Where 21st Century India Stands in a World of Seven Billion King Abdullah’s Reforms: The Reality of Women’s Suffrage in Saudi Arabia Venezuela 2012: Chavez’s Cancer Takes the Presidential Race in Another Direction
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Index 3 Briefing 4 The Silent War in South Sudan
In its first year of independence, South Sudan faces not only the challenge of building a new nation, but also health and economic obstacles. The spread of AIDS in the nation remains an urgent concern for its people. By Olivia Haywood, CAS ’14
7 Iran’s Influence on Iraqi Politics
Iran has great influence in Lebanon’s political government since it intervened during the Lebanese civil war. As Iran tries to expand their regional power even further, they face powerful forces in an attempt to control the Iraqi government. By James Miller, CAS ’12
9 Tibet’s Struggle against Chinese Assimilation
HELENA CArPIO, CGS ’12
With Increased Population, Comes Increased Concern over Poverty
A man kneels by a bag of garbage and smokes his cigarette. He is one of millions in Mumbai who live below the poverty line. India’s surging population raises concerns about how it will account for the growing needs of its poor. Page 12
16 In the Wake of a Nuclear Flashback
Today, 30 percent of Japan’s energy is provided by nuclear power sources. Investigating the Japanese views on science and technology before and after the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings, sheds light on why the Japanese are facing a disconcerting flashback about nuclear power. By Wilaene Gonzalez, CAS ’14
PHOTO CREDIT/ANOUSHKA SHAHANE, CAS ’15
the IRR blog launching in December 2011
China has ruled over Tibet since the early 1800s, destroying their culture and taking away their freedom. Today, the Tibetan people struggle to keep their cultural identities intact, and they follow the Dalai Lama in a peaceful protest for independence and an end to Chinese occupation. By Anoushka Shahane, CAS ’15
12 Where 21st Century India Stands in a World of Seven Billion
On October 31, the world’s population reached 7 billion. In this Fall 2011 photojournalism spread, we look at the world’s second most populated country and explore how they will try to balance a soaring population growth rate, poverty and a rising middle class in a world of seven billion people. Photojournalism spread by Helena Carpio, CGS ’12 and Steph Solis, COM ’14
19 The Reality of Voting Rights for Women in Saudi Arabia
The king of Saudi Arabia recently declared that women in his kingdom would finally be able to vote, but what does this actually mean? The rights of Saudi citizens are viewed in a new light, showing more restrictions than actual benefits. By Lulia Hito, CAS ’12
20 Ireland’s 2011 Presidential Election: Sinn
Fèin’s Long Road to Political Reinvention
The 2011 Irish presidential elections suggest that Sinn Fèin continues to be seen as a militant political party, proving that it will struggle to establish its new message of peace, independence and unity for Ireland. By Sarah Miller, CAS ’13
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Venezuela 2012 Explore what repercussions Chavez’s recently discovered cancer has already had for the campaigns of the 2012 presidential elections. How will the opposition and “Chavistas” modify their campaigns to accommodate the president’s illness? Which of the two factions truly has a viable chance of winning?
The IR Review accepts letters from students, faculty and anyone else from within the Boston University community. Find out how to submit. Page 23
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The Pakistani Telecommunications Authority ordered mobile phone operators to block 1,600 inappropriate words or phrases from text messages, news reports said. Fifty phrases with the “F” words have been banned, along with words such as “athlete’s foot,” “bisexual” and “satan.” The decision, the court said, was aimed at protecting the Pakistani youth from obscene language via text message.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou resigned on November 10. Earlier that week he called for a referendum on austerity measures and then cancelled it. He was replaced by Lucas Papademos, former vice president of the European Central Bank. Papademos has said that he will keep Greece in the Eurozone.
Photo Credit/Helena Carpio, CGS ’12
“Man vs. Wild”
Located in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland, this mountain saddle is often called "The Top of Europe." This pass houses the highest railway station in Europe, at an elevation of 3,454 meters (11,332 ft), and one of the Global Atmosphere Watch's atmospheric research stations. The latter were established by the World Meteorological Organization – a United Nations agency – to monitor trends in the Earth's atmosphere.
India’s largest corruption trial began on Nov. 11. Former Telecommunications Ministers A Raja and MP Kanimozhi, along with 14 people from private firms or government offices, face charges of selling mobile phone frequency licenses at a drastically reduced price. The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation estimates that the The Indian government may have lost as much as $40 billion as a result of the corruption. the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation estimates. The trial is expected to involve about 150 witnesses and may be long and drawn out.
The European Union, the Organization of American States and Nicaraguan opposition leaders have accused the Supreme Electoral Council of fraud in the 2011 election. The electoral process did not appear to be transparent or impartial, according to an EU report. The electoral council named incumbent Daniel Ortega president on Nov. 6. With support from the Sandinistas, Ortega passed a constitutional amendment lifting term limits in 2009. This is Ortega’s third presidential victory.
Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, announced on November 6 that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia commander Alfonso Cano had been killed in a missile strike. FARC posted a pledge on the Swedish Anncol website stating that they would continue their fight despite the death of their leader. FARC, a left-wing rebel group, is on both the U.S. and European Union’s lists of terrorist organizations.
On November 10, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that he would resign as soon as austerity measures passed both houses of the Italian Parliament. The following day, according to the government’s website, the upper house of the Italian Parliament, passed the Law of Stability, making it likely that Berlusconi’s resignation will occur soon. The rate that investors demanded on Italian bonds hit the 7 percent mark that Thursday, the level at which Ireland and Portugal were forced to accept international bailouts. An Italian debt has even more implications for the Eurozone than Ireland, Portugal, and Greece because it is the third largest economy in the Euro,
according to the CIA World Factbook. According to Reuters, technocrat Mario Monti has been proposed as a possible replacement prime minister. Iran The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Nov. 11 that Iran’s nuclear program might be intended for the development of an atomic bomb that would be used for military purposes. The allegation was fiercely denied by Iranian diplomats. Shortly after, Russia ruled out further sanctions against the Tehran regime, and it discouraged a possible military strike from Israel or the United States, according to an article published by Reuters.
A United Nations report released on November 9 stated that the death toll in Syria had surpassed 3,500 people. In the last few weeks, however, hundreds more have been killed. Protests in Syria started in January with demands for political freedom and the end of Bashar al-Assad’s rule. Assad has governed with an iron fist since 2000, succeeding his father who had ruled for three decades.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization voted on Oct. 31 to accept Palestine as a full member of the organization. This was done over the forceful protests of the U.S. and Israel. UNESCO is the first UN organization to accept Palestine as a full member state, according to a statement by Director-General Irina Bokova. Bokova said that UNESCO.
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August South Sudanese vicepresident John Garang, a former rebel leader, is killed in a plane crash. Salva Kiir Mayardiit succeeds him.
October In line with the January 2005 peace deal, an autonomous government is formed in South Sudan.
2005 January The civil war ends with the North/ South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which grants the south autonomy, starts a power-sharing government with Khartoum rebels and declares a south Sudanese referendum on its independence in 2011.
