FYI, the “War on drugs” is not a solution… OP-ED#2

The War on drugs started by the US President Nixon in 1971, has been an issue in the United States ever since then President dubbed it as an issue almost 47 years ago. To this day the United States is still wasting millions of dollars every day on this endless “war” that was started by Nixon , yet they still have not realized they have lost the war from the first battle.

It has been proven by experts that this war mainly affected minority groups, especially the ones living in poverty. The war has been referred to as a racist move by President Nixon by starting this war to create a racial divide, due to the “popularity” of marijuana in the “hippie culture” and heroin in black culture, while others are arguing that he saw it as a social “rot” that is going to ruin the US, and it bothered him. It has been noted that 15 – 20 % of the soldiers during the Vietnam war were addicted to heroin.

The United States have been fighting this war well-over 45 years, yet they still don’t seem to give up. The government haven’t realized that their costly attempts is actually not working, and they have not even considered to take a different approach

The war on drugs isn’t only taking place in the US, but it’s a huge problem in the Philippines as well that started not that long ago. President Rodrigo Duterte began the very costly “war on drugs” on June 30th 2016, and by costly, I’m not only referring to money.

According to the Human Rights Watch, the Philippines’ war on drugs has been responsible for the deaths of over 12,000 Filipinos in less than 2 years, and over 2,500 have been attributed to the Philippine National Police. To make matters worse, the police have been caught falsifying evidence to justify the killings, yet the president won’t take action and vowed to carry on with the war.

Between December 2017 and February 2018, just under 50 people that were suspected for using or selling drugs have been killed by the National police. During the two months, the police have carried out 3,253 raids that lead to the arrests and the deaths of 46. In 2017, a few police officers have been found guilty to the deaths of three teenagers, then they attempted to lie about the teenager’s deaths.

The Philippines should have learned from the US’ approach and how it has been unsuccessful for decades, and instead look at some of the European countries who have managed to solve the problem.

 Instead of dealing with the problem as a criminal justice issue, the US and Philippines could learn from Europe and deal with it as a health issue, it actually has been proven to be successful and cut down deaths by overdose more than 50% and decreased the spread of infections and diseases by needles, such as HIV, for over 50% as well.

Switzerland for example, stopped punishing offenders and instead lent them a helping hand. The Swiss government started to deal with the problem as a public health issue, so they started to supply clean needles, syringes, and safe & hygienic injection rooms. These precautions have decreased the spread of HIV by over 50 percent in 10 years.

Portugal had a heroin epidemic that used to affect 1% of the population, but then they also decriminalized illegal drugs in 2001. In 2012 they had 16 drug related deaths opposed to a 10.5 million population. The Portuguese view the matter of drug addiction as a health problem which helps in the acceptance of an addict in society. If addicts were to be viewed as criminals, this will affect their future in finding jobs since it’ll be on their criminal record. Therefore, decriminalizing illegal drugs encourages people to seek professional help without feeling ashamed or scared.

Dr. Christian Jessen have released multiple reasons on why waging a War on drugs has been quite unsuccessful. By criminalizing drugs, minors won’t get the proper education on drugs, they will be scared to seek proper & professional help and they could get their hands on illegal drugs without notice which will lead to possible fatalities.

Also, another reason for drug related fatalities, actual drug wars. It has been mentioned by Dr. Jessen how leaving the drug market to criminals could lead young people to get caught in the crossfire between drug gangs. When young people join drug gangs it could also lead to them being enslaved by the gang to smuggle or grow drug crops.

 If youth were to be caught taking drugs this will lead to a permanent crime on their criminal record which won’t help with the unemployment rates, and if it was the children’s parents taking drugs, they will be taken away from their parents.

