- Livingston High School
Taiwan Elects its First Female PresidentPosted by Sydney Thai on 2/29/2016 9:10:00 AM
“We failed. The Nationalist Party has lost the elections. We haven’t worked hard enough and we failed voters’ expectations,” Kuomintang presidential candidate Eric Chu told the crowd of people gathered at the party’s headquarters in Taipei. In a historic defeat, the Nationalist Party, or the Kuomintang, lost the presidential election—and a parliamentary majority—to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the first time since 1949.
Tsai Ing-wen, a U.S. and U.K. lawyer and President-elect of the DPP, won 56.1% of the votes while Chu won only 31%. To further highlight the defeat of the Nationalist Party, Freddy Lim, lead singer of the metal band Chthonic, defeated Lin Yu-fang of the KMT in his Taipei constituency.
Tsai faces discrimination from Beijing because of her association with the DPP, which Beijing views as committed to Taiwanese independence. Tsai said in her first press conference, “Citizens expect…a government that is stead-fast in protecting this country’s sovereignty…[I will] work toward maintaining the status quo in order to bring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in order to bring the greatest benefits and well-being to the Taiwanese people,” concerning economic and political relations with China.
An editorial published by China’s Xinhua news agency warned of the “grave challenges” that the DPP posed to cross-strait relations. Beijing, which views Taiwan as rightfully belonging to them, could easily take Taiwan back by force, a sentiment left over from China’s civil war and from the defeated Nationalist forces in 1949 led by Chiang Kai-shek. Because of pressure from China, Taiwan is only officially recognized by a few nations and does not hold a U.N. seat. One DPP supporter, dentist Bobby Lin, says of Tsai, “[Tsai Ing-wen] keeps thinking about the Taiwanese people and how to improve the Taiwanese economy.” The DPP has promised various stimulus measures for the economy, including efforts to boost tourism.
The Taiwanese economy had a growth of 1% last year, barely improving from the year before, and many DPP supporters have said that they feared becoming too close to mainland China, whose economy itself is slowing down.
“If there was no change,” voter Hu Ching-chien explained, “Taiwan would become just
part of China.”
Tsai aimed to keep focus of her campaigning on domestic issues such as unemployment, wages, and support for small businesses, much like Xi Jinping (Chinese President).
The DPP’s campaign especially appealed to the younger Taiwanese, who have recently become very involved in the country’s political issues and social movements.
The younger generation of Taiwan generally leans away from identifying with China, with the economy as a big deciding factor. With unemployment rates at 12% among young people, “we support the DPP as they have explained their economic policies carefully,” says Maggie Chen, a newlywed from Taipei.
Controversy over relations with mainland China was brought up again when 16-year-old Taiwanese singer Chou Tzu-yu, who performs with South Korean group “Twice,” waved a Republic of China flag while performing on a TV show in November. She came under fire of many who accused her of supporting Taiwanese independence, and was believed to be coerced into issuing a formal apology in a video to her detractors, saying there was
only “one China.”
The video gained Chou support from Tsai, Chu, and Ma’s administrations, saying that she had nothing to apologize for.
“Tsai Ing-wen,” says Professor Steve Tsang, director of the Taiwan Studies Programme at Nottingham University in the U.K., “will be very cautious in what she says and does.”
“[Democracy]…is a value that is deeply engrained in the Taiwanese people,” said Tsai in her speech at a post-election news conference. “Our democratic way of life is forever the resolve of Taiwan’s 23 million people.”
Later in her speech, concerning relations with Beijing, she says, “[both sides] have a responsibility to do their utmost to find mutually acceptable ways to interact ... and ensure no provocation and no surprises…Only through strength, can we gain more respect and protect our people and way of life.”
Jason Daily Is Honored As Teacher of the YearPosted by Emily Sorkin '18 on 2/29/2016 9:05:00 AM
Livingston High School TV Production teacher Jason Daily was awarded the honor of Teacher of the Year on January 4, 2016, during an announcement by Principal Mark Stern on AM Wired.
This airing of LHS’s daily morning announcement show, AM Wired, began as usual, with announcements about clubs and school opportunities integrated into entertaining skits created and produced by the students themselves. Principal Mark Stern then surprised the school by jumping up from behind a couch; it was evident that this edition of AM Wired would be anomalous.
Mr. Stern began by announcing that he would be describing and reiterating some policies and procedures for the New Year. Jason Daily disclosed to The Lance that Mr. Stern even completed two practice run-throughs with the class by using a fake script. “When we went live, he took his script and threw it away and then read [the announcement] live on the air, which was a complete surprise to me,” Daily elaborated. “I didn’t know what was happening. I thought a joke was being played, so I was very surprised.”
