Mexico has a long and historic tradition of welcoming refugees from all over the world and unlike its closest neighbor to the north, it is still living true to that tradition.
As a gesture of support to reinforce the international community’s confidence in Mexico’s advocacy for peace, the country welcomes Syrian refugee students through its “Project Habesha“.
Project Habesha is a humanitarian initiative with the main goal of welcoming 30 Syrian students to Mexico for the purpose of providing them with a college education.
Welcoming Syrian students also provides Mexico with the opportunity of promoting intercultural dialogue as an inspiration for development and creating an atmosphere of understanding and sympathy within Mexican society.
Habesha has already brought 10 students to Mexico.
With the support of private universities and organizations, these students will receive a full scholarship as well as medical insurance and a monthly allowance for their personal expenses.
Last week, after a long flight and a rigorous selection process, Silva Namo and Jackdar Mohammed arrived to Mexico City.
“Thanks to Habesha, we have hope again and something real for the future,” Mohammed said, two days after arriving to Mexico City. “Habesha has helped us and, just as Habesha has helped us, I want to help countries that are in war. There is nothing impossible.”
Since 2011, millions of people have fled from the country as a direct result of the conflict in Syria and its neighbouring regions.
This has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis in decades.
Namo, a 22 year old student from the Syrian province of Malikiyah, reflected in an interview with RISE NEWS how the war in her homeland has affected her life.
“In the beginning, it was really difficult to live in refugee camps,” Namo said. “We were forced into another way of life with people we didn´t know. You lose everything. You lose direction and you don’t know what you’re going to do with your future; you walk around without thinking or knowing what the next step is.”
In only two days after Namo and Mohammed’s arrival in Mexico, they said that they felt big and positive changes in their lives after experiencing Mexico’s culture.
“A big change for me is the food,” Mohammed said. “In two days I have eaten a lot of things. The food is really good and spicy. I like it.”
Before attending college in Mexico, Namo, Mohammed and the other Syrian students will spend six months studying Spanish in the state of Aguascalientes.
“This is our chance to learn and to do as much as we can to be stronger and provide something in the future,” Namo said.
Mohammed’s studies were interrupted due to the increasing violence and development of the war in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Today, he looks forward to starting his economy degree again.
“[The] Economy can help me and my country,” Mohammed about the field he is interested in pursuing. “It can have a great impact in Syria’s future. [The] Economy will be needed for rebuilding the country, creating factories and jobs and working on development.”
Namo’s goal is to make an impact not only in Mexican communities, but also in Syrian communities too.
To achieve this, she will study Business Administration.
“Everything is developing so quickly. Syria will need technology and development,” she told RISE NEWS.
For Namo and Mohammed, coming to Mexico is not only a personal achievement.
They plan to use their studies to aid Syria in its uncertain future.
“Syria needs us,” Mohammed said. “We are the generation that has a chance to complete their studies outside of the country. That’s the people Syria needs right now for its future. We, as students, are the hope for Syria’s future.”
It’s part of Mohammed and Namo’s goal to return to Syria.
“This education is not just for me, it’s for all Syrians,” Mohammed said, “I want to learn and have new experiences so I can go back and transmit it to those who may not have a chance to complete their studies.”
Project Habesha is providing Syrian youth with an opportunity to receive a college education.
Mexico is providing these Syrians with a place to call home.
“It’s an amazing feeling to come into these people who are really nice and friendly,” Namo said. “People have welcomed us and have let us know that this can be our home too. I’m away from my country but I feel safe and I feel at peace.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
What Do You Think?
About the AuthorJimena Pacheli is anything but a stereotype. She's a Mexican but has a British accent. An avid reader, history enthusiast, and tea drinker, Pacheco lives in Mexico City where she is finishing up her studies. She also studied at The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania where she was a student leader on campus.
You Might also like
The following is an opinion piece penned after multiple bomb threats shut down a Miami based discussion on ethics in video game journalism, also known by the shorthand- GamerGate. The following piece does not necessarily reflect the views of Rise News. This piece was original published in Rise Miami News on 8/25/2015.
