Almost a Whole New World

Almost A Whole New World
Zoya Salahuddin

THIMUN-Q is a conference known to bring together a plethora of opinions from all around the world, coming from various ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds. As many students come to Qatar to engage in invigorating debate sessions, they are given the opportunity to experience a foreign culture, which may propose significant differences from their own.

Qatari culture is often praised for its versatility; many aspects of the locals’ way of life are incredibly unique in their own way, yet not too surreal. Many international delegates commented on how Qatari landmarks were adorned with many culturally specific designs, yet were familiar to the Western eye. The strong influences of traditional bedouin culture on the design and structure of landmark areas, such as Katara, truly depict the stunning beauty of Qatar to tourists (or MUN delegates!).

International delegates also were given to opportunity to attend cultural events and completely indulge themselves in the Qatari experience, venturing deep into the heart of the culture – Qatari food! A delegate remarked that her favourite meal had changed from pizza to machboos immediately after her first bite – evidently, Qatari culture succeeds at making its way to people’s hearts through their stomachs.

A truly appreciable quality of international conferences like THIMUN-Q is the inclusive nature of their sessions – every opinion, from every individual is valued and thoroughly considered, making THIMUN-Q a monumental event treasured deeply by hundreds. To delegates from Qatar, or from anywhere else around the world: I hope you will all leave this conference inspired and fueled up for change. The future is ours!

The Threat Behind the Screen

The Threat Behind the Screen
Nafilah Khan

The growth of technology – is it really as a good as the world makes it seem?

On your one Saturday off from work, you decide to stay home and spend your day scrolling through (and shopping from) various online websites. Quite a relatable scenario, don’t you think?
The next day you open up your bank account only to find out that all of your hard work’s savings have vanished into thin air.

This practice is known as cybercrime. Cybercrime is literally what the word suggests: the usage of the internet to commit crime.

To be brutally honest, it is a far too common occurrence. According to Cybint Solutions, a hackers attack occurs every 39 seconds.

If matters get any more out of hand than they already are, technological development and increased dependency on the use of technology to go about with daily life will have done anything but prevent this crimes from taking place.

A notorious example of a cybercrime that took place in Qatar was the hacking of the Qatar News Agency in mid-2017 which sparked the ongoing rift between Qatar and its neighbors.

Despite the leaked information being recovered soon after the hacking, A hideous stain remains between Qatar and its neighbors, making us wonder whether the relations between the countries will ever be the same again.

One can only hope that the future is in favour of us. But until then remain safe online, as you may have your very own hacker waiting to make their move…

THIMUN Profiles – SG Don Sandev Ferdinando

THIMUN Profiles – Don Sandev Ferdinando
Rayan El Amine

The THIMUN Profile series seeks to shed light on some of the high-ranking, hardworking individuals who are pushing this conference forward. These are faces you may have seen, and jobs you may even recognize, but THIMUN Profile seeks to really explore these individuals and understand why they do this job, what do they earn from this job, and how they got this job in the first place.

Sandev Ferdinando made his mark on this conference before ever even stepping into the building, becoming the first SG to ever head the conference that was not a student at Qatar Academy. This marks a serious shift in how this conference is operated, and gives hope to the countless up and coming delegates who do not go to QA, but who still hope to lead this conference.

He began early, by stating exactly how THIMUN Qatar has an impact on all students, claiming that is more than “a simulation, we want to show what is possible if people put their mind to it.” He pushed forward the idea that this conference exists as a real example for the future students to come in and really perform. Furthermore, while his destination is unique, his journey is not. It was the same continuation of hard work, of passion, and of dedication that so many before him had, and after him, will.

Beginning in grade seven, he was pushed into full fledged MUN conferences, struggling and fishing his way through different issues, eventually meeting Lisa Martin and becoming the first EAO of Qatar at OMUN,  helping to to push forward and reviving the Oman-Qatar MUN program. His journey continued, eventually peaking as he became the Secretary General we know him as today.

What’s unique about this story is how common it is; so many others have overcame their fear of public speaking, so many have been touched by Mrs. Martin, so many have a found a niche part of MUN and become successful at this level. Yet, Sandev did something more with this same journey, he potentially understood the magnitude of the situation he was in, claiming, “I now understand I am a part of something bigger, and that changing the norms of today is what our new task as a generation is.” It is through this that has he pushed his ideas forward, and continues to work hard because “success is inevitable if you work for it.”

Let Him Come Home

Let Him Come Home
Natali Al Jundy

In thinking about feminism and its connotation in today’s world and society, I’ve often caught myself contemplating just why it is so difficult for men to be able to freely advocate for themselves without being reprimanded, or simply shut down. These thoughts have only been magnified by my own personal experience in witnessing the everyday hardships that my own father has gone through. One particular issue that has always stood out to me is how short a father’s paternity leave is in comparison to the mother.