Jason Daily initially became interested in TV Production when he took a job in the field during college. Along with working for companies such as MTV and ESPN, as well as clients including Letterman, the New York Yankees, and the New York Giants, Daily’s background in coaching baseball instigated his pursue in education.
In addition to his TV 1 and TV 2 classes at LHS, Daily also teaches the celebrated elective, AM Wired. “AM Wired has been around now- this is our twenty-fifth year. It started out as Good Morning, LHS back in 1991. It didn’t become AM Wired until its twenty-second year, and I’ve been here seventeen of those years, so we’re lucky with AM Wired,” Daily explained.
“This program has been recognized as one of the best in New Jersey, and the studio is a daily buzz of activity as it is a true student-centered, authentic learning space,” Principal Mark Stern elaborated during his announcement on AM Wired. Not only has Daily’s successful classes and arduous work as a teacher attested to his well-deserved honor, but his students’ admirations exhibit his compassionate and attentive disposition and character as well.
“He constantly pushes me, and other students, to do the best that we can, and what is even more great is that he knows that each student has the ability to create and do amazing things,” Junior Jackson Rynar described.
“He’s different than any teacher I’ve ever had. He has a special teaching style of letting his students figure out what he means and letting us discover our own creativity,” Sophomore Jayne Winner elucidated. “I think it’s so helpful and inspiring the way he teaches us. It’s rewarding to see yourself accomplish something, and Mr. Daily is very supportive of us.” Mr. Daily, also LHS’s softball coach of sixteen years, has found a true passion in education. He and his classes have ultimately inspired countless students to pursue their own careers in TV Production.
During one of Daily’s first years of teaching at LHS, he taught a young man named Adam Pally, who has featured in films and shows such as The Mindy Project, Iron Man 3, and Happy Endings, and has recently acted in the new movie, Dirty Grandpa. Brandon Bodow, another former student of Daily, is currently one of the main producers for Good Morning, America. Daily visits Bodow at the set of Good Morning, America with his AM Wired class each year to see him work and produce the show live.
Another student of Daily’s, Ali Ruchman, is now a freshman at Muhlenberg College majoring in media and communications with a focus in television production. “Mr. Daily is special and different because he teaches his students more than just how to work a camera or how to edit a video. He teaches his students real life lessons. He treats his students like equals as opposed to his inferiors,” Ruchman reflected. “He also treats the AM Wired class as more than a group of students, but young adults working in a real life situation. He is my mentor, and I aspire to be as successful as he is.”
Jason Daily’s honor as Teacher of the Year is not only an acknowledgment and accolade to the successes of his students, both in LHS and beyond, but also to himself as a teacher. In response to what Daily believes is the best aspect of being a teacher, he replied with a genuine smile, “I honestly think it
keeps me young.”
PARCC Test Results Raise New IssuesPosted by Emily Sorkin ‘18 on 1/22/2016 9:45:00 AM
The first test score results of the 2015 New Jersey Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam were announced on October 20, 2015, revealing that students were unable to meet expectations in grades three through eleven for both Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy.
According to the 2015 PARCC test score results posted on their website, on average, only 38% of students in grades nine through eleven met or exceeded the expectations in English for their grade level. Moreover, only 28% of students in a math level higher than eighth grade met or exceeded the expectations in Mathematics.
These results from the 2015 PARCC test coincide with a survey conducted on October 28, 2015 on thirty-eight Livingston High School students in grades nine through twelve. Regarding how students believe they performed on the PARCC test, 44% of those students who took the test in 2015 identified as being a “three” on a scale from one to five, or having an intermediate score.
Additionally, of the recipients who took the PARCC test, 50% of them classified the difficulty of the exam as a “three” on a scale one to five. These statistics demonstrate the apprehension and disquiet that students have regarding the PARCC test and their performance.
Of the 850,000 students across New Jersey who took the PARCC test this year, the survey displays that 34.2% of the recipients took advantage of the “opt out” option and decided not to take the test due to ethical or personal reasons.
The results of the survey also conclude that 23.7% of the students explained that their reason for opting out was simply because the PARCC test did not coun towards their grade. LHS student Sameer Matta revealed that although he took the PARCC test the first time around, he decided not to take the exam the second time because it did not count for a grade and “the stress for a standardized test wasn’t needed.”
