The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: October 2015 (Page 2 of 5)

Welcome back, Ben

Ben Chin brought his rally to Bates College last Saturday. He graduated from Bates in 2007, and during his campaign he has worked feverishly to involve the Bates community in the success of his campaign.

The rally was held at 3 P.M. in Muskie Archives. The rally included a plethora of speakers, including fellow Bates graduate Isabelle Moiles ’11, who this year is running for a Lewiston city council position in the third ward (which includes sections of Bates Campus). In addition, the speakers engaged the crowd with positive sentiments and high regards for Chin who has seemingly struck a chord among the bates student populous with his promise of “fighting for the people of Lewiston”.

Chin took the stage roughly thirty minutes into the rally, sporting a maroon North Face pullover and taking a more personable approach to engaging the crowd by avoiding the podium and microphone. Chin, who just earlier had been conversing with Bates student supporters, began to demonstrate exactly what he envisioned as being solutions for problems within Lewiston.

He revealed that his interest in Lewiston politics was fostered during his time at Bates, when in 2004 the city coordinator at the time threatened to pass legislation that would displace roughly 800 Lewiston residents from their homes. The ambitions of his campaign to be the next mayor of Lewiston are focused on providing affordable co-oped housing for Lewiston residents, continuing to spur economic activity in downtown Lewiston and creating opportunities for voluntarily integration among Somali citizens in Lewiston.

In providing details behind these intended policies, Chin highlighted the lack of oversight in enforcement of landlord laws, which are often unethical and leave many low-income Lewiston residents taken advantage of, according to Chin. In addition, he expressed the importance of creating a welcome center for Somali immigrants as an outlet for inquiries about life and culture in Lewiston, and an investment in solar energy to create jobs and create a more green alternative for energy consumption in the Lewiston area. Apparently, Maine receives as much sun annually as North Carolina; who knew?

After riling the crowd with his apparent enthusiasm and charisma, it was made clear that the success of Chin’s campaign is reliant on a rather large turnout of voter support in the Bates community. In order to secure his role as the next mayor of Lewiston, Chin needs 550 votes from the Bates community alone, 1,000 from new Lewiston citizens, and another 3-4,000 votes from the general voting population.

In last year’s governor elections, the Bates community accounted for roughly 400 votes, a low turnout. Nonetheless, Chin remained confident that with the support he has received from the Bates community so far, high voter turnout will be attainable and beneficial to his campaign.

The rally concluded after roughly an hour-and-a-half, when the event was opened up to a Q&A session in which audience members could ask Chin about his personal life or campaign related issues. Many of the questions probed the details of Ben’s policies, especially regarding the economic feasibility of his intended housing and solar power initiatives.

While the support of Bates students was well represented by student attendance at the rally, Chin and his campaign team stressed the importance of reaching out to more of the Bates community in order to solidify the 550 votes required for the success of his campaign. Chin encouraged student audience members to educate themselves on the current political philosophy of his top competitor, Robert Macdonald, and show support for a fellow Bobcat striving to improve the social, economic, and political climate of Lewiston.

Students, regardless of their party affiliation or intended vote, are encouraged to attend the voting session on November 3 at the Lewiston Armory, located extremely close to campus near JB dormitory and the new dormitories under construction along Campus Avenue.

This Month at Commons: Eating Local

To the undiscerning palette, milk from an industrial farm in Texas is no different than milk from a smaller, local farm in Maine. To those with sophisticated, discriminating senses of taste, the superior compositional qualities and subtly smooth consistency of local milk destroy the factory farm competition. Alright, maybe the difference isn’t actually so monumental. While it may not always taste so different, choosing to eat locally can benefit everyone, from producers and consumers, all the way to your grandma and her pet cat Sir-Mitts-A-Lot.

