vol. 2, Issue 1 Since 2009