Friday, July 7, 2017

Cookies and Rainbows

Today was an emotional roller coaster. In class we discussed states accountability for past violations and in that discussion we learned about the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre and the tribunals that prosecuted the criminals involved in these atrocities. After lunch we had a guest speaker who covered in detail the death penalty except we talked about it from an international perspective using arguments from treaties and declarations. After the guest speaker I went to office hours and then to a library to get all my reading done for class. Tehn after dinner I concluded the day by going to a cute LGBT pride event at Balch where they had cookie decorations and a pride flag. Overall today was very enjoyable and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Today’s class as I mentioned was a huge roller coaster of emotions. We talked a lot about accountability for past atrocities and as examples our professor first used the Yugoslav wars and more specifically ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Bosnians in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other claims of genocide. We watched documentaries and videos on the subject. I was shocked on shaken from the images of violence and heart ache. It was hard seeing entire villages eradicated and dead bodies piled on top of each other on a truck. Then we moved on to learn about the Rwandan genocide. We learned that there were 800,000 people killed in only 100 days. I was very upset and angry because the international community just stood by as it happened. They could have easily intervened or at least tried because the genocide didn’t pop out of the blue, before it happened there was mounting pressure pointing towards genocide. We learned about the tribunals that were set up to prosecute and convict individuals in response to these horrific events. I liked that whole idea of finding justice, but to me it wasn’t enough. Prosecuting people after the fact seems like band aids on bullet holes. I think there should be mechanisms that address the problem before it turns into an atrocity. I also hated how many high profile offenders face justice, but many of the smaller less prominent, but equally guilty offenders get away with their horrible crimes.

Our TA session was interesting because we went into detail about the elements of genocide on the legal definition and applied it to certain situations. We tried to do it with the situation in Aleppo, but it was hard to prove intent because the perpetrators were the same religion, ethnicity and nationality so it was hard to prove intent to wipe out or harm a particular group. The activity was fun, but what was more fun was our guess speaker Delphine Loutau. What was interesting was that she told us that the death penalty is almost abolished worldwide. Coming from America (one of the only states in the Americas that still practices the death penalty) I still thought the death penalty was a hotly debated topic and most countries still implement it. She talked about the arguments we use in America for and against the death penalty, but also related the issue to international human rights and cited rights such as the right to life. I liked seeing the situation from another point of view.

Me, Javaria and Pooja
After the guest speaker I went to my instructor’s offices hours. I came in with a couple of friends. We asked her about local activism and how to cause change in our community. She gave us detailed answers and she was very supportive of us trying to change our community. We all left her office motivated. After we left her office we went to a student lounge to read tomorrow’s materials.

After dinner I went with Javaria and our friend Pooja to a LGBT pride event at the Balch courtyard.  It was fun. There was a cookie decorating station and I resisted the urge to do what everyone was doing which was making it into a rainbow flag so I made my cookie into the transgender pride flag. It was fun because they had cool masks and we took a lot of pictures, it was very fun posing with ridiculous masks. We also took pictures in front of the large rainbow flag they had. Our friend Muskan was there and we tried to take one of those pictures where you jump up in the air. I was actually very difficult because for some reason we couldn’t jump at the same time. Javaria, Pooja and I met up with Sultana in the Donlon lounge to watch a Bollywood movie. I loved it because it was like a mix of Broadway and a telenovela. Tpday was an emotional roller coaster, but overall it was a fun and amazing day.

Transgender Pride Flag

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