Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Revolution Won't Be Televised: But Could it Be 'Liked' and 'Shared'?

By Shingi Mavima 

What a year it has been for the internet activist- and it’s only March! Hard as it may to be to realize it in the present but the Kony2012 movement has changed the face of on-line social activism for the long haul.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Can Citizen Diplomacy Save Israel and Iran from War?

By Sally Mouakkad

Photo Credit: IBI Times as obtained from

Could grassroots efforts for quelling the drums of war, from the citizens of Israel and Iran, lay down the foundation for tolerance between their countries? Or have Israeli-Iranian relations been too long plagued with tensions, uncertainty, and the lack of trust for citizen diplomacy to actually make any difference?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Top 5 Things You Need to Know to Understand the Crisis in Syria

By: Jill Ricotta

1. This is right out of the Assad family playbook. The brutality of the Assads is nothing new to the Syrian people. The 1980s were a tense time for the Middle East, particularly due to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The secular regimes were terrified of the possibility that their own people would want to install an Islamic government. Islamist parties around the Arab world were inspired by the power of the revolution, the images of ordinary Iranians taking the streets, fighting the corruption of the Shah, and putting in place a (supposedly) honest democracy based on the virtues of Islam. For Syria, the main Islamist group was the Muslim Brotherhood, which was based in a small city called Hama, in the west of the country, north of the border with Lebanon.

(Photo Credit:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Race to the Bottom

By Ernesto Alvarado

Iced tea and skittles. It's impossible to remember how many times those items have been on a shopping list that my friends and I would assemble before jumping on our bikes and heading to the store. We always acknowledged but ignored the glaring eyes of the employee at the counter, it was a reality for us. This isn't about why life is the way it is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Most Dangerous Game: A Political Balancing Act

By: Lauren Skompinski

Game Change is about more than Sarah Palin. The HBO political drama centered around the McCain campaign’s pick of Palin for VP in 2008 is about the political candidate in general, and the aura we attribute to these fascinating people trying to balance an attractive appearance with intellect and political skill.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rick Santorum, Senador Xenófobo

by Ryan Fleming

Photo courtesy of

The longer Rick Santorum's insurgent campaign endures against Mitt Romey's Inevitability Machine, the more acutely aware I become of just how far off the reservation the GOP has gone in the last five years or so.

A funny phrase, "off the reservation," and remarkably apropos when discussing Santorum's presidential ambitions. It hearkens back to the days when white settlers rounded up Native Americans, shuffling them around the country on undesirable plots of land, imploring the good ones to stay put and bemoaning those who went rogue. Those were the days when a Native American's dark skin and laughably backward ways could almost be overlooked, if not outright excused, provided he don proper western garb, spend some QT in a church pew, and start going by a name that didn't make us nervous.

Fast-forward a couple hundred years and enter Rick Santorum, the latest culture warrior riding out in defense of his version of America: white, industrious, God-fearing folks whose diligent prayers are always offered up in English.

It was this belief in bread-and-butter America that prompted Rick Santorum, on a campaign stop in Puerto Rico, to indicate his tepid support for Puerto Rican statehood before stipulating during an interview with El Vocero: "English [would have] to be the principal be a state in the United States, English has to be the principal language."1

The real America, of course, has no official language and no federal requirement for English-only or English-first policies as a requirement for statehood. This, however, is Rick Santorum's America, where diversity isn't celebrated, but tolerated under certain conditions. If only those pesky natives would build respectable houses instead of wigwams and ditch those nature spirits for some Biblical certainties. If only those islanders would quit wagging their tongues in Spanish and show us some respect in our own language.

