Category Archives: AIUofT Candlelight

We Can’t Ignore the Conflict in Sudan

by Hero Aiken

What is the history of this conflict?

The current civil war erupted in April of 2023, and has its roots in decades of armed conflict between rivalling factions in Sudan. The most recent violence has taken place between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), led by general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan “Hemdti” Dagalo’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). In 2019, the two groups joined forces in order to oust the then dictatorial leader Omar al-Bashir, in response to “broad popular and civil society mobilization for a change in leadership” (Vox). However, the ensuing attempts to transition to a democratic government were unsuccessful, and created a power struggle between the SAF and the RSF which has resulted in direct military conflict between the two parties (The Guardian).

While violence initially broke out in Khartoum and the nearby city of Omdurman, it has since spread to the regions of Port Sudan and Darfur. This widespread conflict zone covers almost the entirety of Sudan, which is one of Africa’s largest countries. Unfortunately, this military conflict has been accompanied by “inter-communal violence” in the Darfur region, as well as the formation of armed self-defence groups from what had previously been “neighbourhood resistance communities,” committed to the return of civilian democratic governance in Sudan (UNHCR, Chatham House). What’s more, there have been credible reports that the RSF is engaging in targeted assaults on certain minority groups, such as the Masalit, much as they did during the ethnically motivated violence in the Darfur region in 2003 (Vox).

Tragically, “both the RSF and army have been accused of indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, targeting civilians and obstructing and commandeering essential aid” (Aljazeera). However, despite the dire nature of the situation in Sudan, as well as linked crises in the region of the Horn of Africa, “the African region is critically undercovered in the media, and the Sudan war has suffered that fate.” It is clear that “the conflict and humanitarian situation will only continue to spiral if the international community keeps ignoring it” (Vox).

What are its current and future effects on Sudan’s people?

It goes without saying that the current civil war is producing untold suffering among Sudan’s civilian population. Of the country’s nearly 46 million inhabitants, roughly 12% have been internally displaced – that amounts to about 6 million people. Besides this, over 1.4 million Sudanese individuals have fled to neighbouring countries including Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Central African Republic in search of safety (UNHCR). This means that Sudan is currently facing one of the world’s largest displacement crises (OCHA).

Besides this, the Sudanese population is being confronted with the threat of famine and disease due to the fact that the civil war has rendered it “challenging to establish an effective and competent civilian government capable of fulfilling the state obligations in providing public services” (Sudan Tribune). The widespread violence in Sudan has made it nearly impossible for individuals to receive adequate medical care, and cholera has proliferated, with there having been around 10 700 suspected cases as of February 2024 (OCHA). What’s more, “with expectations of a reduced upcoming harvest, prices of staple food are likely to remain atypically high in the harvest season” (OCHA). This issue will only contribute to the rampant food insecurity which is already present in Sudan. To this point, Aljazeera reports that “more than 18 million Sudanese are facing acute food insecurity – 10 million more than at this time last year – while 730,000 Sudanese children are believed to be suffering from severe malnutrition.”

On top of this, the risk of sexual violence and rape at the hands of armed forces has risen sharply for Sudan’s women and girls, and the number of children who are without education in the country is close to reaching 19 million (The Guardian). This heartbreaking information is even more striking when considering the dearth of Western media attention which has been focused on Sudan in the past year. As we approach the one year anniversary of the beginning of the current hostilities, Edem Wosornu, director of operations at the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs has argued that, “simply put, we are failing the people of Sudan” (Aljazeera).

What paths are there to peace?

From the above, it is clear that the Sudanese people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, a need which cannot be adequately responded to in the absence of a ceasefire. According to Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation, this outcome will necessitate the mediation of international groups, as well as neighbouring countries, and regional cooperation. Moreover, he argues that “a common goal of preventing the worst outcome should override differing preferences for who should lead the country” (Chatham House). It seems clear that mitigating the suffering of the Sudanese civilian ought to be the greatest concern in considering how to handle the current conflict in that country, and that the desire for increased power in the form of control over land or natural ressources is a serious impediment to peace in Sudan and the surrounding area.

Above all, a resolution to Sudan’s civil war will be reached most quickly through global cooperation, something which requires that we keep our attention trained on the atrocities that are currently taking place in that country. In the words of de Waal, “if Sudan remains an international orphan, the calamity will only deepen” (Chatham House). We owe it to the people of Sudan to value their safety over our discomfort, and to engage with humanitarian and news reports which emerge from within the current crisis.

Works Cited

Al Jazeera. (2024, March 11). Sudan War threatens “world’s largest hunger crisis”: WFP.

de Waal, A. (2024). Sudan is collapsing – here’s how to stop it.

Grandi, F. (2024). Sudan emergency. UNHCR.

Guardian News and Media. (2024, April 15). What caused the Civil War in Sudan and how has it become one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises? The Guardian.

Ioanes, E. (2024, March 5). Don’t ignore Sudan’s horrific conflict. Vox.

Saeed, S. (2024). Options for a transitional government in war-torn Sudan. Sudan Tribune.

Sudan crisis one of the “worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory”: Un. AlJazeera. (2024, March 20).

Sudan maps. Worldometer. (n.d.).

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (2024). Sudan Situation Report. Situation Reports.

The Rise of Fascism: Yesterday and Today

by Hero Aiken

Data indicate that violent action and rhetoric against marginalized groups is on the rise in almost every region of the world. A number of far-right leaders and governments are now in power – especially in Europe. Italy’s current prime minister Georgia Melon and her party the Brothers of Italy are widely viewed as the closest Italy has come to Mussolini’s fascist politics since World War II. The largest party in the Dutch parliament is now a far right party. Geert Wilders’ proposed policies include a net-zero immigration rate for the Netherlands, as well as a complete ban on mosques and the Quran. Moreover, right-wing populists currently hold the second most seats in the national parliaments of both Finland and Sweden (The Wire).

Many of the aforementioned countries have long been heralded as models for political moderation and democracy. It is therefore all the more alarming that they have not resisted the global trend towards fascist ideas. I have deliberately chosen the examples above in order to impress upon the reader that no state – no matter how democratic or tolerant – is free from the possibility of a return to dangerous or right-wing politics. In other words, the human rights that we now enjoy cannot be regarded as irrevocable.