October Accusing Khartoum of failing to honor 2005 peace deal, SPLM temporarily suspends participation in national unity government.
March Clashes between an Arab militia and SPLM in the disputed Abyei area on the North-South divide—a key sticking point in the 2005 peace accord.
June Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir agree to seek international arbitration for Abyei.
July North and South Sudan say they accept ruling by arbitration court in The Hague shrinking disputed Abyei region and placing the major Heglig oil field in the north.
2008 May Intense fight breaks out between northern and southern forces in disputed oil-rich town of Abyei.
November Hundreds die in fighting around the southern town of Malakal—the worst incident since the 2005 peace deal. December SPLM resumes participation September in national unity government. Power-sharing government is formed in Khartoum.
January Al-Bashir says he would accept the referendum outcome.
2010 December Leaders of North and South reach deal on terms of referendum on independence due in South Sudan by 2011.
May North occupies disputed border region of Abyei. February Fighting breaks out near Abyei.
July 9, 2011 Independence day.
2011 January The people of South Sudan vote in favor of full independence from the north.
June Khartoum government denies that its supplying arms to ethnic groups in the south to destabilize the region. Kiir warns his forces are being reorganized to be ready for any return to war with the north.
June Both governments sign accord to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region and let in an Ethiopian peacekeeping force.
March South Sudan’s government says it is suspending talks with the North, accusing it of plotting a coup.
The Silent War in South Sudan
The Struggle to Fight HIV/AIDS in the World’s Newest Country By Olivia Haywood, CAS ’14 For the people of South Sudan, July 9, 2011 was a monumental day; full of tears and smiles signifying the end of more than two decades of civil war. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese citizens clamored in their capital city of Juba to watch vehemently as the flag of Sudan, a symbol of violence and disunity, was finally lowered. For former child soldier Charles Mamur, the story was no different. Two years before independence, Mamur bought his freedom suit to wear for the day that South Sudan gained its independence: tan, single-breasted, with three buttons. He “never believed that the moment of freedom would come,” but after the loss of nearly two million
people arising from the genocide and civil war, South Sudan is now an independent state. The region is enveloped in emotion and exalted excitement, but the seemingly perennial civil war has not ended without severe consequences, especially for the South Sudanese women who struggle with the damaged health care system. South Sudan is one of the world’s least-developed countries, and it also has the highest maternal death rate in the world. PBS reports that “[a] fifteen year old girl is more likely to die in childbirth than finish school.” According to “The Price of Silence: HIV/AIDS control in Sudan” published by the Sudan Tribune, the
war “had devastating effects on the health care system, most of the health care facilities in the south have either been completely destroyed by the war or lack the most basic medical supplies.” A significant number of hospitals and health centers face not only shortages of medicine, but also of nurses and human capital: the hospitals’ employes are lacking in adequate medical skills. The dearth of medical facilities in the new state further exacerbates the many diseases prevalent in South Sudan, such as malaria and typhoid fever. Since the devastating civil war had such calamitous effects on the health care system, South Sudan’s ability to
support its disease-afflicted population drastically declined. Just a day after Independence Day, while all businesses were closed, Juba Teaching Hospital was found operating far beyond its capacity. Senior medical officer at Juba, Robert Napoleon, explained that normally Juba, one of South Sudan’s best hospitals, handles 200 patients per day, but on July 9, there were twice as many patients receiving care. According to the African Medical and Research Foundation, an international African aid organization, there is only one doctor available for every 100,000 people. With the increasing paucity of nurses and resources, South Sudan’s health system
is succumbing to the excess demand of services that it simply cannot afford to supply. South Sudan’s domestic health care aid seems minuscule. Medecins Sans Frontieres estimates that international aid groups, such as The World Bank and World Health Organization, provide 80 percent of health-care aid. For South Sudan, although the violent civil war has ended, there is still a constant threat posed by biological forces, especially HIV/AIDS. The harsh reality is that this virus threatens to take more lives than the devastating Sudanese civil war and genocide. Currently, 116,000 people are known to be infected with AIDS in South
Sudan, yet only 46,000 are undergoing treatment at local hospitals.2 In comparison with the rest of Africa, South Sudan ranks in the middle of the continent’s HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate, but this comparative data fails to illustrate the traumatic impact of the disease in the South Sudanese population. According to the Southern Sudan Aids Commission, 4.7 million people are at risk of acquiring the disease, far exceeding the total lives lost in the civil war. WHO Director in South Sudan, Dr. Mohamed Abdi emphasizes that in more than two years working in the region, he has seen very few people getting treatment.3 Furthermore, Dr. Olivia Lomoro, the Government of
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Southern Sudan’s Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health warned, “HIV/ AIDS is a real issue in Southern Sudan despite the efforts we have put to fight it. It remains a threat and a time bomb we are expecting.” This HIV/AIDS “ticking time bomb” threatens the future of Southern Sudan and if it is not properly addressed, could pose a great deterrent to the success and stability of this new state. While HIV/AIDS in South Sudan could potentially have catastrophic effects on the new state, many international organizations, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, have taken extensive efforts to combat the disease in this region. With a $27 million budget and a myriad of international partners involved, since 2008, 4,156 people with HIV/AIDS have had access to treatment and since the program’s creation in 2006, more than 20 treatment centers have been established across the nation of South Sudan.4 Significant advances were also seen in the increase of people receiving voluntary HIV counseling/testing and education about the disease according to UNAIDS. For Fozia Bullen, an HIV infected South Sudanese citizen, these advances mean she has access to better treatment and better health through antiretroviral therapy. Although Bullen is just one of the many people living with HIV in South Sudan, her recovery serves as an example of the successful efforts undertaken to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Sudan. The United Nations Development Programme has also undertaken extensive efforts in supporting South Sudan’s battle with HIV/AIDS, as well as their consolidation as a new nation. The UNDP’s strategy in the region seeks to “professionalize the public service, strengthen management of public resources and improve the rule of law and the security of communities,” all seen by UNDP as building blocks of
a functioning state.5 Subsequently, their strategy has proven successful, especially with its placement of
“Even with the relative successes of the international organizations, without support and national policy from South Sudan’s government, the fight against HIV/ AIDS cannot reach fruition...” financial specialists. Now, all ten states in South Sudan have budgets, thus bolstering the economic stability of South Sudan and its Ministry of Finance. Even with the relative successes of international organizations, without support and national policy from South Sudan’s government, the fight against HIV/AIDS cannot reach fruition and South Sudan’s dependence on foreign assistance could inhibit their government’s power and sovereignty. In efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS in South Sudan, its newly formed government has taken initiatives to control the spread of the virus. The South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, recently launched a new HIV/AIDS Awareness campaign in September of this year. The campaign aims to reduce and prevent new HIV/AIDS infections through the
creation of an enabling environment for HIV response and mobilization of communities at all levels. A central aspect of the campaign includes radio and talk shows, workshops, rallies and tournaments, all geared towards higher awareness and knowledge about HIV/ AIDS. The SSAC’s initiative to implement a national awareness policy steadily represents a transfer of control and power from international organizations to the South Sudanese government. Despite progress in South Sudan, during the launching ceremony, the Commission recognized “greater investment and commitment is needed from the government, donors, international organizations, civil society and individuals if new HIV infections are to be averted.” To South Sudan’s advantage, international organizations, like UNDP, gladly provide the support needed to fight HIV/AIDS. George Conway, Deputy Head of Office of UNDP South Sudan asserts, “We will continue to stand by the people of South Sudan as they transition through independence and work to build a strong, stable and responsive state.” Amidst an ostensibly challenging problem to conquer, HIV/ AIDS provides South Sudan with an opportunity to define itself as a new nation. Hope still exists for the people and the government of South Sudan. Despite the critical state of their health system, South Sudan has taken the preliminary and fundamental steps needed to mitigate the virus. Perhaps the most exemplary display of this effort, is the initiative to implement a national HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, strengthening former child soldier Charles Mamur’s belief in South Sudan’s independence and national motto“Victory is ours.” The citations for this piece will appear online at buiaa.org/ir-review/.
