Why Trump Shouldn't Help Notre-Dame Right Now

Why Trump Shouldn't Help Notre-Dame Right Now

Flint, Michigan and Puerto Rico are still fighting for disaster relief as Trump quickly approves funding for Notre Dame.

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Notre Dame burned down on Monday, April 15th. On Wednesday, April 17th, President Trump announced he will be helping fund the rebuild of the iconic structure. Only took him two days to respond with immediate want to assist.

It started in 2014. It's been 1,825 days since Flint, Michigan last had clean water. On April 16th, 2019 they were finally granted the rest of their federal funding — $77.7 million. However, they are still in dire need of almost $300 million over the course of 20 years in order to entirely reestablish the water system and maintain it.

It's been 18 months since nearly 3,000 people's lives were taken when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The infrastructure of nearly the entire island was destroyed and most of the U.S. territory was left without water or power. Trump claims to have given Puerto Rica $91 billion in disaster relief when they have only received $11 billion — he is simply referring to money set aside for recovery along with money that's "expected" to be spent over several decades.

The point is, France is arguably one of the richest countries in the world and Trump didn't even bat an eye to give them any and all the help they need in order to rebuild the Notre Dame. Now, I'm not saying it's not a tragedy or that we shouldn't help them - it definitely is sad and it's extremely generous of us to offer help. The issue at hand is that France can afford our help on its own; whilst states like Michigan and countries of Puerto Rico can't. They actually need our help.

Lives were lost. People are still suffering. Yet there's hesitation on what kind of help they should be receiving if any at all at this point.

No one died in the fall of Notre Dame.

I'm not suggesting or overriding the importance of one or the other but there is something to be said about Trump's initial responses to all three events.

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25 Quotes To Inspire Injured Athletes

“Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over”
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Injuries are never fun. And every athlete competing at a high level has had to deal with them at one point or another. Some minor injuries have quick recovery periods of only days or weeks and others could be months or years and may even force an early end to an athlete’s career.

I recently suffered a rib injury and even though I was only out for a short time, I experienced a lot of frustration because of the obstruction to my progress and even anger at the limitations of my own body. Having this injury caused me to reflect on why I am willing to push my body to its limits or maybe even past its limits, why I am willing to hurt, why I am willing to sacrifice my comfort, and whether it’s all worth it.

I also thought about times when I had more long-term injuries. What kept me going? What made me put in the tedious day-to-day work only to come back to the sport less physically fit than I was before? I thought about one of my friends, who worked tirelessly for many months only to be told that she would probably never compete again - and yet -

even having pages ripped from an unfinished chapter in her life, she never lost her passion or her love for the sport.

Injured athletes are inspirational.

They are allowed to be frustrated, they are allowed to be upset. They should be praised for their progress and their perseverance and they should never be torn down or diminished, even if their progress is slow or if they have setbacks. The fact that they are willing to work through that pain and that frustration in hopes of healing their bodies so that they can get back to doing what they love shows their true character and their passion.

Injured athletes are inspirational, but sometimes they need a little inspiration too.

Here’s to the injured athletes.

This one’s for the days you don’t feel like doing your rehab exercises.

This one’s for the days you’d rather be doing anything but the stationary bike.

This one’s for the days you keep measuring yourself against your peak performance.

This one’s for the days when your mental battles are even tougher than your physical battles.

This one’s for the days you’ve stumbled and you wonder if you’ll get back up.

1. No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and came out on the other side stronger than ever” - Anonymous

2. “Turn your setbacks into comebacks” - Anonymous

3. “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is” - Anonymous

4. “The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure” - Nike

5. “Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble” - Benjamin Franklin

6. “Never let a stumble in the road be the end of a journey.” - Anonymous

7. “Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I will do what others can’t” - Anonymous

8. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. I comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t” - Anonymous

9. “Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” -Michael Jordan

10. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up” - Dean Karnazes

11. “Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over” - Anonymous

12. “The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.” - Anonymous

13. “Success is built out of faith, an undying passion, and a relentless drive” - Stephen Curry

14. “Remember the guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else.” - Anonymous

15. “The hard days are the best because that’s where champions are made.” - Gabby Douglas

16. “Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is” - Vince Lombardi

17. “Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can’t handle.” - Sanya Richards Ross

18. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” - Matt Biondi

19. “Goals should never be easy. They should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable.” - Michael Phelps

20. “Being challenged is inevitable. Being defeated is optional” - Anonymous

21. “My attitude is that if you push me towards a weakness, I will turn that weakness into a strength” - Michael Jordan

22. “When you feel like quitting, think about why you started” - Anonymous

23. “The ones who say ‘You can’t’ and ‘You won’t’ are probably the ones scared that you will” - Anonymous

24. “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” - Anonymous

25. “To persevere is important to everybody. Don’t give up. Don’t Give in. There is always an answer to everything.” - Louis Zamperini

Cover Image Credit: World Rowing

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A Saudi Woman Was Sentenced To Public Whipping And Jail... After Her Own Gang Rape

Originally, the seven men who committed the crime were sentenced to lesser punishments, her lawyer was disbarred for defending her, and her punishment was doubled for speaking to the press.

