Russia and its Homophobic Ways

Most likely everybody thinks of Russia as sort of a strict and harsh ruling country, which would be sort of true for the people that are a part of the LGBT community. Different rulers have set up laws that discriminated against the LGBT community starting back before the fall of the Soviet Union. Though they had laws set against the LGBT community for years and years, Russia was not as strict on the LGBT community back then as they are now. The biggest influences on the laws set to discriminate against the LGBT community are the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Even though laws have been around for years in Russia that discriminated against the LGBT community, the people of Russia did not show as much hate for them as they do now. For example, there was a guy over in Russia that thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to come out to a couple of drinking buddies of his, after he told them he was beat up by them before having a stone dropped on his head (Khazan). Believe it or not, the people of Russia used to just ignore if people were gay instead of beating them to death because it wasn’t a big deal to them. In an article that is about the history of homosexuality in Russia, the authors write that there was a royal family that had gay members that people did not make a big deal about even though homosexuality was made illegal in 1835 (Quince and Phillips). Homosexuality became legal in 1922 by the Bolshevik, mainly because they wanted to be completely separated from Tsarist Russia, who had ruled previously (Quince and Phillips). Homosexuality became illegal once again though in 1934, when the Joseph Stalin was in power during the time of the Soviet Union (Quince and Phillips). Legalizing homosexuality or making it illegal has gone back and forth over the years in Russia, almost like a roller-coaster ride.  Anyway, the men were thrown into prison for homosexuality while the women were thrown into mental hospitals to see if they could be fixed into liking guys again (Quince and Phillips). The women that could not be fixed in the mental hospitals were basically turned into a man, meaning that they were basically considered transgender and could live life the way that they wanted (Quince and Phillips). Laurie Essig, who is a professor that focuses on sociology and gender studies, says that they would even go as far as give the women surgery to help them look manlier (Quince and Phillips). Surprisingly, Russia did not have a big issue with people that were transgender. Back to the laws dealing with homosexuality, Russia got rid of the law that allowed the arrest of homosexuals completely in 1933 (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay).

Even though Russia got rid of the law, it did not guarantee that the men who were thrown into prison for homosexuality were released or had charges taken away (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay). After reading parts and wholes of different articles it can pretty much be inferred that hate started coming towards the LGBT community when Putin started getting in the picture. One would think that since Russians think of sexuality as “fluid”, this was found in a search done by a journalist and a sociologist in the 90s and early 2000s (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay), that Russians wouldn’t have a problem with the LGBT community.

Olga Khazan wrote an article titled “Why Is Russia So Homophobic?” that basically suggested that the Russian Orthodox and “Putin government” are the reasons why Russia is homophobic. Fairly recently there was a law passed in Russia that banned gay propaganda from being seen by minors in basically any way, shape, or form (Khazan). They have it set up like see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil with the evil being homosexuality. Khazan suggests that the reason why they passed the propaganda law is because Russians believe that minors can be turned gay. She also writes that this sort of thinking is “not out of place in modern Russia”. The reason why the Russian Orthodox Church has influence, even if it is only a little bit, is because most Russians go to church and support it (Khazan). It does not help that the heads of the church have been known to support Putin and his views (Khazan). It also really does not help that patriarch Kirill has “referred to Putin’s presidency as ‘a miracle’” (Khazan). The head of the Orthodox Church, Kirill, has basically said he was against same-sex relationships (Khazan), so most likely most of the people that are a part of the church have similar views and opinions, or they could be persuaded into it.

Vladimir Putin is most likely the first thing that people think of when they think of Russia, or Trump. Anyway, Putin is seen as a strict and intolerant man. The fact that Putin signed the law that put a ban gay propaganda (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay) does not help his image, not that he most likely cares. When Putin did this, it happened several months before the Sochi Winter Olympics (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay) and word had gotten around about the law that he had signed. People around the world wanted to boycott having the Winter Olympics in Russia because they were outraged with Putin and Russia being homophobic (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay). There was somewhere that quoted Putin, which basically said that Putin wanted the gays to leave the children alone but that they could continue being gay. This just made Putin look even more like a homophobe. The reason why this is even mentioned is because people can kind of get the message that Putin does not want any more of the of Russia’s future generation to be tainted by the gays.

The Russian Orthodox Church may be so supportive of Putin because homophobia could be against their religion and Putin is helping to try to put a stop to that in Russia. So the Russian Orthodox Church has influence from Putin and the people of Russia are influenced by Putin and the church.


RIVKIN-FISH, MICHELE, and CASSANDRA HARTBLAY. “When Global LGBTQ Advocacy Became Entangled With New Cold War Sentiment: A Call For Examining Russian Queer Experience.” Brown Journal Of World Affairs 21.1 (2014): 95-111. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Quince, Annabelle, and Keri Phillips. “The History of Homosexuality in Russia: From Soviet

Sex Changes to Gay Gulags.” Radio National. ABC, 04 Dec. 2013. Web.

Khazan, Olga. “Why Is Russia So Homophobic?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 12 June 2013. Web.

With a Little Education Malnutrition Can be Defeated



The crisis of malnutrition has evolved to become a major problem in that it greatly affects many people, mainly children, in rural areas of Malawi. There are many factors that contribute to how people obtain reasonable resources that allows them to gain the proper nutrients to live a sustainable life. Although difficult at times, many people have adapted to ways that allows them to provide for their whole family based on what’s available to them. Research studies suggest that education and government interventions are key factors that contribute to child malnutrition in Malawi. Although there are many factors that contribute to the crisis of malnutrition, there are many ways in which people can help to prevent the crisis from getting worse, for example many people living in Malawi are uneducated about the crisis, so therefore by educating people in these areas, it is possible to prevent or even stop the spread of malnutrition.

Malawi is home to many civilians who raise and take care of the people in their household. People in this country use the limited resources available to them by becoming subsistence farmers and fishers which brings in food for their family to eat (Flax 8). One of the main staple crops that subsistence farmers gather is Maize because of its wide variety of uses in the meals of infants and adults (Vaahtera 1). With its many uses, people are very reliant on this crop for all their nutritional meals, but what people don’t realize is the amount of nutrients this crop lacks, like iron, zinc, and vitamin A (Vaahtera 1). The little nutrients provided by this crop leave many children and adults lacking the proper nutrition needed to live a healthy life that promotes proper development.

