Anniversary of Martial Law in Philippines

by Nadia Babar and Minahil Rafay

On September 21st, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos placed the entirety of the Philippines under martial law. Twenty-nine years later, we reflect on that period, especially within the context of the election season in the country occurring now. 

Marcos, a known kleptocrat, became president of the Philippines in 1965. The self-proclaimed “most decorated war hero in the Philippines” (a claim that was not only disproved multiple times, but thought to be a gross mischaracterization) initially oversaw a growing economy, but his 20-year tenure ended in poverty rife throughout the country, along with an extreme debt crisis. 

Seven years after his election, Marcos implemented martial law across the country. The declaration, entitled “Proclamation No. 1081”, lasted until January of 1981. The drastic action was supposedly in response to “various leftist and rightist plots against the Marcos administration”, as well as an existential “communist threat.” During this period, under the guise of martial law, Marcos hid money, embezzled from his government, and ultimately stole from the country and its citizens. 

The period was peppered with human rights abuses and the silencing of the media. Anyone who dared speak against Marcos was targeted and made quiet in some fashion. This included anyone from high-profile journalists to student activists. On the eve of Marcos’ declaration, he sent out armed forces to arrest 400 individuals who were deemed ‘priority targets.’ By the next morning, 100 of those 400 had been arrested. 

This was the beginning of Marcos’ 14-year long dictatorship. Even when the law was lifted in 1981, Marcos stayed in power for another five years until he was exiled. Remembered by some as the leader of the Golden Age, by most, he is remembered as a corrupt, violent, and unethical dictator. 

But his influence remained. In 1991, when the Marcos family was allowed to return to the Philippines, they were received with riotous welcomes. Within the next year, Imelda Marcos, Ferdinand’s wife, was running for the office of the Presidency. Several other members of the Marcos dynasty held positions of power in the Filipino government throughout the 90s, with two of his children becoming senators in the past several elections. Despite the atrocities committed during the period of martial law, their presence remains. The current Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has come out in support of Marcos’ antics, a blatant display of anti-democracy. There is also an ongoing problem of historical revisionism regarding the period of martial law and the abuses committed during it. As we approach the anniversary of the period’s beginning, it’s even more pertinent to stay acutely aware of the country’s history and dark past under the Marcos regime. 

The Hypocrisy of Priti Patel

By Nadia Babar

Priti Patel wants to have her cake and eat it too. 

Corruption and scandal from the UK government is nothing new. Those of us above the approximate age of 35 will remember it well from the pre-Tony Blair days as well. Despite Tony Blair being pretty conservative for a Labour party guy, he was hailed as a breath of fresh air after a period rife with smoke and mirrors, controversy, and acrid political corruption. 

Now, post-Brexit, mid-pandemic, the ghosts of the old Tory values of the eighties are afoot once again. It’s merely the faces that have changed. 

Priti Patel is one of them. 

Patel’s latest faux pas was her blatant display of hypocrisy in the wake of the Euro 2020 Finals. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll remember that England lost to Italy on penalties after a spirited, entertaining match and overall season, with arguably England’s strongest football performance in decades. The English national team won the hearts of the entire country and then some, and the heartbreak of losing on the last penalty was cushioned by the sense of national pride in the young, talented team. 

Back in the beginning of the Euro tournament, several of England team’s players decided to kneel in protest of global racism, an act we’ve seen take place all over the world, in all kinds of sports, by all kinds of athletes, for a couple years now. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Mind you, the players taking the knee during the Euros (which included several teams, not just England), didn’t kneel while any national anthems were playing, as other athletes have done in different sports. They simply kneeled for a brief moment before the start of the match. The move shouldn’t be controversial, nor should it have been surprising. 

Patel wasted no time in condemning the players who took a knee. She told GB News that “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture politics.” She was later asked if England fans reserved the right to boo players as they took the knee. Patel did not say no: “That’s a choice for them, quite frankly.” It’s important to note that even Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who isn’t known for his anti-racism, said that the players should be allowed to “condemn racism in this country in any way that they choose.” 

It’s important to note at this point that Patel is no stranger to racism – I have no doubt that her claims of being racially abused as a young person in Britain are truthful. And my criticism of her is not meant to be dismissive of her experience with racism at all. But it makes her response to acts of anti-racism all the more shocking with the knowledge that she has firsthand experience with racism herself. 

