As you may know, there was a major event that happened on Thursday. Queen Elizabeth II passed away at 96. Everyone has been sending condolences and tributes for her, a beloved monarch. However, I’m not going to do that. I’m sorry if you would expect me to, but I’m not. The main purpose of this is to remember the former Queen, yes, but I’m not going to talk about how kind and amazing she was. I’m going to talk about what no one talks about. 

{Source: BBC}

Before I get into this blog, I first want to point out a few things. First, I don’t know the specific titles or way to address the Queen other than Her Majesty or the Queen, so forgive me if I don’t address her properly or mess up. Secondly, I’m going to be extremely honest here. I know the Queen has passed away just recently, but I want to express my honest opinions and thoughts on Her Majesty, no matter what. If anything offends you, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to take back anything I say.

Anyways, let’s get started.

In general, I’m not a big fan of the British Royal Family. I wouldn’t say I hate them, but then again I also don’t love/like them either. Being Indian-American gives you two different perspectives on this. As an Indian, my family has a very strong dislike towards the British Royal Family for their actions towards my people in the past. They have a right to-considering the British empire stole, destroyed, and practically killed our culture, history, people, future, and much more. They left the country with almost nothing, taking everything for themselves. However, as an American, they’re seen as allies. We don’t exactly treat Her as a great figure in our lives such as the President, but she still remains a huge celebrity that many admire and follow. I don’t necessarily get into that, but that has a mild influence on me. So when I have these two things clashing in me- one that hates the Royal family and one that admires them, it’s hard to have a proper opinion. 

You see, every time I hear about how the British ruined the culture of my people, I get frustrated. I feel that same burning hatred for them as my family. But it’s not as strong. I can’t really feel upset at them as strongly as my family, despite knowing what they’ve done. For example, when I heard about the Queen’s passing, I was shocked. It felt like something fake. I mean, the Queen had lived to be 96 and celebrated 70 years of reign. For as long as I had known, she was the Queen. The great Queen of the United Kingdom, who I’ve heard and known all my life. It was an unexpected moment to suddenly know she was gone. At that time I felt a little remorseful for the British. (Perhaps I’m too sympathetic, but I felt bad for them.) For the British, the Queen was someone dear to them. Seeing the number of people mourning for her, I felt bad for them.

When I came home from school that day, my parents and I had a conversation on this. We talked about what was happening, the responses towards Her passing, and what we thought of it. Or mainly, what my parents thought of it.

I keep talking about knowing “what she did” and about this burning hatred, but I’m not explaining it very well, aren’t I? Let’s break it down.

The British Royal Family are racist, lying, thieves who have not only stolen from India, but also many other countries during their reign. They stole artifacts, precious treasures, wealth, knowledge, spices, and destroyed the culture, history, and life of them, as well as brutally killed and tortured so many people. All while the Royal Family enjoyed the goods and treasures stolen. Let’s go back to the beginning.

Queen Victoria. Among many titles, she is also given one that I find completely ridiculous. ‘Empress of India’. I find it quite ridiculous how she can be considered the ‘Empress of India’ when she barely cared for us as her subjects. It is stated that she ”had a particular fascination with the country, and a passion for Indian culture swept through Britain in the late 19th century.” She supposedly was so in love with a country she had never stepped foot in, and fought so hard for the title of “Empress of India.” But what has she ever done to deserve that title? She’s never stepped foot there, nor spared anything for the people. She loves their curry and culture, yet her own people take the Indians’ land and spices for her to experience it. 

{Source: History.com}

When Indians rebelled in 1857, they felt that their traditions were undermined. The British were trying to westernize India. They replaced Indian aristocracy with British officials, challenging the religious beliefs of Hindus, and tried to break down the caste system as well as remove legal obstacles for remarriage of Hindu widows. First of all, that’s wrong. Although what traditions and practices were followed at that time were wrong and messed up, getting in the middle of it and trying to completely change a culture is worse. The British completely interfered and tried to change an entire society into someone they’re not. The British wished to “create. A properly articulated system of education from the primary school to the university”. Sure, that would be helpful. However, it doesn’t mean to wipe out the entire history and knowledge we already had, and starting over from scratch. Yes, some other things that probably weren’t taught in India at that time could have been learned as well. But that does not mean you wipe out everything for your own ways. 

Indians brutally murdered British women and children in that rebellion. Yes, it’s wrong and unjust. However, the results after were so much worse. The Queen called it “revolting barbarity” after the Indians’ actions, and not when other worse things were already going on before the rebellion. The punishment of sentenced rebels being tied over the mouths of cannons and firing them, forcing Muslims or Hindus to eat beef and pork, licking buildings freshly stained with blood of the dead, tortures including searing with hot irons, dipping in wells and rivers until the victim is half suffocated, squeezing the testicles, putting pepper an families in the eyes or introducing them into the private parts of men and women, prevention fo sleep, nipping the flesh with pincers, suspension from the branches of a tree, imprisonment in a room used for storing line, or committing sexual violence against women. Both sides caused atrocities to innocent civilians. But how bad? Did the Queen even look at the civilians of the country she “loved so much”? If she did, wouldn’t she have taken better care of them and prevented a rebellion from forming? 

{Source: rediff.com}

Was it so necessary to introduce Western culture into an already blooming one? One more successful? What started out as a simple business led to a colonization and rule. A horrific one.

Over time as the British monarchy progressed, even worse, more cruel events occurred. One more significant event is the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. An estimate of those killed is between 379 and 1500+ people. And over 1,200 injured with 192 of whom were seriously injured. A large peaceful crowd gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh, and in response, the temporary Brigadier general, R.E.H. Dyer blocked the exits of Jallianwala Bagh before ordering his troops to shoot at the crowd.

{Source: theprint.in }

 They continued to shoot even as the protestors tried to flee. They continued firing until their ammunition was exhausted. General Dyer even reported to his superiors he had been “confronted by a revolutionary army” and to which they said his action was correct. In contrast, Winston Churchill called it an “unutterably monstrous” attack and a dreadful outrage in the whole of their history.

It’s funny. The same man who once called my people “ghastly people” and treated my culture as some useless nonsense condemned this barbaric act? How interesting.

Not only that, Queen Elizabeth II herself visited the site of the massacre, and said there were difficult episodes in the history of colonial rule. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know us Indians were such difficulties in your family’s reign. Even at that time, as she stood at that place and made a speech, she made no official apology. She placed a wreath at the memorial and still never apologized. How hypocritical is it to demand for an apology from Germany for their acts on Jews, when you still haven’t apologized for your acts towards Indians? Not just Indians, but also people from Ghana, Barbados, Kenya, Nigeria, The Gambia, Pakistan, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and so many more.

Not to mention the numerous amounts of history, wealth, artifacts,and treasures these countries have. In this, I have to say some Indians were incredibly stupid and upright idiots for actually giving away such important relics simply for a King who was visiting. But apart from that, the British took away so many things. An Indian prince who was supposedly a son to Queen Victoria gave her such an important diamond because she cared for him. But for what? He couldn’t even go back to his home, and died in a filthy motel in France. A prince. Especially one who was “like a son” to the Queen.

