Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"International Burn a Qur'an Day" Highlights Scary Trend

Reports out of Florida this past week are that the Dove World Outreach Center, a non-denominational Christian house of worship in Gainesville, plans to hold “International Burn a Qur’an Day” on 11 September. The church’s pastor, Dr. Terry Jones, went on a publicity tour to promote the three-hour “remembrance” in the past week.

Last Thursday, Mr. Jones appeared on CNN speaking with anchor Rick Sanchez about the upcoming day. In the interview, the pastor claimed, “We believe that Islam is of the devil. It is causing billions of people to go to hell. It is a deceptive religion; it is a violent religion… There are moderate Muslims, but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.” As is far too often the case, Terry Jones’ inflammatory rhetoric serves only to exacerbate the tensions between Islam and Christianity. By speaking from a position of Christian religious authority, Jones risks speaking for all Christians, something that other evangelical Christian organizations made sure he did not do.

The same day as the above interview, the National Association of Evangelicals issued a press release urging the Dove World Outreach Center to reconsider hosting the event. The release pointed out that “the plans recently announced by a Florida group to burn copies of the Qur’an on September 11 show disrespect for our Muslim neighbors.” The press release goes on to quote the Bible, saying, “’make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.’” (1 Thessalonians 5:15) The NAE statement attempts to disassociate the actions of Jones’ church from those of the larger American Christian community as a whole.

The man interviewing the pastor, CNN’s Rick Sanchez, himself a practicing Christian, ended the interview by telling Mr. Jones, “You do Christians in this country a disservice by sounding as hateful as you do and saying that you’re going to perform hateful acts as you say you are for people who may not necessarily believe the things you say they do.” Sanchez’ counter here is spot-on. Jones is trying to speak as a spokesman of the Christian American community – a position no one bestowed upon him, but which the media is promoting by constantly hosting his hateful rhetoric on its airwaves.

One of the remarks Jones made during this interview made significantly less sense and was more troubling to me as a viewer than the rest of his talking points. About halfway through the interview, the pastor says, “There are moderate Muslims, but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.” First of all, this point is mystifying. What exactly is Jones trying to say with this comment? If there is no such thing as a moderate Islam, how can there possibly moderate Muslims, who are followers of Islam? Is he casting these so-called “moderate Muslims” as simply less-believing than their radical, Islam-following brothers and sisters? Do true, non-moderate, supposedly violent Muslims instead espouse the real beliefs of a religion that has been so often called “a religion of peace?” He can’t possibly believe this… can he?

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this quote is that I honestly think that Mr. Jones was trying to come off as understanding and tolerant by allowing that, yes, he thought there were “moderate Muslims.” But the attempt totally backfires when you look deeper at just how inflammatory this statement is. This is but one example of Jones’ confusing, rambling rant against Islam during the interview. He contradicts himself again when saying “We are saying ‘stop’ to Islam,” which is followed up with, “We have nothing against Muslims, they are welcome in our country.” How can we possibly say “stop” to something while simultaneously welcoming it?

Setting aside the ridiculous implicit assumption that all Muslims must be foreign, the worst part about all of this, of course, is that Mr. Jones is only one of many conservative speakers who are becoming part of a broad and evolving offensive against Islam in all of its forms, not just the radicals who pervert the religion. Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and others are speaking up against the “deceptive [and] violent” religion they claim Muslims adhere to. They are spurred on by news stories like the proposed mosques in New York City, Murfreesboro (TN), Temecula (CA), and Sheboygan (WI), and preemptive city council proposals in Oklahoma and Virginia which are aimed to stop the supposed “invasion” of Islamic law into the United States.

These talkers who constantly drone on about the “threat” that Islam poses to America are truly missing the point. Their reasons for spewing such hateful rhetoric usually flows from one of two possible places: either they are up for election in the coming months and feel that such rhetoric will appeal to some segment of the masses, or they gain a loyal following from being sensationalistic and causing public controversy.