Back to present day. In the last few minutes of the Euro Final, the England national team was set to take their penalties. Three of those penalties missed – those of Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho. All three of them are men of colour, and all three of them have extremely impressive football records, especially the 19-year-old Saka, who won the hearts of thousands of Brits this summer due to his stellar performance throughout the tournament. 

However, in the aftermath of the match, several “fans” began violent racial attacks against the aforenamed three men. One minute, they were diehard England fanatics, screaming their support, until they didn’t receive the outcome they wanted. They then turned to social media to spout racial abuse against Rashford, Saka, and Sancho. 

The sane remainder of the country responded accordingly, flooding the three players’ social media with messages of love and support to counteract the negativity. It was heartwarming to see how so many people rushed to defend these players against the racial attacks. 

Patel took to the stage as well. She expressed her ‘disgust’ at the abuse directed at the football players. But people were quick to call out her hypocrisy. Most notably came Tyrone Mings, Aston Villa player, who said “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘gesture politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against happens.”

It couldn’t have been said better. Patel is a caricature of modern politics, guilty of the very thing she accused others of doing: gesture politics. Her statement condemning racism had no weight behind it, and made her look all the more foolish considering her previous remarks. 

It doesn’t stop there. 

Despite being the child of immigrants herself, Patel’s latest piece of work is a harsh anti-immigration policy that criminalizes asylum seekers. Her plan states that only ‘the brightest and the best’ will be allowed into the UK. What does this mean? Any immigrant who doesn’t earn a salary of over £25,000 will be deemed ‘unskilled’ and unfit to gain legal residency in the UK.

My first job in the UK amounted to the equivalent of £20,000. My friend’s first job – as an accountant for a bank, mind you – gave him a starting salary of £21,000. How is it reasonable for every immigrant, asylum seeker, expat – whatever term you prefer – to land a job in the UK on £25,000 right off the bat? It’s a ridiculous amount. Patel fails to notice that many ‘unskilled’ labor-intensive jobs – rubbish collectors, cleaners, gardeners, etc., jobs that make up the backbone of our economy – are just as valuable as £80,000 per year jobs. Many immigrants take such low-paying jobs as a means of surviving while they assimilate into the UK and learn English if they haven’t already. To dismiss this valuable sector of our economy as ‘unskilled’ and anything but ‘the best and the brightest’ is vile. 

Her questionable policies do not end here. She vows to crack down on crime while cutting police budgets across the country. In Essex, – her constituency, no less! – Patel backed the closure of a major police station, which is now being turned into offices. The lack of crime-respondent staff seemingly correlated with a 60% increase in violent crime in the area. 

The list goes on. Whatever your political views may be (and at this point I’d like to point out that this isn’t necessarily a scathing criticism of the Conservative party or Conservative values) the sheer hypocrisy from our Home Secretary – one of the most powerful seats in the UK – is undeniable. 

Now, as we stand on the cusp of a huge decision regarding the lives of thousands of Afghan refugees, I am scared. I am scared that Patel will, without a second thought, refuse Afghan asylum seekers, those who are seeking the most basic shelter and safety. I am afraid she will brand them ‘illegal’ – how fleeing to another country for your own life and those of your children can be considered ‘illegal’ is beyond me. I am afraid that her hypocrisy will continue, and she will refuse to offer sanctuary to Afghan refugees in the same country that once offered her parents sanctuary, back in the 1960s. 

The Evolution of Social Movements

by Sereen Yusuf

Social movements have certainly changed over time, along with the effect of supranational organizations on the nature of such conflicts. Historical and modern social movements vary in a multitude of ways: different rights are being demanded by the protestors, they face different challenges, the individuals taking part in the protests are treated differently and different groups oppose such movements. Two such examples that highlight the similarities and differences between the historical and modern social movements are the US Civil Rights Movement and the Human Rights Movement. 

The US Civil Rights Movement is an example of a historical social movement. This movement was a struggle for social justice which took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. It was a campaign led by African Americans and their like-minded allies to end institutionalized racial discrimination, disenfranchisement and racial segregation in the United States. In contrast, the Human Rights Movement is an example of a modern social movement. This movement began in the late 1900s and is still prevalent today. It engages in activism related to the issues of human rights and its foundationary aspects include resistance to colonialism, imperialism, slavery, racism, segregation, patriarchy and oppression of indigenous peoples. 