A History of Political Interferrence Iran’s Hidden Influence on Post-Saddam Iraqi Politics By James Miller, CAS ’12 By December 31, 2011, most of the U.S. Coalition Forces will have been formally withdrawn from Iraq, in accordance with the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement signed between then-U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Kamal Al-Maliki. Since the fall of the Hussein regime in 2003 Iran has covertly funded and assisted Iraqi militias and politicians who would be particularly receptive and beneficial to Iranian interests. Iran has gained a foothold in Iraqi politics, which raises concerns about the future viability of the Iraqi nation. Tehran’s involvement in an Arab country contending with a Western occupying force is not unique to post-Saddam Iraq. In 1982, Tehran intervened in Lebanon out of similar strategic reasoning. The Lebanese civil war provides an incredibly useful template to view Iranian techniques, tactics, procedures and ambitions in Iraq. Iran’s actions in the Lebanese civil war and in post-Saddam Iraq were motivated by a desire to undermine a Western occupation force, rally the Islamic Shia populations, and extend Iranian influence and regional power. In both instances, Iran fought on its own asymmetric terms using covert proxy forces. Such forces offered plausible deniability as well as limited the chances for widespread retaliation against the regime. Iran’s guerilla warfare and irregular tactics were perfected through trial and error in the tribulations of the Lebanese civil war and were exported to Iraq to stand against the American-led coalition in 2003. Israel invaded Lebanon in
Photo Credit/Mahtab Motazedian, COM ’14
The Iranian flag stands in the ruins of Persepolis.
1982 to destroy the nascent PLO and establish a friendly Christian government, thus putting itself in direct conflict with Syria, a crucial economic ally to Tehran.1 The invasion proved successful until counter attacks by largely Iranian trained and led “collaborative militias” such as the Lebanese National Resistance Movement, making the conflict unmanageable.3 Iran’s interest lay in maintaining its crucial alliance with Syria and protecting the displaced and neglected Lebanese Shiite under the banner of the Islamic Republic of Tehran. Iranian involvement in Lebanon also made it a major player in the Israel-Palestine conflict.4
The religiously divided Lebanese society provided the perfect operating room for Iranian use of proxy forces and irregular militias. Iranian forces were innovative in urban guerilla warfare and complex ambush tactics and acquired knowledge of bomb making that it passed down to proxies and militias in Iraq. After the cessation of hostilities in Lebanon, Hezbollah continued its presence in the region, and is currently a major political force represented in the Lebanese parliament. Iran’s mobilization of the Lebanese Shiite Muslim community and its resistance of foreign occupation through use of guerilla tactics can be seen as largely successful. The Iranian
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regime seems to have sought similar success after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Like many Middle Eastern countries, Iraq is strongly defined by its sectarian and tribal lines. Kinship and tribalism have prevailed over thousands of years and remain relevant forces due to government inadequacies, resource scarcity and the subsequent
inside the British consulate employees and visitors were advised not to use mobile phones for fear of Iranian surveillance.8 As in Lebanon, Iran became significantly involved in Iraqi politics. Many Iraqi political parties retained their own private militias, as those in Lebanon had, when sectarian conflict spiraled into further violence in 2004.
Fall 2011 CPA created a council disbarring any politician who was determined to be allied with Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. Under Hussein, Iraq was a one-party state, in which any high level position had a de facto membership or party association requirement. While laws such as De-Baathification seemed to make sense, they disbarred much of the intelligentsia from meaningful
While Iran wields political influence in Iraq, the lack of substantial economic investment, coupled with anti-Iranian sentiment, may indicate limits to Iran’s influence in Iraq in the long term. necessary support network. During the Saddam era, the Sunnies, a minority tribe in Iraq led by Hussein, stayed in power largely through repression. The American invasion upended the ruling Sunni tribe dynamic, and the democratic society U.S. coalition forces envisioned benefited Shiite Muslims, encompassing 60 percent of Iraqis.5 In this respect, the aims of the Americans were not far from the Iranians. The Iraq war of 2003, like the Lebanese civil war, included the intervention of a foreign force. However, the Iranian response in Iraq was made more urgent by the shared border between the two nations. Iraqi Shiite militias were trained and equipped in Iran, executed attacks against the Coalition Forces. Within two years of the invasion, top American and British authorities began releasing statements detailing Iranian funded and trained militia activity.6 Improvised explosive devices, virtually identical to bombs constructed and used in Lebanon in the 1980s, began appearing in Iraq.1 Further intelligence findings of the Coalition Forces indicate “training packages” run by the Revolutionary Guard Corp for the leaders of Shiite militias.7 Iranian intelligence activities were deemed so pervasive that even
Several Shiite Iraqi political parties under the United Iraqi Alliance received funding, shelter and military training from the Qods force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.9 The Badr militia under the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a particularly pro-Iranian political organization, received direct funding and military training from Iranian special operations groups.10 Due to its own policy of De-Baathification, the Coalition Provisional Authority had to rely on parties that were banned during Saddam’s reign. SCIRI and Dawaa, two prominent Iraqi political parties that had been based in Iran for years, emerged quickly in Iraq as a political force willing to communicate and conduct business with the Americans. The Shia Islamist parties were suddenly capturing Iraqi votes and party seats, placing a large amount of Iranian influence in the day-to-day politics of the Iraqi state. Policies of the United States CPA did little to stem outside interference. In the first directive to the country, the CPA caused disorder by immediately purging all senior and junior Baath party members from their positions in any work affiliated with the public sector.13 Iraqi DeBaathification Laws instated by the
participation in society and have now been credited as a significant contribution to the insurgency and rise in militia activity.14 This disarray in society is illustrated by the laments of an Iraqi civil servant, following the fall of Hussein, “democracy has made everyone incompetent. We used to have standards here. In the past, people worked at their jobs… Now no one cares anymore we don’t have elementary statistics. The department’s work is not getting done….”15 The dysfunction of Iraqi society and security were the perfect conditions for outside interference. The CPA relied largely on exiles to head the leadership of many aspects of civil society and to influence important policy. In neo-conservative circles pushing for the Iraq War, exiled and influential Iraqi businessman, Ahmad Chalabi, and other exiles allied with America, were given special prominence before the 2003 invasion.2 As “almost invariably the exiles’ only service is too promote their own personal interests,”16 the relationship between exiles and American politicians quickly deteriorated. Intercepted communications indicated that Chalabi had close dealings with the Iranian security service, targeting
Iranian dissidents and other politicians for execution by Shiite militias.17 The disbarment of Iraqi society’s key decision makers, dissolution of the security forces and reliance on exiles with questionable motives paved the way for a strong outside presence in Iraqi affairs. Despite extensive influence, complete Iranian domination of Iraq remains to be seen. In a recent New York Times interview with the mayor of the southern Shiite Iraqi city of Najaf, “officials still complain of lowquality Iranian goods, as well as little real investment from their eastern neighbor and violence perpetrated by militias with links to Iran.”11 The anemic Iranian economy, estimated by the Central Intelligence Agency to have grown 1 percent in the past year, has yet to match the Turkish investment growth and development in the state of Iraq, yet another factor limiting Iranian influence over Iraq.12 While Iran wields political influence in Iraq, the lack of substantial economic investment coupled with anti-Iranian sentiment may indicate limits to Iran’s influence in Iraq in the long term. The Iranian regime sought to increase their state security and regional power, strike against foreign occupation and rally the Islamic Shiite populations by involving themselves in Lebanon and Iraq. Ill-fated decisions by the CPA gave further openings to Iranian political and militant influence. Overall, with its continued support of Hezbollah and subsequent influence in Lebanese politics, Iran accomplished its goals in Lebanon. While Iran achieved initial success in Iraq, its economic position as well as other factors including Iraqi sentiments may curtail its future influence in Iraq. In Lebanon, Iran maintains significant control over the government through Hezbollah. In Iraq, the future is far from certain. The citations for this piece will appear online at buiaa.org/ir-review/.
