February 2020

THE CORONAVIRUS AND INDIA RIOTS

Author: Sultan Falah Basyah

Unlike in January, which is full of news headline about the US-Iran conflict and has caused the whole society to panic about the end of the world scenario because of the World War III talks, the month of February gave the society another scenario about the end of the world, that is the spread of Coronavirus. In this month, we got the whole world talking about the spreading virus, from February 2nd which is the first death case of Coronavirus outside China, reported in the Phillipines[1], until the last day of February which is the first death case of Coronavirus reported in the United States.[2]

This Coronavirus problem evokes a new conspiracy from the Christian society, they claimed that Coronavirus is the deadly plague predicted by the Bible.[3] Another fun fact comes from Indonesia, where the narrations and conspiracies about Coronavirus were various. Many of muslim in Indonesia believed that Coronavirus was a punishment from God for China as they treated Uighur people badly and because they eat the forbidden and dirty food like bats. Until recently, Indonesia is one of the country which said to be still free from the Coronavirus infection. People in Indonesia believed that God has protected Indonesia from Coronavirus and the others also believed that the government was hiding the fact about the spread of Coronavirus in Indonesia.

However, February wasn’t only about the spread of Coronavirus, there are also series of riots and violent incidents that started February 24th in Delhi, India. It had killed 46 people and injured more than 200 people from both parties, Hindus and Muslims, even though the Muslims suffered more casualities. These riots caused by the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 that provides a path to Indian citizenship for illegal migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religios minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. But, the problem was the Muslims from those countries were not given such eligibility.[4] This is the first time of Indian law to make religion overtly used as citizenship criterion. This is very unfortunate that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling India party, by doing this they have weakened India secular foundation and increased the religious sentiment in India. It was so regrettable that such riots happened again in this modern time of India.

Reference:

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51345855

[2] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/29/health/us-coronavirus-saturday/index.html

[3] https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/1244059/Coronavirus-plague-predicted-Bible-Book-of-Revelation-prophecy-coronavirus-end-of-world

[4] https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/11/asia/india-citizenship-amendment-bill-intl-hnk/index.html

 


INDONESIA AS A DEVELOPED COUNTRY

Author: Jesica Millenia

The United States (US) government has decided to remove a number of countries from the list of developing countries eligible to special differential treatments (SDT), including Indonesia.  As per February 10, 2020, the US officially through the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that Indonesia is removed from the list of Developing and Least-Developed Countries (LGDCs), together with South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, India, China, and South Africa. Many economists say that this removal will not complicate Indonesia’s trade position, as Donald Trump’s trade policy right now does not put Indonesia as its main target, but rather as a means to reach its main target, which is more tariff for the Chinese goods. By removing Indonesia and other countries from the LGDCs list, the US will be able to to apply anti-dumping duties or countervailing duties more (CVD) to Chinese goods, the real target of US current trade policy.

In the way that US removed Indonesia as developing countries for its interest against China, we can’t really say that Indonesia has become a developed country. The way Indonesia receives benefits from the GSP and classification as a ‘developed nation’ by the US is not an indicator of progress. The revocation of Indonesia’s developing country status does not mean we have moved up the development ladder but it defines Indonesia’s future trade relationship with the US. The reclassification does not indicate a rise in Gross National Income (GNI) or other social development indicators such as healthcare and education which is a determining factor whether the country can be called a developed country or not. Again, it could be only a US strategy to revoke the status as a developing country is part of a trade war strategy that is being waged by developed countries. In the end, by looking at the reality, Indonesia still not ready to be called as a developed country.

 


PARASITE WON FOUR OSCARS ON A HISTORICAL NIGHT

Author: Muhammad Endasta Wicaksono

On the night of 10th February 2020, the South Korean film “Parasite” took home the most awards at the Oscars 2020. The film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director, for Bong Joon Ho. This film is about two families from different classes in Seoul, one who lives in poverty and one who is a rich family. However, what really makes the film stunning is that “Parasite” writes many new histories.

The film became the first non-English language film in Oscar history to win the Best Picture award. Previously, only ten foreign-language films that were nominated for the Best Picture award and none of them won. Furthermore, “Parasite” was also the first film from South Korea to win the International Feature Film award. Moreover, the film is also the first film to win both Best International Feature and Best Picture.

Other spectacular films such as, “1917”, “Joker”, and “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” had been considered as a major contender for the movie. Still, “Parasite” is triumphant among them. The only film that almost beat “Parasite” for the most awards at the Oscars 2020 is “1917” with fell short at three awards.

However, the glory of “Parasite” does not well received for some people. Some suggested that a non-English movie should never win an Oscar because of Oscar in an American prize. On top of that, President Trump even suggested that an American movie should have won instead of “Parasite”. Others even suggested that “Parasite” as a foreign film should not be nominated with regular films. The word “regular” seems to suggest that only English-language films can be nominated for Oscars.

The triumphant of “Parasite” clearly shows that Asia’s films are now a force to be reckoned with in the film industry. With four awards, “Parasite” creates many new histories that other films cannot do, especially Hollywood’s films. Those criticisms also show that international society cannot easily accept the rise of non-Hollywood’s film. However, that might change as “Parasite” can be seen as the spearhead of the future non-Hollywood’s films.