The latter seems to be the source of Pastor Jones’ vile words and actions. His Dove World Outreach Center’s main sources of notoriety are their infamous protests mocking the sexual orientation of the mayor of Gainesville, Florida and their distribution of “Islam is of the Devil” shirts in local schools. Whatever his illogical reasoning behind “Burn a Qur’an Day,” I can’t possibly see what good Mr. Jones could possibly think will come out of such a demonstration. I read recently that he is welcoming local Muslims to join him in the “remembrance” on 11 September (which, by the way, may fall on Eid-al-Fitr, the second largest holiday on the Islamic calendar and which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan). If Terry Jones has any true desire to promote interfaith respect – or even if he just has any common sense – he would listen to the complaints by numerous religious authorities from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hindu backgrounds and cancel the inflammatory event.

But, then again, when was the last time someone like Pastor Terry Jones showed any common sense? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Leaving Iraq

The Iraq War began on a Wednesday in March of 2003. I was a high school student at the time, and although the media was as excited about the story as a kid with a new toy, all I remember feeling that day was absolute dread. I had listened to all the arguments as to why we were going to war, but the fact that so much of the international community was against the war, made me wonder what was really going on behind the scenes.

Now a college graduate and many, many news reports, interview, memoirs, and documentaries later, I still feel that same sense of dread when talking about the war. Over the years, I have seen almost the entire argument for war fall to pieces. The WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) were never found. Former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, who surrendered after the fall of Baghdad, continues to claim, as Saddam Hussein did before his execution, that they only said they had weapons in order to deter their Iranian neighbors to the east. Hussein was not posturing to the West, but to Iran, whom Iraq had been at war with from 1980-1988. But despite this fact, America went to war without any real evidence that Iraq was working to build WMDs.

Once the war began, much of the information and news coming out of the country was from journalists who were imbedded with American armed forces. They lived, ate, and slept next to each other. While it made sense that these journalists were imbedded for their own safety, it also created an atmosphere of stories that were constantly pro-American and pro-war. No journalist in their right mind would write a story that painted those soldiers responsible for his/her life in a negative light. This led to a compromised environment where the truth was not always told. Pure, unadulterated journalism became contaminated by the hand that fed it.

I’m not sure that we will ever know if the Bush Administration knew what they were doing in the lead up to the Iraq War. Did they actually believe Saddam Hussein was the threat they made him out to be, or did they want this war so badly that they took whatever questionable intelligence they could get their hands on and ran with it regardless of the gaps in information? Before the war began, the American intelligence community was feverishly searching for connections between Saddam Hussein and terrorism, but with little to no information to make this connection, the Bush Administration decided to move ahead anyway.

No one will argue against the fact that Hussein was a terrible dictator responsible for many atrocities and crimes against humanity, but if that is to be America’s reason for entering war, then why are we currently not fighting in North Korea or Sudan? War should always be the last resort after all other options have been exhausted. First deciding to go to war and then looking for evidence is a terrible precedent to set for the future of the international community.

With the exception of 50,000 troops who will remain “with a mission limited to stability operations and advising and assisting Iraqi security forces,” all U.S. combat forces will have left Iraq by the end of this August. This has left many Iraqis with a great sense of trepidation. With the economy in shambles, violence rising, and a government that is still in flux months after elections, many are worried that their government is not ready to run the country without American assistance. Even the chief of staff for the Iraqi army, Gen. Babakir Zebari has publically said that the Iraqi military will not be ready to operate on its own for another ten years.

Only future generations will be able to decide whether or not the Iraq War was ultimately worth it, but as it stands today, far too many Iraqis long for the days of the past where electricity and jobs were abundant and the future didn’t look so uncertain. In the years ahead, the world will be watching the development of Iraq. Iraqis must work together to secure a peaceful and prosperous future free from the ills and problems of the past, while also making sure to learn from their experiences.

Many mistakes were made in this war. Although, the consequences of making preemptive strikes, discarding the intelligence community, and oppressing journalism have become very clear for the United States, we do have a history of repeating our wrongs. It is difficult to truly understand how many lives have been affected and destroyed by this war, but we all owe it to those who have suffered to make the future of Iraq the best it can be. It is one thing to identify where the U.S. went wrong in Iraq, but the true measure of growth and success will come from not making the same mistakes again.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birthright-Citizenship: An Endangered Right?