Sweeper: Hypocrisy

The readings and class discussions have mainly talked about multiculturalism, specifically Islamic culture in Europe, how it’s perceived, and how it differs from European cultures. The discussion started with mentioning how some citizens and governments do not want refugees and they ban refugees or the “wrong kind” of immigrants, while other citizens and governments are welcoming mass numbers of immigrants and refugees without any proper background check. The mass acceptance leads people to wonder on why “borders even exist anymore?” and questioning the existence of sovereignty of a state. In the discussion there was a mutual agreement on how a middle ground needs to be found, where immigrants are accepted, but they need to get eased in to the new culture and learn to accept it, so the cultural differences gap is lessened, and coexistence is possible.

It was also noted how there was a hypocrisy in the ban of religious symbols in Quebec, such as the Muslim burka/niqab and the Sikh turbans, yet crosses are still hanged in their government buildings and parliaments. People have considered the veil ban that was passed in some European countries as a form of racism and how it is targeted at Muslim women, even though it has been reported where people got ticketed for even wearing masks, so mostly it depends on the police officer and how each they apply the law.

Another point mentioned was the irony how current politicians are children of refugees and immigrants who struggled to get into the US and Canada during WWII, and yet they’re giving refugees a hard time because they are the “wrong type”, even though their parents or grandparents faced the exact same struggle.

Dear Mr. Trudeau, Trump will nix NAFTA…

Justin Trudeau believes that Trump will not nix NAFTA on the basis that it is “bad politics” and the United States economy will suffer. Both statements from Trudeau are true, but please do not put too much faith in Trump. The world has witnessed what Mr. President is like, do not bet your cards on him not nixing it.

Trudeau has claimed that the Canadian government is ready in-case NAFTA has been cancelled by the United States. In an interview, Trudeau stated “Not only do we have a Plan B, we have a Plan C and D and E and F”, he also continued by stating that but Plan A is to stick to pushing for NAFTA and to attempt in getting the best deal for Canadians, because getting a bad deal is worse than no deal.

I wonder if Trudeau is attempting to stay calm just so the Canadian public does not freak out about the possible collapse of the relationship with the countries biggest trading partner, or is he just that naïve and he has no solid back-up plan. Trudeau can not rely on the possibility that NAFTA collapsing will guarantee a deal will take place without Mexico.

A Year has passed since Trumps presidency began, it has taught us (the public) that all Mr. President motives are personal and revolves around his empire. The tax cuts that he made affected middle-class and lower-class income families in the United States, but gave him and all his business partners a couple of extra billion dollars that went straight to their pockets. The “tax cuts” that took place included some healthcare benefits for families in need, but instead he opted out for extra cash for the wealthiest 1% Americans (“real Americans”, mind you). If Trump decides to nix NAFTA, he will not care about the United States making a deal with Canada right away, he will most likely just sit and wait until Canada gives him what he seeks.

Trudeau’s naïvety does not let him see that anyone is crazy enough to cancel such a deal. He needs to realize that Trump does not share the same values as he does. Let’s go down memory lane, shall we? Mr. President does not care (or pay attention) about his allies views and opinions, i.e. the UK. The president (and his sons) has literally blamed London’s mayor for the terror attacks that have taken place in London a few months ago. He condemned Theresa May and her government on various occasions, to a point where MPs were so uncomfortable with him and his bigoted remarks that they demanded the invitation for the state visit to be withdrawn to avoid an increase in hate crimes.

Trudeau needs to realize that President Donald Trump does not have the same mentality that lead him to be the successful businessman that he was at one point. The man that understood basic economics and politics. Mental health specialists have reported to have suspicions on Trumps mental stability due to the various remarks he made about various nations and citizens, such as referring to South American and African countries as “shith*le” countries and wishing the US’ immigrants were from Norway and Europe. No political leader in the right state of mind would make such a statement, even if it was in a private meeting behind closed doors.

