Child Marriage in the Middle East

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Think of a little girl forced into marriage with a man five times her age, just so her family can have a little more money. This is what is happening to many young girls across the Middle East. Girls are not only being physically abused, but also sexually and mentally abused. These children are facing atrocities that no person, let alone child, should ever have to deal with. But what are the facts? Read on to find out.

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STATS:

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52% of girls 18 and under in Middle Eastern countries are already married. In just five years the number of child brides younger than age fifteen has nearly doubled. In many rural areas children aged 8 and under are married. Children are pulled from school to marry older men so the family will have more money. The youngest divorce was at a ten-year-old girl from a man who had bought her at age 9.

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WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

child-marriages

The loss of childhood is one of the many direct consequences of child marriage. The fact that young children are even in this situation is morally unacceptable. A child should be nurtured and cared for throughout their childhood rather than being forced to mature, and often to have sexual intercourse before most children even know what it is. Childhood should be the best and most care-free time of a person’s life, a time of protection and safety. Instead of protecting their children, parents of child brides sometimes threaten to take the life of their child if she refuses, and there are many known cases in which they carry through with these threats. Children are being beaten, raped, married off and sometimes killed, snatching the innocence that is so taken for granted away.

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IN THE NEWS:

This video of Nada al-Ahdal, an eleven-year old Yemeni girl explains how she ran away from her parents because of an arranged marriage. She had gone to live with her uncle, despite knowledge that not all children can escape child marriage. Many are trapped and may contemplate suicide, Nada said, asking about the innocence of childhood. She concluded the video by saying she would never return to her family because they had crushed her dreams. The issue of child marriage in Yemen has been thrust into the light recently, and since Nada’s video many more shocking stories have been in the news. In September, an eight-year-old girl died of internal bleeding on the night of her marriage, causing local and international outrage. Recently, an article was published reporting a man who, due to tribal customs, had burned his fifteen-year-old daughter to death after catching her talking on the phone to her fiance. The father considered this an “honor killing” which is becoming a major concern in the Middle East, according to the UN Human Rights council.

Child marriage is quite within the social norm, and in fact it is an expectation of society. The eight-year-old girl who died so horrifically had no say in her marriage to that man five times her age, which resulted in her premature death. Yemen is a highly conservative society where many traditional customs and ideas remain intact. The fifteen-year-old girl who was burned to death by her own father fell victim to the expectations and restrictions of that society. Even for Nada, after she posted her video, some said it was wrong to condemn her parents for forcing her into marriage, for they should be respected. However, despite all these tragedies, there still lies hope in the Nadas of the world who dare to break the cycle and make a change for the bettering of society. Human rights groups are pushing for the legal marriage age in Yemen to be set at 18. However there’s not much is getting done with a strong opposition rooted in tradition. With more support the marriage age in Yemen and the Middle East could be raised, helping many young girls be freed from this horror.

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REAL STORIES:

Teenager Hind from Hodeida, Yemen was beaten and sexually abused by her 70-year-old husband to whom she was sold and married during Ramadan. This deal was made by her blind father and three uncles for about $1,400. Their family lived in a shack and their sole income was from children begging in the street, so they chose to sell off the daughter to get by. When attempting to escape from her husband, Hind was caught by one of her uncles who proceeded to chain her in the house as punishment for breaking his deal. For two months she was forced to do housework with heavy chains around her neck. When chained up, she was beaten and sexually abused by not only her uncle but her cousins as well. Finally, Hind managed to escape and was taken in by a woman in the Yemeni highlands who believed that she was pregnant. Hind’s uncle was not arrested. He just had to sign a contract saying he would not chain her up again, while Hind is left with the emotional and physical scars for the rest of her life.

This man says he will marry off his daughter as soon as she reaches puberty with no concern for her well-being, only keeping in mind the fact that in Yemen this would be the age that she would be seen as fit to marry. However, there is technically no legal marriage age in Yemen, only a loose restriction on sexual intercourse. There isn’t even a law to protect a bride if she isn’t interested getting married, for if her family wishes it, she must comply.