When you eat locally, you consume fresher foods that have maintained their nutritional integrity. Vitamins and other essential nutrients in food degrade with time and exposure to light, heat, and air. Compared to eating food that has traveled 2,000 miles, eating from a local farm provides you with food that has spent less time exposed to the things that compromise its nutritional qualities. In addition, smaller, family owned local farms tend to care more about the quality of the food that they are growing, as opposed to industrial farms that mass-produce and sell as quickly as possible to maximize profits. Now isn’t the cute little family owned farms the type that you would want to support anyway?

In addition to consuming fresher foods and supporting local farming businesses, eating local is significantly better for the environment. Bigger farms often use unsustainable practices, many of which deplete the soil of its nutrients and ruin ecosystems. In addition, the distance traveled from farm to plate is substantially greater when food is purchased from across the country than it is when food comes from within the state. Considering the amount of food Commons purchases for students, faculty, and staff, travel time between farm and plate can have a large effect on our carbon footprint as a school.

Over the years, Commons has taken numerous steps towards incorporating local foods into our dining options. In fact, Bates has maintained close ties with local farms since the early 1990’s. While most schools have been striving to spend even 20% of their dining budget on locally sourced foods, Commons spends 28-32% (depending on the time of year) of our dining budget on food from producers and farms in Maine. Not only are we purchasing locally, but we are selective in our sourcing, buying from suppliers such as GrandyOats in western Maine, which bakes with local and exclusively organic ingredients and is also the first food production facility in New England to fully abandon the use of fossil fuels.

Most local foods in Commons are labeled, so look out for those labels and feel free to ask Commons staff about local foods if you are unsure. In addition, Commons Healthy Eating and Wellness Society will be holding a pumpkin carving contest (pumpkins sourced locally of course) in Commons with great prizes (such as a $50 gift card to Forage) at the end of the month, so be sure to sign up if carving pumpkins is your thing. If carving isn’t your forte, an ongoing Instagram contest gives you the chance to win a $25 Guthrie’s gift card if you post a picture that encompasses what it means to eat local and tag @BatesCHEWS in your caption. The winner of the Instagram contest will be announced at our pumpkin carving event in Commons at the end of the month. Look for our notifications on the Bates Today email for more details. Here is a list of local foods that you can find in Commons (or at the Den):

GrandyOats Granola and Ancient Grains Hot Cereal

Oakhurst Dairy – milk, half & half, and other dairy products

Lepage Bakery – bread baked here in Lewiston

Borealis breads – locally produced, company owned by a Bates alum

Ground beef – 100% from local sources, natural sources including Cold Spring Ranch (owned by a Bates alum), Bubier’s Meats, and Maine Family Farms

Greenwood Orchards — apples and cider

Belanger & Sons — assorted produce

Italian Bakery — Den desserts, some breads

Sam’s Italian  Restaurant — some breads

Mailhot Sausage — breakfast sausage

Summit Springs water — bottled water of choice, recognized by MOFGA

Original Pizza — pizza dough

Gifford’s — ice cream

Maine Root and Cap’n Eli’s — assorted bottled sodas sold at the Den

Voting locally: Why does it matter?

At such a focused time in our lives, I find that it can be very hard to think about the bigger picture: the relationship of the individual to the community, the class to the major, the change to the overall outcome, or the small differences to the wider world. It is so easy to narrow in on the little things, the things that may be tangible in the moment or the immediate effects on our persons. But how much does that really matter? Do the day-to-day things matter more than the overarching, umbrella goals, outcomes, and accomplishments? How do we go about our days, our weeks, even our years without constantly trying to balance out the short-term and the long-term efforts and achievements?

Take voting as a concrete example: how much does checking off a little box matter to the larger community? People say in the presidential election that one vote is not enough to sway the results, especially in our country, where voting is not mandatory. So where does the power of the individual factor into the larger picture?

Part of the answer to that question involves both focusing in on the surroundings and individuals around you, as well as thinking about the community as a whole. It’s hard to grasp the importance of voting at the global level, especially in the case of the presidential election, so focus local. Why does this mayoral election matter to us? Especially as college students, where our residency is so short compared to the permanent community members, why should our votes matter over those that live here year-round and have actually been able to see a visible change in the community?