Many infants are born daily in Malawi and the feeding practices here begin to mold the starting process for the development of malnutrition in children. Very few mothers and caregivers breastfeed their babies as soon as they are born because they fear they will spread diseases, like HIV to their baby (Vaahtera 1). Because of this fear, many infants do not receive the essential nutrients the mother has in her breast milk to properly fight off illnesses and diseases. Some infants who were breastfed did so for a short time before moving on to dry porridges, generally made out of Maize, and then they would begin to eat solid food before age one (Vaahtera 2-3). With this kind of patterned feeding, children begin to develop symptoms associated with malnutrition, like small for size, which can eventually lead to stunting later in the child’s life (Flax 8). This indicator reflects how the lack of nutrients in the diets of infants has a major role in depicting malnutrition that will affect their lives later on because they aren’t receiving the proper nutrients needed for proper growth and development (Flax 1).

With the many signs that some people of an educated background would recognize as symptoms such as stunting and wasting that’s associated with malnutrition, people in Malawi are unable to recognize patterns of growth that are related to malnutrition (Flax 7). Many times children appeared to have symptoms associated with malnutrition, like thinness and edema (swelling), but because of the education that caregivers aren’t receiving, they are unable to recognize these signs that would prompt them to go get help (Flax 2). Because most children in Malawi look alike in regards to body size, it is oftentimes difficult to set apart children who are healthy from children who are malnourished. Often time’s parents look at the fatness of their child compared to the fatness of another child to know if their child is lacking nutrition (Flax 6). Because of the severity of malnutrition in Malawi, it is important to recognize the symptoms and appearances associated with malnutrition because it has a major role in the health of children. For example, children who are small for size at birth were more likely to become stunted later in life, so if mothers are aware of body size, they will be able to know when to start receiving help before the child starts showing any symptoms (Flax 1).

Obtaining resources becomes an obstacle for many because of the limited resources that are readily available to them (Flax 7). People in high income countries rely on imported goods because they are able to afford the food that comes in, unlike people in Malawi that live in poverty, obtaining food can cause a strain on families (Cornia 1). The constant change in food prices because of climate changes makes obtaining food a difficulty (Cornia 2). Oftentimes food that is sold at a higher price is typically when people purchase food because of famine that leaves people without food which leads to an increase in childhood malnutrition (Cornia 9). When prices are low people sell their food because it is during a season when famines didn’t occur, but when people sell their food during this time, they don’t receive their money in full (Cornia 3). With the constant change and struggle for food, it reflects how much the country is in need of government interventions that can help find a way to stabilize food prices so that obtaining food isn’t a major obstacle.

Although it’s difficult to end poverty, it is possible to educate people in Malawi about areas of adjustments that are possible in order to prevent children from experiencing malnutrition. For example, Maize doesn’t contain many of the essential nutrients needed for proper growth, but by offering parents a choice to enroll children into nutritional programs, children will have a chance to receive proper nutrition because of supplements the programs offer (Flax 8). Educating mothers about how to feed and perceive the appearance of their child for symptoms of malnutrition can greatly reduce the numbers of children who are living with malnutrition. Educating people in this country will allow mothers and caregivers to help ease the crisis that is already at hand by providing information that will change the lives of children here for the better.

Mental Health & HIV : The Connections & Implications


Personally, I know what it feels like to lead a life with a mental illness and the damage that can be done when it is ignored and when it is not given priority. Growing up in a very dysfunctional household, I was set up to encounter some sort of issue whether it be emotional or mental and during my sophomore and junior year in high school, that’s exactly what happened. I fell into the darkest void I could have ever imagined as depression took over my life and my motivation for those two years. I remember hearing my father tell me that it wasn’t depression, and the feeling of him trying to silence me and sweep it under the rug did not sit right with me. It was like a scream trying to make it’s way out of a sewn mouth and knowing that his reluctance to accept what his son was going through was nothing more than his perpetuation of stigmas within his own culture. With experiencing that, I started to wonder: In what ways are mental health issues prevalent elsewhere in the world and in what ways are those people directly or indirectly silenced like I was?

Through research, I found out that mental health was a serious issue within developing countries such as Africa, but specifically, Zimbabwe. It became even more interesting when I kept running into information that suggested a deep correlation between mental health and PLWH (people living with HIV). After taking note of that and more research, it brought me to make one point: The prevalence of mental health disorders within PLWH in developing countries come from two reasons: lack of advocacy and lack of substantial resources.

Before I explain why these medical issues are as prevalent, you might be wondering how the two correlate specifically. According to one study’s literature review “A recent study found that of 395 patients screening positive for a mental health problem, nearly 50% were also accessing services for an HIV-related issue (JANAC).” This statistic clearly shows that many people who suffer from a mental illness, are also conflicted with HIV. With knowing this, the question becomes: Why? According to the same literature review in that study “Alcohol and substance use is on the increase, which may indicate it being used as a coping mechanism to deal with stress surrounding an HIV diagnosis” (JANAC). So what this is saying is that being diagnosed with HIV and living with the stigmas surrounding it can lead a person into a state of stress which is a building block for the start of many mental illnesses. One of those mental illnesses being depression as that is the most prevalent mental health disorder seen throughout disability-adjusted life years, specifically 50 percent. Vice versa, “High rates of alcohol use, depression, and anxiety in PLWH are known to influence self-care and risk-taking behaviors, exacerbating the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections (JANAC).” The statistics clearly shows that both can cause the other.