By Arad Alper
GamerGate is marking a year of existence, a year in which it has been the most notable and important cultural event around, the clearest reflection of the zeitgeist. The story of GamerGate enfolds many of the characteristics that define our time: online activism, the questionable ethics of Internet journalism, a liberal identity crisis, the civil war of the left, the opening of a new generational gap, and of course the turning of video games and gaming culture into the center of pop culture, the place to be.
A year later, it is time to stop for a moment and take a more historical perspective, to ask how we came to this point and where we are headed. And, most importantly, what’s it all about?
Politically, GamerGate is an event that takes place in the left, and its roots are in the conflict between two different leftist approaches. The left as a whole believes that humanity has to liberate itself from traditions and structures that cause injustice, to create newer and better worldviews and aspire to build a society where everyone will enjoy freedom, equality and peace. But there are two different approaches to this struggle.
The first, which I shall term the liberal approach, is an evolutionary approach. It regards the human creature as an ape that is in a gradual process of leaving the jungle, a process that transforms homo sapiens into an increasingly enlightened and sublimated being. This approach espouses giving humans the largest possible amount of freedom to express themselves, even if what they express is not enlightened or cultivated, because by exposing all our different sides we eventually learn how to sublimate them.
This approach also acknowledges that humans will forever be apes and will never reach a perfect state of liberty, equality and peace, but we can get closer and closer, and in fact the Western world has already reached a stage where even the most wretched members of society can live a good and happy life.
Therefore we should focus of achieving a happy life for ourselves, while working at the same time for ever greater social harmony.
The second approach, which I will term the puritan leftist approach, is revolutionary. It believes that humankind is born by nature to live in a state of perfect social harmony, and the only thing preventing it is the structure and mindset of contemporary society. Therefore, all we need to do is change the way we educate our children, instill in them the ideals of perfect social justice from birth, and in a generation or two we will have the perfect society.
We must therefore censor anything that is not enlightened, tear down any state of inequality and enforce total equality in its place, and soon enough the people will learn to think correctly and will live in a state of justice and happiness. Millions of years of evolution coded into our biology, tens of thousands of years of cognitive development coded into our language, thousands of years of civilization coded into our manners, all of this can be erased in one stroke if we only wish it – so believe the puritans.
This view is actually the continuation of the old Christian concept of the fall from paradise, as if humankind was born to dwell in heaven but fell into this imperfect world and can be happy only if it returns to its rightful place. And just like with puritanism of the religious kind, leftist puritanism has nothing to rely on – it is based on blind faith, faith that the nature of humankind is good.
Because that perfect world is always on their mind the puritans feel alienated and cannot find any happiness in our imperfect world, and regard others’ happiness negatively because it distracts the latter from striving for Utopia. While liberal leftism continuously develops and progresses, embracing the inventions of the modern world and the new experiences it opens for us and weaving them into the rich and diverse social fabric of today’s Western society, puritan leftism changed very little since the days of the Jacobin.
It’s the same rigid and narrow minded approach, that is busy with dreaming Utopian dreams that are completely divorced from reality and can therefore affect very little positive change in our world.
Nevertheless, those two approaches usually work together to fix the world, with the liberals doing the work and the puritans cheering from the sidelines. But there were moments in the past 250 years when the puritans felt like they could fight the battle on their own, and now is one of those moments.
What gave them that sense is the Internet, where they could find each other and form a large community with power and influence. It happened mainly on Tumblr, where they converged in the beginning of this decade and became known pejoratively as “Social Justice Warriors”, or SJWs.
The reason why the rest of the Internet mocks the SJWs is that it is obvious to anyone that their actions have nothing to do with social justice. They are not trying to improve society, since they don’t believe in gradual change but in revolution. Instead, they work as one to destroy anyone whose opinions are incompatible with theirs. The SJW is characterized by the belief that only his way to achieve social justice is the right way and anyone who disagrees is against justice.