When I posed this question to mayoral candidate and Bates alum Ben Chin, he answered, “I always think of the Good Samaritan story.” An injured man is lying out on the street and while the people in his close community walk by him expressing concern without moving to help, an individual, who is nothing like the injured man — nor does he know him — stops and helps him up. Why would he do that if there seems to be no individual gain? The answer is that he’s a Good Samaritan. He cares about the people around him, regardless of familiarity.

In our case, as Bates students who cycle through the Lewiston community in four short years, it is very hard to envision the role we have here. But as Ben Chin said, “Ask who your neighbor is,” and “Who are the people you see every day?” We joke about the “Bates Bubble” as a way to justify our lack of experience in the “real world” or a reason for limiting ourselves purely to campus activities, but when we think about the Bates campus, in reality, it is very open. There are no closed gates or fences, and community members can use the facilities at their leisure. Many Bates students are heavily invested in working with the local schools, with Tree Street, at the Trinity Jubilee Soup Kitchen, at Blake Street Towers, etc. So for those of us who ask why would we vote local if we’re only here for four years, one could ask a similar question about the reasons for doing these incredible community engagement activities. Why should we get ourselves involved with places like Tree Street if our four years here will barely make a difference?

Bates students need to realize that we can make a difference, and that we have every right to influence and participate in making a difference. Lewiston is our home for four years, regardless of the legality of the term residency. When we label ourselves proudly as “Batesies” or “Bobcats” or just simply “Bates Students,” we are creating a connection with both the college and the community, as well. But more importantly, as part of this community, we have the power to change and to help push it in a direction that can benefit all.

Ben Chin told us a story of a schizophrenic man he knew named Mel who died in an apartment covered in mold, with watermarks on the walls and with no one to contact. Mel’s body was discovered a few days after his death because no one went in to check on that apartment —not the landlord, not any medical services. No one. Besides the horrific and illegal living situation that Mel faced, the lack of connection he had with the people in this community is heartbreaking.

Although a Bates vote may not necessarily help specific circumstances in a situation like this, we can help to improve the conditions of things like the apartment. Our vote is important in changing the lives of people like Mel. So forget about how important you may be in the wider community and instead think about how your vote can contribute to the heavily needed changes to improve conditions including housing, minimum wage, welfare, and the livelihoods of the people of Lewiston.

Always more to learn: Moving Target pirouettes to Portland

When you think of dance classes, does the image of little girls in frilly, pink tutus twirling around a ballet studio pop into your head? If so, Moving Target is about to open your mind to a whole new world.

The Moving Target program started when the professional dance community of central and southern Maine got frustrated with the lack of access to peer groups that could critique each other’s work. However, to combat this problem in Maine, the professional dance community had its first Choreolab. Carol Dilley, the head of the Dance and Theater department at Bates, defines the Choreolab as “an opportunity for professionals to show work in progress to other working artists and get feedback, something students do all the time but faculty and working artists have less access to.” From this base model, bringing Moving Target to Portland, which was already established in Boston, was able to happen.

Moving Target acts as a way for professional dancers to come take classes with their peers and learn from visiting teachers that come through the area. Each week, a new guest instructor will come to teach a class. Multiple people in the immediate area will be guest teaching, including Bates professors Rachel Boggia and Meredith Lyons, and Colby professor Annie Kloppenberg. Each teacher brings his or her own style, intellect and pizzazz to the program

A project as large as this needs skilled and committed people behind the reigns. Cookie Harrist and Delaney McDonough are the movers and shakers behind this project.

A graduate of Marlboro College class of 2013, Harrist met fellow performer Delaney McDonough, a Colby 2013 alum, at the Bates Dance Festival in 2012. In an interview, Cookie Harrist remarks that she loved performing and dancing all her life. She is attracted to dance because “we all have bodies through which we experience our day to day lives and dance provides [her] the opportunity to subvert, deepen and further enjoy physical experience.”