The Civil Rights Movement aimed to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans and secure legal recognition and federal protection of the citizenship rights enumerated in the Constitution and federal law. The protestors demanded equality for Whites and Blacks living in the United States. Similarly, the Human Rights Movement urges the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights for all humans in the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Similar to the Civil Rights Movement, the Human Rights Movement focuses on equality for all. However, unlike the Civil Rights Movement which focused specifically on racial inequality, the Human Rights Movement encompasses all aspects of equality from gender and race to ethnicity and religion. 

Historical social movements faced various unique challenges that many modern social movements do not. As highlighted by the Civil Rights Movement, connectivity was a key issue in historical social movements. Due to the lack of international communication, the Civil Rights Movement occurred at different times around the world. Different individuals led the movement in each region/country, their persuasive techniques working best for people in their respective regions. Contrastingly, rapid globalization has allowed the international community to become more connected than ever. Due to the introduction of the internet and social media platforms, individuals can easily communicate with one another from across the world and relay messages in a matter of seconds. Thus, the Human Rights Movement is an international movement and although much of the movement is local in nature, with the protestors being concerned with human rights violations in their own countries, individuals from around the world are working towards the same goals and rely on an international network of support. There are also many leaders that lead and inspire individuals from around the world, not just the country/region they are from. 

Individuals involved in the US Civil Rights Movement often faced threats and violence. Many were stoned or beaten with baseball bats and buses were bombed while the police looked the other way. During the Birmingham March in 1963 and the Selma March in 1965, protestors faced electric cattle prods, powerful water hoses, vicious dogs, tear gas and clubs. Thousands of the marchers were arrested and faced legal obstacles as the judiciary system was dominated by White males. Furthermore, federal ruling was often ignored as evident by the Central High School, Little Rock incident in 1957. Contrastingly, such violence does not often occur now. Many peaceful protests and marches take place around the world on a daily basis. While some oppose such displays, the protestors do not usually face violence. The opposing groups are aware that if they were to react to peaceful protestors violently, they would lose support as their actions would be broadcasted to the international community. In recent times, protests are joined electronically with support from around the world. 

Many groups oppose social movements, both historical and modern. One key group that opposed the Civil Rights Movement was the Ku Klux Klan. This was a white supremacist group that aimed to maintain white supremacy over black people and immigrants. Dressed in white sheets and hoods, they carried out violence and intimidation through whipping, branding, kidnapping and lynching on both blacks and whites who were seeking to enfranchise the African American population. Some groups, such as radical or extremist nationalist or religious groups also oppose certain aspects of the Human Rights Movement. 

The key supranational organization in place during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Human Rights Movement was the United Nations, an international body that is still around today. Founded after the Second World War, the United Nations is committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and nations. This document states human rights should be protected by the rule of law and the peoples of the United Nations are determined to promote social progress, human rights and a common understanding of these rights. It goes on to say that everyone is free and should be treated equally, everyone has the right to live in freedom and safety, everyone has the right to be treated equally. Although this was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948, they did not interfere in the Civil Rights Movement when protestors were facing threats and violence. Both the Civil Rights Movement and the Human Rights Movement strive(d) to uphold the terms laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but neither received aid or support from the United Nations. 

As made evident by the examples given above, social movements have changed drastically over time. Different rights are being demanded by the protestors of historical and modern social movements, they face different challenges, the individuals taking part in the protests are treated differently and different groups oppose such movements.

Safe as Houses

By Rania Hassan

Privacy is a thing of the past. At least, that is what we’ve come to believe. With giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple dominating the technological world, knowledge, and therefore power, has been consolidated. Personal data is a public swimming pool, with far too many questionable sources diving in with leisure. A few years ago, we were amazed at what a quick Google Search could yield about a person. Now, that’s the least of our problems. 

Tim Berners Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web we rely on so steadfastly today, presents a different vision for the future of the internet: personal data pods to counter the “silos” commanding the flow of personal information. Berners-Lee and John Bruce founded Inrupt to create a business ecosystem that could support Solid – a privatization project. Berners-Lee conceived of Solid as a means of ‘correcting’ the Web. Instead of entrusting large companies with personal data (including credit card expenditure, location, and internet history), they plan to hand the reins back to the individual. These pods, each “an individual data safe”,  allow one to store their own data in a tiny portion of server space and control who can access it. Granting access to another individual or company allows them to use or process the information, but not store it and use it for their own purposes as they can today. 