Now that we understand the correlation, we have to understand why they are both such an issue in Zimbabwe’s society. Lack of advocacy is the first limitation to fixing or progressively reducing the prevalence of both issues. To get a sense of this, I read this study titled “We Are Not Really Marketing Mental Health: Mental Health Advocacy in Zimbabwe”. Within this study, they interviewed key players within the issue of mental health. They interviewed Physicians, Psychiatrist, Researchers, Nurses, and Policymakers to name a few. However, they did not choose to interview those seeking the services (the afflicted) because they felt that there would be bias present in their responses. They were asked questions around advocacy of mental health. One response said “I think the major barrier of the major problem is that people are ignorant about what psychology is and how important it is. But the moment you explain to people, people appreciate, even if they are not trained in psychiatric. They appreciate the importance of it.” This statement came from a physician and multiple professionals in the medical field endorsed this statement and form of thinking. This centered around the topic of community awareness of psychology and that is key in accepting and dealing with both issues. Another physician stated “To me that is the biggest challenge, we need to change our orientation towards health. We need to embrace the World Health Organization’s definition of health. That is not just physical but there is mental and emotional component and the spiritual component. This is just a glance at the viewpoints of these participants but to get to the point, it’s a very repetitive viewpoint from everyone else. According to the discussion section, there was a broad viewpoint among the participants that mental health was “widely misunderstood and under-appreciated” in Zimbabwe. However, two-thirds of them spoke with depth regarding advocacy and made it known that advocating strategically was something they believed heavily in but as we know from this study, it isn’t. Therefore, to start to progress in understanding mental health and just how important it is, we have to speak about it. If there is no one advocating for it, then it will remain “widely misunderstood and under-represented”.

However, the lack of advocacy is not the only barrier in the way of fixing this issue for them. Aside from lack of advocacy, these developing countries lack the substantial resources to effectively do anything about it. According to the JANAC, “among 58 low- and middle-income countries, 67% experience a shortage of psychiatrists, 95% experience a shortage of mental health nurses, and 79% experience a shortage of psychosocial services.” This statistic alone that a general consensus of developing countries do not have the resources to tackle mental health and as I stated before, mental health and HIV are implicative of each other and so if one issue is not fixed, then it’s just time before the other one appears. However, my study was on Zimbabwe so you guys are wondering if it applies there. In fact, it does. According to JANAC, “Findings in Zimbabwe are similar, as 50% of mental health professional positions are vacant and 90% of all psychiatric nurses work in one hospital in the capital city of Harare.” The lack of distribution of the very limited mental health professionals they have becomes a huge issue because not everyone in this country has the means to reach these places. If we can distribute these services equally around these countries and increase the people we have to begin with in these fields, then that can do a ton for fixing the substantial resource gap.

In conclusion, no issue is easy to solve but even the smallest things mean something. If you choose to read this and understand this, then know that advocacy and equal distribution of resources can be incredibly useful for helping the situation of mental health in countries like Zimbabwe. We can’t complain about an issue’s scale when we don’t speak up or provide what is needed to fix them.

Education in Sri Lanka

 Contrary to having the highest number of literate youths for a developing country, Sri Lanka is struggling to keep their education system afloat and their children interested in school.  There have been many changes in Sri Lanka’s education system in the last 200 years due to the shift in governments and expectations from the youth, which is now negatively affecting the quality of education within the country. In The Education System of Sri Lanka, Kamala Liyanage spells out the positive and negatives within the ever growing education system.

How a work ethic can change an entire education system

Imagine trying to receive an education when the whole education system is struggling right there next to you. Sri Lanka’s education system is struggling to keep their students interested and engaged in staying in school, there are many factors that result in this. It seems that the children of Sri Lanka are having trouble staying in school because they are distracted by things that go on in their daily lives, which makes it difficult to accurately apply themselves to the curriculum. So when students are having trouble keeping up in school, hiring a tutor and keeping the highest grades amongst their peers in order to sustain their scholarship only add to their problems. If the student does not have the correct work ethic they will continue to move further and further away from their goal.

Not to mention the crumbing structure of Sri Lanka’s education system that is struggling to keep schools buildings running and employ teachers with the correct qualifications, Liyanage reports that after the GDP funding for education was dropped by the Sri Lankan’s government from 4% down to 1.8% in 1977. With less money to pay educators, teacher with little experience and less passion to educate the future generations of their country are becoming the last option for schools to higher, without teachers who are passionate about what they teach there is no connection between student and teacher. Students all over the world have a better time understanding the material that they are being taught when the teacher invests into the student, ensuring that they completely understand the material at hand. Without that passion students are feeling detached and left wondering why they must learn the material in the first place. Not to mention students that are recently receiving education degrees are noticing that there are not many good paying teaching careers available in Sri Lanka, so they are leaving the country in hope that they will be able to make more money elsewhere.  After the drop in funding, many schools were forced to shut down creating a longer commute for children in more rural areas, leaving some student without a drive to make that trip to receive their education. Lower class families who are having trouble not only finding transportation but are struggling provide basic needs like food and clothing, which makes acquiring an education seem even further from reach.  Students who do travel from far to attend school are most likely able to go because of scholarships, which raises the pressure on the student to do their best and claim a higher ranking among their classmates. Too much added pressure on students can affect the quality of their work and over all mental state, creating a bad image of attending school for students who are interested in pursuing their education.

Schools in rural areas the ones that are at most risk of being neglected and closed. “Two thirds of primary schools and around 30% of all schools have less than 100 students and are located in economically disadvantaged districts. Overt neglect of these schools, failure to appoint qualified principals, and teachers and the absence of basic minimal facilities has resulted in their marginalization. As poor, ill-equipped schools, they are unable to retain their student and are often shut down, depriving children in poor areas to access to education” (Liyanage). The majority of those schools are located in rural areas, cutting off the student age population who are destined to work as farmers passed down from their families, from the chance to receive an education and join a different career field. The schools that were able to stay open had a large decline in the quality of facilities, classroom were less equipped with textbooks and other supplies that are needed on a daily basis. All of these factors attribute to the growing reasons why student do not wish to continue their student after year 9 according to Liyanage.

Room to recover and grow

While Sir Lanka’s education system is struggling there are a few positive aspects which create room to recover and grow. Starting with the free education that is offered for every year of schooling, unlike other countries like America, university level classes are tuition free although student are still required to pay for things like supplies and on campus living. Students who are truly passionate about creating a career for themselves are given more opportunities to follow that specific subject at a university that specializes in the field. The majority of universities did not feel the drop in GDP education funding because they are largely funded by private donors from out of country, with a strong higher education system those who are currently studying in a university are finding it easy to earn a degree, leaving those who are enrolled in a struggling secondary school with hope to find themselves successfully studying in higher education in the future.  Liyanage shows introduces a chart of statistics that represent what types of schools the Sri Lankan population attends, almost 90% of Sri Lankan students will attended a public institute, whereas the low population of upper class families are more likely to put their children through private or religious schooling. Those student who are privileged enough to attend a private or religious school have a higher chance of continuing their education through university level schooling because they are given better learning facilities. Giving students a positive learning environment creates a more driven work ethic and influences students to be more optimistic about their future, not only about their education path but towards a better career that will make them more successful in life. For those who are able to attend school but struggle to pay the extras like learning materials and transportation there are scholarships to aid students through their academic journey, giving all students an equal chance to succeed.