This video is an inspiring tale of a young girl, who, after being forced into marriage and raped by her husband at age eleven, took a daring leap out of a car to escape her terrible marriage. She ran away to court, attempting to divorce her middle-aged husband and was successful, no longer “belonging” to her husband. She could finally live a “normal” life with her family at home – as a child should. To see a girl who has gone through something this traumatic be so courageous and determined is incredible and inspiring to young girls who are going through the same thing in the Yemen and all over the world, reminding them that there is always hope.

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BEYOND THE MIDDLE EAST:

The Middle East is only a fraction of the worldwide problem of child marriage.

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GET INVOLVED:

To find out how you can make a difference check out this website:

Care.org

Read about real girls who are in need of as much support and assistance as they can get. Any donation can make a difference.

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Girls across the world are being married off at alarmingly young ages against their will, often forced by their own family. These are not happy marriages, and girls are often abused, physically, emotionally, and sexually, by their older husbands. This is an issue that should be a priority for all individuals and nations, because when the safety of children cannot be guaranteed and the innocence of childhood is not preserved, it becomes clear that society is not functioning in the way it is supposed to.

Economy and Globalization in Israel

The Israeli Economy and the Challenges of Globalization
The impact of the Intifada and the Nasdaq crisis on Israel‘s economy.
 

     by Ephraim Davidi

It is now officially recognized that the Israeli economy is in the throes of a deepening recession. According to Israel Bank figures at the end of June 2001, the “combined index for examining the situation of the economy” suffered a sharp decline of 0.6 percent in June, and this is the eighth consecutive month of decline, amounting to an overall 3.5 percent decline in this period. This followed ten months (January-October 2000) in which a 6-percent increase in the index had been achieved. These figures indicate that, up to October 2000, the economy had enjoyed real growth, to be followed by months of real recession. What happened in September 2000 to exert such an influence on Israel’s economic situation? The answer is, of course, the Intifada.
According to an estimate made in May 2001, damage to the Israeli economy caused by the Palestinian Intifada amounts to about 8.5 billion New Israeli Shekels (NIS), or over $2 billion. In reporting this to the press, Yosi Shostak, director of Israel’s Chamber of Commerce, added that those branches particularly hit were tourism, construction and real estate, as well as exports to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Shostak knows what he is talking about, since he leads an organization representing the whole trade and services sector.
His estimates indicate that in the eight months since the Intifada broke out, tourism lost half of its income, about NIS 4 billion. The losses of the construction industry, which is suffering from a shortage of trained manpower (Palestinian workers), amount to NIS 3 billion, and NIS 1 billion has been lost in exports to the PA. Is NIS 1 billion a significant sum? It represents the half-yearly income of one of the largest food concerns in the country — Osem — a household name for most Israelis, whose products for home and foreign markets range from snacks, soups and canned goods to the vegetable schnitzel, which it makes in the Tiv’ol factory.

The ‘Nasdaq Intifada’

