the Wellesley Globalist FRONTIERS Volume I, Issue 2
Featuring: Growing Up Transnational From El Globalista Mexico: Revoluci贸n Vieja, Revoluci贸n Joven The Life and Death of Innocence
Barbara A. White
A Different Kind of Battle
A Different Kind of Battle Women in combat from 2013 and beyond Mara Elissa Palma ‘15
10 Vietnam’s Next Step Forward What’s in store for Vietnam’s economy post-socialism? Calin Brown ‘13
14 Women in Communist China A woman’s movement comes to life Jiaqi Fan ‘14
16 Growing Up Transnational A student’s unique take on her transnational identity Samaa Ahmed ‘13
Cristina Lucas ‘13
Hannah Harris ‘15
22 The Life and Death of Innocence A look into the global reactions following the Delhi rape Siqi Gao ‘15
28 Not Such a Dolce Vita Italy’s youth struggle to find their place Alessandra Saluti ‘16
32 Revolución Vieja, Revolución Joven How will future revolutions in Cuba reflect past revolutions? Belén Lobos: El Globalista Mexio
40 Evicted: What Happens Next? A Case Study of Resettlement in Delhi, Berlin, & Shanghai Victoria Yu ‘16
Letter to the Wellesley Community This edition of Wellesley Globalist brings to you a range of challenging offerings, on everything from dual citizenship to being a “global citizen,” everything from post conflict to resettlement, everything from economic instability in southern Europe to gender inequality in China, and everything from violence against women to women in (violent) combat. Over many years of teaching international relations at Wellesley, I have witnessed a dramatic increase in student awareness of global issues, based in part on the increased numbers of international students we recruit to the College plus the much better-traveled background of today’s students from the United States. I am reminded that when I was an undergraduate years ago at Carleton College in Minnesota, my international travel experience was limited just to Canada, plus Mexico if two hours in Tijuana can count. At latest count, I have now visited 58 different sovereign countries (the Holy See included) and in each I have learned something new about myself and my own country. Some of my colleagues have travelled even more than this. Many of my students will probably exceed this number by the time they reach my age. I am proud of Wellesley’s international focus. Several years ago I was teaching a course on American Foreign Policy as a visiting professor at Harvard College, and I enjoyed taunting my (mostly male) students with the fact that “Three out of our last four Secretaries of State have been women, and two of the three are Wellesley graduates.” In fact, studying and preparing for a career in international relations at Wellesley has been greatly invigorated by the legacies of both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Albright. Special praise must go to the Albright Institute, which brings distinguished visitors to the campus – including on a regular basis, Secretary Albright herself – while guiding students toward challenging summer internships abroad. Last year Albright Fellows were placed in Uganda, the UK, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, India, Cape Verde, Germany, Spain, and yes – even Canada. The challenge, of course, is to combine international exposure and work experience with serious scholarship. This is where Wellesley Globalist comes in, providing a platform and showcase for independent research and writing by Wellesley students with international interests. Reading these contributions helps me to see the larger world through the eyes of younger scholars, a rewarding and stimulating experience. The authors and editors have done good work here, so I invite all to share that experience. Robert Paarlberg B. F. Johnson Class of 1944 Professor of Political Science
Photo Courtesy of Cristina Lucas ‘13.
Dear Globalist Readers,
On behalf of the Wellesley Globalist staff, I would like to thank all our contributors. Without your efforts, this magazine would have never been possible. In addition, I would like to thank our sponsor and the Wellesley College community for their constant support and enthusiasm. Most importantly, I would like to thank our readers who always make producing this magazine an enjoyable and rewarding experience. In this edition, the Wellesley Globalist is pleased to release its second issue of the year, themed ‘Frontiers.’ A ‘frontier’ is defined as the land or territory forming a nation’s settled regions. In this issue, we expand this definition to comprise cultural, political, and economic frontiers in various regions and nations, as our writers compel their readers to imagine the changing borders of the future. Contemplating the constant change on the international arena and in different societies on a microcosmic level, the Globalist staff feels that our theme will shed light on these changes as well as how different societies adapt to or resist them. In this edition, we aim to understand the context in which frontiers emerge and inspire our readers to understand the reasons behind them. Dear readers, I hope you enjoy this edition of the Wellesley Globalist!
Dana Al-Jawamis Editor-in-Chief
Acknowledgements: Vice-President: Jenna Russo ‘14
Events Coordinator: Nayla Al-Mamlouk ‘16
Managing Editor: Aishwarya Singh ‘14
Production Editor: Rebecca George ‘15
Associate Editors: Siqi Gao ‘15 Calin Brown ‘13 Stephanie Kossman ‘15 Paige Kirby ‘16
Treasurer: Carrie Bandurska ‘16
Online Editor: Tricia Lu ‘14
Copy Editor: Brianna Krong ‘15
Photography & Design Editor: Sarah Berry ‘16
Design and Production Staff: Emily Frisella ‘16 Sinead Cheung ‘15 Gail Zhuang ‘15 Anya Christy ‘16 Hanna Tenerowicz ‘16 Christine Wei ‘16 Maricruz Cabrera ‘16
Director & Publisher: Alison Noehrbass ‘14 Associate Director & Publisher: Leila Tarek ‘16
Publicity Chair: Julie Rong ‘16
Special thanks to: Professor Robert Paarlberg and
Thanks to the GrECo International Holding AG for their support of the magazine.
FRONTIERS Special Forces at KASOTC. Courtesy of Dalia Al-Jawamis.
Women in Comba
On January 23, 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officially announced that the Pentagon had â€œoverturn[ed] a [1994 rule] that restrict[ed] women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles,â€? according to the New York Times. What does the lifting of this ban mean for service personnel? I believe that while Secretary Panettaâ€™s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat positions will create a military culture more conducive to promoting opportunities for women, it should be viewed with tentative optimism.
Every service will set its own implementation plan, determining the time frame, the enforcement, etc., with the target date of January 2016 for final decisions. Up to 230,000 new roles could be opened to servicewomen previously reserved for servicemen according to Harris. But should a branch of the military decide a job not be opened to female service personnel, a representative can petition the Secretary of Defense for an exception. This three-year time frame could help service personnel at all levels to adjust and adapt to this change in doctrine, but it could also have the potential to slow down any real progress within the services due to bureaucratic interests and military culture, which has been traditionally male-dominated.
Page 7 Author Mara Elissa Palma Class of 2015
Kind of Battle
at 2013 and Beyond
I find Secretary Panetta’s announcement overdue but well timed. Women have already been in combat, but society is only now at a point where women taking on more roles in the armed forces can be well received by the public and within the military. As with any change, I predict there will be resistance, and with a long history of mainly men fighting wars, the acceptance of women in combat roles will spur backlash from many interest groups—anti-war groups, military interest groups, feminist groups, etc. In the long run, I hope the negative reactions will not deter authority figures in support of this new policy from recognizing and rewarding talent and hard work from all personnel. I see two positive effects of this new pol-
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icy. First, it will increase the number of female military role models not only for their subordinates but also for women looking to join the military. By not allowing women to serve in combat positions, the military has not allowed women to gain the combat experience needed to advance to leadership and higher-level positions. Put qualified women at the top of the ladder and they will become role models and mentors for both women and men. If women see that there are career opportunities available, they may be more likely to enlist in the armed forces. Bonenberger summarized it best when he stated, “Having women in infantry roles will foster competition, teamwork and innovation inside the military, and help lead to more real equality in our culture.” Easing the path for
A woman soldier in North Korea. Photo courtesy of Matt Paish.
women in the military could have far-reaching benefits, both within and outside of the military. Second, this announcement is a move toward equality. Holding women and men to the same standard ensures that it is a person’s abilities evaluated first and their gender second. Currently, female personnel have different physical requirements for certain physical tests as reported on the official Army website: 78 sit-up repetitions earn a 100 for both women and men, but to earn a 100 in a 2-mile run, men must complete it in 13 minutes and women must complete it in 15 minutes and 36 seconds. Treating women differently helps critics justify their argument that women are incapable of the physical strength and stamina required of their male counterparts. There may
be biological differences between women and men, but having the same standards for training and conditioning will afford all people the chance to compete for the same opportunities regardless of gender. However, some have argued that accepting women in combat roles will create dangerous distractions that will lead to casualties, claiming that “underlying sexual tensions” will be a problem and that men trying to protect women in the field will be too “distracted” to be effective, according to Boykin. Others argue that this policy change is a social experiment at a disadvantageous time, given the heightened need for combat readiness and effectiveness at a time of war. Both are fair points but not completely insurmountable issues with the help of changes in military (and perhaps civil-
Some argued that “underlying sexual tensions” will be a distraction or that men will be too “distracted” by trying to protect women on the field.
ian) culture. The first statement assumes that men and women cannot control their impulses well enough to work in a professional and disciplined way together, while the second statement does not take into account the benefits of drawing upon a larger pool of talent and ability to create stronger armed forces. Serving one’s country should not be limited to just half of the population. Having more women in higher-level positions and ad-
vancing true equality within and outside of the military should be the new objectives for service personnel moving forward. Though I am excited that women in the military can now enjoy the same opportunities as men, I am acutely aware of the fact that women and men must still die in war. Women service personnel have the right to be cautiously optimistic and so do proponents of women in the military. Perhaps this new battlefield will not claim as many casualties.
