Stripping Mother Earth of her Dignity: Corrupt and Illegal Logging of the Amazon

After recently returning from my travels in Peru, I was appalled on the news of the ever growing deforestation of our greatest forest on earth, that is being stripped down of her liberty and prestigious treasures. The Amazon rain forest is over a ‘billion acres’ and produces ‘more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen’ (Raintree 2012) and with the current and growing corruption and Brazil’s short-sighted government, the forest is under dangerous threat of deforestation.

Varse acres of the forest have fallen to the greed of ranchers and loggers | image: Gulf News 2014
Varse acres of the Amazon forest have fallen to the greed and onslaught of ranchers and loggers     | Image: Gulf News 2014

Not only is the Amazon under great threat but the communities whom live among the forest are pleading for protection and the rights of their home and land. The Amazon is so large that it encompasses and spans over nine countries in South America, the most common area of illegal deforestation is communities amongst the southernmost of Lábrea in Brazil. According to Gulf News (2014) over 160 families in these communities have been ‘driven out by loggers and farmers, whom have cleared 300 hectares of land’ and now it’s happening to the neighboring area of Riozinho. Gulf News (2014) states that ‘gunmen come in the middle of the night and force the people to sign documents to hand over their land, stating that they receive compensation in return, but in truth they are left with nothing’. The battle to save their communities and stop logging comes at a cost, if a member protests or speaks out they are brutally beaten, threatened and abused (Gulf News 2014). On Monday 8th of September, an outspoken Peruvian protester, Edwin Chota was found dead along with three native Ashaninka community leaders whom were brutally slain according to The New York Times (2014) on the remote suburbs of Brazil. The activist was renowned to have for several years ‘expel illegal loggers from their lands and seeking title for his community’ (Aljazeera 2014), corruption has lead the operation of illegal loggers ‘with impunity and stripping the Amazon from prized hardwoods, mahogany and tropical cedar’ according to Aljazeera (2014).

Brazil alone has had 90 indigenous Amazonian tribes destroyed since the 1900’s, ‘along with their accumulated knowledge of medicinal value of rain forest species’ (Raintree 2014) and with them, homelands are continuing to be destroyed and the rainforest people are disappearing.

Images released by Brazilian government of Amazionian tribe, in grave danger from illegal loggers.  | Image: The Gaurdian
Images released by Brazilian government of Amazionian tribe, in grave danger from illegal loggers. | Image: The Gaurdian

Although in recent events, more than ’20 members of an isolated Amazonian tribe have made contact with Brazilian authorities’ with growing fears that they are being ‘driven out from their forest by illegal loggers or drug smugglers’ (The Gaurdian 2014). See here: Amazon Tribe Makes Contact. The tribe located within the Peruvian border is seeking protection from their government, as deeply concerned forest protection groups and Indian leaders ‘are deeply troubled that nothing has been done’ (The Gaurdian 2014) and that the tribe has come to this extent despite their ‘reluctance to make contact to the outside world’. According to Stephen Corry (The Gaurdian 2014) leader of Survival International, “the accounts given by these Indians – of the killing of their relatives, and the burning of their houses – are incredibly disturbing”.

According to recent studies published within the Wall Street Journal (2014) ‘commercial agriculture’ is the blame for ‘almost half of illegal clearing’ and that the Washington-based NGO; Forest Trends correlated that ‘49% of the deforestation between 2000 – 2012 was illegal companies to meet a global commodity for soy, palm oil and beef’. Within this study they also suggested that countries such as ‘Europe, China, India, Russia and the US are the key drivers for the illegal deforestation’ and that ‘25% was cleared for produce of agricultural exports valued at $61 billion a year’ (The Wall Street Journal 2014). This has grown to be a national debate, with many Green Peace NGO’s pushing for action. The South American governments have either ignored the past pleads or distracted their people from the nightmares within their borders, but with the rising global attention on this international matter the Brazilian government has finally initiated an action plan. Since June 2014, deforestation has ‘dropped 70% since 2005’ (VOX 2014) due to a nation wide operation and a first for Brazilian government as BBC reports:

 

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Ka’apor tribe warriors fight against Illegal loggers in the Amazon

Still there is much uncertainty surrounding this fragile affair, not only is the Amazon at stake but countries such as ‘Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola and espicially Indonesia’ (VOX 2014) have also been a growing in illegal logging. But will this operation be a continuous effort for the Brazilian government or any other government? Why hasn’t other major governments supported this action earlier, especially in the above mentioned countries outside of Brazil? Did they need to see a growing rate of local families, beaten or murdered to finally take action? My biggest question of all, how is burning down illegal sawmills and machinery eradicate the dangerous behaviors exemplified by illegal loggers and their sort, its sad to see that the only way to stop deforestation is to action it with more violence. Wouldn’t burning down machinery be just as harmful to the rainforest? And in most recent events to ‘help preserve their way of life’ the Ka’apor tribe has taken brutal action in tracking down and beating illegal loggers whom have threatened their ‘well being for years’ (Opposing Views 2014) with disturbing images captured and can be seen here: Amazon Tribe Fights Back.

The tribe took this action as their governments political ramifications took too long  and their tribe’s existence was at stake. The action taken is very unlike for quiet, primitive tribes, with an ever growing threat of their well being will this behaviour grow and continue? What will this say to their future? Lets just hope the taste for blood and redemption can only be temporary.

