Hurricane Irma batters the Carribbean before reaching Florida

BY GABBY RAYMOND ’20

Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean Islands starting Wednesday, Sept. 6. Antigua, St. Martin, Anguilla, Puerto Rico, Barbuda and the Virgin Islands were the first hit, receiving the full force of the storm. The islands have all sustained major structural damage as well as power outages.

On Sept. 7,  Turks and Caicos and Haiti were hit as well, but sustained lessdamage compared to those hit the day before, as reported by NBC.

As small tropical states, these islands are known as tourist destinations and tropical getaways. Yet, in areas like St. Martin and Barbuda, where 90 percent of the buildings are beyond repair, their economy will suffer until the infrastructure has been repaired. 

According to the New York Times, there has been a sharp increase in looting as people search for ways to sustain themselves after the massive amount of property damage the hurricane has caused. Shelby Alfred, a Red Cross nurse in Cruz Bay on the Virgin islands told NBC, “There’s no air conditioning, no water, just cots pushed up against each other with tons of people in them — mostly people that lost their homes.” 

Medical aid and food supplies have been sent by some organizations in the international community to provide assistance to those affected. The World Food Program, for example, is sending supplies to help the over 200,000 people in need of aid. 

In a statement made to NBC, the organization said, “WFP is providing some 30 metric tons of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed more than 17,000 people for three days, being airlifted by WFP from Haiti to the hub in Antigua (where the population of Barbuda has been evacuated) and to nearby St. Martin.”

Yet many people living in the Caribbean Islands fear that they will be forgotten since Irma has moved on and hit parts of Florida. Even though the effects of Irma on places like Miami, the Keys, Jacksonville and St. Augustine, are currently less catastrophic than those sustained by the Carribean Islands, the media coverage has focused on Floridians, who will most likely recieve more   government aid and support for damages. 

“Floridians were very prepared for the hurricane” said Virginia Guerra ’19, a native Miamian. “This was the largest evacuation in it’s history, and they are capable of finding aid for themselves. But aid came too late for the Caribbean Islands because everyone was focusing on Florida as the Carribean people were still being hit by Hurricane Irma.”

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Military have both been deployed to areas like St. Martin and St. Thomas, the local governments on most of the affected islands have not been able to do anything to help their people repair their homes and other buildings. There are concerns that immediate international aid will not be enough to get these nations back on their feet. 

A recent quote from UNICEF revealed that, “Around 20,000 children have been affected in the hurricane-hit Caribbean countries and more than 130 schools are beyond repair across Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.”

A resident of St. Martin, Conn Davis, told NBC, “The islands are in real duress and need help, and it’s not getting done by our local government. There are a lot of people out here working hard, but we need people to help us help ourselves.” 

Victoria Guerra ’19, Virginia’s sister, agreed with Davis’ statement, saying, “So many people have come together to fundraise for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and that’s what we need to see happening now. The Caribbean nations were hit the hardest and they will need the most aid and donations to recover.” 

Macron and Le Pen tie in first round of French presidential elections

BY GABBY RAYMOND ’20

On Sunday, April 23, France held its first round of presidential elections. There were 11 possible candidates. Because no candidate won over 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates, Emmanuel Macron (24.01%) of the En Marche! party and Marine Le Pen (21.30%) of the National Front will advance to the next round of voting on May 7. Neither of these candidates are from the main political parties in France, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire and the Parti Socialiste, according to The Guardian. Current French President Francois Hollande is a member of the Parti Socialiste. 

US drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan

BY GABBY RAYMOND ’20

On Thursday, April 13, the United States Air Force dropped “the mother of all bombs” on the Achin district of Nangarhar, a province close to the Pakistani border of Afghanistan. The Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb was used to specifically target a channel of tunnels that ISIS members had been supposedly using to cross in and out of Pakistan. According to the Guardian, the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command argued that wiping out the tunnels reduced the number of improvised explosive devices that could possibly be used against U.S. troops. Furthermore, it would also damage the ISIS offshoot that is allegedly responsible for recent terrorist attacks in the area. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan said in a press conference in Kabul that “it was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield, and it has enabled us to resume our offensive operations.” 

Five College African Studies Council hosts film festival

Five College African Studies Council hosts film festival

BY GABBY RAYMOND '20

From Wednesday April 5 to Saturday, April 8, the Five College African Studies Council hosted the African Cinema Symposium and Festival. Four films, “The Revolution Won’t be Televised,” “The Colonial Misunderstanding,” “Indochina: Traces of a Mother,” and “Viva Riva!” were shown for the festival.

Brazil rules work stoppages by public security officers unconstitutional

Brazil rules work stoppages by public security officers unconstitutional

BY SARAH LOFSTROM '19

Last week, the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court ruled police strikes to be unconstitutional. The ruling followed a high profile police strike that took place in February in the coastal city of Vitòria during which 100 people were killed, according to United Press International.

