The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: September 2017 (Page 1 of 5)

Lost in the Void of Social Media?

The universe is vast, to say the least. It contains innumerable textures, substances, and possibilities that extend beyond any human imagination. Vastness in this sense is difficult to comprehend, and most people don’t spend a lot of time speculating about the contents of the universe for this very reason. But, when it comes to the universe, humans tend to normalize its extraordinary breadth, and its associated complexity.

With social media, I think its users respond a little differently. But I wonder, why? A book called The Internet Does Not Exist remarks aptly that the Internet has no shape or face, and therefore it doesn’t exist. The contributors of the book go further to discuss the nature of the Internet – it’s not a whole bunch of windows that help us to peer into the world for more information, but it’s actually made of mirrors that force us to confront ourselves (and in this case, we are the world itself).

What’s profoundly complicated about these planetary networks, though, is exactly as the book describes – they have become places of “confusion and dislocation.” When we’re on the Internet, “we know from the start that we probably won’t find what we’re looking for, so we learn to search sporadically and asymmetrically just to see where we end up.” Anybody ever been down a rabbit hole on Instagram, tapping through content without much of a thought about what you’re looking at or how you’re feeling about it?

The most salient part of the book to me, which I have to share in full with you all here, is that “this might look and feel like drifting, and traditional or conservative notions of substance will always try to dismiss its noise, its cat videos and porn, bad techno and bombastic contemporary art, but one should be careful not to underestimate the massive distances being crossed in the meantime.”

So, when we’re scrolling down our feeds, how conscious are we to the messages we’re consuming in the meantime? What are the impacts of moving from one distant point in social cyberspace to another one? Honestly, sometimes this space travel is great–it’s entertaining, it’s a time-filler, and it can bring us to pleasantly surprising places. For example, sometimes I’ll absent-mindedly travel from one Instagram or SoundCloud profile to another, and find mind-blowing artists and visionaries who open my mind to the diverse communities that exist within these digital realms. But, other times, even when I feel like I’m benefiting overall from my “drifting,” I know that I’m digesting information in the process.

What information? Well, just think about it. First, the obvious — explicit advertisements. How many people listened to Lizzo’s “Phone” because it was advertised all over Instagram? I did. There are so many products that marketers slide into our feeds in ways that we might not first detect.

But, let’s say we can. Less detectable messages that we might receive while scrolling are from celebrities. Flat Tummy Tea? Everyone was advertising that product, and now the company has hundreds of thousands of followers. Even less explicit marketing strategies are the ways that (especially young) celebrities use their platforms to sell their music, and to cultivate a saleable aesthetic for their huge online fanbases. Cardi B is doing that, and people are buying it. But lastly, some of the least obvious subliminal messaging that goes on in digital spaces while we’re drifting is messages about our own self-worth.

Negotiating social media use and continuing to care for ourselves is frankly something not many people speak about. But, if we don’t stay conscious, the most vulnerable amongst us will internalize harmful messages about ourselves while we cross huge, seemingly benign distances in digital space.

Bobcats get shutout in home opener

Bates football continues to struggle. The Trinity College Bantams came in on Saturday, September 22nd and ruined their home opener during “Back to Bates” weekend. The undefeated Bantams, and defending NESCAC champions, went on to 2-0 and continue their undefeated streak to 11 games dating back to 2015. Bates fell to 0-2 with the loss.