References: 

Aljazeera, 2014, Opponent of Peru Illegal logging found murdered, viewed 8 September 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/09/opponent-peru-illegal-logging-murdered-2014995222652634.html

Gulf News, 2014, Dying to save the rain forest, viewed 11 September 2014, http://gulfnews.com/about-gulf-news/al-nisr-portfolio/weekend-review/dying-to-save-the-rainforest-1.1377712

New York Times, 2014, Peru Opponents of illegal Logging Found Dead, viewed 9 September 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/world/americas/peru-4-opponents-of-illegal-logging-are-found-dead.html

Opposing Views, 2014, Ka’apor tribe warriors fights against illegal loggers, viewed 12 September 2014, http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/kaapor-tribe-warriors-fight-against-illegal-loggers-amazon

Sky News, 2014, Amazon tribe makes contact with outside world, viewed 10 September 2014, http://news.sky.com/story/1311382/amazon-tribe-makes-contact-with-outside-world

The Gaurdian, 2014, More members of Amazonian tribe seek help from Brazil, viewed 8 September 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/14/amazonian-tribe-brazil-peru

Rain Tree, 2014, The Disappearing Rain forests,  viewed 8 September 2014,  http://www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm#.VBEeaU2_mUk

VOX, 2014, Brazils fight against deforestation has been a surprising success, viewed 12 September 2014, http://www.vox.com/2014/6/14/5808548/brazils-fight-against-deforestation-has-been-a-surprising-success

Wall Street Journal, 2014, Commercial farming causes nearly half of illegal tropical deforestation, viewed 1 September 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/commercial-farming-causes-nearly-half-of-illegal-tropical-deforestation-1410393662

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Desperate measures on Commercial Surrogacy: Thailand

Being considered to be an ‘equal’ can be a long journey for some, and in this case being equal is having a family much like any other Australian couple.  With opposed laws and regulations even across the water. Australian couples are struggling to express their full potential and dreams of a perfect ‘family’. Fertility has been falling on a slow decent, according to recent studies by The Department of Family and Community Services whom have correlated that ‘the higher levels of education, and socioeconomic position, the more likely a couple faces infertility’ (DSS 2001). Due to this growing rate, couples have distanced themselves to far measures, and many were successful, til now.

In recent events, a controversial ’60 minute interview’ with David Farnell aged 57, a pedophile convicted ’22 times with child sex molestation’s’ (Yahoo News, 2014) and his wife, Wendy, were accused for abandoning their son ‘Gammy’ with Down syndrome and taking his healthy twin sister to Australia from their Thai surrogate mother in Thailand. This very scandal has threatened the  system of commercial surrogacy across Thailand and their government whom is now taking considerable actions to protect Thai surrogate mothers:

Since Sunday 3rd of August, authorities throughout Thailand and Australia are working together and have ‘cracked down on commercial surrogacy laws’ (The Sydney Morning Herald 2014) since the ‘Baby Gammy scandal’. According to ABC News (2014) ‘since baby Gammy’s case, a number of fertility clinics have been forced to shut down’ and insisting Thair surrogate mother to ‘enlist and register with authorities’ (The Sydney Morning Herald 2014) as they wish to ‘protect mothers with an estimated 150 babies whom have Australian biological parents’. Surrogacy arrangements in Thailand ‘currently have no impending laws’ (Australian Embassy Thailand 2014) and a ‘draft law is now under construction to regulate surrogacy’ since the scandal in Thailand. For further information to the current ‘Surrogacy Arrangements’ see here:   DIAC Surrogacy Arrangement.

David Farnell’s interview has now alerted our local government and Thailand’s authorities, that the commercial surrogacy has attracted over ‘150 Australian couples whom are now caught up in Thailand since the baby Gammy scandal’ (Mercury 2014). All Australian parents whom were planning to depart Bangkok recently with their new arrivals, were soon cancelled and now must ‘obtain permission from Thailand’s Family Juvenile Court to take home their babies born to Thai surrogate mothers’ (Illawarra Mercury 2014). According to the Illawarra Mercury (2014), ‘Thailand’s immigration authorities have now discussed the matter with the Australian embassy in Bangkok’ whom have ‘required parents an order from the court confirming the birth mothers agreement in transferring the custody of the child’ to the biological parents.

Two Australian couples have been reported to have been trying to leave Thailand since the controversy, one of which are a ‘same-sex couple whom were traveling with the surrogate mother’ according to the Illawarra Mercury (2014). The ABC (2014) reported that ‘current infringements in South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT prevent same-sex couples to arrange surrogacy agreements’ hence a growing number of couples have resorted to commercial surrogacy in Thailand. The same-sex couple have broken their silence and reported to The Age (2014) that ‘Australian parents unable to bring their surrogate babies home are distressed and out of pocket’ the couple has recently been ‘allowed to fly out with their baby to Singapore’ (The Age 2014) whilst other couples are still emotionally distraught and stressed in Bangkok undergoing negotiations:

Baby Gammy’s case has ‘demanded surrogacy background checks’ (The Sydney Morning Herald 2014) due to his biological father whom has a strong history for child sex offences. Surrogacy laws in Australia and ‘the practice of commercial surrogacy in Thailand’ have had its contentions though why didn’t authorities do anything until ‘baby Gammy’ came to light? David Farnell, insisted he had ‘no clue in regards to Thai local laws on surrogacy nor did he seek legal advice’ (60 Minutes 2014), due to the nature of his history, his daughter claims ‘he is a good dad, and I believe in the system’ and that David and his wife Wendy have been ‘trying for a child for nearly 10 years’ according to the Australian (2014). The Australian reported that ‘David and his wife did not leave Gammy behind as he was handicapped, but because we supposedly has a heart condition’, in my opinion why didn’t he say this in his 60 Minute interview?? All he could do was mutter and sulk.