Gathering, storing, and exploiting users’ information without their express permission is much of the reason Inrupt began this undertaking. Many of us are aware of the easy access we grant major corporations, the windows and doors we leave wide open when we click “Accept”. Facebook, for instance, controls platforms like Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. And with all these major platforms under their ever-growing umbrella, Facebook is privy to all sorts of personal information. This data is liable to misuse or mismanagement; for instance, Facebook gathered private information such as the weight, blood pressure, and ovulation status of both users and non-users, and shared this data, along with much more contained in millions of Facebook profiles with Cambridge Analytica. The data analytics firm used this illegally-acquired data to create targeted ads for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign. Advertisements intended to deter them from casting their vote found their way to Hillary Clinton supporters, while conservative voters were targeted with messages reinforcing their beliefs and policies to retain or gain their support. Another example of ‘an algorithm’ gone wrong came about recently, when Instagram began suggesting posts about diet pills and weight-loss content to users with histories of eating disorders, which could easily result in an individual relapsing.

A large reason why we are so complacent in regards to our data storage is due to the monopoly Big Tech has created over the services we use daily, to the point where there is no alternative. Since we are so far detached from the real-world effects of how our data is being harvested and used, it seems a small price to pay for the ease of using Messenger or Whatsapp. After all, if you are completely unaware that your data might be used illegally, and the results of such data analysis don’t affect you, why would you care as much if Facebook knows that you work in City X, take Bus Y, and eat at Restaurant Z every day?

Your data provides companies with a model of who you are – not just your name, age, and gender, but your beliefs, your views, your likes and dislikes, and it uses this information to their advantage. It may seem harmless, but we have seen the worrying repercussions of such a system. Facebook, for example, uses microtargeting—a technique that utilizes users’ data to tailor-make and deliver advertisements they will be receptive to. Often these ads play into our confirmation bias and, in Facebook’s case, political ads targeted towards certain people can spur on radicalization and the strengthening polarization of our society.

Solid walks a strange path between individual privacy and their own transparency. Though it is designed to help ensure the privacy of consumers, its own software is open source, meaning that though Solid is copyrighted under Inrupt’s name, it is available for anyone to use, examine, or edit. One can edit it for themselves to optimize how it works for them, or developers can modify the source code according to the terms of their license. Simply being able to view the source code, a practice not very common, allows the end user to ensure the software or program is not doing anything they don’t want it to. 

Since its conception, Solid was designed as a way forward, diverging from traditional data hoarding methods. Already, the software is being used by BBC, NatWest Bank, the National Health Service in the UK, and the Flanders government. But could Solid, for all its work, become just another part of the oligopoly that reigns over technology and data today? According to Inrupt, “No. Solid is not a company, it is an open standard.” Solid’s main platform is that it provides the ability to make informed choices about our data: with whom to share it, how much, and the option to revoke access. 

Ultimately, the choice rests with you. Data security and privacy are not impossible, but can only be obtained by the conscious decision to do so. You are at your liberty to choose control or to trust in Big Tech companies. But the World Wide Web needs change, is changing in front of us. The fork it follows, though, remains to be seen.

Works Cited

Let’s Talk About Palestine

What’s happening Palestine is devastating. This topic is one which many have chosen not to read up on as it is “decorated” in complexities. Now with so much coming to light and with the all the resources available – it is important to educate ourselves and not let traditional/mass media dictate a false narrative. Please feel free to use this post to discuss your thoughts and concerns about what is happening in Palestine right now. We created this platform as a place for people to rant, engage, and converse freely. Us at JN want to keep learning from our audience and we hope you feel the same. We cannot ignore the inhuman acts happening on our planet. We will not stay silent.

The Vaccine Will Not Fix the World Without Our Help

by Hayaa Tabba

It has been over a year since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic and people everywhere are eagerly anticipating the day it ends. However, some people’s dismissal of the virus is a major reason it has persisted for so long. While the virus continues to spread, many improvements have been made since the day the world initially locked down. A majority of the population understands the virus, how to protect themselves from it and how to treat themselves if they were to get it. Because of this, the number of people contracting the virus and dying as a result has severely dropped due to a better understanding of how to fight it. Doctors and scientists have also started producing and distributing vaccines for the virus. But will the pandemic become a global crisis again because of the population’s misinterpretation of the vaccine as a cure?