Trinity started a game with a 52-yard drive that lasted 11 plays which ended up in a 22-yard field goal by their kicker Eric Sachse to make it 3-0. Disaster would strike the Bobcats early. At their own 15 on their third play of their first drive, quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19 was hit as he threw the ball that landed right in the hands of a Trinity defender. He returned it for a pick-six which put the Bantams up 10-0. After going three-and-out on their next possession, Bates punted, which was then returned 51-yards all the way to Bates territory to the 16. The Bantams’ first offensive play of the drive was a rushing touchdown by Max Chipouras to make it 17-0 with 8:54 in the first quarter. The sloppy play by Bates continued on their next drive, fumbling the ball and giving it back to Trinity at the Bates 15. This led to another Bantam touchdown as their quarterback Sonny Puzzo found his receiver Cliff David open in the middle of the field to push the lead to 24-0 with 6:04 left in the first. Bates appeared to wake up as Jaason Lopez ‘21 had a dazzling 63-yard kickoff return all the way to Trinity’s 32. But the Bobcats became stagnant and turned the ball over on downs at Trinity’s 30. Trinity did not slow down, driving 70 yards on nine plays to make the score 31-0 capped off by a Puzzo 17-yard pass to Jonathan Girard.

The second quarter was not any better. Trinity opened up with two back-to-back scoring drives. The first drive was 61-yards with Puzzo hitting Joe Samuelman for a 31-yard passing touchdown to make it 38-0 halfway through the second. The second of the back-to-back came on a 3 play 63-yard drive capped off by another Puzzo touchdown pass, this time to Dakota Foster to push the lead to 45-0 at the half. Bates’ offense showed little rhythm, generated only 24 yards of offense in the 2nd quarter.

The second half was not as much of an onslaught as the Bantams used different pieces throughout the second half, only scoring one touchdown which came in the fourth. The Bates defense held up and did not allow a single point for the rest of the game. Matt Golden ‘20 took over for the injured Plashkes. While the offense never truly got going, Golden was able to create some type of rhythm, rushing for 66 yards and earning four first downs in two drives. Trinity would score on the final play of the game, a screen pass from new quarterback substitute Brad Whitman to Matt Laporta for a 9-yard touchdown.

Despite the defense’s poor play, Bates defensive back Coy Candelario ‘19 recorded a game and career high 12 tackles including nine solo tackles. Conner Suraci ‘20 also had an active day, recording a career-high nine tackles. Even though the offense did not put up any points, Peter Boyer ’19 led the team in rushing with 48 yards and Tyler Baum’19, making his first start at slotback, caught three passes for 32 yards.

The Bobcats will look to end their losing streak at home, where they will host Tufts next Saturday September 30th.

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Corey Harris: Blues and Social Justice on Stage

Over Back to Bates Weekend, there was a flurry of activity. A tent of beer, a homecoming game, a petting zoo, dance concerts, an a cappella concert, and improvisational comedy were all on display as students and families meandered around campus. On Sunday, just as some of the chaos was clearing, Corey Harris ’91 performed in the air-conditioned Olin Concert Hall.

Opening with some general announcements, Alan Carr welcomed us to Olin and Georgia Nigro of the Psychology department highlighted that the Watson fellowship program is celebrating its 50th year of student work this spring.

Corey Harris was a presence on stage. An accomplished performer, Harris has authored several books and published numerous albums, most recently Live from Turtle Island (2015). Both a Watson Scholar and MacArthur grantee, Harris is not only musically gifted but socially active. Because of Harris’ experience with the Fellowship, the performance was not only a celebration of his work but also an homage to the Watson Fellowship. As he calmly ambled onstage in khaki pants and a blue plaid button-down shirt, I started to think he would just play a few songs and make some small talk in between pieces. Boy, was I wrong.

As he took the stage, Harris himself had several announcements. First, he clarified that the jewelry for sale by the ticket desk was made by his wife. Then, he started into what would become many anecdotes describing his connection to each song.

One story he told related to a certain US government employee who got in trouble with the government when he spoke up about NSA surveillance conducted in secret; this mystery man was said to be in a Russian airport, thus revealing his identity: Edward Snowden. Harris went on to highlight how much big data is out there about each internet-using individual. After shopping for socks, he laughed at how frequently socks and related items appeared in advertisements on his Google search. This vignette wound down into a song called “Watching You” aptly related to government surveillance of us, and the idea of “Big Brother” out there, watching every move you make.

