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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Opinion | Viewpoint


It’s time to bring home the lessons of the Rojava Revolution

The most important revolution of the 21st century did not occur in Tahrir Square, where Egyptian youth, some of whom call themselves “black bloc,” battled police forces. Nor did it occur in Ukraine in 2014, where government troops violently clashed outside Kyiv’s Central Square. Rather, the most important revolution of the 21st century is occurring in an oft-forgotten slice of Northern Syria. There, beset by a half-dozen outside forces, a ragtag coalition of Kurdish groups, ecosocialists and anarcho-feminists are managing to create a beautiful society based on cooperation, self-determination and acceptance. Their egalitarian principles of environmentalism, communism and gender equality provide a crucial model for a better world.


The importance of celebrating Russian and Ukrainian cultures

Recently, some members of the Tufts community have called for the decolonization of the Russian Program. Their reasoning is that, by continuing with the program and further celebrating Russian culture, Tufts is complicit in the genocide of thousands of Ukrainians. Undoubtedly, it is understandable to feel anger and resentment towards a country that has continuously been an imperialistic force, caused devastating humanitarian impacts for former Soviet states and deprived people of their lives, happiness and peace. These brutalities that the Russian government has inflicted are undeniable, and the continued suffering of Ukrainians is beyond appalling. That being said, it’s important to make a distinction between the Russian government — one that rigs elections, silences expression and poisons opposition — and the Russian people.

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How we should view technology in education

As COVID-19 rampaged across the world in 2020 and widespread lockdowns swept across the nation, many of the country’s classrooms moved online to continue to educate the nation’s youth during a time of distress. Pencils, papers and textbooks were replaced with computers, phones and Zoom. However, now that the pandemic wave has subsided and students have begun to return to in-person classrooms, it seems that online classes are here to stay. While some celebrate the effectiveness of a technology-driven education system, Americans should take a long pause and think about how technology has changed education.


It’s time to let women be priests

Dressed in purple and wielding lavender banners, dozens of women took to the cobblestone paths lining the Vatican to advocate for female ordination this past October. The organizing group —Women’s Ordination Conference — has become one of the largest organizations calling for the ordination of women and gender equality within the Roman Catholic Church. 

The Harry S. Truman building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of State, is pictured.

Take note of your candidate’s foreign policy platform

Foreign policy has long been an essential aspect of American domestic politics, though it is not one Americans often consider when voting for president. Foreign policy encompasses choices concerning trade, sanctions, military alliances and treaties, among other issues. Still, Americans are most concerned with the choices that directly impact them at home. In a 2021 Pew Research Center poll, the most favorable foreign policy goals were reducing infectious disease spread, limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction and protecting American jobs. Comparably, promoting democracy abroad and reducing overseas military commitments were among the lowest. Of course, these issues have domestic impacts, but most Americans prefer to think in the direct terms of jobs and lives, which translates into the largely domestic policy platforms of presidential candidates.


When an A+ means nothing

The U.S. public education system has long been one of the country’s proudest institutions, yet that same system is now on the edge of collapse. It is well established that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating to American learning, but the underlying problems have been lurking in the background for many years. From staff shortages to absenteeism to a lack of federal funding, it seems that the public education system has become dysfunctional for everyday Americans, leaving students less prepared for higher education. One of the key symptoms of this broken system is the phenomenon known as grade inflation.

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The best nap room is a concert hall

I was lucky that my mom was a big opponent of attending the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s weekly concert with my dad. His job as a musicologist at the University of Hong Kong got him two free tickets to every concert, and I had the honor of filling the second seat — or more frequently dozing in it. 

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On the nature of daylight

I absolutely hate waking up early. This semester, I am taking a grand total of one class before 10:30 a.m. — the first of my college career. The entire day before class, I dread the thought of having to wake up at such an ungodly hour. Coming from Los Angeles, I am quite used to having a plethora of sunny days throughout the year.


A response to Tufts Climate Action

A note to Tufts Climate Action and its members: After reading your recent Op-ed, I am perplexed and disappointed. Though I applaud your continued persistence to goad Tufts into divesting from fossil fuels, an action which would have virtually no effect on either the climate or the financial success of applicable corporations, I remain disappointed that you have not worked towards a better understanding of financial markets to improve your dialogue with Tufts.


We must all be patriots to the cause of a just America

American patriotism is a fraught concept. It often evokes images of the stars and stripes, which, in recent years, have become tied to people such as the so-called “QAnon Shaman” who sported red, white and blue face paint while storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Meanwhile, “patriotic education,” which is in actuality a white-washing of American history, has been pushed by conservatives in response to the long overdue acknowledgment of the impact of slavery and systemic racism in public school education. As for what is considered unpatriotic, star quarterback Colin Kaepernick was effectively blacklisted from the NFL — a uniquely American institution — for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against Black Americans.


