BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Current Affairs

  1. Corbyn’s Pragmatic Populism

    “Comrade Corbyn. Loony lefty. Bearded Trot.” The British right-wing press routinely depicts Jeremy Corbyn as someone who will establish a Marxist administration over the United Kingdom should he become Prime Minister (Cammaerts et al 2016: 9). An outlier in the Labour Party for many years following his election to parliament in 1983, few predicted his rise to the office of party leader in 2015. His 2017 election manifesto featured many elements that typified his political and social stances, such as the establishment of a £10 minimum hourly wage by 2020, reintroducing the 50p rate of tax on the highest earners…

  2. Repealing the Eighth: Ireland, Gender Stereotypes, and Abortion Law

    Ireland is to have a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which recognises the right to life of the unborn as equal to that of the pregnant person.[1] Ireland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, permitting abortion to be carried out only where the pregnant person’s life is at risk from physical illness or suicide.[2] Abortion is illegal in all other circumstances, even where there is a serious risk to health, the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or the foetus has a fatal abnormality. Those  requiring abortions must travel abroad,…

  3. Myanmar and the Political Culture of Silence

    Since August 2017, the international community has issued tentatively scornful denunciations of the Myanmar government and its “crackdown” on the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority that has resided in the country for generations. One month later, and with over 600,000 of the one million Rohingyan population displaced by Burmese military forces, government officials and heads of state have condemned the abuses, murders and rape. Many have described the situation as ethnic cleansing: strong words, with grave historical reverberations and the promise of reactivity.   And yet global opposition to the Myanmar authorities has amounted to little more than rhetoric, political…

  4. Tea and Baba Ghanoush: the LAF, Hezbollah and Lebanese National Memory

    The overspill of fighting through the porous Syria-Lebanon border is regarded by Washington as a red line in the escalation of regional hostilities. Its chosen strategy to address this concern involves bolstering the capabilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and promoting the institution as Lebanon’s sole legitimate security force. As such, even as the U.S. cut funding for moderate democratic forces in Syria, the LAF has received an additional $120 million in military hardware to complement the $1.5 billion invested since 2005.[1] These efforts imply intent to undermine Hezbollah’s hegemony in Lebanon by counteracting its substantial military support from…

  5. The Plague: Is it still a threat in 2017?

    Nuclear warfare, climate change and…another bout of Black Death? Although listing the plague alongside other present-day threats to humanity sounds ridiculous, the threat of this medieval disease is still very real. In fact, it has recently been reported that fleas in Arizona have tested positive to plague bacteria and that a public health warning has been issued to residents.[1] Thousands of people still contract the plague every year, with outbreaks primarily concentrated in Africa. Although underreported and largely ignored by the western media, Madagascar, the most adversely affected country, has been the nucleus of twentieth-century plague cases since 2014. But…

  6. Identity Violence and Discrimination in Football: A Social Media Problem?

    During the time that it has taken you to reach this stage of the article, you might otherwise have used those valuable seconds to send a ‘tweet’, post a picture on Instagram, or ‘react’ to a video showing two well-known footballers enjoying a rather questionable handshake celebration on Facebook. However, while you may have spent your time doing that, the chances are that others were abusing theirs, instead directing a snide and offensive comment towards another individual, purely because of their beliefs, the colour of their skin, or the place they call home. A social media revolution For the younger…

  7. This Girl Can: The Cost of Empowerment

    I was recently sent a link by a male colleague to a website where one could apply to be the next face of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign. This was actually a joke on his part as, in the eyes of my friend, the movement has many problematic and even damaging aspects. For a while it was difficult to comprehend why someone, who is by no means sexist or unpleasant, would chose to deprecate a campaign that most women would be proud to be associated with. Yet, upon further evaluation of This Girl Can one will encounter a flaw…

  8. The problem with the Turner Prize: Deciphering criticism of Britain’s most prestigious art competition

    Ever since its conception in 1984 the Turner Prize has long been a source of controversy, both within and outside of the artistic sphere. Many specific works have provoked a strong public reaction; Tracey Emin’s bed, Damien’s Hurst’s formaldehyde shark and Anthea Hamilton’s recent sculpture, have all excited and appalled in equal measure. However, it is not the controversial nature of the pieces that will be discussed here, it is the debate surrounding the very nature of the prize itself. The right-wing press, particularly the Daily Mail, has long been critical of the prize. Quentin Letts, Mail correspondent, described this…

  9. The Rendition Dystopia

    ‘Power is not a means; it is an end.’ – George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four. The date 11 September 2001 is undoubtedly identified among the global population as one of the most significant dates in modern history. The acts of terror committed in the United States on that day continue to resonate with countless others across the world. Attacks such as those upon Paris in November 2015 and the Brussels bombings in March 2016 serve as stark reminders of the capabilities of human beings in causing harm to others. However, almost 15 years since the start of the War on Terror,…

  10. Beyond the Olympic Spectacle: Displacement for Development

    As the first South American host, the 2016 Olympics in Rio are eagerly anticipated as an opportunity to attract tourists and business, as well as providing employment and training to assist the city’s economic growth. However, beyond the spectacle and perceived benefits of the event lies a darker interpretation, which implies that the Olympic games are an opportunity for cities to justify removing the poor to enable the accumulation of capital. The large-scale and forced displacement of Rio’s informal ‘favela’ settlements demonstrates how Olympic development enables cities to justify the removal of undesirable, poor and marginalised groups. After hosting the…