Another anecdote Harris shared related to an oral story he had learned of an ancestor, Uncle Wayne. During the Reconstruction period of American History, just as Jim Crow laws were coming about, Uncle Wayne (a black man) was working for his white boss. A carpenter, Uncle Wayne requested payment for his carpentry work at the end of one day’s work. His boss refused, but Uncle Wayne was not going to let his boss get away with this. Both men got angry, and Uncle Wayne did not back down. According to Harris, the boss then organized some of his friends and lynched Uncle Wayne. Stunned, the audience sat in silence as the calm but shocking words floated out of Harris’ melodic mouth. After uttering the final fate of Uncle Wayne, Harris launched into “Lynch Blues,” a song about that time period and experience.

Through these vignettes of personal history and political context, I was able to tune into particular lyrics that discussed the central themes of Harris’ work. Thus, Harris was able to transform the experience of being an audience member from a role of passive absorption to the job of active information processor. I do not identify as someone who enjoys the genre of blues or any combination of blues and other styles, but Harris’ expert method of introducing a reason to invest in the music kept me in my seat, attentively listening to his work.

As I looked around at the end of the concert, I noticed the audience’s make-up: mostly faculty, staff, and Lewiston community members, with maybe 15 students in attendance.  Regardless of age, all members of the audience were smiling and bopping along to the music, and nodding in acknowledgement during Harris’ short stories.

Though a performer like Corey Harris is hard to find, I hope that Bates continues to host performers that bring not only music, but intelligent reflection to our community; art is often a voice of dissent, and I look forward to seeing what new voices Bates brings into our lives.

Arrival of Assistant Coach Jacob Ellis Marks Start of New Era for Men’s Track and Field

Ellis, a three-time All-American in the 800 meter, comes to Bates from southern Vermont. He ran cross country and track and field for Bowdoin College for four years and coached for a boarding school in Bath, Maine after graduating in 2016.

“By my junior year of college, I had a feeling I would want to coach cross country and track and field for a college team,” Ellis says. “Last spring, I just found out through the grapevine that a position opened up at Bates and because I already knew the coaches and athletes from previous competitions that we were at together it seemed like a good fit.”

“Jacob came to our attention pretty early in the process,” Fereshetian remembers. “As I narrowed my pool of applicants down, based upon individual statements of coaching philosophy and mock programs, the pool got stronger, but so did Jacob’s qualifications.”

Having run since he was eight years old, and having competed at the NCAA meet numerous times throughout his college career, Ellis is a highly esteemed athlete, but more importantly, genuinely loves the sport. While he definitely knows that this year will be a “year of experimentation,” he can already tell that there is a huge desire for the men on the team to be the best that they can be and is excited to channel this energy during the fall, winter,_DSC7123 _DSC7276 _DSC7295 spring, and moving forward.

“I know that I have always done the best, and my friends and teammates have always been the most successful just when they are excited to come to practice, have fun, are working with their friends and pushing each other to be the best in a really positive, low stress way,” Ellis says. “Some people really thrive on the pressure. I was one of those athletes and I know that some of my best friends, who were equally as strong competitors, really flourished when there was no stress and no expectation. They just went out there and had some fun. I think trying to get to know the athletes here will be key.”

A huge part of Ellis’ job as an assistant coach will be to work closely with Coach Fereshetian during cross country and then translate the strengths and weaknesses that he sees and fine-tune them into some pretty strong performances on the track. While Ellis is very close in age to some of the athletes, some of which he even overlapped with as a competitor, everybody on the team respects him and is excited to see what they are going to be able to accomplish together.

“Jacob is going to be tremendously involved with everything that our team is doing. The athletes that are on the team, that are aware of him, or have had a chance to see him run or compete, know exactly the quality of individual that we have,” Fereshetian says. “It is fun to watch Jacob engage with the athletes because they are responding very well to him.”

In fact, Coach Fereshetian and his athletes were even able to celebrate with him after they broke the school record for the distance medley relay, with a time of 9:49.74, on February 11th, 2017 at Boston University.