As the battle over immigration legislation wages on, a group of United States Senators have decided to combat the issue with constitutional reform, rather than implementing policies of immigration reform. The group of senators, comprised of Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl, has proposed to re-examine and revise the 14th amendment as means to decrease the amount of illegal immigrants entering the United States. The 14th amendment, ratified in 1868, took the 13th amendment—which abolished slavery—even further to ensure blacks with more rights by granting all blacks citizenship. It established birthright-citizenship and Sen. Graham—who spear-headed the movement to subject the 14th amendment to hearings—believes that scores of illegal immigrants come to the United States illegally and try to obtain citizenship by giving birth to a child in the U.S.: “They come here to drop a child. It’s called drop and leave.”

Sen. Graham looked into the subject after being unable to answer a question posed at a city hall meeting, the person was inquiring about why children of illegal immigrants are allowed to be American citizens. Graham believes that the amendment, as it currently stands, acts as an incentive for people to come to America illegally for the sole purpose of using an “anchor baby” to gain citizenship. Graham and other critics of the 14th amendment consider that this “drop and leave” technique is a gross abuse and perversion of the U.S. Constitution as intended by the Founding Fathers.

As troubling as the terms “anchor baby” or “drop and leave” sound, the unfortunate imagery of these phrases is the least of our worries. The proposed call to hearing for repealing the 14th amendment is troublesome on many levels.

Many commentators on immigration reform are part of groups dedicated to lowering the amount of immigrants in America—such as NumbersUSA—but ironically overlook the fact that by repealing the 14th amendment and denying citizenship to children born of illegal immigrant parents, they would be increasing the actual numbers of undocumented people in the United States, according to many immigration lawyers. Also ignored is the fact that children must wait until they are 21 years of age before they can even apply for legal residency for their parents—which makes the “drop and leave” technique impractical. In fact, the repealing of the amendment and the creation of new rules would be met with a need for each parent to prove their own and their child’s statuses, inflating the government’s role in the everyday lives of even more people—something conservatives may have trouble facing.

Moreover, repealing the 14th amendment does not combat the specific issue but attempts to instill a blanket solution rather than a nuanced strategy that targets the problem directly. The effects of retracting the 14th amendments can go beyond the scope of immigration issues. As Roland S. Martin puts it: “It's clear that overall Congress is choosing to apply a Band-Aid to the illegal immigration problem instead of dealing with it head-on.”

Politically, this initiative is also particularly problematic. Sen. Lindsey Graham has been known to stray from his party alliance to not only find a bipartisan solution but sometimes siding with the opposite party; Graham has supportedthe bailout for financial institutions, and comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.” Graham’s new proposal to amend the constitution to restrict birthright-citizenship has troubled immigration groups who thought of Graham as a vital ally beforehand. Although Graham is gaining support from some conservatives over this matter, he is also creating a party split—especially from those Republicans who are staunch constitutionalists and believe that the 14th amendment is one of the Constitution’s most important legacies.

Rather than trying to amend the Constitution—it has been proposed by many lawmakers that they create a statute instead. Fortunately, the Constitution is pretty hard to change; the last amendment was made 40 years ago to change the voting age to 18 and the last ratification of an amendment was made in 1992 to set the rules for congressional salaries. Hopefully, the movement to repeal the 14th amendment will be replaced with a solution that will prove to be less indirect and more refined.

The most problematic implication of changing the 14th amendment is what it means about this nation's departure from its initial intentions and the distinctions that set it apart from all other countries. The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, people seeking freedom and opportunity, and a place where citizenship has long been granted indiscriminately. However, with this move to appeal the 14th amendment, the United States is abandoning all of these values. Unlike many other countries that can, and actively do, grant and deny citizenship based on very specific ethnicities and religions, America has had one very important criterion: birthright. Everyone who comes to this country has been able to enjoy the rights instilled by the Founding Fathers; and although people who enter the country unlawfully should be dealt with, changing the rights outlined by the Constitution is not the most effective or admirable method of repairing the situation.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Silver Lining

“The social cancer of Islamophobia must be recognized as unacceptable as anti-Semitism. It is a threat to the very fabric of our democratic pluralistic way of life…Political and religious leaders, commentators and experts must do more to counter hate speech; they must lead in safeguarding and strengthening religious pluralism and mutual respect.”

