Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Burning for freedom

For months, millions have idolized The Hunger Games lead character Katniss Everdeen for her heroism as “the girl on fire,” leading a revolt against a tyrannical government. But across the globe, the scenario is more real than any fictional work could portray. At a demonstration in India last month, a 27-year-old activist became a literal man on fire after setting himself ablaze in protest against Chinese rule over the Tibetan   region. Sadly, Jamphel Yeshi, who died after sustaining burns to more than 90 percent of his body, is not the first to express his frustrations in such a display. He is just one of almost 30 Tibetans to light themselves on fire in the past year alone. In fact, self-immolation is a common form of expression against oppression among Tibetan monks. However, it is beginning to cross the borders of position and social class, becoming  prevalent among those who believe that China’s rule is taking away their   freedoms. If more and more Tibetans are turning to martyrdom to make a statement, why is nobody listening? When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, it not only resulted in a Tunisian uprising, but became a catalyst for the Arab Spring, which led to governments changing and politics shifting all over parts of the Middle East. It only took one martyr, and the world took notice. The oppression in Tibet has been ongoing for decades since China invaded the region in 1949. According to freetibet.org, which aims at releasing the area from Chinese control, Chinese occupation has resulted in more than one million deaths of Tibetans, including the destruction of monasteries, nunneries and temples. Imprisonment and torture is rampant as well. The Chinese government restricts access to informations as well as monitors private interaction among many Tibetans with the outside world. It also places limitations on religious practice as an attempt to force Tibetans into assimilating with the Chinese culture and even tortures them when they don’t comply. Already in 2012, numerous deaths have resulted from self-immolation because of such strict government control, continuing the increase over the past year, and leading many to ask if this is the beginning of the Tibet Spring. While things in the Middle East are still far from perfect, the revolutions have given hope that change is possible — hope that is desperately   needed in Tibet. Though many have called for freedom for the region for years, obviously, there is still a long way to go. It seems as though many more may have to die a martyr’s death before Tibetans gain the freedom they so desperately are trying to get  from the Chinese....

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Do you want slime with your order?

The majority of people ordering from a restaurant, believe they are choosing exactly what they want to consume; if they want a cheeseburger, then that’s what goes on their plate. Unfortunately, ordering a cheeseburger could also mean ordering an array of fillers and chemicals that aren’t mentioned on the menu. Say hello to “pink slime,” a term coined by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in reference to a meat filler used in 70 percent of all ground beef sold in America. The filler consists of cuts of beef no one would serve as an entree; rejected fatty, sinewy pieces of beef trim are ground into a mush which is then sprayed with a chemical called ammonium hydroxide (a fancy-shmancy name for watered-down ammonia) in order to kill E. coli and other bacteria. The filler is then added to ground beef that gets shipped to fast food chains, restaurants and even school cafeterias. Strangely enough, the concoction was only used in dog food until 2001; now it’s being served to humans nationwide. Apparently the mixture has been around for a long time; its use dates back to the mid-1970s when beef prices were at an all-time high, and pink slime was used to cut costs. However, its existence seems to have been under the radar until recently. In fact, many who work in the food service industry are unaware of pink slime, but those who are aware seem to believe something’s fishy in the beef industry. Summer Hendricks, the Hardy Hall worker whose friendly face can usually be seen behind the exhibition center, had heard of pink slime but was skeptical of its purpose. “The amount of ammonia that’s in it is supposedly safe for consumption, but in my personal opinion any kind of meat that has chemicals added to make it safe automatically negates the safety of it,” Hendricks said. Mike Bell, retail manager of Sodexo (where Hardy Hall gets its food from), had only heard of pink slime on the news only recently. So what’s the problem with pink slime other than its unappetizing nickname? The problem isn’t the filler; the problem is that pink slime is being used to treat a problem that could be fixed with a simple solution. The cow used to make your hamburger was fed corn. Before World War II, this never would have occurred. Until that time, all cows were fed their natural diet of grass. Corn was used to feed cows when a surplus of corn was grown after the war. Once farmers and ranchers learned that a corn diet would make their cows fatter, more and more were fed corn, and...

