The Geek in Geek Glasses

R.L.Cruz, 19, student, technophobe

isn’t it just awesome that the whole time arthur was dying he only once mentioned guinevere and only just to ask gaius to give her the ring… no tell her i love her… no i wish she was here with me on my dying day instead it was “merlin, just hold me”

I’m a sorcerer. I have magic. I use it for you, Arthur. Only for you.

(Source: letseyx)

ohhhh dear god the merlin finale. *spoilers*

can i just say that even though it was so heartbreaking to see arthur and gwaine die and that it is so completely suckish that they did, i thank whoever wrote this episode for somewhat softening the blow of losing everyone we loved in the series by giving us some of the things we’ve been constantly looking for in the ending. first of all the reveal, it was awesome that at first arthur was like “you lied to me all these years” and refusing to accept merlin and then as they traveled together in search of a way to heal arthur finally he understands that all merlin did was for him and for camelot and he accepts that and thanks merlin. merlin was also incredibly bamf(i hope im using this right) in this episode, we wanted him all powerful and he showed that by almost taking out the whole saxon army. there were also all the bromance going on. i am a shameless shipper and i loved the interaction between merlin and arthur here, as heartbreaking as it was seeing merlin cry for arthur and seeing arthur dying in merlin’s arms all the touching and holding each other kind of made me just a little bit happier. also the gwaine and percival moment… for those who saw the cold con where someone asked about perwaine which i honestly never thought about before that moment… did the cold con happen before or after filming for season five? because it kinda seemed like they gave it to us because we fangirls asked.  i also loved the bit about the implied reincarnation. i loved how merlin was going through modern day avalon. they definitely implied that he lived, waiting for arthur to be born again so that they could be together.

all in all it played like all of the fanfics i’ve read for this season and that at least makes me just a little bit less upset. just a little bit… still crying for merlin and arthur though… <3

sappie1978:

two of the most heartbreaking moments of Merlin along with Gwen and Gaius being alone and have both lost a love. Gwen as a wife and friend and Gaius as a mentor and surrogate father.and of all of Arthurs friends and knights only Leon and Percival remain.

sappie1978:

two of the most heartbreaking moments of Merlin along with Gwen and Gaius being alone and have both lost a love. Gwen as a wife and friend and Gaius as a mentor and surrogate father.and of all of Arthurs friends and knights only Leon and Percival remain.

(Source: sapphire78)

(…) it is now present day. An old, unkempt man with a long beard and ratty jacket walks down the side of the road past the Lake. It is clearly Emrys, who has lived all this time waiting for Arthur to one day return to the world so he can take his place by Arthur’s side. I rather liked this end because I felt it tied up the themes nicely and doesn’t give a definitive end to Merlin’s story, but allows it to continue forever.

— Mapthestars, Hypable.com’s Merlin Series Finale Review (via merina2)

(Source: merinathropp)

Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals are UN programs dedicated to eradicating poverty. The millennium development goals are as follows: end extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership.  

The Philippines is one of the poorest countries in the world. Poverty and crime are all around us. Personally, my family is from a middle income household, I’ve never wanted for anything- never lacked food, clothing or a home but this does not mean I am ignorant of what others are experiencing. I know that there are a lot of children who cannot go to school because they have no money, instead they beg on the streets or steal. I know that not everyone can afford proper health care and a lot of people die from illnesses that are easily treatable if only they had access to drugs or to decent hospitals. I know that a lot of families cannot afford rice or bread and that many children die of malnourishment. I also know that while the Millennium Development goals may be helpful in alleviating the problems that countries like the Philippines is experiencing it is a little bit too ambitious.

In my opinion, while it means well, it does not sound all that practical. It aims to eradicate poverty by 2015 and I cannot see that happening in such a short time. Economies are failing everywhere. Countries like the US are recovering from the recession and even Europe is experiencing problems with the economies of its member states. And problems in economies in other parts of the world also affect the economies of the developing nations. In recent months the uprisings in the Middle East have also affected economies greatly, governments have fallen, investments are gone and now economies are struggling. Even those eight goals do not seem to be achievable in such a short time. To be able to implement successfully programs promoting these goals there needs to be change in the system. There must be change in the government and in society and this cannot take place overnight. One of the reasons why countries like the Philippines are experiencing poverty in the first place is because of government and its corrupt officials. Getting rid of corruption, changing government so as to eradicate poverty will not only take 3 years but will take several decades more.