Despite the more mediocre defense of not taking the PARCC test due to the lack of influence regarding school grades, some students believe that there is a bigger issue behind these standardized tests. LHS sophomore Nathan Katz expressed that he believes that “standardized tests do not give a proper representation of one’s intelligence, and that by forcing teachers to teach to the tests it limits the ability to make teaching a creative and enjoyable process for teacher and students.”
The PARCC test also arose a new issue concerning class time dedicated for preparation and testing for these standardized tests. In a Facebook video message released on October 24, 2015, President Barack Obama recommended that no more than 2% of classroom time should be spent on standardized testing.
Compared to LHS’s 180-day school year, President Obama’s suggested 2% of classroom time would result in three to four days a year put aside for these tests. According to the survey, 31.6% of the recipients agreed that only three days of class time should be dedicated to
preparation and testing for standardized tests.
Leslie Brody, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, depicted the struggles of the PARCC test following the release of the test score results in a recent article. According to Education Commissioner David Hespe, “We promised many years ago a more honest, accurate assessment. We have great challenges ahead.” In contrast to the amount of students who opted out of the PARCC test this year, 60.5% of students revealed that they believe that their parents will indeed decide to opt them out of the test the next time it is offered.
Considering the low scores revealed in the 2015 PARCC test results, it is evident that the PARCC must take new steps in order to improve their tests. In the document posted on the PARCC website disclosing the score results, it was stated that “the results in high school…demonstrate that there is significant work ahead to align curriculum and instructional practices to the standards and better scaffold student learning throughout a student’s career.”
Controversy Brews Over Starbucks’ Holiday CupsPosted by Emily Sorkin ‘18 on 1/22/2016 9:35:00 AM
Snowflakes, reindeer, ornaments, and snowmen have all adorned Starbucks’ seasonal red holiday cups in the past. However, the company’s
simple red design this year has sparked unusual controversy among both consumers and some devout Christians. As opposed to past designs,
this year’s plain red holiday cup features “a two-toned ombré design, with a bright poppy color on top that shades into a darker cranberry below,” according to a statement by Starbucks. Despite these efforts to keep neutrality between different religious groups and their celebrations, some have issued concern and disapproval over the lack of Christmas illustrated on the minimalist cups.
These cups were released on November 1, and four days later the controversy began to spread throughout the Internet after Joshua Feuerstein
posted a video on Facebook criticizing Starbucks’ attempt at “political correctness.” In the video, in which Feuerstein stands outside of a Starbucks
store with his beverage in hand, he describes, “Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their
brand new cups- that’s why they’re just plain red.”
To spite the company, Feuerstein explained that he wore his Jesus Christ shirt, and revealed that he carried his gun while in the store to spite
their alleged dislike for the second amendment, according to Feuerstein. He also told the barista to write the name on his cup as “Merry Christmas,”
as he was under the false impression that Starbucks employees are prohibited from wishing customers “Merry Christmas.” Feuerstein urged his viewers to join in a movement to take their own “coffee selfie” and circulate his video, as well as the hashtag, #Merry-ChristmasStarbucks.
In response to the opposition against Starbucks’ red cups, people began to use the hashtag #ItsJustACup online. “You guys, it’s a cup. It’s a cup
you use for 30 minutes then throw away. Please get over yourselves,” one indifferent Twitter user insisted. As some Christians have vocally criticized Starbucks and announced a boycott of the company, people of other religious groups have praised Starbucks for its more inclusive festive holiday cup.
Celebrities have been active in the discussion about Starbucks’ red cups as well. While stars such as Bethenny Frankel and Demi Lovato have voiced the insignificance of this debate, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s response was quite different. “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks?” Trump asked his Illinois audience at a campaign rally on November 9. “I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care.”
Additionally, people have been comparing Starbucks’ simple red cups to Dunkin’ Donuts’ seasonal Christmas cups. In contrast to Starbucks’ neutral design, Dunkin’ Donuts recently released their Styrofoam cups with green leaves and the word “Joy”
written in red letters.
According to Dunkin’ Donuts, their holiday cups have been “featuring the word ‘joy’ as part of our annual celebration of the season and holiday offerings” for many years, which refutes the speculation that their more festive design is a direct response to the Starbucks controversy.
On the other hand, supporters of Starbucks have noted that the claim that Starbucks is “anti-Christmas” is utterly absurd considering the various Christmas products sold at their stores. These include their 2015 Christmas Blend, advent calendars, ornaments, stocking stuffers, and gift cards.