Tibet’s Struggle against Chinese Assimilation By Anoushka Shahane, CAS ’15
Photo Credit/Anoushka Shahane, CAS ’15
A Tibetan girl walks through the government campus. Chinese forces have pushed for changes that aim to wipe out Tibetan culture.
On a small plateau in central Asia, the highest region in the world, the Tibetan people struggle for freedom from Chinese control. Today, “Hanification” is taking place; Tibet is being overtaken by the Han, an ethnic majority in China. Tibetans are losing jobs, as preference is given to the Han, Tibetan unity is diminished, and their culture is shattered.1 Tibetan exiles estimate that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed from Chinese brutality during peaceful protests within Tibet.2 In the 18th century, when the Qing dynasty took control over Tibet, the emperor appointed the Dalai Lama as the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, sustaining peace for the next fifty years. The Chinese continued its rule over Tibet until European visitors began to express interest in trading in the region, and by the early 1800s, the British began covertly mapping the land. Subsequently, the British invaded
Lhasa in 1904, forcing Tibetans to give Britain supreme trading rights. Not long after, in 1910, the Qing recaptured Tibet, and maintained power untilthe People’s Liberation Army of China invaded in 1949.3 4 China agreed to respect and preserve the existing Tibetan administrative system overseen by the Dalai Lama, but the agreement was quickly broken and the Tibetans were forced to acquiesce to the Seventeen Points Agreement, officially bringing Tibet under full complete Chinese control. Beijing began instituting reforms in Tibet, triggering strong opposition and sending the Dalai Lama and the rest of the Tibetan government into exile in India. Tibet’s cry for help did not elicit much support internationally, but the Tibetan people continue to protest peacefully, with only one occurrence of a violent outbreak. Since 1950, Tibetans have been denied basic human rights guaranteed
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Photo Credit/Anoushka Shahane, CAS’15
Children play a game in the field at Tibetan Children’s Village campus.
by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: freedom of expression, selfdetermination, movement, assembly and speech. During China’s cultural revolution, the Chinese destroyed Tibetan religious artifacts and appeared at religious institutions, forcing monks to denounce the Dalai Lama as their leader. Chinese authorities tortured civilians and religious leaders, almost 75 percent of the population. The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy states that more than 11,000 monks or nuns have been detained since 1996 for opposing the Chinese in these circumstances.5 6 However, the exiled Tibetan government has been able to build a strong community in Dharamsala, India. India’s government gave the Dalai Lama the land at the time he sought refuge. Now, over 100,000 Tibetan refugees live there. They started off by living in tents, but the Indian government and other organizations have helped them establish proper refugee settlements. Development in the area has led to the building of hotels, restaurants and other important infrastructure. In 1980, the Dalai Lama
formulated the Five Point Peace Plan, calling for freedom and peace for the Tibetan people. He later developed the Strasbourg proposal, which became the basis for a negotiated settlement stating that Tibet was a self-governing area in association with the People’s Republic of China.7 Beijing rejected the proposal, and many Tibetans saw this proposal as a betrayal of their desire for liberty and subsequently began to question the non-violent acts. In March 1994, the Dalai Lama spoke to the exiled Tibetan community and called for a vote between independence, self-determination, his own proposal to compromise and non-violent resistance. Whatever the outcome, he mandated that non-violence should be the means to their goal, and in the end, the Tibetans let the Dalai Lama decide.8 The Central Tibetan Administration, now located in McLeodganj near Dharamsala, has established a democratic system, where Tibetans can participate in elections and the government is offered financial assistance internationally. The CTA established a democratic charter to sustain a stable foundation and gain insight on the people’s views and desires
regarding further action. With separate headquarters for different departments, the CTA campus has all the resources and facilities needed to run a modern government, while holding on to their small country’s heritage. Tibet is a geopolitical asset for China, as it has access to the Arabian Sea and connects to south and central Asia. The land is rich with natural resources, such as minerals, oil, and natural gas reserves, and produces large amounts of geothermal, solar and wind energy, including 30 percent of China’s hydro-electric output. 9 The Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV), located in southern India, consists of over 20,000 refugees who are fed, housed and educated. The camps are run like ordinary boarding schools, with dormitories, student clubs and organizations, Secondary Education examinations, large play areas and classrooms. Resources are limited, however, and the facilities are bare with 10 to 15 children sharing a dorm room. Each family has a different story to tell, with an array of struggling situations and harsh circumstances but the common denominator in each of their lives is a desire for a safe haven. Many of the children graduate and begin working, ultimately finding success in their endeavors which would only have been possible with the TCV. Many people are utterly uninformed of the Tibetan issue and how it continues to affect the lives of Tibetans everyday. Sometimes termed as a “cultural genocide,” the Chinese oppression presses on, but the Tibetan people are not broken, and their perseverance continues to brighten their future hopes for independence. Today, Tibet has a visible international standing, with a number of countries welcoming the Dalai Lama and showing their immense respect for the brave and peaceful leader.