The passing of time has meant that our knowledge of World War II’s horrors has largely become second hand, and has been relegated almost entirely to the history textbook. The rise of right-wing populism which swept Europe and led to the industrialization of genocide and mass displacement is often regarded as being of purely academic interest, allowing those of us who reside in wealthy democracies to feel as though we are immune to the danger of returning to nationalist or totalitarian rule.

Seventy-nine years after the supposed fall of fascism, barely more than 5% of American World War II veterans are still alive. Well over 100 of these individuals die every day (USA Today). Similarly, fewer than 250 000 Holocaust survivors are still alive in 2024, a miniscule number compared to the millions murdered in the concentration camps of Europe (Washington Post). This may begin to explain why over 10% of respondents to a recent American survey on Holocaust knowledge had never heard the word “Holocaust” before (NBC). Likewise, in a survey conducted on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings (D-Day), 1 in 10 American college graduates admitted to believing that the landings occurred at Pearl Harbor, in Hawai’i (ACTA). It is clear from this information that we are losing our collective living memory of World War II and its associated atrocities.

Not only is this lack of knowledge profoundly embarrassing, it is also very dangerous. As the dictum goes: “those who do not learn history are destined to repeat it.” If education on past wars is not kept up, how will we know to adopt governments who won’t espouse fascist ideals? If knowledge of past genocides and past totalitarian regimes is not common knowledge, who will keep these institutions at bay? Unfortunately, I believe that we have already begun to witness the failures of education and memory in this area.

Although “[a]nnual data are still being compiled, […] police across Canada have been reporting marked increases in the number of crimes targeting Muslims and Jews alike” (CityNews). Along these same lines, attacks based on sexual orientation have risen 13.8% in the past year, in the United States (HRC). Europe is no exception to this alarming rule; almost half of Europeans of African descent face overt racism in their daily lives, and that number reaches 70% in some countries. This represents a marked increase from previous years.

From this, it is painfully clear that fascist sentiment is once more on the rise throughout Europe and the world, and this despite the purported safeguards of democracy. Because of this, it is more important than ever to remember that the fight for the maintenance of human rights is not one that admits complacency. Recent events such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the stripping of abortion rights in many American states ought to remind the reader that each human right that we now take for granted was won through the hardwork and sacrifice of real people, and can be lost if the ideals and practices which won it are abandoned. Resisting yesterday’s rise of fascism took a concerted international effort, how will we continue these efforts today?

Works Cited

Alacbay, A. (2014, May 7). On 70th Anniversary of D-Day, Survey Finds Many Americans Know Little About the Fateful Battle. American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Lagatta, E. (2023). 131 World War II vets die each day, on average; here is how their stories are being preserved. USA Today.

Luneau, D. (2023). FBI’s Annual Crime Report — Amid State of Emergency, Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Crimes Hit Staggering Record Highs. Human Rights Campaign.

O’Flaherty, M. (2023, November 23). Europe’s shame: how to confront rising racism. The Parliament Magazine.

Ramgopal, K. (2020). Survey finds “shocking” lack of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Gen Z. NBC News.

Robertson, D. (2024, January 27). Anti-Islamophobia envoy warns of chill on speaking out about Gaza, hate crimes. CityNews Toronto.

Timsit, A. (2024). 245,000 Jewish holocaust survivors are alive today. Where are they now?. Washington Post.

Whitehead, A. (2023). The Right Wing Is on the Rise Globally. The Wire.

The Plight of Female Sugarcane Cutters in Maharashtra

by Elsa Rollier

India is the second largest sugar producer in the world and the state of Maharashtra alone accounts for almost a third of that production (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Maharashtra provides sugar for multiple countries, as well as multinational companies such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). However, this huge industry relies on an abusive labor system.

As Oxfam Germany’s Business Global Coordinator Pooja Adhikari explains: “There are deep-rooted concerns in the way the [sugar industry] functions, regarding human rights violations, migrant labour and the living conditions [of labourers], child labour and child marriages, and women’s rights” (Shukla, Aggarwal & Upreti, 2022). Indeed, the labor system in Maharashtra’s sugar industry is extremely abusive towards its workers. Sugar laborers do not receive wages, but an advance from their employers at the start of each harvest season, which lasts around 6 months (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). This advance typically represents around $1800 for one couple (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024), and the interest rate of these loans are high, as contractors usually lend money to workers with a 50 to 60% interest rate (Shukla, Aggarwal & Upreti, 2022). The workers then have to pay back that advance with their work in the fields and also have to pay a fee in order to miss work, even for medical reasons (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). And this system is only getting reinforced. As Narayan Gaikwad, a member of the farmer’s association All India Kisan Sabha notes: “In the past four to five years, the instances of debt bondage have increased a lot” (Jain, 2023).

One of the consequences of this abusive labor system is the pressure put on female sugar laborers to get hysterectomies, a surgery to remove the uterus (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Hysterectomies are routinely performed worldwide but are not common for women under 40 years old (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). In India, such surgeries are more common for instance as a birth control measure; but in Maharashtra, women are pushed by various actors (their contractors, other sugar field workers and sometimes doctors) to get this surgery (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). This operation is very widespread amongst women working in the sugar fields, and a local government report revealed that out of 82,200 female sugar cane workers working in the district of Beed in Maharashtra, approximately one in five had a hysterectomy (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). These operations are paid by labor brokers lending money for the surgeries in order to treat ailments like painful periods, which can keep women from working effectively in the fields (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Women therefore “seek hysterectomies in hopes of stopping their periods, as a drastic form of uterine cancer prevention or to end the need for routine gynecological care” (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024).

After undergoing a hysterectomy, women then continue their work without having to deal with medical visits or menstruation issues in an environment where they have no access to toilets, shelters or even running water (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). As sugar industry worker Gangabai Prakash Shingare explains: “I have worked in Maharashtra and Karnataka but I have not once seen a toilet or bathroom for women. Men can walk to the nearest pond and bathe but what do we do? Early in the morning, when it is still dark, we walk into dense sugarcane fields. That is the only time and place we have to manage our businesses” (Sah, 2022). Women do not have access to menstrual hygiene and healthcare, for menstrual products are expensive and complicated to find and take care of; and women in the fields typically have to use reused cloth that they wash by hand during their periods (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Most of the women working in the fields are not educated about these operations and are left with little choice (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024).

