Women March in Venezuela

By Valerie Bak

Just one day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States women around the world mobilized in opposition to his campaign’s divisive rhetoric and marched in cities all across the globe. It is estimated that over 3,000,000 people marched in the United States, scrawling over 600 cities and towns.  This impressive organization started from a Facebook post and turned into a worldwide event which drew on men and women of all classes and races. The Women’s March is reported to be the largest political protest in American history. For a brief moment in our nation’s history it appeared that the people where dedicated to holding their leadership accountable, but opposition movements have diminished here in the United States as the people appear to be giving Trump the space to prove his presidential platform. But is this the route the American people should be taking? How do we stand up for our nation’s sacred institutions of justice and law? The civil mobilizations occurring now in Venezuela demonstrate how important it is to ask ourselves these questions sooner rather than later.

Women in Venezuela

Lilian Tintori, front fourth from right, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, leads a sit-in blocking the Franciso Fajardo highway after a women march against repression was blocked from reaching the Interior Ministry in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Fernando Llano / AP). Source: www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-venezuela-women-march-20170506-story.html

The people of Venezuela continue to march in protest of their country’s president, Nicholas Maduro. Falling oil prices have caused the Venezuelan economy to decline, leading to high inflation rates and unemployment. The country currently suffers from severe shortages of food, medicine, and goods and continue to debilitate the people of Venezuela. As a result of these dynamics, opposition to Maduro’s leadership have emerged. This opposition has grown more supporters over recent weeks as Maduro’s regime continues to use the court system to serve their agenda. Maduro has used The Supreme Court to strike down almost every law adopted in 2016 by the opposition party of the country’s National Assembly. Maduro has also used the court to impose a political ban on opposition leader, Henrique Capriles.  As a result, the people have taken to the streets, calling for an emergency presidential election to remove Maduro from office.

 

Maduro’s regime continues to use excessive military force to detain protesters and political opponents. The BBC reports that over 36 people have died and hundreds have been injured in protests over the last few weeks. As a result of this violence, the women of Venezuela organized a Women’s march on May 6th to call attention to the impending humanitarian crisis. This march of solidarity was led by opposition MP’s and has been called the “Women’s March against Oppression.” As thousands of women gathered across Venezuela to show their opposition to Maduro, they banged pots and pans to draw attention to their demands of holding fair elections. These marches show that women are not willing to stand on the sidelines any longer, and are willing to take the risks to ensure the security of democracy.

Studying Politics as a Digital Arts Major

By Alyssa Koval

As a student I have always found the topic of politics very interesting, but within the last year and a half with the onslaught of political propaganda brought on by this past election, the most chaotic election to date some U.S politicians have argued, I have been thinking a lot about how both politics and the arts may seem different but have always gone hand in hand. Being a Digital Arts major thrown into the Poli-Sci lions den, so to speak, has been jarring and taken me out of my comfort zone-I’ll admit that- but I think it’s a great experience to be able to listen to my colleagues and their opinions of what’s going on in the political world today, and what we can do as a collective to make the world a more Just, peaceful place to be. I appreciate the ability to have a discussion, and value the voice of people that may or may not have the same opinion as you-as this is the core of how we as a society can make progress in the political world; Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, etc. We all have the freedom to voice our opinions but progress can only be made if leaders truly listen to the words of their counterparts and respect that they also want to make a positive change in the world, and in our country. I see this value being taught in even the politics classes on campus, which is why I thought it was so important to mention here; being that today’s students and young adults will be the leaders of tomorrow. I greatly respect and appreciate the opportunity to dip my toe into the pool of collegiate political discussion as an art major because not only does it give me a unique perspective into the world of politics, but it also makes me think about my own field and how the most famous art in history reflects so much of what politics were present at that point in time. I have a couple of  my personal favorite examples of this:

Liberty Picture

Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix.

Liberty Leading the People is arguably one of the most powerful paintings of the era of Romanticism in France. This painting, by Delacroix, is depicting the Revolution of 1830 where the people of France sought to overthrow the unjust Charles the X. The main figure, a bare-chested woman barreling over a barricade in the streets of Paris with her bayonet in one hand while proudly thrusting the French flag of revolution upwards into the air, her followers in quick pursuit behind her. This woman is not a literal historical figure, but the personification of liberty itself leading the people of France to victory.

Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie the Riveter.

On the opposite side of the same coin, we have Rosie the Riveter- an American icon promoting women’s strength and ability. The classic “We Can Do It!” poster was originally created to promote women and house wives to get back to work in factories and shipyards in order to help the war effort during World War II. Many able bodied working men had gone off to war, leaving little to no help back home so then was created Rosie; an attempt to persuade the women of America that they can hold down the fort while the men were fighting over seas. Rosie has since become the face of the Feminist movement promoting equality for women everywhere.

 

 

A Future for Equality

By Courtney Regan

As kids, we’re programmed to view gender as a concept that distinguishes femininity from masculinity based on social and cultural characteristics, rather than biological differences. We’ve all heard of common stereotypes regarding both genders: Women are associated with the color pink, they are nurturing, and they’re more likely to gossip. Men are associated with the color blue, and they’re braver, stronger, and better at sports. Among stereotypes regarding gender, is the common myth that men perform more efficiently in positions of office or legislative seats.