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Where 21st Century India Stands in a World of Seven Billion The Detrimental Impact of India’s Poverty Issues in the Midst of Rapid Population Growth and Economic Advancement By Steph Solis, COM ’14
nited Nations officials marked Oct. 31 as the day the world would reach a population of 700 billion. India claimed its part in reaching the milestone with the birth of Nargis Yadav, of Uttar Pradesh. While Nargis is one of hundreds of thousands of babies born on that day, he represents the booming population growth in India and its ever-present multitude of citizens living below the poverty line. With more than 1 billion inhabitants, India is second only to China in its population and is experiencing a faster growth, according to the eighth edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World. Statistics project that India might surpass China by 2030. India, a rapidly growing major economic power, is expected to continue to expand. A 2007 study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that India may become the world’s
fifth-largest consumer by 2025, from its current spot as the 12th largest. The study projected that if the economy grows at a sustained rate during that period, average household incomes will likely triple. Without reducing its high poverty rate, however, India would sustain a gap between the rich and the poor that could eventually threaten the nation’s rising middle class. While the poverty rate has decreased over the last three decades, the World Bank estimates that 42 percent of India’s population lives below the poverty line–with an average daily budget of $1.25 as of 2005. Its poverty rate has dropped, from 60 percent in 1981, but the total number has still risen as India’s population has increased. Nargis’ birthplace, Uttar Pradesh, is one of the most densely populated states in India, but it is also one of the poorest. The region, once noted for its rich natural resources, is now known for its economic failures and rise in poverty in the 1980s, according to a 2002 report from the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit. Today, the people of Uttar Pradesh reflect a demographic in India that lacks the resources and opportunities to work toward financial stability. A World Bank review published in July 2011 shows that while India has spent an impressive amount of money, its antipoverty programs have struggled
Photo Credit/Helena Carpio, CGS ’12
Over the last three decades, the poverty rate has reportedly decreased, according to the World Bank. However, an estimated 42 percent of India’s population still lives below the poverty line–with an average daily budget of $1.25 as of 2005. The number of people living in these conditions has increased, in spite of the lowered poverty rate, as the country’s (and the world’s) population has grown.
Photo Courtesy of Micaela Beddell
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to bring about positive results. India allotted 2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product to protective programs, largely focused on food support, to provide basic necessities to those below the poverty line. These programs, however, have fallen victim to government corruption and inefficiency: failures in coordinating the delivery of programs and holding lower-level staff accountable, biases leaning toward program implementation in rural areas and numerous other challenges. The review highlights the success of one reform, the 2006 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which exemplifies successful enforcement of India’s anti-poverty initiatives. The program involves structured strategies through which Panchayati Raj Institutions implement community development projects, social audits by communities rating performance and stricter oversight of lower-level staff. The government’s initiatives have not yet produced significant gains for the poor, but programs such as those brought about by the Employment Guarantee Act suggest that India is making strides toward concrete reform. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser held a press conference on Oct. 31, in which they expressed concerns about the impact population growth has had on global sustainability and economic inequality. Al-Nasser called the milestone a reminder of how the world’s “bottom billion” lack access to basic necessities, according to a U.N. press release. “Seven billion people face, almost on a daily basis–with varying degrees of severity–the consequences of environmental challenges, increasing poverty, inequity, wars and economic instability,” Al-Nasser said. While sustained population growth brings a multitude of challenges for the global community, the
increase of poverty levels reflects the continuously widening gap between the number of rich and poor people. High poverty levels not only limit the advancement of several nations. They also manifest the dangerous notion that the world’s growing poverty is an insurmountable challenge. India stands as an anomaly: a developing nation with the resources needed to pull many of its inhabitants above the poverty line. In spite of this potential, the government has not used them to ameliorate living standards
and economic opportunities for the poor. While India continues its rise in the international community, it must remember that, like any nation, it is only as strong as its weakest link. As of now, its weakest link is poverty and the government’s inefficiency in eradicating this crisis. If it refines its anti-poverty initiatives, it could demonstrate a milestone of its own-proving itself, and potentially other developing nations, capable of tackling one of the most pervasive issue related to population growth.
Photo Credit for all photos/Helena Carpio, CGS ’12
The people depicted here live in Mumbai, a city in India well-known for its slums. On the top, a man kneels by his home as laundry hangs to dry on a line. A girl stands (bottom left) covered by a blanket and a family (bottom right) hand-wash their clothes in the street. About half of Mumbai’s 12 million inhabitants live in the slums, also referred to as “informal” housing, according to a 2007 article in National Geographic.
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In the Wake of a Nuclear Flashback
Japan’s Perceptions of Nuclear Power Sixty Six Years after the Bomb By Wilaene Gonzalez, CAS ’14 Most people remember the use of nuclear arms by the U.S. in Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II, but Japan is also recognized as a leader in nuclear power use. While they endured the nuclear bomb attacks that devastated Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Japanese embrace nuclear power as a technological resource for their country’s development. Sixty-six years have passed since the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and now Japan suffers a similar disaster in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Investigating the Japanese views of science and technology before and after the bombings may explain why the Japanese are facing this disconcerting flashback about nuclear power. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan’s northeastern coast and caused immediate complications at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) categorized this crisis a level-seven accident, due to the major release of radioactive material with health and environmental effects. It stands second only to the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. The Fukushima plant faces repairs in infrastructure, with four of the six nuclear units showing serious damage, but the most significant preoccupation today is radiation containment. The Japanese people have run into issues with nuclear energy before, often in the most dreadful situations. The country’s emphasis on technological advancement, however, has prompted the people to support nuclear power as an innovative energy source in spite of the disasters they have endured. The Japanese people described
their views of technology in the 1930s with one word: menace. Technology belonged to the enemy and was a threat to their well being and the country’s development. Unno Juza’s 1939 story “Mr. F the Robot” represents the Japanese view of technology and science before World War II. The story shows a child named Shota and a private investigator not only finding the killer of Shota’s friend, but also exposing him as a robot. In the end, the private investigator explains “What a terrifying power of science! We Japanese must work harder!”1 Juza’s story reflects the Japanese view of technology as an evil force threatening to take over human civilization, but also shows a desire to aspire to advance in technology and science to gain economic and military power. Above all, the story reflects the nation’s state of mind at the time: the Japanese felt threatened by their weakness in technology and identified the need to catch up. Japan remains the only nation to have experienced a nuclear attack. Before the bombings, Japan was leading the fight of the Axis Powers in the Pacific theater. The people had designated “safe areas” and Hiroshima had a well developed plan for evacuation.2 Although they were anticipating an attack, the people expected conventional bombings in the city. American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton interviewed a man who survived the attacks, who said, “[W]e thought something would happen, but we never imagined anything like the atomic bomb.”3 People who witnessed and lived through the bombings believed the world was coming to an end, but they did not imagine it had been caused by a nuclear bomb. With the end of World War II, the U.S. occupied Japan from 1945
