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Mina Shah

Closing remarks

As I go forward into the world outside of this little bubble, I want to leave everyone with a few words of advice, a few last opinions before I leave campus and this column for good.

Famine’s afoot

It may be very easy to sit back and say something to the effect of “oh, aren’t all these natural disasters horrible.” While it is true that the situation is not good and we should feel empathy toward the people affected by the droughts, it is important, too, to remember that this is not exactly a series of random natural disasters.

Chile ablaze

As we focus on the disaster that is the current American political system, other kinds of disasters are happening unnoticed in other parts of the world. In Chile, for example, wildfires are running rampant at high temperatures and, as it looks now, are nigh uncontainable.

The Gambia: An unfolding political climate to watch

The political situation in The Gambia has been especially tense ever since the most recent elections: the current president, Yahya Jammeh, who has held office for over two decades, lost to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow. While initially Jammeh had said that he would accept the election results, he is now contesting them by appealing to the country’s Supreme Court. This is worrisome because if Jammeh continues to resist relinquishing his power when the time comes for transition with the inauguration of Barrow this Thursday there could be violence in The Gambia.

Remember the Rohingya

Over the past several weeks, government-sanctioned violence against Rohingya Muslims, a minority group in Myanmar, has risen to levels where many people are worried about the situation soon amounting to ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

The importance of integrated intellectualism

While there are some really nice things about having that kind of “silo-ization,” it can also be pretty destructive. This is why, for the sake of self-care and producing better work, I’m committing to be better at integrating my intellectual, professional and personal lives and, if you’re serious about doing more and better work, you should too.

Peace Prize politics

While understanding that President Santos’s desire to bring peace to the world and his efforts to get the accord passed are important and ought to be lauded, it remains unclear whether he ought to be given the Nobel as a result of his work. Additionally, with the context in which the committee awarded President Santos the prize, it is unclear exactly why he received the award.

Bubble bursting

People who have been reading this column for a while know that I try to write on subjects that “burst the bubble” of Stanford. This campus (and the information circulating in it) can make a student’s experience here pretty insular, because of how many rigorous classes students take and how difficult it can be to get off campus. Thus, it is important, as we try to build ourselves into civic-minded, global-citizen adults, for us to maintain connections with and have opinions about what is going on in the world around us. The act of continued engagement outside of such academic and social insularity can sometimes be difficult, especially with all of the commitments we have pulling us in different directions.

The potentials of a humanist education

Two weeks ago, I gave a group policy presentation in a class regarding housing problems in the Bay Area and a potential fix for the gentrification crisis, specifically in Oakland. One of the final suggestions that my group made was that in order to create a longer-term, more sustainable solution to the problem of gentrification,…

We’re not talking about Syria, and we should be

During the International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG’s) meeting on Thursday, proxy parties, including the U.S. and Russia, decided to agree upon a ceasefire, or, as they termed it more specifically, a “cessation of hostilities.” This ceasefire probably won’t be effective for several reasons. First, the agreement to have this ceasefire was made by the proxy countries,…

Save the whales!

Last week, a sperm whale washed up and died on a beach in Hunstanton, England. This might not be such a huge deal, were it not for the fact that in the past month or so, a total of thirty sperm whales have washed up and died on the shores of the North Sea in…

More assaults on refugees

Earlier last week, Denmark’s parliament passed measures allowing refugees to come into the country for a time. These measures, meant to deter refugees from seeking asylum or longer-term habitation, allow officials to confiscate the valuables of refugees, meaning that refugees may keep only items of a sum-total worth up to an equivalent of $1,450. The measures…

A need for more diverse texts in humanistic disciplines

I’m currently a senior here at Stanford. And I am a classic Stanford kid in that I tend to take on too many things each quarter, including, but certainly not limited to, units. Despite this fact, I find myself in the winter of this, my senior year, still taking requirements in order to graduate. Now, this is pretty crazy, considering that I’m a comparative literature major, which has sixty-five units worth of requirements and considering that I’ve finished over one hundred and eighty units at this point.

The death of cultural exchange in study abroad

It has recently been announced that the Bing Overseas Study Program in Florence will be lifting the language requirement for next quarter. Read in a particular way, this seems like it could be a really good thing. No language requirement means that more people can go abroad. Fewer people have to worry about fitting language classes into their schedules here at Stanford, concurrently with the demands of major requirements, jobs, groups, clubs, athletics, and the social sphere.

Facing the ‘refugee problem’

In the past several weeks, there have been an increasing number of conversations about the situation surrounding refugees in the E.U. There have also been conversations about how both the U.S. and European countries plan to move forward with regards to refugee admittance policies, likely keeping the events in Paris in the forefront of their minds. It is very possible that these policy discussions could lead to the tightening of borders and the exclusion of Syrian refugees from the U.S. and European countries.

Don’t wish me a ‘Happy Martin Luther King Day’ today

I will be soberly celebrating his memory today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing man, who did amazing things for this country and challenged all Americans to work towards the ideal of a perfectly just nation. He certainly deserves his own day. But, please, don’t wish me a “happy” Martin Luther King Day.

We need to have more equitable responses to violence

In spite of the fact that this may sound very similar to last year, I’ve decided to write this column anyway, because this time, not only I have more nuanced arguments and more precise critiques that extend beyond what I discussed last time, but moreover, this is a topic that is absolutely important enough to reflect on twice, or three times, or however many times it takes before we decide to learn from our mistakes of history.
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