Blogosphere

Kashmir: is progressivism unwelcome?

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 2:00pm

As St. Olaf students, we fight to protect human rights, and this often means speaking truth to power. How do we ensure we are not unwitting participants in rhetoric that undermines the principles we uphold? 

This is the question we must answer with Kashmir.

The “Kashmir region” actually refers to three areas in Northern India – Jammu (Hindu-majority), Ladakh (half-Buddhist) and the Kashmir Valley (Muslim-majority). The valley is the most powerful of the three. For historical context, following the British withdrawal from India after centuries of colonial subjugation, the nation was split into India and Pakistan. Nearby kingdoms had to choose who to join – secular India or Islamic Pakistan. 

As the ruler of Kashmir deliberated, Pakistan invaded. In response, the king asked India for help signing a formal treaty of accession to join India. The prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, appealed to the United Nations, who suggested a referendum if Pakistan removed their troops. Decades later, the soldiers remained and no referendum occurred.

You may have heard references to “Pakistan-administered” Kashmir, or that Kashmir is claimed equally by Pakistan and India. Suppose the U.S. Army marched into Ontario and declared it a U.S. territory. Ontario would not simply become “U.S.-administered.” Similarly, Pakistan has no legal claim to Kashmir.

For the Kashmir region, two laws were enacted by the Indian government. The first, Article 370, limited the Indian government’s control over issues in Kashmir. In 1954, an additional law, Article 35A, allowed Kashmir to privilege those it deemed “residents.” This allowed the Kashmiri legislature to deny basic rights to non-residents, all in the name of “freedom.”

Under Indian law, women cannot be penalized for marrying someone from another state. By the Articles, if a Kashmiri man marries a non-Kashmiri woman, she and their children gain resident status. However, if a Kashmiri woman marries a non-Kashmiri man, she and their children forfeit this status.

Under Indian law, Muslim women are protected from the archaic practice of “triple Talaq,” where a man can say the words, “talaq talaq talaq” to instantly divorce his wife. By the Articles, this practice remains legal in Kashmir.

Under Indian law, historically disenfranchised groups can access one of largest affirmative action programs for educational, political and economic opportunities. By the Articles, these citizens are confined to menial labor with zero possibility of social or economic mobility. 

Under Indian law, children have the right to an education and cannot be married. By the Articles, Kashmiri children lack this right and are not protected from child marriage.

Under Indian law, homosexuality is not a crime and non-binary is recognized as a gender identity. By the Articles, these protections do not apply in Kashmir.

Under Indian law, agencies have been set up to combat government corruption. By the Articles, these agencies were forbidden from operating in Kashmir.

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government nullified Articles 370 and 35A via a presidential order and a vote in India’s legislature.

Peaceful Kashmiris have been caught in the middle of attempts to address terrorist threats in the region. After the Articles were removed, the Indian government implemented a temporary communications blackout in Kashmir. Though drastic, it was a necessary step, and schools and markets were soon open again.

There have been some protests, but not the ones you might expect. These rallies featured flags of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lakshar-e-Taiba and ISIS, terrorist groups condemned by the US, EU, and India. In addition, protestors chanted “Burhan Wani,” the leader of al-Qaeda in Kashmir killed in 2016. Protest videos also offer evidence that nonviolent protests, in most cases, are being addressed peacefully by the Indian police.

Strangely, this debate omits the 1990 ethnic cleansing of Hindus, where 400,000 natives were killed, raped and driven from their homes by insurgents sponsored by Pakistani intelligence. The valley was inundated with threats of violence if Hindus remain. Over 30,000 homes, businesses and temples were attacked. 

An entire population of native people was erased, and those responsible now occupy their stolen land. 

No paragraph of ornate prose or verse of poetry can change the facts. When we fight for the rights of the oppressed, we must be willing to follow that struggle where it takes us. We cannot advocate for one persecuted group and willfully ignore another simply because it is convenient to do so. The only people who benefited from Articles 370 and 35A were powerful Sunni Muslim men: a local heteronormative patriarchy. The removal of these discriminatory laws means equal protection under the law, for everyone, irrespective of religion. 

Will we defend the Articles and their denial of rights? Or will we welcome a new age of equality for the people of Jammu, Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley?

krishn3@stolaf.edu

Neetij Krishnan ’20 is from Eden Prairie, Minn. His major is biology.
Categories: Colleges

“Into the Woods” features beautiful singing but not much else

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 2:00pm

This past weekend, the St. Olaf Lyric Theater put on its fall production, “Into the Woods.” Staged in the round in Urness Recital Hall, the three-hour production had no trouble drawing laughs, which may come as a surprise to those whose only experience with the iconic musical is the 2014 film adaption by the same name. 