I do not think that the Millennium Development Goals should be stopped though because while the timeframe may not seem feasible. The projects itself can make a dent on poverty in the long run.

 http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgoverview.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1201695/

Spinning Media

Some believe that a significant factor in the success of the Arab Spring is media coverage. If it weren’t for news papers and news channels the problems in the Middle East- the oppression, the poverty and the discontentment with the government would never be put in front of the whole world. In turn, no one would know and no one would question and no one who is powerful enough will demand changes. It is through the media that the international world sees these problems and those who are in the position to do so are forced to take action.

That is the case in every instance/every country which has gone through the Arab Spring. It wasn’t that long ago when our televisions were filled with news about the political unrest in countries like Egypt. It was because of media that we were able to see the real situation in those countries. We became appalled with what we saw and consequently demanded that governments do something about it by going to the streets and rallying. I remember seeing the news about a girl from one of the countries that were involved in the Arab Spring. She was a slave of one of the dictator’s families and her skin was badly burned because of disobedience.  It was because of her and because of stories about others like her who have experienced great suffering in the hands of their government that the Arab Spring started in the first place. It was because her story was broadcasted to everyone that people felt the need to do something. I remember that after I had seen that particular story I posted on my Tumblr blog about the woman and what was done to her and what could be done to help her.

This proves that the media (in all its forms) is very influential. It is powerful in that in a sense it has the power to bring down governments- to expose truths and injustices and bring about change. The problem with media is that it is also easily manipulated. Recently, several journalists quit from their jobs at Al Jazeera (a prominent muslim news station) because they believed that the station was biased regarding news about Syria in particular. The station is owned by people from Qatar and others believed that it has been influenced by its Qatari owners (and maybe the Qatari government) to target Syria. There has also been news about the US government influencing news through its relationship with the Qatari government. The news it therefore presents and that reputation of the station is compromised because of the belief that they are being used to further the interests of another state.

Whether or not the media really helps resolve important issues in the world there is still risks and disadvantages. For one thing, media involvement in anything tends to blow issues out of proportion. We can see this in everyday news. An event takes place and once this event is caught on camera and is shown on tvs, heard on the radio or seen in the internet, it becomes a big deal, even if such an event wasn’t a big deal in the first place. News is sometimes exaggerated and sometimes false and this can have serious consequences on everyone involved. An example of this is in the movie the Green Zone, there a journalist was given classified documents and believing it to be true she writes articles about it. The articles lead people to believe that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction and resulted in the US declaring war.

The world cannot afford another Iraq, and that is why it is very important that news be unbiased and truthful.  Because media has such influence and power it is not only important for news people to be critical about the information they give out, it is also important that we as an audience be critical about information too.  

Syria

The Arab Spring is a phenomenon that had interested the world since 2010. It has been talked about in almost every newspaper and news channel and has been the topic in a lot of our classes. There have been discussions about the reasons for the revolution, the trends in these revolutions and the possible effects of this on the future of these countries. The most notable examples of countries in the Middle East who have gone through the Arab Spring and ousted their dictators are: Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. These are countries who have experienced years of dictatorship with leaders who have abused their power and their people. Syria is going through one of the longest and bloodiest revolutions up to date.

The reasons for these revolutions are many. Aside from political repression, there is often corruption in the government, poor economic situation and human rights violations. In reports from several human rights groups the Syrian security forces have even detained and tortured children. At the centre of this is Bashar al-assad the current president of Syria. While he has not been in power for as long as the dictators of other arab spring countries have been, his regime is noted for its high corruption rate. While his country and his people are experiencing poverty, he and the rest of his family are incredibly wealthy. In recent news, assets and accounts by his wife and other female relatives have been frozen.

While I understand some of the reasons why the Arab Spring has happened and why it is continuing to happen, there are still some things I will never quite get. For one thing, why is it that while the Philippines is one of the most corrupt places in the world, experiencing extreme poverty, and is known for repression (as shown by the Maguindanao Massacre), we have not risen up and caused civil war. The government, while experiencing criticism from almost everyone has not yet started killing off its civilians. Is it because we lack a homicidal leader or because we have been passive because of years of colonization?