Israeli women soldiers train. Women are required to serve two years of mandatory military service in Israel. Photo courtesy of Aaron Miller.
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Vietnam's Next articipating in the Vietnam War is widely regarded as one of the most catastrophic decisions the United States has made. The war wreaked enough havoc to impede Vietnam from recreating itself as a strong, unified country. 1970s Vietnam was faced with not only a devastated economy and tremendous death rates numbered in the hundred thousands, but also a division between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Post-war Vietnam was a society that sat on the napalm-contaminated brink of internal collapse and whose national sovereignty was threatened by not only skirmishes with the Chinese and Cambodian armies at its borders, but also the internal ideological and social divisions that resulted from the divided state. Vietnam’s modern day relative political stability and growing economy present questions. For instance, how was Vietnam able to achieve such a vast change in the span of a few decades? Since its shift to a partially capitalist market economy in the 1990s, Vietnam has experienced rapid growth and is currently one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Even though much of its economy remains dominated by state-owned enterprises, the ruling Communist Party has implemented reforms that allow for an export-driven economy that has served Vietnam well for the last
twenty years. Additionally, Vietnam has enjoyed considerable political stability for the past two decades—something many attribute to its economic successes. The Communist Party of Vietnam is sometimes credited with pushing Vietnam into economic stability and into becoming a participant in the international capitalist market. The party not only encouraged foreign investments in the previously impoverished country, but also increased Vietnam’s export capacity. Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in 2007 and became a negotiating partner in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in 2010. It was under Party leadership that Vietnam was ultimately thrust together into one unified state and elevated to an unprecedented role: a more politically and economically stable country. If the Communist Party had not consolidated power in Vietnam, what would the result have been? Would a democratic government have been able to achieve the same level of stability? There is evidence that democratic regimes are able to consolidate and pacify enormous social and ethnic differences by allowing for various voices to have a say in how government is run. For example, some degree of democratic success has been achieved in a few of Vietnam’s regional neighbors such as Indonesia and Thailand, which are both heavily divided countries due to their many ethnic and
Farmlands in Vietnam. Photo Courtesy of Cristina Lucas ‘13.
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religious groups. While democracy has demonstrated some successes among Vietnam’s Ho Chi neighbors, the divisions in post-war Minh Vietnam, in combination with economCity in ic devastation, lack of infrastructure, Vietnam. external threats from Cambodia and China, as well as loss of national morale, Photo may have resulted in a situation that a Courtesy democratically structured government of would not have been able to overcome. Cristina To begin with, there were preexisting Lucas ‘13. religious differences in Vietnam. For instance, the Catholics of South Vietnam received many privileges in society over the Buddhists, therefore exacerbating some of the religious tensions already present in Vietnam. Ethnic and social divisions in any society are deep and difficult to solve, perhaps best demonstrated in the violent interactions that occur in the multi-ethnic Papua New Guinea prior to every election season. However, the divisions in Vietnam go beyond ethnic and social divisions and have created almost two distinct countries with very different government systems. Such differences add another level of sociological division as the governments promulgate very different ideologies to their citizens.
Author Calin Brown Class of 2013
FRONTIERS Besides having tremendous intrastate divisions, Vietnam’s post-war economy was ravaged by war due to extensive loss of infrastructure and loss of the USSR’s financial support. This created a situation that any government would struggle to correct. As economic stability and economic prosperity are often tied to overall public satisfaction, a democratic Vietnamese government that had to answer to public desires would probably have had a difficult time retaining power. Public dissatisfaction with the democratic governments in Japan and Taiwan demonstrates the connection the public often makes between their government and their country’s economic situation. Both Japan’s and Taiwan’s economies have been experiencing substantial losses in growth over the past decade, a trend that is tied closely to flagging support for both of their currently ruling leaders. An economically devastated post-war Vietnam could take years to reform, a luxury that democratic governments don’t often have. In this way, the case of post-war Vietnam ultimately results in the familiar yet difficult question that makes perhaps every political scientist groan when they hear – are authoritarian governments better able to bring about economic and political stability in post-conflict societies? Due to the strong relationship between economic power and political legitimacy, an authoritarian government certainly does seem as if it was the best option for Vietnam at the time. In fact, Vietnam has benefited greatly from many of the Party’s early decisions. For instance, the Party’s provision of political stability allowed for beneficial economic policies to take root. First, the authoritarian government was able to mobilize the entire society towards economic growth. Second, the straightforwardness of an authoritarian government adds a level of transparency to governance.
This allowed members of the public to attribute policies to the Party or certain members of the Party, enabling a temporary degree of trust in government that creates stability. However, within this edifice of development and improvement that the Communist Party perpetuates to this day, there are distinct cracks forming that harken an ending to the Party’s rule. Corruption lies at the root of much of the public’s dissatisfaction with the Communist Party. The current regime has created a system in which provincial Party lead-
A poster of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Photo Courtesy of Cristina Lucas ‘13.
Page 13 ers can gain political benefits by securing the favor of central Party leaders; patronage and informal channels of political influence have become essential to political success. Furthermore, Vietnam’s economic growth has stagnated, inflation has been high in the past year, and state-owned companies have made poor decisions that have increased public dissatisfaction with the country’s economic situation. Given growing dissatisfaction with the Vietnamese government, it seems that in a country’s development or existence under an
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authoritarian government, the populace reaches a certain point where the authoritarian government becomes less desirable. In Taiwan, a transformation from an authoritarian to a democratic government resulted from angry public calls against corruption. Singapore, on the other hand, has had no large corruption scandals, and has been very authoritarian for the past five decades. In this way, it seems that corruption leads to distrust in government institutions and subsequently can lead to public demand for a change in government. The lack of trust in government and the desire for more civil institutions may play the largest role in the public’s dissatisfaction in Vietnam. A 2012 Pew Charitable Trust report indicates that 66 percent of Vietnamese citizens believe a strong democracy is more important than a strong economy. The year 2012 also saw a surge in both public and even internal Party criticism of the Vietnamese government. Many called for Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s resignation due to allegations of corruption. Last year, the Vietnamese government not only cracked down on political activism but also established laws against Internet freedom, unleashing an angry uproar from the Vietnamese public. In post-conflict Vietnam, the Communist Party ultimately allowed Vietnam to pursue an international role and level of attainment different from ever before, pushing it into a new frontier of economic development and into the realm of political stability. However, it seems that Vietnam will enter a different direction completely as internal calls for civil rights and more democratic institutions increase.
Women in Com
his is my own business,” claimed Lv Pin, a young woman holding a sign saying “Give back equality to girls.” According to China Youth Daily, on February 27, 2013, Lv shaved her head in protest against higher scoring standards for female students taking the Chinese university entrance examination. This inconsistency in university admissions guidelines is an attempt to balance the gender ratio on Chinese college campuses, where female students often outnumber their male counterparts. Lv quickly attracted the attention of the public, especially young women struggling in the highly competitive Chinese society, when she filed an appeal to the Ministry of Education requesting an explanation. The Ministry of Education denied her appeal, responding that their decision was in accordance with “national interest”; the issue of gender inequality failed to make its way into the official agenda. However, Lv maintains that Chinese women should “never give up.” This was not the first protest against gender discrimination in the Chinese university admissions process. Six months before Lv Pin took to the streets, three female university students in Beijing, along with some male students, shaved their heads in protest against universities’ discriminative admission policies. Four female students in Guangzhou, a coastal city in southern China, did the same. Although it has been an unspoken rule for years that female students must score higher than their male counterparts in order to enter the same universities, the introduction of blatantly
discriminative official policies has taken anger to a new level. Women in New China have been struggling in a society without gender equality for the past six decades. Since the 1950s, the phrase “national interest” has conveniently justified almost all official decisions. Following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the Marriage Law, which granted women freedom of divorce and mobilized female workers during land reforms, which many considered an attempt to promote gender equality. However, the Marriage Law also
munist China created problems when, for example, some women took advantage of the law to engage in licentious sexual behavior in rural areas. Soon the CCP stopped implementing the Marriage Law, and local cadres began to refuse women’s requests for divorce. The CCP similarly backpedaled on campaigns in the early 1950s that encouraged women to participate in light industries such as textile and silk production; when unemployment rose in 1957, the CCP began advocating for women’s domestic responsibilities instead. The “Five-Good Family” campaign rewarded families in which women managed domestic work, educated their chil-
Author Jiaqi Fan Class of 2014
dren, united with neighbors, encouraged family numbers in social production, and worked with passion. While social stability and economic development were priorities, the issue of gender equality was never at the top of the CCP’s agenda. The CCP has always been a male-dominated power center with few women in positions of leadership. Sixty years later, there the status of
Chinese women were used as a vehicle for achieving the party’s goals.
