Open Your Eyes

Ibrahim Ansari, Staff Writer

You might be wondering what’s going on with President Trump’s impeachment process, or immigration, or Trump wanting to build an alligator-filled moat at the southern border, but while you are busy focusing on these issues, you are  turning a blind eye to atrocities far more serious outside of the United States. 

Kashmir, which is the small disputed land between India and Pakistan, is well-known for its beautiful mountains and valleys. However, recently, Kashmir has been in the news for much more than that as it is being fought over by the two countries that share a border, India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said on Twitter, “I am puzzled as to how international  media continues to give headline coverage to Hongkong [sic] protests but ignores the dire human rights crisis in [Jammu and Kashmir].” Khan’s comments struck a chord with many as this issue is not well-known by anyone but Indians, Pakistanis, and Kashmiris. One of the areas that is central to the problems in the disputed land is  cell phone service, which was cut off preventing people from contacting their loved ones overseas. Curfews were also set. If someone is ill, they can’t get the necessary medical attention. In the Philippines, President Duterte, who proudly compares himself to Adolf Hitler, is fighting drugs in his nation through some pretty extreme means. According to the South China Morning Post, Duterte said, “Go ahead and kill drug addicts.” News organizations and human rights groups claim the death toll related to Duterte’s policy is over 20,000. The Human Rights Watch reported that in 2018, “4,948 suspected drug users and dealers died during police operations from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018.” But this does not include the thousands of others killed by unidentified gunmen. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), 22,983 such deaths since the “war on drugs” began are classified as “homicides under investigation.” Carlos Aguilar of the Los Angeles Times reported that, “Duterte doesn’t attack the systemic poverty at the core of the substance epidemic, but instead viciously punishes indiscriminately through death squads targeting those on a watch list.” I am positive that if an event similar to this took place in the United States, harsh reprisals against the people responsible would transpire. No one deserves to be taken from their families like this.

Another issue you may not have heard of are the Xinjiang camps in China. Their purpose is to “reeducate” Uighur Muslims. Uighurs are a minority Turkic ethnic group consisting of mostly Muslims. These camps are believed to hold a quarter of Xinjiang Muslims. Families are being separated by sudden disappearances. Jane Perlez from The New York Times reported that, “incarceration of more than one million Turkic Muslims in China’s western region of Xinjiang, and the forced assimilation of millions more.” China is trying to keep these camps a secret, and we can’t let that happen.

These inconspicuous issues are not very well-known by your average American, but it’s your job to know about these things. Even if you don’t do anything about the oppression and violence committed by the hands of global leaders, at least be well-informed, because without you even knowing it, these problems are detrimental to our society. It’s your responsibility. If you are able to do more, take action in some way. Donate to organizations that help people being affected in these areas. Step out of your comfort zone. Stand up. Open your eyes.