Unrelated but related note. I saw an Instagram reel a while ago. The girl was like, “Hey, I found out where to find lost/stolen things”, and she showed us The British Museum. (I’m not sure if it was The British Museum or another in the U.K.)

Another ironic thing for me is how Americans are so invested in this as well. I mean, I understand the U.K. is an ally and a great friend with the U.S., but wasn’t the entire purpose for America to get away from the British? Weren’t we the ones who wanted to create a nation for the people and created a government specifically designed to prevent one from having all the power? Wasn’t the entire Constitution written to give us rights that we were denied when we were under British rule? I understand that things are now clear between the two, but it’s incredibly ironic to me.

Not only that, in India, when an important event in such a sacred festival is taking place, the Queen’s funeral is being aired. I mean, pay full respects to the Queen all you want, but why are you airing this when something more precious to us is happening right now?

Another ironic and amusing thing about the British Royal Family is how they spent years treating those of a different color as trash and dirt, yet one of the members is actually a mixed race. Rachel Meghan Markle- now Meghan, Duchess of Sussex- is a mixed race of African American and Caucasian. The same Family who treated Africans and Indians like dirt, stole them from their families and brutally killed them, destroyed their culture and lifestyle, now has members of the same race in line for the throne. (Referring to Meghan and Harry’s children.)

{Source: elle.com}

Anyways, the main point I have is that I have very little to say regarding the death of the former Queen. She was a beloved monarch and leader for many, but not for me. I respect the love others had for her and have for the other members of the Royal Family, however I cannot reciprocate the same, nor should be expected to. I feel sympathy for the Commonwealth and U.K. Citizens that someone they cherish has passed away, however I cannot feel the same they do. I have no reason to, and most likely won't until they have owned up to all their actions, and provided a sincere apology. Even then, I still may not like them nor forgive them.

At times like this where my parents express their dislike for the Royal Family, I can’t relate as much. I feel awful when I can’t reciprocate the same feelings. I’ve never grown up learning about British rule and I’ve never learned about these events in Indian history like my parents have. I’ve always been exposed to American history and culture, and that makes it harder for me to relate to my family. I’ve never grown up that way. I can only feel anger and frustration but not what my parents, along with many others whose families and people have suffered from the British, feel.

Speaking of that, Uju Anya, an associate professor of second language acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University tweeted about the Queen’s death. She said, “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.” Although she deleted it, Jeff Bezos quoted her tweet and said, “This is someone supposedly working to make the world better? I don’t think so. Wow.” To that, she tweeted, “If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequence of which those are alive today are still staying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.”

To that, I agree with her. Why should she express anything other than disdain for someone who lets people get killed and wiped out. Especially when that person hasn’t even apologized for those actions, and refers to them as “difficult episodes”.

Anyways, that’s what I have to say regarding the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Although it’s devastating she passed away, I cannot be expected to show anything but sympathy for those who loved her. ( I really don’t want to include the Royal Family, but seeing them as a family who lost a very cherished member of their family, I do feel a little sorry for them.) Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and see you next week.

Sources:

Livemint. “Carneige Mellon Prof's Tweet on Queen Sparks Fury.” Mint, 9 Sept. 2022, https://www.livemint.com/news/world/queen-elizabeth-ii-s-death-reignites-britain-s-colonialism-scars-11662706870795.html.

“When Queen Elizabeth II Stopped Short of Apologising for Jallianwala Massacre, Husband Phillip Questioned Number of dead-India News ,.” Firstpost, 9 Sept. 2022, www.firstpost.com/india/when-queen-elizabeth-ii-stopped-short-of-apologising-for-jallianwala-massacre-husband-phillip-questioned-number-of-dead-11215011.html.

Evans, Elinor. Queen Victoria: How and Why Did She Become Empress of India? 30 Aug. 2022, www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/victoria-rise-of-an-empress.

Holmes, Elizabeth. “We Will Never See Another Queen of England.” The Cut, 10 Sept. 2022, www.thecut.com/2022/09/elizabeth-was-the-last-queen-of-england.html.

“Indian Mutiny | History, Causes, Effects, Summary, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 22 Aug. 2022, www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Mutiny.

Dugan, Emily. “British Royal Family’s New Line of Succession After Queen’s Death.” The Guardian, 10 Sept. 2022, www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/09/british-royal-family-line-of-succession-queen-death.

“Jallianwala Bagh Massacre | Causes, History, and Significance.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/event/Jallianwala-Bagh-Massacre. Accessed 10 Sept. 2022.

“Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II.” Commonwealth, thecommonwealth.org. Accessed 10 Sept. 2022. 
Recently I’ve been participating in something called Teen Court. No it’s not because I’m in trouble. (I have a funny story about that that I’ll mention later.) It’s because I wanted to see the court process as well as practice making decisions on serious things. Although Teen Court doesn’t deal with cases such as murder or kidnappings, they do deal with things that are serious for teens. Ex: Drug paraphernalia, speeding, assault, etc.

I’ve seen the process twice now, which I am extremely lucky to have. When I first applied I accidentally misunderstood the purpose and though that I had to have some class C misdemeanor to participate. I got extremely anxious and the court supervisor calmed me down and offered me the opportunity to observe the trials. I went for the first time and witnessed two of their more serious cases. Those include an official court and attorneys who argue for your case. I have mad respect for those attorneys. I remember seeing 2 girls who absolutely amazed me. One of them completely wiped the case clean. She presented her case so calmly and was so cool in her rebuttals. I was really impressed with how she performed. The other wasn’t as powerful as the other, but she still had a really interesting way of asking questions. I also liked how she presented her argument and how she concluded.

The second time I went was last week. I had asked after the first two cases were over if I could come back in to watch once again. However, instead of just observing, the court supervisor allowed me to also participate in the process as this was a more minor case. This is something I’m extremely grateful for. When I signed up there were 90 other kids in front of me. I had been expecting to get an actual opportunity maybe in December or so, but I was lucky and got to go before my time. It was really exciting but also scary. I had never participated in something like this before and didn’t know what to do.

Let me explain how Teen Court works. ( I don’t remember the exact process of the first cases I saw, so I’ll do my best to explain.) I participate in the Southlake Town Hall Teen Court System, so it may be different or similar to other courts.

“Welcome to Volunteer Southlake.” Welcome to Volunteer Southlake | Southlake, TX - Official Website, https://www.cityofsouthlake.com/97/Volunteer-Southlake



 So there are two different kinds of ways a case is handled. For the more serious offenses such as underage alcohol possession or consumption or drug paraphernalia, there are trials with attorneys. After the jury and defendant take an oath, the offense first states their case. Then the defense. After that there’s a closing statement given to the jury and a final statement the defendant can give to explain themselves if wanted. The jury then goes into another room where they all make a decision. In Teen Court there aren’t really punishments. There is a minimum and maximum amount of volunteer hours given based on the severity of the offense as well as a certain number of jury terms. This is usually set by judges and cannot be changed. The jury makes a decision to assign the defendant a number of hours between that range according to what they have seen and then announce the decision once agreed upon.