“We are huddled, we are celebrating, we are talking about all those race kind of things, and Jacob Ellis comes running over and jumps in the middle of our huddle. He was genuinely very happy for us,” Fereshetian remembers. “There wasn’t even any thought of a coaching position at that point. He is just a fan of the sport and loves to see excellence. Those are qualities that I want to see in a coach.”

 

Women’s soccer comes out ahead of Wesleyan, ties with Williams

The Bobcats are off to an outstanding start this season after posting a 1-0 win over Wesleyan University and a 1-1 tie against No. 4 nationally ranked Williams College this past weekend.

As of now, their record stands at 4-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the NESCAC, ranking them at fourth within the conference. This is the best overall start that the women’s soccer team has seen in over a decade.

At Wesleyan on Saturday September 22nd, Bates came out on top in an aggressive match. Throughout the game, the Cardinals posted 32 shots overall in comparison to Bates’ 10. However, the quantity of shots has little meaning if none of them make their way into the goal.

The Cardinals fired the ball at the goal 17 times, and goalie Sarah McCarthy ‘18 refused to let even a single one slip through, setting a new personal record.

“Wesleyan was a tough game,” said McCarthy. “They were physical and played “kick and run,” so it took us a while to adjust and be able to play our game. Throughout the game I was just thinking that I wanted to keep us in the game and allow my teammates to have an opportunity to have a meaningful goal.”

In contrast, the Bobcats only shot three times on goal. It only took one of these to slip past Wesleyan’s goalie for Bates to secure the win.

With nine minutes left on the clock, Olivia Amdur ‘19 successfully executed a corner kick to Caroline Bogue ‘21, who was then able to score the game-winning goal.

Bates challenged Williams’ undefeated record on Sunday, coming out of it with Bates’ first point against Williams in a conference game since 2010. As of Sunday, Williams had won five NESCAC conference games.

In this game, Bates played hard during the first period. Amur scored the first goal of the game early in the first period. However, Williams was able to come back with a goal shortly after the start of the second period. Bates and Williams battled it out for the rest of the second period and the two overtime periods to no avail, ending the match in a tie.

“Saturday was great,” McCarthy said. “Williams is always a tough opponent. We had never scored on them in my career, so we made it our goal to score, and when we accomplished that, it was a great feeling. Every minute of the game was intense, both physically and mentally demanding. I’m extremely proud in the way my teammates maintained their composure and played as a unit.”

Similarly, head coach Kelsy Ross expressed her positivity for Bates’ strong performance this weekend.

“Coming home with points against Williams was important, as it will be a helpful, potential tiebreaker before playoffs,” said Ross. “It also shows you how competitive this conference really is.”

“Our success this past weekend was truly earned throughout our training last week,” she continued. “Our staff pushed the whole roster to ‘be better’ and they rose to the challenge. If we continue to train as hard as we have been, there are plenty of more successes to come this fall.”

The Bobcats are set to play against Thomas College on Wednesday evening in Waterville. This Saturday, Bates is hoping to further their conference record in a game against Trinity College, held at Russell Street Field.

Back to Bates Dance Concert

This past Saturday and Sunday, Schaeffer Theatre was packed with Bates parents, students, and graduates eager to see performances at the Back to Bates Dance Concert. The show is the first dance and theater production of the year, marking the opening of another academic year for the arts at Bates. The show counted with the participation of students, alumni, and professional performers. According to Johanna Hayes ’19, one of the primordial goals of this dance concert was to depict the dance community at our college. “There is such a wide range of dance artists with all sorts of experience. We as a community want to keep growing this diversity and we’re happy that the Back to Bates Concert is such an open and inclusive showing for anyone that wants to present work,” Hayes said. The concert consisted of a number of different performances including independent studies, club performances, solos, duets, and the yearly first year dance performance as well.

