The Human Rights Crisis Everyone's Ignoring

The Human Rights Crisis Everyone's Ignoring

Grab some popcorn, this is a big one.
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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty tired of hearing about all of the petty drama going on in the world. Here’s the thing: in a week, you’ll forget about who stood up for the national anthem. In fact, they’ll still be making millions of dollars and you’ll still be watching their games. And you won’t care or remember which gun laws are in place; you’ll only remember the lives you once knew (Let me take this sidebar to criticize those who are turning a national tragedy into a soapbox for their political agenda. Shame on you). So how about we take a moment to highlight a few issues that have been hiding from the spotlight, but deserve to be acknowledged:

If you just want to support the crisis and don’t feel like reading today, click here to donate to UNICEF’s work with Rohingya children or here to donate to the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund that assists NGO’s and the UN in providing urgent support.

Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar (Burma)

Y’all, this is one of the biggest human rights issues in our lifetime. The minority group Rohingya is being forcibly displaced to border countries such as Bangladesh. This is due to a process called “ethnic cleansing,” a process by which the government of Myanmar has been trying to rid the Rohingya of a country they have inhabited for centuries. If they stay, they are subject to “security forces and local militia reportedly burn[ing] villages and shoot[ing] civilians.” These attacks have been occurring since late August, and continue to this day. Furthermore, on Monday, October 9, “at least 13 Rohingya refugees, 11 of them young children… have drowned when the fishing boat they were on capsized in stormy weather.” Additionally, there is an increasing amount of gender-based violence, including rape, emerging from this violence. With 24,000 women pregnant or breastfeeding, women’s health and safety have been especially vulnerable.

By the numbers:

Overall, there were around 300,000 people who fled to Bangladesh in the first two weeks of the crisis, with most recent estimates totaling around 515,000. As of early September, around 400 people have been killed, with more recent estimates totaling 1,000. Though this may seem like a small number compared to the total population, it is important to note that this crisis is in the very early stages of development, and the Rohingya have been blessed with the open borders of Bangladesh that allow them to escape quickly.

Woah, woah, woah, back up. Who are these people anyway?

According to Minority Rights Group International, the Rohingya are a distinct Muslim population residing in Rakhine State of Myanmar (Burma). These 1.1 million people have been ostracized since the military coup in 1962, a year in which the first of many restrictions on Rohingya began until the eventual loss of citizenship in 1982. Moreover, the new regime refuses to recognize the population as citizens, forcing them to live segregated from the rest of the country without access to healthcare, schools or jobs. In fact, they are rarely permitted mobility and often struggle to obtain simple documents such as marriage permits. Tragically, these issues have been the mere beginning of their struggles. Since the early 60s, the population has been forced to flee in waves of hundreds of thousands, some still exiled in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Some of the atrocities committed by the Burmese army that have forced them to flee include: torture, extra-judicial killing and summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, rape, destruction of homes, forced labour, forced relocation and eviction, and confiscation of land and property.” I encourage you to read more on the colorful history of Myanmar and the current conflict, but for now, you have an overview of one of the budding humanitarian issues of our time. What will you do to stop it?

Cover Image Credit: Vimeo

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

Cover Image Credit:

https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

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Why Is Everyone Obssessed With Bonnaroo?

Because it's the best place on Earth. I get it now.

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Recently, I went on an adventure to The Farm, in beautiful Manchester, Tennessee, for the popular music festival called Bonnaroo. I went in with very high expectations since I had heard so many amazing things and friends who had been before loved their experience so much that when they spoke of it, they seemed borderline obsessed. I never understood their extreme enthusiasm, until now.

The first thing I discovered about Bonnaroo is that it has its own, very unique culture.

Squad Takes BonnarooTaylor Boes

Even while waiting in the massively long line of cars to enter the gates to The Farm, I experienced a little taste of what this culture was like. In line, people were so nice. No one was trying to cut anyone off and when we asked nicely, the people we were speaking too allowed all seven cars in our group to get into the line in front of them. This shocked me a bit because I was expecting people to be super aggressive and rude trying to get in the gates but that absolutely was not the case.

Once we reached our camp site and got everything set up and settled, I had another culture shock. Every one of our neighbors came up to our tent and introduced themselves, asking us where we were from and making small talk with us. Complete strangers were so friendly that it made me feel much more comfortable in the new environment and it gave the entire Farm an solid air of community.

The people of Bonnaroo are all beautiful and I am not exaggerating when I say this.

Bonnaroo FashionTravel Hymn

The girls are always dressed in beautiful, colorful outfits and pretty much every person's body is covered in glitter 24/7. Also, I have never seen so many model-like guys in my life. It was like everywhere I looked there was another gorgeous, muscular man.

In this community, another massive culture shock for me, everyone admires each other from a distance. No one will be yelling vulgar comments and there is no sexualization of the body, just simple admiration of the natural beauty of each individual.

Save The Whales, Save YourselvesTaylor Boes

Women walk around topless, men shirtless and everyone wears very little clothing because it's hot as Hell in Manchester. People of all shapes and sizes flaunt what they got, with their heads held high and any insecurities to the wasteside. It was breath of fresh air to walk around in what would normally be considered revealing clothes and face not an ounce of judgement or vulgarity from others.

That being said, this community is by far the most accepting group of people I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. People are there for the experience, the music, their friends, etc. so no one cares what your hair looks like, if you have makeup on or if you sweating like a pitcher of ice in the desert.

I was free to be completely natural and I loved it. This experience gave me a new found acceptance and confidence in my God - given features that I can carry back into my daily life.

It's A Small World Taylor Boes

That being said, the most amazing aspect of Bonnaroovian culture is the amount of love within the community. Everyone is overwhelmingly polite, kind and friendly. I made friends with complete strangers every single day I was there, I danced freely in crowds of people where I didn't know anyone and I was totally comfortable being by myself.

It was such a liberating feeling to just let go, enjoy each moment fully and to purely be the person I've always longed to be, my true self.

Permanent SmilesKatie Gailbreath

No one will bother you if you're walking alone, even at night. The most someone with say to you is, "Happy Roooooo!" or they may ask if you need help finding your camp if you're looking lost. Everybody helps one another and there is so much compassion floating around that my heart was completely filled to the brim all four days. The pure joy on my face which shined through a full on, toothy smile remained for the entirety of the festival and still, has yet to vanish.

Aside from the amazing culture at Bonnaroo, THE MUSIC!

It was unreal to be front row, within reach of some of my favorite artists, people I have listened to for months and years.

Music Moves The HeartAdina Beslagic (Pictured: Taylor Boes)

One of the best things about Bonnaroo also, is that there are so many opportunities to fall in love with new artists and new genres of music. I, for example, was not expecting to love the EDM music but ended up having some of my favorite experiences at those performance and even found some new artists who will be making frequent appearances in my playlist from here on out.

I could write a book about my experience at Bonnaroo. It was truly an incredible four days filled will an abundance of love, self-discovery and talented artists making unbelievable music. I think this is something everyone should experience in their lifetime.

I went in a totally different version of myself than I came out and I have to credit this experience for giving me the opportunity to learn lessons of who I am and who I want to be.

Three BeautiesKatie Gailbreath

I am, sincerely, a better version of myself because of my time on The Farm and I feel so much closer to being the purest, most honest version of me. I advise giving yourself an opportunity to experience Bonnaroo (or any other music festival) so that you too can understand the obsession.

Happy Roo, my 2018 Bonnaroovians! Stay weird and beautiful.

Bonnaroo Red Bull

Cover Image Credit:

Taylor Boes

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