Trudeau needs to start official talks with Mexico for temporary deals without the US as a just-in-case NAFTA gets nixed, and make these deals on the same level of priority as keeping NAFTA in-check. Better trade deals need to take place with the EU, Oceania, and Asia, so the Canadian economy will not take as strong of a hit as it will in our current situation

 

Sources:

Huffington Post

CBC 1

CBC 2

CBC 3

CBC 4

Vox

The Atlantic

Global News

The Star

The Globe and Mail

Statistics Canada

 

 

Sweeper: Windrip vs Trump

 

“It can’t happen here” by Sinclair Lewis has always been regarded as a political “work of art”, and after the group discussions, I can see why it is important especially in today’s history. The group began discussing how the book was written before World War II took place and predicted things that are taking place today in Trumps presidency. It was noted how when Lewis was in the process of writing the novel, he was just expanding his imagination by attempting to predict what would have happened if Hitler was in the United States or if his (much) lesser evil American-twin, Huey Long, won the presidential election vs Franklin D. Roosevelt (shortly before the release of the book, Huey Long was assassinated).  

The main striking similarity that Trump has with the protagonist of the novel, Buzz Windrip, is how both of them have won the presidential election by speaking out against immigrants and the media. Both Windrip and Trump have promised to create jobs for “Real Americans” to create a divide, and both of them shared one goal, making America Great Again.

Then it was mentioned how (back in 1935) people had argued that what was going on in Germany at the time can’t happen in America (hence the title). One person in the group mentioned that the book was almost written as a warning and nowadays it became more of an “I told you so” kind of book.

Americans and people from other nations that have a significant rise in numbers of white supremacist groups or any kind of hate group, can use this book (and Trump’s presidency) as a lesson to avoid the birth of another Hitler and cause more damage to the world than there already is.

 

First Response: Hitler’s Furies

Women weren’t able to vote in Germany until 1919, so in the readings it was noted by the author how German women generally were very proud to be “apolitical”, but that makes me wonder why would anyone would be so proud of not having an opinion on something that affects their life? Was it because they were not allowed to have an opinion? Was the culture so oppressive towards women to a point where they (women) actually believed they were not allowed to have an opinion about anything outside of their daily lives?

There were a few arguments that were brought up in the reading that irritated me. The author has suggested that women might have not had a big impact on Hitler’s rise to power, and then went on to also suggest that they should not be blamed for his election into power using the excuse that they have not been involved in politics for a long time.

You can not just absolve Nazi women because they “didn’t have political experience”. They participated by going out and placing their ballots, anyone who decided to vote Hitler in power is responsible for the horrendous acts that were carried out by the Nazis, no matter what gender they were.

The question that is in the back of my head is how did the women’s apolitical stance and their political ignorance affect their kids’ political views and morals as humans? Because it has been pointed out that many of the Nazis were young men, meaning they were kids around the time women did not have the right to vote. Since their mothers were not allowed to voice their political opinion, has that helped in growing a number of young (ignorant) Nazis?

Sweeper: Never Ending Racism

 

Friday Jan 19th, the Medieval times were discussed with the guest Professor and how it’s represented in Pop-culture today, such as movies, TV Shows, Books and what not, but a major “plot” has been ignored when medieval times are represented, and that is: racism.

 

Yesterday during the group discussions, a few points have been mentioned about how medieval times are considered (sometimes) to be a great or heroic time for the Europeans, and mostly because it is believed that there were no immigrants, and at the time conquering other parts of the world and the beginning of colonialism were considered to be glorious and important to spread their culture and religion.

 

Another discussion was held about how Medieval Europeans, who were mostly Christians, were racist towards the Jews and how they were represented in the culture. Jewish men were depicted to be very feminine to a point that many believed that Jewish men menstruated. Racism was so severe that it portrayed the Jews as if they were not even humans, people actually believed they had tails, horns, and big noses.

 

Then it went from Jews to the indigenous in the “New World”, after that were black people and the slave trade in Europe and North America, then back to Jews during WWII in Nazi Germany, even in Canada where boats full of Jewish refugees were rejected and sent back to Europe.  Nowadays it’s islamophobia.

 

This is important because it shows that with every generation a new “enemy” is created, just because they don’t sound, or look like the dominant race or religion. This (obviously) creates a divide between people, and leads to deaths of millions of innocent citizens that have lead normal lives.