The show as a whole had a fast pace. Performers had two and a half weeks to rehearse. Claire Sickinger ’19 mentioned that despite the challenge time posed, it was impressive to see all pieces coming together so well. Sickinger choreographed and performed a solo Accumulation Study I with an incredible use of motif and repetition. “I was thankful to be expressing myself and to be showing people what I was working on and how excited I was about the academic exploration that went into it. At that moment, I realized how much my confidence has grown since entering the dance program at Bates,” mentioned Sickinger.

One of the biggest advantages of the Back to Bates Dance Concert is the variety of performances that appear in the show. In some ways, it connects students through their common academic interest. In an exchange of emails, Hayes told me that it was fascinating to work with Flannery Black-Ingersoll ’19. “She is a dear friend and a brilliant mind that I am constantly inspired and stimulated by in the creation process.” Hayes and Black-Ingersoll performed One Left, a brilliantly arranged duet about one’s last day on Earth. “We all want great food, great love, sense of self, people to share with, and abandonment of fears,” Hayes explained. The piece had layers of movement, sound and voiceover – emotional responses were inevitable. Having support and people to collaborate with are two fundamental aspects of the arts at Bates, constantly being expanded and sought after.

It was incredible to see various motifs, choreographic styles, musical accompaniment, multimedia choices, and performers. Schaeffer welcomed first-years, returning students, and their families in a great hub of exchange. From the intense Breath Studies by Chaesong Kim ’18 and Divyamaan Sahoo ’17 to the first-year performance My People to Go to, the Back to Bates Dance Concert invites students to engage fully in the liberal arts and explore. This first concert of the year leaves us craving for more, eager to see more from Bates Dance as the year unfolds.

            

Bates Goes for Sustainability Gold

Over the summer, Bates was upgraded to a Gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization that reviews the environmental impact of colleges. The rating is the second highest that the association gives, and places Bates ahead of most of the rest of the NESCAC. This new rating represents culmination of several years of work to lower Bates’ environmental footprint.

AASHE uses a wide array of indicators to create a rating for a school: ranging from carbon emissions to student involvement in environmental work. While sustainability has long been an important part of Bates’ culture, the school had never previously sent in the paperwork to receive a rating. According to Sustainability Manager Tom Twist, this meant that Bates was largely going unrecognized for its efforts.

“The fact that we had never submitted anything before means that we were on nobody’s radar as far as sustainability”, said Twist.

While the process of gathering the necessary data took over a year and half, taken together the statistics revealed a far more promising picture than Twist was expecting.

“My goal initially was just to not have the worst ranking. I thought that bronze would be embarrassing. But what we discovered by doing this report is that Bates is implementing all kinds of interesting sustainability measures.”

Several initiatives, led by students, staff and the administration, over the last few years have helped to make an AASHE Gold rating possible. One of the most significant, according to Twist, is a campus wide switch to a more sustainable, tree-based heating oil. The oil is not only creates fewer emissions than traditional clean fuels like natural gas but is also rather cheap. The result has been a “nosedive” in campus emissions.

Overall, Bates has reduced its carbon emissions by about seventy percent since 2001. The school is now on pace to meet its long term goal of being an entirely carbon neutral institution.

Just as exciting for Twist as the carbon decrease itself is the amount of student engagement that has helped make it possible. Student groups like the EcoReps have played a large role in cutting emissions, whether by lending students bikes to commute with or helping to facilitate the removal of paper cups from Commons.

Because college ranking services like the Princeton Review publishes AASHE ratings, Twist believes that a Gold rating will help Bates continue to attract applicants interested in sustainability.

“About of two thirds of incoming [college] students are interested in sustainability. For about a quarter of students coming in, sustainability is a major factor for them. So, if a school isn’t talking about sustainability, they’re not interested,” said Twist.

Only two schools, Stanford and Colorado College, have received AASHE’s highest rating, Platinum. Fewer than one hundred and thirty schools across the United States and Canada are Gold rated. Within the NESCAC, only Colby and Middlebury have also achieved Gold.

While Bates’ new rating represents culmination of several years of work, there is still much to accomplish. Ultimately, the goal for the school is to reduce its carbon output to zero, and several new initiatives to help make this goal a reality are already in the works.