until 1952. Claiming a responsibility to assist with Japan’s democratization, the U.S. military restricted popular knowledge surrounding events during the war and the post-war era in Japan. The military’s Civil Information and Education unit, in addition to the Civil Censorship Detachment union, monitored Japanese public opinion about the A-bomb. The unit sought to prevent people from turning against the occupying government and thus supervised, guided and censored all forms of Japanese expression and mass communications. More so, the military censors had the final authority over what could be shown to the Japanese public. Japanese filmmakers were told to make sure they expressed that the Americans had no other solution to end the war than to drop the bombs. They were told to express that in reality, the blame should fall on the Japanese military because of its refusal to surrender.4 The influence generated by the U.S. occupation period in Japan is probably responsible for the fact that there wasn’t much anti-nuclear literature or commentary during that time. More importantly, the occupation period did not give the Japanese people enough time to truly engage the meaning and implications of the new nuclear-driven world. It was during that time that a robot Astroboy was born. Astroboy first appeared in a 1952 issue of Shonen, a highly popular magazine, and later became an animated television series beginning in 1963. An invincible boy robot created from the most advanced technology, Astroboy was a friend to the Japanese who manifested their willingness to move forward. Postwar Japanese culture capitalized upon the “happy marriage between science and democracy.”5 For this reason, Astroboy also symbolized democratic values such as peace, progress, and justice. These questionable views of technological advancement, in spite of the tragedies of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings, reflect the
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impact of the U.S. occupational period in Japan. Japan’s anti-nuclear sentiment became evident after the 1954 Lucky Dragon tuna fish boat incident, in which the U.S. detonated a bomb on the coast of Bikini Island. The magnitude of the incident, combined with the exposure the Japanese had to such news after the U.S. military left, allowed for more expression of anti-nuclear sentiment, such as Minoru Maeda’s animated film Taiyo Wo Nakushita Hi. Maeda’s film served as a direct response to the atomic bombing, depicting Hiroshima as his father saw it before the bombing and presenting the loss of the town’s architectural heritage. The second generation’s responses after the atomic attack on Hiroshima proves that the film is “not only about loss-- it is a work about inheriting loss.”6 The Lucky Dragon incident reminded the Japanese people of the legacy of World War II and the insensitivity of the U.S. In 1976, the Japanese government ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which they vowed that Japan would not possess, produce or permit nuclear weapons in the country. They also abide by the Atomic Energy Basic Law, which states that Japan’s nuclear activities will be conducted for peaceful purposes only.7 But why would the Japanese even consider using atomic energy after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki tragedies? The shift was based on their goal of “building a nation of science.”8 While the people saw the atomic power in weapons as a negative use of nuclear technology, they were not discouraged from harnessing this same power for good usage, such as the creation of nuclear power plants to produce energy. Despite the fact that nuclear weapons do not pose an immediate threat to the country’s security, Japan continues to suffer environmental consequences from similar nuclear devastation in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Jonathan Schell in his article “From Hiroshima to
Fukushima” discusses the complexity of nuclear technology and the chances of something going wrong, stating, “[s]ometimes the problem is a tsunami, and sometimes it is an operator asleep at the switch [of the cooling pumps].” He argues that it is not Japan’s fault for using nuclear energy and states that humans are “unfit to wield the stellar fire released by the split or fused atom.”9 Schell provides interesting insight about these matters, but the most significant observation is that the complexity of this technology has caused problems since its initial installments. The nuclear plant facilities are very old establishments with large, rugged machinery that have not been modernized since their opening, which increases the possibility for accidents. When accidents have occurred, nuclear power companies have tried to keep them out of the spotlight. Even with better plants and more severe regulations, there is still room for problems when working with nuclear technology. It seems that the Japanese have a false sense of security reigned by their admiration of technology and the idea that if nuclear technology can be used to further the country’s development, it should not be disregarded even if it could have serious repercussions. Antony Froggatt, senior research fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resource Governance program at the Chatham House in London, comments that the Fukushima crisis highlights that in the
Fall 2011 future, the engineering and financial costs associated with nuclear power will increase and that there will be greater focus on protecting plants from environmental threats.10 This incident makes a strong case for the use of alternative renewable energy sources because these alone can meet global energy needs without the risks that nuclear energy creates. Given that about 30 percent of Japan’s energy came from nuclear power sources, the country will have a great need to diversify their energy sector and utilize alternative sources. Sixty-six years have passed since the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima and during this time the Japanese have used nuclear energy as a viable tool for the advancement of technology in Japan. They are now in the midst of a crisis in Fukushima which is yet to be resolved and disturbs the Japanese people with the uncertainty of the effects of radiation. We would have expected that the Japanese learned from their experiences with nuclear devastation, but it seems that the lessons learned were in vain; had it been otherwise, the Fukushima crisis might not have occurred. One can only hope that with this catastrophe, the Japanese people, and the rest of the world, finally understand the dangers of nuclear power and that the consequences could lead to serious tragedy. The citations for this piece will appear online at buiaa.org/ir-review/.
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King Abdullah’s Reforms: The Reality of Women’s Suffrage in Saudi Arabia By Lulia Hito, CAS ’12 The dust has settled after Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud announced on September 25, 2011 that he would give women in the Kingdom the right to vote and the chance to run for office in local elections.1 This declaration was exalted as a great reform to Saudi Arabia, which The World Economic Forum ranked 130 out of 134 countries for gender parity in their 2009 Global Gender Gap Report.2 However, their excitement quickly dissipated when Saudi women realized that the kingdom has held only two elections since 1963 and that their newly-acquired right to vote would not take effect until 2015.3 The King’s declaration came after a wave of popular uprisings in neighboring Arab countries, which have proven successful in ousting the lasting governments. Given the timeliness of the grant, the Saudi government may appear to be pushing forth a preemptive compromise as opposed to a true initiative for reform. However, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor praised their oil-rich ally for granting women the right to participate "in the decisions that affect their lives and communities," a response contradicted in the critical remarks expressed when addressing policy changes from other Middle Eastern regimes, such as Syria’s seemingly superficial reforms.4 Phillip Luther, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa appeared less reluctant to commend the King, calling the grant a “welcome, albeit limited step” toward gender equality in Saudi Arabia. By limited, Luther said that the change is not only overdue, but also not “nearly enough.”5 The most obvious grievance
surrounding the reform is that Saudi women must wait four more years to exercise their voting rights and have their voice heard in municipal elections. As the Kingdom’s only public poll, the municipal elections hold very little sway in the direction of the absolute
The real issue behind this reform is that it seems to be superficial in nature, given that under the current system of government voting, no Saudi citizen, much less a woman, has any real power. monarchy. Saudi blogger Abdul Majd Al Buluwi expressed his frustration about the limitations of Saudi politics. "I'm surprised that people are saying the King allowed women to take part in the political life. Did he allow men to start with?” The real issue behind this reform is that it seems to be superficial in nature, given that under the current system of government voting, no Saudi citizen, much less a woman, has any real power. The country remains an absolute monarchy. Municipal councils, which were only introduced in 2005, hold little influence. There is real fear among
female activists of pseudo-suffrage, as it leaves doubt as to whether or not the reform will actually be enacted. Just two days after the reform, a Saudi court sentenced a woman named Sheima Jastaniah to ten lashes for challenging the Kingdom’s ban on women driving. However, the decree was eventually rescinded.6 Luther of Amnesty International also responded to the court hearing and released a statement in which he expressed that the event proves that the recent reforms amount to very little in practice. This past May, a group of Saudi women inspired by the pro-democracy protests across the Middle East began a campaign called Women2Drive. Spreading its message through social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, the campaign promoted a challenge on the ban on female drivers. The ban stems from the concept that men have guardianship of the women in their household, as applied through Saudi law. Guardianship requires that women have written consent by a guardian to leave the country or work, among many other restrictions. A 2008 report by the Human Rights Watch called guardianship "the most significant impediment to the realization of women's rights in the Kingdom." HRW’s 2011 report notes that two years ago the Saudi government made a pledge to the U.N. Human Rights Council to dismantle the guardianship system, but has yet to do so.7 Without the dismantling of guardianship, it is doubtful that most women will even be able to reach the polls in 2015. While the reforms seem to be moving Saudi Arabia in the right direction, they fall short of providing equal rights to women. For the time being, Saudi women, although grateful for the right to vote, will remain skeptical of how far the King is willing to implement gender equality and how long the government will take to put these changes into practice. The citations for this piece will appear online at buiaa.org/ir-review/.
