what happened last week (whlw) | Subscribe

whlw: no. 241

October 19 – 25, 2020

This is Sham, your very own news curator. I stopped reading the news yesterday at 9pm.

I love it when videos of democracy aka people voting in the United States presidential election pop up on my feed on social media. Did you see this? It made my day. But especially this video caught my attention. Speaking of elections, Belarus is still dealing with its still-president Alexander Lukashenko who won't step down – not even last night, a deadline set by the opposition. Mass protests and national strike: loading.

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Now without further ado, here's what happened last week,

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what happened last week

We, the young, are even angrier in Nigeria now
Things in Nigeria are getting more and more tense. So tense that people are even angry at Beyoncé.

Catch up: Tens of thousands of people – most of them young – demand that the country's police is no longer violent towards citizens. They also want other things to change but #EndSARS (SARS is a special police unit that many people say is extremely violent) is how it all started. 

What's new?
There were two major turning points last week.

First, there was a shooting in the capital Lagos that killed a number of people (
we still don't know how many). Since the protests began, the president said that at least 51 people have died.

people found food in locked-up warehouses elsewhere that were supposed to be given to the public but weren't – food many families need to get through this global pandemic. Some of the food had even gone bad. You can imagine how angry people were. The police on Saturday was like, 'we will do our best to end this so-called protest. Most of you are just criminals hiding in plain sight.' 'This very attitude is the problem', say Steve Dede and Samson Toromade in Pulse Nigeria.

Why this matters: More than 205 million people live in Nigeria. Also, the country has a pretty big problem: it has way too many people (almost 83 million people) who live in extreme poverty aka they make around $381 a year. That's more poor people than any other country in the world. Oh, and the country is Africa's top oil exporter. So, we're talking a lot of people and a lot of money.

What's next for Nigeria?
Young people will decide. More than 60% in Nigeria are under the age of 24. Most of them do not have a formal job and there are few opportunities to get a good education.
Aliyu Tanko from the BBC writes that young Nigerians are finally feeling like they can change something about that.
We are making lives difficult for women in Poland and Peru
In Poland... there are new laws that basically made it illegal for women to have an abortion if the foetus aka unborn baby is not in perfect health. This made thousands of women very angry because 98 percent of all abortions took place because of that very reason. Women say, 'we have up to 200,000 abortions every year. Most of them either illegally or abroad. Why are you making our lives even more difficult?'
  • Why this matters: Well, women's rights. While women can still have abortions in very few cases, Poland is still one of the strictest European countries (it's a a very Catholic country) when it comes to giving women the right to rule over their body.
In Peru... a lot of women and young girls have been disappearing and beaten up during the pandemic. Just this year, between January and September, around 13,000 people went missing, 63 percent were women, more than half of them young girls. Another study found out: Around 11,000 women got beaten up between March and July this year, 30 percent of them were young girls. Women's organizations such as Mujeres Desaparecidas Perú (Missing Women Peru) are now saying, 'the government must do something. Missing women are not just numbers, they are human beings.'
  • Why this matters: Read the previous sentence. And of course, the missing men and young boys matter, too. Let's hope that the new national search system (launched last week by president Martín Vizcarra) will make the search easier. Why they disappear and get beaten up, however, is not up for debate right now. But should be.
(BTW, off topic but speaking of Peru, last week archaeologists found a 2,000-year-old cat 'drawn' on a hillside somewhere in a desert. 'There's so much we don't know,' they said.)
We agreed to stop fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh – for the third time

Azerbaijan and Armenia have now decided to stop fighting each other in Nagorno-Karabakh for the third time (starting today at 8 a.m. local time) since they began fighting since last month. At least 1,000 people (read: soldiers) and at least dozens of civilians have died so far. Human Rights Watch says, 'of course, civilians are going to die if Azerbaijan continues to use banned weapons like cluster weapons.'

  • Why this matters: The last time these two fought, at least 30,000 people died in the 1990ies.
  • Catch up: The fighting between the two began sometime in July and then it became worse last month. But this is one of the world's oldest conflicts. Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Azerbaijan (it's right in the middle of it) but the people who live there aka ethnic Armenians, say, 'this is actually Armenian land and we want to rule over ourselves'. Then there's also the fact that this region is also full of oil and gas. Think pipelines and... a lot of money.

