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Opening Day at the NPT PrepCom

Today marked the first day of the 2018 NPT PrepCom. Representatives from the Holy See, Thailand, New Zealand, Austria, and Costa Rica, amongst others reaffirmed the importance of the Ban Treaty. They underscored how the Ban Treaty strengthens the NPT, in particularly Article VI. Notably, Ambassador Dell Higgie of New Zealand explained that "Last year, as part of our support for a rules-based international order and consistent with our long-standing commitment to nuclear disarmament, New Zealand lent its support to efforts to put in place a further international agreement in this field - the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in order to supplement efforts within the NPT community to give reality to the obligation regarding nuclear disarmament under Article Vl of the NPT. Such new obligations do not - and cannot as a matter of international law - in any way displace the full span of obligations we already owe to all States Parties under the NPT. New Zealand will continue, as we have for nigh-on 50 years, to fully abide by these (at the same time as we maintain our legitimate expectation that all other Parties will meet theirs, including with respect to Article Vl)." Clearly, it is an exciting time in which states should embrace the ban treaty, a powerful instrument that fulfills the promise set forth in the Article VI.

Sadly, the U.S. continued to argue that "ultimate goal of nuclear disarmament can only feasibly be addressed as a real-world policy problem in the context of the overall security environment. Unfortunately, deteriorating security conditions have made near-term prospects for progress on disarmament bleak." How long must we wait? When we will have a security environment that is conducive to engage in discussions on nuclear disarmament. We cannot wait for some time in the unforeseen future.  States must sign and ratify the Ban Treaty!

If we were to wait longer for the NWS to feel comfortable about disarming its weapons, we will be here forever.  Even worse, trillions of dollars will be spent on modernizing nuclear weapons. Already, as specified by the Holy See, "the arms race, the modernization and development of nuclear arsenals, infrastructure and delivery systems, deny the poor and disadvantaged of the resources needed to reduce poverty and to foster integral human development. Imagine if all the resources that have been squandered and that are being poured into the modernization and maintenance of nuclear weapons could be invested in addressing poverty, inequality, injustice, education, health and environmental degradation!"

As I reflect about the first day of negotiations, I realize that we must take action! We need to encourage states to embrace the ban treaty and move forward instead of simply waiting for the correct environment for the NWS to disarm their weapons.

That's all for now!

Looking forward to day 2 of the NPT PrepCom!

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First Day of 2018 NPT PrepCom

Interesting first day watching the opening session and general debates!

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Exploring Geneva with the Team!

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Finally met with the entire PEAC team today! Shortly after our meeting, we headed out into the city where we ate Lebanese food, got onto a boat and explored the parks around the Jet d'Eau. Geneva is a beautiful city surrounded by picturesque snow peak mountains and I cannot wait to explore more with my friends.

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We're Gettin Ready!

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Looking over some of our past events at the UN as we prepare to go to Geneva. We're so excited to bring 15 students with us! They will participate in creating the 2018 Youth Appeal to be presented during the NGO session. We have students and team members from all over the world joining us. The first team member takes off on Tuesday and we all meet, some of us for the first time, Friday, April 20th.

Check back - we'll have updates from all the participants right here!

 

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IS THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM THE ONLY WAY?

Not All Opportunity Can Be Found On the Streets of NYC?  Is that just me or an ideology?

            Growing up in a family that started with nothing, it is easy to see that life is hard and that strife is something that geared my family, more specifically, my grandfather, to be something greater. As a young adult, my grandfather grew up without a family and no one to help him better his education.  He refused to take out loans; he feared the very idea of debt especially at such a young age.  He attempted a four-year degree but quickly realized that there is more to life than just sitting behind a desk crunching numbers—that’s what everyone was going for.  My grandfather decided to go towards the unorthodox route and make himself successful in a realm that was viewed as less than middle class; he decided to become a tradesman, a good one at that.  Roberson Scrap is the establishment my grandfather created from the pennies he had in his pocket and the notion that opportunity would guide him into the best economic state.  Scrapping metal isn’t a career that kids dream about.  Kids dream to become the President of the United States, to become astronauts, or to become famous architects.  Instead, my grandfather decided to chase an opportunity rather than a dream, an opportunity that set himself apart from many in his age group.  Could it be that viewing some work as insignificant could deter young people from a genuine opportunity?

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2018 NPT PrepCom in Geneva, Switzerland

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This youth expedition consisted of 12 individuals age 18-25. The participants were from the U.S, Japan, and the European states.  The program ran from 20 April 2018 to 25 April 2018. 