As a kid, I had been taught to value my dad’s role just as much as my mom’s, no matter the circumstance. And so I was truly shocked when one of the teachers I had been talking to just a few days ago told me that he was awarded 3 days for a paternity leave, while his wife had earned 2 months for hers.

Gender equality is essentially meant to encompass both men and women’s needs and make it so that the perception of both genders is equal in society, not to be misconceived or misrepresented. Moreover, feminism in and of itself relies on the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities.

Providing dads with time off work aids parents in evenly distributing childcare duties and subsequently allows the mothers to take more time off and therefore be able to better maintain her health, her child’s health, and her career. In addition, the extended leave periods awarded to women discourages employers from hiring women in the first place, or even promoting them.

Though it is obvious that women go through a great deal throughout their pregnancy and the birth-giving process and thus deserve a significant amount of time to recover and attend to their child’s needs, a vital issue lies in not providing fathers with the same respect is that it gives room for conventional gender norms to grow and therefore negatively impact societal beliefs. These societal gender norms about how women are meant to be the main caregivers of their children is an inaccurate representation of the responsibility that parents are meant to share in raising their child.

The reason for which I am so passionate about this topic is because to this day, I’ve watched my father’s role as a parent be undervalued by our society despite my needing his presence as a child just as much as my mother’s. And if advocating for gender equality is meant to provide men and women with equal rights and opportunities, then why should two capable parents not have the same access to their own child?

The Irony of Privilege

The Irony of Privilege
Rayan El Amine

In a time of great social awareness, it is easy to point out flaws in our understanding of the global space, flaws in individuals of great power. I always compared it to that of a boxer, punching up is always easy, because you know you can knock them out.

Yet, and I ask this with great caution and great understanding, lest we ever look down across the totem pole and observe the corruption that we’ve become entranced by, because it is easy to claim that equality is necessary when equality is present in your life, but how much can one really understand the struggle having never been through it? How fair is it for us to criticize the corrupt when we bask in a bath of our own corruption?

This is not attacking those who have made it their lifelong service to alienate those who are deserving of it; on the contrary, it celebrates those who have plunged into the abyss of struggle and have reached out to pull someone back up with them. Nevertheless, while this rescue is beautiful, I am wary of those same individuals who glorify a lifestyle of struggle, who glorify ideas of poverty, because for every kid that needs saving, there are tens more that refuse to be saved.

So take your privilege, understand it, appreciate it, but leave it at the door when you step into a room. You are defined by your equity, and the choices you make must reflect that. Be proud of where you come from, and not envious of a struggle, attempt to understand said struggle, but more than that – help said struggle.

A City’s Secret

A City’s Secret
Zoya Salahuddin

Hidden away from the public eye, a garden of flowers blooms. Hundreds of petals, painted with streaks of colour, a clear image of innocence and purity – undisturbed. Like every good thing in this world, this scene, a discerning depiction of humanity’s morality and virtue, does not last long. Ragged hands reach into the bushes, digging into the flowers’ roots, pulling them out from deep within the soil. The flowers wilt. No one hears them scream.

The story of Zainab Ansari is one we are all aware of. A seven-year-old girl, brutally raped and murdered – Pakistan’s portrait of grief. Her story, and the stories of countless other children, has brought to light the ineffective legal protections provided to women and children in Third World countries. Though the prime suspect of this case has been arrested, Zainab’s murder has sparked an international outrage. Worldwide, there has been a call against immoral acts against a child’s safety, for this is not the first incident of such nature taking place in Kasur.

Child protection education is crucial to the amelioration of such situations; however, in a country where mentions of sex and rape are severely taboo, many fail to speak out about incidents where their sexuality has been exploited. Kasur was first brought to the world’s attention in August 2015, when 280 children were sexually exploited by a gang of men; the incident was filmed. Yet, parents kept silent in fear of these videos being released – 280 broken voices were cruelly suppressed.

Will our flowers continue to wilt?

Gender Roles: HeForShe

Gender Roles: HeForShe
Natali Al Jundy

As we delve further into the theme of gender equality and its impact on the the world surrounding us, it is crucial to highlight men’s roles in the ever-present battle for equality and how exactly they are impacted. HeForShe is an organization launched in 2014, designed to be “a solidarity movement for gender equality”. One of its goals is to reiterate how important it is for men to be able to confidently advocate for themselves in order to pave a clearer path to gender equality among all.

In her famous speech at the UN, Emma Watson advocates for HeForShe by talking about her own experience with feminism. She says “the more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.” She touches on the fact that more often than not, feminism has been associated with the empowerment of women over men, rather than placing females over males and calling it equality.

A lot of the misconceptions regarding feminism also stem from the lack of awareness coming from the advocates themselves. This includes details such as the fact that “men are 165% more likely to be convicted than women”, or that “40-70% of domestic violence is against men, however, less than 1% of domestic violence shelter spaces are for men”. And those are only a few of the unnoticed inequalities men suffer from every day.

These inequalities affect each and every one of us. Do not take their impact lightly.