A international and federal response will determine whether we demand stronger safeguards for surrogate babies and their mothers.
A international and federal response will determine whether we demand stronger safeguards for surrogate babies and their mothers.

In the end, the Farnell’s have left many couples in Thailand amongst the political limbo. As for baby Gammy and his mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, after more than a ‘million and over views’ (The Sydney Morning Herald 2014) charities such as ‘Hands Across the Water’ have reportedly received ‘$240,000 for Gammy’s plight’ (Channel Nine News 2014).

Whilst stricter requirements mean ‘couples are urged by local authorities to seek independent legal advice both in Thailand and Australia’ (The Illawarra Mercury 2014). This is a rare and saddened case,  and now, commerical surrogacy will be monitored and regulated in Thailand but will also focus on countries such as ‘India, Vietnam and Mexico’ (The Sydney Morning Herald 2014).  It is clear that humans best virtue is that child safety comes first.

 

References:

ABC News, 2014, Australian couples allowed to leave Thailand with twins, viewed 18 August 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-16/australian-couple-allowed-to-leave-thailand-with-twins/5675296

Australian Embassy Thailand, 2014, Children born as a result of surrogacy arrangement in Thailand, viewed 18 August 2014, http://www.thailand.embassy.gov.au/bkok/DIAC_surrogacy_arrangement.html

Department of Family and Community Services 2001,  Australias fertility rate: trends and issues, fact sheet, viewed 18 August 2014, http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/facssheet9.pdf

Illawarra Mercury, 2014, Two Australian couples with surrogate babies stopped at bangkok airport, viewed 19 August 2014, http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/2489836/two-australian-couples-with-surrogate-babies-stopped-at-bangkok-airport/

News Ltd, 2014, Channel nine paid just $5000 to hands across the water after interview with baby Gammys biological parents, viewed 18 August 2014, http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/channel-nine-paid-just-5000-to-hands-across-the-water-charity-after-interview-with-baby-gammys-biological-parents/story-e6frfmyi-1227027434088

The Age, 2014, Thailand surrogacy Australian couple caught in crackdown break their silence, viewed 18 August 2014, http://www.theage.com.au/world/thailand-surrogacy-australian-couple-caught-in-crackdown-break-their-silence-20140819-105p6g.html

The Australian, 2014, Baby Gammy’s dad David Farnell a reformed man says daughter, viewed 19 August 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/baby-gammys-dad-david-farnell-a-reformed-man-says-daughter/story-e6frg6n6-1227023104523

The Guardian, 2014, Australian couple allowed to leave Thailand child born surrogate mother, viewed 19 August 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/17/australian-couple-allowed-leave-thailand-child-born-surrogate-mother

The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014, Thailand’s surrogate mothers urged to register with authorities,  viewed 18 August 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/world/thailands-surrogate-mothers-urged-to-register-with-authorities-20140818-1059hh.html

The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014, Gammys case demands surrogacy background, viewed 19 August 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/gammy-case-demands-surrogacy-background-checks-20140807-101c2v.html

 

Will Scotland vote ‘yes’ to opt out of 300 year union with UK?

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Scotland is a varse and vibrant country, steeped with dramatic landscapes and well known for natural resources in Europe. It is a nation built ‘on dynamism, creativity and the fabulous warmth of its people’ (Scotland, 2014), with a rich and intense history of many battles fought for rule of their land. It has been a long heated debate, on whether their country is better run by their people or stay loyal to their agreement with the UK and soon enough they’ll take a vote on it. As stated on their homepage of Scotland (Scotland.org, 2014) ‘our people are our major strength’, they take blood and soil seriously and have a strong Scottish tradition and culture for it. Though doubt hangs over many Scottish citizens for the future of their country, if they’ll ever be able to ‘shake off the incubus of English conservatism’ (The Guardian, 2014) and break a 300 year union with England or continue to fight for stronger rights for their people and economy:

Since 1801 Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland (which was once all of Ireland) declared a mutual agreement to become countries of the United Kingdom, consisting of Great Britain. A constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy best described by W.W Norton & Company Inc (2010) as:

The United Kingdom a sovereign state under international law, and a member of intergovernmental organisations, the European Union and the United Nations.

The UK's official title is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" (Barrow, 2013) | Image: Project Britain
The UK’s official title is “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” (Barrow, 2013) | Image: Project Britain

So for many years the central government of Scotland has been under the constitutional monarchy of the Commonwealth consisting of their Chief of State (Queen Elizabeth II) and the head of government (Prime Minister) and also consisting of several bicameral parliament parties (Briney, 2014). In 1979 Scotland voted in a referendum in devolving the powers of London, with many supporting the move, though it did not suffice the majority of the electorate therefore plans were scrapped (The Gaurdian, 2014). Then in the 1997,  the elected Labour Party promised another referendum on devolution for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in which ‘essentially involves an elected regional assembly’ (History Learning Site, 2005) whose powers are carefully dictated and defined. In-arguably due to the financial and major power of the central government (London) over a regional assembly such as the Scottish Parliament, Welsh and Northern Ireland’s governments, remain lesser of their partnership with London thus ‘their powers are unique to the region they represent’ (History Learning Site, 2005).