However, these surgeries are not without risk for women, especially under 40 years old (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Indeed, women encounter short-term risks such as blood clots or abdominal pain, but also long-term risks such as osteoporosis or higher chances of heart disease due to early menopause, for a hysterectomy often involves the removal of the ovaries as well (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Furthermore, in addition to the health consequences, they also have to pay back the surgery, which increases their debt, keeping them even longer in the fields (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Young girls in Maharashtra are also pushed into marriage because working in the fields to cut sugar cane as a couple pays more than a man working alone (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Also, when children accompany their parents in the fields, parents have to support them, which is why families usually try to get their daughters to marry young, and contractors also sometimes pressure girls to get married (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). As associate professor at Wardha‘s Kumbhalkar College of Social Work Mahadev Chunche points out, sexual harassment is a big issue for female sugar laborers (Shukla et al., 2022). Out of the 400 women working in Maharashtra’s sugar industry that Chunche interviewed, almost 80% of them spoke about the molestation, rape, or sexual harassment they faced by male workers, intermediaries, or drivers (Shukla et al., 2022). Women are also pushed to stay silent: “Sometimes the pressure is from the labour contractors not to speak but the main reason is their poverty. They fear that if they report [the abuse], it will bring disrepute, they will get no more work and there will be no one to marry them.” (Shukla et al., 2022). A study by researchers from Symbiosis International University in 2020 affirmed the living and working conditions of these women as “violate basic human rights” (Shukla et al., 2022).

The working conditions in the fields are extremely harsh. Laborers typically work until midnight, sleep under tents on thin mattresses, and women wake up before their families, around 4 a.m., to take care of the chores and prepare for the day before going back to work (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). A workday typically lasts between 13 to 16 hours, during which workers plant seeds, irrigate crops, cut sugar canes and load them for transportation to the sugar mills (Shukla, Aggarwal & Upreti, 2022). The workers have to work in extreme heat, which severely impacts their physical and mental health, and can lead them to develop troubles such as anemia, anxiety, or depression (Shukla, Aggarwal & Upreti, 2022). These conditions have also deteriorated because of the impacts of climate change, which led more crops to fail and made fewer jobs accessible for small scale-farmers or agriculture, leading even more workers to migrate (Jain, 2023). In addition, by engendering droughts or heatwaves, climate change also led contractors to lend less money to workers, when those events led to the destruction of crops (Shukla, Aggarwal & Upreti, 2022). Due to the decrease of sugar cane yields, more workers are coming back to the sugar fields for multiple seasons (Jain, 2023). Along with the decline of the harvests, the rise of sugar cutting machines might also further degrade the working conditions of the laborers in the field, leaving them “with much less work and no bargaining power” (Jain, 2023). Indeed, the contractors do not keep track of how much sugar the workers cut, nor establish official work contracts, and claim after every season that workers did not pay back their advance (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). This type of arrangement has been defined by the United Nations labor agency and workers’ rights group as forced labor (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024).

This abusive system is not a secret. Sugar producers, as well as the companies buying from them, are aware of such arrangements (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). As mentioned before, the labor from these women and families provides sugar to companies like Pepsi or Coca-Cola which both confirmed they were buying sugar in Maharashtra, and mostly use it for products distributed in India (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). In addition to supporting this abusive system, these companies are also aware of the conditions of the sugar laborers. In 2019, an investigation was launched by a Maharashtra state lawmaker regarding the high number of hysterectomies among female sugar-cane cutters (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). After surveying thousands of women, researchers reported that workers faced horrible working conditions (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). They established a link between the sugar industry and the high level of hysterectomies performed in the state, which they tied to the inability for women to take time off during their pregnancy or for medical appointments, which leaves them with no choice but this surgery (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). In 2019, Coca-Cola also issued another report from Arche Advisors audit firm, which visited 123 farms in Maharashtra and another state (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). They revealed they had found children workers in approximately half of the farms, who either migrated along with their parents, or were directly working in the fields cutting, carrying and bundling sugar cane (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). The firm noted that the suppliers of Coca-Cola did not provide any toilets or shelters to the workers (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Therefore, the report called on the mills to provide these basic elements, as well as the minimum wage to workers (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024).

These companies have publicly condemned such systems. In another corporate report in 2019, Coca-Cola affirmed it was supporting a program to “gradually reduce child labor” in India (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). The company published, like Pepsico, codes of conduct that prohibits business partners and suppliers to use forced labor or child labor (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Pepsico also issued a statement saying that: “The description of the working conditions of sugar-cane cutters in Maharashtra is deeply concerning […] We will engage with our franchisee partners to conduct an assessment to understand the sugar-cane cutter working conditions and any actions that may need to be taken.” (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Major buyer companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsico claim they hold their suppliers to strict standards of labor rights, however these same companies rarely monitor the numerous farms their supply chains rely on (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). They instead rely on the sugar mill owners that supply them, but these owners claim they do not employ the workers themselves. They pay contractors to do so and therefore have no influence on the treatment of those workers (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). These contractors often do not have any qualifications in terms of employment and simply distribute the money of the mill owners and consequently cannot oversee working conditions (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). One of the only changes made was the creation of a rule requiring civil surgeons (the top health officials of the district) to approve hysterectomies, in order to prevent some doctors to profit off unnecessary operations; but the surgeries on younger women still continue, and little overall change has been made (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Indeed, the sugar industry in Maharashtra relies on that system. As Sanjay Khatal, the managing director of a sugar mill lobbying group explains, for mill owners to provide benefits to workers, it would require them to be seen as direct employers, which would raise costs and compromise the entire system: “It is the very existence of the industry which can come into question” (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024). Therefore, these brands keep on profiting from a violent labor system, exploiting children and pushing women to get unnecessary hysterectomies (Rajagopalan & Inzamam, 2024).

As Article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) states, the discrimination of women in regards to health services is prohibited, and states are obliged to provide appropriate services for women’s reproductive health (Kanodia, 2023). States thus need to provide access to healthcare and services by trained professionals to every woman regardless of their status (Kanodia, 2023). In a recent case in India (Dr. Narendra Gupta versus Union of India & Ors) dating from April 2023, Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) declared: “The right to health is an intrinsic element of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Life, to be enjoyed in all its diverse elements, must be based on robust conditions of health. There has been a serious violation of the fundamental rights of the women who underwent unnecessary hysterectomies”, and also said each state should set a hysterectomy monitoring committee to oversee medical institutions that perform unnecessary hysterectomies (Kanodia, 2023). Unnecessary hysterectomies performed under pressure on uninformed women are a violation of women’s personal liberty and fundamental rights (Kanodia, 2023). In order for women to be fully informed about the procedure, they will need to have access to information about the post-effects of the surgery, as well as about other alternative treatments (Kanodia, 2023).