In other words, even if you are a liberal who agrees with them that we must work to achieve equality, but disagree with their revolutionary approach and believe in the evolutionary process, they will immediately brand you “racist”, “misogynist”, “homophobe” etc., and gang up on you like an online lynch mob. Sometimes you don’t even have to express disagreement: you only have to use terms that are not “politically correct” in their book, or tell an inappropriate joke, or socialize with a right-wing person, and you risk becoming a target of their bullying. The SJWs are also notorious for their disregard of facts, their neurotic reaction to anything that causes them discomfort, and most of all in the amusing disparity between the way they perceive themselves as lofty and moral people and the way anyone else regards them as nasty and reprehensible louts. As long as they were contained in Tumblr they were treated mainly as a joke, but in the past couple of years they extended their activities to other regions and are beginning to become a real nuisance.
SJWs who critique computer games do not care if the game excites and elevate the spirit or if it makes the gamers face their dark side in a way that would stimulate their minds to think about it. What they mainly care about is if the game obeys the ideals of social justice and if it educates the players that they will win only if they abide by them, and if it doesn’t (and no good art ever does) they denounce it.
One of the outlets which the SJWs employ to express themselves is online media. While old media obeys an ethical code and cares about its public image, online media is an anarchic world in which almost anything goes. In the years 2009-2013 this proved to be an advantage, because online media could undermine entrenched narratives and affect liberalization of the mind in the US, in the Arab world and in other places. But this anarchy also allows extreme views to flourish and promote their narratives without the need to address pesky things like facts or ethics, and in this way the puritan left managed to establish itself as a journalistic force. In most fields there are enough channels to counter their ideology and they remain marginal, but there is one field in which they found an uncharted territory they could take over. And so, to its detriment, the world of video games became their experimental lab.
The video game is one of the newest art forms, so new that we have yet to develop theories to analyze it properly. Its greatest uniqueness lies in its way of turning the consumer into an active participant in the story, not just a spectator. This opens up avenues to do things that are impossible in other mediums, and the possibilities this holds thrill the imagination. It is no wonder that this art form currently draws the most creative forces and rapidly expands in many directions.
In liberal thought, art has a few main functions. First, of course, it elevates our spirit, puts us in contact with the sublime. Secondly, art is a way to express what cannot be said in words, and thus it expands our consciousness and opens our mind. In that, it is also an agent of social progress, because it teaches us new things about ourselves which help us arrange society in a better way. Art must therefore not recoil from any subject, penetrate even the darkest corners of the human psyche and bring them to light, because then we can learn how to deal with them. Puritans, on the other hand, think of art as an instrument to educate the masses.
SJWs who critique computer games do not care if the game excites and elevate the spirit or if it makes the gamers face their dark side in a way that would stimulate their minds to think about it. What they mainly care about is if the game obeys the ideals of social justice and if it educates the players that they will win only if they abide by them, and if it doesn’t (and no good art ever does) they denounce it. Unfortunately, since more intelligent ways of thinking about video game art are still in gestation, the puritan outlook is the one that dominates the online media on the subject (we can take comfort in knowing that this is not a problem that is unique to video games. Every young art form passes through such a stage).
The people who dedicate their lives to playing video games are called gamers, and are full of love and passion for their hobby. They immerse themselves in the mythologies of the different games, identify with the characters, create playing and discussion groups, build entire worlds around every game.
They want journalism that shares this devotion, but what they get instead is didactic and boring puritan criticism. Worse, they feel that this journalism is deeply corrupt, exploiting the lack of ethics in online media to operate with impunity. It’s not just that game Journalists of the SJW type are using their power to promote games that obey their values; gamers have been sensing for years that behind the scenes there is also collusion, inappropriate relations between game developers and those who write about them. Since the gaming media is the source that any other media draws from when writing about the subject, the gamers feel like this corruption creates a distorted image of their world. They demand transparency, accountability and compliance with principles of journalistic ethics, but the online media always ignored their demands. And then, in August 2014, the game critics hit the fan.