WEINSTEIN VERDICT AND ITS SIGNIFICANCY

Author: Zaza Emily

On February 24, 2020, the final verdict came for Harvey Weinstein that  was charged with a total of 5 charges that are predatory sexual assault, forcibly raping, and performing oral sex, to which he denied all. However, the jury decided yesterday that he has been guilty only for the latter 2 charges, forcibly performing oral sex on former Project Runway assistant Mimi Haleyi back in 2006, and raping Jessica Mann in 2013.[1]

The case of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual allegations was prompted out in late 2017 when New York Times issued an article of detailed allegations from 13 women, most came from his line of actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.[2] Among the allegations include a faster career promotion if she’s willing to sexually appeal him.

This verdict is no small step, it indicates 2 major changes to the decades long statusquo of victims’ silent.

First, it reflects the progress within the justice system. The United States has for so long been neglected to accusations related to powerful cis male, we have seen the loss of Anita Hill against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991[3], or how the case Kobe Bryant dropped in a settlement public doesn’t know about. This shows consistency of the enforcement in ceasing protection for men, both for sentencing him and for his career. Looking back, Clarence Thomas, ended up still being Supreme Court justice and Kobe Bryant still have his career unpausable[4]. Yet for Weinstein, he got kicked out from his company and Oscars expelled him. And he got prison sentencing and paying civil lawsuit.

Second, it sends narrative especially but not limited to women, to speak up. Patriarchal society has created a gendered power imbalance that women are almost always afraid to speak up against powerful men. Back then even women who sue male for this issue would most likely be shamed and blamed. This is also a prove for movement that breeds awareness like MeToo and TimesUp is still important to rally for.

In the end, although the disruption and changes went very slow, but for a cismale, Hollywood movie producer could be sent to jail and have his career broken to pieces, is a significancy in and of itself.

Reference:

[1] Bekiempis, Victoria. “Harvey Weinstein Is Now a Convicted Rapist. What’s Next?” Vulture. Vulture, February 25, 2020. https://www.vulture.com/2020/02/harvey-weinstein-verdict-whats-next.html.

[2] “Harvey Weinstein Timeline: How the Scandal Unfolded.” BBC News. BBC, February 24, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41594672.

[3] Garment, Suzanne. “Why Anita Hill Lost.” Commentary, January 1, 1992. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/why-anita-hill-lost/.

[4] Draper, Kevin. “Kobe Bryant and the Sexual Assault Case That Was Dropped but Not Forgotten.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 28, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/27/sports/basketball/kobe-bryant-rape-case.html.

 


THE BATTLE FOR IDLIB: DE-ESCALATION FAILURE IN SYRIA

Author: Quinta Allaya Emirsyah

All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” – John Steinbeck

Recently in February 24th 2020, the ongoing crisis in Syria’s Idlib province escalated further into a series of ever-growing record of humanitarian destruction and geopolitical atrocity. The previous ceasefire agreement made in 2017 was disregarded as the renewed Syrian government, backed by its Russian and Iranian proxies, launched offensives into this north-western region in which the Turkish-backed rebel groups occupies. The Turkish forces, widely known for showing their support to the Syrian rebels, became victims of this offensive as 33 of their soldiers were killed in an airstrike. This also affected innocent civilians as they became displaced and traumatized, forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures to avoid the conflict at hand.

This writer thinks that both the Syrian Government and its oppositions, including all of their backing forces, must step back from the Idlib province in order to conduct de-escalation means. They must once again adhere to the 2017 ceasefire agreement and push for a negotiation process as a way to resolve this crisis. Russia and Turkey as the biggest backing of the conflicting parties must build upon their previous agreements to secure a new ceasefire groundwork for northwest Syria. Other than that, this writer also believes that the international community should specifically focus on the Syrian civilians fleeing Idlib as it could potentially cause a refugee crisis in Europe and Asia.

To conclude, the devastating situation in Idlib shows that the current state of global diplomacy in the Middle East region is facing a decline. Therefore, all conflicting parties, supported by the international community, must find the most peaceful way to at least de-escalate this conflict in order to not cause casualties of harmless civilians.



THE ASTEROID: THREATS OF MANY DIMENSIONS

Author: Fraka

On Saturday, 15th February 2020, the human race was informed that a gigantic asteroid would fall into the earth and cause massive damage to this earth. Government and the related organisation has taken many actions and protocols to respond to that kind of threat. This asteroid, 2002 PZ39 has been tracked and studied since 2002 and keep being monitored until now. NASA cooperated with one of a university in Florida to help them track that asteroid. NASA also made a simulation to calculate the impact, which will be resulted by this falling. Finally, this asteroid missed and did not fall into the earth. Then, questions arose evolving to this kind of problems. Are asteroids that harmful until many actions were given to solve these problems?

Asteroids had haunted all earth living’s creatures since a long time ago, as long as we could know. One of the biggest fallings caused dinosaur’s civilisation torn apart and left them into extinction. Time goes by, many others asteroids tried to get into earth’s atmosphere and to possibilities could happen, either is burnt out by earth’s atmospheric layer or able to landing safely on earth. This is the part when asteroids became the threat of our status quo. A single asteroid is contained with a lot of hard stones and mineral, approaching any planet with high speed and able to damage any planet’s surfaces for good. It is okay when it only crashed on a vast desert or oceans. The trouble comes when the asteroid hit civilisation or magisterial district and buried it all down. Status quo disrupted, the government failed, and civilisation broke down. Reconstructions would be other hard things to do, remembering it would be a highly costed task.

During our history, we have encountered many asteroid events that scared out of our lives. The government and related organisation have tried and keep on trying to give out their best to address this feared event to happen for real on the earth so the human race can live their life peacefully.