For California’s sake, Gavin Newsom needs to stifle his presidential fantasies

On Oct. 23, California Governor Gavin Newsom became the first state governor to visit China in over four years. Despite mostly receiving attention for crashing into a Chinese elementary school student during a pickup basketball game, he framed the week-long trip as a way to discuss climate change and other issues with Chinese President Xi Jinping, even as U.S.-China relations continue to sour. This visit is also an indication of Newsom’s presidential aspirations, since hopefuls without experience in the field often begin their campaigns by building a foreign policy repertoire. While he has explicitly ruled out running in 2024, the Democratic field is wide open for 2028. Newsom’s recent fundraising spree, coupled with his upcoming debate with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, clearly indicate his aspirations for a higher office. However, Newsom’s ambitions are causing him to leave the interests of his constituent Californians behind.

Tom Petty is pictured.

‘I Won’t Back Down’: A brief history of American campaign music

“9 to 5” (1980). “High Hopes” (2018). “Y.M.C.A.” (1978). What do these songs have in common?They’ve all been used as campaign songs in recent U.S. presidential races. While the music a candidate chooses to play as they walk onstage for a campaign event may seem like a trivial detail, it can play a major role in defining the tone of their campaign.


Understanding the geopolitics of the 2023 Levant

The events that began on Oct. 7 will reverberate through Middle Eastern history. For most of us, the Middle East has already looked like hellfire for the past decades. But the most despicable thing one could do is let this moment become lost in a larger history of brutality that ties together every tragedy of the Middle East into one nebulous, and seemingly unsolvable, geopolitical disaster. What this world cannot afford, at this moment, is to underestimate the gravity of Oct. 7. To understand the full extent of this conflict, it’s important to parse out critical elements of the 2023 Levant.


We need to stop equating people’s politics with their humanity

In today’s polarized political environment, opinions have become markers of not just ideology, but morality and humanity. Online discourse attacks people for holding certain ideas, and people are compelled to speak on issues they know little about just to appear morally acceptable to their social circle. Instead of hearing bad opinions, we see bad people.


Green is the new black: How we’ve demoted sustainability to a passing trend

Do you own a metal straw? Maybe you do and maybe you take it everywhere with you. Maybe you do but you’ve forgotten about it and it’s lying somewhere unused, collecting dust. Can you remember why you bought it? For the planet, right? That’s what one would expect. As is commonly known, plastic straws are bad for marine ecosystems. But why did you truly buy the metal straw? Was it really to reduce your plastic consumption for the sake of turtles, or was it to participate in the larger trend that gave merit to this concept of “saving the turtles?”


House Democrats have swapped a rival for someone much worse

When Kevin McCarthy was ousted as the U.S. House of Representatives speaker on Oct. 3, many of my Democratic friends laughed and celebrated while the Republican Party entered meltdown mode. Vote after vote, the Republicans in the House desperately attempted to elevate one of their own to the House speakership but failed spectacularly each time. The far-right wing and the moderate wing of the party battled for the top job of the House while the government stood at a standstill. Finally, on Oct. 25, this utter chaos on the House floor came to an end as Republicans chose Rep. Mike Johnson as House speaker.


Elite universities don’t condemn hate speech and face the financial consequences

In the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel, tensions have been rising on U.S. college campuses. At Tulane, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protestors, who were initially peaceful, devolved into violence and threw punches just a few days ago. An Israeli student was allegedly assaulted at Columbia where, days later, many students staged a walkout in support of Palestine and against Israel’s so-called genocide. Similar walkouts occurred at Harvard, Princeton and NYU, as well as here at Tufts. 

The Setonian

My silence does not mean I don’t ‘care’: The perils of social media activism

In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, followed by incessantIsraeli counterstrikes, a recurring frustration — triggered by phrases such as “your silence is showing” — has surfaced within me. Whether this sounds all too familiar, or completely novel, the point is that there is often a sentiment that as individuals, we are obliged to immediately post an online statement opining on a global tragedy. 

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One way to revitalize American patriotism

Many Americans today actively display hatred for the country we call home. It has resulted in people like soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who shamefully knelt during the national anthem while representing the U.S. on the international stage and continuously bashes American policies, even though the country’s citizens have contributed to Megan’s success at every turn (via employment, endorsements, etc.). Though Rapinoe is a far cry from the majority of Americans, the trend of Americans loathing their own country has become more prominent. So what can we do to revive American patriotism? I feel that the prominent themes in country music can show us the way.

Recently constructed panels at the new border wall system project near McAllen, Texas

Stop calling it a border crisis

As sensationalist media coverage on the so-called “border crisis” continues to ramp up, we must acknowledge that pushing this narrative spreads nothing but deceit and ill will. The media has dubbed the fairly significant number of migrants arriving at our southern border as a “crisis.” There are indeed many aspects of the situation that could be described as a crisis. The U.S.’ indefensible treatment of migrants at the border is exemplified by the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy that led to the separation of 5,000 children from their families. Trump’s border policy was guided by the notion that migrants would be deterred from entering the U.S. through the southern border if they knew that they would be met with a response of “zero tolerance.”