As principal researcher for IIED Ritu Bhardwaj claims, the situation of these female sugar workers could be seen as a consequence of the current climate crisis (Mishra, 2024). According to her, the loss and damage fund established during COP27 in 2022 to compensate people for “irreversible losses” due to climate change should be used to compensate these female workers as well: “When we talk about the losses incurred and the damage done by climate change, we’re not just talking about flooded apartments in New York, or scorched hillsides in Greece. These women’s experiences are also a result of climate change which has decimated their livelihoods, and some of what they have lost – their dignity, good health, in some cases their lives – is difficult to quantify” (Mishra, 2024). For instance, the money could be used to enhance access to healthcare or provide more social protection: “By prioritising direct cash or benefit transfers to the most vulnerable communities, including leveraging technology and financial inclusion, the fund can ensure swift support reaches those in need” (Mishra, 2024).

Works Cited

Jain, S. (2023, February 7). In Maharashtra, sugarcane workers suffer debt bondage as climate change ruins crops. te-change-ruins-crops

Kanodia, A. (2023, October 22). The tall sugarcane in Beed hides a bitter truth. NewsClick.

Mishra, S. (2024, March 12). In a hotter world, these women are left with little option but sterilization. The Independent. erilization-b2511174.html

Rajagopalan, M., & Inzamam, Q. (2024, March 24). The brutality of sugar: Debt, Child marriage and hysterectomies. The New York Times. ies.html?searchResultPosition=23

Sah, P. (2023, November 10). Why women sugarcane cutters of Maharashtra seek needless hysterectomies. BehanBox. hysterectomies/

Shukla, A., Aggarwal, M., & Upreti, M. (2022, December 20). Migrant labourers suffer exploitation in India’s sugar fields. Climate Home News. -sugar-fields/#:~:text=More%20and%20more%2C%20these%20migrants,a%20report%20by%2 0Oxfam%20India.

Shukla, A., Aggarwal, M., Upreti, M., & Bhatia, G. (2022, December 21). India’s female cane cutters face child marriage and hysterectomy. Climate Home News. -and-hysterectomy/

No More Turning Away: Homelessness in Our City

by Hero Aiken

“You can’t sleep on the streets, would you? Of course not. Me either, but it’s the option that’s available.” – Innocent Amuda (Global News)

When the matter of homelessness in Toronto is presented as a collection of detached facts it is easy to forget the devastating reality of the situations to which they refer. Most of you reading this will not have had to triage admission to a respite shelter. I am willing to bet, however, that you have walked past an unhoused person, and decided whether or not to offer them spare change. That person might have been one of 140 people denied shelter in April of this year. They might even have wound up one of the approximately 3 people who died weekly from homelessness in 2023 (City of Toronto).

Now, I want to make it clear that my intentions are not to make any reader feel guilty; even the more privileged Torontonian does not have encouraging economic prospects. It is not certain, therefore, that any given person has anything to spare for their homeless fellows. That said, my intention is to highlight the plight of homeless people, in the hopes of making it harder for the average Torontonian to ignore. Just as the government’s efforts to disguise our unhoused populations through hostile architecture make it harder to demand action towards alleviating their condition, the willful ignorance of many of our city’s more fortunate has a similar effect.

I fear that at this point, I may lose some readers in protest against my condemnation of their actions. Perhaps you will say that you do not look away from the suffering of others out of malice. Perhaps you will say that you do not look away from the suffering of others out of a lack of regard for their humanity. “It is the opposite, actually,” you might explain, “I look away because I care too much. It’s just too painful to keep my eyes on hardship that I am powerless to alleviate.” If that is the case, I could not agree more. I cannot assent, however, to the idea that this absolves us of the responsibility of at least bearing witness to the pain felt by our homeless neighbours. I am not asking you to part with your money. I am not asking that you sacrifice any of the material comforts that you enjoy in your daily life. I merely ask that you endure the relatively miniscule burden of helping to keep the public’s eyes trained on this humiliation, a humiliation that is among humanity’s greatest: our failure to provide the necessities of life for our daughters, brothers, nieces, grandparents and friends.

In January of 2022, I wrote an article for Amnesty International U of T on the plight of unhoused individuals in Toronto. I spoke about the disingenuous ways in which our federal and municipal governments promote an image of benevolence and generosity, while failing to provide for our most vulnerable populations. I also detailed the lack of services available to homeless and transient Torontonians. I wrote about how every penny and every man-hour that goes towards disguising the issue of homelessness in our city, rather than towards solving it, is a disgrace. Almost two years on, the lived circumstances of Toronto’s unhoused people remain largely unchanged.

As per the Toronto Star, “[a]cross Toronto, more than 10,500 people are known to be homeless, according to the city’s latest data from April.” This is at least a 6% increase from 2022. Perhaps even more striking is the fact that there were more than 4,200 instances of people being turned away from shelters in April 2023 alone (“Homeless Encampments are Growing Again in Toronto,” §8). What’s more, city counsel has warned that its spending on shelters has far exceeded the amount allotted for this purpose in its annual budget (§25). This information can only be received with alarm; Toronto is not able to adequately address the needs of its homeless citizens, even while financially overreaching itself. Without additional support from both federal and provincial governments, it is clear that the number of people turned away from shelters will only grow, especially as we enter the colder months.

Furthermore, the above statistics cover only the difficulties faced by Toronto’s unhoused in achieving temporary access to basic necessities. I have not said anything about the housing crisis more broadly, and the bleak prospects with which Toronto’s most vulnerable are faced when searching for a permanent place to call home. As housing prices skyrocket, and wages do not rise in kind, even people who are currently housed can find themselves on the path to homelessness, if they are faced with job loss or health concerns (The Homeless Hub). This is acutely felt by recent immigrants and refugees arriving in Toronto, many of whom have had to inaugurate their stay in Canada with a bout of homelessness (Global News).