Courtney Regan

Polisci Student Courtney Regan

In history, men have been viewed as superior role models. According to the chart titled “Most of the World’s Nations Have Never Had a Female Leader,” by the Pew Research Center, between the 50 year gap (1964-2014), only sixty-three of one hundred and forty-two nations have had a female head of government or state. In fact, in two-thirds of these nations, a woman was in power for less than four years. Women make up the majority of graduates almost everywhere in the developed world, but ironically, take up a smaller percentage of the workforce the further up the corporate ladder they go.

With assumptions creating such a division between men and women, certain countries have found it necessary to implement gender quotas laws, which require that a certain proportion of candidates for office or legislative seats be reserved for women. Gender quota laws have been implemented in developed countries, which have modern societies. Modernization goes hand in hand with attitudes regarding gender, giving more thought to freedom and gender-equality. The law is not present in developing or under-developed nations, where most societies continue to hold traditional values of gender roles, which assume that a man works and a woman stays home to care for her children.

Of course, controversy facing the law exists. The result can mean blocking off potential employees who are more qualified, just to fit the required percentage of gender quota within the workplace. For example, if there are ten qualified men, and eight semi-qualified women applying to work together, and only twelve people can be hired, the deserving men will not each be given the job, and vise versa. People should be judged on their qualifications, rather than their gender. My hope for the result of gender quota laws is for humans to realize that men and women are equally capable of performing efficiently in positions of office, legislative seats, and elsewhere, in any work place. The ultimate dream is for one day, to have equal political, social, and economic equality among all people in developed, developing, and under-developed countries. If this were to come true, gender quota laws would not necessarily need to exist. We are humans, our worth should not be determined by our gender.

 

 

Polisci student Sabina Mamedova share her life experiences as part of the Immigrant Project at the Democracy at Work series at ECSU

By Sabina Mamedova

Sabina2

The Performance at the Immigrant Project

The Democracy at Work series at ECSU included political views, artistic talents and information before the presidential election. There were a variety of events such as drawing cartoons about candidates, lectures and debates, and even students dressed in candidate costumes. As a political refugee it was not hard for me to share my story for the Immigrant Project because of my experiences in Russia and being deported to the United States without speaking any English. My advantage in a major project like this was that I am a theater major while also studying politics. Before the event I already had a memoir, which was turned into a script and play informally called “The Sabina Project”. The play involved Syrian refugees’ stories and crises, which brings awareness about them and asks what are we doing to stop these crises and how are we helping. I was deported twice and am the grandchild of refugee survivors, their stories started during World War II when Stalin uprooted them from their land. My great-grandparents did not know any country but Georgia, however, they were exiled just because they practiced a different religion and belonged to a different ethnic group than that of the majority of people living in Georgia.

The narrative of the Sabina Project starts on November 14, 1944, when Stalin exiled the Ahiskan or Meskhetian Turks from Georgia due to ethnic cleansing and religious persecution, under the excuse that my people were collaborating with the Nazis. My people were exiled into five different countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Siberia and Turkey. The cold journey continued for several weeks causing people to die in freezing temperatures. My great-grandparents died as soon as they arrived in Uzbekistan where I was born. Most healthy men were sent to serve the Soviet army and, when some returned, they could not find their exiled families. Some families were not reunited until 1956, more precisely after Stalin’s death. In 1989, my people were deported from Uzbekistan to Russia due to ethnic cleansing. In 2005, my people were deported again due to ethnic cleansing and religious discrimination in Russia to the United States. So the play starts with an introduction of my journey and expands to a narration of the Syrian refugee crisis. It explains how the Syrian civil war started from small riots and soon became a great catastrophe.

Sabina1

Polisci student Sabina Mamedova sharing her life story as a political refugee.

In the play, five different narrators read the historical parts of my memoir and blend with the story of journalists’ experiences about the Syrian civil war and the refugees leaving the country while hoping to survive. Through the play, dancers interpret the ongoing narration and their movements relate to my story and to that of many Syrians. The group had the guidance of Professor David Pellegrini of the Department of Performing Arts. There is also music that creates an appropriate atmosphere while the narrators and performers are on stage. Part of the play also includes videos of me being interviewed on sensitive subjects about my life in Russia. Overall, the play blends art and my personal history as a refugee.

Professors Martín Mendoza-Botelho and Ricardo Pérez (Sociology) interviewed for Hispanic Heritage Month at the Wayne Norman Show

Willi RadioSptember 15 to October 15 has been designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month by Congress. The main purpose of this period is to celebrate the contribution of Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean cultures and societies to American society in the U.S. This observation started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period and was enacted into law on August 17.

As part of the celebrations the Wayne Norman show of WILI-AM radio invited Professors Ricardo Pérez (Sociology) and Martín Mendoza-Botelho to comment on the importance of this celebration. The interview also includes comments on the current presidential race and the intention of some of the candidates to build a wall to prevent South-North migration to the U.S. Both guests agreed on the lack of viability or practically of this measure and the risks that this type of inflamed rhetoric brings to American democracy. You can access the interview at the Wayne Norman Show Webpage (click here).