Staying mostly within the post-modern dance style, Harrist likes to explore “somatic and improvisational practices that anyone could try.” This type of dance is free flowing and easily creates a link between the dancer, the choreography, the music, and the audience. In this style of dance, Harrist remarks dancers “don’t walk into a performance knowing exactly what we are going to say but form the performance experience in real time, using our scores as a jumping off point.” That spontaneity is one of many factors that keeps improvisational dance exciting and fresh.

Harrist and McDonough began collaborating in Denmark, Maine a year after meeting at the Bates Dance Festival, before starting Moving Target in Portland. Harrist remarks that “it seems time that dancers in the greater Portland area have access to high quality contemporary training, akin to how dancers study in New York or San Francisco.” Gathering highly trained dancers and performers together allows for a great level of constructive evolution to take place in the greater Portland dance community.

These two great dancers were also able to show Bates their skills when they substituted for Boggia’s Improvisation class last week. By already showing their work and being involved in the Moving Target community, these two teachers were able to bring that information to the dance students on campus.

Though most of the Bates student population will be unable to take classes at Moving Target, they will not lack for experience. Carol Dilley notes that “the department faculty is part of the professional dance community and we participate in Choreolabs, community performing projects and things like [Moving Target].” So, the professors are learning through this wonderful experience and bringing back that knowledge to their students. Furthermore, Dilley notes, “through [the faculty] the advanced students also find their way to this dance community.” This is a very unique and important step in anyone seriously considering dancing as a career because those few students will get the chance to see how real world dancing and critiquing is done.

Moving Target is a great outlet for professional dancers and a way for the advanced dancer student body to check out the dance world.

Men’s soccer ready for season’s final push

Sophomore David Dick brings the ball under control.  JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Sophomore David Dick brings the ball under control. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Any way you choose to look at it, Bates men’s soccer has improved astronomically this season. Even after Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Connecticut College, the Bobcats hold a 6-3-1 overall record (2-3-1 in the NESCAC). If they can perform as well as they did at the end of last season, when they followed a dreadful, winless first seven games by concluding the year on a 4-3-1 stretch, then Bates will put themselves in an excellent postseason position.

In the goal-scoring department, senior Luis Pereira and junior Peabo Knoth have been leading the Bobcats. The two have combined to score 11 of Bates’ 16 goals, with Pereira netting five and Knoth topping the team with six. Pereira also has tallied an impressive five assists.

Both players attribute the team’s improvement to a unified spirit. Knoth commented, “The major key to improvement this year is a belief that we can win against any team as well as losing individual ego and buying into a collective idea.” Pereira echoed, “The team is doing a lot better because everyone is buying into the system that we imposed and everyone trusts each other on the team. We have not being focusing on individuals but on the team as a whole, and we are treating everyone the same way.”

One area in which Bates’ improvement has been the most pronounced is their defense. Through their first ten games, the Bobcats’ opponents have scored just ten goals, a number that is skewed by the five Wesleyan put in the back of the net in September 26’s 5-0 defeat. Senior goalie Sam Polito has been the team’s unquestioned defensive anchor. Polito is first in the NESCAC with 55 saves, and his teammates are all grateful for his presence in the goalmouth.

“Sam Polito has made excellent saves at big moments such as against Williams in overtime [during Bates’ 2-1 double OT win],” Knoth said. He also credited sophomore PJ DiBenidetto, stating, “PJ has been excellent at center back, he makes a lot of plays that maybe don’t go noticed by spectators but are key to solidifying and organizing a defense.”

The issue that has occasionally plagued Bates is difficulty creating chances to score. During the defeat to Connecticut College, the Bobcats were outshot 15-3. Bates has also been shut out in their NESCAC matchups against Bowdoin and Wesleyan.

“We are working on creating more chances offensively by playing quick and closer to each other, so we have been moving some players around in different positions to try to get quick combinations between the offensive players,” Pereira said. Polito commented, “Offensively, I think we need to get back to the basics. We haven’t provided enough support for our guys up top and that support is going to be crucial as we approach the end of the regular season. If we can add that bit of support there is not telling what we are capable of up top. It’s just a matter of execution at this point.”

