Saturday, June 10, 2006

Should Israel Grant Asylum to Sudanese Refugees?

The Israeli Supreme Court is currently facing a decision regarding the handling of 230 refugees from Sudan. The 230 Muslim and Christian Sudanese are currently in Jail in Israel for sneaking into the country illegally. In an article by Joshua Mitnick, two clear emergings opinions are presented concerning how the refugees should be treated.
One opinion is that the refugees should not be granted asylum and perhaps be expelled from the country. In the past, as Israeli Interior Minister Roni Bar-On has expressed, "...security forces often try to return the refugees to the Egyptian side of the border." Sudan and Israel are currently concidered enemies, thus many Israelis are wary of the refugees and would like to see them go.
On the other side, certain Israelis make the argument that these Sudanese refugees have escaped from what the US has called 'a genocide' and thus there is a moral obligation to grant them asylum. Israelis, of all people, should remember their support of illegal Jewish refugees during WWII. Jewish refugees sought asylum in Israel as they escaped from the violence of the Holocaust, similar to the agenda of the current Sudanese refugees. Also, Israeli Human Rights groups are petitioning the Supreme Court to allow the refugees to stay, in hopes that the pressure will cause a speedy and positive decision.
The issue of illegal immigration is contraversial by all accounts, but in the case of these 230 Sudanese refugees in Israel, I support the motion to grant them asylum. If the refugees are sent to Egypt or to a jail in Sudan, they risk exposure to the violent treatment from which they escaped. Expelling this posessionless group of Sudanese refugees is pratically granting the immigrants a death sentence. Their chance of survival is minimal. Israelis should be tolerant of the refugees just as their country was tolerant of Jewish refugees during WWII.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Uncertainty and worry in Nigeria's Presidential election

In reading this article about Nigeria's next Presidential election that will be held in April of 2007, it seems to be that they are experiencing much worry about who will be on the ticket. The current President is Olusegun Obasanjo. He has been in office since 1999. Many people want him to stay on for re-election, however he has never shown any interest in a fourth term. His vice President is Atiku Abubakar. Abubakar hgas shown great interest in running for the Presidental job and seeks the People's Democratic Party's support. But he doesn't have it. I find this to be a big problem because it can have negative effects on the party. One man with support has not shown the interest and another man with the interest does not have the support. Nigeria is Africa's most populated nation, but they are very divided ethnicaly and religiously. I beleive that this could amount into a very difficult political struggle in the next election. Religiously, the problem lies due to the fact that in the Northern part of Nigeria, it is prodominatly Muslims. Obasanjo is a southern Christian. Muslims in the north beleive that it is only fair that when his term is up, it is only fair that he allow a northerner to take office. The Muslims beleive that is in the best interest of the Nations peace and nationalism. I agree with that. The absence of Nationalism is a key factor as to why African countries are having such a difficult time modernizing like the rest of the world. Ethnic and religious differences are getting in the way. The Muslims are correct in that reguard. Ethnic problems come into play when the article speaks of the Igbo ethnic group. They control 95% of the government's revenue but there's never been an Igbo President. They too are looking to have one of their own in office. However, many people of Nigeria believe that the Igbo people do not have anyone who has the politcal stature to be in office. This has enraged the Igbos. I agree with the Igbo people having the right to be outraged by this. From reading this article it is clear to me that Nigeria is torn ethnically, and religiously and that it is leading to the nation being divided. What makes it all worse is that many people beleive that Obasanjo will simply remain in office, creating politcal chaos. This can only be done by emergency rule. In my opinion that method will only make things worse between the Muslims and Igbo people of Nigeria. Nationalism will never be reached if people are not happy with the government and that is a big reason as to why Nigera and other African countries are taking so long to modernize.

Cultural Solution for Aids?

From reading an article yesterday on the destruction aids has cost the continent of Africa and also reflecting on a previous class discussion, there is one question that always seems to strike me, where does the responsibilty lie for changing the detrimental and most times harmful cultural views that many African citizens have for dealing with the aids virus? In the article provided it even states that the health minister of South Africa "urged the use of garlic and African potatoe to fight Aids instead of effective treatment". Should the National leaders of these African states be "forced" to see that their methods are ineffective and further hurting their people, or should the world community, more specifically NGO's take the responsibilty upon themselves and try to involve the African governments as little as possible?