I want to emphasize that housing is a human right like any other, and that the circumstances that I have described are those of people who are being denied a human right.The above information, though presented as a slew of statistics, represents the daily situation of a real population, made up of real individuals, who are enduring real suffering. In my previous article, I denounced the ways in which our governments take calculated actions towards the disguising of this injustice, in Toronto. Obviously, this makes it more difficult for resources to be directed towards the alleviation of homelessness. This is not the only obstacle affecting our response to our unhoused neighbours; individuals like you and me are just as guilty of effacing this issue in our own minds.

Works Cited

City of Toronto. (2024, January 25). Deaths of people experiencing homelessness. onitoring/monitoring-deaths-of-homeless-people/.

Gibson, V. (2023, June 8). Homeless encampments are growing again in Toronto, as the city faces a surging crisis. Toronto Star.,the%20city’s%20deepening%20homelessness%20crisis.

Jackson, H., & Rocca, R. (2023, August 16). Toronto is in a housing “crisis” leaving newcomers, residents in the lurch. Global News.

Where will we live? ontario’s Affordable Housing Crisis. Where Will We Live? Ontario’s Affordable Housing Crisis | The Homeless Hub. (2018).

Dispelling A Myth About Feminism

by Laura Moldoveanu

55% of people believe that gender inequality exists, yet far fewer support or identify as feminist (Beaver, 2022). In fact, one-third of men believe that feminism does more harm than good. A common misconception is that feminism promotes misandry or is anti-man. In this article views on feminism versus gender equality are analyzed to examine whether this idea is a fact or a harmful myth.

Firstly, let us clear up the most basic definitions. Feminism, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is the “Advocacy of equality of the sexes and the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of the female sex”. Merriam-Webster states feminism is the “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”. A simple Google search brings up that feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. Nowhere in any of these entries are the ideas of anti-manness, female superiority, hate, misandry, etc.

A 2020 Pew Research Center survey of American women found that 61% agree that the term “feminist” describes them to some extent, but only 19% say that it describes them very well (Barroso, 2020). At the same time, 45% see it as polarizing and 30% as outdated, with an intersectional lens finding that almost half of white adults view feminism in a somewhat negative light as opposed to around a third of Black or Hispanic adults (Barroso, 2020) . Interestingly, another study done by the Pew Research Center asking people about their views on gender equality found much more favourable results: 69% of women who self-identify as non-feminist say that it is important for women to have equal rights with men (Minkin, 2020).

A common theme between all three definitions outlined above is supporting women’s rights and equality between the sexes, which is exactly what the majority of “non-feminists” say that they support. So where does this disconnect come from? One thought to keep in mind is that the dictionary definition may not necessarily reflect what feminism means in practice, right? Therefore, it is key to delve deeper into the attitudes of feminists themselves and their thoughts about men.

Both feminists and non-feminists alike hold the assumption that feminists harbour negative attitudes toward men (Elsesser, 2023). This belief is unfounded. A study in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly found that both feminists and non-feminists largely hold positive opinions about men (Hopkins-Doyle et al., 2023). Feminists held similar views towards men as men did towards themselves (Hopkins-Doyle et al., 2023). Despite this, feminists themselves believed that their peers generally held negative perceptions towards men even if they did not. This misconception is clearly very persistent even though it was found to be false.

At its core, regardless of what some might spin the concept of feminism into meaning, feminism supports gender equality which is a sentiment many non-feminists support too. Just because someone who identifies as a feminist holds negative feelings about men it does not mean that this is a feminist ideal. Even if a person does not self-identify as a feminist, it is very possible that they actually agree with its basis. More nuanced critiques on the feminist movement are infinitely acceptable and useful, but this one is misguided. In clearing up the myth that feminism equates to misandry, more positive dialogue between its supporters and opposers can become possible and room for constructive discussion is achieved.

Works Cited

Barroso, A. (2020, July 7). 61% of U.S. women say ‘feminist’ describes them well; many see feminism as empowering, polarizing. Pew Research Center. escribes-them-well-many-see-feminism-as-empowering-polarizing/

Beaver, K. (2022, March 4). One in three men believe feminism does more harm than good. Ipsos Group.

Elsesser, K. (2023, Nov. 7). Feminists don’t hate men, according to new research. Forbes. ing-to-new-research/?sh=6ac64cef4df8

“Feminism (n), sense 3”. (2023, July). Oxford English Dictionary.

“Feminism”. (n.d.). dictionary.

Hopkins-Doyle, A., et al. (2024). The Misandry Myth: An Inaccurate Stereotype About Feminists’ Attitudes Toward Men. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 48(1), 8-37.

Minkin, R. (2020, July 14). Most Americans support gender equality, even if they don’t identify as feminists. Pew Research Center. -equality-even-if-they-dont-identify-as-feminists/

The New New Colossus: An Examination of Migration in Texas, Operation Lone Star and SB4

by Peter Xaiver Rossetti

Migration has always been a touchy subject in the modern political history of the Western world. Whether it is refugees in Europe or international students in Canada, political tensions skyrocket whenever public and government attention is placed on immigration. And nowhere is this currently more true than in the United States of America. As of the time of writing, the Texas state government, the US federal government and the Mexican government are in a Mexican standoff (no pun intended) over the state of migrants in Texas. Yet another case of political tensions heating past the boiling point when immigration is involved. Though, in order to understand why that is in this specific case, a step back is needed and the whole story needs to be told. And it starts with Texas, the Rio Grande Valley and barbed wire.

Back in 2021, Texas State Governor Greg Abbott announced his government’s new policy that would see the state crackdown on illegal immigration. The plan is called Operation Lone Star and it has turned the Rio Grande Valley into a war zone. Back in the summer of 2023, under the initiative of Operation Lone Star, Texas state authorities implemented razor sharp barbed-wire and “walls” built of old shipping containers to prevent any potential asylum seekers wishing to cross through the valley from Mexico to Texas from doing so (Gonzalez, 2023). In addition, Texas has also dispatched its own border task force composed of garrisoned troops, helicopters, air boats, and patrol trucks (Gonzalez, 2023). In the Rio Grande itself, the state has placed a roughly 1,000 foot-long string of buoys with nets and “saw-like blades” attached to the bottom to deter migrants from crossing where the river is at its lowest (Gonzalez, 2023). All of this has successfully made the Rio Grande Valley a very inhospitable landscape to those trying to cross into the US.