Many developing countries are finding a hard time balancing attendance when it comes to females to males due to tradition and culture, Sir Lanka does not fall under that category. “Significantly. Gender parity was achieved at the primary level by 2006, even in the historically disadvantaged tea estate sector with 94.4 for boys and 94.78 for girls enrolled (dept. of census and statistics, 2006) In 2012, both male and female attendance rate is higher than that of male (female 61% and male 56%) As a result of free education policy female enrollment in universities has increased up to 65% in 201, though it was only 7% more in 1942” (Liyanage). Studies are finding that males are more likely to drop out to join the domestic job market, which is interesting because in other developing countries males are more likely to stay in school to acquire an education so that later down the road they will have access to a more sufficiently paying job, in hopes that they will be able to provide for their families. While girls in other developing countries are not even given the chance to attend school or forced to drop out to care for the rest of their family, girls in Sri Lanka are being given this rare chance to build an education for themselves. In this simple act of attending school, girls from Sri Lanka are empower other girls all over the country and the world to go to school, showing them that working hard and creating an education is the best thing they can invest in for themselves.

Change for future generations 

With more enthusiasm among students to receive an education and better application of funds, Sri Lanka should be able to gain a stable education system throughout the country. For now teachers and high authority in the schools systems should look for different methods to keep students engaged in schooling and take advantage of opportunities fix issues that arise in the classroom. The poor or families in rural areas should be more informed on the job opportunities that can arise from receiving an education that can help their children succeed finicaly that can. With time and word of mouth the people of Sri Lanka can regain a stable education system.

India’s Fight in the Modern Slave Trade




  How can a country’s government sit back for a long period of time as they watch their citizens suffer and know about the Dark illegal trade known as Human Trafficking which it’s mainly used for sex work? India is recognized as both a destination and source country for sex slave workers. Sex Trafficking in India has grown comfortable in their cultural surroundings and most of the citizens have become accustomed to sex work in their communities and the race for intervention on the Black Trade is at a stand still. With the country struggling to control the trafficking for over one hundred years the problem seems almost impossible for the Indian government to resolve.

      Human Trafficking has been going on all over the world for centuries but India’s problem has grown more public and less of a priority to resolve in the last 35 years. Women and young girls are the most targeted for sex work as well as families who have little education usually from small villages with little to no funds to support their families. Most people who sell their daughters into trafficking are told that they will be given a portion of the profits that their daughters make for the work they do but never receive the amount told instead they are only given 1/3rd of their earnings. The families are also promised a marriage to their daughters through the work which is unlikely because then the girls receive less money. Continuing from Nicholas Kristof’s article “She’s 10 and May be Sold to a Brothel” he covers the story of a young Indian girl who like every child in India has dreams and aspirations in life but due to the fact that her mother is a prostitute she as well will probably one day join the work trade like her mother.

     Due to the poor education system that is in India many families lack the sources and knowledge to know that keeping a child in school all the way through high school can create a better life for your child and the future of the country. Females in India are known more to stop their education at the 6th grade and either stay home to work to help support their family while learning skills to support their own family one day or to be sold into a brothel for profit. At the age of only ten years old not even old enough to menstruate, young girls are sold to brothel owners for money. As for other girls in India education is hard to come by and for most villages do not supply schools for females after the 7th grade and the fortunate few whose family has the  knowledge to continue their daughters studies end up in a better position with a stable job and benefits. From the ages 10 to 18 young girls in India are the most likely to be trafficked into modern slavery. Because of the high rate of poverty, large population and low literacy the citizens of India are more targeted into human trafficking. With the high population; lack of adults having education, and stability to support their family more people look to prostitution and child slavery for money. For many years the Indian culture has come accustomed to the “black trade” and with the lack of urgency to stop it the government has taken very little interest to stopping modern slavery and child sex workers.  

    It has only become recent in the last few years to police and government officials to make a change to the illegal trade. When a brothel has a police raid and they are able to remove the children, a brothel owner will then pay the police a bribe of significant amount to get back their workers to keep their business afloat. (Nicholas Kristof) With the government and police starting to create change within the country to build a safer community and to one day stop the trafficking of children.  Many anti-trafficking organizations try to stop the trafficking in India are from out of the country help. NGO standing for non-government organization is one of the main programs that help victims of modern slavery. (Experiences of sex trafficking victims in Mumbai, India)

   With the Indian Government’s interest beginning to stop pimps controlling brothels and fighting to save the young sex workers in them the modern slavery world can start in the prevention of Sex slavery. Within this blog u hope as a reader that you were able to learn about the need for the intervention in creating a stronger motion in stopping people within the sex slavery trade.  

Work Cited

Nicholas Kristof  New York Times “She’s 10 and May be Sold to a brothel” June 1st, 2011

Michelle R. Kaufman and Mary Crawford Violence Against Women  “Violence Against Women” 2011

J.G. Silverman, M.R.Decker and J.Gupta “Experiences of sex trafficking victims in Mumbai, India” 30th August 2007


Migrating from the Northern Triangle to the US


Renata Teodoro and her mother, Gorete Borges Teodoro, meet at Mexico Border Fence after being deported in 2007 (Samantha Sais for New York Times).
Renata Teodoro and her mother, Gorete Borges Teodoro, meet at Mexico’s Border Fence after being deported in 2007 (Samantha Sais for New York Times).