I heard about some video.
There's a lot of disinformation about what's going on but two videos that were posted somewhere on a messaging app last week could change how we talk about what's happening in Nagorno-Karabakh. Why? Well, the videos showed two Armenian soldiers (Armenia says, 'their names are Benik Hakobyan and Yuri Adamyan') getting executed by Azeri soldiers. That's another proof of a war crime if true; the other proof being that civilians have been killed. Many experts say, 'these two videos, they look very real.'

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We made democracy great again in Bolivia
There was a presidential election that meant a lot to so many people: the one in Bolivia; this one, unlike Belarus, has a happy ending. This happy.

It's official: The country's new president is Luis Arce (he was so happy, look). Around 55 percent voted for him. His first day at the job will be sometime next month and he's promised to be a good president for the other 45 percent, too. Why this matters: This election is basically a love letter to democracy in Bolivia – and big 'f*ck you' to whatever right-wing stuff Jeanine Añez was trying to do in the time she took over the government after Evo Morales (the guy who ruled over Bolivia the longest and its first indigenous president; he's now in Argentina) had to quit his job. Around 11.5 million people live here.

Real quick, what's going on in Bolivia?
Oof, the last year or so was pretty challenging. The country's former president had to quit his job and move to a different country, a woman named Jeanine Añez took over,
became the villain of so many people and was like, 'I'm going to stay president for a year. We'll have the elections in 2020.' The fact that everyone kind of stayed peaceful and that the results of the election (which ultimately fired Añez for doing a sh*tty job) were accepted, well, that's pretty huge.

Meanwhile on the South American continent, there have been protests in Colombia (the country that has around one million coronavirus infections right now). Thousands of people – even the Indigenous people have joined – are demanding that they still get paid during the pandemic, more money for health and education and that the government does much more to save women's lives. The country's president Iván Duque is like, 'but hey... there's still a deadly virus. let's talk about this later?' to which people say, 'nope. now is the time.'

Why this matters: Close to 50 million people live in Colombia.
We made the world a safer place
50 countries have now said 'yes' to an international treaty aka effort by the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons worldwide. The latest country to join was Honduras. This now means: starting January 22, 2021, nuclear weapons have been banned by the United Nations.

Why this matters: There are more than 14,000 nuclear bombs in the world, thousands of which are ready to be launched in an instant. And they are so so dangerous. You probably don't remember the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan. Around 140,000 people died. In August, that was 75 years ago. Ever since, a lot of people and organizations like ICAN (they won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for being on top of this effort) have been trying to stop that from ever happening again.

What about states who have nuclear weapons?
You mean United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and the United States? They aren't fans of this effort. They want to keep their weapons. The United States even sent a letter to everyone who signed the treaty, telling them, 'you made a mistake.' Btw, there are probably other states who nuclear weapons but we don't really know which ones.

So, what good is this treaty then?
Countries who have signed the treaty have committed to 'no nuclear weapons for life'. People are now hopeful that it might change the way countries (who haven't signed up yet) and companies think about nuclear weapons and perhaps follow the lead in saying Bye, Bye, Bye to them.
1 – Read this article in The Atlantic by Yasmeen Serhan on how to protect a culture that is being wiped out. She talks about what China is doing to the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang and how that has made the Uighur diaspora protect their identity.
  • "Cultures, after all, can’t be placed behind glass like museum artifacts; much like the people who inhabit them, cultures are meant to grow, adapt, and evolve."
2 – Get to know WanaData, a pan-African network of women data scientists, journalists and technologists, who have done some extremely amazing reporting and data journalism projects –for example MapMakoko – a drone project that finally puts a low-income neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria on a map – or Sucked Dry – a large multimedia report on water security and climate change in Uganda.

3 – Do you have Spotify? Listen to the Global Club Music playlist and just dance while self-quarantining (because I hope that's what you are doing right now). It is my absolutely favorite discovery of the past week. Why? It'll leave you wanting to go clubbing in South Africa or Jamaica. Quando Toca Essa by the Miami electronic duo GTA (link goes to YouTube) helped me get through my plank exercises last week.

On a funny note

Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro is so expensive in India that you can fly to the United Arab Emirates to buy it, come back, and still save money.

*Flashback to 2013 Australia where it was cheaper to fly to the United States to buy Adobe software than it was to buy it locally*
The end,
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