It all began with a blog post written by a game developer in which he revealed how his girlfriend, also a game developer, cheated on him with several men, among them a game critic. The juicy story had all the makings of a good scandal, and the scandal did not fail to arrive. For those who complained about the corruption in media, this was the evidence they were looking for, a story about a developer trading sex for a good review from the critic.
But, as is always the case with such stories, the legitimate demand to investigate the corruption was swamped by a lot of other things: fictional supplements to the story, disinformation, personal attacks on the adulteress, railing against all those slut women, etc. Still, it could have ended there if the media had reacted properly. The gaming journalism sites could have addressed the serious part of the arguments against them, promise to adopt better ethics, and appease their enraged readers. What happened instead is what is remembered now as “August 28th”, the day that will go down in infamy in the history of online media, the day gaming journalists showed their true colors, the day that changed everything.
For those who don’t know how the Internet works, we should make it clear that most of the bad behavior does not come from the GamerGate or SJW communities but from anonymous anti-social trolls who exploit the mayhem to let their violent nature loose.
Rather than addressing the demands, the SJWs went for their usual tactic: claiming that the attacks on the developer are not due to substantive issues but because she is a woman, and the real problem is not her but the character of her detractors. In the span of two days there was a series of articles, by different journalists in different sites, in which they depicted the gamer as a white male who hates women and minorities and feels like his world (a world of video games aimed at racists and misogynists) is being taken away from him so he lashes against the people he deems responsible for it. Suddenly it dawned upon the gamers that their media, the media that is supposed to represent their world, is actually driven by prejudice and hate towards them. This was the beginning of what became known as GamerGate.
And it was ugly, in the tradition of all online flame wars since the 4Chan civil war of 2009. The heart of GamerGate was still the demand for ethics, but its essence was the fight against the SJWs. This was the first time a large group of people stood up to the SJWs, and the latter reacted according to their nature. Individuals from both sides received nonstop harassment, murder and rape threats, and some had their private details exposed online.
A couple of events organized by GamerGate had to evacuate the premises due to bomb threats, and so was a lecture by SJW game critic Anita Sarkeesian. For those who don’t know how the Internet works, we should make it clear that most of the bad behavior does not come from the GamerGate or SJW communities but from anonymous anti-social trolls who exploit the mayhem to let their violent nature loose.
But both said communities were responsible for creating the toxic atmosphere, and should both be condemned for it. However, even though the responsibility lay equally on both sides and both sides suffered the same, the media put the blame squarely on GamerGate. Not just the puritan online media, but even the established mainstream media that is supposedly liberal bought the narrative that GamerGate is a hate movement against women and minorities, and they bought it hook, line, and sinker. Every attack on an SJW was touted in the media as evidence to the true nature of GamerGate, while similar attack on gamergaters got no coverage at all. The GamerGate people, most of them leftists of the liberal type, watched in dismay as their heroes in the media turned against them, accusing them of views that are completely opposed to their character and beliefs, while the only media that defended them were right-wing sites. Many of them experienced severe identity crisis as a result.
But that only motivated them to soldier on, and slowly they began to turn things around. The reason that mainstream media reported with such bias against GamerGate wasn’t that it was taken over by puritans, but simply the result of a generational gap. Mainstream journalists have no clue in video games, gaming culture and Internet culture, so they just buy wholesale what they are being told by those they perceive as journalists like them. Like the rock’n’roll generation of the sixties, the gamers had to create their own media channels if they wanted to be represented. The community began to produce its own YouTube stars – intellectuals, comedians, culture critics, game critics etc. – who drive the discussion that combines the world of video games with current sociology and politics. Gradually they are getting mainstream journalists to listen, and compelling the online media to adopt ethical standards.
As an onlooker, I was neutral at first and put the blame equally on all sides. But I kept watching, and now, a year later, I feel that I can pass judgment the true nature of each side. The GamerGate community is working to rid itself of the negative elements and proved to be a culture based on fun, creativity, self exploration, the acceptance of the other, rational and critical thought, a dialogue based on listening to diverse views, and fighting the corrupt system. The SJW community, on the other hand, continues to be a piranha infested cesspool and a culture based on resentment, self-righteousness, the rejection of otherness, herd mentality, ideological thinking that discards facts, sweeping censorship, and hatred to all earthly pleasures except the pleasure of destroying anyone who disagrees with them.
