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In an age of digital reality, I find it vitally important to reevaluate, if not mourn, the many wrongdoings endured the previous year while celebrating the start of a new year. Without doubt, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi would be at the top of many journalists’ lists. On Oct. 2 last year, Khashoggi, an acclaimed Saudi journalist and an opposition to the Saudi government, was allegedly ordered to be assassinated by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as suggested by an audio recording. The news shocked the entire international community, especially given that the cold-blooded murder took place inside a consulate, symbolic of how tenuous and flimsy the idea of freedom of the press still is.
A sullen silence filled our kitchen in the early morning before I left the house to board our team bus for a cross-country meet in Duluth, Minnesota. A receipt for the Nov. 2017 SAT subject tests lay on the kitchen table next to my packed cross-country bag. My ears rang with shouts from the night before, disbelieving exclamations of “You want to skip your SATs to run in a cross country meet?”—angry and cutting, even in the quiet of the early morning. As time ticked away, I was reminded of my impending choice: the decision to continue as I always had, on the path that others had set for me. Or the opportunity to forge into the unknown territory of disobedience, alone. Closing my eyes, I picked up my cross-country bag and left the house without looking back.
The line between politics and self-identity has long been blurred in America, and this past midterm election has highlighted this. Politics are felt in every corner of the country, whether it is at the municipal, state or federal level. As such, the American political system has become intertwined with many citizens’ personal identities. Whether people wish to tune into politics or not, decisions made in the White House are inevitably going to affect their lives. As a consequence, there is a higher level of emotional energy directed into campaigning, political conversations and voting. This personal stake correlates with a higher level of ownership that I believe is good news for the future of American politics.
The anti-Semitic mass-shooting that targeted the congregation of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue left me deeply wounded. Before anything, I must state that I condemn this atrocious hate crime and send my condolences to the nation and especially to the Jewish community, including the Jewish community at Dartmouth.
In May of 2017, the United States Department of Justice launched an investigation into potential Russian attempts to influence the previous year’s American presidential election, as well as possible coordination between Russia and the Trump administration. Since then, as a country, we’ve reached a kind of impasse; a national gridlock, one born of a long, mired period of what for many feels like purgatorial waiting. During this time of opacity, reading and listening to the news has become, for many (including myself), a form of control. We get to latch onto the coverage of Mueller’s proceedings, assigning our own levels of significance to moments like the indictment of Michael Flynn and more recently, a foiled smear campaign to frame Mueller for sexual misconduct. People spend their time reading into his findings and framing them the way they want to see them. However, patience is running thin. Fortunately, for those of us feeling that we can’t take this much longer, reports of Mueller’s findings are expected to come flying back into the news following the midterm elections.
The photograph of Amal Hussein, an emaciated 7-year-old Yemeni girl on the brink of death, took America by storm when it was first published in the New York Times. Its wide circulation drew long-overdue attention to Yemen’s ongoing crisis — although crisis seems too small a word for it. Famine and cholera have swept the country; as of June, one million Yemenis were infected with cholera, and 18 million don’t know where their next meal will come from. Of the country’s population of 28 million, over 22 million live in dire need of humanitarian aid. The health and survival of over 80 percent of Yemeni children are at risk. The U.N. has dubbed this catastrophe the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and potentially the worst famine the world has seen in a century if the war continues.
Married to a Kardashian and boasting countless smash hit records along with an extremely successful clothing line, Kanye West is no stranger to the spotlight. Lately, however, Kanye has found himself in the limelight for a new reason: politics. Kanye West, along with Lil Pump, was the musical guest on this season’s premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” As the credits rolled, West rapped his song “Ghost Town” while sporting his bright red Make America Great Again hat. After the broadcast cut out, West delivered a Kanye-sized rant to the SNL audience about his support for President Donald Trump. Just two weeks later, West visited President Trump in the Oval Office, dazzling viewers with more ranting — this time, to an audience of the entire nation.
“What high school did you go to? Where are you from? What are you involved in on campus? What classes are you taking? What are you going to major in? What are you planning on doing with your life after Dartmouth?”
The Dartmouth College Republicans billed the talk as a double-hitter. Most emails advertised the hour-long lecture as “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left,” and another proclaimed “‘Israel is the Victim,’ Hear David Horowitz’s Opinion on Tuesday, October 23rd at 6pm.” The president of the College Republicans opened for Horowitz, a controversial conservative figure, with an articulate speech calling for increased political dialogue on campus. He emphasized the importance of both listening and speaking up, but requested decorum in doing so.
