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The long shadow of Ferdinand Marcos

“[It is] wrong, denies our history, erases the memory of lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom.” That was the reaction of Maria Serena Diokno, the Philippines’ top government historian, to President Rodrigo Duterte’s …

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Is Africa’s oldest country falling apart?

Despite Africa being known for political instability post-WW2, there has been almost no change to African countries and borders since independence from colonial rule. Only three new countries have been declared from other African nations in the past 30 years – Namibia, Eritrea and South Sudan. This might change soon …

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Noble Intentions with Devastating Consequences – The Aid Mission in Haiti

There is a general wish to help when the sorrows of natural disasters are broadcasted into our living rooms. When seeing pictures of individual suffering we recognize our privilege in feeling safe. We go out and support the institutions and NGOs there to help, and if time and money allow, …

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Rio’s Favelas – Where Beauty Meets Brutality

What does one think of when hearing the word favela? Those familiar with the term would likely connect it with crime, gangs, and violence in the forgotten cities within Rio de Janeiro where the so-called “people of the hill” live. The favelas largely represent a failure of the Brazilian government …

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Too soon to release the white dove? Colombia’s peace process

Juan Manuel Santos has been a public servant in Colombia for 21 years. He has definitely been a man of controversy from his early days in politics, from continuous attacks on the FARC guerilla in the past to receiving a Nobel prize for his progress in peace in the present …

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Zwarte Piet – Racism or a Harmless Tradition?

Zwarte Piet, the sidekick of Sinterklaas, is a character known for bringing presents to children during annual Saint Nicholas celebration in the Netherlands from mid-November to December 5th. The character is acted out by a person dressing up in renaissance-style clothing, wearing a wig and makeup, and acting in a …

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Is China’s Environmental Dilemma Becoming an Issue of Legitimacy?

In 2015 the world witnessed what seemed the beginning of growing public dissent towards the effects that an almost three decade long surge for economic growth had on the environment. The protests consisted of Chinese of mixed class backgrounds who found common ground in their concern for a cleaner environment …

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US Military Presence in Japan: a Paradox between Local and National Security

For many governments, finding a balance between different groups of interest is a difficult task. This is especially the case for Japanese government, which has to deal with American military presence in Okinawa. On the one hand, local residents want the Americans to go, as Americans are perceived to threaten …

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A forgotten genocide – and why it matters today

After the 2014 winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, Vladimir Putin announced they had been a success. When the 2014 winter Olympics started in Sochi, people gathered outside Russian embassies around the world to protest. Despite the protests, few ever heard about the Circassians, the indigenous people of the …

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On the Verge: Burundi in Human Rights Crisis

The African state of Burundi has been thrown into crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza re-elected himself for a third term in June 2015. The opposition has been silenced, and around 250,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries. The UN is now warning that a new genocide could be the consequence …

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