Starbucks customer Kate Glasser shed some light on the controversy of this year’s holiday cup. “I do not think that Starbucks is being prejudice, they just changed the design to a solid color,” Glasser elucidated. According to a poll conducted by CNBC on 63,155 voters, 11% of participants confessed that they do not like the 2015 Starbucks red cups, and 25% said that they do like these seasonal cups.
The tradition of Starbucks’ seasonal holiday cups has been continued for eighteen years, starting in 1997, and this year’s red cups are no exception. Despite the controversy and opposition to the secular and simple holiday cups, Starbucks’ vice president of Design & Content Jeffrey Fields explains the inspiration for this year’s cups. “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” Fields clarifies.
“This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
The 2016 Preseidential DebatesPosted by Sarah Horowitz ‘19 on 1/22/2016 9:25:00 AM
The Republican and Democratic Presidential election debates have had sharp contrasts. A major difference between the two parties is the number
of candidates. The Republican Party began with seventeen candidates, and thirteen currently remain. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party began with five candidates, and only three currently remain. Due to the number of Republican candidates, two separate debate groups were created based on polling data. The less popular candidates placed in what some mockingly referred to as “the kiddy debate.” This debate aired before prime time and had a smaller television audience.
In a recent debate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Livingston High School graduate, was relegated to the earlier debate because he did not poll among the top eight candidates. There has been a noticeable difference in the tone of the debates when comparing the two parties. Republican front runner Donald Trump has made many controversial remarks including personal attacks against his opponents. Republicans point to the current US policy on immigration as harming the economy since they believe immigrants from Mexico take jobs away from Americans. One of Trump’s major campaign promises is to deport 11 million people back to Mexico and build a wall separating the US from Mexico.
Other Republican candidates, notably Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor, brother of former President George W. Bush, and son of former President
George H. Bush, and John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, believe Trump’s ideasare not feasible and out of line with American values. Tax reform is another divisive issue. All of the Republican candidates want to have either a flat tax rate for everyone or lower rates. Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, wants to replace the current voluminous Internal Revenue Code with a three page tax code requiring people to file their tax returns on a post card.
In contrast, Democrats Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State, and Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, assert that reforming the tax code should address the problem of inequality. They agree that having the wealthiest pay more taxes will reduce the burden of the middle class and others of lower income. Democrats also propose increasing the minimum wage for workers, and providing free college education while Republicans are against these proposals.The Republicans candidates hope to repeal, the Affordable Care Act, commonly refered to as “Obamacare” which they believe increases costs and eliminates jobs.
Democrats believe that Obamacare is critical to ensure that health care is available to everyone. The threat of terrorism is a critical debate issue. Attacks in Paris, by the Islamic radical group ISIS, which took the life of over one hundred and thirty people and domestic arracks like the San Bernandino Shooting, have heightened concerns over terrotism. Republicans have criticized President Obama’s handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as staying out of the war in Syria, saying Obama’s policies have made the US more vulnerable for a terrorist attack. During the November 14th Democratic debate which was held a day after the Paris attacks, all three Democratic candidates called for the US to be part of a group with other European and Islamic countries to help destroy the radical group called ISIS.
As we approach Election day next november, there will be several more debates for both parties. We will also have the opportunity to view debates between the Republican and Democratic nominees.
Gas Leak causes Livingston High School Students to EvacuatePosted by Raquel Zollo on 11/13/2015
Livingston, NJ- A sophomore chemistry class at Livingston High school caused the entire student body and their teachers to evacuate the building in Livingston, NJ on September 7th, 2015 at 2:00pm. The evacuation was due to a leakage of gas in an attempt to use bunsen burners in one of the chemistry classes.
While teachers were anxious that their class had been interrupted, many students at Livingston High School were ecstatic to escape the classroom for what was thought to be only a few minutes, but turned out to be a twenty minute evacuation.
The frenzy started to get more serious when firetrucks and police cars showed up at Livingston High School ten minutes into the evacuation. Teachers tried their hardest to calm their students, while administration was walking around frantically with walkie-talkies, getting ahold of the situation. Speculation surfaced between the students weather there was a real fire or not, before the truth about a gas leakage was confirmed to them, via Principal of the school, Mark Stern.
One student in particular who was happy to be out of her last period class was senior, Lexi Mastras. When asked why she was overjoyed by the fire drill, Mastras explained “I was on question eleven of my Environmental Science test, when all of a sudden the sound of the fire alarm began blaring through my classroom, making us stop our test. This was perfect timing because the only chance I got to study for this hard test was in my car at lunch.” The negative evacuation turned out to be a positive event for Mastras, giving her a few extra days to study and get prepared to finish this test next time her Environmental Science class meets.
