This guest post comes from Marcela Colmenares ’13, who is currently working in Washington, D.C. at the Center for Democracy and Development in the Americas.
A couple of days ago, my hometown of Caracas, Venezuela woke up dressed in the perfect Halloween costume: Its walls were plastered with posters depicting three faces that everybody knows, with the words, “RECOGNIZE THEM. The evil trilogy. They take away your light, they take away your food, and they take away your peace. Enough with the violence,” written underneath. Coming out of darkness and covered in shadows were the faces of Venezuela’s three major opposition leaders: Henrique Capriles Radonski, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado.
The following letter was submitted by Samuel Lagasse ’16, who is the Vice President of Kenyon Athletes for Equality and a member of Kenyon’s Men’s Cross Country team. He writes in response to the cover story of yesterday’s issue, “If You Can Play, You Can Listen,” written by Molly O’Connor, which can be found here.
To the Editors of the Kenyon Observer,
In the recently published article, “If You Can Play, You Can Listen,” writer Molly O’Connor criticizes the limited reach of one of Kenyon’s newest student organizations, Kenyon College Athletes for Equality. O’Connor’s critique targets a group that has existed, in financial and organizational solidarity, for fewer than four weeks. Central to her argument is the assertion that KCAE has been unable to garner adequate support from the stereotypically homophobic population of Kenyon’s campus, that of its male athletes. O’Connor looks at two events, specifically: the filming of the group’s video which promotes queer visibility on campus, and the group’s photo-documentary of Coming Out Week, which was later posted to a Facebook album. Continue reading
It’s Monday, and 2nd period is almost over. I’m almost too ready for the bell to ring, and I jump a little bit when it does. I quickly amble down to Mrs. Lockwood’s room, not trying to look excited, but not wasting time, either. I’m the only Jewish member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Here there be monsters.
Only one other person in my high school graduating class (call her Jane) applied to Kenyon. On paper, Jane was an admissions counselor’s fantasy: she had a near-perfect GPA, scored above 2000 on her SATs, spent her free time as an ESL tutor and volunteered in the low-income Hispanic community in our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. She was a more qualified applicant than me in nearly every facet of the college application process, but I got the thumbs-up, she got wait-listed and it didn’t surprise either of us. What happened? Continue reading
On August 20th, 2012, President Barack Obama declared that the use of chemical weapons would constitute the crossing of a “red line” that “would change [his] calculus” in intervening in Syria’s Civil War. The conflict has grown and evolved in the past year: Over 100,000 people are now dead, two million have sought refuge beyond national borders and fighting rages on between sworn enemies. On August 21st, 2013, almost a year to the day after Obama drew his red line (Coincidence? I don’t think so), Syrian high command authorized deployment of Sarin gas, killing between 300 and 1,500 people, the majority of whom were civilians. The act committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime stunned the world and renewed pleas for Western intervention. And the West balked. Continue reading
On Saturday, President Obama surprised many, including his own senior advisors, by announcing that he would seek Congressional approval to engage in air strikes against the Syrian government as a response to evidence showing that Bashar al-Assad’s regime used Sarin gas in an August 21st attack.
It appears increasingly likely that Congress will vote against the measure or, at the very least, approve much narrower action than the Administration is seeking. If and when it does, it will give President Obama exactly what he wants: an excuse to keep America out of a no-win situation, and the ability to take the first step backward after decades of steadily-increasing executive warmaking power. Continue reading
When you hear people shouting the words ‘gas’ or ‘chemicals’ — and you hear those shouts spreading among the people — that is when terror begins to take hold, especially among the children and the women. Your loved ones, your friends, you see them walking and then falling like leaves to the ground. It is a situation that cannot be described — birds began falling from their nests; then other animals, then humans. It was total annihilation. Whoever was able to walk out of the town, left on foot. Whoever had a car, left by car. But whoever had too many children to carry on their shoulders; they stayed in the town and succumbed to the gas.
These words were spoken by a resident of Halabja, in northern Iraq, who was interviewed by journalist Ahmad al-Zubaidi following the gas attack carried out by Saddam Hussein’s regime in the closing days of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. Around 4,000 Kurds, almost all civilians, were killed by shells launched by the Iraqi military which contained mustard gas, Hydrogen Cyanide, and most infamously Sarin. Continue reading
Heading down to the Community Center to vote today? Good. Now, I want you to ask yourself a few simple questions, and hold yourself accountable to your answers: Continue reading