Tag Archives: issues

Wednesday’s Got Issues : Coachella Hipsters Are a Nice Distraction

There are a lot of unsettling stories floating around this week and there’s not much that I can add to make a full blog post worthwhile, so instead I’m going to refer back to a fail safe coping mechanism for bad news : funny YouTube videos! In between reading about unemployment, collapsed buildings and the after effects of terrorism, it’s nice to know that one can always rely on a hipster to provide some comic relief. See below for a segment on Jimmy Kimmel in which Coachella attendees are asked for their opinions on non-existent bands

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Wednesday’s Got Issues : NZ Shows That Love is Louder

Most people who know me, know that I have a particular love for New Zealand. I once lived and studied there, and completely fell in love with it’s beautiful landscape, people and culture. I realise that banging on about it all the time can be a bit annoying, but today I feel that I am justified in mentioning it. Today the NZ parliament passed a bill for marriage equality – which is excellent in itself – but it was the reaction from the gallery upon hearing the news that had me crying.

The woman in the striped shirt is Louisa Wall, the openly gay MP who sponsored the bill. Louisa, well done you!

They are singing Pokarekare Ana, a Maori love song.

P.S. If someone wants to buy me a one-way plane ticket back to Wellington, I’d be mightily pleased.

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Wednesday’s Got Issues : Come on America, keep up

Over the last few days I’ve seen a lot of chatter about DOMA, and the fact that the US government is debating whether to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law in 1996 by Bill Clinton. Recently the UK government legalised gay marriage, and there are some states who have already allowed people to express their love as equal citizens, but from what I understand the repeal of the act would mean that gays would be allowed to marry nationwide, overruling any statewide laws (Please correct me if I’m wrong).

My new favourite website, BuzzFeed, has been posting articles depicting both sides of the argument, but one in particular caught my attention. Pictures of young people who oppose gay marriage holding signs explaining their reasoning. Unsurprisingly most of them mention God, a few of them are having trouble with spelling and some of them seem brainwashed and lack an understanding of the issue. The surprising part is the very fact that they are young and educated, two factors that generally indicate an open and accepting mind. I have met very few young homophobes, maybe it’s because I don’t tend to associate with the kind of people who hate my friends.

But it just seemed jarring that there are people in younger generations who are yet to move on from the restrictive outlook of the past. I’m guessing that the main reason for this is America’s refusal to separate religion and the state, their people are repeatedly told that the laws of their country must reflect those written thousands of years ago by a supposed deity, whether they worship said deity or not. To me, it seems like fairly immature way of living, the kind of attitude that I last encountered at school when trying to work out how to fit in with the cool kids. Thankfully I got over that, hopefully one day the USA will too.

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Wednesday’s Got Issues: Wheelchairs can bungee too

 

It’s not exactly a big issue, watching Christine Rougoor bungee jump in her wheelchair, but it is fucking awesome. And it does help to raise awareness of the 9Lives Adventures project, which helps disabled people to engage in unique experiences that may not otherwise have been possible for them to do.

If you want to find out more about them go to http://www.9livesadventures.com/

 

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Wednesday’s Got Issues: Kony or Con?

Today, I am one of the almost 10 million people who have watched the Kony2012 video (see below), in which an American based organisation detail their attempts to halt the atrocities committed in Uganda by Joseph Kony and his army, the LRA. It has been widely documented, but not reported by Western media, that they have abducted, raped, murdered or enslaved thousands of people, particularly children, and the Kony2012 people want it to stop. Which is perfectly understandable, the unimaginable horrors committed by Kony and his gang have scarred a generation of Ugandans but received little media attention. I freely admit that until today I had never heard of him or the LRA, and that is my fault for not educating myself better about the world today.

After watching the video, like many others I immediately went to the Kony2012 website and registered my support, then I had a quick look at their merchandise shop – designed to help spread the word through posters, t-shirts and bracelets, among other things – and on an impulse I bought a snazzy looking shirt and one of their bracelets. Don’t ask me why, I plead brainwashing. I don’t generally think of myself as easily led or gullible (but then, no gullible person does), but 5 minutes after hitting the ‘Pay’ button, I was shocked by how quickly I had just spent money, based on a 30 minute video. So I did a little more research on the TRI people (who are behind the movement) and was surprised at how easily I found articles talking about the questionable nature of the organisation, who seem to have created a movement through snappy video editing and an adorable 5 year old who doesn’t understand that there are bad people outside of Star Wars.

Some articles that I found interesting can be found here (there are plenty more to be found via Google):

http://ilto.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/the-visible-problem-with-invisible-children

http://thedailywh.at/2012/03/07/on-kony-2012-2

I want to make it clear that I support the efforts of governments and international organisations who are trying to capture Kony and bring him to justice. But I am wary of a campaign that is light on information and heavy on emotion, I got so caught up in it all that I actually gave them money, and that scares me.

Something else that I find worrying is that, 10 minutes after I placed my order I tried to cancel it by clicking on the links provided on the store website. Every single one led to an error page. Luckily I was able to find a relevant email on another of their websites, and hopefully I will get a refund for my stupidity soon, but I am becoming less and less supportive of a movement whose only goal seems to be to create a world of hipster clones with a cause about which they know very little. I’m glad that I came to my senses, I don’t know why my cynicism alarm didn’t trip sooner. We live and learn.

That’s not to say that I’ll never do anything for charity again, it’s just that I am going to be a little bit more careful in the future and use one of the websites below to verify where my cash ends up.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/

If you want to make up your own mind, watch the video or click on the link below:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/kony2012/kony_5.html

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Wednesday’s Got Issues: Syrians are massacred and the UN doesn’t care

Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik

This week it seems that everyone has begun to talk about the unrest in Syria, particularly in the city of Homs, but that’s all that they are doing, talking. I’m not going to pretend to know all of the details regarding why President Assad is murdering his own people, or even why the UN and various governments seem reluctant to take action against a violent dictator. However, as I recall, the action against Colonel Gaddhafi was a lot more decisive and swift, and I refuse to believe that any governing body can think that it is preferential to do nothing.

Today the main story has been the deaths of American journalist, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik, an undeniably tragic occurrence for people who strived to tell the stories of those without a voice. Hopefully the high profile nature of this news story will spur the authorities into action against Assad, who, according to Colvin’s final report, has been purposely attacking densely populated civilian areas and refusing to allow anyone to leave. However, it should not be the sad deaths of two dedicated professionals that inspire our world’s leaders to aid the suffering Syrians, the very fact that a government was murdering their own people should have been enough.

As I understand it, the hesitation is due to the strong Syrian army, powerful position of the country’s leader and, probably, it’s ownership of oil (please correct me if I’m wrong). But the fact that it may be a challenge to overcome a terrible regime should not be a deterrent. Many Syrians have died in their efforts to attain freedom, and their sacrifice should not be in vain. Call me crazy, but the entire United Nations against one administration doesn’t sound like much of a fight. I can’t understand what they are waiting for, do they think that a homicidal tyrant is simply going to stop his vengeful attack? Or are they waiting for all of the dissidents to be murdered and for the country to return to a dictatorship, so that they can return to the more important matter of rewarding the bankers that caused a global recession?

Hopefully our world leaders will grow a backbone soon, for the sake of the Syrian people.

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