We've tasted fruit from this vine before at various points in our history, not just in our aforementioned expulsion of Native Americans, but in keeping ballots out of the meddlesome hands of women and building separate drinking fountains for blacks. For Santorum's ideological forerunners, each advance in equality and inclusion was an erosion of privilege, another case of one of them usurping what rightfully belonged to us. Progress is accepted only grudgingly and with no small bit of dread: we're letting women vote now, but we'll have to make sure they still know their place. Freedom for all people regardless of color sounds nice, but by God, I hope I don't have to rub elbows with black people at my favorite restaurant or sit next to them on the bus. "These are some crazy times, son," the old-timers declare severely, resting weighty, calloused hands on the shoulders of their straw-haired sons, "but there are still plenty of good folks out there who know the way things ought to be."

These days, Rick Santorum's view of how things ought to be is squarely at odds with an island full of Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans gaining statehood. Faced with real diversity - a cherished cornerstone of the American experiment - Santorum is forced to hold his nose, perhaps supposing that the best course of action is to codify his own linguistic heritage above all others while he tries to figure out how to put a stop to this whole Spanish thing altogether.

Never mind that nearly forty million Americans speak Spanish as their first language, or that less than half of all babies born today in the USA were white. America isn't undergoing seismic demographic shifts. Ignore that man behind the curtain.

As a white, straight, Episcopalian male whose first language is English, I'm exactly the kind of guy around whom Rick Santorum thinks he is circling the wagons. Let me be the first, therefore, to offer a response by echoing King Juan Carlos of Spain:

Rick, ¿por qué no te callas?

Friday, March 16, 2012

4 Reasons Latinos won't vote Republican this Election

By Ernesto Alvarado 

Key GOP analysts have pointed towards the courtship of Latino voters as the party's "Great Challenge"and noted that success,not only in this election but for the future, depended on the rapidly rising minority group. Unfortunately for the Republicans, Romney, Santorum and Gingrich have done an abysmal job at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Not so Distant Land of Oz

By Daniel Pereira 
Ask an American about Australia, and they will likely evoke some jibe about deserts, marsupials, or crocodile hunters. The silly representation of Aussies in the media along with the sheer distance between our nations can only

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From My Eyes

by Michelle Sarver

Photo Credit

Listening to John Esposito’s “The Future of Islam” podcast, a Gallop Poll statistic he cited left me both frustrated and disenchanted. Since 9/11 the world turned its focus to Islam with increasing interest, and yet 57 percent of those polled said that they could not find even one thing that they admired about the religion

Monday, March 12, 2012

La Cinta Costera and the Danger of Convenience

“The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.”

It has become common nature to follow the path in which the least amount of effort is required, and it is this frame of reference that is how we got to where we are now.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Newt and the Palestinians

By Jill Ricotta

Since the beginning of the year Newt Gingrich has gone from a hopeless candidate, to the triumphant black horse, and back to political irrelevance. But whether or not Gingrich is the Republican nominee, his recent comments on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in a recent interview with the Jewish Channel remain pertinent. For those that missed these remarks, here is a video clip of the now infamous statement:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

#StopKony: 24 Cyber Hours of Inspiration, Disillusionment

By Shingi Mavima 

"To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge." Henry David Thoreau

On Tuesday, March 6th 2012, the world of social media was introduced to the “Kony 2012’ video from the organization Invisible Children. If you missed it, the 30 minute documentary is a passionate plea aimed at shedding light to the horror of Ugandan child soldiers being kidnapped and forced to fight under warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Welcome to Dominica: The Nature Island (Part One)

By Shervin Stoney

Out the window to my right I can only see mountains. Rolling peaks of deep rich green haloed by the serene blue of the Atlantic Ocean. We are landing in Marigot on the East side of the island. A thin strip of black paved land is creeping closer to us. Finally, after what seems like a lifetime, I arrive in Dominica, the Nature Island.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

At a Loss for Words - Beyond Translation

By Ernesto Alvarado

Courtesy of

As the meter in the cab continued to flutter upward in numbers, I couldn't help but think of how helpless I felt sitting in the backseat... literally as far away from control as possible. I was 35 minutes late to my meeting with friends and $20 lighter in the pocket because of my mispronunciation.