News & Politics
"In a subtle way, you can shake the world."
― Mohandas Ghandi
― Mohandas Ghandi
by Christina Maldonado '19
The Siberian weather system has continued to bring chaos with the large amount of freezing conditions. The roads have been closed, and hundreds of flights were forced to be canceled, because of blizzards and heavy snowfall. Europe has been experiencing these harsh weather conditions, and can be felt from as far as the south of the Mediterranean. There have been rising numbers of deaths; the deaths rose up to about 55 due to the weather conditions. The World Health Organization gave a warning about this current weather condition; the migrants and the homeless will be hit the hardest by this “big storm.”
“These most at risk of cold-related illness include elderly people, children, and people who have chronic diseases or physical or mental limitations,” was said by the World Health Organization.
Weather conditions have been given different names according to its location. In the United Kingdom, it's refereed as “the Beast from the East.” The Dutch refer the weather as “Siberian bear.” The “Snow cannon” is what the Swedes call the weather system.
The “balmy” beaches of the French Riviera has experienced snow. The heaviest snowfall in decades is supposed to be in Ireland; Storm Emma moves toward the South.
Thursday morning, the airport in the Swiss city of Geneva was forced to shut down. About 2,000 drivers in France complained about being stuck on a motorway near the city of Montpelier for as long as 24 hours.
AFP news reports that there has been 7 people reported dead since Sunday on Slovakia, and the Czech Republic has had 6 more deaths in recent days. Lithuania had 5 deaths reported, and 4 in France. Serbia, Italy, Slovenia, and Romania each had 2 deaths. One death in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
America’s Ugly Ducklings (Satirical Op-Ed)
by Jocelyn Sung '18
A beautiful dusk begins to fall over the forest, and the arrival of the moon brings a symphony of sounds. Crickets chirp with excitement from a ditch of tall grass while owls hoot with anticipation from the leafy treetops above; even an army of ants pause their never-ending work to watch as a flurry of white bodies proceed down a well-beaten path.
This is a monthly occurrence. The swans, ever so graceful, glide through the forest on swift, clementine-colored feet. They carefully poise their elegant necks in such a stiff manner that their beaks are pointed upwards in the cool air. It’s almost as if accidentally glancing at the sickening sight of their inferiors will simply be too much to bear. One look and their pureness will be tainted.
The other animals of the forest, such as the hardworking squirrels, can’t be bothered to gape at the parade like the crickets, the owls, the ants. Frost is quickly approaching, and the forest had not been kind to them this year. As they always have been, nuts and other delicacies were extremely scarce for them.
Perhaps this year, they think, we will be forced to gnaw on sticks to appease the rumbling of our stomachs. But what do such pessimistic thoughts do? Nothing. So the squirrels work. But secretly, they all understand that no matter how much they struggle, overcome, and struggle some more, their efforts are never enough.
The forest animals immediately notice that this particular procession is quite curious. Rolling behind the ever-so pompous flock of swans is what appears to be a hoard of tumbling, dirtied feathers. The bystanders gawk, murmured questions racing through the air as they wonder what they are doing here.
Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that these are not merely soiled balls of muddy plumes, but rather a cluster of clumsy ducklings. In fact, these are the ducklings, the rather atrocious descendants of the majestic swans. They stumble behind their parents on unsteady feet, often tripping and falling over each other as they eagerly rush ahead. Their eyes gleam with wonder, their necks crane at unbelievable angles to take in as many of the forest’s beauties as they can, but something immediately sets the ducklings on edge.
The forest animals glare at them with absolute disgust. The wolves bare their razor-like teeth in their direction, and the rainbow-scaled fish splash them as they waddle by a pond. The ducklings are completely surprised by this unwarranted hatred, so they tame their excitement as best as they can, following their parents in an abashed silence for the rest of the way. Their feet are still too large for their small bodies, though. Occasionally, one duckling stumbles forward, and the unlucky individual has to deal with the ugly snickers that echo after him or her.
“What are they doing here?” a cub asks his mama bear, tree sap stuck to his chocolate-colored fur.
The mama bear rolls her eyes, hurrying her child along. “Absolute simplicity on the swans’ behalf,” she huffs. “I’m sure they thought bringing the ducklings along to experience how the council functions would be a good idea, but all those ugly brats will do is cause a ruckus.”
By the time the procession arrives at their destination, they have completely forgotten about everything. No longer do their webbed feet complain of the soreness that came with the journey, and by now, they have completely forgotten about the maliciousness of the forest animals. They are back to gawking, to squeaking with delight and running around in dizzying circles as they take in the new sights.
A deep pit has been carefully dug into the soft ground of the earth. An oval in the exact center is filled to the brim with clear, crisp spring water. Brilliant leaves in all shades of bright yellow, warm orange, and flaming red drift along the rippling surface, a quiet reminder that autumn is truly coming to an end. It reminds the ducklings of how crucial this gathering is to the forest. Here, their parents will be making decisions critical to all of the animals’ survival.
The ducklings settle to the side, feathers ruffled with anticipation. They wait with their breaths held, almost as if they’re afraid that one misplaced exhale will disrupt the beauty of it all.