Typical of St. Olaf, the production had no shortage of vocal talent. Sally Olmstead ’20 and Jacob Wilde ’21 gave particularly beautiful vocal performances as Rapunzel and Rapunzel’s Prince, respectively. However, while the vocal abilities were impressive, at moments it felt as though displaying the cast’s vocal prowess and technique was the sole goal of the production. As the entire company joined in to finish out the opening number, “Into the Woods,” the sound was one more characteristic of a church choir than a group of musical theatre actors. Even among characters in which one would expect to have a distinct vocal presence, there was a stunning lack of vocal variety. The vocal performances were technically well-done, but often did nothing to heighten the character development. 

The same can be said for the acting in the production. When watching “Into the Woods,” it was apparent that this was a production put on by the music department, mainly featuring music majors. Acting, character development and motivated character choices did not appear to be priorities of the production. That being said, there were actors that stood out from the crowd. Logan Luiz ’20 graced the stage as The Narrator and Mysterious Man with physicality and vocal quality that created a fitting atmosphere for a fantasy tale. And thanks to her expressive performance, Cait McCluskie’s ’20 rendition of “Moments in the Woods” as the Baker’s Wife packed more of an emotional punch than other numbers in the show. Emily Geiger ’20 was another joy, consistent in her peppy skip and spirited quips that characterized her portrayal of Little Red Riding Hood. 

During the first act, the use of comedy made up for other areas in which the production was lacking. The two princes dancing together in “Agony,” the deadpan humor of Kjell Redpath’s ’20 Jack and Milky White’s (Jenna Leonard ’21) mere presence frequently had the audience in fits of laughter. However, the effectiveness of this humor did not carry over into Act Two. In an act that revolves around death, adultery, blame and other heartbreaking subjects, the production continued to use the same comedic strategies without considering how the tonal shift may have also necessitated a change in the comedic approach. This resulted in the second act of the production feeling disjointed and uncomfortable, with the comedy distracting from the message of the piece. 

Overall, it is clear that this production of “Into the Woods” had no lack of musical talent and there were certainly moments of merit within the work, but unfortunately, individual talents did not culminate into a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.

 

lagare1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Untitled

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 1:38pm
Categories: Colleges

Northfield Promise Selected for Community-led Playground Project to Give Local Kids More Opportunities to Play

KYMN Radio - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 12:38pm

Northfield Promise, a member of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, has been selected to lead a playground project with KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit that works to ensure every kid and all communities have equitable access to quality, imaginative play spaces.  Northfield Promise is one of the three StriveTogether communities that will work with KaBOOM!

The post Northfield Promise Selected for Community-led Playground Project to Give Local Kids More Opportunities to Play appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Legislators tour Nfld depot site; NAFRS showcases remodel/expansion; NTV becomes NCTV and is looking for programming

KYMN Radio - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 11:02am

By Teri Knight, News Director On Monday, Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell and local U.S. Representative Todd Lippert were among legislators touring the Northfield Mill Towns Trail connection and the Northfield depot site to see if funding a possible transit hub at that location is feasible. Lippert is on the Capitol Investment Committee which is touring

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EDA approves $250,000 loan for 79-unit downtown apartment complex

Northfield News - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 10:10am
The Northfield Economic Development Authority on Thursday gave the green light for additional public funding to help construct a 79-unit market rate apartment complex in downtown Northfield.
Categories: Local News

Freeborn Wind – AGAIN!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 9:41am

Here we go, deja vu all over again. Xcel Energy has taken over Freeborn Wind and has asked for a permit amendment, the Permit Amendment filings are here:

STAY, Freeborn Wind!

The Public Utilities Commission has just issued notice of the Comment period on the Permit Amendment:

Initial comments accepted through November 12, 2019 at 4:30 PM.
Reply comments accepted through November 19, 2019 at 4:30 PM.

Here is what they want to hear about:

Topics for Public Comment:
• Should the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission amend the Freeborn Wind Farm Site Permit to change the number, type and layout of the turbines to be used, as well as additional participating land?
• Should the Commission accept the supplemental environmental impact analysis?
• Should any permit conditions be modified or added if the requested amendments are approved?
• Are there other issues or concerns related to this matter?

Oh yes, there are plenty of other issues, and you’ll hear all about it, PUC! But it’s nothing you don’t know already.

To view all the filings, go HERE – DOCKET SEARCH and search for 17=410 (17 = year, 410 = docket).

How to Submit Comments:
Online Visit mn.gov/puc, select Speak Up!, find this docket, and add your comments to the discussion.
Email Comments can be emailed to publicadvisor.puc@state.mn.us
U.S. Mail Charley Bruce, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place E, Suite 350, Saint Paul, MN 55101-2147
eFiling Visit mn.gov/puc, select eFiling, and follow the prompts (you’ll need to register, and it’s EASY and fast).

Categories: Citizens

Bron Scherer

KYMN Radio - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 8:36am

Bron Scherer, Northfield Area Fire and Rescue Service (NAFRS) Board Chair, talks about the open house held at the renovated fire station on October 23, the new city pumper truck recently delivered, and more.