Where does this take us? Well those who voted in this election clearly voted for a devolved Scottish Parliament and surprisingly the central government said Yes, and now the Scot’s are in charge of matters such as their country’s health and education (The Gaurdian, 2014). The SNP (Scots Nationalist Party) whom originally opposed the idea of devolution decided to now support Labour’s movement, agreeing ‘to support the idea of devolution but as a stepping stone to independence’ (History Learning Site, 2005). This brings us to the current referendum that will be held on September 18 2014 on whether ‘Scotland should be an independent country’ following their agreement with the UK government (Wikipedia, 2014). But it wont be an easy decision, many are conflicting to vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ as voting for the ‘right of your land’ is a dream compared to the reality of the future sustainability of their countries economy. With threats made by the central government (UK) it’s really identifying London’s ‘true colors’ a major reason why Scotland wants to ‘steer clear’ from England – and mind you England isn’t playing nice, as reporter Polly Boiko reports :

On Tuesday the 5th of August, a televised independence debate will follow between Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond: a former UK chancellor against the former Royal Bank of Scotland oil economist (The Gaurdian, 2014). More information on the debate can be found here: The Independence Debate.

Alex Salmond, the man whom wishes to move Scotland out of the United Kingdom | Image: The Gaurdian
Alex Salmond, the man whom wishes to move Scotland out of the United Kingdom | Image: The Gaurdian

As the televised debate may bring out Mr. Salmonds optimism on Scotland’s bright future, on the contrary Mr. Darling will argue the ‘pragmatic worries’ on Scotland’s pension and the pound to light (The Economist, 2014). Such as the question what currency will independent Scotland use? an important question that underlies an important issue as this video explains:

_75149617_scotland_in_numbers_page_export_976 Also if residents of Scotland are the only ones whom can vote ‘yes’ then what will happen to the ‘whole of the UK?’ with Scotland only being 8.3% of UK’s population (BBC, 2014). Further research and data can be found here: How would the UK fare without Scotland?.

Locals argue that Salmond just wants this independence for Scotland for his own glory (BBC, 2014) but it is a subject many Scot’s hold close to their hearts but do they want to vote for independence or whether they can afford it? If they wish for a stronger health and educational system then why don’t they press for more support and money for that cause – is it right for their government to demand such a critical vote from their people for implicating a new system and a new future of their country? Will their extensive research and data for the prosperity of Scotland extensively be correct and will independence be as rewarding as they wish?

Either way if this referendum fails, another has already been planned according to the Scotland Referendum site. Over all this debate ignites the passion for all Scots and ideally I wish them luck to whatever their future holds. In conclusion Jim Sellers (ABC News, 2014) a Scottish veteran argues

We, the Scottish working class, have got to have the arrogance, and I repeat it, the arrogance to tell them that we are far, far better than they say we are.

 

Reference List:

ABC World News, 2014, Scottish referendum could end 300 year union with England, viewed 5th August 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-29/scottish-referendum-could-end-300-year-union-with-england/5629924

BBC News, 2014, UK Scotland Politics, viewed 5th August 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-27595415

BBC News UK, 2014, Scottish independence: how would the UK fair without Scotland?, viewed 5th August 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28192293

Briney, A 2014, About.com: Geography of the United Kingdom, viewed on 5th August 2014, geography.about.com/od/unitedkigndommaps/a/utied-kingdown-geogarphy-overview.htm

Financial Times, 2014, A splendid mess of a union should not be torn asunder, viewed on 5th August 2014, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/085b4586-d5fc-11e3-a239-00144feabdc0.html#axzz39T7NObcD

History Learning Site, 2005, Devolution, viewed 5th of August 2014, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/devolution.htm

Scotland.org, 2014, Scottish Facts and Information, viewed 5th of August 2014, http://www.scotland.org/about-scotland/facts-about-scotland/

The Guardian, 2014, Scotland Independence debate, viewed 5th August 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/03/scotland-independence-debate-economy-alex-salmond-alistair-darling

The Economist, 2014, Scottish Independence, viewed 5th August 2014, http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/08/scottish-independence

W.W Norton & Company Inc, Essentials of International Relations: Intergovernmental organisations, nongovernmental organisations, and international law, viewed 5th August 2014, http://www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/essentials-of-international-relations5/ch/07/summary.aspx

Woodlands Resources, 2013, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, viewed 5th of August 2014, resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/britain/uk.htm

Yes Scotland, 2014, Scotland Referendum, viewed 5th of August 2014, http://www.yesscotland.net/

 

Indonesia’s hot election: ‘Jokowi’ vs Prabowo the fight for President

It’s an important topic for every Indonesian citizen; man, woman and child, as their country undergoes a ‘limbo’ presidential election. After a decade in parliament Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is stepping down. Having held office since 2004, Yudhoyono has had years of loyal supporters and popularity within his government. Elected after the fall of Suharto, a former corrupt Indonesian president of 32 years mainly remembered for his human rights abuses and the savage economic protests against his rule in 1998 (ABC News, 2014).