Their parents, however, surprised the ducklings even more. Instead of arranging themselves in an orderly fashion as the ducklings were expecting, the swans group into two. Both halves spend a good hour simply glaring at each other, honking threateningly before ruffling their own feathers in agitation. The ducklings share perplexed looks, but they return to silently observing. There must be a method to this madness, they reassure themselves. They will do something eventually.
And the swans do, but by the time they finally seat themselves around the oval pond, night has completely fallen. The ducklings huddle together, shivering against the bitter chill as the moon breathes ice on their muddy feathers. A few of them feel their eyelids drooping, as they have never stayed up this late before. Nonetheless! They must stay up! Who knows when will be the next time they will receive such an opportunity like this? This may be the last time they see how the council functions before they become the swans.
Yet, the swans are not discussing matters that pertain to the overall good of the forest. One swan with a nasally squawk voices his approval when another with a particularly strange arrangement of feathers on top of his head honks loudly. “Animals complaining about the humans coming into the forests with chainsaws, threatening to cut down our trees?” the strange one screeches. “I say we take those chainsaws and threaten to cut down their houses! That will make them leave us alone!”
One portion of the swans cheer with agreement; the other, however, look as if they want to slam their beaks into the soft dirt of the pit. “Sir, we don’t see how this would be a good idea,” one swan begins. “We believe that we should....”
The squabbling goes on for hours. It seems that whenever the swans are finally about to reach a solution, one swan has to put forth another topic of discussion that completely unravels all of their previous plans. When the face of the morning sun tentatively peeks out from over the peaks of the violet mountains in the distance, one duckling has had enough.
“Leader Feathered Rump,” she chirps, standing unevenly on her clumsy feet. “I do believe that a simple solution to all of your problems is a compromise. Why can you not give both sides something they want? Why do you keep insisting on a plan that only benefits your party of swans? If you allow the humans a portion of the trees in exchange for a promise that they will replant them afterwards, wouldn’t that make everyone happy? You could also ask for a bit of extra food to ensure the squirrels do not go hungry this winter.”
The duckling takes a deep breath, satisfied with herself. She presented the most logical solution to the swans’ problem, one that helps both the humans and the forest. Surely they can all go home now! Her own nest sounds so enticing right now…
She’s about to drift off to sleep, standing right there, when a sharp laugh jerks her awake. Her eyes widen to see who’s laughing. She’s shocked when she sees it’s no one other than Leader Feathered Rump himself! She flinches away a bit.
“How adorable!” Rump cackles. “A true politician right there! What’s your name, Miss?”
The once-brave duckling shrinks back even more. “Lilac,” she whispers, on the verge of tears.
Rump crows to the rising sun. “Little Lilac! Do you really believe you can propose a solution that will actually work to a council of experienced professionals? Of course not!” He turns to the swans seated behind him. “Can anyone please remind Little Lilac what she is?”
“An ugly duckling!” someone offers from the very back. Lilac feels more tears spring to her eyes, but she refuses to shed them. She will not.
Rump moves his wings together in a clapping motion, even though his feathers muffle any sound they make. “Correct! Now, Little Lilac, we’re all aware of the fact that you would love nothing more than to be cuddled in your nest at home. I would like to be as well. Now, please let the swans settle this, and be patient, little ugly duckling!”
So Leader Feathered Rump turns back to his fellow swans, and once more, the bickering continues with a full force. Lilac retreats to the other ugly ducklings, sobbing to herself as she does so.
This op-ed was originally going to be about some of the outrageous demands schools make of students regarding dress code, but I decided that this particular topic was much more necessary, given recent events.
Survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida have been trying to make a difference in America, if you haven’t heard yet. They have been fighting for gun reform by trying to ensure that it will be more difficult for individuals with mental illnesses or histories of violence to purchase guns. So far, some adults have claimed these student-activists are paid actors. Others have claimed that their grief has been taken advantage of by left-wing political groups.
I want to remind you, as a member of Generation Z, you can make a difference in this society. Adults will try to tell you that you are, and I quote, a “kid.” I will tell you that the “hippies” of the 1900’s managed to end unnecessary killing from the Vietnam War. I will tell you that the some of the same adults telling you that you are a “kid” look at black children as dangerous criminals, but claim the Parkland shooter is simply a troubled individual.
I want to remind you, millennials and baby boomers, to encourage your younger siblings. I understand there are some discrepancies between our generations. I realize it is more difficult for you to understand why we do some of the things we do because you grew up in a different era. But shouldn’t we stand together? Why do we constantly divide ourselves because we do not understand one another? Do you support unnecessary killing? So why are some of you looking at Generation Z standing up for life, and ridiculing them for it? Don’t ridicule them. Encourage them, help them.
When you turn eighteen, Generation Z, I encourage you to vote. Millennials, baby boomers, I encourage you to vote. I encourage you to empower people who will actually work to make a difference in this nation, to fight for black lives, to fight for gun reform, or whatever you believe in. If you do not agree with something, speak up about it (in a respectful manner, of course). Generation Z, do not let these chains of being “just a kid” hinder you from making a difference, from making history. Millennials, baby boomers, do not let these discrepancies in time hinder you from supporting your younger siblings in their fight for change.