Polisci student and actress Lucy Shea performs in an upcoming play based on poet Eve Merriam’s work

Pic Lucy Shea

Polisci student Lucy Shea will be part of the cast of the upcoming play “Out of Our Father’s House”, directed by Caitlin McDonough, which is part of the student director showcase POWER PLAYS!

Based on Eve Merriam’s Growing Up Female in America, this moving play is drawn from the diaries, journals and letters of women: founder of the Women’s Suffrage Movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton, astronomer Maria Mitchell, labor organizer Mary Jones, minister and doctor Anna Howard Shaw, and Eliza Southgate. They are seen as they grow up, marry, bear children and face being ostracized for wanting careers.

April 14 – 18, 2016
Thursday-Monday at 7:30pm
in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Studio Theater

Growing up female in AmericaTickets: Free for Eastern students; $5 for students other than Eastern, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, and alumni; $15 for the general public.

Reflections on Cuba

By Quanece Williams

Cuba is a country that is stigmatized with being a communist country, in which the rights of citizens are suppressed. However, apart from that, it is a country that is often overlooked when learning about world history. Thus, the presentation of Cuban Educator Ariel Dacal Díaz was extremely informative. Diaz not only discussed the advantages and the shortcomings of the country as a whole, he also analyzed the bilateral relations between Cuba and the United States.

Cuban Educator Ariel Ducal Diaz speaks to the audience with help from his translator.

Díaz’s history of the country was vital and ranged from topics including the social system, the economic system, sports, political participation, democratization, and bilateral Cuba-U.S. relations. Cuba’s social system is particularly interesting because although the country is primarily poor, education and health care are free and universal. Furthermore, both are offered to every citizen from birth to death. Diaz declared this one of the country’s greatest attributes because according to him, “in many countries health care, housing, and education are commercializing but it should be a human right”.

The complex economic system was then analyzed and a timeline was provided to explain the current system that is implemented today. He shared that in 1959, Cuba had 80% of its market dominated by the U.S. and then in 1989, 85% of Cuba’s market was connected to the economy of the Soviet Union, which would eventually dissolve, leaving the country economically crippled. This significantly shaped their economic system, as illustrated in the policy that is currently implemented in regard to foreign investment, which establishes the limits (30%) of foreign capital investment.

An entertaining part of his presentation was when Diaz went into depth on the role of sports in their society. He stated that the country decided that sports are not a commodity, although the country is small and poor. He was also excited to share that the country placed 5th in the Olympics in 1992. The countries economy is intrinsically linked to the sports world because equipment was often not provided so athletes used their teammates as weights. Additionally, the poor economy is also the motivation for sports players to leave the country in search for a contract that will provide the most benefits, which further exacerbates the economic status of the country.

Political participation, one of the tenets of democracy, was another salient issue Diaz examined. He stated that the MLK Center seeks to educate the polity and outlined the requirements for participation as followed: (1) that persons want to participate (2) that people can participate (3) that people know how to participate. In addition, he shared that the Cuban culture is now dependent upon the government because of communism. Diaz also shared his notion of democracy and stated that it needs to be grassroots and comprehensible. Other tenets for democracy outlined by Diaz are the acknowledgment of another person’s rights and that democracy will not occur with just one person. Additionally, he shared that democracy must alter the perception of liberty and quoted “I am free if you are free”, highlighting that one individuals liberty is conditioned on another’s liberty (a valuable lesson for the U.S. to learn especially with the views on minorities).

The last issue important issue that was discussed was the U.S., as Cuba’s largest neighbor, exerting dominance in their country. He introduced the analogy of the levee that was intended to provide support in New Orleans with Katrina, and questioned how strong the country was to withstand the flood of the United States.

Overall, the presentation was useful because it provided me with information about the country that I was unfamiliar with. I was unaware that an embassy was opened in D.C., as well as Havana and still believed that the relationship between both countries was tenuous. However, after attending the presentation I realize as Diaz stated, “Cuba is not a paradise but Cuba is not hell”.

 

ECSU Professors Martin Mendoza-Botelho and Ricardo Perez (Sociology) pose with the Cuban guest Ariel Ducal Diaz (middle) and his translator.

 

Polisci student organizes event to discuss police brutality and basic rights

By Adjana Bouzi

For the past few years we have, nationally, seen many people killed at the hands of the police due to excessive use of force. On the recent shooting in Ferguson, the question of what should be done has been highly discussed. Certainly, there are different viewpoints on whether the amount of force used by police is excessive or required, but an understanding of each others viewpoint may be the beginning of finding a solution. I have always wanted to help illuminate the facts behind the issue and my senior seminar provided me an opportunity to work with a fellow classmate and set up this event. I believe that this panel has shed light on some of the unfortunate circumstances that has taken place over the years and educated people on what their rights are. The viewpoints of both police enforcement and ordinary people was presented by police officers and those who had an encounter with the police. I really hope that this event will be the beginning of eradicating the trend of police brutality.