Global: the Syria conflict

Clay Berg

Staff Writer

War has been raging in Syria for over three years, and an end to hostilities looks more remote now than it did when protesters were asking for democratic control amid the successes of the Arab Spring. After the death of over 200,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, little progress has been made by any side.

The old regime holds power in the capitol of Damascus and most of southern Syria. Rebel groups control significant territories in the north. These Rebel groups are, however, severely fractured from each other and conflict between them is frequent and deadly. Attempting to unite them is the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Pro-democracy and moderately pro western, the members of this coalition started the militant revolution and are generally supported by the west. Also combating the Syrian government, but with entirely different goals, are Islamic extremists, many of whom have ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Recently, a group known as the Islamic State (IS) has emerged. Their leadership splintered from al Qaeda and they are now attempting to establish a Sunni caliphate in Iraq and Syria. They have made major gains in both countries. Also involved are the Kurds. The Kurds control land in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran and are a major ethnic and political force. They have been fighting for their own state since the end of the Second World War. First they fought against the governments of the countries they live in and now, the Islamic State. All of these groups are well armed and increasingly well trained.

In the west, there has been an ongoing debate on how to handle the situation. Most foreign policy experts, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, agree that arming revolutionaries before Islamic extremists had the chance to unify would have helped put an end to the war sooner. This would have ended with more favorable results to both the west and the people of Syria. The situation is now too uncertain to arm any side without equipment falling into the hands of terrorist organizations.

The west has had one victory in the conflict. After a string of chemical weapons attacks on mostly civilian targets, the United States, Iran, and Russia were able to remove all declared chemical weapons from Syria and safely destroy them. There could still be chemical weapons hidden is Syria, but whoever uses them would be demonized by the international community and would likely face western military intervention.

With the expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq, the question of Syria only becomes more complex. The US is now allying with Kurdish forces to fight the extremists. Both Iran and the Syrian Government have voiced support for American actions. This begs the question, are the enemies of your enemies your friends? In the past the US has answered “yes,” but in light of the clear human rights violations perpetrated by IS, including crucifixion and beheading non-Muslims in the streets, the US has begun bombing IS targets in Iraq.

The next step would be to expand US military operations into Syria. Both Israel and the United Kingdom have voiced willingness to conduct air strikes, and both have the capacity to do so.

Where does this leave the people of Syria? In war torn and besieged cities eating grass to survive; in refugee camps in the surrounding countries that often lack the most basic services and are always over-crowded; and all too often, killed.

Graduating seniors plan to teach abroad

Ryan Derham
Co-Global Editor

There are quite a few graduating seniors who are planning to venture outside the

Goucher students abroad in Paris posing infront of the Eiffel Tower last spring (Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Rubinstein ‘14)

Goucher students abroad in Paris posing infront of the Eiffel Tower last spring (Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Rubinstein ‘14)

United States next year. Three graduating seniors, in particular, Sarah Rubinstein, Ben Scrimshaw, and Fundi Fihlani, will all be teaching abroad after graduation. For some, it is a break from undergrad, a time to figure out what to do next. For others it is returning home.
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Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram

Sarah Callendar
Staff Writer

In what many are calling a direct attack on the education of women around the world, the militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 Northern Nigerian girls on April 14. The Muslim-Extremist group’s name means “Western education is a sin” in the Hausa language. The armed terrorists took the girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria while they were sleeping. The terrorists burned the school to the ground and then drove the girls away into the forests that border Cameroon. It has been confirmed that at least 53 girls have escaped but the remaining number of girls still missing is unknown as the school enrollment records are still being reviewed. The girls were Christian and Muslim but all of them were seeking higher education in order to seek a career in medicine, law, education or other valued professions.
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Letters from Berlin: Living abroad