Shostak considers that, as a result of the Intifada, the Israeli economy is suffering “significant damage.” The Histadrut (labor movement) was silent on this subject, but according to data provided by the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, 85,000 people lost their jobs since the start of the Intifada; 45 percent of these worked in the tourist branch and in hi-tech-related branches.
Unemployed hi-tech people? One must add to the damage from the Intifada another no-less-important factor: the international crisis in the hi-tech branches of the economy, or the “Nasdaq crisis,” as the Israel media calls it. Finance Minister Silvan Shalom told investors in New York, in May 2001, that Israel’s economic problem “is more Nasdaq than Nablus.” This crisis far exceeds the widely reported decline in shares of elite technological companies and nobody dares to estimate the damage suffered by the economy from the “Nasdaq Intifada.” The total could be larger than that caused by the Palestinian Intifada.1
Koor, the giant concern once owned by the Histadrut (Labor movement), was privatized and is now owned by foreign investors and Israeli banks: its losses in the first quarter of 2001 came to nearly NIS 1 billion. Are these minor or major losses?2 Osem (also owned by local investors along with Nestlé, one of the biggest multinational firms in the world) has to sell its products for half a year in order to reach the losses incurred by Koor in three months.
Osem is a major company wholly involved in the “old economy” (food), but Koor is a different story. Under Histadrut ownership, it divided its activities between traditional branches and new ones such as electronics. Since 1977, it has been under the part-ownership of the Canadian Bronfman family (which made its money from the drink and food industries). The company changed course, moving from the “old” to the “new” economy. It sold “old economy” enterprises in order to concentrate on hi-tech. At first sight, there is nothing in common between the damage to the Israeli economy caused by the Nasdaq and by the Intifada. The decline of the computer industry in the world and the growing recession in the U.S.A. and Western Europe (not to speak of Japan) have no direct connection to the Palestinian struggle for independence. But the connection does exist, and this if only because Englist from the Goldman-Sachs Investment Bank says “an F16 plane in the skies of Gaza has economic significance.”3

The Sewing Shop in Gaza, the Administration in Tel Aviv and the Owners in New York

The fall of the Nasdaq and the blows from the Intifada caused great harm to the strategy that Israeli business circles developed in the last decade in their efforts to integrate into the global economy. This is a tale that started in the days of the first Intifada, when Israel gradually lost its control over the occupied territories. It was then that voices started to be heard in the Industrialists’ Union, which is the strongest organization of Israeli capitalists, calling for reaching an agreement with the Palestinians and not even negating the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as long as the economic dependence upon Israel would be preserved.4
The paradigm of the new strategy can be summed up in these words: “establishing a sewing shop in Gaza (or in Tulkarem or in Amman), administering it from Tel Aviv, with the owners in New York.” Of course, the product is not intended for the local Arab market or for Israel, but for the heartland countries of globalization — the U.S.A., Canada and Western Europe. On the Arab side, there were those who saw in this strategy “a way of enforcing Israeli economic control over the Middle East.” However, this was not the intention. Israel cannot control the Middle East economically or even militarily. Last year’s events proved that Israel is incapable of even maintaining military control over South Lebanon or over the Palestinian territories.
Israel, on the one hand, was to have integrated into the Middle East as a base for the activities of multinational companies, and, on the other, to open progressive industry mainly connected to three branches that have enormous development potential — computers, telecommunications and the Internet — all of which are interdependent, and all of which belong to multinational companies, mostly American.
At first sight this strategy proved itself. With the agreements signed with the Palestinians since 1993, gates were opened for foreign investment, the takeover of local companies by multinationals and the merging of local and foreign companies.5 The privatization process, which was one of the economic guidelines shared by all Israeli governments in the last two decades, contributed to the strategy.
Since the Oslo Accords, an impressive rise was recorded in the growth of the national product per capita in Israel. This stood at $5,500 in Israel in 1980, (as against $770 in Egypt, Jordan and Syria). In the European Community it was $9,300. In 1998, the figure “jumped” in Israel to $16,700 per capita and the prognosis was for $20,000 during the course of the year 2001. This can be compared to $1,300 in the aforementioned Arab states and $22,000 in Europe.6 However, one should not draw the conclusion from this considerable growth in the total production that its fruits were equally enjoyed by all the residents of Israel. The socioeconomic gap grew over the last two decades, and particularly in the last six years. The Israeli economy is notable for the increasing concentration of capital in a few hands. Some are of the opinion that this is an economy wholly run by 20 to 50 families and multinational companies. This concentration of capital finds expression in the salaries of the heads of the companies. In 1998, the average yearly salary of the directors of large companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange amounted to $680,000. The comparative figure for England was $645,000, in Japan $420,000 and in Germany almost $400,000.7
Now it is believed that the combination of the Intifada, the fall of the Nasdaq, and the prolonged recession that began when the peace process ran out of steam, will lead to only a tiny or even negative growth in the gross national product (GNP). The Treasury even calls the present recession “the hardest since 1966” — 1966 was the toughest recession in Israel’s economy since the establishment of the state in 1948. After the first eight months of the year 2000, which were described as “excellent” by economists, things got worse and worse, following the outbreak of the Intifada, the recession and the economic slowdown. From an annual growth rate of 6 percent, rising to 9 percent in the mid-1990s, the economy now finds itself after nine months of the Intifada with a growth rate in the last two years of between 1.7 and 2 percent. The economic departments of the major banks estimate that this year a growth rate of only 1 percent is to be expected, if not less. This means a negative per-capita growth of 1.5 percent.8