It’s been 13 years since my mother has entered this country “illegally.” After years and years of applying to forgiveness and a chance to receiving proper documentation, the federal government has agreed on giving her a chance but she has to go back to El Salvador, as a form of punishment for coming into this country illegally, in order to receive her documents. The estimated time of wait in El Salvador for her was 6 to 12 months. For others, they have to serve 8+ years out of the country as punishment before coming back into the country, but the second time around, they will come with proper documentation. The day she has to go arrives and it’s devastating. “I’ll be back eventually,” my mom says as we start to say our goodbyes. “I don’t know how long it will take but I promise to come back.” Through many tears and unable to let go, my mom walks through the doors to catch her flight to El Salvador. Then just like that, she’s gone, leaving my father and I behind. This is what many undocumented families go through every day. Sometimes, families don’t even know when their loved ones will come back. Some are blessed to be given a chance by the US to become naturalized or receive residency, just like my mother was. Being separated or leaving your family behind is one of the hardest things ever, especially for immigrants. But sometimes, migrating to a new country, such as the US, is what’s best for some, considering their circumstances.

Immigration is something that happens all over the world, especially in dangerous areas of the world, such as the Northern Triangle. The Northern Triangle consists of 3 countries in Central America; El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. According to Hiskey, Ph.D., Córdova, Ph.D., Orcés, Ph.D. and Malone, Ph.D, in the spring and summer of 2014, tens of thousands women and children came to the US from Central America in search of a better life. Due to the many people migrating to America, the US declared the mass migration a humanitarian crisis (Lakhani). Although the US is becoming very occupied due to many migrators, they all do this for different reasons. People from the Northern Triangle migrate towards the US due to the increase in homicide, gang violence, or just in search for a better life.

Figure 1: Homicide Rates for Selected North and Central American Countries, 2000-2013

According to Figure 1 from Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis: Why They Are Fleeing and How U.S. Policies are failing to Deter Them, homicide rates have been increasing for the most part since 2000. The homicide rates increased drastically in Honduras after 2006. In 2011, homicide rates reach an all-time high of 92/100,000. Homicide is one of the reasons why people from the Northern Triangle leave their countries. In the article Young crossers tell DC panel it’s not safe at home, Mayeli Hernandez, a 12 year old girl, explains that she and her sister left Honduras due to the violence. “It was very ugly to see the blood running on the ground,” she said, after she saw two people get murdered (Reynolds). It’s not only unsafe for adults but for children as well.

Gang violence and violence in general takes a role in why people decide to leave their countries and come to the US. Innocent people are victimized every day, sometimes more than once. These people are not safe; eventually, they could end up dead, unfortunately.

Figure 2. Crime Victimization and Migration Intentions, 2014

This graph taken from the American Immigration Council, shows that people who are victimized at least once or more than once have more intentions of migrating towards the US than those who have never been victims of
violence. In the article written by Reynolds, Saul Martinez, a young boy of the age 15, left El Salvador after MS-13 gang members threatened to kill him if he rode his bike through their neighborhood. He thought if he stayed, he would eventually be asked to join a gang or even worse, get murdered (Reynold). Making a personal connection to Martinez’s situation, my brother went through a similar thing. My brother was constantly being harassed by gang members in El Salvador and eventually was threatened to get killed. With a very short notice, he left El Salvador and made his journey here.

Violence isn’t the only reason why people from the Northern Triangle come to America. Some simply come because they want a better life for themselves and for their children. This happens to be the case for many people. Although leaving your life behind and coming to the US to start over isn’t easy, it is guaranteed that life in America would be safer than it is in The Northern Triangle. People migrating throughout Central America towards the US is a dangerous journey. From crossing through deserts and swimming through rivers, people fleeing should be given a chance of staying in the US. The US may not have enough space for all the asylum seekers but maybe the US could work with countries such as Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica to provide protection for these people.

Works Cited

Hiskey, Jonathan T., Ph.D, Abby Cordova, Ph.D, Diana Orces, Ph.d, and Mary Fran Malone, Ph.D. “Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis.” American Immigration Council. American Immigration Council, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.

Lakhani, Nina. “US and Mexico’s Mass Deportations Have Fueled Humanitarian Crisis, Report Says.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 27 July 2016. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.

Reynolds, Christa Elise. “Young Crossers Tell DC Panel It’s Not Safe at Home.” Arizona Daily Star, 30 July 2014. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.

Zemansky, Rebekah, and Julia Preston. “Immigrants Reach Beyond a Legal Barrier for a Reunion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 June 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.


You call it crazy, I call it normal


A good friend of mine, Angel, struggled with schizophrenia. When I first met him, I didn’t know this fact about him nor did he show any symptoms. As we grew closer, he opened up to me and told me his experiences with the voices. I, being close to him, saw and experienced when the voices would become active. When the voices would become vibrant enough to set him in a trance, it was hard to watch and not being able to do anything. A hug wasn’t the solution and neither was trying to give positive reinforcements because they would interfere with the voices he was already hearing. Though living these dramatic situations did not scare me or discourage me from wanting to be there with him when the voices began.

A mental illness does not define who you are. I can personally advocate on this statement because the best people I have ever encountered are the ones who struggle with a mental illness of their own. Society likes to stigmatize individuals who are diagnosed with a mental illness as crazy or even over dramatic. Mental illness is still a topic being kept in the dark. Although the U.S. offers therapists and psychologists to help for many others around the world the opportunity for treatment is limited, like developing countries like India. In India, those diagnosed with schizophrenia face stigmatism due to lack of knowledge on the subject and harsh culture expectations.

As I research the stigma in depth I came across an article by Ramesh Avadhani titled, Sheela: My Schizophrenic Sister. Avadhani had an interesting point of view, he witnessed the stigmatism that was given to his younger sister for having schizophrenia by his family especially their dad. Sheela did not participate in conversation and ate by herself, her parents viewed these as her normal behavior so she never saw a doctor says Avadhani. Only after Sheela clawed a woman’s face at work, a peon was send to the family in which they suggested they take Sheela to the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurological Sciences (Avadhani, 2011). Avadhani explains the difficulty it was for their father to understand Sheela that often resulted in him beating her for her actions, threatening her to take her to the police and shaming her to the family because he viewed Sheela’s actions as simple disobedience. Avadhani and his family never comprehended the extent of her illness. How could they if it is something they had never been educated on? Perhaps they could have realized Sheela’s symptoms and given her the medical attention she needed early on. Although Sheela’s family tried to understand her, they never really thought of her as a member of the family, just someone they had to take care of. Her father never  came into realization about her illness and even the author, her brother, Avadhani, speculated on the reasons why she had the illness without knowing the necessary information.