 

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You(r/e) (Friend is) Weak.

Here is a 3 AM editorial about a topic that got under my skin. This topic hits everyone close to home, and I say that with the most dogmatic tone possible, for reason.  The purpose of The Thorn will forever be evolving, but I’ll offer long-winded editorials here and there, research topics sprinkled in...no set theme.  The theme is being loose, outside any box.

 

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My thought for the day: Everyone has a weakness— what's yours? 

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Episode One

Rebecca Whyte Decides to Change the World

Rebecca Whyte is black. Not just black, beautiful. Not just beautiful, irresistible. She’s not just proud Ethiopian features with a smile that radiates such compassion and love, she glows. She’s light itself. She can take the dark out of the nighttime, but never turns the daytime black. She’s as warm and brilliant as the sun, as subtly illuminating as a full moon. Several decades from now, as Rebecca lies on her deathbed surrounded by friends and family and TV cameras from every continent broadcasting her every labored breath to an audience in the billions, Gaia says, “Maybe you shouldn’t have made her quite so attractive.”

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Episode Two

Rebecca Changes Her College

 It’s probably hard for young people in 2016 to imagine, but in the early 1980s when Rebecca is in college, many institutions of higher learning still protect their female students with a policy known as house closing. 

At Rebecca’s school, girls have to be in their dorms by 11:00pm on weeknights, 12:00 midnight on Friday and 1:00am on Saturday (Sunday morning). A lot of girls don’t mind this. They don’t want to stay out later than that anyway, and it’s a good way to get rid of guys before the witching hour. But in the 80s what nearly all girls cannot handle at all is the fact that the boys’ dorms never close. Boys can stay out all night. It’s only girls who have to be in at a certain time. 

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Episode Three

Rebecca Changes Anytown Part 1

By the time she graduates, Rebecca has welded her college classmates into a solid body of student activists. The school eliminates house closing, increases wages for employees, including students on work scholarships, and changes the name of the humanities building, which had been named after Andrew Jackson, well-known slave-owner and Indian killer. On graduation day, as she walks across the stage to receive her diploma, an enormous cheer goes up, and much of the crowd burst into tears. In the yearbook, she is “most likely to succeed.” Everyone knows she’ll be impossible to replace, but she’s groomed several underclassmen and women to keep her college in motion.

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Episode Four

Rebecca Changes Anytown Part 2

Rebecca is campaigning for mayor of Anytown. It’s June 1990, the election is in November. The campaign is going great. Her volunteers now number nearly 500. They have wonderful campaign literature designed by Chandra Milbino and her crew. The volunteers are handing it out door to door, talking to everyone who’ll let them talk. 

   The most persuasive piece of literature is, as Rebecca predicted, her bankbook. When the campaigners tell folks about her vows of poverty and openness, then display her bankbook, the stiff atmosphere softens. 

   “Really? She’s doing that?” 

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Episode Five

Resolutionary Government in Anytown

Rebecca is mayor. City bureaucrats are in shock. Instead of writing up plans and proposals, they attend meetings with camcorders. More than 2,000 people showed up for the meeting about privatizing three public schools, so the meeting was rescheduled and held in a high school stadium.

   Everyone who had anything to say on the subject was welcome to speak. The company expecting to take over the schools made a presentation. Then another company rose to explain why they would be better. Then the crowd heard from teachers, administrators, students. The meeting lasted from 10am to 10pm, with a few breaks. Ever on the alert for opportunities, the stadium refreshment stands opened and started selling hot dogs and popcorn (but no beer). At the end, nearly everyone was still there, and an enormous audience was watching on their TVs at home.

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Episode Six

Loyal Opposition

 Josh comes into the office looking tense. “Can I talk to you? I’ll need some time, and I’d rather the conversation not be recorded.”

   “Sure, Josh, what’s up?”

   “Mr. Bradley and a few others are badmouthing you because of the cameras. You know I am and always will be on your side, but sometimes I think they have a point. They say it’s unnatural to be on film all the time. It’s like a big-brother-is-watching-you kind of thing. Everyone has secrets, even if they’re not doing anything bad or illegal. We all do some things we don’t want others to see. Like this conversation right now. I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, but I wouldn’t want Mr. Bradley or anyone else in my department to know I’m in here talking like this. You know what I mean?”