Twittering Trump

Twittering Trump
Sundus Aladra

The U.S. presidential race of 2016 was like none other, and sure to go down in the books as one of the most influential in American history. With the possibilities of having the first Jewish president, or even the first female president, no one really thought that we could have a first kid president, who would enjoy waging twitter wars.

When a president takes office, their choice of communication with their citizens really impacts their acceptance among people. For example, President Obama was known as the ‘social media president’; he was the first president to use varying platforms of social media to connect with people. Key word: connect. Not rant, not whine, not insult, but connect. However, Trump uses his preferred social media platform, Twitter, to vent in those aforementioned and unfortunate ways, to disconnect.

We’ve seen that these tweets never fail to send the media and the people into a frenzy, until everyone is talking about how stupid, wrong, or controversial Trump’s latest tweet is. This excitement distracts everyone from the issues that make Trump so incompatible with his office.

As we’ve seen throughout the election, Trump never misses the chance to degrade groups of people based on their members’ refusal to accept his nonsense. These groups include women, refugees, immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, Hispanics, disabled individuals, the press, and anyone else who doesn’t support his personal vendettas. A year on from his electoral win, Trump still uses Twitter to serve up some of his select choices of fresh ignorance and disrespect.

How can a “leader” who doesn’t practice respect and tolerance be expected to lead this diverse nation? You simply can’t delegitimize these groups of people that make up most of American citizens based on race or religion. You also can’t delegitimize people such as the press, immigrants, and refugees, based on personal discomfort. These people make our country great. Our diversity makes us great.

Trump’s tweets lead us to momentarily forget his extraordinary abilities to disrespect people, break promises, and never be able to make up his mind. The only thing that’s stayed consistent is his promise to “Make America Great Again”. Thanks Mr. Trump, but America is already great, greater than you make it seem. We need a leader who can help us solve our present problems, not ignore present issues (or enlarge them), nor resurrect issues of the past that the people of this country worked so hard to overcome because you thought it might be a good way to relive the good ‘ol days. But don’t take my word for it. Donald Trump has the lowest approval rating of any U.S. president ever. All I can say is, numbers don’t lie. And no, Donny, Twitter is not a toy.

Education Above All

Education Above All
Sundus Aladra

How does education empower people? And why is it important for all people, especially children, to access it? The organization ‘Education Above All’, founded by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 2012, aims to answer these questions through their work and their goals. Education Above All is a foundation that has established multiple programs that aim to put children back into school, amongst solving other problems in areas of socioeconomic development.

One may wonder why the Sheikha Moza saw it important to found an organization that puts so much effort and focus into education. According to data measured in 2016 from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, approximately 263 million children and youth worldwide, are not in school. That’s 263 million kids who will probably only ever dream of going to school. While we may take education for granted, and even dread going to school some days, we forget the power that it gives us and the opportunities it opens up to us. So many of us are lucky enough to know that we will go to college or university, while forgetting that for so many millions of others, that will never even be a possibility.

We so often overlook that our education is our path to our future career, our future fulfillment and wellbeing, our future, period. That’s why the work that Education Above All commits to, is so important. Education is the spark that lights the flame of potential, of progress, and of hope. Let’s do all that we can to ensure that it burns bright.

The Girl with Dreams

The Girl with Dreams
Faiq Raedaya

I was once a girl with dreams – aspirations to become someone special. Like any other girl, I attended school. Unlike most others, I was passionate in science. I had great ambitions to become a doctor to help the sickly in my village.

All those dreams died when I was forcefully married.

One day, my parents suddenly told me to leave school for ‘other purposes’. I wasn’t in a position to complain and simply obeyed. I cried as I watched other kids skip to school from the window of my room.

A week after I left school, my grandmother revealed that I was to be married in a few weeks. I shuddered in dread. I didn’t yet know what it meant to marry young– but I knew my dreams had died that day.

I had never met my husband, but my parents were assured he was the right choice. A good man with a good job and a good house, they said. But nothing could ease the pain of my loss.

After weeks of fear, the day finally came.

A hundred smiling faces, happily dancing and eating.  Yet I had never felt more miserable as I uttered the words that would bind my life to my husband’s forever.

I lost my virginity the following night.

I was unprepared for this new life, for the expectation of providing a child for my husband. I didn’t fight back, but I cried in the morning, knowing I had lost something.

Several months later, I started to feel sick and dizzy. My husband took me to the hospital where I was told I was three months pregnant. I felt overwhelmed as I started to think about the future of our family. I worried for myself, my husband, and especially my unborn child.

A complicated birth followed my difficult pregnancy;  there was a risk of either me or my child dying. A part of me prayed for God to take both of us away. But thankfully, Sania was born healthy.

Years later, I have accustomed to my life. I care for my family as a wife and a mother.

Sometimes I wonder about what would have happened had I not been married so early. But as I held Sania in my arms, I promised that I would not let her undergo the same pain I went through.

The girl with dreams died long ago, leaving a teenage mother in her stead.