-John Esposito, Founding director, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

When it comes to the political uproar surrounding the construction of the “Ground Zero Mosque,” responses such as this are regrettably overpowered by the bigoted responses of the likes of Newt Gingrich, Michael Savage, or Rush Limbaugh. The egregious opposition to the Cordoba House—the name of the proposed Muslim center—underscores a framework of an anti-Islamic, Islamophobic movement that fuels the blocking of this building. Even organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, a non-governmental organization whose main focus is fighting not only defamation of the Jewish people, but of members of any sect, are betraying their objective by opposing the construction of the Muslim center.

Many blog responses—including that of the Mobilizer blog—and news reports focus on the negative reactions (although, rightfully so) and act as a reprimanding force. However, it may be, not only important, but necessary to take a moment to understand those who have done good things for the cause. Not all is lost in this debate, and there are important figures that are helping to further the progress of the Cordoba House, which will hopefully stand as a center for religious and ethnic tolerance.

An example of these political and religious figures that support the Cordoba House is Arthur Waskow, a rabbi and founder/director of The Shalom Center. Waskow, and more generally The Shalom Center, have started a movement in response to the Anti-Defamation League’s opposition to the building of the “Ground Zero Mosque.” An initiative of over 30 rabbis from various Jewish backgrounds have signed a statement, and request more signatures, for the ADL to reverse their decision. Waskow and The Shalom Center also organized a vigil for August 5, 2010 at the site of the planned mosque to voice their opinions on the matter, in addition to encouraging supporters to actually call the ADL to request a reverse of their conclusion.

Arthur Waskow, and his supporters in and beyond The Shalom Center, act as an exemplar of inter-religious tolerance and support that is needed during situations of bigotry, such as that which surrounds the creation of the Cordoba House. Waskow at the rally stated that, "I want to catch us, us Jews, us Muslims, us Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, meditating, praying, not in the same identical ways with each other, but with each other toward the One who is beyond us all."

In addition to the support of religious leaders, perhaps the most absolute and forthright support can be found in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his speech delivered on Governor’s Island, in regards to the Landmarks Preservation Commission vote.

Mayor Bloomberg gave an inspiring speech, one that portrayed New York City as the foremost open and inviting city, a city that was built and sustained by immigrants, and a city that continues to be the freest city in the world. He explained that “[o]f all our precious freedoms, the most important may be the freedom to worship as we wish. And it is a freedom that, even here in a City that is rooted in Dutch tolerance, was hard-won over many years.” Mayor Bloomberg explained that although the mosque was not granted ‘landmark’ status by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, there are no legal reasons for denying the mosque, and doing so would be untrue to American ideals. Bloomberg also states that this mosque acts as the biggest test America will face in regards to the complete separation of church and state, and how we—as Americans—respond to this test is vital.

Bloomberg eloquently reminds the public of what is actually in question when it comes to this deliberation: “Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.” As such an important political figurehead in this particular debate, it is refreshing to know that not everyone is on the side of short-sighted intolerance and that as the politically symbolic personage for New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has not forgotten the ideals on which this nation and its constitution has been built.

The criticism of the “Ground Zero Mosque” is not simply a manifestation of religious intolerance but also a strategy or talking point employed by certain politicians to bolster their political stances, and thereby their support. John Esposito (quoted above) believes that Republican candidates are appealing to racist sentiments towards Islam as a way to polarize politics to gain electoral votes in upcoming elections. Many Democrats, on the other hand, are choosing their words carefully or, like Congressman Anthony Weiners, are refusing to answer completely—perhaps for fear of losing support as well.