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Episode Seven

Disloyal Opposition

 Rebecca sits straight up in bed. She’s just seen two men doing something under her car and has a strong feeling it’s not just a dream. She lies down, but doesn’t go back to sleep. It’s happening. She knew it would. The forces for centralized power want to nip her resolutionary movement in the bud. She thanks her guardian diety and asks for continued protection and guidance.

   After breakfast, she calls her neighborhood mechanic, Mr. Kim. She tells him she suspects her car has been sabotaged and wants him to check thoroughly for every possibility. Mr. Kim comes over and immediately finds a bomb on the oil pan. “I don’t know how to deal with bombs. Do you know anyone you can call?”

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Episode Eight

Rebecca Takes On the Dark Side

 Rebecca is under 24-hour protection by guards she chooses herself. Chief Scalia and Hendersen both choose to stay in jail for a while. Anytown lacks the resources to provide full protection for them in their homes. From jail, Scalia is managing a team of Anytown police. This team quickly finds Frank Sarkozi, the owner of the three phones used to call Scalia. He lives in New York and is obviously connected to the mob, but he’s not talking. 

   Rebecca and Cassidy now realize it was a mistake to have Cassidy at that press conference, but she dyes her hair, dramatically changes her appearance with makeup, then heads for New York. She’s not looking for trouble with the mob. She’s looking above them, to the politicians or captains of industry who use the mob for dirty work.

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Episode Nine

Rebecca and the Radicals

 It’s August and hot. Paul Granger shows up for his appointment in a sweaty T-shirt, blue jeans and sandals. “Hi, Paul,” Rebecca greets him warmly, “What can I do for you?”

   “You know I love you, right? I love what you’ve done for this town. I’m on your side all the way. However, we’re in serious trouble. We’re in the crosshairs and are about to be blown away.”

   “I’m listening.”

   “You know they’re already fracking in Othertown. That’s only 300 miles from here. They’re gonna be coming here eventually. You’re against fracking, right?”

   “Paul, you know better than that. I have no opinions. I am here to help the people of Anytown make and implement their decisions together.”

   “Well, that Dan Burton and his crowd of developers are inviting the fracking frackers in here. They don’t care about our water. They don’t care about global warming. All they care about is money. You’ve got to stop them!”

   “Paul, the way to handle this is to call a town meeting. Do you know how to do that?”

   “I know about meetings, but I’ve never called one. What’s the deal?”

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Episode Ten

Rebecca as Target

 As she walks to the door to leave her house, Rebecca glances out the window and sees an unfamiliar black car with men in it. She thinks better of leaving the house. Instead, she calls Jeremy, the bodyguard on call at precinct headquarters less than ten minutes away. As he comes around the corner in his police vehicle approaching her house from Rebecca’s left, the black car takes off heading the other way. Before it can pick up any speed, it’s stopped by an unmarked police car that makes a sudden turn blocking the street. 

   The men in the car are arrested. Their assault rifle and handguns are taken from them, and they’re taken down to the precinct for questioning. When Rebecca arrives, the police have them in separate rooms, threatening them with long prison terms and offering immunity if they rat out their bosses. They’re not talking. Both sides are angry and belligerent. 

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Thought for the Night.

980C5BD4-DE21-4A62-B0E5-E9335604714C.jpegDo you ever just have an idea that gets stuck in your mind like a splinter in your skin?  My splinter for the day is revolving around the idea of desensitization and the aspects of it. 

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New Year

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As the new year rolls around we have several goals bumbling in our heads, new missions to accomplish, and relationships we would like to kindle or end.  In essence, the new year is like a subliminal restart for the mind, but that's all.

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Episode Eleven

Rebecca and the Duke

 Rebecca walks into the interrogation room. Duke Jorgenson, sitting on the other side of the table, stands when she enters. He smiles and says, “Welcome.” Their eyes meet and remain fixed on each other for some time. His smile fades to poker face, then to ice. His blue eyes are riveted on Rebecca’s, as if willing her to lose this staring contest. 

  Rebecca is silently chanting her mantra, purifying the situation, waiting for words. Finally, the Duke says, “I don’t care what you do to me. You won’t turn me like you did those punks.”

   “You start right off with a lie. You do care what we do to you. You care very much. You don’t want to die. You don’t want to spend your life in jail. You’d like to go free, but you’re so corrupted by competition you actually believe the only thing you care about is winning. And trying to be the best at something, you’ve fallen to being the best at murder. You’ve sold your soul to the devil. You’ve become the best, or one of the best, in a race to do evil. When you die, you’ll go to a place where everyone is just like you. There you’ll learn the meaning and the price of evil.”

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