For the other type of cases, the defendant and their guardian sit with a group of jurors and a supervisor. The jurors ask the questions instead and the defendant answers. The supervisor asks if there’s anything the defendant wants to say, and then the bailiff escorts them out of the room as the jurors make a decision. I was one of the jurors who got to ask a few questions and make a decision. In this I think something I learned was paying attention to every detail. We have to take in everything we’ve learned from the defendant, their case, and the given circumstances to make a decision. A decision made for one of the cases was based on a small detail I forgot to take into account for. Although a different decision seemed the better one in my opinion, it was that small detail that made the final more reasonable with a better mindset kept for the defendant. 

“Welcome to Volunteer Southlake.” Welcome to Volunteer Southlake | Southlake, TX - Official Website, https://www.cityofsouthlake.com/97/Volunteer-Southlake



I think Teen Court is a good system. I like how it’s giving an opportunity for kids to correct their options in a way that can help them learn and give them a second chance. Instead of sending them to juvenile detention or something similar for their actions, it’s letting them get a decision made by kids of their age to decide for themselves. It allows kids who have been in their shoes to do the same. (Here’s the funny story)

So during my last interaction there was a short break in between the next case and everyone was talking about speeding tickets. I realized then that all these kids were completing their volunteer service hours by participating in this trial. They all were discussing what they were there for. Except me. The kid in front of me asked what speed I was going at and I told him I didn’t drive. He asked whether I assaulted someone. I said I was there to observe. The kid just nodded his head. Anyways, I just felt good/awkward that I was the only one without an offense. I didn’t really realize the majority of the jurors would be kids trying to complete their offenses.

Moving on. It just allows kids who have been in the same situation as them to make a decision based on experience and a similar mindset to help. On an unrelated note, the craziest takeaway from that last experience was that I actually found out one of them is an upperclassman at my school. Here’s how it goes. I see him on Tuesday for the court, and then two days later as I walk to math I see him walking the other direction with his friends. I almost double-take to make sure it was him. IT WAS. I saw him the day after that in the fine arts hall. And now I see him almost every day in some way. I mean, a Pokémon backpack and tall figure is noticeable in the crowd, right? Every time I see him, I can’t help but think, “Oh, there’s the kid from court who got pulled over for speeding. Huh. Wonder if his friends know.”

In terms of whether Teen Court is a good or bad influence, I would say good. It does several things, including giving kids a second chance, time to volunteer, learn about the law, and a learning opportunity to make better decisions. Although I’m not participating because of some offense. It's a great learning opportunity for me- or other potential lawyers/attorneys- to learn more about law and court. For me I can learn how court works and the sort of decisions made based on presented evidence and arguments. It can help to learn how to take everything into consideration when making a decision, and making the best choice. I think I can definitely learn a lot about the court from these opportunities in order to become a better attorney.
Summer break ended a few days ago and so school has once again begun. However, today’s post is not about what high school is like or anything. Instead, I’m talking about my very last summer trip of the year.

A little more than a week ago, for the last trip of the summer, my family and I went up east to New Jersey as well as other states nearby such as Pennsylvania and New York. But, that still isn’t the main focus of today’s post. The main focus was in fact the highlight of the trip. A visit to Washington D.C.

Our trip included staying in D.C. and taking a tour of the White House as well as the Capitol building. Unfortunately, due to - I’m assuming- the weather accident with lightning in front of the White House, our White House tour was rescheduled to a later date we already had plans for. To sum it up, we could not visit the White House. We could see it from a barricade and see its white exterior illuminate the dark night sky, but we couldn’t go inside and tour the actual building.

Apart from that, we did get to tour the Capitol - which I am extremely grateful for- as well as visit many other places such as the Lincoln Memorial, National Archives, and the National Museum of American History. This post is about what D.C. was like, and what I thought of it.

I’ve wanted to go to D.C. for a long time. Okay maybe for a few years now, but I’ve still been really set on visiting it sometime soon. The main reason was because the last time I went was when I was still a toddler, and I have no recollection of doing so. But I also wanted to visit D.C. because of the show The West Wing.
If you don’t know what it’s about I’ll summarize really quickly. The West Wing is a political drama series on how fictional Democratic President Josiah Bartlet and his presidential advisers and staffers try to run the country. It shows different political scenarios such as working through two presidential terms, political threats, scandals, other possible scenarios, and even the election race to succeed President Bartlet. I’ve always loved The West Wing and it’s one of the things that have inspired me to become a lawyer or just someone who works in the political field one day. I dreamed of one day working in the West Wing or even in D.C. and that still remains as one of my goals for the future.

Another reason for wanting to visit D.C. was because I had taken U.S. History this year and was really interested in the subject. After learning about the struggles our founding fathers went through to create this government simply for the people, I wanted to see the buildings where the same principles are applied today, 300 years later. I think because of taking that course, I had become more appreciative of not only my country but also for what it was established on. That made me more perceptive towards what we saw, and also allowed me to make better connections to what I learned. Side note: I now cry when I hear the national anthem. I- Yeah. Oh the things one history class has done to me. I mean it’s not bad. I think it’s a good thing that I actually know more about my country and I really appreciate the principles for what it was built on as well as am proud as to how we got this far. If I cry by remembering all that then so be it.

Enough about how I cry during the national anthem. Let’s actually get into the overview now.

Honestly I’m not sure what I was expecting from D.C. Whenever I hear about it I always imagine the Capitol and White House only some distance from each other and then there are a bunch of other government buildings and monuments there as well. It is like that but also different. For example, I did not expect to be able to calmly take a walk under the shade of huge trees while drinking a slushy right next to the Department of Justice. I could just walk by and wave up at the windows and be like, “Oh hello Attorney General Garland, how are you today?” I doubt that’s even possible and I would look like an absolute fool, but the idea does amuse me. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to seem disrespectful towards a government official or the employees. I’m just saying it was really unexpected to be able to walk right next to such an important building as if it was normal. 

Me standing in front of the
Department of Justice

If you remember, I had visited India near the end of 2021 and early 2022 after 7 years. During that trip my parents and I visited New Delhi and saw the Parliament of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, and many other government official buildings/houses from afar. That time I was surprised about how open and nearby it was. I think that was how I thought D.C. would be. Boy was I wrong. I only got to see the Parliament from a distance and yet I was walking right next to the White House. (Not that close but still a much closer distance than I could in India.)

Apart from D.C. being full of government buildings and monuments and museums, it does have a bit of life to it. We always think of these officials as powerful and they are always making decisions that we either do or don’t agree with when they are also human like us. People in D.C. may be officials or employees but they also have normal lives. They also like minimal spice Indian food and Starbucks as well. *Ahem*

First let’s talk about the Capitol tour. Huge thank you to Senator Cornyn for getting us the opportunity for this tour as well as having one of his staffers guide us around. I would say it was different from my expectations. From a Capitol tour, I was expecting maybe how the Senate or House works and what their daily basis is. That was what a Capitol tour first meant to me. Instead, we got a building tour. We learned about the architecture of the Capitol, the statues that decorate the interior, background to the many murals and paintings, as well as how different events in history have shaped it to how it is today. I’d say I was more relieved. I was expected to ask questions during the tour and I was extremely nervous on what to ask or share an insight if it was on how Congress worked. I do know how it works, but I was worried that the amount I knew wouldn’t be enough or I may ask something stupid or say something incorrect. I found the tour guide extremely impressive and I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of her. I also felt this sort of pressure to impress her and ask really high level questions. I think that’s why I felt so nervous to ask a question at the beginning. But throughout the tour that pressure slowly reduced and it was easier to do so. I found myself wanting to know more and tried to let that fear go. I still do think I could have asked better questions and I am disappointed at myself for not doing so. But I am happy that I was able to gather the courage to do so.