Yet, just because Texas is taking all of these measures, it does not mean that desperate migrants will not still try to cross into the US. Terribly, but predictably, these measures had resulted in the deaths of 3 migrants, 2 children and a woman, as they tried to cross in January of 2024 (The Associated Press, 2024). These deaths, however, seemed to have acted as the catalyst of public outrage against Operation Lone Star, which, in turn, finally brought real attention to the situation in Texas from the Biden administration. Washington was quick to point out that, in the US government system, immigration is a responsibility solely held by the federal government (The Associated Press, 2024). Meaning that Texas has no real legal argument to back up what it has been doing.

Nevertheless, this legal reality has not stopped Texas from drafting and attempting to implement its own state law that strictly deals with immigration. The law is known as Senate Bill 4, or SB4 for short, and it was passed by the Texas legislature and signed by Governor Abbott last year (Sheridan, 2024). However, due to the Biden administration claiming that it oversteps legal boundaries between state and federal power, the law has remained unenforced for now as it is deliberated over by the US court system and legal community (Sheridan, 2024). But what is SB4? Put simply, it would allow local Texan authorities, such as police officers and other state officials, to detain and deport migrants suspected to be illegally residing in the state – a responsibility usually held by federal authorities (Sheridan, 2024). Although no one, not even the local Texan authorities it would give power to, knows really how it will work if put into effect, the results of an effective SB4 are already clear. It is easy to deduce that it would result in a very disorganized and messy witch-hunt that would result in thousands of lives being destroyed.

The lives of these people have been seemingly overlooked by both state and federal governments in their fight over legality, state rights and federal responsibilities. It seems that all politically-charged decisions and discussions surrounding immigration, all over the West, forget (or actively ignore) the fact that these “illegal aliens” are people too. This dehumanization only acts to perpetuate this harmful outlook, which regulates the well-being of migrants as an afterthought, even further. However, not all hope is lost, for within this chaos there seems to be at least one figure which stands with the migrant community and that is Mexico.

Mexico, which has been a key US ally when it comes to handling immigration and border crossings, has placed its foot down. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has publicly denounced SB4 and has gone on record stating that Mexico will resist any deportation attempts from Texan authorities (Sheridan, 2024). In the eyes of the Mexican government, the treatment of migrants in Texas has been inhumane, and, as a result, the country will stiffen its political poster and will not cooperate with the SB4 (Sheridan, 2024). The hope is that without anywhere to deport these migrants to, Texas will come to an agreement with both the federal and Mexican government that satisfies all parties. But until then, all three governments stand facing the others, in classic Mexican standoff fashion, just waiting for something to happen.

Mexico’s position in this politically red-hot situation reminds us all that SB4 and Operation Lone Star is not just about some arbitrary legalities and a division of powers but rather it is about people’s lives. No matter one’s own personal opinion on the legal-ness of the case that surrounds this current issue, the fact is that, no matter the outcome, thousands of human lives will change. The US is a country built on the idea that anyone, no matter their country of origin, can make it if they try. And nowhere is this better represented than in the poem, The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus which planted the words,“give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” deep into the American psyche and on the Statue of Liberty itself – the biggest beacon of American identity. But today that identity hangs in the balance. For if the US decides to turn its back on those reaching its lands for a better life now, did it ever really mean those words in the first place?

Works Cited

Gonzalez, M. (2023). Deadly buoys, razor wires, armed guards: Greg Abbott is fixated on keeping migrants out. The Guardian. sylum-seekers-risk

Sheridan, M. (2024). Mexico vows to fight effort by Texas to deport migrants under S.B.$

The Associated Press. (2024). White House, Texas exchange accusations, blame after drowning deaths of 3 migrants. CBC/Radio-Canada.

Childhood in Crisis: Urgent Plea for Global Action in Gaza-Israel Conflict

by Viana Sadeghi

In the midst of the enduring conflict between Gaza and Israel, a profound humanitarian crisis is unfolding, casting its grim shadow most heavily upon the vulnerable lives of children. This narrative not only confronts the immediate casualties and destruction but also delves deep into the lasting impact etched upon the dreams and futures of the youngest victims (Russell, 2023). As we grapple with the intricacies of this crisis, the urgent need for comprehensive international intervention becomes evident. It is crucial to address both the immediate and long-term consequences faced by the children in Gaza and Israel, considering the enduring physical and mental health impacts. Therefore, this article seeks to explore the humanitarian crisis, characterizing it by the imminent threats to children’s lives and well-being, necessitating swift global intervention to protect the most vulnerable and disrupt the cycles of suffering perpetuated by ongoing conflict.

The urgency of the immediate humanitarian crisis is starkly underscored by alarming statistics, revealing that, on average, over 480 Palestinian children experience daily casualties, painting a harrowing picture of a dire emergency (Russell, 2023). The densely populated Gaza Strip transforms into a perilous trap, leaving children vulnerable to displacement and imminent harm. This crisis not only demands swift action but also a collective acknowledgment of the moral imperative to protect the most vulnerable amidst conflict. Analyzing this immediate crisis reveals a pressing need for a comprehensive international response, emphasizing the disproportionate impact on children and the necessity for urgent intervention beyond mere numerical considerations. The stark reality of daily casualties not only highlights the immediacy of the crisis but also underscores the critical need for swift and concerted efforts to avert further loss of innocent lives and protect the future of the youngest generation.

Moving beyond the immediate conflict, the dire living conditions in Gaza amplify the crisis manifold. For instance, the scarcity of clean water, forces reliance on polluted wells, creating a potential health catastrophe. Constant shelling and restricted movement further exacerbate the vulnerability of the population (Ruggeri, 2024). This intersection of conflict and environmental degradation transcends regional boundaries; it is a global concern demanding immediate and decisive international intervention. By exploring the environmental and health aspects of the crisis, a recognition emerges of the interconnectedness of conflict and its wider ramifications. The shortage of clean water, reliance on contaminated sources, and heightened risk of disease outbreaks pose a threat not only to the residents of Gaza but also to the collective commitment to uphold fundamental human rights. Thus, the imperative for humanitarian intervention becomes an embodiment of the global responsibility to protect basic human rights.