The ‘Danger’ of Palestinian Economic Independence

When the Intifada broke out at the end of September 2000, voices calling for “separation” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority made themselves heard in Israeli government circles. The term “separation” was never given real substance, and in the Israeli peace camp there was fear that it be transformed in reality into apartheid (“separation”’ in Afrikaans). These fears were not only heard in the peace camp. Directors of large economic companies also expressed fears about being cut off from the Palestinian economy, and former minister of finance, Avraham Shohat, made every effort to prevent a Palestinian boycott of Israeli products.
The idea of a separation, which means a Palestinian economy separate from that of Israel, caused considerable nervousness among Israeli capitalists who had worked so hard to prevent this in the framework of peace agreements and economic agreements signed in recent years with the PLO. Arik Reichman, director of Tnuva, whose yearly exports to the PA are estimated at NIS 130 million, told Ma’ariv newspaper that “I can’t estimate the damage [from economic separation], but it is very great.”9 This was not only a question of sales. He added: “We are engaged in serious cooperative projects with the PA [like] plans to establish a joint milking station and joint distribution channels, all of which can be drastically affected.” But the deepest fear of the Tnuva man was that of losing Israel’s second-largest export market10 and the base from which one could reach the Arab world.

Dead End

The last Labor government tried to progress along the road that its leader, Ehud Barak, saw as “Rabin’s way.” The Palestinians have an entirely different version of the goal to which Rabin’s way would lead: an independent Palestinian state. In this sense, there is now only “Arafat’s way.” The question is what is “Sharon’s way”? In other words, apart from his use of force, so well known to so many Palestinians in the occupied territories, what is Sharon’s longer-term strategy?
Until a few months ago, there was much talk of “separation.” Now, many people in the Israeli government think that Israel’s colonial war in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will inevitably lead to the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority. Is this a reasonable political alternative? The answer is negative: Sharon’s policies merely deepen the hostility of the Palestinians toward Israel and encourage their struggle for independence. It nevertheless seems that a not-inconsiderable part of Israeli public opinion supports Sharon’s policies.
Immediately after his election, and before taking office, Sharon held a large number of meetings with industrialists, capitalists and bankers — in effect, with all the important figures in the 50 or so families who run the economy. It was there that he was to receive strong backing, along with a request to establish a government of national unity. This circle of 50 families, which so strongly supported a “new economy” and “a new Middle East,” realized that they aren’t so different from those of the “old economy” and that a “new Middle East” cannot be established without solving several basic problems of the “old Middle East,” with the central problem being that of Palestinian nationalism.
However, since taking office, Sharon’s policies have only served to deepen Israel’s economic crisis, which is now beginning to be seen in the economic reports of banks and major economic companies. These show clear signs either of losses rather than profit, or of a significant decline in profits. Nehamia Strassler, the economic correspondent of the daily Ha’aretz, who reflects the thinking of Israel’s economic elite, notes that “the problem is a long-term matter. If the violence continues for a prolonged period, and Israel once again will be viewed from outside as in a state of war, or as a pariah state which shells refugee camps, then the economic ramifications will be harsh. The risk involved [in investing] will rise, investments themselves will decline, future growth will be damaged and the present depression will deepen.”11
However, the problem is not only future growth. The government must face up to the option of “guns or butter” and it unequivocally prefers guns. During the year 2001 (which isn’t over yet), the government increased the budget for the military and the police by about NIS 2 billion. There is now talk of the need to mobilize a further NIS 3 billion for next year’s security budget. Mobilizing actually means diverting budgets from non-military ones like welfare, health and education. It is estimated that, since the Intifada until today, 100,000 people will have been put out of work. All this is part of the cost of the Intifada — in human lives, in the economy, in unemployment, and in giving priority to military at the expense of social budgets. The Israeli economy, like the whole of Israeli society, is increasingly in need of a peaceful solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.