The Capitol is absolutely beautiful. I love how everything ties back to history. It’s like the Capitol is a sort of temple to thank our founding fathers and historical figures for the impact in our country. Like, there’s George Washington almost everywhere. Statues, murals, paintings, etc. The more I think about it it does feel like a temple. Every small detail is built based on how our country started to grow, bad or good. There’s not much from current events except for some women’s rights statues and such. Everything else is designed with the idea of kind of thanking the things that made our country how it is today. For example, there are American tobacco plants carved all over the building. Tobacco was a major cash crop that was a driving factor in the economy as well as what increased the need for slavery. In the Rotunda, there’s a mural that shows everything from Columbus up to the Gold Rush. In the dome of the Capitol there is a fresco called The Apotheosis of Washington that shows George Washington becoming a god or apotheosis as he was the first U.S. president and commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. I honestly think that’s kind of motivating. Everyday Senators and members of the House will come for work and they see these statues or paintings of President Washington and decide to work hard for the country. Maybe not everyone would think that way, but I think it would be a huge honor to do so. I mean, President Washington was the precedent president. He was the example of what a president should do for future presidents to come. To be able to work everyday for this country that he first led and helped fight for, now that would be motivating. 

The Apotheosis of Washington
Credit: eyeofthestrom.blogs.com


Considering that, I want to talk about the riots that happened in 2021. The Capitol breach and vandalization. I wrote a post on this about a year ago when it happened, and I have a different perspective on the situation. A proper explanation of the Capitol breach can be found from my post Part 126- Breach in the Capitol. In that post my general opinion of the situation was mainly anger and displeasure. I was extremely upset at Mr. Trump’s words and was disappointed with how people reacted in agreement to his words. This time, I’m more disappointed and ashamed.

I’ve said this many times, but I will state it one last time. In my opinion, I think the Capitol is designed like a place of gratitude and honor towards not only President Washington, but also many important figures who have shaped our country. President Lincoln, General Ulysses Grant, Sam Houston, etc. By this breach of the Capitol, not only are we disrespecting the building and work space, but also the grounds on which our country first started developing. President Washington gave a farewell address at the end of his presidency. In that address was one request for many others to not form political parties as he was afraid it would divide our nation further. Despite that request, we immediately split into two parties after he stepped down, and look how that has gotten to today.

It’s almost embarrassing to see the results of something our first president warned us about, in front of something that respects and thanks him. It’s embarrassing to think our own people would do such a thing over something small.

Other than that, the Capitol felt much smaller to me than I thought it would be. It looks huge from outside, but it’s pretty close together inside. But then again, I haven’t really seen the ENTIRE building so I may never know. 

Actual picture of me at the back of the Capitol. 


One of the interesting things about the Capitol were the statues inside. Each state is allowed to give 2 statues to the Capitol to which they can swap out whenever they want. Many other people can do so as well. However it’s not necessarily guaranteed that it would be put outside on display. I like how every state chose something unique based on what was important for them. They’re contributing their own pieces of history or even culture/traditions through these statues and the Capitol displays them proudly for everyone to see and learn about. Below are some examples. 

Helen Keller from Alabama
Credits: aoc.gov



King Kamehameha from Hawaii
Credits: aoc.gov

We also visited the Lincoln Memorial and National Archives. Being in the Lincoln Memorial felt…powerful. I can’t really explain it, but when you look at President Lincoln, there’s kind of a powerful aura that can be felt. It’s probably because the statue is huge and the expression is very confident, but you never know. A fun part of visiting was that I actually know the “history” in this. I don’t know the details of the building, but I do know about the Gettysburg Address and his second Inaugural Speech. They were written on opposite walls of each other. It felt really cool to immediately know where they came from, the background of which he said those words, and what the purpose of it was. Other than that there’s not really much I can say. It was extremely busy there and I don’t think I got to properly admire nor pay my respects in a way towards President Lincoln properly. 

Me sitting in front of
Lincoln’s second Inaugural Speech

The National Archives were pretty interesting as well. I have to say, I was mildly dissatisfied when seeing the Declaration of Independence. I think it was obvious it wouldn’t be super clear given it is 300 years old, but I was let down due to my over hopeful brain. I really liked the set up of explaining the details when writing or what happened around the documents. There were things about spelling mistakes, drafts, reasons the ink is faded, and letters that were put up beside the documents in order to have a better understanding. We didn’t spend much time in the National Archives to explore so I really only got to see the Bill or Rights, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence, as well as Public Vaults. The Public Vaults were pretty much just small collections of history such as info about the 3 documents, colonization, invention patents, and more. I think there is more to the National Archives, but based on what I got to see so far, it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it to be. Hopefully next trip we can stay longer. 

We also got to go to the National Museum of American History. I think that was one of the more interesting parts of our stay. It was quite literally a living documentation of everything in history. There was everything from transportation to cooking to democracy and everything in between. There was even a section on currency that showed how different forms of currency were used and made over time. One of my favorite exhibits was on American democracy that basically showed everything from the start of our government to now. There was stuff on the evolution of voting, protests, elections, news segments, and many more. 


A little something I found amusing


I’d say the best part of the museum was the Star Spangled Banner exhibit. Inside they first show you a timeline of everything that led to the national anthem being written. That meant a timeline of the War of 1812. There was info about the events, what weapons were used, and what it sounded like. There were real life ruins of old missiles and such on display. Further into the exhibit is the highlight. They have carefully maintained and displayed the original American flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, that was made at that time. After being held onto by the original maker’s family for generations, it was given to the museum to which it has and presents today. This was no ordinary flag. It was HUGE. The usual size of an American flag is 3’x5’. This flag was 30x42 feet which is also much larger than the modern garrison flags used today by the US Army which are a standard 20 by 38 feet. The flag displayed was not the entirety as several parts including a star were cut away and given as keepsakes. However, it was still remarkably large and quite beautiful to look at. 

The original Star Spangled Banner
Credit: battlefields.org

My parents and I outside the
Star Spangled Banner exhibit.

To sum it up, D.C. was an interesting experience. I certainly went through a lot of emotions, including a bit of nationalism, confusion, nervousness, excitement, disappointment, gratitude, and relief to name a few. But mainly I was more motivated to work there. I couldn’t believe that people were working in such a beautiful building everyday. It seemed like an honor to work inside one of the country’s most important buildings and to do something for our country and people. Also seeing how the staffers and employees worked and were able to have such amazing opportunities of assisting and working there as well made me determined to become one of them. It would be great to one day work alongside great people and to carry on what the founding fathers established. So yeah. Washington D.C. was a great experience for me, and I really enjoyed touring the Capitol and being able to make connections to what I learned in U.S. history last year. I will certainly try to work hard to go to D.C. again - hopefully for work- and yeah, I hope you have a great weekend. See you!