Over the summer, Bates was upgraded to a Gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), an organization that reviews the environmental impact of colleges. The rating is the second highest that the association gives, and places Bates ahead of most of the rest of the NESCAC. This new rating represents culmination of several years of work to lower Bates’ environmental footprint.

AASHE uses a wide array of indicators to create a rating for a school: ranging from carbon emissions to student involvement in environmental work. While sustainability has long been an important part of Bates’ culture, the school had never previously sent in the paperwork to receive a rating. According to Sustainability Manager Tom Twist, this meant that Bates was largely going unrecognized for its efforts.

“The fact that we had never submitted anything before means that we were on nobody’s radar as far as sustainability” said Twist.

While the process of gathering the necessary data took over a year and half, taken together the statistics revealed a far more promising picture than Twist was expecting.

“My goal initially was just to not have the worst ranking. I thought that bronze would be embarrassing. But what we discovered by doing this report is that Bates is implementing all kinds of interesting sustainability measures.”

Several initiatives, led by students, staff and the administration, over the last few years have helped to make an AASHE Gold rating possible. One of the most significant, according to Twist, is a campus wide switch to a more sustainable, tree-based heating oil. The oil is not only creates fewer emissions than traditional clean fuels like natural gas but is also rather cheap. The result has been a “nosedive” in campus emissions.

Overall, Bates has reduced its carbon emissions by about seventy percent since 2001. The school is now on pace to meet its long term goal of being an entirely carbon neutral institution.

Just as exciting for Twist as the carbon decrease itself is the amount of student engagement that has helped make it possible. Student groups like the EcoReps have played a large role in cutting emissions, whether by lending students bikes to commute with or helping to facilitate the removal of paper cups from Commons.

Because college ranking services like the Princeton Review publishes AASHE ratings, Twist believes that a Gold rating will help Bates continue to attract applicants interested in sustainability.

“About of two thirds of incoming [college] students are interested in sustainability. For about a quarter of students coming in, sustainability is a major factor for them. So, if a school isn’t talking about sustainability, they’re not interested,” said Twist.

Only two schools, Stanford and Colorado College, have received AASHE’s highest rating, Platinum. Fewer than one hundred and thirty schools across the United States and Canada are Gold rated. Within the NESCAC, only Colby and Middlebury have also achieved Gold.

While Bates’ new rating represents culmination of several years of work, there is still much to accomplish. Ultimately, the goal for the school is to reduce its carbon output to zero, and several new initiatives to help make this goal a reality are already in the works.

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The environment is changing fast, but Bates is adapting faster. MATT MORRIS/THE BATES STUDENT

Forage Market: The Best Bagel In Lewiston

It was a warm and humid day as I walked towards Forage Market, but nothing could dampen my resolve to get The Cure. Yes it was the day after 80s dance, and yes I was tired, but nothing would stand between me and my breakfast sandwich.

For those of you who don’t know, Forage Market, aka Forage, is a nationally-renown bagel and coffee shop that specializes in local artisan products. Popular with Bates students, the Lisbon Street staple has been touted in Saveur as one of America’s best bagels, though it also serves local cheese, milk, maple syrup, and vegetables.

As I walk in the shop, I am overwhelmed with familiar faces and the heavenly smell of fresh everything bagels. I wait in line, my turn ever so far away, and I notice the shop is full of Batesies and Lewiston residents alike; many patrons are on their computers finishing work and sending emails. As I slowly make my way to the front of the line, I order my dream: The Cure on an everything bagel.

The Cure breakfast sandwich consists of a sunny-side up egg, herb aioli, greens, a tomato slice, brie cheese, and prosciutto on your choice of bagel. For those of you that know cheese, you know that the Forage brie is delightfully creamy, usually imported from France. As for the aioli, I couldn’t tell you what herbs are used but I can tell you that they are perfection in a bite. In sum, The Cure is my way of treating myself, Tom Haverford style.