Globalization and Health

Libya’s health service could improve by copying USA

By Nigel Ash

Tripoli, 4 May 2013:

A radical overhaul of the “inefficient” and “conflicted” Libyan health system, to restyle it along American lines is proposed in a new report.

The Libyan Healthcare Society USA has argued that a significant degree of responsibility for health be taken away from the Ministry of Health and handed to professional medical associations and individual hospital managements.

“The existing system gives the Ministry of Health full authority to deliver, regulate, and finance healthcare” noted the report, “From our perspective, this clustering of responsibilities and authorities is a fundamental defect that leads to the conflict of roles and inefficiency, as well as compromises in the quality of health services”.

The document goes on to argue that many of the ministry’s tasks be reassigned to professional, regulatory organisations. These would include professional licensing boards to which all medical professionals would be accountable; training, accreditation and certification boards to set scientific and academic standards and professional associations to represent the interests of medical practitioners and uphold standards.

All such bodies would be independent of the health ministry, whose job would simply be to oversee and finance the healthcare system.

The ministry would play no role in these organisations . “Their members should be elected by professionals based on competence and integrity. This” argued the report, “assures the consistency and continuity of the long-term healthcare policies, regardless of the changes in the ministry.

The ministry would allocate budgets for hospitals and other healthcare facilities on the basis of services delivered.

The government would however retain ultimate control of the new Libyan health service through a supreme national authority under its aegis, which would set quality and safety standards for both public and private healthcare nationwide, which this authority would then monitor and implement.

This body, suggested the report:“ should be responsible for providing licenses for public and private healthcare facilities. It should submit its reports directly to the ministry, so that any health institution in violation of safety or quality standards can be followed and monitored”.

The study goes on to suggest that as a preliminary step, local hospitals could enter into contracts, for a specified period, “with reputable international hospitals to pair them managerially and procedurally in order to raise the level of these facilities at a faster pace”.

 

Ash, Nigel. “Libya’s Health Service Could Improve by Copying USA | Libya Herald.”Libya Herald. Libya Herals, 4 May 2013. Web. 17 May 2013.

Syria’s education crisis, in three charts

A new assessment released today by the United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that some Syrian children have missed out on as much as two years of education in the midst of their country’s ongoing civil struggle.

“The education system in Syria is reeling from the impact of violence,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF’s Syria representative, in a statement. “Syria once prided itself on the quality of its schools. Now it’s seeing the gains it made over the years rapidly reversed.”

According to the report, schools are increasingly being used by armed groups and displaced persons seeking shelter. More than 1,500 schools have been damaged or converted into shelters, a problem illustrated in the map above.

On top of that, attendance rates have plummeted — down to 6% in some areas. UNICEF blames insecurity, lack of teachers and resources, and damaged buildings, along with the pressure to drop out and earn an income or get married early.

That bodes poorly for young Syrians, who struggled to complete school and find jobs long before the conflict started. According to a 2010 paper sponsored by Stanford University, nearly 40 percent of Syrian youth ages 15 to 24 dropped out of school before the ninth grade. And many Syrian youth, particularly women, faced crippling unemployment rates.

