Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the famous Marxist revolutionary behind the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, once wrote, “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” We are in extraordinary times where extraordinary people are making extraordinary things happen. In order to keep up with what’s happening in the world today, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten contemporary issues that everyone – not just students – need to know about:
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is being extradited to Sweden. Assange has said he may be sent to the United States to be tortured, but only time will tell. Frought with issues of freedom and free speech, the story is a must-know for anyone interested in human rights.
Yemen and Bahrain are alight with protests. Revolution fever has hit these places as well, and governments aren’t hesitating to use violence to stop these movements. Violent pictures are on the Internet; one includes a man torn in two by bombs.
Libya’s Gaddafi has always been an eccentric character to say the least, but his latest attempts to call protestors drug-riddled rats and claim that some are in alliance with Osama Bin Laden have some seriously questioning his sanity. The man is holding on to his power tightly.
Obama has endorsed gay marriage – almost. The president has stated he will not support the “defense of marriage act.” And while his press secretary says that the president is still “grappling with the issue,” the gay community that supported him during his campaign is beginning to see some of that change he promised.
The “Day of Rage” in Iraq on February 25 shook the current regime in the country. Protestors are demanding democracy, like so many other countries in the region. Seven cities and thousands of people participated.
Anonymous, a network of hackers that won’t be messed with, have sworn to protect WikiLeaks and to attack anyone who tries to shut them down. Recently, a counter-hacker working for a security corporation said he had the names of anonymous users. Sure enough, his computer and iPad were wiped clean, vast archives of sensitive, personal emails were released and all of his backup data was erased. Stephen Colbert equated his move with “sticking your penis in a hornet’s nest.”
Have you ever tried to imagine a liberal tea party? Well, look no further than the United Kingdom, where a grassroots groundswell has demonstrated its anger at corporate greed (specifically at banks and corporations that caused the recession and are now getting out of taxes, while the middle class pay exponentially higher taxes) by forcibly closing down phone companies who aren’t paying proper taxes. The movement has set off a chain effect, and more and more are getting involved to the point that even the conservative media are reporting on them sympathetically.
Wisconsin Republican representative, Paul Ryan, set off shock waves when he attempted to end union bargaining power. With his purposed bill, the “Right to Work Act,” workers would be asked to make concessions but also never have the power to ask for anything again by striking. Workers are protesting now in the state, thousands strong, outraged at this attempt. Statistics are on their side, as those without unions tend to be paid significantly less.
Somali pirates are out of control. Recently, an American couple sailing off the coast of Africa were attacked and killed. The problem has gotten worse, with cargo ships being placed in serious danger. Others have argued that Somalia, as a country without any real government or stability, should be treated as the root of the issue.
Workers strikes and Islamic protests are being held now in Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich dynasty has been feeling the pinch ever since Egypt’s political revolution and is now trying to supply aid to subdue their population. The country has traditionally been an ally of the States, meaning that any disruption could cost the west in foreign standing and oil, not to mention the religious importance of the location for Muslims.