In the article, People living with Schizophrenia can also lead a “normal” life by Mona Sharma Rana. Rana starts off her article with a success story of a 36-year-old male diagnosed with schizophrenia who works in an art gallery and teaches martial arts that allowed him to do what he loves. She goes on to say how his life is just one example of many who are diagnosed with schizophrenia in India that live an ordinary life just like everyone else. Rana states her reasons to why people discriminate those with a mental illness by blaming the media is shaping an image of a person with schizophrenia to society in saying they are violent and angry. These characteristics of an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia can be misinterpreted as dangerous behaviors and due to the lack of knowledge they can end up being incarcerate or put into an asylum, says Rana. The media leads the example of exclusion to society from those diagnosed because they’re uneducated on this topic. Before labeling an individual, they are people, as Rana desperately tried to get across in her article.

In my research I found a study, Living with Schizophrenia in India: Gender Perspectives by Santosh Loganathan and R. Srinivasa Murthy. The study gather evidence from surveys and personal narratives of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia in India that portrayed the harsh cultural expectations (Loganathan & Murthy, 2011).  The results revealed that men are most stigmatized in their job occupations and are more concerned on how others view them, says Loganathan and Murthy. This is because in India, men are seen as the breadwinners and have an obligation to financially maintain their family (Loganathan & Murthy, 2011). Woman are stigmatized during their pregnancies and at births that can result in a forced abortion or in the baby being taken away from her due to fear of passing on the mental illness (Loganathan & Murthy, 2011). The gender perspectives in India claim what their culture expects but recall them as unfit if diagnosed with this mental illness and are unable to achieve those expectations.

Loganathan and Murthy announce the importance of how culture may influence stigma. In the Indian culture if you’re not married or have children you are viewed as incapable and unstable, say Loganathan and Murthy. Both genders faced difficulties in getting married and consequences within their family because of their illnesses (Loganathan & Murthy, 2011). Due to the fear of never getting married, which is an Indian obligation, individuals struggling with schizophrenia are forced to conceal their illness or disguise it as a medical illness, reports Loganathan and Murthy. With the lack of education on mental illnesses in India, some people claim getting married is the solution for schizophrenia and are forced into it as a remedy, says Loganathan and Murthy. What people in India do not know is that a person diagnosed with schizophrenia can carry on their cultural expectations in their culture.

In conclusion, schizophrenia in India is just as stigmatized and discriminated as it is anywhere in the world. The problem is that people are uneducated and unaware of the symptoms, causes and effects which leads to people speculating and misinterpreting. In India, their cultural expectations rejects a person diagnosed and that interferes with a persons will to seek the help. It is important to be informed before labeling. We must not hate or make those diagnosed feel different, instead we should try putting ourselves in their shoes and walk a mile.



Avadhani, Ramesh. “Sheela: My Schizophrenic Sister.” You & Me World’s Medical

   Magazine, 9 Dec. 2011, 


Loganathan, Santosh, and R. Srinivasa Murthy. “Living with Schizophrenia in    

 India: Gender Perspectives.” SAGE Journals, vol. 48, no.    5, 2011,

Rana, Mona Sharma. “People living with Schizophrenia can also lead a ‘normal’

life.” DailyO, 12 Mar. 2015,           disability-day-mental-health-psychiatry-psychology-public-health  system/story/1/7740.html


The Importance of the Battle for Aleppo


The Importance of the Battle for Aleppo

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Four years have passed since the battle in Syria started and yet it is not clear when it will end. CNN and other media outlets have every day reports on the daring humanitarian situation in Syria and especially in Aleppo. According to these reports, destruction, humanitarian crisis, human rights violations and religious feuds have only aggravated the already precarious situation in Syria. While many countries are already considering the War in Syria a genocide conducted by Al-Asaad regime, some countries like Russia and China have denied and opposed these allegations. Moreover, they have opposed to any type of humanitarian relief send by the U.N. The idea of a No-Flight zone has been lingering among the US government and its allies. Although many people are in favor of a No-Flight zone, some other opposed to the implementation of it in Syria Air Space. Martin O’Malley, former Maryland Governor stated in an article published by CCN that the concept of a No-Flight zone sounds attractive but he doesn’t think it will work and on the contrary would make problems. O’Malley that since Syrian Air Space is controlled by Syrian and Russian forces, the implementation of the No-Flight zone will lead to an escalation of force between the US and the Russian government that could result into an armed conflict with Russia. After researching more into this topic, I have found two major challenges on the Syrian conflict that has torn the country apart. Humanitarian crisis relief and the religious sectarian differences within the country.

Humanitarian Crisis

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Throughout history we have learned that humanitarian crisis has always been challenging. In the hands of a rootless dictator, Syria is not exemption of this rule. My personal experience while working for the Department of the Army have shown me that coordination and agreements between two or more parties within a conflict are something not to be taken lightly. In many cases, these agreements don’t go as planned and the need to fulfill basic human needs such as food, shelter and medical assistance for one group can be seen as a provocation or opposition to the other group. In an article published by the Chicago Tribune in September 19th, the US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, stated that a humanitarian convoy on its way to Syria was hit by airstrikes by the Syrian military backed by Russian forces. A “gregarious violation” is how Kirby called the incident where many volunteers got killed or injured.

According to an article published by BBC, the U.N. said that they will require more than $3.2 BN to help the more than $13.5 million people including the more than 6 million children victims of the war. Moreover, the US Department of State in its website mentioned that the U.S. has agreed to provide additional $439 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to Syria and its neighboring countries to mitigate the crisis of the Syrian migrants. Food, water, medicine, shelter and basic human needs are at in some much need for the people trapped in cities like Aleppo as well as in the neighboring countries.

The Humanitarian crisis not only takes part within the country. It has also triggered a massive exodus of Syrians across borders especially in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. In an article published by USNEWS, Paul Mutter wrote that according to the U.N., has 257 refugees per 1,000 citizens, Jordan has 114 refugees per 1000 citizens, and Turkey has a similar influx of refugees but the proportion there is smaller since Turkey is a much larger country. This big influx of refugees had already altered the economy in these countries. Furthermore, Mutter said that many citizens of these countries have complained that they’re losing their jobs over skilled Syrian laborers offering cheaper labor.