With five games remaining, the team is currently tied for sixth in the tightly congested NESCAC standings. According to Pereira, in order for Bates to find their groove in those final games, “We need to focus on the present moment and worry about each day. So if we are practicing, worry about practice. If we are playing, worry about the simple things, passing the ball, tracking a runner, putting in tackles, heading the ball, completing your runs, all of the simple stuff.”

It doesn’t exactly sound simple to the casual fan, but the Bobcats have shown this season that they are capable of executing at a very high level. The final stretch of the regular season begins with an away non-conference game on Wednesday against Curry, followed by three straight crucial NESCAC meetings versus Tufts, Amherst, and Middlebury, and a season-concluding contest against rivals Colby.

Women’s soccer rallies to victory in final minutes

The closing minutes of Saturday’s soccer game for the Bates women were full of suspense and anticipation. Connecticut College thought they had secured a win over the Bobcats, as they were a goal ahead and time was quickly running out.

These Bobcats, however, did not travel all the way to New London, Connecticut for a tough loss. During an intense final few minutes, they used their competitive drive and thirst for victory, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to stun the Camels by a final score of 4-3.

First-year Cassidy McCarns commented, “This was one of the most exciting games I have ever played in. What was most encouraging is that as a unit we were able to come back from being down several goals. We continued to be persistent on the attack up until the last minutes of play and that’s what it took to secure the win.”

Senior Leah Humes had a fantastic game, as she scored the final two goals of the contest, including the crucial game-winner.

Each minute of this game was critical to the ultimate outcome. Connecticut College took an early lead. In the fourth minute, Alex Baltazar scored following a failed clear attempt by Bates. The Camels continued to play with aggression and they struck again in the 14th minute, when Amanda Proulx drilled a free kick into the back of the net from about 18 yards away.

The Bobcats did not let this early deficit phase them. Sophomore Libby Masalsky and first-year Olivia Amdur demonstrated impressive teamwork, as Masalsky perfectly set up Amdur for a goal in the 35th minute.

As the game continued, the 66th minute was a tough one for the Bobcats. The Camels took the lead again when Baltazar scored her second goal of the match to put Connecticut College up 3-2.

With just four minutes left, it looked like the Camels were going to be victorious on their home field. Despite this intense time crunch, Bates staged a dramatic rally to take the match. They tied the match in the 86th minute, when a cross from Amdur set up Humes for a headed goal.

Then came the 88th minute, when Humes and Amdur continued to shine. Amdur delivered another assist to Humes, who volleyed it home to give Bates the 4-3 victory.

According to Amdur, “The game went really well. It was a very exciting win, one that we will most likely use for motivation within our upcoming matches”.

Humes leads the team with five goals thus far on the season. She tallied six shots on Saturday, and two of her three attempts on goal found the back of the net. Amdur is right behind Humes for the team lead, as she has four goals and five assists.

This weekend, the Bobcats will look to use the momentum from their exciting rally to win back-to-back conference games and also match their conference win total of three from last year. The Tufts Jumbos will arrive at noon to challenge these fierce competitors.

Protomartyr’s The Agent Intelect: Embracing death

Joe Casey is just a regular man. At first glance he might appear to be a tollbooth operator, or perhaps manager of a fast-food franchise. He is soft, middle-aged, and schlubby. His parents are dead, his city has crumbled to dust about him and he has nowhere to go but in the ground. Wracked with Catholic guilt, survivor’s guilt, and every other sort of guilt, he is shy, insecure and nervous: he takes his glasses off at concerts so he can’t see the crowd. But within him, there is simmering rage, lessons learned and an iron file baritone voice willing to holler. He is the front man and lead singer of the post-punk outfit Protomartyr, the creative product of a life gone wrong.