A women stands as part of a demonstration against the Chinese Communist Party in Korea Town, New York. Photo Courtesy of Simon Butler.
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women in China has improved significantly. In recent years, numerous successful women have made enormous strides. New legislation designed to protect women’s rights has passed; gender equality has been integrated into local laws, and the Second Marriage Law has been enacted. In 2012, China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, joined two male crew members in a thirteen-day space mission. She opened up the field of aviation to women, taking a big step for gender equality. Protests of “bald girls” like Lv have yet to produce any concrete change, but the issue of gender discrimination in China has gained more widespread attention than ever before. Chinese women have a long way to go to convince the government that female students are as crucial to the “national interest” as the first female astronaut.
Growing Up he very process of constructing a narrative for oneself – of telling a story – imposes a certain linearity and coherence that is never entirely there. But that is the lesson, perhaps, especially for us immigrants and migrants: i.e., that home, community and identity all fall somewhere between the histories and experiences we inherit and all the political choices we make through alliances, solidarities and friendships.” -Chandra Mohanty.1 I have been a migrant of sorts my whole life, in that I have lived outside the country of my birth and citizenship since I was a month old. I am part of a growing generation of people – affectionately, we might call ourselves “Third Culture Kids” – for whom the concept of “home” and a sense of belonging are not rooted in a geographical location. Rather, home exists in a transitory space as we travel (and shift our consciousness) back and forth between multiple countries and contexts; the imposed borders of nation-states do not seem to be enough to capture our experiences. As such, in an admittedly privileged way, I am a product of 21st century globalization and transnationalism. Globalization is often explained as “the pursuit of liberal or free market policies in the world economy, the proliferation of new information technologies, and deterritorialization.”2 In a more colloquial sense, globalization is also described as the integration and “universalization” of social, political and
cultural experiences and values, as well as the recognition of perspectives from international and cross-cultural contexts. In the context of migration, transnationalism describes a blurring of the lines between multiple social and geographic spaces and the maintenance of ties across national boundaries. In my experience, growing up transnationally represented not only a movement of ideas, values, and technology from one place to another, an ease in international communication, and an expansion of my social network, but also a shift in identity which complicated the notion of “citizenship.” To me, it was a psychological phenomenon more than anything else, which has left me very confused. That confusion, however, is satisfying. It means I am conscious and challenging myself. For those of us who have grown up negotiating multiple aspects of our identities, a linear description of migration or movement simply fails to capture the interwoven realities of our experiences. When someone asks the seemingly innocuous question of “where are you from?” or “where is home?” my answers turn into a lengthy autobiography. One way to approach the latter question is to break down what “home” entails and consider the different categories or experiences that are associated with the concept. Home generally represents a space where we feel as though we belong; it is usually where our family, friends and social relationships are, or where important life events have occurred. So, do you want to know where I was born, or where I went to school, or where my parents live, or where my grandparents
Page 17 Author Samaa ahmed Class of 2013
national A Photo of Samaa Ahmed’s passport. Photo courtesy of Samaa Ahmed ‘13.
were from, or where I have a house, or where my friends are? For some people, the answers to these questions may all be the same, but for others, the answers may be different cities, countries, and continents. I know that my experience is not unique. Others experience this shift between narratives in their lives through code switching. “In linguistics, code-switching is switching between two or more languages, or language
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varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages while conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.” I feel that this description is perhaps the best way to explain what my transnational experience is like. It is simply not enough to ask me what
FRONTIERS my passport country is or which languages I speak or understand – it’s also about moments in history and very specific contexts that shaped my particular experiences. To gain a holistic understanding of “who I am” would require an appreciation for the interconnectivity of geography, time, and socio-political backdrop of my upbringing. Of course, this is true for everyone, but the synchronicity of these factors and the ways in which they align themselves with one another may be less contradictory for some. For me, these processes are simultaneously complementary and repelling, which leaves me with somewhat of a fractured sense of identity. What I mean by that, more specifically, is that the established paradigms and structures that dictate the way we think about identity do not seem to fit my own experience. To conceptualize myself “intersectionally” works, to an extent, in that it recognizes the multiplicity in systems of power and identity. However, this approach still draws its references from a Western academic model and
tinctions are not so simple; both the individual and society are in continuous flux. A “successfully” globalized consciousness requires competency and fluency in multiple social and national contexts, often simultaneously. In my experience, this has not necessarily been a difficult or conscious process, and I am certainly not unique in that re-
It is simply not enough to ask me what my passport country is, or which languages I speak or understand - it’s also about moments in history and very specific contexts that shaped my particular experiences. assumes a fairly stable comparison to “mainstream” culture. This perspective sees society as a constant through which individuals navigate different aspects of themselves. But what about when you’re negotiating not just the ways in which your identity interacts within one framework or society, but also the ways in which it does so across and between cultures? In the latter case, the individual becomes the constant, and society navigates its way around individual bodies. In reality though, the dis-
” Photo of a palm tree in Bahrain taken by Ahmed ‘13.
Page 19 spect. Oftentimes it is complicated to maintain a balance between assimilating and preserving a sense of “difference” – to say I am not from here and I do not want to be from here. But then, I’ve been out of “my” context for so long, how can I ever say that I belonged? Who am I truly representing? In the process of trying to foster cross-cultural dialogue and understand-
ing, I wonder, who am I trying to appease? I end up feeling like a native informant. I am cognizant of the privileges that I possess in being able to talk about “globalization” through an academic and personal lens and the ways in which I have benefited – overtly and subtly – from an elite institution like Wellesley. As I reflect on where I have been, I acknowledge that I do not know where I am going next in the very literal sense that, geographically, I do not know where I will move. My movements have always been temporary, and I have lived, very comfortably, as an expat in a few countries. This has afforded me a truly incredible opportunity to gain an appreciation
My movements have always been temporary, and I have lived, very comfortably, as an expat in a few countries. for multiculturalism and sociocultural diversity through living it. I am affected by the past-present-future of my immigration story in different aspects of my life on a daily basis. As wonderful as being “un-rooted” is, I also have no real place to “go back” to. I envy people who can go back to the house or city or country where they spent their childhood in or perhaps still live. I envy people who have all of their material things in one place, rather than scattered around the world. I envy people who have never had to, or will never have to, think about their visa status (often in multiple places at a time) which allows them to reside in the place that they have established as their “base.” So far, it is an unrealized dream of mine to live in a place where I do not have to justify my residency. Sometimes I wish I could just be. I wish I had a nice summary to frame everything and tie up all the loose ends, but I don’t. Identity is about complication. As much as I do identify with a globalized consciousness, I also recognize that it is a consciousness
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A display of flags from many countries. Photo courtesy of borkur.net. with predominantly Westernized, individualistic, and neoliberal values. I support global cooperation and interaction, but oftentimes these practices are carried out at the detriment of human rights, labor protection, environmental protection, and the protection of indigenous cultures. In truth, my transnational experience has been facilitated by economic globalization and corporate capitalism, which exploit the labor and resources of less economically developed countries. Therefore, it is necessary for me to be cognizant of the fact that not all actors involved in globalization are represented equally and that there is still a very real and oppressive hierarchy of culture transnational capitalism perpetuates. Forming a globalized consciousness requires us to decentralize our minds and worldviews. We must recognize the negative impacts of globalization and the ways in which we are implicated, no matter where we are in the
world. I have asked myself on numerous occasions, “What is the price of my transnational experience, whether or not I am the one paying it?” We must acknowledge the oppressive chain of capitalism, imperialism, and Western dominance that is inherent in our current flows and understandings of globalization. We must identify the ways in which colonialism has shaped social movements and complex geopolitical and personal histories. When we think about our future goals and pursuits, we must not only think of ourselves in independent terms; in order to become better global citizens we must also see our experiences and decisions as interconnected and interdependent. We must hold ourselves accountable for our decisions and realize that the impacts of our actions are far-reaching. In our nationalistically oriented world, it is necessary to create a new paradigm whereby our alliances are not only local, but global.
1. Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, “On Being South Asian in North America”, In Beyond Borders: Thinking Critically About Global Issues, ed. Paula S. Rothenberg. Macmillan Press, New York: 2006. p 215. 2. Scheuerman, William, “Globalization”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). See also: Al-Rodhan, Nayef R.F. and Gérard Stoudmann. “Definitions of Globalization: A Comprehensive Overview and a Proposed Definition”, (2006). Martí, Gil-Manuel Hernàndez, “The Deterritorialization of cultural heritage in a globalized modernity”, (2006).
A young woman lights a candle at a vigil held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada for the 23-year-old woman in New Delhi whose death after being brutally gang-raped sparked global outrage about violence against women. Photo courtesy of Barbara A. White.
The Life and Death of
Photo Courtesy of Soumya Bandyopadhyay
New Delhi, India has garnered renewed levels of international scrutiny following the tragic gang rape incident the night of December 16th, 2012, which claimed the life of a 23-year-old medical student and captured the attention of many around the globe. Page 22
Page 23 Author siqi gao Class of 2015
Innocence he victim, a 23-year-old female medical student, was on her way home from the cinema with a male friend. The pair accidentally boarded the wrong bus where six people, including the driver, brutally beat and raped her. When her friend attempted to intervene, he was also subjected to a severe beating. The attackers, finally satisfied, threw both victims out of the moving vehicle. Partially clothed, the two lay on the street until a passerby found them around 11 pm and called the police. Sixteen days later, the female victim died in a hospital in Singapore. The news went viral across major media platforms, as the country experienced a wave of protests against the dire situation faced by women in India. For the first time, the violence perpetrated against a single woman sparked unprecedented nationwide outrage. Portrayed as a warrior fighting for life, the victim became a symbol of women’s struggle for security and respect across national borders, helping bring to light the dangers of being a woman in India. She was framed as an inspiration for all Protestors continued to take to the streets in the months following the incident. “Let’s not let her die in vain,” they said. “Hang the rapists,” they demanded.
To the disappointment of many, the Delhi government didn’t listen to the protestors. Clashes broke out between the police
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and protestors, and the government launched emergency policing laws, closed off the governmental center, and blockaded roads and subway stations. Under enormous pressure, the Delhi police filed a 33-page charge sheet in
The aftermath of the Delhi gang rape incident has posed a serious challenge to the Indian juridical system.
early January, which sought the death penalty for five of the six accused in the Delhi gang rape case. However, the sixth offender – and the most brutal one – turned out to be a juvenile. While the juxtaposition of his youth against his horrendous actions shocked and disgusted many, it elicited greater sympathy among others. Nina Nayak, a member of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), stated that “He should be sent to a correctional home with a much lighter sentence of three years and given a chance to reform.” This development disappointed those who had hoped the government would take more radical strides towards ameliorating violence against women. A contributing factor to widespread crimes against women has been lack of severe punishment for offenders. When juveniles are exempted from punishment for crimes as severe as rape and murder, the message that the society is not taking such crimes seriously is conveyed to young people. While female victims suffer silently in rape cases that
FRONTIERS go unreported, legal protections for male offenders are exercised effectively in cases such as this one. Protests continued, and the large scale of the demonstrations prompted clashes between protestors and the police. The aftermath of the Delhi gang rape incident has posed a serious challenge to the Indian juridical system. It is widely acknowledged that rapists in India often manage to escape severe punishment, if they are subjected to judicial procedures at all. In fact, 90 percent of sexual violence goes unreported, because victims often fear revenge and dishonor or belong to the “untouchable” caste
that has no legal protection. Outraged citizens have voiced their thoughts on a variety of forums and news websites. “If a minor can execute a crime like a major/mature person, then how come one can be counted as a minor?” wrote “Radhika” in an online comment. She continues, “if we can demand to change some particular age limit for driving license, age limit for marriage, or voting right age limit ... Then why can’t we demand to change the age limit for juvenile counting as an adult?” But legislative changes are far easier to demand than to achieve. In March 2013, the final decision was released that the young offender would be tried separately in a juvenile court, which would spare him the severe penalty that other offenders received.
Two women sit at a candle light vigil outside Safdardarjung Hospital in Delhi, India to pray for the victim of gang rape. Photo Courtesy of Ramesh Lalwani.
Page 25 Official crime statistics show that a woman is raped every 28 minutes in India, and Delhi is ridiculed as the “rape capital” by foreign media. Following the Delhi gang rape incident, one-third of the female workers in major Indian cities either reduced working hours after sunset or quit their jobs. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s comment on the incident drew wide public attention: “Rape embodies sexuality as our culture & society has defined it,” he stated. “I am so sorry that I am a part of this society and culture. I am so sorry that I am a man.” “This is my favorite quote of celebrities,” said Shakti, manager of an international volunteer organization. “Those words speak my mind. And it’s not just me; many males are disappointed with the society as well.” “If I walk on a street at night and a man harassed me there, my mom will ask me to take a different route,” said Pooja, a young female entrepreneur looking to set up a solar energy company with her husband. Whenever she relates to her mother an experience of being harassed on a street at night, her mother will simply advise her to take a different route. “People never go after the man. My mom will only tell me to wear less make up and dress more conservatively,” Pooja explains, her eyes burning with anger. Women like Pooja’s mother are often unsure of how to approach a meaningful solution and therefore seek to avoid rather than confront the problem.
As photos of the protests went viral, major foreign media outlets began to portray India as a nation that lacks respect for women. “Those are not factual reports,” retorted Priyanka, a chief journalist in Jaipur, “I’m the boss of all the men here. How can you say that women are not respected?” But Priyanka
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is one of the lucky few who enjoy such privilege. Indeed, while parts of India have made remarkable progress in improving the status of women, widespread violence against women persists. Could both domestic and international pressures drive the Indian state and society to take bigger steps in protecting women? Some believe that public attention on the issue is only temporary and that when our memory of the gang rape incident fades, everything will return to “normal.” The process of change is long and arduous. As protests persist, new rape cases surface. Although people often look to the government for change, Indian politicians themselves have been implicated in violence against women. In January 2013, Bikrmasingh Brahma, a Congress leader in Assam, was accused of rape and beaten up. India still has a long way to go to promote awareness among all members of society – not just the educated elite – on violence against women. Still, the strong public reaction to the Delhi gang rape incident does offer some hope. From street protestors to celebrities to individual citizens of India, outcry against violence against women is growing. Society does not simply rely on the government or the elite class for change, but rather requires efforts of both the government and the general public. Public pressure pushes for systemic change, while legal reforms can only be enacted with public support. Protests across India are involving a growing sector of the population, which can play a major role in moving society towards a culture that embraces equality and freedom for women. May the death of one and the suffering of others catalyze progress that saves many more.
Top Left: Development projects in a Ugandan city by Cayla Vila Top Right: Children in a Ugandan village by Cayla Vila Bottom: Two women carry food in Cape Coast, Ghana by Mari Dugas.
Top Left: Development projects in a Ugandan city by Cayla Vila Top Right: Children in a Ugandan village by Cayla Vila Bottom: Two women carry food in Cape Coast, Ghana by Mari Dugas.
Not Such a Dolce Vita magine rolling Tuscan hills, endless vineyards, beautiful beaches, and the smell of fresh food that permeates the air as you walk down narrow cobblestone streets. This is the Italy portrayed in movies, songs, advertisements, and books: a country characterized by delicious cuisine, rich cultural heritage, friendly people and strong family ties. When I tell someone that I spent a large part of my life in Italy and identify as Italian, the usual response is “I loved Italy when I visited!” or “I would love to be able to go to Italy someday!”. However, Italy faces socioeconomic challenges that extend beyond family feuds and small-town Mafia activity. In fact, Italian society has been relatively unstable for much of the last 200 years following the unification of Italy due to the political turmoil caused by food shortages, crime, and the two world wars. The recent euro crisis has brought a new kind of economic instability to Europe, particular-
Page 29 ly Southern Europe. Italians are facing severe job shortages, and many workers are moving elsewhere to seek employment. As a result, many university graduates are forced to work low-paying jobs, if they are able to find jobs at all. Some Italian youth choose to enter the workforce or vocational school right after high school, because they feel that attending university is a waste of time and money. These young people stand at the edge of adulthood, facing an uncertain future; nobody knows how long the crisis will last, but they must make plans and decisions now.