The situation in Syria is appalling. Many people are experiencing suffering and yet its leader has not done anything to stop the chaos. Everyday people are dying and for me, I do not see an end to this anytime soon because while other countries are intervening and there have been resolutions from the UN and lobbying from other important people and groups, this all seems to be aggravating the matter further instead of making things better. In my opinion and from my point of view, the involvement of the west in these countries has not done anything good. Since the time when they intervened in Iraq, up to its continued intervention in the rest of the Middle East, I have not seen the benefits of their involvement. Sure some would argue that it is with their investments that Arab Nations are flourishing, but at what cost? Countries like Saudi Arabia may be one of the riches in the world but that does not mean their people are happy. It does not mean they are free.

While the Arab Spring countries have shaken off their oppressive leaders, this does not guarantee that they have shaken off the meddling of the west. The west will continue to exert their own interests under the guise of charity and goodwill and only time will tell whether these countries will be any more successful after the Arab Spring.  

sources:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/23/assad-family-blacklisted-eu-syria

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17532966

http://www.kas.de/jordanien/en/publications/29527/

Iran “Nuclear Weapons Program”

Enrichment in nuclear power in Iran has lead to multiple sanctions from the west. The US, UK and Israel all claim that nuclear power is dangerous in the hands of the Iranians as they are likely to build nuclear weapons from this. However, Iran has repeatedly claimed that they were against the use of nuclear weapons and as such were not planning on building them. This has not stopped the west from inflicting sanctions. They have banned the selling of materials and technology related to nuclear enrichment, heavy-water activities and ballistic missile development, restricted dealings with certain Iranian banks and individuals, stopped the sale of major arms systems to Iran and allowed some inspections of air and sea cargoes. Recently the US has imposed sanctions on other countries that have brought oil from Iran. In spite of these reports, whether or not Iran has pursued nuclear weapons at this time is still unclear.

Whatever the west’s motivations are for targeting Iran, I don’t think what they are doing is fair. First of all, while the Security Council’s decisions supersede the interests of the state, I don’t think that gives the west the permission to impose its own interests on others. Iran is an independent state and while they are party to several intergovernmental agreements including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the west (particularly the US) has no right to intervene in their affairs. Especially if this is to further their own causes as some think that the reason for their bullying Iran is because they want control over this oil-rich country.

While their nuclear program is a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, there is no evidence that they are planning to use Nuclear power in less than peaceful means. Leaders of Iran have constantly stated that they do not plan on creating nuclear weapons. First of all, because, even if they did have nuclear weapons capability, they still cannot hold a candle to the amount of weapons the US has. They also do not believe in and condone the use of nuclear weapons. Their nuclear power program is geared towards creating an alternative source of energy. According to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11709428, “Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a signatory state has the right to enrich uranium to be used as fuel for civil nuclear power”. It also seems hypocritical since the US, UK and Israel all have nuclear weapons.

In regards to the sanctions that nations are facing for trading oil with Iran, I think that it is not only unfair for Iran because oil is one of their primary products but also unfair for those dealing with Iran. Asian states especially China has expressed complaints over the sanctions imposed by the US but has cut back on buying oil from Iran nonetheless because they have no choice. This can potentially impact the world economy.

Not only is Iran facing several sanctions not only from the UN but also from the US and the UK, there is also the looming threat of war. Israel has stated that the alleged nuclear weapons capacity of Iran is a threat to their nation and has therefore called for a war against Iran. There are mixed reactions regarding this. On one hand, there are those that realize that Iran posses a potential threat to the balance of things. It has a significant influence over the Middle East and is known for its anti-west sentiments. It has challenged the west on almost every decision it has made regarding intervention in the Middle East and has done this publicly. Iran has a significant following and support from other nations in the Middle East. On the other hand, there are those who fear the possibility of this situation turning into another Iraq. Intelligence agencies have already confirmed that Iran does not have any nuclear weapons, is not building a nuclear weapon and have no plans in the near future to do so. Therefore a war on Iran right now is completely unnecessary. If war does happen, it will be a complete disaster for everyone involved and could potentially end up involving much more destruction that the war in Iraq.

Iran has always had a history of being radical in its beliefs. It opposes the west and Israel but it shows a strong sense of loyalty to the Muslim people. I do not think they deserve to be treated the way they are because of their beliefs. I think that for the good of all involved- to avoid the destruction of war, they should be left to make their own decisions and exist the way they want to.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11709428

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/18/us-israel-intel-officials-agree-iran-has-no-nuclear-weapons-program/

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/233178.html

http://warisacrime.org/content/ufpj-statement-%E2%80%9Cno-war-iran%E2%80%9D