Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weekly Report 4: Israel-Palestine Conflict

Recently, the issues between Israel and Palestine have not improved. A soldier, Elor Azraya, is suspected of murder for shooting an immobile unarmed man in the street on March 25, 2016. While there are those that believe that what Azraya did is murder, however, his lawyer is saying that the killing was justified in accordance with the rules of engagement established by his commanding officers. Azraya’s lawyer never specifically gave names on the commanding officers, and since there are multiple superiors whom have all given the shoot order it is hard to tell which officer it was who gave the order.
There have been many people who Dan Cohen, the author for “Israeli officials Who Issued Directive to Execute Palestinians Hang Hebron Killer out to Dry”, has talked to in order to get their point of view and statement on this event. One person being the Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon who stated “Right now is it required to respond quickly to any local attack to eliminate the terrorist stabber or the perpetrator stone thrower and the like, immediately, on the spot,” back in 2015, and just recently he stated “Even as we are forced to fight our enemies and overcome them in battle, we are equally obligated to uphold our mores. To be human.” Another main political figure Cohen had talked to is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who stated “I know that it requires [paramilitary border police units] discretion, but have no doubt: You have complete backing – complete! – from me, from the Israeli government, and in my opinion from the nation in Israel,” in October and is now saying “What happened in Hebron doesn’t represent the values of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The IDF expects its soldiers to behave level-headedly and in accordance with the rules of engagement.” Lastly, Cohen got the statement of Israeli Military Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot who, in October, said, “Our policy of use of force is very clear. The IDF has complete freedom of action in order to fulfill the mission to restore security,” and is now had a spokesperson say for him, “The chief of staff views the incident with severity and has ordered a full probe. This is not the IDF, these are not the values of the IDF and these are not the values of the Jewish people.” By reading these three quotes, one can see that opinions have changed since October. They believed that giving the border police discretion on when and how to use force was okay until a commanding officer gave an order that they may not have agreed with.
I am not so much shocked at this article as I may have been at some other ones. Being around law enforcement my whole life, and especially now, I have seen a side that not many people see. Officers, both police and military, do what a commanding officer tells them. Also, discretion should be given because the majority of those making the laws to restrict the police’s authority have most likely not been in an officer’s shoes. I do believe that there are lines to be drawn in the sand and that those lines should not be crossed, but we do not know the entire story here. We know one side.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reflection 4: Dr. Boukhras's lecture

Dr. Boukhars’s lecture was very informative about the fact that Isis has been around longer than I would’ve imagined. Isis began in Iraq in 2003, just a few years after the rise of Al Qaeda, and since then has become a bigger threat and more aggressive. During the 9/11 attacks, the news and the people were mainly focuses on Al Qaeda and their movements, or at least that is the group the media chose to tell us about. We mainly started to hear about Isis after Osama bin Laden was taken out by Seal Team 6, and the comeback of Isis was “paved by its enemies”. What Dr. Boukhars meant when he said that, is that Iran’s support of Shiites has sent radical troops to Isis and has increased sectarianism. Basically it creates a division. Another involvement that created even more tension is that of the United States; under the Bush administration, which was very hands on and proactive, and the Obama administration, which has been laissez-fair, the tension has only grown and further led to Isis and their terror. One key phrase I picked out of Dr. Boukhars lecture is that Isis fills a void. We actually just recently talked about this in one of my classes, one key aspect that leads people to become radicals, or criminals in my other class, is that there is a part of their life that never got fulfilled. Therefore they attempt to fill this part of their life with someone, or something else, just to feel as though they have a sense of belonging. The last piece of information I’ll mention is that Dr. Boukhars made the point that the war on terror has only further made radical groups more dangerous. So one must ask themselves, if both Bush and Obama’s different policies have only further aggravated Isis, then what will make this issue come to an end?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Reflection 3: The Concert

I have never heard music like I did on March 2, 2106. The trio that performed were very upbeat and lively, and their music had the rhythm and tempo that made you want to get up and dance. A few actually did get up and dance, including my professor. Massamba, the man who plays the talking drum, brought my professor up to dance, he had Dr. Esa moving his hips and getting his groove on. The moves Dr. Esa was doing was a mix between the dance moves of Jump on it and The Cha-Cha Slide. While Dr. Esa dancing was hands down my favorite part of the concert, my favorite song out of the entire concert had to be Wala-Wala. The song just had a beat that is too hard to get out of your head. Another part of the song that I really enjoyed was that Massamba was so upbeat in his playing and got the audience to join in the singing.

Today in class the trio came and talked to us. One part of what they talked about that really stuck with me was when they briefly mentioned how they were all from different parts. The dancer is from a small fishing village and he grew up taking after his mom and becoming a dancer. Massamba grew up in a family known as “the African Dictionary”; his family is where one would go to find out information about their family. And then there is Troy, who grew up in New Jersey. These three men all came from different types of families and yet they came together through the power of music. The way this spoke to me is that even with all the hate and discrimination going on in today’s world, there is still some hope of a single force bringing people together for the better