I spoke with Beatrice, an eighteen-year-old in her fifth and last year of high school, who lives in the central region of the Marche. She had hoped to attend the University of Bologna, which is a four-hour train ride from her hometown. Unfortunately, the high fees that she would have to pay have forced her to attend school closer to home. I spoke with Stefano, who is also in his last year of high school. He currently lives in a small town outside of Milan, but hopes to move to Pisa next year to study philosophy at the city’s university. He admitted that choosing this area of study was “a death sentence” or, at least, a “sentence to hunger”. Despite his deep love for philosophy, Stefano would have very little hope of finding a job in the field after graduation. Many young Italians like Beatrice and Stefano have had similar experiences after the crisis, struggling with their educational goals and worrying about future jobs. The last person I spoke to was Nura, a 22-year-old who used to be an anthropology major at the University of Perugia. With only three exams left to complete her degree, she was forced to quit university due to personal economic difficulties and ineffiItalian youth congregate at the Piazza Navona. ciencies within the UniPhoto courtesy of Kieran Phelan. versity’s system. Because
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Author alessandra saluti Class of 2016
FRONTIERS she could no longer afford to live in her apartment in Italy, Nura moved to Oslo, Norway to live with her with her brother and mother. Nuraâ€™s situation is not uncommon. Many students wonder whether they should find a job right out of high school or try their luck with the university system. Italian universities are state-run, so tuition costs much less than that of the average private American university. However, most Italian parents do not plan to pay high fees for their childrenâ€™s education and do not set up savings accounts to cover these costs. If students choose to attend university, many choose universities close to home so that they will not have to struggle with the additional costs of room and board. These additional costs were a major burden for Nura, who began studying anthropology at the University of Perugia in 2009. In 2010, budget cuts and curriculum modifications changed the number and type of exams she would have to take to complete her degree.
Nura was not informed of this change until she was in the middle of one of her exams, after spending the whole summer studying for the exams that she no longer needed to complete. The budget cuts hit her even harder a few months later; although she had met all the requirements need to receive financial aid from the state, Nura lost her scholarship. With the added burden of taxes, her tuition had tripled the original amount. Italian students often have to cut expenses from other facets of their lives, including meals. Nura remembers some weeks when she subsisted only on plain pasta in order to save money and pay her rent. Finding a parttime job while in school, as many American students do, is nearly impossible. High unemployment rates have made it very hard for people searching for full-time jobs, and parttime positions are almost nonexistent. And many students find their course loads and exam schedules too time consuming for them
The view from the 4th and top floor of the University of Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Photo Courtesy of Eduardo Rimoli.
Page 31 to work part-time. The opportunity costs of attending university are too high for students who feel that they will have as good a chance of finding a job after university as they will after high school. Most of the university graduates that Nura knows have returned to their home cities to work in restaurants or small family businesses, if they are able to find work at all. If they can’t find a job in Italy, some go abroad to work in restaurants or fast food chains. Pursuing a higher education no longer seems worthwhile for many young Italians. Understandably, the general sentiment among the Italian youth is frustration. Both Beatrice and Stefano expressed anger at the fact that the students who do well in university exams or have access to decent jobs after high school are not necessarily the students who work the hardest. Rather, the most successful students are usually the raccomandati (the recommended): those who have the strongest “connections.” There is therefore little motivation to do well in school; students wonder why they should work hard if they have no chance of getting a good job. Nura’s outlook is grim. When asked if she sees any hope for the future, she said that she doesn’t foresee a bright future for today’s youth. Stefano also believes that the average young Italian has indeed given up; they are un-
outcomes of soccer games. Such activities illustrate a dark reality where, with such scarce opportunities, illicit activities are the only means by which some young Italians can get enough money to supplement their low-paying and highly taxed jobs or those of their parents. This kind of behavior is only encouraged by the presence of dishonest figures in the Italian political sphere. The most notable example is Silvio Berlusconi, the embodiment of the raccomandati. Berlusconi has such a large number of connections that no matter how much he lies, cheats, and steals, he is able to enter the political arena over and over again. Berlusconi exemplifies the lack of leadership and guidance that make the effects of the crisis especially devastating for young Italians. If any change is to occur, Italy’s social structure must change. In order to be motivated, young Italians must know that they will have access to the kind of education or job opportunities that they want. If schools and universities are to remain state-run, then the government must prioritize a budget that will supplement the income of poor families. Governmental and bureaucratic systems should set an example for young Italians to follow. However, some responsibility also lies with young people themselves, who must strive to be more vocal and resist the trap of hopelessness and crime.
The thought was that everyone and everything in the world is in a harmonic balance and therefore, everything and everyone must depend on the society as a whole.
willing to make plans, because the future seems so unpromising. This shift in attitudes among Italian youth has lead to alarming changes in behavior. In Beatrice’s town, many young people look for a way to get “easy money.” Some have resorted to gambling or betting on the
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Beatrice believes that hope for the future lies in changing stale systems of leadership. She believes that every young person has a “hidden dream” and that, despite the seemingly hopeless years ahead, they need to bear that burden together and work toward improving the country that they will lead one day.
EL GLOBALISTA MÉXICO This article was submitted to the Wellesley Globalist by El Globalista Mexico, the Mexican chapter of our Global 21 network. Please visit our website, http://wellesleyglobalist.org/, to read this article in English. A Summary: The thoughts and perspectives of Cuba’s youth reveal currents of thought that are rising to shape the island’s future. This new generation grew up under the shadow of Cuba’s revolutionary past and has long operated under principles established by an earlier generation. Caught between an ingrained understanding of life within the island and haunted by Cuba’s recent past, this generation faces critical, sometimes paralyzing challenges. Still, as Cuban society and politics shift with the times, this generation has taken on critical national debates in the political arena and the arts—finding more and more platforms for the nation’s newest voices to question and reimagine Cuba’s future.
“Revolución Vieja, Revolución Joven” BELÉN LOBOS UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE DE MADRID – ESCUELA DE PERIODISMO COLABORADORA DE EL GLOBALISTA MEXICO (ITAM)
Cuba es otro de esos lugares del globo sobre el que abundan los tópicos; sobre la que todo el mundo parece tener algo que decir, sea más o menos certero. Acercarse a la juventud cubana es, seguramente, una de las mejores formas de aproximarse a lo que ocurre hoy día en la isla. Las nuevas generaciones, entre el discurso hegemónico del poder y el relato de sus familiares sobre hechos pretéritos, buscan su sitio con iniciativas llenas de frescura, mientras anhelan mejorar lo presente a nivel social y económico. De Santiago de Cuba a Pinar del Río, los y las jóvenes toman las riendas del debate político, la iniciativa artística y busca espacios que puedan sentir como propios. Crisis debe de ser la palabra más pronunciada a nivel internacional en los últimos tiempos. Pero para esta isla caribeña no es algo novedoso. La juventud cubana conoce unas cuantas, solo de oírlas en boca de sus mayores. Sus abuelas y abuelos le hablaron de la República, con sus consecutivos gobiernos y la correspondiente bonanza económica en la época de la Gran Guerra –ya con la mediación norteamericana-, la agrupación de los obreros y estudiantes desde los años veinte y, desde 1925, la dictadura: primero sería Gerardo Machado, luego Batista, amén de un golpe de estado. Algunas de las personas que hoy se acercan a octogenarias tal vez vivieran de cerca la represión de la huelga general de un marzo doloroso en el ecuador de los ‘30.
Tras unos cuantos vaivenes políticos, llegaría un (breve) desenlace democrático con las primeras elecciones en tres años. En los cuentos de la veteranía cubana, se aprecia la esperanza de esos años: los tres mil presos amnistiados, la Constitución de 1940 aprobada por Asamblea Constituyente con representantes de nueve partidos políticos, la tan celebrada Autonomía Universitaria. La ensayista y crítica de arte Graziella Pogolotti describe, en el libro ‘Dinosauria Soy’, su experiencia cuando estudiante en La Habana al decretarse esta ley universitaria que restringía el acceso de las autoridades militares a las facultades y proporcionaba la posibilidad de gestionar sus propias partidas presupuestarias a la institución. A pesar de que los militares
EL GLOBALISTA MÉXICO no siempre respetaron la regla, Pogolotti considera un gran logro social que se limitaran a nivel legal las intromisiones del poder en la universidad. De nuevo sería el comienzo de una guerra mundial el que llevaría una prosperidad coyuntural a Cuba, hecho del que no sabrían sacar provecho ninguno de los dos mandatarios electos tras Batista, ambos líderes del Partido Revolucionario Cubano Auténtico, instigadores de asesinatos a dirigentes obreros y creadores del decreto ‘Mordaza’ contra la libertad de prensa. Sería una época en que las bandas de gángsteres tendrían vía libre en los casinos, prostíbulos y otros negocios de parecida índole de la isla, en connivencia con las autoridades corruptas. En las elecciones de 1952, Fulgencio Batista volvería a protagonizar un coup de force, para constituir un gobierno militar. Adiós a la Constitución de 1940 y vuelta a la reducción del nivel de ingresos del país, a la represión de las libertades amparada por la ley. Es entonces cuando un joven abogado llamado Fidel Castro
Photo Courtesy of Jake Iesu
preconizaría la lucha contra la dictadura.