Shiites, Sunnis and Christians

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One very difficult aspect in the war in Syria is how to deal with the different types of religions, their respectively sects and their involvement in this crisis. In order to understand the complexity of this issue I think it is necessary to identify major key players in the crisis. With a vast Muslim majority, Syria also has a Christian community living in its borders. As Olga Khazan wrote in an article published by the Washington Post, the Sunnis represent the majority with a 60% of the population. As stated in the article, the Sunnis are against the Al-Assad regime for the most part and tend to help the rebels. Around 12% are Christian that rather support the regime than to be crushed by the forces loyal to Al-Asaad. Shiites represent a 15% of the population and the Alawites around 12% of the Syrian population. As the article reads, the Alawites which are a Shia sect are a minority in Syria but they have the most power in the country. They hold key military positions in Syria and Al-Asaad’s father was the one that brought them to power after World War I. What started as another Arab Spring in the region has turned into another sectarian war. In an article by the BBC, the author recounts how the Syrian war has brought attention other powerful nations into the conflict. As the article stated, Iran and its Shia majority has been supporting Al-Asaad regime. Billions of dollars and subsidized weapons have been poured into the Syrian forces in the effort to crush the opposition. In addition to that, the Syrian government also enjoys the support of Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia Islamist group.

According to the article by the BBC, the Sunni opposition have the support of other powerful countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, France, the UK and the US in some sort of form. As the article stated, the opposition lead by the Free Syrian Army has been requesting anti-aerial weapons to be able to fight and to try to stop the air strikes in Aleppo by the Syrian forces backed by the Russian government. It is important to mention that the US has been hesitant to armed the Sunnis with anti-craft weaponry fearing they may fall in hands of ISIS and other jihadist groups. As history as shown us in Afghanistan, we have an example of what could happen if the US help arming the opposition. There, the US provided stingray anti-craft missiles to help the Afghanis fight the Russian forces many years ago. The same weapons were used against the US during Operation Enduring Freedom by the Taliban.


We can conclude that there is no clear sight on when the violence will stop in Syria. The slow response by the international community has resulted in a battle where the opposition is locked in a sectarian war that has brought forces and fighters from other places with their own agenda. Arabs against Persians, Sunnis against Shiites, Russia and the West have their own interests in this war and have complicated any type of humanitarian relief for the people in Syria. Millions of people have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed as a result of the war. History has shown over and over that civil wars end either when one side finally achieve victory, or when the involved parties reach an agreement. If the different sects involved in this conflict don’t get to an agreement, then the fight will continue. A definite military victory either by Sunni opposition backed by the West and some Arab countries or Al-Asaad forces back by Iran, Russia and Hezbollah have to take place otherwise the fight will continue for years to come.


Works Cited

Barnard, Anne. “In Rebel-Held Aleppo, Residents Report Increasing Desperation.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 Dec. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

Bradner, Eric. “Martin O’Malley against Syria No Fly Zone.” CNN. Cable News Network, Sept.-Oct. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

Khazan, Olga. “Who’s Fighting Whom in Syria?” The Washington Post. WP Company, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

Mutter, Paul. “A Middle Eastern Marshall Plan.” U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, 16 Jan. 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

News, BBC. “Syria: The Story of the Conflict.” BBC News. N.p., 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

Services, Tribune News. “Aid Convoy Attacked as Syria Calls Cease-fire Failed.” Associated Press, 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

China’s Struggle with an Environmental Crisis



By Sinclair Cox

Introduction: A Path to Environmental Decline

For the past couple of decades, China has been facing severe environmental decline that has led them into a position where they have no other choice but to act. For years they have neglected their environment due to their increased focus on building up industry in order to keep their economy growing, but their focus on short-term growth has led them to a path of long-term environmental decline. In the past, economy first and environment last was the way that everything was run. At the time, no one knew of the true harms of having relaxed regulations on industries, such as coal. The coal industry brought them money and energy and ensured jobs for the working class during the growth of industrialization, but what it also brought were heaps of harmful emissions that will remain in the environment for years to come. Coal is widely known as one of the most environmentally damaging forms of energy, so the fact that China had very few regulations on this industry reveals why their environment is in such a state. Although the coal industry greatly impacted the environment in the past, and still does today, it isn’t the only one to blame for their current environmental conditions. Improper farming practices, deforestation, increased use of cars, the disposal of sewage and factory waste into waterways, and overpopulation are all factors that have led China to a future where they must face severe and devastating air and water pollution. In the past, these contributors to environmental decline were not regulated well enough, thus, inevitably leading China down a path where only one choice is left for them: change. Over the years, change has been seen, such as China’s decreasing use of coal as a main source of energy, but when comparing China’s environmental conditions of the past to today’s, it can be said that more regulations need to be made to help bring an end to their environmental crisis.


Air Pollution: Then and Now

In an article written in 2006, called “Surviving an Environmental Crisis: Can China Adapt” by Katherine Morton, Morton says that China’s global carbon emissions, which were 15% at the time, wouldn’t exceed the United States’ until 2025 (63). In two other articles, one from 2007 and the other from 2016, they mention how China has already exceeded the US in their percentage of global carbon emissions. In the article from 2007, called “The Great Leap Backward? The Costs of China’s Environmental Crisis” by Elizabeth C. Economy, Economy mentions how a report from the National Environmental Assessment Agency claimed that China has already succeeded the US as the top contributor to carbon emissions (45). In the article from 2016, called “China’s Environmental Crisis” by Eleanor Albert and Beina Xu, Albert and Xu claimed that China exceeded the US as the largest contributor to global carbon emissions in 2007 and that in 2014 they were responsible for 27% of emissions (para 7). All of this evidence reveals that China’s carbon emissions have greatly increased over the past ten years and that not much has been done to help prevent these emissions from worsening. In the article by Morton, she brings up how a few regulations were put into place to help restrict the percentage of carbon emitted into the air, but lack of support from local governments and lack of authority had deterred these regulations from actually making a difference.