This year, the Class of 2022 will run just one lap around the Homecoming bonfire. As a member of that class, I was aiming to write a piece about why this is unjust, and how Dartmouth will quickly lose its identity if it ditches defining characteristics in the name of safety. Then I thought, why even bother? An opinion piece written by a freshman will be far from convincing to the officials of the town of Hanover, who have already made up their minds about the possible dangers of this tradition. This internal dialogue illustrates a much darker reality in the world beyond the Green.
As we light the bonfire for the 125th time tonight, it is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the evolving environment for women at Dartmouth. Attending an all-girls school up until this year has fed my interest in the dynamics between men and women in the academic and social worlds on campus. Through personal experience and interactions with upperclassmen and freshman peers, my eyes have been opened to the reality of Dartmouth life for women: favorable in the academic setting, but not so much on the social scene.
As we sped down Highway 89 en route to my very first college debate tournament, the four walls of our team’s rented minivan vibrated with the beat of pop music blasting from the front of the car. My teammates shouted over the music and each other, our deafening six-man circus drawing annoyed glances from passing cars. Squeezed into the back row, the ruckus from the front and the sound of my fingers tapping anthropology notes into my computer provided the harmony to the opening chords of the Moana soundtrack, played on a loop through my earbuds for the duration of our two-hour journey.
Nike made headlines this past month by introducing Colin Kaepernick as the face of its newest advertising campaign — “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the campaign’s slogan declares. It illustrates how Kaepernick sacrificed his career in the NFL to protest police brutality and social inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. The release of the Kaepernick ad on Instagram shattered Nike’s previous record views on any post by the millions. Not all viewers double tapped, however, and while Nike’s sales surged in the days following the release of the ad, videos of Nike apparel being torn apart and burned went just as viral.
“Thank you for trying out … unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place this year.” Over the past few weeks, such blunt statements have had a dominant presence in my inbox. Yet despite experiencing so many rejections in my first month on campus, I couldn’t be happier.
While it hasn’t been “business as usual” in American politics, the events of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh this past week are even farther from the norm. Regardless of what one holds at stake here — another conservative on the bench or the very efficacy of American justice (motives at this point abound) — these judicial proceedings have drudged up levels of emotion that transcend personal perspective, motive or party delineation. In the sense that Thursday’s hearing it put unbridled, human feeling on display, America may finally have found itself presented with, at least in its essence, the apolitical.
As a brother of Bones Gate fraternity, I don’t make a habit of talking to the press, but we all make exceptions sometimes. And the rush process is one such exception. It plays a crucial role in determining which individuals on this campus will be endowed with the abilities and resources to facilitate major social spaces at Dartmouth. Granted, across campus there is a mixture of rushees who have had varying opportunities to acquaint themselves with the full body of the house they are joining. But regardless of whether they enter a house after terms of building credentials and connections or if they come with none at all, rushing a house gives every member the privileges of affiliation — and it is the scope of those privileges that I would like to address.
On the first day of senior year, the one-armed bro hugs and exclamations of “Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in forever!” punctuated the still Hanover summer. On the second day of senior year, a flood of blazers, suits and skirts marched in and out of the Top of the Hop, home of the annual career fair.
The anonymous “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed published in the New York Times is not powerful solely for its content. Half of its power can be attributed to its author’s anonymity. Before I argue on anonymity’s behalf, however, it is critical to acknowledge that the author is anonymous only to a certain degree. The New York Times wrote that the author is a senior official in the Trump administration, and I, for one, am inclined to believe them. Not only does the New York Times rarely ever publish op-eds with anonymous authors, but as CNN’s Chris Cuomo puts it, would the NYT really “risk their reputation on a kill shot like this if it was proven to be false?” Such a deed, according to Cuomo, would be considered a heavy “miscarriage of journalism.”
This past spring term, I went to the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact club fair and happened to be roped towards a stand titled “Dementia Scholars.” The poster’s station was manned by a handful of bright-eyed students, eager to catch my attention. They gave me the whole spiel — who they were, what they did, how often they did it. And without much thought, I wrote down my email on their list and forgot about it once I left.
In less than one week, I will have officially finished my freshman year at Dartmouth. In numbers, it looked like this: nine classes, eight opinion columns written for The Dartmouth, seven rejected applications (as a caveat, two rejections came from the same place), six close friends whom I treasure dearly, five days a week (every week) when I did not get enough sleep, four dramatic emotional outbursts, three pairs of lost headphones, two embarrassing incidents featuring me dropping food and making a mess at various dining locations and one constant cycle of oscillation. I am referring to the way I swung — back and forth, up and down, forward and backward — from one extreme to another: jubilance to despair, serenity to panic, confidence to shame, pride to humility. It was truly the best of times and the worst of times.