The first character we meet is evil incarnate in “The Devil In His Youth.” The song begins with a broody guitar pattern, unassuming, but still dark and stormy. Casey describes for us the Devil: young, locked in his room alone, unwanted, he could be any of us. Everybody joins in as the next shadowy verse is introduced and Casey’s mumbles are tossed about in a vortex of sonic wild. The song stays panicked to the end, the perfect introduction to an album about facing death.

The record reaches a self-destructive climax with “Pontiac 87.” The song is not the most vociferous on the album, but the poison soaked lyrics and nasty tug of war between right and wrong, contained within four minutes, nips at you like a crow snapping at your eyes. The song begins with an inky and echoing bass line tapping along, like a suicidal two-step on the edge of a high-rise. It invokes uncertain movement, the steady push of a shaken crowd on the edge of riot. Casey begins to growl, telling us the story of the Pope’s visit to Detroit in 1987. But there’s no reverence in his voice, only bitterness and bite; he only sees the evil picking at the seams of everyday life.

As the rest of the band joins him in anguished bursts, he sings of “old folks turning brutish” and “money exchanging between hands,” the moments of misplaced humanity, which persist even in the presence of the pontiff. Towards the tail, the guitars crescendo into a hornet’s nest, Casey chants, “There’s no use being sad about it / What’s the point of crying about it?” The bass line shuffles out of view and we’re left feeling bruised, knowing that even as holiness enters a room, wickedness sticks around. But should we pay that wound any mind?

Another standout is the brutish “Dope Cloud.” The track is dragged into movement by a sparse and predator-like guitar riff – each note feels tough but natural, like a boxer’s left-right combo. Between hazy moments of reverb and echo, Casey tells us we are defenseless and fatally vulnerable. He lists possible comforts we might find in life and then counters them with a dismissive ‘That’s not gonna save you, man.”

The Agent Intellect is a tough forty minutes. It is bruising, it is bullying. It disarms you and discourages you. But of course that’s not all. There is tough love ringed at the edges of the wounds it might inflict on you; there are lessons to be learned with each dirty hit. This is a band that wants you to toughen up and know your place, know where you stand in the great mess of it all. Face what’s left of the world with all your might and stay true. That’s all Casey wants for us.

Party like it’s 1738

Admit it, after hearing “Trap Queen” for the first time, you thought the song was terrible. Then a couple listens later you found the lyrics funny. Then all a sudden you were quoting the lyrics in your English essays. Then you heard a second song, probably either “My Way” or “679” and thought ‘wow, who is this guy?’ Then a friend told you, in a moment that you now look back upon as the beginning of your spiritual awakening, that the rapper who birthed these songs goes by the name Fetty Wap, whom you soon came to know as the second coming of Jesus.

When you think about it, none of it really makes any sense. Does he sing or does he rap? Is this part of the new hybrid of rapping and singing at the same time that seems to be popular? Fetty is most definitely not the best rapper and is by no means Adele or Sam Smith. Then again, these days you do not need to be a good singer to be a popular singer. When artists such as Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo are using their albums as vehicles to discuss inequality, maybe Fetty adds his perspective. Yet, Fetty’s lyrics are not going to be winning any awards, besides Most-Likely-to-Use-the-Same-Lines-in-Every-Song-on-an-Album. That’s the thing: no one knows how or why Fetty came to be the first artist since The Beatles (yes, the band that many consider the best band ever) to have their first three singles chart concurrently in the Billboard Top 10.

Fetty lives and dies by the catchiness of his songs, and his songs are ridiculously catchy. It would be pretty hard to find someone on this campus who does not know the chorus to “Trap Queen” or “679,” or someone who does not use Fetty language such as “cooking pies with my baby” in their daily language, or “hey, what’s up, hello” as a pickup line. And who could forget the “yeaaaaaa’s, skwah, Remy Boys” or the “1738” that accompanies every song.

Though it was not until after “679” rose to near “Trap Queen” level status that Fetty’s genius became evident. “Again” is his best song to date with its lyrics asking for reconciliation in a very relatable way. The song is much slower – unfortunately not a party anthem, but it’s definitely a song that Drake could have sung too. The beat is laid back, perfect for late night listening.