Although few and far removed, the examples of vocal, active support for the construction of the Cordoba House acts as the silver lining for this dark and dismal political debate and it is important that they are recognized.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Things May Not Always Be What They Seem

Walking out of a downtown Chicago restaurant recently, I couldn’t help but notice the advertisement atop a parked taxi. After reading the text of the ad (pictured above), I was torn. On the one hand, I was happy to see that the ad was taking a stand against gender-based violence, but on the other hand, I was disappointed that the overall message of the ad was that a Muslim woman facing danger should leave her religion in order to find safety. This overt connection between the Islamic faith and violence is not only incorrect and offensive, but short-sighted in that it fails to acknowledge the wider problem of violence against women in America.

The Honor Killing Awareness Campaign responsible for the taxi advertisement is powered by the anti-Muslim group Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), which was created by Islamophobe bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. SIOA’s declared mission is to educate Americans about the threat that the Islamic doctrine and those who support it present to America. While Geller refers to the honor killing campaign as an “awareness and aid campaign,” a visit to the site listed on the advertisement, LeaveIslamSafely.com, is likely to leave visitors disappointed. The site offers little to no information on honor killings and the only real resources provided are links to other anti-Muslim sites. SIOA offers no options or alternatives for Muslim women who need help, but do not want to leave their religion. It seems that SIOA is more concerned with defaming the religion of Islam and getting people to leave Islam than actually creating a real resource for women in potential danger.

An issue also not addressed is what exactly constitutes an honor killing. The media often uses the term anytime a Muslim or other non-Western male kills a member of his family. Only using the term in this manner parallels the Orientalist perspective of vilifying and degrading non-Western people, making them out to be barbaric. While murder is murder regardless of who commits it, the media often labels cases of domestic crimes differently based on the ethnicity or religion of the murderer. Take, for example, the story of a father who kills his daughter over a text-message with a boy versus a father who kills his daughter over her lifestyle choice of living with a boyfriend outside of marriage. The media only labeled the latter as an “honor killing” given that the family was Iraqi.

To solely focus on Muslims in an honor killing awareness campaign is not only misleading and wrong, but completely devoid of facts and reality. This is particularly so given that Islamic leaders continuously condemn the practice and prove that it has no religious basis in Islam. SIOA’s ad seeks to further marginalize Islam and Muslims and create an inaccurate picture of what it means to be a Muslim woman growing up in America. In another expression of these sentiments, Geller goes so far as to call Muslim households “homemade concentration camps” in her blog.

Violence against women, regardless of race, age, class, or religion, pervades our world and comes in many forms. The UN estimates that up to 70% of women will experience some form of physical or sexual violence from men at some point in their life. In the United States alone, a woman is beaten every nine seconds and an average of three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each day.

Violence is not, nor has it ever been, exclusive to Muslims, and the idea of tearing a woman away from her religion and her entire support system is not the solution. If Geller and Spencer really want to make a dent in tackling issues surrounding violence against women, they need to reevaluate their campaign. This one isn’t working.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Demonizing Journalists

CNN’s recent decision to fire their Senior Middle Eastern Affairs Editor Octavia Nasr showcases the mainstream, corporate media’s bias against the Arab world. Last weekend, Nasr took to Twitter to react to the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Lebanese Muslim leader. Nasr wrote: Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.. #Lebanon

Twitter, with its 140 character limit, is already not the best place to discuss complex political issues. But add a group like Hezbollah a Lebanese political party designated by the US as a terrorist organization which many people know little about, and you have a potentially volatile combination. Nasr herself acknowledged this misstep in a long blog post. She writes: Sayyed Fadlallah. Revered across borders yet designated a terrorist. Not the kind of life to be commenting about in a brief tweet. It's something I deeply regret.

As she explains in her post, the respect and sadness she felt with Sayyed Fadallah’s passing was in regards to his support of women’s rights in the Muslim world. Fadallah had decried violence against women as a practice against the fundamentals of Islam.

So what did CNN do? Allow Nasr to explain herself, recognize her mistake and then move on? No. Instead they fired a 20 year network veteran for 119 characters. How ironic that “journalists” like Diana West, Charles Krauthammer, and Steve Huntley can all make wildly offensive, hyperbolic statements against Muslims and receive no recourse. They can praise Israel’s military offensives without regard to innocent Palestinian deaths. The talking heads of FOX and ABC can produce paranoid stories on American Mosques and feature inflammatory commentary from documented Islamaphobes (See: Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Pamela Gellar). But, acknowledge the accomplishments of someone who was an influential figure in the Muslim community and you are out the door.