Mr. Yudhoyono a highly respected Indonesian president
Mr. Yudhoyono a highly respected Indonesian president | Getty Images

He was hailed ‘the first peaceful transition of power in Indonesia’s history’ according to BBC (2014), during his era he was re-elected in July 2009 as a ‘landslide victory’ to improve the security of his country and develop strong growth within Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, ushered financial stability and highly respected as a strong ‘corruption fighter’ with high moral integrity (BBC, 2014). Unfortunately due to Indonesia’s political systems, Yudhoyono was ‘constitutionally barred from seeking a third term in office’ according a report in The Australian (2014) leading to this years presidential election.

Over 190 million Indonesians were quick to vote in the bid for the world’s ‘third-biggest democracy’ on July 9 2014 (The Australian, 2014). Indonesians have anxiously awaited for a tense two weeks on the tally and review of their election between the highly favored Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and rival Prabowo Subianto.

Self made businessman, and respectable Governor of Jakarta
Joko Widodo: a self made businessman, and the most respectable Governor of Jakarta

Joko Widodo, commonly known by Indonesians as “Jokowi” the ‘man of the people‘, is the current Governor of Jakarta since 2012 and at age 53 he is a self made businessman. According to ABC News (2014), he graduated University with a engineering degree and built a successful furniture retail and export business. After a poor upbringing, Jokowi has worked his way into politics and the hearts of Indonesian citizens all over with his down to earth personality and his reputation in the ‘streamlining of bureaucracy and improving the public service’n (ABC, 2014). He’s achievements and reputation doesn’t stop there, he ‘created hope that things might change among the poor and the city’s harassed commuters’ (ABC News, 2014) and for Indonesians to finally see to their full potential and opportunities. I have attached and interesting article on more of his achievements and biography here:  Jokowi: a ‘man of the people’

Prabowo, accuse his opponent of cheating the vote count
Prabowo, accuses his opponent of cheating the vote count | Google Images

It is a parliamentary debate between the old and the new. Prabowo promotes the old Suharto government and had ‘tied is fate to the authoritarian and anti-communist “New Order” regime’ respected as both cruel and intelligent (le Journal International, 2014) he also had a dark past with ‘allegations of human rights abuses during his military career’ (Los Angeles Times, 2014). The ex-special forces militant and once Suharto son-in-law has always been a ‘ controversial figure’ and a representative of the old regime a vote for him would be a ‘vote to go backwards into the future’ according to DW (2014). Below is a report published in May 2014 detailing the candidates of ‘Indonesia’s presidential race’:

On the night of the election a “quick count” indicated that Jokowi had ticketed 53 per cent of the vote with aclose margin against Prabowo in whom resulted in 47 per cent as stated by The Australian (2014).

To guard against fraud | Getty Images
To guard against fraud | Getty Images

According to Los Angeles Times (2014) the dueling campaign resulted in a conflicting ‘statistical sampling of votes’ as Prabowo’s team conducted their own preferred polling and stated that he was in front and according to his supporters their preferred President (ABC. 2014). With both sides celebrating a win, Prabowo was quick to accuse ‘large-scale cheating’ (ABC, 2014) and ‘allegations of fraud and voter manipulation’ as reported in the Global Post (2014). This unprecedented event had led to a political limbo, with the burden to be resolved by the country’s General Election Commission which according by Los Angeles Times (2014) by law had only two tabulating weeks to certify the correct results. A broadcast by ABC World News explains more of the details: Indonesia’s President-elect Jokowi claims victory

Now after a tense two weeks, the Elections Commission declared Jokowi as the winner and Indonesia’s next president after official results have been released (Australia Network News, 2014). Overcome by defeat, Prabowo has accused his opponent for cheating, according to ABC News he “complained bitterly of fraud in the election process” and is now to challenge the result with the Constitutional Court (Australia Network News, 2014). With only hours before the official results Prabowo announced a ‘withdrawal’ stunt as according to Links 2014 he was ‘withdrawing from the election process’. More in depth detail here: http://links.org.au/node/3972

As the newly acclaimed victor, Joko Widodo, polled with almost ’71 million votes’ and is a true optimist for the country willingness to ’embark on the trudge that lies ahead’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014).

 

The Age 2014, reports that Widodo will now face substantial domestic challenges such as, stabilizing an economy slump, reducing deficits and improving the lives of Indonesians instead of concentrating on relationships with it’s neighbors just to name a few. Overall, as a daughter of a Indonesian mother and Indonesia as my country of birth I’am overcome by joy to have ‘the best man for a difficult job’ (The Age, 2014) elected as Indonesia’s next president. He is a ‘new hope and change that Indonesia’s young democracy’  would like to see (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014) but will he live up to the peoples and governments expectations and bring the real reform? will Prabowo try to throw Jokowi ‘out of office’? only time will tell but for now Indonesians have done their part for their country, now it’s time for Jokowi to shine.