Luckily, after “Again,” talks of Fetty being a one hit wonder were squashed. At one point, Fetty held four of the top ten songs on the Billboard Rap Songs Chart. And now we finally have his debut album clocking in at a whopping 20 songs on the deluxe edition. Fetty is great, but an hour and a half of Fetty is admittedly a lot to take in. For the few non-fans out there, the debut album does nothing to convince you of Fetty’s godness. For the many fans out there, the debut album is basically the first four singles dragged out into 20 songs – both a blessing and a curse. There are many good songs on the album to discover. “Rewind” is in the vein of “Again,” a breakup song with hope of reconciliation that has a late night atmosphere to it. The chorus is of course catchy too.

We live in the age of Taylor Swift’s so-called “squad” taking over the world, to a squad of squirrels who are about to “drop the dopest album of 2015.” Luckily for all the squads out there, Fetty Wap made the ultimate squad album. All the features on this album are from people part of Fetty’s squad: Remy Boys. Monty is featured on half of the songs, and M80 gets a song. Not even Drake’s verse on the remix of “My Way” made the cut. Songs like “How We Do Things” and “For My Team” are made for montages of pictures of your squad.

For all the weirdness surrounding the rise of Fetty Wap, the debut album extends the reign of Fetty past the first couple of singles. Who knows if there’s a fifth single ready to become ubiquitous. So, while we wait, let’s all #prayforfetty.

The danger of desensitization

On October 3rd, a hospital managed by the French charity organization Medicins sans Frontieres (M.S.F., or Doctors Without Borders), in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan was hit repeatedly (once about every fifteen minutes) by U.S. airstrikes in an attack that lasted a little over an hour and resulted in the deaths of at least 22 people, including M.S.F. personnel and innocent Afghan civilians, including several children.

The United States was, allegedly, bombing the facility in response to reports from Afghan security forces that Taliban fighters were using the building as a stronghold, a claim later refuted by M.S.F. It also turns out that, despite initial claims by the United States that the civilians involved in the attack were collateral damage, the Afghan defense forces and coalition forces knew about the exact location of the hospital, and supplied specific G.P.S. coordinates to the U.S. military prior to the attack, which occurred at fifteen minute intervals, despite frantic calls to coalition forces from M.S.F. staff at the hospital. Several victims burned to death in their beds.

The International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) includes the following in their definition of war crimes: “intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals.” It’s fairly clear that a war crime was committed in this instance, even if not by the U.S. directly, then by “coalition forces” working closely with the United States and using their military for their objectives. This alone should elicit outrage from reasonable observers, especially a U.S. thinking, observing population whose fiery outrage is triggered by individual murders, fanned, and encouraged by an increasingly hysterical media. But it doesn’t, and it gets worse.

Not only was the Kunduz hospital an important facility for M.S.F. (one which has now been razed by fire, and rendered completely nonoperational), but it was the only medical facility in war-torn northeastern Afghanistan that was capable of handling major traumas. The negative impact on the civilian populace will likely increase.

Despite the horrific implications of this individual atrocity, almost nothing will come of it in the way of consequences. President Obama issued a rare apology to M.S.F.’s International President Dr. Joanne Liu, who said she would seek international war crimes prosecution. That’s probably where it will end.

While a step in the right direction, these prosecution attempts often fall on deaf ears — especially when they lack real enforceability. It is likely that, given the dearth of attention and analysis these types of incidents are given in our mainstream media (striking when compared to the way loss of American life is analyzed), that they will simply continue to occur. More civilians will die, more war crimes will be committed by United States forces, with little in the way of reaction but an “oops” from the federal government, a general air of wincing in the media, and indifferent shrugs from even the sort of people who get up-in-arms about campus shootings and what might be racially motivated police incidents.