The outrage directed at Nasr is comparable in some sense to what veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas experienced a few weeks ago when she had to resign from her post of 50 years after criticizing Israel. The rational behind both of their firings is the same. Journalists can editorialize all they want but as soon as they vocalize support for people our government doesn’t like, they are booted.

What is so infuriating about this recent trend of demonizing anyone who dares to support Arab or Muslim leaders is that it removes any creditability those writers may have. Conversely, mainstream corporate media invite people with no credible journalistic background (See above) and give them free reign. Why are we so ready to accept the ramblings of pseudo-journalists and hate-bloggers but adverse to any informed opinion from established news veterans? Instead of being able to inform people of the accomplishments and goals of a notable Muslim leader, Nasr was immediately criticized and deemed a terrorist sympathizer. Interestingly, both Nasr and Thomas are Christian Arabs, a demographic often disregarded in the West. Their opinions and criticisms could possibly inform Western Christians who feel alienated from Middle Eastern affairs.

If veteran journalists do not have the support of their publication to honestly editorialize, then critical issues become buried. This essentially assures that only one narrative of the Middle East is told in Western media, the narrative our government and corporate institutions want told. If we want a truly free press, allow writers to delve deep into issues without fear of being fired or labeled a terrorist sympathizer or anti-Semite.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Did that oil spill stop?

Tragedies in America affect everyone in America. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, more commonly known as the BP Oil Spill, is the greatest off shore oil spill that the U.S. has ever experienced. The U.S. media coverage has been overwhelming, and yet at the same time there were limitations on how much they can cover. Many journalists found themselves “turned away from public areas affected by the spill, and not only by BP and its contractors, but by local law enforcement, the Coast Guard and government officials.”

The media coverage that Americans did get was not critical. Many journalists pushed for the sentimentality of the event by discussing how the event will disrupt the ecology and environment of the Gulf, and of course, only BP responded to that and only to a certain extent. Imagine if the journalists pushed to discuss the core of the problem and held someone accountable? If journalists told the American public that BP knew there were cracks in the pipes awhile back when the coverage was heavy, maybe BP would have acted differently and more responsibly.

Due to the kindness Americans across the country, thousands of people are volunteering to help clean this mess. Louisiana had 3,000 volunteers sign up for a beach cleanup. Many states are having the same turnout. But despite Louisiana’s past tragedies, the people still have faith that should inspire every American. To be fair, BP has created the Vessels of Opportunity program which hires local boatmen to assist in this fiasco. According to the Official Site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, the tasks that these local boatmen take on include “response activities, including transporting supplies, assisting wildlife rescue and deploying containment and sorbent boom.”

Like many times in today’s media, one avoids necessary analysis about the event. Have we forgotten that someone is responsible for this event? This oil spill is not only going to haunt our past, but our present and future. This spill is not only affecting the sea food business, fishing and offshore energy production, but is “fouling other drivers of the economy like lodging, casinos, real estate and governments.”

Will BP ever be able to adequately compensate the victims of the spill? BP created a $20 billion compensation fund administrated by Kenneth Feinberg, of the Feinberg Rozen law firm. This is a similar fund to the fund that was set up for the victims of the 9-11 attacks. The $20 billion will not go unnoticed, but it is hard to even compensate for what has happened. According to the U.S. government, between 90.4 and 178.6 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf. How can one compensate for all that Oil that has been lost, lives that have been lost and the environment that is suffering? Oil is a resource that has been fought over through international wars, and yet there seems to be negligence of BP’s behalf.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 was also a tragic event, where about 11 to 32 million gallons of oil was spilled. Twenty years later, there are still many areas in which you can find oil on the ground. Consider the number of gallons that the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill released and there can be no comparison between these two spills. Imagine the years it is going to take to clean. The Exxon Valdez spill happened over 20 years ago and it is still an issue today.

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