Water Pollution: Then and Now

Water pollution is one of the other main issues that China is still facing. Due to lack of regulations on what industries do with their waste, China’s sources of clean water have become scarce. In the article by Morton, she reports that China’s water supply is labeled as unfit for irrigation and consumption due to the discharge of toxic substances, fertilizer runoffs, and untreated wastewater (65). This report was made back in 2006, but despite having ten years to improve their issues with water pollution, problems have actually worsened. In the 2016 article, Alert and Xu bring up how in 2014, over 60% of water supplies in China’s major cities were categorized as “bad to very bad” (para 12). They also mention how over 25% of major rivers were so polluted that they were labelled “unfit for human contact” (Albert and Xu, para 12). This information reveals how not many regulations were put in place to help prevent water pollution from worsening over the years, but after understanding that inaction would lead to devastating results, such as desertification and increased water shortages, China has pledged to spend 333 billion dollars to help lower water pollution by 2020 (Albert and Xu, para 20). China still has a long way to go, but their increased investment in the fight against their environmental crisis shows how progress can be made.


A Plan for a Cleaner Future

Around ten years ago, China didn’t have much focus on the future of their environment. Due to this, numerous environmental issues arose, such as air and water pollution. At the time, few regulations were put in place, but difficulty came with making sure that they were properly implemented. Only until it became too severe to ignore did officials finally decide that something had to be done in order to prevent their environmental crisis from worsening. In the article by Albert and Xu, they bring up what China is currently trying to do to help improve the crisis they’re in. One of the largest initiatives China took back in 2014 currently requires “15,000 factories and state-owned enterprises to report back on air emissions and water discharges” (Albert and Xu, para 20). This is a huge jump for China and they still have a long way to go, but with large steps being taken, these new plans and regulations will guarantee a cleaner future.





 Work Cited

Albert, Eleanor, and Beina Xu. “China’s Environmental Crisis.” Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 14 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 Nov.2016.

Economy, Elizabeth C. “The Great Leap Backward? The Cost of China’s Environmental Crisis.”Foreign Affairs 5th ser. 86 (2007): 38-59. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Morton, Katherine. “Surviving an Environmental Crisis: Can China Adapt?” 13.1 (2006): 63-75.               Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

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Aftermath of the Raj

The sun never sets on the British Empire was no understatement. From the freezing wasteland of northern Canada to the tropical paradise of Fiji. The British Empire administered the largest empire the world had ever seen. And with it, the crown jewel of the empire. India, the richest and most populated nation within the dominion of England. From the massive taxable population to goods such as silk, spices, cotton, and tea. Unfortunately for the British, the people in India didn’t enjoy being a colony of the crown.

For over a hundred years the British Empire had ruled over India, whether it be through the British East India Company, The British Raj, or through Princely Indian States. After the Second World War, the British Empire was unable to properly administer Hindustan and soon was confronted with various Indian independence movements. The two largest and most successful of these movements were Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League and Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian National Congress(Dalrymple).

In the late summer of 1947, the British, realizing they could no longer administer land that was thousands of miles away from England, left the Indian subcontinent. The British withdrawal from India was executed so unbelievably efficient and quick that the British lost very few men during the partition(Dalrymple). During this hasteful retreat from South Asia, the British left the subcontinent in shambles. The British drew the modern day borders of the Indian subcontinent a couple of days before leaving India. Which led to many on the wrong side of the border.  Because of the hastefully drawn borders drawn by the British, there was religious tension, civil unrest, and instability across the Indian Subcontinent.

At midnight August 15th, 1947 Indian politicians from all over the country celebrated the work of the Indian National Congress and the nation’s newfound independence. India’s first Prime Minister famously said in a speech the day before that “India will awake to life and freedom”(Dalrymple). Hours after independence a group of Hindus in Lahore, Pakistan were slaughtered at a train station while they were waiting for a train to get out of Pakistan (Dalrymple). This would be one of the first acts of violence committed after the partition. Almost immediately after the midnight independence of India and Pakistan, sectarian violence sprung up across all of South Asia.

Subsequently, due to the partition, many different ethnic and religious groups had to pack up everything they own and move to another region of South Asia. People who had been living in a certain area for generations had to resettle somewhere that was unfamiliar to them. During this whole time, while people were relocating, religious violence sprang up across both countries. Most often where refugees were traveling. “Gangs of killers roamed the border districts, slaughtering minorities or driving them across the frontier. Huge, mile-long caravans of refugees took to the dusty roads in terror”(Hajari).

The Punjab region was the hardest hit with violence after the partition of India. “The new border had split the province in two, leaving millions of Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs in what was now Pakistan, and at least as many Punjabi Muslims in India”(Hajari). The next two months transitioned into an all out free-for-all with various marauders wandering the streets of India and Pakistan. People from both countries used this time to benefit from the instability of the region. At the same time, Muslims were migrating from India to Pakistan, while Hindus and Sikhs were leaving for India. In 1941 the religious demographics of both countries show that both countries have/had sizable numbers of religious minorities(Dalrymple). By the late 1940s most had left to the other country(Dalrymple).

Whilst there were countless criminal acts against individuals during the time after the Partition that involved religion, the majority of wrongdoings were committed by goons that knew they could get away with it. History tells us that whenever a realm finds itself in disarray, people from various walks of life use the disorder to their advantage so that they can seek riches and other spoils from looting. Little was done to prevent the looting that followed the instability from the Partition. “India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was appalled to see a contingent of police standing be idly as Hindu and Sikh rioters carried off ladies’ handbags, cosmetics, and wool scarves”(Hajari).

Both India and Pakistan were new nations whose governments were not yet strong enough to crack down on the immediate problems that arose due to the partition. “There is a possibility-and most keen a possibility-that orderly government may collapse”(Hajari). Although the recently created governments of India and Pakistan didn’t completely collapse, they were not able to calm the tides of the partition.

After the departure of Britain from the Indian subcontinent, it was inevitable that conflict would arise. Conflict could have been minimized if the British Empire took more time to understand the consequences of leaving in the fashion they did. Perhaps there was no way for there to have been an avoidance of conflict, but only by speculation can we assume what could have happened if the British had done things differently.