On the contrary, a student that was anxious about getting out of school on time was senior, Sydney McCormack. McCormack had an obligation to babysit a young boy about ten minutes away from Livingston High School. “I was worried that the evacuation would prevent me from getting to my job on time if we were still outside when the last period bell rang”, she explained. After doubting the possibility, McCormack was able to make it to her job without a problem.
Amid all the chaos, the Livingston Fire Department was able to get the gas leakage scare under control. Students were let back to their classes before the bell rang, signaling the end of the school day.
Student Government Prepares for Best Pep Rally YetPosted by Marley Azornico on 11/13/2015
LIVINGSTON, New Jersey - The Livingston High School SGA has been preparing since the second week of school to give students the best pep rally yet this year. Spirit week dress-up days have been chosen by the student body, and the outdoor pep rally next Friday is sure to be a hit.
Students shared how they were tired of the “cramped” and “small” gym, so it was substituted for the turf field, where students will be able to cheer for their class in the bleachers.
SGA President Bob Towey, as well as the rest of the Executive Board and Class Officers have been hard at work coming up with interactive and fun activities to keep the student’s spirit up throughout the entire Pep Rally. “Being outdoors gives us more space to have better activities to keep the students engaged and participating.” Towey said at an SGA meeting. There will be a mix of old and new activities and events, of course with teacher participation. Although it’s under wraps what who exactly will be participating, the student body can only hope to see their favorite teachers out on the turf this year.
Spirit Week starts Friday October 9th, and goes until Friday October 16th. The first Friday is Blackout, which is self explanatory. Tuesday, October 13th is Pajama day, where students are asked to come in wearing the comfiest and coolest pair of PJ’s. Wednesday, October 14 students can dress up as their favorite character for Superhero Day. Find someone who looks like you so you can twin for Thursday’s Twin day. Friday October 16th, the day of the Pep Rally, students are expected to wear their class colors. The Class Colors are as follows: Freshmen are blue, sophomores are yellow, juniors are white, and SENIORS are green. Each class will also have a hall in the school that they get to decorate in their class color.
Every year, some of the classes sell apparel to raise money, and to make their class look more unified on the day of the Pep Rally. There is no word on what Freshmen are selling, if anything. Sophomores are selling short and long sleeve yellow shirts for $12 and $15. Juniors are selling white long sleeve shirts, which will be sold for $15.
As well as Spirit Week and the Pep Rally coming up, on Thursday October 15th, the LEF Hall of Fame Inductees will be visiting the school, reliving the days they went to LHS. Those in SGA are expected to get to school at 6:30 am that day to decorate the lobby of the school. “Let’s welcome them back to LHS and show them our Lancer spirit!” says one member of SGA.
Tragedy Unfolds at Oregon Community CollegePosted by Sydney Thai ‘18 on 11/12/2015 8:30:00 AM
Playing dead saved the lives of many who fell victim of the Umpqua Community College shooting .
On Thursday, October 1st, 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer stood in the doorway of Umpqua Community College’s Snyder Hall, when an English class was still going on. Thirty-five students and a professor were in the classroom.
Mercer first shot three people, including the professor, then—for an unexplainable reason—turned to Matthew, whose last name has not been released. Mercer spared Matthew’s life, giving him two tasks—to watch him shoot his classmates, and to deliver an envelope with a USB file inside to the police. The USB contained the gunman’s writings, which detailed his frustrations about life.
Before opening fire, Mercer asked the already-injured students what their religion was. As soon as they opened their mouth to say, “Christian,” he “shot them more,” said survivor Ana Boylan. Boylan survived the shooting by playing dead instead of standing. According to her grandmother, “He
Hundreds line the road to show support for students returning to school.[Mercer] asked about her and said, ‘Is she still with us? Is that blonde girl still with us?’ And, somebody said, ‘No.’”
A total of ten people died in the gunfire and nine injured, including the gunman. As the first responders showed up at the scene, Sgt. Joe Kaney and Det. Todd Spingath among them, Mercer was still shooting and turned his attention to the police. Kaney and Spingath returned fire, which Douglas County District Attorney Rick Wesenberg has said was justified, and shot Mercer in the right side.
After he was wounded, Mercer went up to the front of the classroom and shot himself.