UNICEF has announced a number of plans to try to alleviate Syria’s education crisis, including the donation of school supplies and prefabricated classrooms and outreach to internally displaced children. But the agency wants $20 million to complete its projects — and has so far received only 15 percent of that amount.

Iranian pollution worsens as thousands die

Iranian woman looks on at the smog covering Tehran, Iran, on 4/1/13Tehran’s medics have seen a rise in pollution-related health problems
A thick brown haze which has covered nine big cities – including the capital, Tehran – in Iran for the past 10 days is being blamed for thousands of deaths.

Iran’s deputy health minister said some 4,460 people died from air pollution in Tehran in the first nine months of last year.

At the peak of the crisis, hospital admissions were said to have risen by at least a third and the corridors of local clinics were full of wheezing people, children and pregnant women waiting for oxygen and treatment.

The BBC’s office in Tehran, located in the highlands in the northern part of the city, often offers a clear view of the sprawling city of Tehran. But these days, I see only the blurred outlines of high-rise buildings and the murky Milad communications tower in the distance.

Walking in the streets of Tehran is impossible without wearing a surgical mask over one’s mouth and nose, but people’s eyes still tear up and their throats sting from the mist of pollutants, which, according to reports, are made up of particles containing lead, sulphur dioxins and benzene.

Shielded from cleansing winds by the Alborz mountain range that embraces the capital like a crescent moon, flooded with cars and surrounded by cement factories and power stations, Tehran has long been notorious for pollution – particularly during dry winters of still air, such as this one.

But air quality has recently been worse, for longer, than ever before.

ShutdownAccording to reports, Tehran enjoys less than 100 healthy days a year. Iran’s health ministry has reported a rise in respiratory and heart diseases, as well as an increase in a variety of cancers that it says are related to pollution.

Each year, the 5.5 million vehicles in the city pump an estimated five million tonnes of CO2 and other poisonous gases into the air.

Iranian women wearing masks in Tehran (file photo)Iranians have been taking preventive measures against the smog

Some experts believe that domestically-produced petrol suffers from low quality and it has fanned the flames of air pollution.

Donya-e-Eqtesad newspaper, which is critical of the government, asked for an improvement in petrol standards in its editorial on Sunday. However, on state television, several officials denied that the yellow haze had anything to do with the locally-produced fuel.

State organisations, schools, universities and banks reopened on Sunday after the government had ordered them to shut down for five days to help ease the chronic pollution.

Meanwhile, the government has imposed strict traffic regulations in Tehran. An odd-even traffic-control plan based on the last digit of vehicle licence plates takes nearly half the cars off Tehran’s streets on a daily basis. But these are short-term tactics, and do not have much of an impact on changing things long-term.

‘Quickly forgotten’Without an effective government plan to curb the pollution, people and officials must wait for the rain and wind to come to wash away the smog.

In the new Farmaniyeh hospital in northern Tehran, children cough as they wait with their mothers for treatment.

Most of them are receiving Diphenhydramine or Prospan syrup.

“Do not rely on this prescription. Listen to your mother and try not to go out at all and drink milk and water as much as you can,” Dr Bahrami tells a 10-year-old boy who is coughing after every breath.

“You can mix hot water and honey and make him drink to stop his coughing,” Dr Bahrami tells the boy’s mother.

Tehran, home to nearly 14 million people, needs a strategic plan to get rid of the deadly pollution.

But when the winds pick up and the smog is dispersed, in the short-term the problem is quickly forgotten, until the next time the brown haze descends.

Libya, Globalization, and Oil

Every commodity trader will tell you that oil pricing is fungible. That is to say, if there is a decline in oil production in one area of the world, no matter the grade of the oil, prices rise globally. Oil pricing is like water in that it seeks its own level.
And although the United States only receives approximately 2% of its oil from Libya, the United States’ allies in Europe get a much larger percentage. So if Italy, France, Germany and Spain need to find other sources for oil, the price of oil — and thus of gasoline — goes up in the United States.And this price increase, by taking dollars out of U.S. consumers’ pockets, directly counteracts the quantitative easing policy of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

 

But the fungibility of oil pricing creates a national problem for the United States far greater than a potential slowing of its economy: It is a matter of sovereignty. In essence, America has surrendered part of its sovereignty to the oil markets — and especially to Saudi Arabia.