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Forced to be a pedestrian

With new parking standards having been in place for several weeks now, and students calves shaping up, the situation seems to be coming along nicely. There still seems to be reluctance from students to ride the shuttle. This may have to do with the fact that students fear the route it takes may not suit their schedule. Every time I have been a guest on the shuttle, which is when I can possibly catch it since I really hate walking, the sweet driver has always been more than happy to take me to wherever my class is; all you have to do is ask. The end of the complaining from students about having to walk a few minutes to class on our quaint, scenic campus should soon happen. However, it’s easy to understand how students could be upset at the fact that commuters can park in parking spaces at dorms and apartments, but campus residents can’t park in their spaces at classes and in parking lots. I envy incoming freshmen who will come onto our pedestrian friendly campus and will not know it as ever being anything different. Since becoming a recent commuter myself, I can honestly say, I wish this had happened while I was a freshman.  I would have grown some thicker skin for the winter and some better leg muscles for the summer. In the past, resident students have been guilty of driving just a few blocks to class. If this new rule had been enacted sooner, students would have saved a lot of gas. With new lots coming soon, hundreds of more parking spaces will be opening up for commuters, students and visitors. The university’s goal is to move parking to the perimeter of the campus and have the core be pedestrian-friendly, highlighting the landscaping and well-kept architecture. Parking lots will be constructed along a relocated Crusader Way that will be moved to ensure students do not have to cross the busy roadway to get to class. A commuter parking lot will be constructed between 11 Avenue and the railroad track. King Street is going to be made into a pedestrian mall of sorts that will go beside the stadium and can be resourceful during events. Overall, the campus is going to shape up to be a pedestrian-friendly campus that will be so beautiful and easy to travel to class through that students won’t even mind the distance....

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GOP golden boy’s secret to success
Mar27

GOP golden boy’s secret to success

As the impending 2012 election lingers over the heads of the remaining Republican candidates, standings become painfully clear. The hypes of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have come and long since gone. This is now a two-man race that is itself lopsided. Late bloomer Rick Santorum can still mathematically upset the high and mighty Romney, but judging by the completed primaries, it isn’t likely. The GOP golden boy has an edge on his competitor —his gold. There isn’t much you can’t buy these days, and when the American public sees a successful man, they trust him. Money airs the commercials that discredit his opponents and exposes his name to the public to trust. Romney has spent nearly $67 of the $74 million he has raised according to opensecrets.org — more than Paul, Gingrich and Santorum     combined. Those $67 million have plastered his name and face all over television, the Internet, social media and the minds of voters. No, Santorum is not a good fund raiser. Yes, that’s his fault. Romney has simply used one of his strengths to take an edge on his competition, but how he does so could backfire on him. Romney is financially savvy, but raising $74 million before he even gets the Republican bid? How is that? In a CNN/ORC poll held in February, the question raised was which social class Romney favors, rich, middle class or the poor. The results were something for the GOP to grimace at. They reported that of the voters, 65 percent believe that the Republican front-runner is biased toward the rich. If you look, for example, at the Louisiana primary, Santorum won nearly every demographic, save those earning more than $200,000 per year. Romney’s success appeals to the successful, to those with money to throw in to the account of a candidate that will protect their assets. In a country filled with the 99 percent, however, his attitude simply won’t fly. In a mid-March interview, after talk of being friends with major league sports elites, Romney was pressed on the issue of his wealth by Fox reporter Megyn Kelly. He replied, “Megyn, guess what? I made a lot of money, I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that.” Not to say that he owes an apology for making the money he has made. However, the tactless way in which he responded says much about the candidate. He is running for  the presidency in a United States that is plagued with the worst unemployment in 30 years. Don’t throw your success in the faces of the people you’re trying to get a vote from. A...