Over the last three months, 345 million COVID vaccines have been administered around the world in numerous countries. Yet some who have gotten the vaccine are confused about how they still can test positive, despite being vaccinated. This is because the vaccines are not an outright cure, but rather lower the chances of a person being able to contract it. If people are still eager to jump back into their pre-pandemic lives, they will still have to respect the SOPs put out by their respective governments as that is the only way to permanently subdue the virus, or at least contain it. If this is followed, the vaccine will act as a tool to speed up the process of controlling the spread of the disease and allow individuals to live more flexibly around others without being a major threat to anyone’s health.

The release of several vaccines has brought hope to people around the world. It has led to a drop in the graph of death and destruction caused by COVID-19. Yet, like all the drops in cases we have faced in the past year, this drop also does not mean that anything is resolved. Whenever a country’s cases start to go down, life quickly resumes as it did before, which only leads to cases rising again, possibly even higher than the initial peak. 

Of course, it is not required for people to continuously lock themselves in their homes and isolate themselves from the world indefinitely. However, when cases start to decrease, the best way to keep them from rising again is to keep following the SOPs until there are little to no cases up to the point where it isn’t a threat anymore. Countries like New Zealand have managed to follow this procedure and are now one of the few countries where life is “normal” again.

Similarly, the vaccine will allow people to go out more comfortably and meet smaller groups normally. But the second SOPs are discarded because of the belief that we are now protected through the vaccine and big gatherings restart without people wearing masks or social distancing, then despite the vaccine, the cases will begin to rise again.

I believe that if one does get the vaccine, one can travel or go out, but always with precautions. The second people start acting irresponsibly, attending big events where SOPs are not followed, it will only help push the world further away from the normality everyone longs for. When things start to go in the right direction and the numbers start going down, why stop doing those actions that are working until it’s completely better? We should keep helping our world until the cases are completely gone and we can go back to the life we crave.

Conflicts Gone Quiet: From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

By Rania Hassan

War, unrest, and tragedy have become so commonplace that it is difficult to keep track of them all, let alone for all of them to garner the attention they are due. But they are real and horrific and essential to acknowledge.


Plagued by nearly ceaseless wars and violence since 1978, Afghanistan is an active volcano, still erupting and resulting in the destruction of a nation and countless lives within its borders. It is a battleground that has played host to its own internal conflicts— first between opposing political parties and later between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance— as well as the involvements of the Soviet Union, the United States (and its allies, including Britain, Italy, and Germany), Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, amongst others. Now, almost half a century later, Afghanistan is still suffering, a civil war raging between the Afghan government and the Taliban. In 2021 alone, the fatality count as a result of the war reached 872 people, 226 of whom were civilians. In spite of last year’s peace agreement, signed by the U.S. government and the Taliban, which promised to phase American troops out of Afghanistan and reduce violence on the Taliban’s part, violence remains prevalent. Airstrikes and raids continued, carried out by Afghan and American forces, as did attacks carried out by the Taliban and altercations between government and insurgent forces. This violence consistently results in civilian fatalities and casualties; those caught in the crossfire always suffering the most. Afghanistan’s plight is far from over and it must not be forgotten. 

How to Help: 

Donate to Afghanaid or CARE Australia


Prime Minister Hun Sen, founder of the Cambodian People’s Party, with the support of the “Dirty Dozen”, his cabal of 12 generals that play a major role in his retainment of absolute power over the nation. In the past three years, they have dissolved their main opposition party, gained 100% of the seats in the National Assembly, passed increasingly restrictive laws, infringing on or even denying rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to peaceful assembly. Hun Sen has managed to grant himself and his government almost complete control over citizens – their movements, their words, their lives. Activists and those who participate in peaceful, now-illegal demonstrations found themselves subject to unwarranted excessive force at the hands of police. The story is not so different from numerous others – a dictator slowly inching towards power until they can seize it all with no one to fight back. But Lord Prime Minister, Supreme Military Commander Hun Sen, with his faction of consolidated power and long-winded title runs a merciless regime that cannot go on. Cambodia is, in essence, being strangled under a dictatorship, protesting as much as possible for their freedom, suffocating in silence as the world turns away. 

