The World

SACSIS seeks to examine global issues, particularly as they relate to South Africa.

It's Not Your Granny's Ireland Any More

Picture credit: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams courtesy Iberian Proteus/flickr Harry Browne - Dublin - For many years, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was the member of the British parliament for West Belfast in Northern Ireland, albeit one who refused to take his seat in London. Since 2011, however, he has served in the Irish legislature, without abstention, representing constituents across the border in the Republic of Ireland’s County Louth. But if you can take the man out of Belfast, you can’t take the terrible history of Belfast out of the man. A few weeks ago he was...

Defying Israel, Pope Prays at 'Apartheid Wall'

Picture credit: The pope praying next to the words: "Pope, we need someone to speak about justice," courtesy Common Dreams. Lauren McCauley - During his historic trip to Bethlehem on Sunday, Pope Francis made waves after taking a surprise detour to pray at what is known as the "apartheid wall." The stop at the barrier—which annexes Palestinian land, cutting off Palestinians from their fields, livelihood, and each other—was made on the second day of the pontiff's Middle East visit after touring Jordan on Saturday. Describing the detour, the Guardian reports: His route had been planned to pass...

How I Met Edward Snowden (by Glenn Greenwald)

Picture credit: Glenn Greenwald courtesy Human Rights Investigations Glenn Greenwald - On December 1, 2012, I received my first communication from Edward Snowden, although I had no idea at the time that it was from him. The contact came in the form of an email from someone calling himself Cincinnatus, a reference to Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer who, in the fifth century BC, was appointed dictator of Rome to defend the city against attack. He is most remembered for what he did after vanquishing Rome’s enemies: he immediately and voluntarily gave up...

Meet the Costa Rican Lawyer Who Sued His Own President For Backing the Iraq War

Picture credit: Costa Rican lawyer Roberto Zamorra courtesy of Medea Benjamin/Alternet Medea Benjamin - Sometimes it just takes one person with a creative mind to shake up the entire legal system. In the case of Costa Rica, that person is Luis Roberto Zamorra Bolanos, who was just a law student when he challenged the legality of his government’s support for George Bush’s invasion of Iraq. He took the case all the way up to the Costa Rican Supreme Court—and won. Today a practicing lawyer, Zamorra at 33 still looks like a wiry college student. And he continues to think...

Around the World, Social Unrest Starts with Soaring Food Prices

Picture credit: patrynxxxFunChannel, Screenshot/YouTube Stefanie Krasnow - From 2008 to 2014, insurrectionist activity has sequentially erupted across the globe, from Tunisia and Egypt to Syria and Yemen; from Greece, Spain, Turkey and Brazil to Thailand, Bosnia, Venezuela and the Ukraine. In every instance, there was a tipping point: in Tunisia, it was Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation; in New York City, it was the Wall Street bailout; in Istanbul, it was a few threatened trees in Gezi Park; in Brazil, it was a 20-cent increase in transit fare. Today, the...

China and the Coming Reforms

Picture credit: Shanghai Skyline courtesy Don-kun/Wikimedia Commons Saliem Fakir - On the drive to Pudong International airport from the centre of Shanghai, which takes an hour, you sometimes do not see the sky and nature has long been filled with a concrete jungle so dense that this has become the hallmark of the Chinese growth miracle. Behind this lies the intricacy of Chinese-style economic policymaking and politics. Often the way things work in China remains opaque for us foreigners given the language and cultural barriers. One way of thinking of China is...