U.K. officially begins process of leaving the EU

U.K. officially begins process of leaving the EU

BY EMMA RUBIN '20

In June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum vote. 52 percent of voters voted to leave while 48 percent voted to stay. Last week, London officially invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, triggering the process to leave the EU.

KASA hosts second annual Korea Night

KASA hosts second annual Korea Night

BY GABBY RAYMOND '20

On Saturday, April 1, the Korean American Sisters Association hosted their second annual Korea Night, catered by local Korean restaurant Cana. The 2 hour show included a mix of traditional and modern arts performances depicting the many aspects of Korean culture. Chloe Lopez-Lee ’18, the secretary of KASA, said, “We don’t have a specific theme for the show — we wanted it to be comprehensive and allow the members of our organization to showcase our culture.

Russian and Eurasian Studies department hosts annual Blini Bash

Russian and Eurasian Studies department hosts annual Blini Bash

BY SARAH LOFSTROM '19

On Friday, March 25, the Russian and Eurasian Studies department coordinated with the Russian Club to host their annual Blini Bash celebrating the end of winter. The event is referred to in Russia as the Spring Carnival or Maslenitsa. It features the pan-frying and eating of blini, Russian pancakes, before ceremonially burning an effigy of the witch of winter.

Sunken South Korean Ferry raised and reinvestigated

Sunken South Korean Ferry raised and reinvestigated

BY EMMA RUBIN '20

On March 23, the South Korean Government initiated the process of raising the MV Sewol, a sunken South Korean ferry. The 6,800 ton ship was en route to Jeju from Incheon, carrying primarily high school students on a field trip when it capsized in April 2014, killing over 300 passengers, according to NPR.

Mount Holyoke Arab Association hosts “Bringing Yemen to the Table”

Mount Holyoke Arab Association hosts “Bringing Yemen to the Table”

BY EMMA RUBIN '20 

On Wednesday, March 1, the Mount Holyoke Arab Association hosted Bring- ing Yemen to the Table, an event seeking to inform community members about the current situation in Yemen in light of the ongoing civil war and President Trump’s previous executive order banning Ye- meni travellers from entering the United States.

Vietnamese Student Association hosts Vietnam Night

BY GABBY RAYMOND '20 

On Feb. 24, the Vietnamese Student Association hosted their annual cultural show. The event dinner was catered by the Miss Saigon restaurant in Amherst; and dinner was followed by performances from various VSA members. Each performance was centered around the geometrical lotus flower, the organization’s symbol for this year. By modernizing the traditional flower of Viet- nam, the group hoped to show that “Vietnam is keeping its culture [alive] while improving in a developing econo- my,” said Lauren Nguyen ’20.

Since the organization’s establishment in 2003, the VSA has been trying to bring the essence of Vietnamese culture to the students of Mount Holyoke through a num- ber of free events each semester, culminating with the cultural show in the spring. During the fall semester, the VSA hosted the Moon Cake Showcase and the Vietnam- ese Coffee event. “Our goal is to embrace diversity and amnesty. Mount Holyoke is all about bringing diversity to the world, so we host our events in the spirit of the col- lege,” said Linh Nguyen ’19, a VSA board member.

In keeping with the theme of cultural diversity and awareness, the show attempted to debunk certain stereo- types about Vietnamese culture. “Before my American friend met me, she thought all Vietnamese people wore traditional Vietnamese clothes. Our show is to dem- onstrate to people we are also citizens of the modern world,” Lauren Nguyen said. Her performance exempli- fied the sentiments she expressed — she played “Glad You Came” by The Wanted on the Vietnamese zither, a traditional 17-stringed instrument.

The theme of exploring modern themes through a traditional lens was demonstrated in the original skit that the VSA members performed. Set during Lunar New Year, the organization recreated the traditional story of Ong Tao, the kitchen fairy that goes to heaven to make a report to the Jade Emperor about the family affairs for the year. The VSA version of the myth featured three kitchen fairies reporting to the Jade king about various problems Vietnam is dealing with as it continues to mod- ernize, including areas of the ocean made toxic by indus- trial waste, the controversial debate regarding capitaliz- ing on the beauty of the untouched Son Doong Cave in theinterest of tourism and even whether the country should continue the costly celebration of the Lunar New Year.

“This is our biggest event of the year and everyone was so excited to bring Vietnamese culture to Mount Holyoke — while we focus on the beauty of our culture with music, food and dance, it is important to talk about our current social problems too,” said Linh Nguyen. Showing Vietnam through their own eyes was important to the VSA, who wanted to provide more than just a beau- tiful show. “This year we tried to depict a real picture of Vietnam. The picture of us in the U.S. has always been a paddy field and delicate beauty. We wanted to expand beyond the stereotypes,” Lauren Nguyen said.

2017 French Presidential Elections approaching in April

2017 French Presidential Elections approaching in April

As the first term of French President François Hollande comes to an end, 11 presidential candidates are in the running for the office. The elections will be held on April 23 and will be followed by another round on May 7 featuring the two nominees who receive the most votes.