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Content warning: Sexual assault

Among the most audacious and cruel crimes against women abroad of slews of acid attacks, brutal murders, child marriages, and the loss of agency and education — the case of the Qatif girl stands out. This case compels the question: Do acts of violence become less a crime just because a particular government sanctions them?

In 2006, a woman who was raped by seven men (whose identity is obscured for her protection) was sentenced by a judge to 90 public lashings and time in jail. When she spoke out against this punishment to media sources, her sentence was doubled to 200 public lashings and six months in jail.

Even her lawyer was attacked and disbarred for deigning to defend her. The Guardian explains: "The victim's lawyer, a prominent human rights defender, Abdul Rahman al-Lahem, was suspended from the case as a result of the appeal and his licence, granted to Saudi lawyers by the ministry of justice, has (was) been revoked." To make matters worse, her attackers were given relatively lenient prison sentences of 10 months - five years, where rape is supposed to a capital crime.

Her crime? Being out of her home unchaperoned in the presence of an unrelated man — in their eyes of the judges: she was asking for it. Her crime was that of "indecency."

Not only was this 18-year-old woman raped several times by each of the seven perpetrators, the man whom she was meeting that day to obtain old photographs was also raped. He too, was jailed for his part in luring the young woman into a car, alone with him knowing full well it is illegal in Saudi Arabia for a woman to go outside of the home unchaperoned.

Furthermore, "The women in Saudi Arabia don't have the right to go anywhere without their husband or a male relative. This male person who accompanies a woman is called a Mahram. Without his approval, a woman can't leave the country, get a job, get married, enter a University or even have surgery."

Saudia Arabia is a monarchy. This is important to consider when examining the cause and effect scenarios of this case. This country is based on paradigms vastly different than ones we are used to--and ones that call into question whether or not a country should be allowed to operate in a certain way if it violates an international standard of human rights.

Thankfully international attention flocked to this case, and enough light was shined that the countries King pardoned both victims of any guilt, and the rapists' sentences were increased. Telegraph UK reports:

Saudi Justice Minister, Abdullah bin Muhammed, told the newspaper that the pardon did not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the "interests of the people."
"The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair," he said.
The victim's husband welcomed the news. "I'm happy and my wife is happy and it will of course help lift some of her psychological and social suffering. We thank the king for his generous attention and fatherly spirit."

Although a relief to hear that justice prevailed in this situation, it is still deeply troubling the lengths in which a judicial body will go to keep a woman from speaking out.

In a 2007 interview with ABC (that has now been taken down) the woman who will remain nameless was given a chance to tell her story. Although her words and right to speak out have been scourged by the Saudi Arabian Government, the imprint of them will forever last on the internet.

This quotation contains graphic and possibly triggering testimonial of a brutal assault and may be difficult to read. Discretion is adviced:

"I [am] 19 years old. I had a relationship with someone on the phone. We were both 16. I had never seen him before. I just knew his voice. He started to threaten me, and I got afraid. He threatened to tell my family about the relationship. Because of the threats and fear, I agreed to give him a photo of myself.
A few months [later], I asked him for the photo back but he refused. I had gotten married to another man. He said, 'I'll give you the photo on the condition that you come out with me in my car.' I told him we could meet at a souk [market] near my neighborhood city plaza in Qatif.
He started to drive me home. We were 15 minutes from my house. I told him that I was afraid and that he should speed up. We were about to turn the corner to my house when they [another car] stopped right in front of our car. Two people got out of their car and stood on either side of our car. The man on my side had a knife. They tried to open our door. I told the individual with me not to open the door, but he did. He let them come in. I screamed.
One of the men brought a knife to my throat. They told me not to speak. They pushed us to the back of the car and started driving.
We drove a lot, but I didn't see anything since my head was forced down....When we arrived I noticed a lot of palm trees. They took me out to a dark area and forced me to take off my clothes. The first man with the knife raped me. He destroyed me. I thought about running away but where could I go to looking like this? Another man came in and did the same. I was about to faint.
For more than two hours I asked them to leave me alone, I begged them. The third man was violent and the fourth almost strangled me. The fifth and sixth were even more brutal. When the seventh man finished I couldn't feel myself anymore. He was so fat I couldn't breathe. Then they all did it again. When they dropped me home I couldn't walk, my mom opened the door and said I looked sick. I couldn't tell anyone and for a whole week I couldn't eat, but later I went to the hospital"

It is no secret that a woman's agency is restricted within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Not only is her agency highly regulated, her voice and her body are considered property. It's hard to imagine in the United States what it would truly be like to live under these laws because we take things like driving, learning in school, and going for a walk for granted. In Saudi Arabia, even driving as a woman can get you jailed or, worse.

Imagine what it is like in the Qatif girl's shoes — to be punished for being victimized. I'd imagine there had to be a better future for women and girls all over the world.

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this article, I do not intend to discourse with Saudi Arabia as a country, or the laws governed by Islamic rule. Although detest and actively fight against unfair sanction and subjection of women by an encompassing authority, I do not claim to be knowledgeable of the intricate sociology-political religious systems of such countries. My purpose here is to illuminate this trial, give the victims a voice, and use their experience as an example of misogynistic influence in world governments and how it is different and similar to attitudes toward women and rape in the United States.

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