This attitude of indifference is severely problematic. Why is it that, even in this new world of social media immediacy, live-action reporting, and humanitarian military operations, foreign lives never matter, least of all Middle-Eastern and West Asian ones? Is it not evidence of profound international racism and a severe, timid hypocrisy that we disregard the moral implications of war crimes committed by our own government? The case could easily be made that these incidents are worse than many of the domestic ones that make us angry. We pay for this stuff. There’s a huge proportion of our tax dollars that goes towards funding these atrocities.

It’s easy to blame this discouraging reality on our media — surely it’s more profitable for CNN to spend weeks analyzing the murder of one kid in Florida, when the situation can be treated like a reality show, and every name-brand pundit and two-bit presidential candidate can be invited on to weigh in and generate revenue for the network. But the reality is that the responsibility for caring about and preventing these atrocities rests primarily with the thinking, caring, and angered citizen, who feels they shouldn’t pay for these war crimes.

Calvin Reedy ’17: Cataloging racial issues through art

Bates students commonly represent a wholesome liberal arts education; Calvin Reedy ’17 truly encompasses that through his work on social justice and the visual arts. Reedy, a Studio Art major concentrated in photography, has been able to infuse his passion for change into his impactful photography. Reedy describes his work with the camera as his way of impacting perspectives on race within the Bates community. “It’s important to me to photograph people of color because by doing that I am able to make those minimal changes in the media,” Reedy said. This issue of racism is a particularly important message Reedy tries convey in every piece.

Although difficult to decide, he described his favorite project as “a visual representation of the lives of black students at Bates.” Titled “Black Face, White Space” Reedy captured the portraits of twenty black Bates students in front of a white background. The photographs acted as a reminder to the viewer of what it was like for students of color to be surrounded by whiteness, a very real yet unrecognized concern. This collection of photos was displayed last year in the Library Arcade. People Reedy had never met approached him to express their gratitude toward the photos. “These types of conversations with people, whether they be a stranger or a friend, are the most satisfying to an artist.” It is important that people discuss the work to start a universal conversation about race. While statistics, tweets, marches, and articles can bolster and enliven movements, art brings in the endurance. Art makes injustice a song that gets stuck in your head; art makes murals out of obituaries, and hope out of statistics.

This work was displayed while the Black Lives Matter movement was just taking off. Reedy comments that he was actually quite disappointed by the lack of attention that Bates Students paid to the issue. “Just because we are at Bates, a small community, that doesn’t excuse us from these issues.” While in small environments in rural towns like Bates, it might feel like those movements, protests and sit-ins, are far away from us; however, these issues are just as evident here at Bates. It is art like Reedy’s that remind Bates students of these very real questions that need to be talked about.

Reedy uses photography in particular to help him capture the reality of his passionate concerns. “I grew up with a camera. At the age of five, learned how a camera worked and got good at it.” Reedy talks about how his liberal arts education here at Bates has been the motivation to capture these moments on his camera. While also taking a wide variety of classes he has allowed himself to see the different elevations of race. He says classes like “psychology teach me about how race is perceived internally and to the individual.” Conversely, a class like White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History discusses the issue as a social movement portrayed through the media.

It is through the visual arts he is able to express his passion for these topics. Reedy says he knew he wanted to take art classes coming into Bates. After enrolling in a ceramics class first semester, he knew the art department was where he wanted to be. “My [college] experience would not have been as full, without the arts.”

It is through Reedy’s incredible art he is able to start a conversation here at Bates, and for that we are all thankful. Movements like Black Lives Matter, still exist and still deserve to be recognized. This conversation has not ended nor will it be going anywhere any time soon. “To some, my work may be speaking directly to the Black Lives Matter movement through its emphasis on humanizing black bodies; however, I think the way black artists continue to give to the Black Lives Matter movement is by sharing their individual voices in order to bring power and understanding to a united goal — no one person is the same or should be judged as such.” Art acts as a beautiful medium to voice the thousands of opinions; it is through the visual world that messages are able to touch thousands of minds. Artists like Reedy are helping to make that change here at Bates.

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