Ruby Tucker
Staff Writer

It is 10:23 p.m. and I am walking the streets of Berlin. I’m on my way to Clash, one of my favorite bars, where the beer is cheap, the guys are cute, and my friends are waiting. I think to myself, “Ah, this is my life. Here I am, meeting my friends at one of my favorite bars, walking the streets knowing exactly where I am going, passing one of my friend’s apartments on the way.” In this moment, I am in pure bliss: living a life that feels right, a life that I love. Suddenly a sense of anxious pain runs through my whole body. There are only two weeks left of my semester in Berlin. I find it difficult to accept and even more difficult to believe. I try to live in the moment but how can I when my time here is almost up? One week until papers are due, two weeks until my family comes to visit, and four weeks until I return to the United States. These blocks and chunks of allotted time run through my head and are simply impossible to erase. It pains me to write this.
You might think I am being dramatic. If I were reading this, I would think so, but to me, Berlin is the one place where I have made a life for myself, a true life. My parents chose California, my birthplace. Goucher was chosen for me by fate. I chose Berlin for myself. I decided to live here for a year, have my own apartment, make my own friends, and live my own life. I didn’t just study abroad, I lived abroad, and as much as I want to see my friends and resume my life at Goucher, the feeling is so bittersweet. I think it is so hard when you have to uproot your life just when you feel as if you are finally home. A feeling of security is something I don’t find often as a bi-costal college student. The constant trek home to California every break is draining. Not having a solid place for three years has made saying goodbye to Berlin even harder. However, I know I am so lucky to have experienced what I have, and I am curious to see how I have changed as a person and how I now fit into the Goucher community. I am excited to spend my summer on campus, creating a new home for myself, and re-entering such a warm and loving community that I feel so lucky to be a part of.

Understanding our humanity: Storytelling in Ghana

Katherine Mowrer
Contributor

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Katherine Mowrer in Ghana on an afternoon hike (Photo: Katherine Mowrer)

“Trust me, though, the words were on their way and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like clouds and she would wring them out like rain.”
– Markus Zusak, “The Book Thief”
My storytelling is notorious. I ramble, mention unnecessary details, forget words, launch into irrelevant rants and forget what I am talking about. So when I return home after my nine months abroad, I am dreading the inevitable question: “So how was it?”
I have spent my semesters this year in Ghana and now Serbia, and have traveled to Tanzania, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Kosovo while abroad. Even if I were able to find the right words, how would I begin to answer that question? Read more of this post

“Home Away From Home,” a student art showcase

Ryan Derham
Co-Global Editor

The latest student art show, compiled by Sara Nuttle ‘14 and Ariella Rodban ‘14,

Sara Nuttle ‘14 and Ariella Rodban ‘14 at their show opening in Meyerhoff Art Gallery (Photo courtesy of Ariella Rodban)

Sara Nuttle ‘14 and Ariella Rodban ‘14 at their show opening in Meyerhoff Art Gallery (Photo courtesy of Ariella Rodban)

titled “Home Away From Home,” depicts their collaborative works representing their time abroad. At Goucher, many students go abroad and return with many memories and stories, but few have outlets to express those moments. Nuttle and Rodban both felt strongly about their time abroad and were happy to create a show solely on the places that they now call their second homes.
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Letters from Berlin: Stammtisch

Ruby Tucker
Staff Writer

It is 12:15 p.m. on this beautiful Friday morning and remains from last nights damage surround me. I’m sure that most of us have been there, where the ruins of the night before stare you right in the face the moment you wake up. The empty wine bottle, 197 matches on my tinder (yes world I have one, which is another article for another time), and of course the inevitable dirty dishes all around me. Not having class on Friday is a blessing and a curse. Here I have a lovely lengthy addition to my weekend, yet it is also an excuse to waste a perfectly beautiful day. Whenever Thursday rolls around it is a tradition at my school to go to an event called “Stammtisch” where everyone meets at a designated bar to get drinks and practice their German. However, inevitably not much Deutsch discussion goes down. This weekly event has become a staple in my Berliner life routine. It is really the only community time I have with my peers and it is just pure fun. I find it interesting that this is a time in some of our lives where it is somewhat acceptable to “waste time.” Now, this is not an article supporting hangovers, drinking, or the act of slacking off, but I think it is nice to simply acknowledge that college is a time in our lives, or at least in mine, where I am okay with the fact that I spend my Fridays alarm-less and utterly plan-less. I think I owe it to myself, and this time, to loosen up and not worry about “wasting time,” especially if that time is fun. I have my Fridays free to do whatever I want, and I know one day those will be a rare gift. So today, on this Friday, I have decided that sometimes waking up to “damage” isn’t all that bad. In fact, it is a nice reminder that sometimes a little craziness in life makes life worth living. It reminds me that I am young, and I have a lot more time in the future to be responsible. Besides, it is always a fun surprise when you wake up remembering the conversation last night about planning a date the next day.

Until next time, 

Ruby.

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