Hello! Were you expecting me? I know it’s been a while- ok a really long while- since I’ve last posted, and I’m truly sorry about that. I’ve had a handful of things to do this summer and have been so busy I haven’t been able to do many other things. Although some would argue it’s not that busy compared to what others do, it has been extremely busy for me and so because of that I have not been able to work on posting. But enough about my busy summer, I have a new post over something recent- not really recent- but a major event within political history. The overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The main reason I chose this topic is because a) it’s a landmark Supreme Court Case - now overturned- that is used in so many other cases throughout the years, b) because it is something that can alter so many things in the upcoming future for so many people, and c) because me being a girl means I am one of those people whose lives are now changed.


Roe v. Wade:

Roe v. Wade is a legal case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (7-2) on January 22, 1973, that “unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional.” (Britannica: Roe v. Wade) It struck down many federal and state abortion laws, as well as fueled an ongoing abortion debate in the United States about, “whether, or to what extent, abortion shoudl be legal, who could decide the legality of abortion, and what the role of moral and religious views in the political sphere should be.” (Wikipedia: Roe v. Wade)

The case was brought by Norma McCorvey- legal pseudonym “Jane Roe”- who in 1969 became pregnant with her 3rd child. She wanted to get an abortion, yet she was living in Texas where abortion is illegal except when necessary to save the mother’s life. After a ruling in her favor from a special three-judge court of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas, it was taken to the Supreme Court. On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision holding that the Due process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy”, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion.

Before I start with what I think, I wanted to share a small opinion about the case itself. Not the decisions but rather the people involved. I feel like the basis on why Roe wanted to get an abortion is wrong. She had originally wanted an abortion, but since Texas says it is illegal to have one, many of her friends said that she should assert falsely that she had been raped by a group of black men in order to gain a legal abortion. Although it was never successful, I feel like making up a lie using something realistic and widely happening in our society isn’t right. Rape isn’t something to joke about, and in my opinion shouldn’t be used lightly. I don’t know the full context on the decisions and on what really happened so I can’t say much, but I do want to point out that using a false statement wasn’t right, and by doing so it felt as if rape was taken lightly to use for her own personal reasons. Probably not, but to me it feels that way.

Opinions:

For me, I would say I’m more pro-choice. I believe that it should be a woman’s right to decide what to do, especially since this is her body. Giving birth is a huge thing. Even just being pregnant is something huge within itself. It’s not easy, and requires full dedication towards the full time. Giving birth itself is very dangerous. It's strenuous , painful, and can be a life-threatening thing.

However, it is proven that abortion is a safe medical procedure that protects lives. Compared to child birth, the death rate for legal abortions is 0.7 deaths for every 100,000 abortions, and 9 deaths per 100,000 deliveries. Medication abortion has a mortality rate of 6.5 deaths per one million patients.

Having an abortion in itself isn’t easy either. It’s not as if the mother/woman is so willingly going to give up her child. It’s not an easy decision for her as well. However, based on the circumstances of her situation or anything else, she has a reason why she needs to. It’s not a “convenience” and an “easy way out”. Abortions are often because of family obligations and concerns about future children. They base their decision mainly on the ability to stay financially stable and care for their current children. It’s not an easy way out, but instead a painful and difficult decision. They do this while considering what’s right for the baby. They look ahead at the kind of life the baby would have based on finances and the ability to care for other children and dependents.

According to verywellhealth.com, there are many, similar, reasons why a decision for an abortion is made.
  • Not financially prepared: 40%
  • Bad timing, not ready, or unplanned: 36%
  • Partner related reasons- New or bad relationship, would be a single parent, partner isn’t supportive, partner doesn’t want the baby, partner is abusive, partner is the “wrong guy”
  • Need to focus on other children: 29%
  • Interferes with educational or job plans” 20%
  • Not emotionally or mentally prepared: 19%
  • Health-related reasons: 12% - concern for their own health; concern for fetus’ health; use of medications, other drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
  • Want a better life for a baby than they could provide: 12%
  • Not independent or mature enough: 7%
  • Doesn’t want a baby or to place the baby up for adoption: 4%
Another reason is also disease and genetics. (Inherited diseases) According to theconversation.com, “…each of us is more likely than not to be carriers for a disorder that would be legal before adulthood. As carriers, we are not affected by the disease, but are at risk of transmitting the disease to children if a partner is also a carrier.” For families that have experienced a serious inherited disorder, subsequent pregnancies are traumatic. Abortions are a critical option and are a security feature that allows them to consider having children again. While there are other options such as adopting, sperm or egg donations, or pre-implantation diagnosis of embryos, these all can become financial, social, or even moral burdens that some women can find impossible. Abortion should be seen as an available option if necessary. It doesn’t necessarily ALWAYS have to be used, but in certain times when truly necessary, something that can be considered and done. It can help prevent watching children die of untreatable disease.

People who often oppose abortions often criticize people with unplanned pregnancies, saying it’s irresponsible and those people should have used birth control. And that’s partially true. However, even with birth control, there are more than half of pregnancies that still occur.

Adoption. People also say, if you don’t want the child just give it up for adoption. It’s not that simple. Although that could be an option, it’s still quite dangerous for a woman who is not fit (emotionally or mentally) to have a child, give birth.

Another thing I want to bring up is rape abortions. There was a recent article of a 10-year-old being raped and getting pregnant. 10-year-old. That poor child had to travel to another state to get an abortion, since her state doesn’t allow abortions. Are you seriously going to force a 10 year old child, someone who is still learning, still maturing, still is a child and is dependent on their own parents, to become a mother and raise a child themselves??? Do you not understand how bad this is? How much pain and trauma can this have on her? Do you seriously want this poor child to suffer and go through pain, and a life-threatening thing just because you think abortion is wrong and the fetus is a living person? What if she dies??? Who knows what could happen.

In short, it should be a woman’s decision on what they should do. Some politicians should not be given the right to put their own beliefs and opinions into a decision that affects my body. The thought of having someone who I don’t even know make a decision about my own body and choice is a bit uncomfortable. I should have the right to decide what I do to my body and why. (I refer to women/ me as a woman/girl) I’m the one who knows it best. Not only that, I’m the one who knows what happens in my life. Those mothers and women have the strongest connection with the fetus and baby. They are the ones who should decide. It’s not like they willingly want to for fun and because all of a sudden they don’t want a baby anymore. Sometimes they’re not ready for it. If they give birth, based on their current life/status, the baby may not have a happy life. Or maybe the baby may not get all the love they deserve. Those mothers/women don’t want the baby to go through that. They want to raise a child with life and care in a good, steady, comfortable part of their life where they can emotionally, mentally, and financially support the child and their needs. They look forward and try to hope for the best for their child. This decision they make is difficult, but often necessary.

Abortion should be a choice made by the person having one. I believe that they are the only ones who can make the best decision for themselves and the fetus/baby. They should be the judge on what to do, and apply their own morals, experiences, opinions, etc. into a decision for themselves. They should not be pushed nor forced by others to do something they don’t want to or prevent them from doing. It should be an available option when necessary, no matter what. 

