Mass protests engulfed Mexico City on Wednesday, November 5, railing against the federal government’s weak response to the notorious kidnappings of 43 student protesters in Iguala. Despite the arrest of Iguala’s “Imperial Couple” – the mayor and his wife – in connection with the kidnappings and other cartel-related crimes, the people of Mexico express immense discontent with the way that their authorities handle (or are handled by) the organized crime problem.
After long years of criminal violence and intimidation throughout the nation of Mexico, amounting to 22,000 missing since 2006 alone, will it be possible for a popular movement to peacefully upend the powers that be in favor of a fairer and more secure society?
Since the rise of the Islamic State, a surprising number of European citizens – including many young women and girls – have begun filtering toward Syria and the Middle East to join the jihadist cause there. France has seen the most emigration at over 1,000.
Has our socially atomized yet highly interconnected global society led to such a need for belonging that even children of nonreligious families have begun to seek meaning in violent sectarian extremism? If the disenfranchised citizens of the West so badly need a compelling narrative, then what can our liberal democracies and corporate oligarchies do to compete with the passion, sense of history (false or true), and missionary conviction of sectarian zealots?
China’s recent contribution to the struggle against Ebola comes just as Liberia sees a drop in cases. The UN fund remains dangerously underfunded, but this new assistance seems to indicated the Asian superpower’s readiness to pitch in.
Recent decades have seen China extending more commercial influence over the Indian Ocean, to the extent that some African states have a significant and growing Chinese minority. Does this medical mission represent a Chinese incursion into the Atlantic seaboard? Would ensuing Chinese commerce and influence see a more highly developed and versatile West Africa? And by that token, could we see China consolidating an Atlantic foothold in the near future, leveraging its economic and cultural power in this vulnerable region not only to offset its inevitable return to normal domestic growth, but to claim a share in the Atlantic sphere?
Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has decided not to press charges against Israel for the 2010 raid on Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. The ship, attempting to break an Israeli blockade to get supplies to Gaza, was boarded and suffered nine civilian casualties when Israeli commandos allegedly encountered resistance and opened fire. In her ruling, Bensouda said that “the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC.”
In the humanitarian puzzle presented by the perennial Israel-Gaza conflict, would it be more ethical to use lethal force to defend a blockade against civilians, or to attempt to break that blockade in order to deliver precious supplies to those in need?
Does it still count as a hate crime if the subject of mockery could quite literally nuke you where you stand?