Crisis Around the World

When I first moved to America, I realized a couple of things. Everything is bigger: buildings, cars, and food— and they mainly only worry about themselves (no offense to my American readers, but c’mon). It makes sense, given American is in shambles right now and has its own problems. But today, I want to talk about other countries that are in shambles and have issues way worse than those in America: Hong Kong, Chile, and Catalonia.

  1. 1. Hong Kong, China

    Hong Kong’s streets are currently a battlefield between the people and the government. According to the Washington Post, the protests started back in June, when the government wanted to pass a bill that would allow individuals to be extradited to China. This meant that alleged criminals would face the Chinese legal system, which is way harsher than the legal system in Beijing, and include things such as torture. While that may seem like a good thing, it goes against Hong Kong’s semi-autonomy from China and against the ethics of many people. The public started by peacefully protesting in the streets, but it escalated quickly when the police got there, who started using tear gas and violence against the protesters. The response to the protests inspired more people to join, and by mid-June, two million people joined the movement, which is the largest number of people in Hong Kong’s history. The protests got more and more violent later in the summer, including a strike on Aug. 5 that shut down half the city’s public transportation and airlines. 

    Many people have asked Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down. What started as a movement against a bill has become a movement in support of democracy and human rights. Lam officially withdrew the bill in September, but the movement goes beyond that now. Like the 28-year-old protestor named Michael that was interviewed by the Washington Post said, 

    "If they respect us, we will respect them. But if they don't respect our democracy nor our human rights, why would we respect them?" To learn more, watch this.

  2. 2. Santiago, Chile 

    The capital of Chile, Santiago, is also facing riots. These riots started in October when the government announced that they were raising the prices of the metro. High school students started to avoid using the metro, but the government didn’t mind because the ticket prices for students were to remain the same. However, the students were protesting the prices because their families were the ones being affected by it. On Oct.18, the students started neutralizing the metro machines to prove their point to the government. People started to march the streets of Santiago that same day. 

    Everyone was finally fed up with being abused by their own government. People went to the streets in their neighborhoods to make barricades and to make noise, and in some cases, to burn their local metro station. Eventually, the riot police showed up and began to shoot the protesters, and by midnight, the government announced that they were bringing in the military to try and control the people. The city of Santiago collapsed. The rise of the metro prices was the final breaking point, but the hatred towards the government goes beyond that. A few other reasons include that the Chilean living wage is the lowest in OCDE countries, the pensions are also low, the public health system is very precarious, and the education is bad and expensive. To know more, watch this.  

  3. 3. Catalonia, Spain 

    This one is personal since I was born in Barcelona, which is a part of Catalonia. Catalonia (Catalunya in its native language), is an autonomous community in the northeast region of Spain. They are currently facing a battle against the rest of the country. 

    The tensions between Spain and Catalonia go way back, to the era of Franco, the Spanish dictator of 1936 to 1975. The tensions have grown throughout the years, especially since Catalonia declared that they wanted to become independent back in 2012, but got to their breaking point in 2017. This was when the Catalonian government held a referendum to see if the people wanted to become independent. Massive rallies were formed that day since the people were fed up with the treatment they received from the rest of the country, such as discrimination for speaking a different language and higher taxes than any other autonomous community. The prime minister of Spain considered the referendum illegal and said that those responsible for the referendum were going to go to jail unless they left the country. 

    Throughout the next two years, the tensions got worse and the persecution of politicians didn’t stop. In October of 2019, the sentences for the politicians involved were released to the public, and the people were outraged. Politicians got more years in jail for expressing their opinion, than five men who raped a woman a year earlier. The people took to the streets and started to protest. The riot police followed shortly after. The riots included blocking the streets and even airports. The effects were so big that many flights began to cancel. It is not looking good for now. To know more, watch this.

These are just a few examples of countries with deep-rooted struggles. There are also the violent riots against a dictator in Bolivia. There are many countries in Africa facing civil wars, such as Somalia, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. And we can’t forget about Syria. There are many countries around the world that are currently facing a crisis, and it’s not looking like it’s going to get any better. I hope that after reading this, you do some more research of your own, and opened your eyes to a world of injustices that no one seems to be talking about.