Monthly Archives: May 2018

March for Our Lives

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When I decided to come to D.C as part of my degree, I had also taken into account my passion for American politics. D.C doesn’t deserve its reputation as a heartless capital, filled with greedy corporations and stern-looking institutions. Not only is D.C home to congress, the White House and the Supreme Court, it also contains a vibrant civil society, which is the beating heart of the nation’s capital. This is what I witnessed last Sunday at the “march for our lives” event.

As an external observer, I took part in the march. And I did it gladly, even though it is not my fight. Coming from Europe, guns are seen in a completely different. Or they are literally not seen at all by people who can’t use them: no concealed or open carry of any sort. No second amendment. Arguably, no school or mass shootings of any sort, as a result of no guns given to civilians. But this is another story.

I slept in and woke up around 11. I grabbed a quick breakfast and was soon out of my place. After a week of bad weather, finally a sunny day. Cherry blossoms, rays of sun, and the city is completely revamped.

I went to the Lincoln memorial, thinking I was going to find a protesting crowd. But there were sparse groups of people, some with signs, but mostly tourist. I asked for information and was directed to freedom plaza, close to 13th and E street. Where the march was happening. Turns out, the March wasn’t a March, it was a huge gathering. I made my way through the mass of people, took pictures of signs, laughed at the spelling mistakes and shuddered at the death related statistics. The testimonies of the activists on the stage were powerful, to say the least. It was a very emotionally charged march.

More than 500.000 people attended the march, according to reports. On top of that, similar marches were organized all across the US, elevating the march to being the biggest for gun control.

America is so alive politically. The citizenry does care. And I know it’s not only DC.

People voice their approval, as much as their disapproval for their political leaders. In comparison, Italians passively accept what happens. More often than not, the majority adopts a resigned posture with regards to politics. They don’t happen to think that they can use their voice.

In a capital like Rome, it would be hard to be dragged into a nation-wide demonstration.

That’s the beauty of D.C. You can wake up on a mid-semester Sunday morning, decide to go for a walk to end up being part of a historic moment.

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A Piece of Shocking News

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By minhsuanchen

    A few days ago, there was a piece of news in Taiwan that shocked all the Taiwanese and Americans, for a Taiwanese exchange student was accused of threatening a shooting at his high school. Although he later said he was only joking, he was arrested on a charge of making terroristic threats.

    When the incident broke out, tons of news overwhelmed social media and platforms instantly partially because it was such a serious issue and partially because  of the teenager’s special identity. Therefore, the case provoked a lot of discussions on social media. For example, many people re-emphasized the importance of home education and they criticized the teenager’s parents of spoiling the kid. Others warned people that terrifying to shoot at a school was nothing merely a “joke” especially when people in the United States were furious about gun violence and calling for action against it due to the recent massacre at a South Florida high school.

     When I read the news, I felt extremely ashamed of the teenager’s behavior because as a Taiwanese, what he did represented “Taiwan.” As a result, though it was an individual case, he created a negative image of Taiwan internationally without a doubt. Also, I felt quite disappointed about news personnel, for they did not comply with journalistic ethics and justice when they were making the coverage. As a responsible journalist, they were supposed to be a bridge that conveyed objective and authentic information to their readers, but some journalists were too eager to draw readers’ attention that they began to make terrifying headlines or reveal information about the individual’s identity that had nothing to do with the issue itself.

     To sum up, it was an opportunity for all the Taiwanese to reflect on the responsibility of news personnel and the importance of home education. Most importantly, people need to bear in mind that it is not funny at all to make this kind of joke. For those people who lost their beloved family members at such massacres, the disrespectful words may tear their hearts.

 

Preserving the Past

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By minhsuanchen

    One thing I was really impressed by the United States when I came here was its strong protection and preservation of its historical heritage and history. Also, the guide tours in most national museums, cemeteries, and historical sites which are made to teach or introduce their stories are well-organized. Therefore, it is not rare to see teachers bringing their students to these places to learn. As an English major, I appreciate it so much because I can learn American history vividly on the spot rather than reading all those tedious materials only based on textbooks. In addition, I believe preserving history is the only way for people to remember what efforts their ancestors made and try not to make the same mistakes that will bring disasters such as WWⅠ and WWⅡ.

    Among those places where historical sites are preserved and organized in a great condition, Philadelphia is my favorite one until now, and I strongly recommend those who want to dig into the 18th and 19th American history to go there. Philadelphia used to be the temporary capital of United States where declaration of independence and the constitution were signed. Hence, Philadelphia can be viewed as the starting point of America’s democracy. There are a lot of historical sites worth visiting like Penn’s Landing, Independence Hall, Old City Hall, Congress Hall, Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin Museum, Liberty Bell, and so on. In brief, Philadelphia is a place best for a few day trip to get immersed in its historical atmosphere and admire the beautiful architectures.

    If you crave for some delicious food, do not forget to try the famous cheesesteaks there! (Franklin Fountain should also be in your list if you also want to try some ice cream for your dessert.)