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Sein Féin’s Long Road to Political Reinvention An Analysis of Lingering Post-“Troubles” Conflicts throughout the 2011 Presidential Election Cycle By Sarah Miller, CAS ’13
The Election Sinn Féin named McGuinness its presidential candidate on Sept. 18.1 The party aimed to promote themselves as a peacemaking party by highlighting McGuinness’s role in the negotiations of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which called for a diverse and cooperative relationship between the North and South, as well as between Britain and Ireland.2 However, McGuiness also has direct ties to the
IRA, having served as chief of staff from 1978 to 1982. His membership is better known for his conviction in 1973 for carrying explosives. Since the start of the election, he faced criticism for his controversial connections to the organization.3 The dichotomous perceptions of Sinn Féin as a peacemaking organization and a conspirator with the IRA led the party and its candidate to be an ambivalent popularity: its supporters seem to love Sinn Féin for its compromising past, but hate it for its militant ties. Sinn Féin stands as the second most popular political party in Ireland, the first being Finne Gael.4 Nonetheless, its political success is inhibited by the people’s fears of favoring a party with a private army at its disposal. A Questionable Past Sinn Féin, the oldest political party in Ireland, re-invented and factioned itself many times in the past. In fact, most political parties on the island today derive from Sinn Féin with only minor changes as they split ideologically from the party.5 The Sinn Féin that was founded by Arthur Griffith in 1905 promoted a peaceful, constitutional means to independence. That changed after the 1916 Easter Rising when Eamon de Valera took over the party and established a more combative approach to independence.6 From monarchist to republican, from abstentionist to fully electorialist, from mainstream politics to the margins and back to mainstream, Sinn Féin has undergone numerous transformations. Even with this morphology, Sinn Féin always adhered to the
Sinn Féin entered the 2011 presidential race comparatively late. The party’s nomination of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness came in late September, months after his opponents received their nominations (with the exception of Dana Rosemary Scallon, who received the second-least number of votes). McGuinness only received a full nod from Sinn Féin a little more than three weeks before the election. Although he had already begun to build a platform of with Sinn Féin ideals, he had less than a month to promote it as a symbol of Sinn Féin. His campaign centered upon the idea of achieving “independence and unity” through peaceful arbitration. Upon his nomination, he set a number of campaign goals, including teaching the Irish language in schools, reducing unemployment and specifically addressing the concerns of the Irish disapora that inhabit Northern Ireland. Throughout the campaign, however, a number of people brought attention to McGuinness’s past ties with the Irish Republican Army. One young man confronted the candidate and asked him to confirm who in the IRA had killed his father. For a number of Irish voters, McGuinness’s role in the Good Friday Agreement seemed to matter little than the violence of his past with the IRA. For a latecomer to the race, McGuinness did fairly well. He came in third with 13.7 percent of the vote. It is uncertain whether his last minute campaign or his former ties to the IRA are to blame. Nonetheless, McGuinness’s challenges during the campaign proved to Sinn Féin that they are not yet the party of peace in the eyes of the Irish people. The party has a long way to go to reinvent itself.
Photo Credit/Sarah Miller, CAS ’13
Over the last decade, Sinn Féin has seen new popularity in Northern Ireland. Since its contributions to the peace process in the late 1990s, the party has gained support from people in the region. That increase in support has compelled members to reduce the party’s ties to the Provisional Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary organization that is under extreme criticism for its violent tactics against Northern Ireland civilians and the British Army during the Troubles. Sinn Féin promoted itself as a peaceful party to secure votes and selected Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a former IRA leader who played a significant role in negotiations for peace. However, McGuinness’s defeat in the 2011 Ireland presidential election and the criticisms of his involvement in the IRA show that, in spite of the party’s efforts to distance itself from its military compatriots, Sinn Féin faces political challenges for its association with the organization. If Sinn Féin wishes to escape its controversial history, it must reinvent itself and entirely disassociate itself from its militant past.
Sinn Féin in the 2011 Election Campaign
Several houses in Northern Ireland have murals depicting the injustices committed during the Troubles, as well as other issues involving the diaspora.
principle of full independence from Britain and a united Ireland through self-determination and majority consent, an idea that reflects the people’s desires of peace.7 While its history with militant republicanism greatly contradicts this amicable idea, the party diverged ideologically in its means to achieving the ultimate objective of the reunification of Ireland’s 32 counties. Since the 1970s, senior members of the party such as Martin McGuinness and Danny Morrison have openly professed to IRA affiliation, though Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams never admitted to such charges.8 However, as a ceasefire loomed and the peace process continued in the late 1990s, Sinn Féin’s constitutional power grew more legitimate as it gained electoral success domestically and recognition for its peace efforts internationally.
Present-day Sinn Féin What sets this party apart from other republican parties in Ireland is its platform of refusal to recognize or sit with any governmental body associated
From monarchist to republican, from abstentionist to fully electoralist, from mainstream politics to the margins and back to the mainstream, Sinn Féin has undergone numerous transformations. with the British government.9 This
traditional strategy has historical roots dating to the 1918 elections when newly elected officials from the Sinn Féin party took part in the Dáil Éireann to govern Ireland independently for the first time since the 1800 Act of Union.10 The party used to sit in the Leinster parliament, a group within the European Parliament Constituency, and negotiate the terms of peace in Northern Ireland with factions of the British government. Nevertheless, Sinn Féin abstains from taking its elected seats in British Parliament at Westminster. This strong refusal to participate continues to hinder the party’s popularity within the Irish community. Sinn Féin is often considered a party of the North rather than one of the Republic of Ireland. Denotatively, Tuaisceart Éireann means “we ourselves” and it derives a focus on the six Northern counties and reunification
The International Relations Review institutions that founded the Celtic Tiger are blamed heavily for allowing the country to fall to ruins, the public often turns to the party of protest and opposition to rebuild and change their political system. Internationally, Sinn Féin upholds a policy of neutrality, but advocates the rights of those experiencing similar struggles abroad. In this sense, the party constantly promotes itself as a peacemaker in the Northern Ireland conflict as it seeks the reunification of the island. This is risky publicity since this association often brings up Sinn Féin’s ties to the Irish Republican Army. The struggle for peace in the six Northern Provinces of Ireland is beneficial, but also detrimental to Sinn Féin’s relationship with the U.S. in particular. The American people received Gerry Adams, often associated with the IRA, quite coldly in 2005 after the Magenis bar incident, despite the fact that Sinn Féin had no involvement in the matter.18 However, Sinn Féin’s shift from a party that was stubborn and inflexible to one that would negotiate and compromise greatly increases its popularity in the U.S. Additionally, Sinn Féin is
strengthening their relationship with the African National Congress in South Africa, who was the inspiration behind the peace process now in place in Northern Ireland. The apartheid in South Africa is often comparable to the struggle between Catholics and Protestants in the Northern provinces, and therefore, republicans experienced a significant increase in party support when Nelson Mandela hailed Sinn Féin as an “old friend and ally.”19 Political Lessons in the Aftermath The dichotomy of peacemaker and conspirator can be seen in Sinn Féin’s political platform both domestically and internationally. If it were to ever become a legitimate political force in Ireland, this dichotomy would befall upon the entire country and its people. As for now, the party remains a significant force in political life in Northern Ireland, but struggles for the support of provinces south of the border, who necessitate a full commitment to democratic life.20 Sinn Féin can never become a legitimate political party in the Republic of Ireland, unless they can find a way to shake its associations with the IRA and its reputation as a party for the North.
