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April 13th, 2015

Getting Informed – In an Age of Misinformation and Denial

By Derek Congram, Lecturer on Peace, Conflict, and Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs

I grew up in the suburbs of Windsor, Ontario. There was a large Slavic (and specifically South, or Jugo, Slav) population in the area, many having immigrated to work at the Big Three auto factories. My friends and classmates growing up included a Brkovic, Chuk, Sladic, and Stankovic. But in elementary and high school my only knowledge of Serbia, Croatia, and by proxy Bosnia, was due to the nation-linked second generation soccer teams in the city and their respective cultural centres. When wars broke out in the 1990s, these friends did not talk to me about them. The wars were neither a subject of conversation at school nor, for me at least, at home. I’m still confused and, admittedly, embarrassed that the only reason I knew about the siege of Sarajevo was because U2 recorded a song about it (Miss Sarajevo), which they were playing on the radio. In hindsight, I find it remarkable – even though I was not actively seeking to be informed – that I could know almost nothing about the ongoing wars in the fragmenting Yugoslavia and associated war crimes, crimes against humanity, firefights involving Canadian peace-keepers, and ultimately genocide.

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April 9th, 2015

Myanmar’s Democratic Turn Brings Cold Comfort to Rohingya Muslim Minority

Evan Gray, Blog Writer

In 2010, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) elected its first semi-civilian government since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. Since then, the country has experienced a period of rapid reform under President Thein Sein, leader of the military-dominated Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Although recent reversals have caused many to question the sincerity of the current government’s desire for reform, Myanmar has experienced a significant opening of its political system, news media and economy since the (admittedly flawed) 2010 elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 9th, 2015

Canada’s Role in the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Aiding the EU in the Mediterranean

Chad Rickaby, Blog Writer

The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly. Antonio Guiterres, the second term High Commissioner, has stated that the situation in Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis since the Rwandan genocide. The resulting refugee crisis is a tragic humanitarian disaster that should be considered of direct concern to the global community. Calls by the Commissioner, “to keep borders open and receive all Syrians who seek protection,” need to be recognized by the global community, including Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 2nd, 2015

The Spillover Effect – Why Genocides Rarely Stay Within National Boundaries

Sho Shibata, Blog Writer

A standard approach to preventing genocide emphasizes understanding the causes that culminate in such violence. The origins of such mass, systemic violence can often be linked to phenomena such as Civil War and ethnic tension among different groups. However, we must be mindful that attributing a single event as the catalyst to such large scale violence can limit our scope of analysis and overall understanding. The spillover effect offers some insight as to why ending genocide is often a prolonged process. Then remains the question of how to respond, and if it is even appropriate to respond at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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March 17th, 2015

Financing the Syrian Civil War

Talha Sadiq, Blog Writer

Syria’s civil war has now entered its fourth year with the civilian death toll rising by the day. According to estimates, over 200,000 people have died and millions have been displaced by the ongoing conflict. The UN estimates that more than 12.2 million Syrians are in urgent need of assistance. Despite these alarming facts, the international community has yet to step up and provide meaningful political assistance along with essential humanitarian aid. Read the rest of this entry »

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