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Unsportsmanlike measures

The handshake is a greeting dating back to fifth century B.C. ancient Greece. Today there are not many cultures that do not shake hands. It has essentially become the universal greeting. British Olympic athletes were advised to break thousands of years of tradition and not shake hands with their competitors for fear of illness. Dr. Ian McCurdie, the chief medical officer of the British Olympic Association, advised the athletes to refrain from shaking any competitor’s hand since the Olympics are a hostile environment to the health of the athletes. Catching a cold before a competition is certainly a terrible thing and could destroy an athlete’s competitive edge. Germs are transmitted through the air as well, and it is surprising that McCurdie did not also hand out full hazmat suits. There is only so much you can do to reduce the spread of disease. Even if you are a finely tuned athlete, you still are susceptible to getting sick. Fighting a war against the common cold is futile. Advising athletes to forego the time-honored tradition of shaking hands crosses into the threshold of paranoia. Britain seems to be the only country to take such extreme measures. It is ironic that the host country would be so inhospitable and ask its athletes not to greet competitors properly. The Olympics are meant be the highest level of competition set on the world stage, but it is even more than that. It is about the assembly of different nations and sportsmanship. The athletes of the British team already have enough stress from having to compete at home. They should not have to worry about disease lurking around every corner. Faced with pressure and criticism from other countries, Britain has altered its warning. Instead of advising athletes not to shake hands, the BOA now advises rigorous hand washing and also will provide athletes with bottles of sanitizer. Instead of snubbing the friendly gestures of their competitors, British athletes will run around with bottles of sanitizer dousing their hands after the slightest hint of physical contact. McCurdie is too concerned with the health of the athletes and with winning that he lost sight of what the Olympics was really about. Thankfully the English realized in spite of sanitation issues just how rude and awkward it is to simply refuse a  handshake....

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Behind KONY 2012
Mar27

Behind KONY 2012

If you’ve seen “KONY 2012” plastered on T-shirts, signs and countless social media sites recently and thought that another candidate was about to give Republican hopefuls a run for their money, I hate to disappoint you. It’s actually a campaign of a different sort. Thanks to the non-profit organization Invisible Children, Joseph Kony has become the most recent name added to the not-elite-enough list of those who found fame through the phenomenon that is the viral video, joining the ranks of those like the oh-so-poetic Rebecca Black. Over the past several weeks, the KONY 2012 fad has taken over the media universe with a 30-minute video documenting the atrocities committed in Uganda by the leader of the terrorist group the Lord’s Resistance Army, which began abducting child soldiers in the 1980s. And while being educated about social justice issues is an arguably better use of time than watching a 13-year-old girl sing about the days of the week, the KONY 2012 campaign may have more holes in it than most theories about global warming. Invisible Children’s roots go back to 2003 when three young filmmakers traveled to Africa looking for a story to tell. What they documented was Uganda’s children seeking refuge from the LRA. The organization officially began its aid work in the African country in 2005, and has since been using social networking sites to garner support and awareness for its cause. So, what’s the point of their latest media craze? The non-profit claims that it “aims to make Joseph Kony famous” through the film. Unfortunately, a little research into the campaign uncovers some problems. For starters, most of the footage shown in the video is what was originally shot back in 2003. Now, this may not seem like that big of a deal, except that a lot has happened since then, and the outdated material is misleading to viewers who don’t have any knowledge about the situation. In 2006, Kony and his rebel militia were pushed out of Uganda and are now operating mostly in the Congo, which in turn has drastically decreased its numbers to a few hundred, all of which the documentary fails to mention. This would be the equivalent of posting a video about the Holocaust under the pretense that Nazis were still actively running concentration and extermination camps in Europe. It’s just not the case. In light of this information, questions arise about what can actually be accomplished with KONY 2012. The U.S. has already sent 100 military advisers to the area to assist in tracking down Kony. Though they have not had success yet, what exactly will making Kony famous accomplish?...

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