How to Help:

Donate to Save the Children or look into volunteer opportunities such as with Caring for Cambodia.


In 2011, civil war broke out across Libya between the National Transitional Council (NTC), the banner under which rebel forces united, and the Gaddafi regime, whose brutal response to demonstrations incited the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on the government. By October of 2011, Gaddafi’s government had been ousted, replaced by the NTC. This prompted its own unrest, resulting in a reversal of roles – former regime military members formed rebel groups while the new government found itself fending them off. The rebels now retaliated with vehemence, this violence escalating, boiling over into a second civil war. The schisms dividing the nation are numerous and of different depths – the main players, the Libyan National Army and the Government of National Accord, fight against a backdrop of smaller, pernicious conflicts, a myriad of divided groups vying for any power and control they can acquire. The ceasefire, brokered towards the end of last year, has held thus far, with an interim government set up by the U.N. set to remain in control until December 2021, when new elections will be held. There remain, of course, shadows of the war, and all-too-real daily reminders that they are not quite out of the woods – the Sudanese and Saudi Arabian presence in Libya is concerning, and its implications will likely be felt for years to come, and hundreds of thousands of displaced Libyans have yet to find the safety that was ripped from them. It is a confusing conflict to follow, what with its multudinous layers – rebels and revolutionaries, terrorists and tumult, and, in the end, people fighting for scattered motives with amorphous goals. It is our hope, though, that this tattered nation that is still piecing itself together will recover and move forward, its people more than ready for peace.   

How to Help:

Donate to UNICEF or the International Rescue Committee.


Coups and armed conflict lie at the root of the Mali War as well. The first coup, in 2012, overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré while the northern region of the country became a center for rebel and jihadist groups. Interestingly, the soldiers who carried this out were armed with weapons from Libya, at the time embroiled in their own civil war. Touré was replaced by Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, elected in 2013. Amid growing security concerns, particularly regarding Islamist militias situated in the north, an incredibly low voter turnout, and accusations of fraud, Keïta was reelected in 2018. Soon after, in August of 2020, Malian soldiers staged a coup d’etat, forcing Keïta’s resignation after months of protests against him and his government, demonstrations resulting in several deaths. Though relatively bloodless, it was condemned by several nations and international organizations, including the U.N. Like Libya, Mali is war-torn and bloodied, but because of its key position, both physically and politically, it has attracted interest and a desire for resolution from powerful countries such as a U.S. who hope to cut down on terrorism affecting their own nations. Today, Mali, already debilitated by its constant conflict, is greatly impacted by the economic implications of COVID-19. Over 300,000 people have been displaced, thousands more affected by the countless divided loyalties carving up the country and the incessant destructiveness perpetrated by the militias, governments, parties, and factions. They form, in their wake, an amalgamation of bloodshed, disorder and anguish.

How to Help:

Donate to International Rescue Committee or Save the Children.


With growing corruption in its autocratic government, Zimbabwe faces a dual crisis, with both its economy and political climate crashing and burning. In 2017, Robert Mugabe’s forced resignation was a cause for celebration. But under his successor, Emerson Mnangagwa, the country continued its downward spiral. As in Cambodia, the government cracked down on freedoms of expression, association, and the right to peaceful assembly. Authorities use everything from internet blackouts to torture and sexual assault to maintain order; in January 2019, police responded to peaceful protests with unprecedented force, killing and injuring protestors and arresting scores more (many arbitrarily) during and following the demonstrations. In July 2020, the protests were shut down before they even began, authorities released wanted notices for known leaders, forcing many into hiding while others were unable to escape arrest. Alongside this political turmoil, the economy has suffered greatly under the same regime, inflation rates peaking in the same July at 837%. This devastated the economy, the value of the Zimbabwean dollar plummeting to next to nothing. As of February 2021, it reached 321%, well above the normal rate of 3%. In 2019, a mix of natural disasters, inflation, low wages, and large-scale layoffs contributed to a far-reaching food insecurity. Though more food is now available, for many it is still unobtainable – they simply cannot afford it. With financial and food instability coupled with incessant warfare and an uncertain future, unrest is impossible to avoid. Zimbabwe’s troubles, though, remain stifled. As do countless others, their tribulations are squeezed into bylines, conflicts gone quiet for far too long.

How to Help:

Donate to ActionAid or British Red Cross.