DE LEGADOS REVOLUCIONARIOS Si algo hay omnipresente en el imaginario cubano, junto con los no menos ubicuos Che Guevara y José Martí, es la revolución en 1959. Aunque no sería hasta tres lustros más tarde después cuando se pudiera votar en unas elecciones, siempre en régimen de partido único, esa fue la revolución que triunfó, la que aún hoy día ocupa lugar privilegiado incluso en las mentes de los y las más jóvenes. En la Constitución, reformada en 2002 con el aval de más ocho millones de votantes, se estableció que “el Partido Comunista de Cuba, martiano y marxista-leninista, vanguardia organizada de la nación cubana, es la fuerza dirigente superior de la sociedad y del Estado, que organiza y orienta los esfuerzos comunes hacia los altos fines de la construcción del
EL GLOBALISTA MÉXICO socialismo y el avance hacia la sociedad comunista.” Loannia Marimón es una joven treinteañera de Pinar del Río, la zona más occidental de la isla, que hace suyos los sentimientos encontrados que muchas otras personas de su edad expresan hacia la revolución. Por un lado, un agradecimiento a los avances sociales conseguidos: “Nací con la revolución, crecí con ella, sé que si no fuera por su triunfo en el ‘59, no sería universitaria, ni mis padres tampoco”. Pero, por otro lado, “no es justo que nos quieran pasar las cuentas de más de cincuenta años atrás. Tengo la impresión de que han caducado algunos de los principios que movían a este país y muchas personas se resisten a cambiarlos”, cuenta Loannia. “Es hora de hacer otra Cuba. Con otra ‘Revolución’, sin dejar atrás lo que tenemos gracias a mis abuelos y mis padres”, concluye. Grettel Reinoso, originaria de Santa Clara, corrobora esta contradicción: “La revolución ha sido más bien, lo que te toca, porque no la elegimos, y de hecho, lo que nos ha tocado son crisis, ahorros, restricciones interminables. Sin embargo, tenemos una cierta sensación de pertenencia, en unos casos más que en otros, que se despierta, so-
bre todo, ante las campañas desacreditadoras de los extranjeros”.
Photo Courtesy of Jake Iesu
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DE CRISIS Y PARÁLISIS Perteneciente a esta misma generación, Grettel Reinoso resume así lo acontecido a susmayores: “Nuestros abuelos vivieron el capitalismo, sufrieron los males de una República títere de los Estados Unidos, de dictaduras asesinas, de represión, de puteo puro y duro para que Cuba fuera la joyita del tío Sam. Por ello apoyaron una revolución que les enseñó a leer y escribir, que dio escuelas a sus hijos e hijas y sanidad gratuita, que les hizo sentirse seres humanos con igualdad de oportunidades.” Aquella nueva juventud, la nacida al calor de los sesenta, “vivió períodos de crisis y otros de esplendor, en los que los campesinos de Oriente se iban de vacaciones a Varadero como los médicos habaneros y los bajísimos salarios alcanzaban para vivir una vida tranquila, sosegada y militante, con carencias y necesidades menores, poco importantes en un clima de armonía, igualdad”, prosigue con entusiasmo esta periodista del Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión. Con su relato, llegamos a un momento clave en la historia del archipiélago caribeño: la caída del Muro de Berlín y posterior derrumbamiento de la URSS que resquebrajarían la alianza comunista de la Guerra Fría, dejando a Cuba al borde del colapso. Inmersa en su escafandra socialista, la isla no podía permitirse perder los ingresos soviéticos del azúcar y el petróleo que les exportaban religiosamente. “Por esa época empezaron a tener descendencia nuestros padres y madres, confiando en que ya no padeceríamos ni uno de los malos momentos que les tocó vivir. Cuando se hizo pedazos la Unión Soviética, la islita de Cuba quedó flotando a la deriva en el mar”, ilustra Grettel Reinoso. El país en que ella había nacido hacía menos de una década, entró en el llamado período especial: “Vinieron las crisis terribles, que padecieron más nuestros progenitores que nosotros, una crisis que no termina aún”. Para 1993, el comercio de Cuba había disminuido en un 80 por ciento, con el consecuente empeoramiento del nivel de vida de sus habitantes, muchos de los cuales marcharon a tierras norteamericanas ante la grave situación. A pesar de todo, dice Grettel, sus predecesores, “que vivieron las bonanzas y parabienes del socialismo, siguen, en general, confiando en la im-
portancia de transformarlo, mejorarlo”. Fernando Ravsberg, corresponsal de la BBC en Cuba, descubrió que ciertas personas jóvenes “emigran porque perciben que viven en un país que no es el de ellos, se sienten habitando una casa ajena donde las reglas de convivencia las imponen sus abuelos, quienes ante cualquier discrepancia les recuerdan todo lo que se les debe”.
DE LOS PROS Y LOS CONTRAS SOCIALISTAS Con un salario medio mensual que no llega a los veinte dólares al mes, otro de los problemas de la
“Si algo hay omnipresente en el
imaginario cubano, junto con los no menos ubicuos Che Guevara y José Martí, es la revolución en 1959.” juventud cubana es cómo arreglárselas una vez han terminado sus estudios. Alberto León, estudiante de comunicación de la Universidad de Camagüey, en la homónima ciudad del centro-Este de Cuba, confirma que “gracias a la política educacional del gobierno la instrucción y el nivel académico de los cubanos es alta. Los ingenieros, médicos y demás profesionales son muy competentes. El problema que ven los jóvenes al salir de la universidad es que los ingresos no alcanzan”. Sin embargo, la mayoría se incorpora a trabajar inmediatamente después de graduarse, con puestos garantizados por el Estado. En su caso, León vive con sus abuelos maternos, ambos jubilados y pensionarios que “viven de la ayuda de familiares que colaboran con comida y otros artículos”, detalla. A pesar de que recibe ayuda económica tanto de su padre como de su madre, dice León: “Llevo una vida feliz e incluso puedo salir de vez en cuando a fiestas y llevar una vida social bien activa. Y el hecho de tener más o menos dinero no me impide tener estudiar con un alto rigor en la facultad de periodismo”.
Photo Courtesy of Jake Iesu
LOGROS HEREDADOS… Más allá de lo limitante de un régimen y un bloqueo prolongados en el tiempo, parece que una gran mayoría de esta juventud cubana comparte la valoración de los “logros sociales” (que, por otro lado, viven como algo natural), así como la certeza de que ciertos cambios son necesarios y de que, en uno u otro momento, logarán reapropiarse de lo que les ha sido dado de herencia. Y no solo en La Habana se llevan a cabo iniciativas interesantes a nivel artístico o político. Santa Clara, a menos de 300 kilómetros al Oriente, se ha consolidado como un vivo lugar lleno de contrastes y movimiento juvenil. En esta capital de provincia, comenzó la Escuela Elemental de Arte Wilfredo Prieto, nacido hace poco más de tres décadas en un pueblo del cercano Sancti Spíritus. Actualmente en Milán y pronto en Madrid, Prieto ha recorrido mundo con sus exposiciones pero no olvida que, durante trece años pudo desarrollar su vocación artística en la isla, hasta concluir sus estudios en el Instituto Superior de Arte de la Habana, en 2002. “En Cuba, lo más interesante se está dando en las generaciones más jóvenes. Hay una plataforma bien amplia para la experimentación, una vida cultural que
se cuece constantemente a diferencia de generaciones precedentes que se vieron marcadas más por un interés comercial”, explica el artista.