 

In a manner similar to the Fed’s ability to regulate the economy by increasing or decreasing the money supply, the Saudis increase and decrease oil production in order to control global oil pricing. Production is increased when the price appears to be moving too high, too soon, on account of a geopolitical crisis or emergencies — and production decreases if the market becomes too soft.

 

Essentially, through the Saudis’ ability to regulate the oil spigot, they have the ability to add or take away dollars from the pockets of American consumers.

 

It is obviously in Saudi Arabia’s interest to keep oil prices relatively high, but not too high. That is, oil prices need to be high enough to try to hopefully pacify their citizens, but low enough to make sure that alternative energy is not truly affordable without government subsidies.

 

They need to be high enough to feed the exorbitant lifestyles of Saudi royals, but low enough not to force too much economic hardship on their customers, which would then weaken demand.

When Saudi Arabia announced recently that it would increase its oil production to nine million barrels a day, an increase of about 400,000 barrels per day, to compensate for the loss of production from Libya, the New York Stock Exchange immediately reacted positively, for it was a sure sign that energy prices would not go higher and force the United States into a double-dip recession.

 

Although it might be fine for Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire to rely on the courtesy of strangers, it is both foolish and dangerous for any major nation to do so. This is especially true when the main stranger we are relying on is being led by a sickly king, with a possibly messy succession fight in the offing.

 

The Saudi kingdom is desperately trying to ward off the Arab revolt by gifting to its subjects $129 billion — which is equal to half of the kingdom’s oil revenues last year. This gift requires the kingdom to charge a minimum of approximately $80 a barrel in order to keep its budget balanced this year. Consider that only ten years ago, they were able to keep their books balanced with oil prices at about $10 per barrel.

 

 

A question of sovereignty

 

Sovereignty is a complicated issue to explain politically in that it often needs to be seen to be understood. For example, few people in Arizona would disagree that border protection is a matter of national sovereignty.

However, it is much more difficult politically to explain the unseen link — and the hidden danger — between Libya, oil price fungibility. globalization and the Saudis’ role in regulating oil production. But that unseen link is today the premier challenge to America’s sovereignty.

 

Yet if one is reading or listening to the debates in the U.S. Congress and to the various speeches and commentaries by the presumptive Republican presidential candidates, you would never know that the United States’ economy — and its economic future — is partly in the hands of a sickly old man in a politically difficult neighborhood.

And you would never know that, through the interconnectedness of globalization, our allies and major trading partners are also threatened. You would still believe that the United States is secure in its own world, ignoring the reality that the budget argument pales in comparison to the issue of energy-related sovereignty.

How Music can Impact a Society

Continuation of my action plan: interview with David Rabinowicz, senior at NSHS who makes music in his spare time and it the music director of the NSHS a capella group, the Newtones: (Typed from an interview)
Anya:
How can music impact a society, especially in the cases of revolutions?
David:
Well I can give you examples of John Lennon, Pete Seeger…
A: Yeah, go ahead! How did they affect their societies?
D:
Well, the made songs that were easily liked by a lot of people, and then everybody would sing them and unite, and it kind of helped unite people, you know when everybody can unite with something liek that and sing a song together it’s a really powerful thing.
A: Do you think they can impact them negatively, and rile people up- such as large events of mass violence and killing, especially in the cases of Syria and Libya?
D: I think it’s maybe possible, but the thing is if it’s something so drastic as to kill people, people have to be predisposed to do something like that and I think music alone is not going to inspire people to kill. I think if you’re going to kill someone, it would be something you were going to do, or capable of doing without music. So I would say no, I don’t think so.

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