Works Cited

Abed, Fahim. “Afghan War Casualty Report: March 2021.” The New York Times, The New York  Times Company, 11 March 2021 

Gossman, Patricia. “Attacks Targeting Afghan Civilians Spread Terror.” Human Rights Watch, 23 February 2021, 

“War in Afghanistan.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 18 March 2021, 

“Cambodia: Events of 2020.” Human Rights Watch, 13 January 2021, 

“Cambodia: Escalating Crackdown Amid Pandemic.” Human Rights Watch, 13 January 2021,

Francavilla, Claudio. “EU Should Sanction Cambodia’s “Dirty Dozen.”” Human Rights Watch, 15 March 2021, 

“Libya clutches at new hope 10 years after its revolution.”, Deutsche Welles,

MacKinnon, Amy. “The Conflict in Libya Is Getting Even Messier.” Foreign Policy, The Slate Group. 21 February 2021,

“Libya: Events of 2020.” Human Rights Watch, 2021,

“Mali: Events of 2020.”Human Rights Watch, 2021,

Bussemaker, Natalie and Clare Felter. “What to Know About the Crisis in Mali.” Council on Foreign Relations, 12 August 2020,

Maclean, Ruth. “Mali’s President Exits After Being Arrested in Military Coup.” The New York Times, The New York  Times Company, 18 August 2020,

“Zimbabwe: Events of 2020.” Human Rights Watch, 2021,

Muronzi, Chris. “‘Life’s so tough’: Never-ending misery for crisis-hit Zimbabweans.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera Media Network, 3 July 2020,“Zimbabwe Inflation Rate.” Trading Economics, March 2021,

The Joe Biden Series: Deb Haaland

  • Party: Democratic
  • Education: University of New Mexico (BA, JD)
  • Chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party (2015-2017)
  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Mexico’s 1st District (2019-2021)

On Monday, the 15th of March, Debra Haaland was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s Secretary of the Interior. Haaland brings a solid history of political service into the administration, along with an impressive record of bipartisanship.

Haaland is the former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party and a former U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 1st congressional district. As a political progress, Haaland supports The Green New Deal and the Medicare For All programme. She is the second Native American and first Native American woman ever to serve in a Presidential U.S. Cabinet.

Haaland’s career in New Mexico politics was extremely successful. She was credited with rebuilding the state party after large defeats for Democrats in New Mexico in 2014. During her two years as chair, Haaland raised enough capital to pay off seven years’ worth of debt which was built up under previous chairs.

As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland will be responsible for overseeing the lands, seas, and natural resources of the United States, as well as its tribal affairs. Haaland is a Native American and a member of the Laguna Pueblo Indigenous American tribe, which makes her the most senior Indigenous American in the U.S. government in nearly a century. The only other Indigenous person to hold an office higher than Interior Secretary was Charles Curtis, Republican vice president to Herbert Hoover and a Kaw nation citizen.

Reportedly, Haaland has an extremely good record of bipartisanship in Congress, though only four Republicans voted to confirm her as Interior Secretary. She said: “I’ve gotten more Republicans to sign on to my bills than any other Democrat. It’s important for all of us – county commissioners, governors and mayors, not just Congress – to make sure we’re working together for the greater good. We want to pass laws that will help people across the country, and we need to make sure these messages are getting out … I’m going to continue to reach across the aisle, to protect our environment and make sure that vulnerable communities have a say in what our country is doing moving forward.” This sentiment is proving to be vital in the post-Trump era, with Republicans and Democrats just as vitriolic towards each other than ever before.

Haaland intends to uphold and respect tribal communities more so than her predecessors, who attempted to develop projects on tribal land with little regard for the ecological and cultural significance of such land. Her predecessor, David Bernhardt, was not a politician, but an oil and energy lobbyist.

We think this is a good choice. Deb Haaland has a good track record of navigating difficult economic situations and a desire to help combat climate change extensively. Earlier in 2021, she proposed a bill that set out a national goal of protecting 30% of of US lands and oceans by the year 2030 – this bill has since been adopted by the Biden Administration for its environmental agenda.

“This moment is profound when we consider the fact that a former secretary of the interior once proclaimed it his goal to, quote, ‘civilize or exterminate’ [Native Americans]. I’m a living testimate to the failure of that horrific ideology.” – Deb Haaland