A few hours after the shooting, President Obama gave a speech on national TV, urging for tighter gun control, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. But our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
The responses to the shooting have been calls for stricter gun control and also demands for more guns on strictly gun-free Umpqua campus.
Makayla Thomas, who hid in a student center during the attack, said, “This just shows you, you have to have a way to protect yourself…Who knows what could happen?”
Student J. J. Vicari agrees, “I want to have a gun in the house to protect myself, to protect the people I’m with.”
Despite the grief and the debate that has resulted from the shooting, Umpqua Community College plans to resume soon. Officials from other colleges, including the University of Oregon and Lane Community College, have left their schools to help Umpqua get back on track with the curriculum and the rebuilding. More than a dozen counselors are stationed at the school to help with the emotional aftermath.
The Aftermath of the Bombing on MSF Hospital in KunduzPosted by Jessica Rosenblum ‘16 on 11/12/2015 8:25:00 AM
A U.S. airstrike rained bombs down on a Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without
borders) hospital on Saturday,
October 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 22 people, 12 MSF staff and
10 patients (3 of who were
U.S. General John Campbell, commander of US and NATO war in Afghanistan, has delivered many statements about the attack, simultaneously stating in The Guardian that the hospital was “mistakenly struck” while asserting that the US “would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.” It is currently unclear what caused the mistaken attack.
While Campbell may be speaking candidly, the fact is that the United States government is responsible for the loss of 22 civilians and for the destruction of the image of hospitals as safe havens for people in war zones.
Heman Nagarathnam, the head of Doctors without Borders in northern Afghanistan stated morbidly to the New York Times, “the patients who were unable to escape burned to death as they lay in
Many people are mourning the loss of a family member. This very possibly could lead to harboring anger and deep resentment towards the United States
38 year old Kunduz resident Najeebullah reported mournfully “Everyone believed it was his last day on earth. There was blood
and bodies scattered everywhere.”
Syrian Refugee CrisisPosted by Sydney Thai ‘18 on 11/12/2015 8:20:00 AM
The number of Syrians fleeing from their homes in pursuit of what some are calling the “European Dream” increases daily, as does the number of casualties. The crisis has attracted the attention of several world organizations such as the European Union (EU) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
For most Syrians, the hope that their country might settle the civil war has since been depleted. Since 2011, the country’s unrest has progressed from protests to armed rebellions to military sieges. The main opposing forces consist of the Syrian government and its allies (Hezbollah, Sootoro, etc.); the “Opposition” (the Islamic Front, Sham Legion, etc.); the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL); and foreign involvement (United States, Jordan, etc.). The civil war started when President al-Assad’s government responded forcibly to the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests. According to Vox Media, Inc., as of April 2015, the death toll estimate has risen to about 310,000. More than 1.9 million people from neighboring Iraq have been displaced, and 7.6 million people from Syria have been displaced. A total of about 12.2 million people are in need of humanitarian
assistance inside Syria.
The largest population of Syrian refugees are in the refugee camps located in Syria’s neighboring countries—Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Part of the reason why so many refugees are fleeing for Europe is because they see no future for themselves in the camps. Mustapha, who changed his name for security reasons, worked as a graphic designer in Istanbul for two years after escaping Syria for fear of arrest. He says, “It’s not enough for Syrians in Turkey to be alive. People leaving Turkey to Europe have understood that they don’t have a brilliant future here….if you realize that you work for nothing, you can’t stay in a country for a long time.”
With the tremendous amount of refugees pushing themselves in perilous journeys, European border controls have tightened security. Although nations who are
Syrian refugees coming ashore on the Greek island of Lesbos. Source: fair.org
part of the EU are more likely to accept refugees, free movement across Europe is restricted. Many refugees try to enter the EU through the Balkans, at Hungary or Croatia. As a result, the border control between Hungary and its neighbors are major obstacles for the refugees.
Stories such as that have been a wake-up call for many world leaders. The US said it will give $419 million to assist the refugees, while taking in 100,000. Other countries such as Greece, still reeling from its financial crisis, are unable to process the hundreds of thousands of migrants. Syrians have been heading for Germany instead. Compared to torch-wielding Hungary, Germany is very hospitable and has plenty
of job opportunities—the ‘European dream.’ GlobalPost says that the
plan is to relocate 120,000 migrants from Greece and Italy, with
Germany having the highest quota, but the UNHCR still says that that will not be enough.
Chancellor Angela Merkel insists that Germany, and Europe
as a whole, can deal with the
disaster. “I say…we can do it and
we will do it.”