 

Jokowi Indonesia's next President | Photo: Bloomberg/Dimas Ardian
Jokowi Indonesia’s next President | Photo: Bloomberg/Dimas Ardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References: 

BBC News Asia, 2014, Indonesia Profile, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-15105920

ABC News, 2014, Suharto formally charged with corruption, viewed 25 July 2014, http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=82983

Australia Network News, 2014, Indonesias parliamentary and presidential election: how does the system work?, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-03/an-indo-votes-explainer/5363810

ABC News, 2014, Indonesia’s next president Jokowi: a ‘man of the people’ from outside the traditional elite, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-22/jokowi-profile-by-karon-snowdon/5585268

Le Journal International, 2014, Prabowo Subianto: Will order continue?, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.lejournalinternational.fr/Prabowo-Subianto-will-order-return_a1886.html

DW, 2014, Opinion: A new era for Indonesia, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.dw.de/opinion-a-new-era-for-indonesia/a-17800834

Australia Network News, 2014, Indonesian elections: Losing candidate Prabowo Subianto to challenge Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s election win, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-23/an-losing-candidate-prabowo-subianto-to-challenge-indonesian-el/5618320

Los Angelees Times, 2014, Indonesia’s Jokowi needs world’s backing, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0724-brooks-indonesia-elections-20140724-story.html

Global Post, 2014, To guard against fraud: Indonesians are now crowd=sourcing the vote count for their presidential election, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/140715/crowd-sourcing-website-aims-make-indonesian-elec

The Australian, 2014, Indon presidential camps both claim ‘win’, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/indonesia-poll-set-to-go-down-to-the-wire/story-fn3dxix6-1226982392985?nk=770ffd035fc12b3429f9a931ea4603ae

Links international journal socialist renewal, 2014, Indonesia: Jokowi wins presidency but can he bring reform?, viewed 25 July 2014,  http://links.org.au/node/3972

The Age, 2014, The best man for a difficult job, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.theage.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/the-best-man-for-a-difficult-job-20140723-zw4ne.html

The Sydney Morning Herald, Jokowi’s hope and change begins an optimistic chapter for Indonesia’s young democracy, viewed 25 July 2014, http://www.smh.com.au/world/jokowis-hope-and-change-begins-an-optimistic-chapter-for-indonesias-young-democracy-20140725-zwpmi.html

 

A Russian Mind Game: The reality outside our ‘bubble’

A deep, emotional and a raw tragedy has hit many lives within the last 48 hours: it’s hard to avoid the mass headlines dominating the news and social media of ‘MH17’. I have had considerable thought into this subject, but it has shocked us all globally with many friends and families mourning their loss.

Headlines of 'MH17' wordwide image: courtesy of Malaysian Patriots | Facebook
Headlines of ‘MH17’  image: courtesy of Malaysian Patriots | Facebook

This has not only affected Australian’s but has diversified emotions of anger, sadness and confusion amongst all nations. So I’ll only be brief with the incident of ‘MH17’, as within this horror lies deep roots in deprivation, hostility and war.  Although if you aren’t already familiar with the circumstances, I have attached a broadcast by Al Jazeera reporting on MH17 but also the current conflict within the country (note that they also mention several aircraft’s previously shot down within the area):

After studying many headlines, news articles, and videos I have come to a sincere, deep appreciation for the safety of our country. According to Miragliotta, Errington & Barry (2013, p. 63) we can thank the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in addressing difficult policy matters and reconciling Australia’s intergovernmental conflicts and ‘blame-shifting’ and their focus on our national security and community safety (COAG, 2012). As Australian’s we are lucky to have humanitarian rights of individualism, a ‘high degree of political freedom’ (Miragliotta, Errington & Barry, 2013) and most importantly independence.

Although unless educated otherwise, we are in our own ‘bubble’ and unaware of wars outside of our Asia Pacific borderlines. It is only with this devastating event that the world has ceased in which the media has ‘shed some light’ into the circumstances and political scrutiny between Ukraine and Russia, which has now spilled blood beyond their borders. According to a report by Forbes (2014) a procession  of Ukrainian Americans gathered outside of the United Nations building in New York on the evening of July 17th, not only to solely express their deepest condolences to the victims’ families but also aimed in emphasizing the ongoing conflict of ‘Russian aggression and the Kremlin’s support for separatist rebels in Eastern Ukraine’. The report also emphasized that ‘the war at the heart of Europe is not simply Russian-Ukrainian business but a serious security issue for all’ (Forbes, 2014), it is a steep conflict within history for a promise of sustained independence.

The history in  'Ethnic Tensions' of Ukraine Image: Daily Mail 2014
The history in ‘Ethnic Tensions’ of Ukraine Image: Daily Mail 2014

A letter sent to the editor of The Guardian (2014) implied that the Ukrainians once sided with the Nazis throughout World War II and that ‘Hitler promised them freedom- an independent country’. This was then sought to be a dangerous alliance for Ukraine (refer to above image) that led to an underground movement in fighting both Nazis and Russians, citizens of Ukraine were opposed to a Russian regime considering  their history together and the tense ‘relations with Russia’ according to The Guardian (2014). This is only the mere beginning of an ultra-nationalist movement and civil war in Ukraine. Earlier this year in February 2014, a massacre of violence happened in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine and according to the Daily Mail (2014) at least 27 people died and one decapitated whilst hundreds were injured among the protests held in the city’s central square.