The last thing I want to talk about is rights. After the overturn of Roe v. Wade, there have been so many claims and protests saying abortion is their rights. I agree as well. But, for how long will we continue saying this? Will we continue protesting and demanding for a change and that abortion rights are women’s rights until the decision is flipped again? And then what happens after that? What happens then if it is once again flipped? Will we continue going back and forth? Instead of blaming these politicians and governors for making these decisions, shouldn’t we instead try to make it an official declaration? Shouldn’t we make it final, make it an official law that abortion is women’s rights? The job of the Supreme Court is to interpret the meaning of the law, and decide whether a law is relevant to a particular set of given facts. That means, based upon the majority of what the judges believe in the Court at that time, the decision/law will be interpreted differently. You can interpret something differently based on your beliefs or opinions, and that changes the outcome of things. 

A Supreme Court Justice remains in office as long as they choose and can only be removed by impeachment. That means we probably won’t be able to flip the decision again until the judges change to become in favor of pro-choice. Who knows how long that will take. So instead of continuously blaming governors and so many other people for making a decision that a state can have abortions or not, why not go and make it a law. Put it into the Constitution. 

The Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments added to our Constitution. They were made for us to have rights and the freedom to do things. For example, the right to speech or religion, the right to not incriminate yourself in court, the rights not written yet still given to the people, etc. The entire purpose of the Constitution is to guarantee certain rights to the people.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


That is the exact wording of the Constitution. It articulates the rights of citizens that institutions, procedures or legislation must not infringe, and which the state must strive to ensure. This being said, if you want to have abortion rights, shouldn’t we make it an amendment to the Constitution? By doing so we could establish it is a right, and no one, not even the states can infringe our right from it. Make it official. 

Before Roe v. Wade was overturned, people were able to get abortions. This being said, now that it is illegal in some states, are those women who want an abortion, no longer equal to those who previously could? We believe and try so hard to promote equality, equity, and bring everyone to the same level as one another within our needs, yet by not giving these rights, aren’t the two not equal anymore? 

The United States is often an example for others. We’re seen as a role model, a country that supports our allies and is the land of the free and home of the brave. Our entire government was built upon establishing our rights and freedoms we were denied of in England. When we don’t give equal rights to women to have abortions, wouldn’t other countries follow suit? Wouldn’t they see us differently? Aren’t we pretty much contradicting what we stand for? So is it really fair to remove a woman of her rights to have an abortion, when this not only makes her less equal to those who have before, but also to those in other countries who can today? (I’m not trying to compare countries or other people living in them, but trying to show how by banning abortion rights women are no longer equal to one another as well as others-not just women- in the world as well.)

Below I’ve linked some sources that helped me during my research on this topic. They give both sides to the debate and were interesting to read though:


























Sri Lanka is currently going through the worst economic downturn faced since independence from Britain in 1948. Facing power outages, lack of food, bankruptcy, and overwhelmed by numerous loans, the island nation is struggling. However, it hasn’t always been this way. 

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Sri Lanka became a plantation economy famous for it’s cinnamon, rubber, and Ceylon tea, something that remains a trademark national export. The development of ports under British rule strengthened the island and made it a center of trade. It’s major economic sectors are tourism, tea export, clothing, rice production, other agricultural products, and overseas employment, especially in the Middle East. From 2005-2011, Sri Lanka’s per capita income doubled. 

However, in 2016, it’s debt started to accumulate as infrastructure started to develop. This led to a near state of bankruptcy. In the fourth quarter of 2016, there was an estimated debt of $64.9 billion. In 2018, China agreed to bail out the country with a loan of $1.25 billion to deal with foreign debt repayment spikes in 2019-2021. In September of 2021, Sri Lanka declared a major economical crisis. But how exactly did Sri Lanka fall into debt? How did such a thriving economy crash? There are three main factors that caused this. Infrastructure, COVID, and the previous ban of chemical fertilizers.

Toruism and overseas employment, both of which provided the country with an input of foreign currency, crashed due to the pandemic. People stopped traveling, during this period, and people were also losing jobs. Prior to the pandemic, the country had proudly achieved upper-middle-income status, yet today half a million people have sunk back into poverty.Apart from that, there was also a ban on fertilizers put in place, partly to save foreign exchange. However, this led to domestic rice production falling 20% in the first six months. As a result, they were forced to import $450 million worth of rice. The ban also devastates the nation’s tea crop, the primary export and source of foreign exchange. Although the policy has been suspended and the government is offering $200 million to farmers as direct compensation, it hardly makes up for the damage and suffering the ban produced. 

Today, they now heavily rely on imports from other countries. “Soaring inflation and a rapidly depreciating currency have forced Sri Lankans to cut down on food and fuel purchases as prices surge.” (foreign policy.com) This has led to power cuts lasting up to 13 hours a day. The Rajapaksa government also promised tax cuts, which were enacted before the pandemic. With less money from the taxes, the government was unable to make some of these necessary purchases. 

Sri Lanka has also fallen into debt due to loans from other countries. One of them is China. Sri Lanka, situated between the key shipping route between the Malacca Straits and the Suez Canal, which links Asia and Europe. However, the only major port in Sri Lanka is the Port of Colombo, and it is catered towards container handling and is unable to provide facilities for port related industries and services. Therefore, a new port near the city of Hambantota, which has a natural harbor and is close to international shipping routes, was proposed. With the help of the Chinese government and workers, this port was built.

This relates to China’s Belt and Road Initiative; a global infrastructure development strategy developed by the Chinese government to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations. It’s about improving the physical infrastructure through land corridors that roughly equate to the old Silk Road. This also includes a maritime Silk Road along ports. Hambantota was built with Chinese investment to become part of this. “But the billion dollar project using loans and contractors from China became mired in controversy, and struggled to prove viable, leaving Sri Lanka saddled with growing debts.” (bbc.com) In 2017, Sri Lanka agreed to give “state-owned China Merchants a controlling 70% stake in the export on a 99-year lease in return for further Chinese investment.” So basically, using a loan from China, Sri Lanka is paying Chinese workers to build this port, causing the money to go directly back to China itself. So they’ve pretty much fallen in what is called a ‘debt-trap.’ This has been seen in other parts of the world, where, “Chinese lending has also proved controversial, with contracts whose terms could give China leverage over important assets”, can be seen. Some examples include:

  • Pakistan
  • Ethiopia
  • Djibouti
  • Mongolia
  • Sri Lanka
Many more included. (These are countries listed part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and are in debt. Not all countries part of the Initiative essentially owe debt.) But what China does, is step in, offer some assistance through money/loans to solve a problem a country has. This is mainly related to large infrastructure projects like roads, railways, ports, and also the mining and energy industry. As of right now, there are more than 40 countries in this category whose debt exposure to Chinese leaders is more than 10% the size of their annual economic GDP. 
Apart from that, it’s interesting how this works. There’s not really any international law that says China cannot do something like this. There are laws for it being domestic, but not internationally. We have loan sharks domestically, and just foreign/international debt. 