Photo Credit/Micaela Bedell, COM ’13
among the people.11 Many modern Irish holidays are celebrations of IRA member deaths, attacks and other activities. Often these celebrations are turned into fundraisers for Sinn Féin that are held in the name of victory or martyrdom in Northern Ireland.12 These events are reminders to people in the Republic of Sinn Féin’s role in the North. Many elements of Sinn Féin’s policy platforms preserve this reputation as a party of the North and continue to stunt its success. During the presidential campaign, McGuiness was confronted by David Kelly, the son of an Irish soldier who was murdered by the IRA in 1983. “I want justice for my father, I believe you know the names of the killers of my father. You were on the Army council of the IRA,” Kelly said to him. “I want truth now. Murder is murder.”13 This emotionally charged statement is sure to have negative effects on McGuinness’ overall popularity and will likely affect Sinn Féin’s political success as well. In spite of the party’s increases in popularity throughout the race, its history of IRA involvement hindered its progress in the campaign. Sinn Féin has seen immense growth in the past decade in the Republic of Ireland.14 Ireland is becoming an increasingly multicultural population due to a surge in immigrants seeking asylum and foreign corporations investing in Irish businesses. Sinn Féin has always supported the rights of the most vulnerable populations, claiming that inequalities of wealth created the problems in Irish society today.15 As more people in the population become impoverished and rely more heavily on the public sector during the recent economic crisis, Sinn Féin’s criticism and advocacy of reform in this sector continues to gain it more popularity in the Republic.16 Moreover, Sinn Féin views itself as a party of opposition, a party of protest.17 Since the governmental
Sinn Fèin continues to grow in popularity, especially with the increase of Ireland’s multicultural population.
Venezuela 2012: How Chavez’s cancer can affect the presidential elections On December 6, 1998, as millions of Venezuelans patiently awaited the results of a particularly contested presidential election, few dared to imagine that the winner of this democratic process would ever celebrate his twelfth anniversary in power. Chavez’s character has allowed and instigated the creation of an emotional bond between him and his followers – an element that many consider to be a cult of personality. Even though statistics have placed him as a majority leader, holding 54 percent on average, his recently announced cancer has had interesting implications within his support base. Today, less than a year from what could be considered as the most important Venezuelan elections in a decade, Chavez and the opposition face the battle of the titans: a democracy lingering between indefinite reelection and the alternation of power. In the past years, Chavez has employed an electoral strategy that emphasizes a “with or against” approach. This has proven successful, mainly because Chavez draws most support from an emotional bond between his followers and not from the rational or legal advantages of his reforms. Chavez’s cancer has altered and highlighted the dynamics and flaws of both – the Chavista and opposition – political movements. Before, Chavez relied on a mirage of political immortality, but now his followers have come to realize that their president is a mortal human being. When Chavez announced on June 30, 2011 that doctors had “confirmed the existence of a cancerous abscess,” his populace support peaked at first and then leveled. According to Datanalisis, a well-known statistical data firm, after the announcement Chavez’s support increased to 59
percent by the end of August, but once the passion-led reactions settled, his support receded to 51 percent in October. The latter percentage is considered his average level of popularity over the past 18 months. His cancer forces the Chavista campaign to change its public message and presents obvious strains in the physical capabilities of an already weak man. In terms of the political message, instead of portraying a sick Chavez, debilitated by the disease and weakened by chemotherapy treatment, government officials and government media portray him as a warrior, a military leader fighting and defeating his worst enemy. Even though Chavez recently announced that his battle with cancer was over, professional opinions vastly disagree. On November 10, Roger Noriega, the ex-ambassador of the U.S. to the OAS, cited inside sources of the Venezuelan government, stating that “Chavez’s cancer is spreading faster than most expected, and his doctors fear that he only has a few months to live.” Others estimate a life expectancy from two years to six months. This ambiguity of information highlights another problem surrounding Chavez’s illness: the lack of official information. It is impossible for the Venezuelan public to determine the actual extent of the disease. Misinformation and the overwhelming possibility of the incapacity of Venezuela’s main political leader to rule for another sixyear term, also stirs havoc among his closest political allies. His cancer has highlighted the lack of future emergent leadership within his party. On the opposite side of the political spectrum, the development of new strategic dynamics could also influence the future elections. For the first time in twelve years, an electoral alliance has been formed among all
opposing factions in Venezuela. This initiative called the “Democratic Unity Table” (MUD), has compiled the six most popular opposition leaders and organized primary elections that will take place in February 2012. This process will determine the candidate that will run against Chavez and represent the Venezuelan opposition. Whoever wins will face seemingly insurmountable challenges, but this is a feeling familiar to the Venezuelan opposition. The difference between this and other electoral processes in the past twelve years is that there is unity and that Venezuela’s growing problems have begun to define politics. In the 2012 elections, Chavez will not be able to rely on his broad base of supporters as he has in past years. He will have to focus on proposing solutions to the soaring crime rates, the housing crisis, the highest inflation rate in Latin America, deeprooted corruption, decadent medical services and unemployment, while battling cancer. On the other hand, the opposition’s campaign has to shift from its common practice of centering on a candidate’s individual attributes, to a unified message with proposals and alternatives to Venezuela’s problems. If the opposition fails to provide a unified alternative that focuses on current issues, they will not be able to tackle Chavez’s leadership – no matter how debilitated he is by cancer. Chavez is still the strongest political figure in Venezuelan politics. These October 2012 elections will be crucial, not only for Venezuelans, but for the world. They represent a turning point for Venezuela’s path towards democracy. Whoever wins the primary elections will face the strongest political leader Venezuela has had in a decade. That is, if Chavez’s health does not prevent him from running.
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Fall 2011 Volume III, Issue I
Letters to the Editor
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This issue’s cover shot by Helena Carpio, CGS ’12 Taken in India.
The International Relations Review
ISSN 2151-738X (Print) ISSN 2151-7398 (Online) Vol. III, Issue I Since 2009