The Scottish Referendum from an Outsider’s Perspective

I have lived in Scotland for 5 months as part of my American study abroad program, and the one topic that is always inescapable, is the issue of Scottish independence. It is my understanding that Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom, and I can see why a nation would want to be free of a greater rule. However, when I talk to most people here, I get two answers; either they are vehemently for independence or they do not really know what is going to happen.

I can already foresee a few problems if Scotland attains their independence. First, taxes will immediately rise, and no one will be happy about that, considering taxes are already very high in the United Kingdom as a whole. Secondly, the issue of which currency to use will be hotly debated. Will they use the Pound or will they revert to Euros? Lastly, the benefits of free healthcare and free university might not be so free anymore. These two things are extremely valuable and speaking as an American, I wish these came free for me as well. Yet, these problems may never exist because no one can tell the future, and we will just have to see what happens when the time comes.


Schindler’s List Review

After his colossal success with hit movie “Jurassic Park” in 1993, Steven Spielberg continued his sensational year with the release of “Schindler’s List”, a prevailing tribute to the horrific treatment of the Jewish people throughout the Second World War, rightfully saw him win seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.

Through Spielberg’s dramatic filming in black and white, in addition to the adding of colour to a young girl’s coat, the ghastly treatment of millions of innocent people, who were merely used as a scapegoat, allows the revulsion of the holocaust to be laid bare.

Oskar Schindler, played brilliantly by Liam Neeson, is a German businessman who captures the audience’s heart from the moment he appears on screen. The film follows his story as we see him make the transition from a striking, charismatic and promiscuous man, to the self-effacing saviour of over a thousand Jewish people, who wishes he could have saved more.

We are lured into a state of suspense which remains with us throughout the entire film, as we are left watching anxiously as Schindler attempts to save over a thousand Jews from their fate within concentration camps. Through the bribery of Nazi officials and his manipulative friendship with the malevolent camp commandant, Goeth, he moves them out of the camps and gives them jobs in factories, saving the lives of so many.

Spielberg’s clever juxtaposition of Schindler and Goeth, played superbly by Ralph Fiennes, portrays them as being two sides of the same coin. Schindler plays on the fact that they both enjoy the finer things in life, as they are strongly influenced by beautiful women and money. Schindler uses their connection to show Goeth that power is not achieved by injecting the fear of death into people’s lives before taking them, but power is in fact better served by having the ability and freedom to take a person’s life, and resisting. Goeth concedes this idea, but it is clear that he would not adhere to it for long.

Spielberg concludes the film with a formidable image. Set in the present day, Spielberg shows the real Schindler survivors and their decedents visiting his grave. This reinforces to us that this is the true story of one mans gallantry, and that “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

U.S. Military in Jordan

A U.S. military team have been posted to the Jordan-Syria border but Washington is denying any direct involvement in Syria.

Troops have been sent to help set up a headquarters and support the country’s military strength in the event that violence escalates along the Syrian border. Additionally, the U.S. is said to be monitoring chemical and biological weapon sites in Syria as well as helping with the flow of refugees pouring in over the border into Jordan.

Although denying involvement in the fued, with Turkey tightening and strengthening their border with artillery guns and fighter jets, it is hard to see the U.S. withstanding from involvement if the civil war spills over Syria’s borders and becomes a regional affair.