They do not try to better themselves, but work effortlessly to prevent any opinion that might make them doubt themselves from entering their consciousness (one of the main characteristics of an SJW is the blocking on Twitter of anyone who attempts to debate them). All of their actions are based on the delusion that they truly speak in the name of the oppressed and that those who oppose them are really just doing so because they are white straight male who want to maintain their hegemony.
In the last year the SJWs, driven by their self-righteousness and tripping on their delusions of self-importance, expanded the range of their attacks and went after movie people, musicians, comedians, scientists and politicians.
Whenever they encounter a gamergater who doesn’t fit this stereotype (and they are of course numerous) they tend to claim that it is actually a white male in disguise, and then proceed to immediately block that gamergater whose very existence threatens their delusional bubble. Actually, there is not a shred of evidence to corroborate their claim that “there is a new generation of gamers to replace the old generation of racist, sexists and homophobes”, but what seems to be happening is a natural evolution is which the gamer community, liberal by nature, is organically developing from a white male dominated group into something more diverse “Of course, female and minority gamers mostly despise the SJWs and are offended by their anti-gamer attitude, so the latter’s contribution to the process amounts to zero or even less.”
In the last year the SJWs, driven by their self-righteousness and tripping on their delusions of self-importance, expanded the range of their attacks and went after movie people, musicians, comedians, scientists and politicians. They are beginning to reveal their true nature to the people outside the Internet, and more and more liberals wake up and realize that they are an enemy.
The SJWs are bound to fall, but the question is what damage they will do to the left before they go. The American right went through something similar in the beginning of the decade, as the puritan Tea Party challenged the conservative establishment. The latter was oblivious to the danger, helped the Tea Party advance, and ended up losing control over conservative politics. The outcome was that the Republican party alienated the majority of Americans, came to be regarded as irrational and unhinged, and lost the culture war. The SJWs are threatening to do the same to the left, but it is not too late to stop them. GamerGate marks an awakening in the left, a moment of clarity. Some people involved in the battle are already talking about “the civil war of the left” and are vowing to kick the SJWs back to the nether regions of Tumblr. Let them continue to be a pain there but nowhere else.
And it contains an opportunity for the right as well. Needless to say, not only liberals play video games, and GamerGate also has many right-wingers in its ranks. Moreover, the battle draws right-wingers who recognize in GamerGate’s claims many of their own traditional claims against the left. The difference is that they always thought that the puritan positions characterized the whole left (typical mistake: the left errs in the same way about the right), and now they realize it is only a noisy minority. This already forms a dialogue between left and right, a better understanding of the other side’s positions. Maybe this will be the thing that will reconnect the American right with the spirit of the time.
GamerGate currently contains many contradicting positions, and will eventually be unable to hold them all together and will fall apart. But while it exists it plants seeds of positivity, seeds which will fertilize society, culture and politics for years to come. Stay tuned.
Have an opinion about GamerGate? Would you like to write about it? Then read this.Photo Credit: David Shankbone/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)Post Views: 605
What Do You Think?
By Staff Report
President Barack Obama officially signed the controversial nuclear agreement with Iran Sunday afternoon after Iran’s parliament passed the measure last week.
The agreement will offer relief from crippling economic sanctions on Iran if that country complies with numerous provisions designed to stop the country from developing nuclear weapons.
Much has been written about this issue. But here at Rise News, we believe in sometimes cutting through the confusion and just bringing you straight information from world leaders.
Here is what President Obama said about the agreement in a statement after signing it on “adoption day.”