Overall, I think that Sri Lanka made the mistake of doing something they couldn’t afford. At that time, during the agreement of building the port, Sri Lanka was already in debt. This was a huge risk they had to take. If it didn’t prove to be viable, as it didn’t, Sri Lanka ended up being in more debt. They shouldn’t have done something they weren’t sure about and weren’t stable to proceed with. Although China was helping them pay off some debt they had at that time, by doing so, they got themselves into a more deeper problem. Not only that, I think that the government was taking really hasty decisions just for the sake of getting money and trying to get out of the problem. This whole Hambantota port project was thought of for decades, but only now put in because China was offering to invest in it to pay off debts. I feel like they should have started this project much before instead of when they had a problem. I can’t really say much regarding the pandemic, as that was something no one could have expected. However, I think that at that time, when rice-production and other agricultural products were still going strong within exports, the government shouldn’t have done anything about it. Maybe waited until later to put in tax cuts and the chemical fertilizer ban. Wait until the country was able to pull itself out instead of doing it quickly. So pretty much, don’t do something you can’t afford to do. 











On March 27th, the 94th Academy Awards, or Oscars, took place. That night, one very, unforgettable incident occurred. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. Now, Will Smith is a big actor, who would obviously not do something like this for no reason. And there was. Within this situation, I believe that both sides were wrong that night, and there could have been a better way to handle this. 

Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock 
{ Link to see entire scene}

Comedian Chris Rock had made a “G.I Jane 2” joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He said, “ Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2’ can’t wait to see it.” This was a comparison of her shaved head to Demi Moore’s buzzcut in the 1997 film. Mrs. Pinkett Smith didn’t smile or laugh at the joke, most likely because she has a condition called alopecia, which causes either temporary or permanent hair loss. Despite that she’s been very open about it, she has shared in the past her experiences with alopecia and how it’s affected her emotionally. She’s said that she cut her hair because of this condition. In her Facebook Watch series “Red Table Talk”, Mrs. Pinkett Smith said, “My hair has been a big part of me. Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual-and having the choice to Janehair or not- and then one day be like, ‘Oh my god, I might not have that choice.’” She also said, “ I really had to put it in a spiritual perspective of like, the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here who have cancer. People have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day, and by golly, if the higher power wants to take your hair? That’s it? God, you want my hair? When I looked at it from that perspective, it really did settle me.” Having such an important part of yourself gone must have hurt her a lot. I find it admirable how she took this into such a wider perspective and looked at her situation compared to much worse ones. Even though it would be almost devastating, she knew it would be the best decision to make, and took it upon herself to make it.

Knowing this, however, it was quite insensitive of Mr. Rock to make this joke. Regardless that he was trying to make a joke and make the night an enlightening experience, it wasn’t right to make a joke out of something that’s very personal or can be upsetting about someone. Mrs. Pinkett Smith might have just ignored it or looked annoyed, but she could have been deeply offended by this remark.

For this reason, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. Hearing that someone made such an insensitive comment about something that has strongly affected his wife, would have of course angered him. However, this is where he was also wrong. Usually, in the heat of the moment, we don’t think. This strong emotion overcomes us, and we’re not able to control how it affects our body, until we realize it later after it passes. In that moment, Mr. Smith was furious and acted as a husband, rather than a respected actor. He slapped Chris Rock, and yelled, “Leave my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth.”




In this situation, both of them were wrong. I’m not sure whether Chris Rock knew about Mrs. Pinkett Smith’s condition or not before making the joke, but even if he didn’t, I think he should have at least made some research or asked her beforehand if it was all right to talk about this. It was said to be unscripted, and was possibly added to enhance the mood. But, by doing so, it shows he was insensitive to this topic, and casually made a joke on it without realizing how much it could hurt someone. Will Smith also should have taken matters differently. I understand what it’s like when someone you love deeply is being, not exactly slandered, but hurt you want to stand up for them. You want to relieve that pain and correct it. That’s a very common response. However, violence shouldn’t have been the first response. Perhaps after this Mr. Smith could have talked to Mr. Rock about the gravity of his joke and asked him to apologize. Or maybe even made a response back. Any other response that wouldn’t result in violence would have been the better option. Although Mr. Smith later apologized in his acceptance speech, and later after than to Mr. Rock on social media, it wasn’t right in the first place. 

Mr. Smith d took accountability for his actions, and has expressed an apology to Mr. Rock, Mr. Rock’s family, everyone in attendance, global audiences at home, and the Academy. He has even announced his resignation from the Academy, and described his actions as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.” Although this apology may not be able to relieve the embarrassment mr. Rock must have felt that night, it does show that Mr. Smith realizes that his actions were unacceptable, and is ready to accept whatever actions are taken against it.

So, in conclusion, both Mr. Rock and Mr. Smith was wrong in this situation. I would mainly say Mr. Rock was wrong, since he was the one who decided to make a joke about a topic that is very sensitive. He had an option to say it or not, and yet he did. Mr. Smith’s reaction was hsi triggered response to that. Most likely, if Mr. Rock never mentioned that joke, could things have gone better? Most likely. But, even so, Mr. Smith’s response to this was also, equally as wrong. Violence should never be the first response to anything. If I were in his place, I might have called him out then and there, or maybe just pulled him aside later. Maybe even make a remark back at his joke during the Best Actor Award Speech. Mr. Rock needs to know that it wasn’t right, and so I would have made him realize that before it was too late. 


Big things are happening in the world right now. Specifically, Russia invading Ukraine. I want to talk about the major questions that have come in throughout these past few days involving this war. Why is Russia invading Ukraine? Why isn’t NATO or the UN helping? Why isn’t the US helping? These questions all go back a long way to WWII. From the midst of it up until now, so many events have accumulated, leading us to this problem today.

Let’s start with the main question.

 Why is Russia invading Ukraine in the first place?

The answer to this is a bit complicated. The main start to this begins a long time ago when the USSR was ending. After the Soviet Union was declared as no longer existing, many republics began to declare independence. Among these included Ukraine. After this, Russia remained. The USSR was heavily ruined after WWII. It faced a lot of damage in the aftermath, and with the republics declaring independence from the Union, Russia - after the collapse- lost many resources.

When making machinery or militia, not everything is made in the same place. Different parts are built in various places and then brought together in one place to assemble the final product. Because of this, Russia lost many weapons and nuclear arsenal when Ukraine declared independence. That’s one thing. Although Ukraine and Russia had an agreement and Ukraine gave up all the arsenal to Russia, there is another thing that Russia could be after. The reason why Ukraine had a nuclear arsenal in place. Ukraine sits on an abundant amount of Uranium. Uranium is used to make nuclear weapons. Although Russia does have Uranium, Ukraine has a plentiful amount of it, hence a reason to invade.

Another reason is oil. Ukraine is near the Black Sea, which leads to the Mediterranean Sea and then to the Middle East. What’s found in the Middle East? Oil. 

Source{Library of Congress}


Oil and Uranium are the most possible reasons why Russia is invading Ukraine. I’ve done some research on this incident and officials- or merely just reporters- are saying there are other reasons relating to why Russia is invading Ukraine other than the ones I’ve listed. So, we don’t know just yet.

Why isn’t NATO helping? 

Well, what exactly is NATO? Let’s backtrack.

