April 2020

NORTH KOREA POST-KIM JONG UN: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER?

Author: Quinta Allaya Emirsyah

In April, the report of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s alleged death after a botched heart surgery had created a buzz in the international community. However, the news was debunked by his public reappearance three weeks later in an opening ceremony of a fertilizer plant in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang. Still, his absence during that period had triggered a series of fevered rumors regarding who would become his successor had he truly died. Thus, this raises a hypothetical question – what will happen to the hermit kingdom once Kim really pass away?

Unlike his predecessors, Kim Jong Un has no heir apparent. His children were too young to govern, though there might be a slim possibility that one of them will become his successor in the future. The more well-known option is his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, which is said to be the closest inheritor to the North Korean dictatorship. She has been Kim Jong Un’s most trusted aide, especially as the nation’s propagandist-in-chief, as she was often seen by her brother’s side in both domestic and international events. However, the highly patriarchal culture of the country has raised skepticism regarding her accession to the power since it will surely be doubted by the North’s male-dominated regime leaders.

Hence, the first thing that a post-Kim Jong Un North Korea will face is a succession crisis. If Kim Jong Un dies or is permanently incapacitated, the sudden loss of supreme leader could cause a political vacuum, or according the wise words of author Ji Eun Baek, “North Korea without a successor from the Kim family is like worshippers going to church without a deity to worship.”

 


ISRAEL’S UNITY GOVERNMENT BETWEEN NETANYAHU AND GANTZ

Author: Zarifa Emily

On Monday, April 20, 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the Likud Party and his rival Benny Gantz from the Blue and White Party have announced to form a unity government after three failed elections with neither party gained a majority coalition to establish a government. The deal calls for three years period, with Netanyahu serving as the prime minister for the first half of the term, and Gantz will serve as the prime minister for the second half. Netanyahu’s Likud Party will gain significant influence over judicial appointments while Gantz’s Blue and White will take half of the ministries, including defense and foreign policies.

The decision comes at the time of an emergency when Israel has more than 13.800 confirmed coronavirus cases including 180 deaths, hence holding another election is not a feasible option. The unity government may put an end to Israel’s political stalemate after three failed elections in just over a year, but the deal shows several critiques from the Israelis. First, Netanyahu has led the most far-right government and relied on the support of ultra-nationalists, so for his supporters, the deal means surrendering half of the government to a more centrist coalition led by Benny Gantz.

Second, the deal is a disappointment for Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, and left-wing voters who once had their hopes on Gantz.  Gantz has promised not to sit in a government led by a prime minister who is facing criminal charges, referring to Netanyahu who will begin his corruption trial on May 24.  Compromising to Netanyahu means that Gantz neglects his campaign to eradicate the ‘nation-state basic law’, a law backed by Netanyahu which permits discrimination and racism against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. The deal also signals that Gantz might allow Netanyahu’s agenda over the annexation of Jordan Valley and other territories on the West Bank, continuing illegal Jewish settlements over the land of Palestine.

References

Berger, Miriam. “Israel’s Hugely Controversial ‘Nation-State’ Law, Explained.” Vox. Vox, July 31, 2018. https://www.vox.com/world/2018/7/31/17623978/israel-jewish-nation-state-law-bill-explained-apartheid-netanyahu-democracy.

David. “Israelis Find Little to Love in Their New Government, Except No More Elections.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 21, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/world/middleeast/israel-unity-government.html

 


LOCUST OUTBREAK THREATENS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN EAST AFRICA

Author: Jesica Millenia

For seven decades, East Africa never experiences a locust outbreak. Until they detected large swarms of locust in early 2020 before the coronavirus hit them[1]. Now, they’re anticipating the second larger wave that will come from breeding grounds in Somalia. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) already warned that the “unprecedented” desert locust outbreak remains “extremely alarming,” especially in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia[2].

These locusts lay eggs in moist soil and breed during the rainy season. After the eggs hatch, they will find food in the agricultural fields. In a day, they can eat as much as 2,500 servings of human food, and now, they’re threatening the food supplies in the already vulnerable region, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan.

With the reported cases of the coronavirus, the government begins to implement stringent restrictions on traveling and social gatherings[3]. However, this makes it harder for African people to access food supplies or to exterminate the locust plague. Not to mention, the fact that this plague may not get enough attention among the pandemic.

The world must know that East Africa needs humanitarian aids to survive the food crisis amid both the locust and coronavirus outbreak.

References

[1] Nicholas Bariyo dan Joe Parkinson, “Africa Braces for a Record Wave of Locusts,” https://www.wsj.com/articles/africa-braces-for-a-record-wave-of-locusts-11588152655, diakses 1 Mei 2020

[2] The Guardian, “Second wave of locusts in east Africa said to be 20 times worse,” https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/13/second-wave-of-locusts-in-east-africa-said-to-be-20-times-worse, diakses 30 April 2020

[3] Catherine Byaruhanga, BBC, “How do you fight a locust invasion amid coronavirus,” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52394888, diakses 30 April 2020