After I place my order, a nervous grimace overcomes the barista; they are sold out of everything bagels! Rattled but not disheartened, I order the next best thing: a garlic bagel. My friend orders a Squealer with sausage on a garlic bagel, and we find a seat.

Because Forage is bustling with activity, we have to combine one “vintage” chair with our thrift-shop table, creating our own eclectic dining environment. I go grab two jars of water, and I think to myself, “why do we need jars for our water?”  This question goes unanswered; perhaps another visit to bagel heaven will enlighten me as to the superiority of repurposed glass containers over regular cups.

After a few minutes of drooling over our neighbors’ savory breakfast plates, my bagel arrives, cheese half-melted, bagel perfectly toasted and filled with deliciousness.  I attempt to take my first bite, but of course the food skyscraper makes doing so quite challenging. Luckily, the smart breakfast engineers in the kitchen have outfitted my sandwich with a toothpick to hold the innards in place. With both hands attempting to hold the sandwich from collapsing, I take my first bite.

Pure bliss follows; I enjoy the gooey melted brie comingling with the aioli and garlic, and the salty prosciutto keeps my tongue energized. As I lift my bagel from my face, I notice my friend is in the same state of rapture with his bagel. Neither one of us talks. Our bagels quickly disappear.

As we descend from bagel heaven down to earth’s reality, I start to notice the sounds of the café once more; I didn’t realize I had tuned them out while I was eating. I sheepishly wipe the cheese from my plate, hoping to get every last taste of the heavenly brie. My friend turns to me and smiles. We must go here again.

Some might say that going to Forage on a weekend morning is a cliché; to these people, I say that clichés always exist for a reason. Forage’s delicious bagels and quirky, hipster atmosphere completely justify the 20 minute walk or 5 minute drive, and I strongly suggest that you visit this bagel haven before your time at Bates is over.

As Rakhine Burns, World Powers Refuse to Acknowledge the Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar

Nasima Khatun, 60, lives in a shelter camp near Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Along with her daughters, she endured a life-threatening journey to flee religious persecution in Myanmar. A few weeks back, Myanma military took control of her village and started firing in all directions. She lost her husband, land, house, and community. She is not alone.

Every day, Al Jazeera (the source of Nasima’s story) publishes gut wrenching tales of Rohingya Muslims fleeing terror unleashed by Burmese forces. The United Nations reports that over 87,000 members of the persecuted Muslim community have crossed into Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25.

In this glorious age of “human rights” diplomacy, major world powers have not only refused to take moral responsibility, but have also refrained from directly condemning Myanmar’s oppressive regime.

Reported by Reuters on September 18, 2017 by the publication’s staff, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the UN Secretary-General that China supports efforts by Myanmar to protect its national security. Myanmar’s other neighbour, India, is indirectly blaming Rohingyas for the ongoing crisis. Wire, a left-leaning publication in India, published Devirupa Mitra’s article on September 19, 2017 stating India’s representative to the UN claimed that violence was “triggered” by “terrorist attacks which led to the loss of lives amongst the security forces as well as the civilian population.”

Furthermore, instead of taking in more refugees, India’s Hindu nationalist government has openly supported the deportation of Muslim refugees. Even the world’s self-proclaimed human rights activist, the United States, has careful worded its statements to not offend Myanma interests. Dhaka Tribune, a national newspaper in Bangladesh, outlined on September 19, 2017 that the U.S. will simply provide humanitarian aid to Bangladesh, and will not put direct pressure on the Myanma junta.

So, why is the international community always apathetic to the cause of persecuted minorities? Why do great powers that love proclaiming their prowess to the world suddenly become shamefully silent? Why have we always failed to prevent ethnic cleansing? The answer is simple, yet scary. In a world where diplomacy abides to the sacred principle of national interest, countries often have very little to gain from fighting for persecuted minorities. For instance, why would rising powers like China and India offend a vital neighbour like Myanmar and push it away from their sphere of influence?