…PARA CONQUISTAR ESPACIOS PROPIOS La obra más conocida de Wilfredo Priedo, mostrada en Italia, Francia e Irlanda, consistió en una larga hilera de treinta banderas de los distintos países de la ONU despojadas de sus colores habituales, en escala de grises. El artista la tituló ‘Apolítico’ y, contra lo que se podría esperar, no fue censurada en Cuba, sino en los Estados Unidos. Otro de sus trabajos con cierta dosis de crítica, fue ‘Untitled/Red Carpet’, para el que, en una galería en Barcelona, colocó una alfombra y se dispuso a barrer el suelo introduciendo debajo el polvo que había encontrado en el espacio. Con ‘Andando el perro y comiendo la mierda’, realizada con un excremento de perro, dos limas y azúcar esparcidos en el suelo del parque Lennon en La Habana, Prieto pretendía: “Hacer una obra muy sutil, muy de camuflaje, que prácticamente no se pudiera encontrar y perteneciera a una pura cotidianeidad. Es lo que me interesa del arte, porque es cómo es la realidad”, comenta de manera algo críptica. El artista conceptual explica que su intención con deter-
EL GLOBALISTA MÉXICO minadas obras es jugar con “la información tal y como la estamos decantando todo el tiempo”, es decir, la selección de lo que las personas perciben o no, según las circunstancias y el lugar en que se encuentren. ‘Grasa, jabón y plátano’ -que contenía estos tres pequeños elementos dispuestos en medio de una gran sala- era una otra de estas intervenciones mínimas, “en clara alusión a una posible caída”. Sin querer abrir frentes políticos, pero con inevitables referencias a lo que ocurre en su país natal, Wilfredo Prieto asegura que no cree “en las censuras o en las cuestiones burocráticas que siempre se forman para crear una obra. Uno tiene que tener un papel gestor a la hora de crear y la obra la capacidad de doblarse, como la plastilina, para poderse colar”.
revolución”. Quienes acudieron al Foro pudieron nutrirse de las experiencias desarrolladas por otros colectivos, tanto dentro de Cuba como en otros países latinoamericanos, así como dialogar acerca del trabajo comunitario, la promoción artística y el debate político, de manos de la investigadora Gisela Arandia sobre los desafíos organizativos de la población y las mujeres negras en Cuba. También se presentaron varios proyectos relacionados con los movimientos sociales: ‘Talento Cubano’, ‘Garage 19’ o ‘Misceláneo’. El pasado 9 de junio, Jimmy Roque Martínez y Eduardo A. Díaz Fernández, integrantes de la Red, fueron detenidos en el barrio habano del Vedado, después de que la policía les pidiera la documentación y los registrara. Al encontrarles dos sprays de pintura y, como les dijeron los agentes “por encontrarse en ese barrio”, fueron llevados a comisaría, donde pasaron doce horas en calabozo. Tras ofrecérseles un ‘acta Más allá del mundo del arte, cuando se entra de advertencia’, que ellos no firmaron, fueron liberados. en el terreno de la juventud y la política en Cuba, se A pesar de las no poco frecuentes trabas por parte de encuentran algunas las resistencias mencionadas por las autoridades, Observatorio Crítico se fortalece como la mayoría de las personas entrevistadas, pero también una de las apuestas comprometidas de la isla. se aprecian perspectivas de cambio y, en muchos casos, ejemplos de auto-organización y acciones que se consolidan poco a poco. La red no-gubernamental Observatorio Crítico (OC), movimiento de base social que trabaja por la gestión ciudadana de lo público, fue testiPero, ¿hay ya resultados de estas perspectivas go de estas resistencias cuando, en la celebración de su de cambio a nivel del poder político? El universitario Foro Social anual en el municipio de Playa durante el 26 Alberto León, asegura: “Cuba en la actualidad atray 27 de mayo, fueron “cortésmente desalojados” del lu- viesa por un proceso de cambios en la economía y en gar en que estaban debatiendo, como cuenta Isbel Díaz sus instituciones. El más notable es la apertura al traTorres. La reunión, cuyo taller principal era “Auto-orga- bajo no estatal”. En los últimos tiempos, esto ha pronizarnos”, contó con la presencia de más de sesenta per- ducido que muchos cubanos y cubanas hayan abierto sonas; entre ellas el sociólogo cubano Juan Valdés Paz o su propio negocio. “Algunos impuestos son altos pero el investigador y activista Dmitri Prieto Samsónov. En en su mayoría los cuentapropistas [los trabajadores que pleno debate sobre ideologías, tradiciones culturales y no dependen del gobierno] han logrado tener buenos auto-organización social en Cuba, las autoridades “in- dividendos económicos para mejorar sus vidas”, expone vitaron”, el último día, a abandonar la sala de la Casa el estudiante de la Universidad de Camagüey. “Se está Comunitaria La Ceiba bajo lo que los integrantes de OC prestando mucha atención a males como la corrupción consideran un pretexto, ante lo cual decidieron prose- y el descontrol financiero. El gobierno está rectificando guir el encuentro en un parque cercano. En las paredes viejas políticas y está adaptando su economía para tradel local, colgaban carteles que rezaban “Socialismo es tar de desarrollarse: la compra-venta de autos y casa, la democracia, pa’l latón la burrocracia”, “Si piensas como entrega de tierras [en referencia a las reformas del gobiun burgués, vivirás como un esclavo” o ‘Hagamos la erno de entrega de un 50% de las tierras cultivables a los
‘¡LUCHA TU YUCA, TAÍNO!’
DE CARRITOS Y SUEÑOS
EL GLOBALISTA MÉXICO campesinos] y la reducción a cinco años del mandato en cuanto a vivienda (hasta ahora, solo el Estado podía presidencial son algunas de ellas. Esto denota un interés construir, ahora también la ciudadanía puede levantar en un cambio paulatino de nuestra sociedad”, expresa sus propias casas) o la apuesta por eliminar ciertos tipos de intervención estatal que obstaculizaban, no es menos cierto que la burrocracia es aún fatigosa. Como expone Fernando Ravsberg en su artículo del 31 de mayo ‘El carro, el cubano y los parásitos’, el mero hecho de comprar un coche puede prolongarse en el tiempo e, incluso, nunca obtener las restringidas licencias que otorga el gobierno, muchas de las veces a través de prácticas fraudulentas. A pesar de la educación y el posterior puesto de trabajo garantizados por el Estado, la periodista Grettel Alberto con optimismo. En los últimos años, se ha pro- Reinoso explica que, “producto de las grandes contraducido la conmutación de cincuenta personas penadas dicciones a las que se ha enfrentado el sistema a partir de muerte y la liberación de todas las presas de con- de la crisis de los noventa, cada vez existe menos mociencia (aún quedan aquellas que relacionadas con ac- tivación por los estudios porque, de forma general, un tos violentos). Si bien es verdad que el actual presidente profesional es menos remunerado que cualquier otra Raúl Castro está llevando a cabo una serie de mejoras persona que tenga un trabajo en áreas como el turismo,
“Si bien es verdad que el actual
presidente Raúl Castro está llevando a cabo una serie de mejoras en cuanto a vivienda...no es menos cierto que la burrocracia es aún fatigosa. ”
Photo Courtesy of Jake Iesu
EL GLOBALISTA MÉXICO Photo Courtesy of Jake Iesu
firmas extranjeras, gastronomía, servicios, iniciativas particulares o en el ‘trapicheo’ del mercado negro”. Fruto de esta continua bipolaridad, incide en que, sin embargo, “todavía persiste la idea de la importancia de tener estudios y superarse profesional o intelectualmente, aunque luego te guardes el título en casa, de recuerdo”. Lo que parece claro es que no pierden la esperanza: “También existen jóvenes en Cuba que sabemos lo que tenemos y cuánto podemos hacer para mejorarlo, que creamos, criticamos y construimos un nuevo discurso que, si bien irreverente, abierto, crítico, negador a la vez que heredero, rompedor de esquemas, a veces intolerante, implacable, otras ingenuo, busca conformar una identidad colectiva para comunicar, sentirnos parte y construir dentro de esa colectividad”, dice Grettel Reinoso con convicción. En lo que esta juventud parece casi
homogénea es en la capacidad de sonreír ante las adversidades, “a llevar adelante la Revolución triunfadora del Moncada y del Granma, de la Sierra y de Girón”, como dicta su Constitución, o sin viejas revoluciones de por medio, para empezar otra nueva etapa, sin olvidar, pero mejorando lo presente.
“En esta generación, como concluye la entusiasta Grettel, “persisten algunas certezas comunes: el futuro del país tiene que ser nuestro, está en nuestras manos y en las de nadie más.” Page 39
Top Left: A ceremonial guard on Tinamen Square in Beijing, China by Adele Clifford. Top Right: A man plays the Guzheng by Scarlett Kao. Bottom Right: a graffiti representation of the leader of the communist party in Athens, Greece by Adele Clifford.
Above: City life in Tbilisi, Georgia by Hannah Harris Bottom Left: A protest poster for increased economic rights in Barcelona, Spain by Melissa Dean-Treseler Bottom Right: A young woman in Georgia by Hannah Harris
A Case Study of Resettlement in Three n my junior year of high school I went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Delhi, India. Our bus took us through the city to Bawana, the town where we were going to build homes for three families. Our guide, a local who liked to spontaneously sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” told us that there were at least 5,000 slum-dwelling families who were pushed out of the city in 2004, away from the eyes of policymakers and tourists. The families were each promised a plot of land to reconstruct their homes, but seven years down the road, most hadn’t seen that promise fulfilled. Bawana, located in the northwest outskirts of Delhi, is known as a thriving industrial town. It has Delhi’s best orphanage, the SOS children’s village, and a functioning public library - one of the few places that does. However, the town was a mess. After seven years of resettlement, there were still mountains of garbage piled high on the streets with baby goats bleating and wobbling over them. Ducks swam in murky black water. The air was rancid. Small children with bloated bellies and stick-like limbs ran and played in this environment. Our guide told us that the only way to live there legally was to buy land. However, the majority of people either couldn’t afford to purchase land or couldn’t afford to build a house on it. I vividly remember homes made
of sticks and hay, a wall pieced together with black plastic bags, and even a tent made from an old, canvas billboard advertisement. These homes may have survived in the sun, but what about during the monsoon season? Those fortunate enough to have homes still lived in cramped spaces. Drainage systems didn’t work well, so human waste was
A very cold worker sits outside of a hotel in Guang Zhou, China. Photo Courtesy of Adele Clifford.