UNICEF executive’s emphasis on the enduring impact of conflict on children extends far beyond immediate casualties to the profound psychological toll on the youngest population. Over 816,000 children in Gaza were identified as needing mental health support even before the recent escalation, underscoring the chronic and systemic nature of the crisis (Russell, 2023). The perpetual state of stress and fear robs these children of a normal childhood and a promising future. This serves as a rallying cry for sustained attention and intervention, recognizing the enduring consequences of conflict on the younger generation. The aftermath of war should not become a life sentence for the youngest victims; it is a call to invest in the future, acknowledging the potential of these children despite the scars inflicted upon them.

The revelation that even the unborn bear the trauma of conflict is a poignant reminder of the intergenerational nature of the crisis. Studies indicate that babies in the womb experience the effects of maternal trauma, underscoring the profound and far-reaching consequences of war (Ruggeri, 2024). This realization challenges us to broaden our perspective, recognizing the deep-seated intergenerational impact of conflicts and the urgent need to break the cycle of violence. Bringing attention to the long-term societal consequences of conflict emphasizes the imperative to address not just the visible wounds but the deeply embedded scars echoing through generations. In acknowledging the unborn victims, a recognition emerges of the need for holistic approaches to post-conflict recovery, fostering conditions for sustainable peace and breaking free from the cycle of violence.

In conclusion, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and Israel demands urgent international intervention to address both immediate threats and long-term consequences (Russell, 2023). The statistics of daily child casualties highlight the dire emergency, necessitating swift and comprehensive action. The environmental and health ramifications of conflict underscore the interconnectedness of regional crises with global concerns, demanding decisive international intervention. The enduring impact on the physical and mental well-being of children, as emphasized by Russell, underscores the chronic and systemic nature of the crisis. It is a call for sustained attention and intervention, recognizing the enduring consequences of conflict on an entire generation. The revelation of unborn victims highlights the intergenerational nature of the crisis, challenging us to envision a future free from the shackles of war. In navigating this multifaceted crisis, our collective responsibility is to recognize the urgency, acknowledge the interconnectedness of global concerns, and advocate for comprehensive international intervention. It is a call to safeguard the most vulnerable, break the cycles of suffering perpetuated by ongoing conflict, and work towards a future where the innocence of children is no longer sacrificed at the altar of war.

Works Cited

Ruggeri, A. (2024, February 21). Many children must live with the trauma of war. Here’s how to help them.; BBC.

Russell, C. (2023). Gaza and Israel: The cost of war will be counted in children’s lives.

they’ll forget anyways

by Cedric Pak

The authoritarian lockdowns that drove the trapped mad
The invasion that shook geopolitics (the advent of WW3, some called it)
The swift collapse of a 20 year-long stability
And now, the reignition of a bloody feud

These things are nothing new, you and I both know
The tyranny of the strong, and
(The fleeing of homes, the destruction of cities, the loss of loved ones)
The suffering of the powerless
Tales taught to us by history, the stories with a thousand faces

But weren’t things supposed to be different?
New orders, new values, new generation
Not to mention our
Eyes all over the world, voices that echoed across countries,
hearts and minds that were meant to be interconnected

Why has nothing changed?
The academics, the politicians, and the opinionated can tell you, no doubt
Rattling off the list, reiterating what went wrong
But the obvious answer always remains the same

From most who stay in Omelas, unperturbed in their day-to-days
That unmentioned given the comforts the oppressor’s unease
And soothes their aching conscience
That no matter how bad it gets, sooner or later
they’ll forget anyway

Celebrity Activism: Helpful or Harmful?

by Laura Moldoveanu

Who has the power to change the world? Oftentimes, fans put pressure on celebrities to speak out against or in support of global issues. But this does not take into account whether celebrities have an obligation to get involved or what exactly is expected of them. Does fame equal power? On one hand, simply spreading awareness to their large audiences can be helpful. However, celebrity activism can also come across as tone-deaf at best and actively harmful at worst.

Celebrities are public-facing; people idolize them. This comes with certain expectations from their fans which manifest as parasocial relationships. A parasocial relationship is characterized by close relationships between celebrities and their fans, with the fans closely following the celebrity’s media persona. The fans then develop a “sense of intimacy, perceived friendship, and identification with the celebrity” (Chung and Cho, 2017). It sounds innocent enough, but viewing a celebrity as your “comfort person” can lead to mass disappointment when the celebrity does something that does not align with their fanbase. For example, the rise of “cancel culture.” Through social media, “public figures adopt a sense of authenticity that often allows them to act as surrogates for real-life friends and mentors” and the fans feel very real betrayal when their carefully constructed perception of the celebrity is shattered (Schacter-Brodie, 2021).

Cancel culture often dredges up old controversies, with current events like activism, the risk of “cancellation” is heightened. If celebrities speak out, then their statement is picked apart. They can be seen as butting in where they don’t belong or getting involved in something they don’t understand. If they stay silent, then they “don’t care” and fans are disappointed. It seems to be a lose-lose situation. However, this does not mean that there are no good examples of celebrity activism that had a positive impact.

In 2021, singer and businesswoman Rhianna spoke out against Asian hate to her over 150 million Instagram followers. She attended protests and partnered with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative through her Clara Lionel Foundation to donate $3 million to Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations (Nakamura, 2021). Other examples from different social issues include singer Alicia Keys, who frequently speaks out about political concerns and police brutality, and actor Elliot Page, who advocates for LGBTQ+ rights (Compendio, 2023). These are just a few examples of celebrities who use their platforms to educate and advocate.

But speaking out is not always taken positively. Accusations of performative activism, promoting misinformation, and taking attention away from actual activists are common critiques against celebrity activism. For example, in 2017 when the #MeToo movement, which was coined by Tarana Burke, a Black woman, in 2006, gained mass popularity only after the hashtag was used by actress Alyssa Milano, a White woman (Ohlheiser, 2017). This led to criticism that the movement was commandeered to amplify the voices of privileged, wealthier, cisgender, white women and left other identities behind. It’s a complicated situation. While the #MeToo movement still spread awareness about sexual assault and allowed people to share their stories, it drifted away from one of its original intentions of supporting marginalized groups in favour of supporting celebrities.

Apart from this, celebrity activism can certainly do more harm than good in some cases. For example, actress Jenny McCarthy who, in the process of speaking up for medical autonomy, is spreading the disproven notion that vaccines cause autism (Specter, 2013). Or in March 2020, when Gal Gadot and multiple other celebrities banded together to put out a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” to support people during the COVID-19 lockdown, which was labelled as tone-deaf, performative, and generally useless (Caramanica, 2020). Lastly, in September 2023 when Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (who is a long-time fighter against human trafficking) provided a character witness for convicted rapist Danny Masterson describing him as “an outstanding role model and friend” (Associated Press, 2023).

