2016 Isn't All Bad

2016 Isn't All Bad

A lot of bad stuff has happened in 2016, but some good stuff has too.
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Browsing the Internet the other day, I found a blog post entitled, “What The Hell, 2016?” Essentially, it was all about how even though 2016 is only halfway through, it’s already one of the worst years in recent world history.

It’s hard to deny 2016 hasn’t been great: we’ve lost a lot of amazing figures: Muhammad Ali, Harper Lee, David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman. The attacks in Orlando and Belgium were tragic, to say the least. Our country’s leaders have never been more at odds, and with the way the election is going, it doesn’t look like that’s a problem soon fixed. Brexit proved a disaster, as did the Senate’s attempt at better gun control laws. And to top it all off, people are still talking about Kylie Jenner’s lips.

So, obviously, 2016 hasn’t been great. But if we’re going to get through the next five months, we have to focus on all the good that is happening. Focusing on the bad will create a mood of sadness and anger in our society, when now more than ever we need to unite and work to make the world a better place for everyone. That being said, here’s proof not everything happening in 2016 stinks:

  • The United States restored relations with Cuba: In 2016, Obama visited Cuba, the first president to do so since 1928. In May, a Carnival cruise ship set sail from Florida to Cuba with over 700 passengers, allowing many Cuban-Americans to finally revisit their birthplace and see family and friends for the first time in years. Whether you agree with restoring Cuban relations or not, their is no negative to people finally getting to see their loved ones after years of separation.

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship: After a 52-year dry spell, Cleveland finally won something! The absolute excitement and joy that filled Cleveland after the NBA finals proves some people’s spirit never dies.
  • The Olympics: 2016 is an Olympic year, and this summer in Rio, hundreds of athletes’ dreams will come true. Medal or not, competing for one’s country in the Olympics is a huge honor. The Olympics will bring the world together.
  • Finding Dory premiered: After 13 years, we finally got a sequel to "Finding Nemo." Finding Dory broke box office records and discussed themes not normally discussed in film, let alone kids movies, like disability and environmental conservation. Not to mention it’s hard to not look at baby Dory and feel happy.

  • The reaction to the Orlando shooting: The Orlando shooting was one of the biggest tragedies in world history, and left a lot of people questioning their faith in humanity. But when I think about all the outpouring of love and support that all different types of people from all over the world showed after this horrific event, and my faith in humanity was restored: Blood banks had lines of donors going out the door, the GoFundMe for shooting victims has raised almost $7 million, and hundreds of thousands of people showed their support for the gay community at pride parades and national landmarks that glowed rainbow, from the Eiffel Tower to the City Hall in Tel Aviv. Orlando was a tragedy, but in the face of despair, people across the globe showed there is still love and kindness in the world.

In the face of all the horrific events that have confronted our world the past few months, we need to try and see the bright side. Don’t focus on the bad, focus on the happy, and remember that 2016 hasn’t been all bad.
Cover Image Credit: Exams Watch

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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