These past few years have been pretty rough, considering the political, economic, and social struggles that the human race has had to face. In light of recent concerns, such as the rise of the alt-right and the repercussions of a confusing presidential election, it comes as no surprise that there were some important stories that were forgotten in the midst of this political fever dream. The seven issues described below should not be forgotten, and must receive more attention if we hope to see meaningful progress.
1) Panama Papers
On May 9th, 2016 it was revealed in a leak from a German news site, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, that many large business owners had been using fake, off-shore companies to evade paying taxes. Essentially, they exploited the exclusion of corporate investments from taxation by fraudulently investing in non-existent businesses. The leak revealed that over 200,000 fake companies were used as “tax havens” and exposed many of the guilty business owners. However, despite the fallout, many companies still continue these practices.
2) Guantanamo Bay
Our Constitution provides rights of due process to us. Guantanamo Bay (also known as Gitmo) rips a gaping hole in them and allows for “suspected terrorists” to be held without being properly prosecuted. These transgressions and others such as torture and harsh living conditions can occur at Gitmo because it is located in Cuba instead of the United States. Obama attempted to close it during his second term, but Congress blocked his efforts, and we’re still stuck with it. It’s unconstitutional, inhumane, and should not be tolerated.
3) “Bring Back Our Girls”
Back in 2013, it was reported that around 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and sold as brides for $12 each. While the organization “Bring Back Our Girls” has been avidly fighting for these victims of Boko Haram and has managed to rescue some, there is still much work to be done to help these girls get home as soon as possible.
4) Tragedies in Aleppo
In the midst of the Syrian Civil War, many cities have been hit hard by bombings and violent clashes between rebels and the government of Bashar al-Assad, impacting thousands of families. Aleppo, Syria, one of the Middle East’s most populous cities, is the most notable case. The city essentially became a wasteland after a series of bombings left many innocent civilians homeless, injured, or even dead. The Syrian Civil War rages on, and the contentious debates concerning refugees from this region should not ignore the abject horrors people from Aleppo and other war-torn cities have faced. When recalling these civilians’ struggles, Americans should recognize that they need somewhere to flee to, and should be more receptive to these people in need.
5) Donald Trump’s Sexual Assault Allegations
Over the past 30 years, Trump has been accused of many instances of sexual assault–unwanted kissing, groping, and worse–by over a dozen women. Trump’s campaign was quick to dismiss these accusations, claiming that these women just wanted attention or money. When one woman was brave enough to file a lawsuit against him in 2016, many of his more despicable supporters threatened her with violence and even death. This response scared her into dropping the charges, and I honestly can’t blame her. It’s a sad reality that someone with so much power and money can easily wave away serious accusations like this with next to no repercussions.
6) Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Easily, the most bizarre incident on the list is when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March 2014 without a trace. This baffled citizens and government officials all across the world, and up until very recently a large-scale search for the plane was being conducted. Unfortunately, the search team has deemed the search a lost cause and ceased operations. It may be a very long time until we discover what exactly happened.
7) Flint, Michigan
In 2014, the citizens of Flint, Michigan found the city’s water supply in an unacceptable state. That same year, government officials in Flint made budget cuts, which included changing the source for the city’s water supply. Previously, Flint bought water from Detroit that was sourced straight from Lake Huron. However, due to the budget issue, Flint was switched to using a local river as the public water supply. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, however, did not treat this river with the appropriate care to ensure that the water was potable. Consequently, severe lead poisoning was reported with numerous casualties. As of today, politicians in D.C. still refuse to lend a helping hand, and residents are still left without clean water.
While all of these issues remain unresolved, hope should not be lost. We as Americans can help combat most of these problems through protest, donation, community service, or other forms of civic participation. Many different organizations have formed to tackle some of these issues. But we must continually push them into the public consciousness to ensure that further action is taken.