Kiev's city square during the on-going anti-government protest
Kiev’s city square during the on-going anti-government protest

The carnage of Kiev’s city square was an attempt by Russia’s prime minister Vladimir Putin in the effort to build ‘his new empire’ in forcing millions of Ukrainian citizens to join against their will (Daily Mail, 2014). Reporter of the Daily Mail, Michael Burleigh (2014), describes that the ‘deeply divided country is pro-Russian in the east and pro-Europe in the west’ despite the brutal reality this has drifted into what we now call ‘Ukraine’s Civil War 2014’. But alas, the United States have once again insisted in ‘apprehending’ the violence by ‘overthrowing the democratically elected pro-Russian President of Ukraine’ in which took place behind the scenes of the 2014 Kiev protests (Global Research, 2014). It is a vast geopolitical power play as stated by the Daily Mail (2014), between the U.S and EU, below I have attached an insightful and shocking details further detailing US involvement:

Since then there has been an attempt in de-escalating the crisis, Ukraines  President Petro Poroshenko and newly elected government announced a cease-fire in June 2014. The attempt to give the pro-Russian rebels of Eastern Ukraine an ultimatum to ‘disarm or leave Ukraine’ and within several days pro-Russian forces violated the truce and  ‘heavy fighting broke out in separatist eastern regions’ with the US quickly blaming Putin’s lack of involvement (Legal Insurrection, 2014). I have attached a broadcast informing the public of the US and NATO’s blame on Putin: http://www.voanews.com/media/video/1948315.html

Unfortunately throughout history and in recent events, flight MH17, was behind enemy lines flying above a ‘war zone’ that has led to the unraveling of “reckless and stupid” actions by Putin leading up to the MH17 disaster (Channel 7 News, 2014). A recent report suggested that pro-Russian rebels ‘admit to shooting down’ MH17, although in my perception it was unintentionally shot down as they believed it to be a Ukrainian cargo flight and were wrongly informed:

Will Ukraine ever see peace? How long will this civil war continue between pro-Russian rebels and Ukraine? will the devastation of MH17 relentlessly  unite all nations in imposing Putin to end his ‘evil empire’? It has been a long, bloody and a pungent conflict, with innocent civilians and their lives at risk. Anger is now mounting throughout all nations on this conflict. To those families and friends not only for the victims of MH17 but those innocent in Ukraine – My deepest sympathies and I hope that peace may one day find you. I leave you with this quote:

ch4_war_quote

Reference List: 

Miragliotta, N, Errington, W & Barry, N 2013, The Australian Political System in Action, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Victoria, Australia

Council of Australian Governments, 2012, National Security and Community Safety, viewed 20 July 2014, http://www.coag.gov.au/national_security_and_community_safety

Forbes, 2014, Malaysian Airliner Attack: Russia’s War on Ukraine Spills Across Borders, viewed 19 July 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/katyasoldak/2014/07/18/malaysian-airliner-attack-russias-war-on-ukraine-spills-across-borders/

The Gaurdian, 2014, Letters to the Editor: Conflict between Ukraine, Russia steeped in history, viewed 19 July 2014, http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/2014-07-16/article-3802693/Conflict-between-Ukraine,-Russia-steeped-in-history/1

Daily Mail Australia, 2014, Return of the evil empire and a nation on the brink of civil war: America and Europe look on in fear as violence grips Ukraine, viewed 19 July 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2563404/Return-evil-empire-nation-brink-civil-war-America-Europe-look-fear-violence-grips-Ukraine.html

Global Research, 2014, How the Ukrainian Civil War Started, viewed 19 July 2014, http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-ukrainian-civil-war-started/5383982

Channel 7 News, 2014, Russia take aim at PM Tony Abbotts unacceptable comments, viewed 19 July 2014, https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24500471/russia-take-aim-at-pm-tony-abbotts-unacceptable-comments/

Channel 7 News, 2014, Pro Russian rebels admit to shooting down plane, viewed 19 July 2014, https://au.news.yahoo.com/video/watch/24490855/pro-russian-rebels-admit-to-shooting-down-plane/

Channel 7 News, 2014, Malaysia team due in Kiev as anger mounts over mh17, viewed 19 July 2014,https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/24501256/malaysia-team-due-in-kiev-as-anger-mounts-over-mh17/

News Limited, 2014, Malaysia Airlines plane mh17 shot down on ukraine russia border, viewed 19 July 2014, http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/malaysia-airlines-plane-mh17-shot-down-on-ukrainerussia-border/story-fnizu68q-1226992889461

Wikipedia, 2012, Ukrainian War of Independence, viewed 19 July 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_War_of_Independence

Pray for Israeli and Palestinians: The war on opposed ideologies

For the past few weeks now, there has been exclusive footage and media coverage on the instability and war over in Gaza. Now what the media isn’t inclusively explaining to us – ‘the public’ is the reason and history that has provoked this world wide issue and impact on the thousands of Palestinians and Israeli citizens. They speak on the perspective that one should already know and understand the friction between the government, Israelis and Palestinians, and as an  young Australian adult we aren’t educated in foreign affairs such as this. Especially one that has a long erratic history, but let me enlighten you.

Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gral. Dan Hal
Yuval Diskin, left, with Chief of Staff Dan Halutz in 2006 image: ARIEL JEROZOLIMSKI/AFP/Getty Images

In what I have reconciled from recent events on the news is that countries other than their own aren’t participating or offering military support or aid. That  according to a statement made by a former Israel security chief, Yuval Diskin (Vox Media, 2014) ‘squarely blames Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the recent crisis, in which began with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli students’ in which descended into a spiraling blood shed of wider violence.  Below I have attached a report by Abby Martin whom speaks to the journalist and author Max Blumenthal regarding the aspects that aren’t being disclosed by the media:

 

But lets back track,  Zack Beauchamp (2014) journalist for Vox Media has simplified the war on Gaza and the inherent political history, that has led to the above circumstances. He explains  what is actually happening within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which you can find the article here: http://www.vox.com/2014/7/16/5904691/hamas-israel-gaza-11-things

According to Beauchamp (2014) the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whom has been a long time supporter for the Palestinian independence left his position in 2005 and concluded that ‘Israeli occupation was no longer in Israel’s interest’. This was a controversial political issue and in protest the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘quit the government’ (Vox Media, 2014). This then lead to the control of Hamas as a dominant ‘power of Gaza’ (Vox Media, 2014) according to an interview in The World Post (2014) a local Palestinian christian man states “I don’t like the ideology of Hamas, they’re brainwashed. Hamas undermines the value of Palestinian life. I’m not against resistance [to Israel]. But I want intellectual leaders- not military leaders”.

According to last weeks readings on ‘The Australian Constitution’ Chapter 2 in The Australian Political System in Action (2013, p. 23) it explains how most countries ‘have an identifiable written constitution’ this is intended to serve and protect the rights of citizens suited for the countries political, cultural and social realities (Miragliotta, Errington & Barry, 2013). An unwritten constitution is flexible and a response in historical and political conditions, in which Israel is one of three nations whom continue to utilize this format (Miragliotta, Errington & Barry, 2013) unfortunately for the Israeli and Palestinian citizens the government may change the needs of their society without undergoing a complex process thus without exercising extreme precaution, power holders may divide the nations sovereignty, in which case this is an example topic (Miragliotta, Errington & Barrt, 2013).

Unfortunately for many Palestinians their lives have all been unhinged and they are in constant fear of danger, with the death of 227 Palestinian and 1 Israeli over the past nine days with a increasing death toll . There has been an attempt of a ‘cease fire agreement’ but within hours rockets were launched (The World Post 2014), as of 17th of July Israel has instigated a ‘Ground Phase’ in the Gaza battle according to the ABC News (2014) http://abcnews.go.com/International/gaza-militants-sneak-israel-ahead-cease-fire/story?id=24594286.

Rockets launched into Gaza as Israel announces 'Ground Phase'
Rockets launched into Gaza as Israel announces ‘Ground Phase’

Over years of political instability, will we see a treaty or peace for these poor Palestinian & Israel citizens? Is last 24 hours are just the beginning or the end for a nation divided by it’s own ideologies? In conclusion I have attached another report by Abby Martin whom exposes Israel and ‘Why doesn’t the media care about dead Palestinians?’.

I pray for all.

 

 

Reference List:

Miragliotta, Errington & Barry, 2013, The Australian Political System in Action, Oxford University Press, Australia

BBC News, Middle East 2014, Israel starts Gaza ground offensive, viewed on 18th July 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28359582

The World Post, 5 Palestinians in Gaza Highlight Disagreement on Possible Cease-Fire, Ideology of Hamas 2014, viewed on 18 July 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/15/palestinians-ceasefire_n_5588435.html

Vox Media 2014, Former security cheif: Blame the Israeli government, not Palestinians, for the crisis, viewed on 18 July 2014, http://www.vox.com/2014/7/7/5877375/former-security-chief-blame-the-israeli-government-not-palestinians

Vox Media 2014, 11 crucial facts to understand the Israel-Gaza crisis , viewed on 18 July 2014, http://www.vox.com/2014/7/16/5904691/hamas-israel-gaza-11-things

ABC News 2014, Israel Launches ‘Ground Phase’ in Gaza Battle, viewed on 18 July 2014, http://abcnews.go.com/International/gaza-militants-sneak-israel-ahead-cease-fire/story?id=24594286

Breaking the Set 2014, Why Doesn’t the Media Care About Dead Palestinians?, video, 9 July, viewed 18 July 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdQ6QP6jja8

Breaking the Set 2014, Gaza is Burning: here’s what the corporate media isn’t telling you, video, 2 July, viewed 18 July, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ3UZxWAcfw

 

Something about me…

Hi I’m Jessica, you may call me Jess for short ofcourse.

I’m a student at CQ University currently studying a Bachelor of Professional Communications to finally reach my full potential. Earlier this year I was enrolled into a Bachelor of Arts and Business but I was constantly asking and questioning myself in regards to ‘who I want to be’ and ‘Jess it’s now or never’. I’ve always had a great motivation for marketing, although I dont favor numbers and math. Seeing that all marketing is mostly about is stocks and statistics. I’m more for the human behaviors of buying and the art of advertising and its psychology to us as consumers. For that reason alone, I’m continuing in my passion thus Majoring in Marketing.

But also I care about people and how a community works,  hence I decided to advance to my current bachelor in hope of a good career in community relations and marketing.

I currently work at a non for profit organisation for the past 3 years I’ve gained, developed and grown many skills and qualifications with my time here. You can say I am passionate in the field of providing and assisting the community.

I’m 22 years old, married, bought a house in Gladstone, and own two dogs – a Shar Pie named Cooper and a Beagle – Alice.

I have to be honest, that Politics was never a huge interest to me but I’m glad that I have this opportunity to really learn about it. Schools don’t teach you much in regards to real life skills. I believe that they should implement a system so that it better prepares us for university and life like financial skills, market stocks and politics. The boring stuff I know but most important to our existence in this country/world.

So lets begin this journey with a hop, a step, and a bop…

 

Cheers