“Today marks an important milestone toward preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and ensuring its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward. On this Adoption Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between the P5+1, EU, and Iran, JCPOA participants will make necessary arrangements and preparations for the implementation of their JCPOA commitments. Today, Iran begins to take the steps necessary to implement its JCPOA commitments, including removing thousands of centrifuges and associated infrastructure, reducing its enriched uranium stockpile from approximately 12,000 kilograms to 300 kilograms, and removing the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor and filling it with concrete so that it cannot be used again, among other steps. These next steps will allow us to reach the objectives we set out to achieve over the course of nearly two years of tough, principled diplomacy and will result in cutting off all four pathways Iran could use to develop enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. I am confident in the extraordinary benefits to our national security and the peace and security of the world that come with the successful implementation of the JCPOA.
I have directed that the heads of all relevant executive departments and agencies of the United States begin preparations to implement the U.S. commitments in the JCPOA, in accordance with U.S. law, including providing relief from nuclear-related sanctions as detailed in the text of the JCPOA once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has completed all of its nuclear steps. We will also be closely monitoring Iran’s adherence to its commitments, working closely with the IAEA and the other JCPOA participants, to ensure Iran fully fulfills each and every one of its commitments.
I welcome this important step forward, and we, together with our partners, must now focus on the critical work of fully implementing this comprehensive resolution that addresses our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.”
Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover Photo Credit: angela n./ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 345
What Do You Think?
By Alex Austin
In the 68-year history of the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (the nickname makes more sense now, doesn’t it?) there have been a laundry list of excellent players. These great names have been instrumental in the franchise’s success.
With Kobe Bryant announcing that he will retire at the end of this season, now seems like as good a time as ever to list the top 5 players in franchise history.
Now this is only this writer’s personal list and there are arguments that can be made for a number of individuals.
A few things to note before the listing begins.
This will only encompass the respective players on-court careers. So as important as some people have been behind the scenes and in the front office, those achievements will not be considered.
As this is a list of all-time Lakers, the years and statistics listed will only be for those years that the players were part of the franchise.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, C, (1975-1989) 22.1 Pts, 9.4 Reb, 2.5 Blks
How can you go wrong with the NBA’s leading scorer? While he was originally drafted 1st overall in the 1969 Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, Kareem spent 14 of his 20 season in Los Angeles. A major part of the 1980s “Showtime” teams, he was league MVP three times and an NBA Champion five times while playing in southern California.
2. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, PG, (1979-1991, 1996) 19.5 Pts, 7.2 Reb, 11.2 Ast
Another 1st overall pick, this time in 1979, “Magic” was a 6’9″ point guard and the distributor for the aforementioned “Showtime” teams. By the time his career ended, he was a five-time NBA Champion and a three-time MVP. One of the best play-makers of his size, Magic paved the ways for modern players like LeBron James and James Harden to be their teams’ primary ball-handlers.
3. Kobe Bryant, SG, (1996-2016) 25.2 Pts, 5.3 Reb, 4.8 Ast (as of this writing)
The “Black Mamba”, he is and has been the face of the Lakers for the majority of his 20-year career. Though he was only MVP on one occasion, he was a part of five championship teams. Bryant also holds the Lakers record for points with 32,785 as of this writing.
4. Jerry West, PG, (1960-1974) 27 Pts, 5.8 Reb, 6.7 Ast
The 2nd overall pick in 1960 (right behind fellow Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson), West does not have the accolades of others on this list. He was never league MVP and he only won one championship, though he was an All-Star selection every year he played. However, his pure play-making ability earned him nicknames such as “Mr. Clutch” and “Mr. Outside”. Nowadays, he is also known as the inspiration for the silhouette that makes up the NBA logo today.
5. George Mikan, C, (1947-1954, 1956) 23.1 Pts, 13.4 Reb (only BBA/NBA stats available)
Mikan was the first superstar of professional basketball. He arrived with the Lakers in his second professional season when they were part of the National Basketball League. The franchise jumped the next year to the Basketball Association of America, which the following year became the NBA. He led the Lakers to five BBA/NBA championships, while leading the league in scoring three times and rebounds twice.
Cover Photo Credit: jpellgen/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 310
What Do You Think?