Tag Archives: Pre-Conference

Seeking Pseudo-Salvation

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”

                                                                                       ― Warsan Shire

People from North Korea who travel for so many miles through such horrific conditions to free themselves from the chains of misery cannot tactfully be portrayed as lazy benefit scroungers. Regardless, the asylum seekers from North Korea are treated as economic migrants by China. Almost all the repatriated defectors are subject to inhumane treatments but they still choose to boldly cross over the river to see the distant lights flickering everyday as rays of hope.

China, a permanent member of the UNSC,  flagrantly disregards the North Koreans’ refugee rights in China despite knowing that sending them back to Pyongyang would mean torture or even death.Under the Article 33 (1) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees :“No Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

China believes allowing North Korean refugees not only jeopardizes diplomatic ties with North Korea, but also affects national interests. The main concern of China is governing the stay of a large amount of refugees along with the country’s own mammoth population.

Why would someone risk being tortured, arbitrarily detained, into forced labour, raped or even being killed and migrate to a place where they aren’t even welcome – miles away from home – if it wasn’t their absolute last resort? Thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, denying someone the right to escape the clutches of a gory abyss, the ‘axis of evil’ created by Kim Jong is simply ridiculing the untold norms of humanity.

The Jews hid from Hitler for they feared being shoved into concentration camps. The North Koreans flee their homeland for they know very little of what it’s like to live outside of a concentration camp. China is safeguarding the interests of its citizens, its economy and political ties and though it sympathises with the refugees, it chooses not to tackle the problem. Is that the going rate for a human life today? Haven’t our brothers and sisters already paid the price for freedom? If you can’t extend a helping hand, at least let them be.

Since when did all the pseudo-comfort zones we created for existing consume our humanity and conveniently rid us of it?

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A Clash Of Cultures

‘Ew!’, cried little Mike, ‘what are you even doing?’

‘I’m just eating, can’t you see?’, retorted little Om, with a frown.

‘Yikes! You’re disgusting!’, Mike went on, loudly enough to gather the attention of the entire class.

‘You’re really mean!’, fumbled little Om as he burst out crying, ‘what’s wrong with me eating?’

‘You’re eating without a spoon, with your hands,’ said little Tim from behind, ‘and that’s just awful.’

And so, little Om went home crying on the first day of school.

Finding out who’s at fault here shouldn’t be very difficult, as one might spontaneously accuse Mike or even little Tim for this grave a felony. Although, why? Is it wrong that Mike thought that eating with one’s hands was bad? Is it wrong that he was taught to eat with spoons? Is it wrong that Tim thought like Mike did? Or is it wrong that they spoke their minds?

They’re only kids – who’d just begun schooling – who’d seen and heard whatever they had until then within the confines of their homes. They’d perhaps seen their parents only eat with cutlery for as long as they had lived and thus naturally believed that it was the only, or rather, the ‘good’ way to eat. After all, what we believe, what we think and consequently, what we do, is heavily dependent on our experiences. These experiences build the ‘eyes within our eyes’, making us see the world the way we do. As in the case above, the ‘homes’ we live in as individuals can be a euphemism for family, locality, culture, tradition, religion, country and various other similar divisions of an organised society.

When we come across people we analyse them, or more frankly, we judge them. This could well be a potential evolutionary trait, as it sets up an idea of the possible opportunities or harms a person might harbor. The parameters for this judgement are provided by the eyes within.  So, when people from other ‘homes’ come by, they are subject to this mental scrutiny, designed almost entirely by these ‘homes’ we belong to. This evaluation of an individual’s personality or motives juxtaposed against one’s own standards, comprises the central ideology of ethnocentrism.

It might seem backward amidst today’s strides for global cultural acceptance, but what we need to understand is that it is a naturally ingrained mental phenomenon and is nothing wrong, at least not in its basic definition. It’s what we do with it that makes it correct or incorrect. Stereotypes exist and there’s no denying that, so the sooner we accept this and realize the need for eliminating the negativity associated with being judgmental, the better it is for our future.

The question is, how shall we identify and then eliminate this negativity. For the former, the problem lies with how we treat people once we’ve gauged them. If you think it’s weird when a Muslim man bows down in a garden in the evening, no one’s stopping you. Instead if you go on to stop him from doing so, just because you don’t find it normal, you’re being questionable. If you think it’s inappropriate for two men to love one another, you’re free to think so. But if you try to deny them their rights due to this, just because you find it unusual, you stand on morally grey grounds. If you think it’s wrong for a woman to roam the streets late midnight, you absolutely can, but if you justify that as reason for her getting raped, you need help. Understanding that you may be the ‘others’ you’ve been judging all along for someone else; putting yourself in their place and realizing how your actions could affect those ‘others’; and that we are all diverse forms of the same living species, solves the latter half of the question.

Your ‘normal’ is only yours. So it’s best you keep it to yourself!

A Plan to Save the World

The 2016 edition of IITG MUN saw some of the sharpest minds from all over India participate in heated, intellectual debates over international issues such as unregulated arms trade and Reforms of the UN. IITG MUN in association with UNICEF held a pre-conference article writing contest on the topic “What are the key challenges for India with regard to Children (0-18 years) and/or adolescents (10-19 years) outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals”. We are proud to announce the results of the pre contests article writing contest:

First Place: Saurav Kumar Dutta

Article: Role of Children in Making India Developed and the Accomplishment of SDG

Second Place: Priyamvada Jain

Article: Priyamvada Jain

Third Place: Barasha Priam Nath

Article: Barasha Priyam Nath