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Northfield Community Television (NCTV) moves to City Hall

KYMN Radio - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 4:25am

The City of Northfield is moving programming and operations of Northfield Community Television (NCTV) to City Hall after NTV’s lone employee retires. NTV’s Paul Hager retired from public television. He will no longer be creating and programming Charter Spectrum Cable Channels 180 and 187 for the City of Northfield after 34 years of service. Channel

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Mercury in retrograde?

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 9:56pm

Little Sadie wondering if we’re ever going to get going again… so was I. Tooling down the interstate, after an agonizing few days with car problems, much worse for Alan than for me for sure, and after fixing 5 problems that came up one at a time, and suddenly, N-O-T-H-I-N-G, just idle, no acceleration whatsoever. Well, that sure sucked, and yet the good news was that right there ahead was a rest area. Coasted right in, and the throttle sensor was acting up. Turns out that shutting the van off and starting it up cleared it, and onward… until the next time… and over the next 200+ miles, it died 6 times. Didn’t shut off on entrance ramps, exits, or in the middle of a spaghetti bowl, so life is good, just on straight stretches, get over to the right, put on 4 ways, pop it into neutral, turn it off, count to 5, fire it up, rev to let transmission find the gears, and drop it in… Suffice it to say, it was stressful. This was one time that 1 million miles in a truck paid off…

Made it, only lost two days to other electrical problems of the van and trailer. It matters because I’ve had to cancel so many trips this year, all but one (not including camp-hosting), so I’m entitled to whine!

It’s BEEEEE-UUUUU-TIFUL, chilly but OK. Doooo, dooooo, doooooo, looking out my back door!

Picked up the tail light converter at Fleet Farm on the way, but had to order the throttle sensor, it’ll be here tomorrow, so I’m hoping for another trip next year where we won’t have to deal with unending problems. Also hoping that Kias aren’t built to self-destruct at 200,000… we’ll see. It’s been perfect, and CHEAP for almost a year now, but this is getting to be a bit much.

The wind last night was unreal, and though temp in low 40s, didn’t turn on the propane, and used a tiny electric heater to take off the morning chill. I saw that Duluth had major problems with wind and waves, and the shoreline here shows the high waves, lots of stuff washed up, and the waves were a bit high but not so bad:

Off to NAPA soon! Hope that resolves these electrical things, but I swear it’s Mercury throwing the wrench in!

Categories: Citizens

Nov. 1 groundbreaking ceremony kicks off Hwy 14 expansion, construction contract awarded

KYMN Radio - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 3:21pm

OWATONNA, Minn. – A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1 east of Owatonna to mark the kickoff of the Hwy 14 expansion project between Dodge Center and Owatonna, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The event will mark the start of the nearly $108 million construction project. The site will

The post Nov. 1 groundbreaking ceremony kicks off Hwy 14 expansion, construction contract awarded appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

School Board approves nearly $5.3 million in contracts for Sibley construction

Northfield News - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 12:54pm
The Northfield School Board on Monday approved nearly two dozen contracts for a $7.38 million Sibley Elementary School construction project.
Categories: Local News

Fire station open house; A new sergeant for police force?; Join the NAFRS board; Crosswalk etiquette

KYMN Radio - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 11:10am

The Northfield Area Fire and Rescue Service (NAFRS) is holding an open house today (10/23) for the public to come and tour recent improvements, updates, and construction completed at the Northfield Fire Hall on 5th Street. The open house runs from 4-6 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:15 and refreshments for all. This

The post Fire station open house; A new sergeant for police force?; Join the NAFRS board; Crosswalk etiquette appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Lance Wagner

KYMN Radio - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 11:03am

Lance Wagner, financial consultant for Frandsen Bank in Dundas and Farmington, is Wayne’s guest.

The post Lance Wagner appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Mayor Rhonda Pownell and Representative Todd Lippert

KYMN Radio - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 9:02am

Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell and District 20B Representative Todd Lippert talk about a tour with the State Capital Bonding Committee during which they made a stop at the Northfield Depot. Northfield has submitted a request for the State to be a part of funding for the regional transit hub.

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Senator Tina Smith and Representative Angie Craig

KYMN Radio - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 8:46am

U.S. Senator Tina Smith and U.S. Representative Angie Craig discuss the 21st Century Workplace Partnership Act, a bill that they are introducing to help schools develop pathway programs for students to train for 21st century jobs.

The post Senator Tina Smith and Representative Angie Craig appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

New Sexuality and Gender Alliance focuses on social change

St. Olaf College - Tue, 10/22/2019 - 3:17pm
The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) is a student organization representing the intersection of diverse identities at St. Olaf College with advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights on campus and beyond.
Categories: Colleges

Safe Homes program is looking for more volunteers

Northfield News - Tue, 10/22/2019 - 12:28pm
The Northfield Union of Youth’s Safe Homes program is in need of more volunteers to help tackle youth homelessness in Northfield.
Categories: Local News

Local organizers are discussing enacting Tobacco 21

Northfield News - Tue, 10/22/2019 - 11:20am
Local organizers are in the preliminary stages of proposing the legal tobacco purchasing age be increased to 21.
Categories: Local News
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