During WWII, the heads of the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet had a meeting to discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe. This was known as the Yalta Conference, which took place near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union. Within a few years, the Cold War began.

The Cold War was a period of tension between two major superpowers at the time, Russia and the United States, and each of their respective allies. Although this conflict was never through any actual war, many proxy wars occurred between the two. One example is Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was used for one of the proxy wars that occurred between the US and Russia. Neither wanted to get into a war on their turf, as seen during WWII, so it was better to fight on another country’s land instead. The US helped a group grow to fight Russia. It’s one we’re very familiar with. The Taliban. However, Afghanistan isn’t surrounded by water. So, the US was pretty much bringing the Taliban through Pakistan, to Afghanistan. This led to Pakistan being on US’s side, as the US was helping them. Since Pakistan and India have many, many conflicts, Russia decided to help India. But anyways, the US was trying to grow the Taliban under their influence so they’ll fight against Russia. In the end, they left Afghanistan in ruins and decided they weren’t going to do anything with the Taliban anymore. This led to the group growing even more and becoming a terrorist group, which was led by Osama bin Laden to attack the Twin Towers. A bit ironic isn’t it?

Another proxy war was the Vietnamese war. Russians fought on Vietnamese land with Vietnamese people against the United States and ended up leaving Vietnam in ruins as well.

Anyway, the Cold War pretty much created a division between the continent. Germany was split into two parts, West and East Germany. East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union, while West Germany was controlled by the US, Britain, and France. After this, the United States and its allies created NATO.
Russia, seeing this, forms its own “group” called the Warsaw Pact with Eastern European Countries, as an equal balance of power with NATO. 

Source {The Glass Files}

Now, as I said before, the United States is not surrounded by any other countries, except Canada and Mexico. Russia, on the other hand, is bordered by 14 countries. This is a problem for Russia, as they cannot get close to the USA as easily. The US, on the other hand, can. The entire Western border of countries that surround Russia- except for Ukraine- are all part of NATO. Why not Ukraine? Well, Ukraine is directly next to Russia. If Ukraine were to join NATO, that means the US would have access to have its missiles and troops directly at Russia. Ukraine is an aspiring member of NATO, not yet a member, and Russia wants NATO to promise to never accept Ukraine as a member. They said that Ukraine joining NATO would be a threat to Russia’s borders, as already there are 5 NATO countries currently bordering Russia. Because of this, NATO, unfortunately, cannot help Ukraine. 

Source { Quora}


What about the UN?

In the United Nations, there is something called a Security Council. In the Security Council, there are 5 permanent members and many temporary members which change. The 5 permanent members are the USA, UK, France, China, and Russia. These 5 members have veto power over UN resolutions. This means that a permanent member can block the adoption of a resolution without having to debate on it. So, if one member says no, then the resolution is vetoed, even if the others say yes. Everyone has to agree.

Source {Cambridge Global Affair}

Source {dw.com}
Council meeting to discuss Ukraine-Russia
Situation

When Ukraine came to the UN, Russia- a permanent member- vetoed the resolution to help Ukraine. Because Russia said no, nobody could do anything, which means that the UN cannot help Ukraine as well.
There is one country that could help Ukraine, but they have stepped back. India. India became the President of the Security Council, and could help Ukraine, but has already said that it will remain independent and balanced, and will not help. India has a very strong reason to do so.

When India was testing nuclear weapons, Ukraine thought of India as bad. Many times, Ukraine has always condemned India and said India was bad for many things, including its conflicts with Pakistan. Ukraine even sent tanks to Pakistan, which were then used against Indians. So, when Ukraine came to India to help them, India chose to stay out and remain independent.

What about other countries?

Many other countries in Europe can’t help Ukraine, as Russia controls an energy supply, which can be cut off by them.

One other question I'd like to talk about is about what was to happen if Ukraine ended up being taken by Russia.

First, let’s go back to the end of WWII- again- and start from there. When Germany realized it was going to lose the war, it started to crumble and was destroyed. However, there was still one country that was still fighting. Japan. At this time, the United States decides to finally stop this and dops two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seeing the effects of the bombs, the world was shocked. This was when they realized the United States was on a completely different level compared to them. At that time, the United States didn’t see Russia as a threat. Russia was left in ruins after the war, while the US was perfectly fine, as there was almost no fighting on US soil.

Slowly, over time, Russia began building itself up again, until it became a superpower as well. Soon the Cold War emerged, and Europe was divided between two sides. Pro-USA or Pro-Russia. As I mentioned before, Ukraine has an abundant amount of Uranium. Russia has already close to the level the US is at now, so there is some tension between the two. The US doesn’t want them to be the same, and so they don’t want Russia to get their hands on that Uranium. So, as far as I have heard, the US has troops ready and planned to send some, but they are still not sent just yet.

Overall, I think Ukraine might be the one to blame here. It got itself in its mess. Although Russia is wrong to just attack Ukraine like that and is using hostile force, Ukraine can’t do anything about it. Although the rest of the world is trying to help them, I feel like they should have planned or even seen this coming. I mean, Russia and Ukraine have been having problems since 2014. Ukraine should have been better prepared in case this happened. They also shouldn’t have been too hasty in taking sides. India could have helped Ukraine and talked with Russia about this issue If Ukraine hadn’t condemned India many times in the past. Ukraine was hasty to make a decision and jump to say that India was bad, without even thinking of what could have happened in the future. It’s practically karma. Not only that, Ukraine was aspiring to be part of NATO.

There are many requirements to joining NATO and Ukraine didn’t meet any of those at first. With the help of NATO, Ukraine was getting there. However, many European Allies were against Ukraine joining since it could affect their relationship with Russia. They hoped they could have a closer relationship with Moscow, and Ukraine joining NATO could be a problem. If those Allies could have overcome those thoughts, we possibly could have saved a lot of Ukrainian and Russian lives by now.

The UN is also at partial fault. I feel like their system is very slightly biased. Out of the 5 permanent members, there are three European members, one Asian member, and one North American Member. There are six continents, excluding Antarctica. More than half of the permanent members are from one. Not only that, these countries are all those big powerful ones, and they won't give up their positions. Because of that, they don’t let countries that need voices to speak out have a chance. Yes, sometimes you need these stronger countries to lead and make decisions because they have the resources and can often make the best decisions to help, but it’s always biased. These big countries that have conflicts with other smaller countries- Russia or China- will use their power as permanent members to prevent those smaller countries to have a voice in decisions. They kind of overpower the others. The concept of the UN was made with good intentions, by a great man. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a dream and decided that the United States cannot ever turn its backs on the world again. From this dream, the UN soon came to be. Although many beneficial things have come out of the efforts of the UN, sometimes the resolutions to certain problems are biased. Or the problems may not even be solved, like what’s happening with Ukraine. I believe there should be a better division of power between the permanent members. Maybe a member per continent or even an ally speaks on behalf of many other countries and is represented. I’m not sure how that could or even would complicate things, but it is a suggestion.

Anyways, that was my take on the Ukraine-Russia situation. I wonder how the other countries will assist Ukraine, and how Ukraine figures out a way to solve this matter. I also wonder if Ukraine will still be an aspiring member and if it ever will get to be a part of NATO.