Domestically, refugees have always been a contentious political issue. In the short-run, they induce an additional economic burden, increase the prospects of law and order problems, and disturb the ethnic makeup of a country. Why would a poor country like Bangladesh ever risk overstretching itself?

Our analysis yields a gloomy conclusion. It is absolutely naïve to expect the international community to act. As long as countries prioritize interests over people, persecuted minorities will not have their voices heard. They will be trampled, and quickly forgotten. This is unfortunately the sad reality we have to grapple with.

When I first started writing this article, I hoped to give my readers a solution, an optimistic outlook. However, as I identified the cause of our apathy, I realised that I would be lying to myself if I gave you one.

Men’s soccer falls to Wesleyan, ties Williams

After an insanely successful start to the season, the men’s varsity team set off on a road trip this past weekend (Saturday September 23rd and Sunday Saturday September 24th) to face Wesleyan University and WIlliams College. Hoping to extend their winning streak, the Bobcats set off to Wesleyan on Saturday.

Trying to meet some of their season goals, Coach Stewart Flaherty noted that “a long road trip serves as an excellent opportunity to spend quality time together”. This weekend was successful for the sophomores, because despite the loss, both Antonio Heredia ‘20 and Peder Bakken ‘20 had personal bests, scoring the first and second goals of their careers respectively. Wesleyan got up on the board first with a well-placed cross and a nice finish in the 16th minute of the game. Determined to even out the game, the Bobcats put in some hard work, and tied it up in a pretty celebratory fashion in the 36th minute. Heredia scored Bates’ first goal with a drive down center and a beautiful strike from 20 yards out. However, the game was not without mistakes, and in a frenzied attempt to get the ball out of a dangerous zone, Bates scored an own-goal in the 43rd minute, putting the Cardinals up 2-1. Frustrated, but focused, the ‘Cats matched up the score with a strategic goal shot by Bakken and assisted by Morgan Dewdney ‘19. A free kick provided the opportunity for Dewdney to place a great ball for Bakken, who, with a volley, found the net. This marked Bakken’s first goal of the season, and second of his career.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to keep the Cardinals at bay, with a goal landing in the 83rd minute, bringing Wesleyan up 3-1, and another goal at nearly the 90th minute, sealing the Bobcats’ fate. Although the team walked away with a loss, there were several great plays, and they found elements of which they can improve going forward.

“So far it has been nice to see the number of quality attacks we have put together, and if we had a sharper edge, we could have had more than the eight goals scored during the previous three games. It’s also pleasing to have six different players having all found the net so early in the season” said Coach Flaherty.

Building on that loss, the Bobcats went into Sunday’s game versus Williams fired up and ready to win. They knew it was going to be a tough game, as Williams is known for being a strong team, finishing third in the conference last year.

Bates got off to a striking start with star Nate Merchant ‘18 scoring just after the start in the fourth minute. A corner kick served up by Ben Lyons ‘19 was snatched by Captain PJ DiBenedetto ‘18 and after a misstep by a Williams defender, Merchant found the net with a one touch by the back post. The Eph’s fought hard to tie up the score, but the Bobcats put on a beautiful defensive game.

Nevertheless, Williams played well off a corner kick and got up on the board in the 16th minute. The rest of the game was an exhaustive defensive struggle. A highlight was definitely Robbie Montanaro ‘19’s goalkeeping as he recorded seven saves.

Bates almost walked away with a win in overtime: after only 34 seconds of play, Eric Opoku ‘20 had a strong shot on goal that was barely saved by the Williams keeper. The Bates defense showed tremendous resilience, and fended off the Ephs to walk away with a tie game.

“This is a great group of guys and we worked really hard this weekend” said keeper Owen Lindenfeldar ‘20 upon return. “Not the results we were looking for necessarily, but we have a great foundation to continue building on. I’m excited for what’s to come and I think the fans should be as well.”

The Bobcats face off against Trinity this Saturday September 30th at 2:00 p.m., back on home turf at Russell Field.

 

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