Cities: Delhi, Berlin, & Shanghai never washed away properly, and flies thrived, so densely populated we didn’t dare open our mouths to speak. This contributed to airborne diseases that locals caught. The houses we were building were going to have built-in waste tanks, an improvement on the current situation. Still, we knew it wasn’t enough to help. I later on found out that The Hindu,
a national Indian paper, published an article on the situation in Bawana on March 15, 2011, a few days before we arrived. Residents complained that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) safai karamcharis report for work daily but never do the work of cleaning the streets. However, according to the article, “Balkrishan, the leader of the safai karamcharis, complains that colony residents do not cooperate in keeping the streets clean. ‘They have no civic sense,’ he rues. ‘There are 200 sanctioned posts for safai karamcharis here, but I have only 28 people. It is impossible for us to work with such a small workforce.’” This fact was verified by MCD Ward-28 BJP councilor Narayana Singh, who blamed the Delhi Government for the vacant posts. During the Habitat trip, I was humbled by the way these people lived and was prompted to reevaluate my life and appreciate the opportunities I have. This is where my concern for urban development began. I learned how important it is to have a structured system to support the resources, logistics, and people affected by governmental decisions to expand and change urban environments. I recently read an article in Der Spiegel International, a German publication, about the eviction of a Turkish family in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district that sparked mass protests. 41-year-old Ali Gülbol says that at the time, he had a verbal agreement with his landlords
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Author Victoria Yu Class of 2016
At least for the past few years, forced eviction has been happening often enough that there are organizations and “planned demonstrations”. In Berlin, the issue of where they end up is not even addressed.
not to raise the rent because “they always did that in Kreuzberg.” In 2007, the old landlords were forced to the sell the building to a new landlord who ended up raising the rent. Gülbol refused to pay, because he had made the verbal agreement and had spent a fortune renovating the apartment. Eventually, he took the case to court, and the case made it up to the higher courts. But Gülbol lost the case, and the Berlin court ordered him to pay 40 months of rent increase. No one had told him that the rent had to be paid in two months, so when he did pay, it was already too late. The new landlords cited the late rent payment as a reason for eviction, and on February 14, 2013, Gülbol’s family was forced to leave. 500 or so supporters of the evicted family rallied against hundreds of police officers armed with clubs and pepper spray. Many of them were in similar situations or supporters of the anti-gentrification movement. Cars were set ablaze, and demonstrators scuffled with the police. Sara Walther from the Bündnis Gegen Zwangsräumung (Alliance Against Forced Evictions) explained to the Süddeutsche Zeitung that while there is nothing wrong with wealthier new people moving to an old neighborhood, one should not “systematically throw old renters out of their apartments.” This is only one of many cases involving the residents of Berlin and the city’s gentrification project. The Guardian reported a similar if not more dramatic case two years ago on February 2, 2011. The headlines stated: “Berlin police mount huge operation to evict tenants
of former squat: Up to 2,500 officers are deployed to quell protests against plan to clear 25 residents from Liebig 14 tenement block.” The “squatters” evicted were in fact legal residents who had signed a lease with Berlin’s housing board. But because the government sold the block to private developers to divide into expensive flats, the old residents were forced out. It is stunning that 2,500 police came to subdue only 25 people; The Guardian claimed that “Berlin police said 2,500 officers were engaged in the operation, ‘but not all are stationed here; they are spread out all over the city to deal with the planned demonstrations.’” On April 2, 2013, riot police surrounded 50 activists who had hoped to form a sitting blockade to prevent another forced eviction in Berlin’s Neukölln district. The police surrounded the demonstrators, allowing the bailiffs could enter the building. These are not isolated cases but part of a larger movement. For the past few years, forced evictions have been happening frequently often enough that there are organizations and “planned demonstrations” demonstrated to the issue. Just like the slum-dwellers in India, evicted Berliners have been forced to find new homes. But at least in Delhi, there is a designated area for evicted tenants. In Berlin, the issue of where those who are evicted end up is not addressed. Following unification in 1990, Berlin has seen an influx of new residents due to the city’s relatively low rent costs and plentiful housing. The mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wow-
Workers balance on scaffolding in Beiijing, China. Photo Courtesy of Adele Clifford.
ereit, has referred to Berlin as “poor but sexy,” a phrase which has become the motto of the party capital. In recent years, Berlin had been doing much better economically, and thus the city began going through the process of “gentrification,” losing the charm that originally drew people from across Germany, Europe, and the rest of the world to Berlin. Locals see “gentrification” as the destruction of their culture. As one resident interviewed in Der Spiegel said, “I came to Berlin to live the Berlin lifestyle, not the Stuttgart or Munich or some village-in-the woods one. It's not much fun going out here anymore, it's mainly wine bars, playgrounds, toy shops and yoga places, all of which isn't exactly cool funky and exciting.” The places this resident describes
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wouldn’t exist had old residents not been vacated. Berlin’s debt, which exceeds $80 million, also poses a problem. The city relies heavily on cross subsidies from richer German states, most of which are in the south. It is these people who are purchasing property to gentrify. Without these subsidies, there would be no Berlin. Thinking about these problems, I am reminded of similar forced evictions happening back home in Shanghai. Many cities in China have old crumbling buildings from decades before. In order for Shanghai to modernize, these old buildings need to be torn down. Most of them are transformed into
FRONTIERS business centers, malls, and apartments. Combined with suburban expansion, rapid urban development is leading to the displacement of millions of families. But unlike the situation in Delhi or Berlin, the impetus behind Shanghai’s situation is slightly different. As in the previous two cases, people in Shanghai are forced into the city’s outskirts for cheaper prices or simply because there is nowhere else for them to go. The resettlement issue in Shanghai differs from the ones in Delhi and Berlin, however, in the Chinese government’s heavy involvement. Whether this is due to the government’s highly authoritarian nature or whether the government simply can’t handle protests and riots due to the overwhelming number of people that would be involved, there is a whole system of laws and policies in place to help families losing their homes. The government gives monetary compensation to the evicted residents based on a complex system of calculations. This excludes families that have houses elsewhere so priority is given to those in actual need. If the converted money is still not enough for the family to find a new home, there are other calculations the government will make to add value to the previous price offered. Under the circumstances that the money from the apartment is not enough to help the household find a new home in the city, the Chinese government will provide “safety housing.” To qualify for “safety housing,” there is a strict set of requirements and an application that residents must complete. This includes all working poor and lower class households of the city that have difficulty finding housing. These houses have a certain period of time where they cannot be sold. The government retains property rights, but after a certain amount of time, residents may be able to gain the rights
to ownership and the ability to sell it. There are entire communities of “safety housing” in the suburbs of Shanghai. It is still relatively inconvenient to live there in comparison to the central locations these residents used to occupy, but it is a better option than leaving the city or becoming homeless. I live far out in the suburbs so I see new “safety housing” communities rising from the ground all the time. A metro line under construction—which will be completed by 2016—will run through these communities to allow for easier access to the city. By 2030, these homes will not seem as far away, as the 33 metro lines expected to be built are completed. As the case of Shanghai demonstrates, A worker sits governments can make outside of a clear plans that can directconstruction ly or indirectly help evicted site in Xi’an, families resettle. There is China. not enough action by other governments to help people Photo who don’t have the ability to Courtesy of get what they need on their Adele Clifford. own. On July 18, 2012, the Delhi government allotted 500 flats to evicted families in Bawana and there are currently 35,000 flats in construction, which will house eligible slum dwellers once completed. It is a good start, but Delhi still had a rough transition period, so this intervention is, in a way, coming late. As for Berlin, there
Page 45 still seems to be a lack of a coherent system to support resettling residents while bringing in new ones. Systematically throwing old renters out of their apartments will become routine if policy changes are not made. This issue is on Germanyâ€™s 2013 elections agenda, so obviously, some changes need to be made. A government should do more for its people and provide a fluid system that grants
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old residents housing when new residents move in. The welfare of the state depends on the welfare of its people. If people are ill due to poor facilities in their new homes, or if people are protesting in the streets, this reflects poorly on the state. Food, water, and shelter are essential human needs. No country should jeopardize them. In the case of Shanghai, China is doing something right.
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