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The Maastricht Diplomat

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A Week to Remember

An interesting week: filled with both old and new fears. However, this week ends with a day of hope as across the world people are taking to the streets to promote women’s rights and highlight the many issues that still plague our societies today. Some asking where the urgency is for fighting the disease that is the patriarchy.

Our week starts in the US, with former Vice President Joe Biden reclaiming the lead of the democratic pack after Super Tuesday. Securing, as of today, 664 out of the 1991 delegates required to win the nomination to run for president at the democratic national convention in July of this year. Closely following, Senator Bernie Sanders has 573 delegates declared for him thus far.  Making it a close two-man race. Irrespective of which one wins, this leaves Trump as the youngest old white man in the race, who has a chance of winning the Presidency in November.

 This week we have also seen the Covid-19, aka the novel coronavirus, take the world by storm, or more realistically by plane. Johns Hopkins reporting (as of 08/03/2020) 107,352 cases confirmed, 3,646 deaths confirmed, and 60,558 recoveries confirmed.  China, specifically Hubei Province, still bearing the brunt of the cases with some 80,000 cases. South Korea, Iran, and Italy being the largest outbreaks outside of China with 7,313, 6,566, and 5,883 respectively.  The media hysteria has been disproportional to the immediate danger and severity of the virus.  However, concern for its potential is serious. When compared to influenza, a very contagious virus, little is known of the full extent of Covid-19. The unknowns and the fact that the global population of humans have no immunity to this virus means that experts are unsure how far and how many people will be infected. The real concern is for people with auto-immune issues and the elderly. This doesn’t mean that we must panic. Just make sure to practice good hygiene and if you are showing symptoms to self-isolate in order to curb the spread. Maastricht University publishes updates on their website and Instagram regularly, so keeping up with the developments is easy.

A renewed flow of migrants over the Aegean Turkish border had given many EU politicians flash backs of the 2015 migration crisis.  Yet, the number of migrants remains relatively low. The real issue is the concentration of migrants in Greece with many being processed and kept in poor conditions. Additionally, the behaviour of the Greek border guard has been heavily criticised by human rights advocates. On top of which a flare up in far-right attacks of refugees and volunteers alike. This can be directly attributed to a lack of action since the 2015 crisis by the EU member states to redesign the asylum process and acting to distribute these people across the EU proportionately. This lack of collective EU action will only allow the situation to deteriorate as fighting in norther Syria intensifies. This is only the beginning of a very serious situation developing in the Eastern Mediterranean. This place increasing pressure on the Central and Western migration routes.  The Central route is not only the deadliest crossing, it’s also important to note that most migrants come through Libya making it more dangerous as negotiations for peace are moving at a snail’s pace.

I will leave you with a somewhat positive note, yesterday was International Women’s Day today. With many taking a moment to celebrate the proliferation of women’s rights and increased equality between the sexes over the last 100 years. Many also taking a moment to realise how long we still have to go before the true equality will be achieved, some taking to the streets to remind us all how long the road ahead still is.  It’s a day of both celebration and activism. Happy Women’s Day!


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