For many fans, staying silent is not acceptable either. This leads to public pressure to speak up. Take Selena Gomez who, in response to backlash about not speaking up regarding the Israel-Palestine war, wrote via an Instagram story: “I wish I could change the world. But a post won’t.” (Gomez, 2023). Her statement is an interesting take, considering her 430 million Instagram followers. It brings up the meaningful question of whether celebrities have to involve themselves in social issues. Getting involved just to save themselves from backlash isn’t exactly a worthy reason.

But why do people target celebrities instead of those who create or have the most power to affect such issues, like lawmakers? In a way, celebrities are accessible. It’s easy to leave a comment on an Instagram post or make a TikTok “calling out” their actions. It also goes back to the idea of parasocial relationships. Fans feel like their idols have the responsibility to support the same issues they do. There are more worthwhile people to target for support. The question becomes how to find them and how to contact them. Aside from key figures, many government representatives are faceless and even nameless. It’s difficult to involve lawmakers when you don’t know where to look for them. Look up the representative for your constituency online. For example, the federal governments of the United States and Canada have lists of representatives along with their contact info. So people shouldn’t waste their time and energy harassing celebrities on social media (unless they are calling out actively harmful information).

That’s not to say celebrities should be doing nothing. They have huge platforms that can be put to use to spread awareness. Education and involving people who are actually involved in the issue avoids some of the controversies outlined above and allows celebrities to get involved in a meaningful way. However, celebrities are not the be-all and end-all of powerful figures. What about putting pressure on lawmakers instead? Use your voice, or your keyboard, to make a difference in your own right.

Works Cited

Caramanica, Jon. “This ‘imagine’ Cover Is No Heaven.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Mar. 2020,

Chung, Siyoung, and Hichang Cho. “Fostering Parasocial Relationships with Celebrities on Social Media: Implications for Celebrity Endorsement.” Psychology & Marketing, vol. 34, no. 4, 2017, pp. 481–95,

Compendio, Chris. “50 Celebrity Activists with a History of Protesting Injustice.” Good Good Good, Good Good Good, 25 Mar. 2023,

Gomez, Selena. @selenagomez. Instagram, October 30.

“Kutcher, Kunis Apologize after Penning Character Letters for Former Co-Star Convicted of Rape | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 9 Sept. 2023, e-trial-apology-1.6962093.

Nakamura, Kate. “10 Inspiring Moments of Celebrity Activism in 2021.” Global Citizen, Global Citizen, 8 Dec. 2021,

Ohlheiser, Abby. “The Woman behind ‘Me Too’ Knew the Power of the Phrase When She Created IT – 10 Years Ago.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Oct. 2017, nd-me-too-knew-the-power-of-the-phrase-when-she-created-it-10-years-ago/.

Schacter-Brodie, Zoe. “Celebrities Are Not Your Friends: The Danger of Parasocial Relationships.” University Wire, Uloop, Inc, 2021. Fwire-feeds%2Fcelebrities-are-not-your-friends-danger%2Fdocview%2F2522426307%2F se-2%3Faccountid%3D14771

Specter, Michael. “Jenny McCarthy’s Dangerous Views.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 16 July 2013,

Upholding Human Rights: Safeguarding Public Service Workers Amidst Civil Unrest

by Viana Sadeghi

A bus engulfed in flames on Dublin’s O’Connell Street illustrates the chaotic disruption of civil unrest (Malone, 2023).

The recent harrowing incident involving Sailesh Tupsy, a bus driver caught in the chaos of civil unrest in Dublin, lays bare the terrifying reality faced by essential workers amidst societal upheaval (Malone, 2023). This report delves into the profound political issue of safeguarding public service workers during such tumultuous times, stressing the dire need for robust measures to protect their rights and safety. The distressing attack on Sailesh Tupsy serves as a chilling reminder of the immediate necessity to fortify policies and mechanisms that shield these workers during civil unrest, demanding stringent action, training, and unwavering advocacy to safeguard their rights.

Public service workers are the backbone of our society, thrust onto the frontlines during crises to ensure the continuity of essential services. However, their visibility exposes them to heightened risks amid civil disturbances, as witnessed in the recent violence in Dublin (BBC, 2023). Tupsy’s terrifying ordeal epitomizes this vulnerability, subjecting him to intimidation and violence that not only jeopardizes his safety but also disrupts crucial services. This distressing reality emphasizes the immediate need for robust protective measures to shield these workers.

The incident involving Tupsy glaringly highlights systemic shortcomings in safeguarding public service workers during civil unrest. It underscores the urgency for proactive measures, including specialized training and stringent security protocols, to equip these workers with essential support and resources necessary to navigate volatile situations effectively.

At the heart of this discussion lies the flagrant violation of fundamental human rights experienced by public service workers (Malone, 2023). The appalling attack on Tupsy and similar incidents blatantly disregard their right to a safe working environment, free from intimidation and violence. Governments and stakeholders are duty-bound to implement policies aligned with international human rights standards, prioritizing the protection of these workers.

Collaboration between civil society organizations and authorities, notably Amnesty International, is pivotal in advocating for policy changes that bolster safety measures and rights protections. This collaboration is essential in enforcing policies that ensure the safety of workers and monitoring their effective implementation during periods of unrest.

Sailesh Tupsy’s traumatic experience underscores the immediate need for fortified protective measures for public service workers amid civil unrest. It unequivocally signifies the urgency for immediate action to strengthen rights protections, training, and collaborative advocacy efforts. Upholding the rights of these workers transcends mere political obligation; it is an urgent moral imperative to preserve human rights standards and societal resilience in times of crisis. Amnesty International’s proactive involvement will be indispensable in spearheading policy reforms that guarantee the safety and rights of public service workers, creating an environment where they can fulfill their duties without fear or threat.

Works Cited

Dublin violence: Vehicles set alight and fireworks thrown at police. (2023).

Malone, E. (2023, November 24). Dublin riots: Bus drivers “in fear” after events on Thursday

night, says union. The Irish Times; The Irish Times.,hijacked%20near%20O’Connell%20Street&text=The%20driver%20forced%20from%20his,up%20to%20him%20being%20targeted