The Oberlin Review

Don’t Buy Into Mass Coronavirus Hysteria

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

March 6, 2020

 Coronavirus has now spread to 81 countries after breaking out in Wuhan, China just a few weeks ago, with over 97,800 confirmed cases and 3,332 confirmed deaths as of March 5. As is typically the case with contagious diseases, false news, overblown risk assessments, and conspiracy theories have spread quickly, inducing plague-level fears surrounding a disease that is only slightly more of a risk to the global population than the common flu. And while everyone should doubtlessly be taking coronavirus seriously, the hysteria surrounding the disease, on both a social and governmental level, has realistically done more direct damage to global quality of living than the disease itself. Here’s why that hysteria is so d...

Trump’s Strike Against Iranian General Has Proven Ineffective

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

February 14, 2020

 You’ve doubtlessly heard that on Jan. 3, President Trump ordered an execution strike, killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, along with Iranian politician and commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several others at the Baghdad airport. In the following days, many speculated: Are we headed towards another undesirable Middle East conflict? Is this the beginning of a dangerous and illegal shadow war between Iran and the U.S., rife with rebounding political assassinations? Have years of growing tensions between the two countries now triggered an irreversible wave of violence that will kill and maim countless Iraqi and Iranian civilians? Thankfully, for the time being, the answer appears to be “no.” When Iran r...

Simply Voting Is No Longer Enough

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

February 7, 2020

 Today, citizens and residents of the U.S. are more angry, emotional, and divided than we’ve ever been — and, doubtless, there’s plenty to be angry about. Children remain separated from their parents and locked away in prison camps on the southern border; successive conservative administrations have all but annihilated the pro-poor welfare policies of the mid-20th century; and now, the president has been acquitted by spineless politicians who seek to avoid accountability for aiding and abetting high crimes and misdemeanors. The racist and colonialist foundations of the U.S., which have driven this country in a conservative arc for centuries, have now given rise to an administration so thoroughly invested in m...

Hong Kong Protesters Hold Tight to ‘One Country, Two Systems’

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

December 13, 2019

 The youngest generation of Hong Kong’s citizens has never seen anything like the summer and fall of 2019. Protests that broke out in March of this year in response to a controversial criminal extradition bill have since morphed into a massive, complex, and well-organized civil uprising. Looming over Hong Kong’s civilian protest movement is the specter of mainland China, to which Hong Kong was repatriated in 1997 after a century and a half of British colonial rule. Hong Kong has since received special status within China — commonly referred to as “one country, two systems” — allowing the city to maintain a liberal economy, protection from the Chinese Communist Party’s influence, and limited participatory democ...

Land Mines Remain a Global Security Issue, Must Be Addressed

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

December 6, 2019

 In the canon of weaponry often involved in crimes against humanity, what comes to mind for most people is a realm of technology including biological weapons, chemical gas, and drones. However, in recent decades, land mines have risen to prominence as a grave security threat for civilian populations in war-torn countries and disputed territories. This is because landmines are an indiscriminate weapon; because they are triggered by the victim instead of the attacker, there is no assurance that a buried mine will not take the life of a child, civilian, medic, or aid worker. Some land mines will stay active for decades after the conflict for which the mine was laid has come to a close and can be triggered in unrelated ...

Ethnic Cleansing Threatens Uighurs

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

November 22, 2019

 In mid-November, The New York Times released a trove of leaked Chinese Communist Party files detailing a massive government crackdown in the northwestern Chinese state of Xinjiang. The leaked pages make a clear statement: China has systematically targeted, imprisoned, and mistreated members of the Uighur ethnic minority who have traditionally called Xinjiang home.  Several of the leaked documents detail a private speech by President Xi Jinping to party officials in which he argues that the Uighurs, a Muslim religious minority, are Islamic extremists whose dangerous ideologies must be vigorously suppressed. In the leaked pages, Jinping asserts that “the struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism...

What Can We Do About Foreign ISIL Fighters?

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

November 15, 2019

 After eight years of bloody conflict in Syria, numerous brutal and horrific urban battles, and the slaughter of thousands of members of Iraq and Syria’s religious and ethnic minorities, the infamously brutal Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant finally appears to be subdued. The terrorist group once controlled territory spanning from the rich oil fields of Northern Iraq to the urban and rural heartlands of Eastern Syria. Now, most of ISIL’s living fighters sit captive in holding camps throughout the Syrian northeast — an area that’s controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces — and in the prison cells of the Iraqi judicial system. Now that major campaigns against the terrorist organization have concluded,...

Cyclical Intervention Leaves Syria in Tatters

Leo Hochberg, Contributing Writer

November 8, 2019

 In mid-October, President Trump announced that he would withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Syria, citing his desire to remove the U.S. from “endless wars” in the Middle East. The announcement was met with blistering protests from both sides of the congressional aisle. The decision’s impact has been immediate and catastrophic: Turkey has taken Trump’s announcement as an invitation to invade Northern Syria; Kurdish forces — once allied with the U.S. — now face a Turkish ethnic cleansing campaign in Syria; and Russian and Syrian government forces have rushed in to fill the void. With hundreds of civilians already dead amidst the violence and a new wave of internally displaced people now racing away from the ...

Oberlin Must Improve Arabic Program

Sophie Drukman-Feldstein

May 4, 2018

I have wanted to study Arabic since middle school. When I came to Oberlin, I was thrilled to finally get the opportunity. Two years in, it feels like the work my classmates and I put in is finally paying off. In this past semester, we have expanded our vocabularies to move beyond our initial discussions of menus, taxicabs, and passports and are finally making our first, clumsy steps into meaningful conversation. I was therefore deeply disappointed when I found out that no Arabic classes would be offered beyond the 200-level. Oberlin only employs one Arabic instructor — Basem Al-Raba’a, a visiting assistant professor — and a 300-level class would exceed his course load. Last semester, he suggested that we might cont...

College junior Haven King-Nobles and College sophomore Leo Hochberg protest outside Oberlin’s McDonalds as part of a nationwide movement against the chain.

College Students Join McDonald’s Boycott

May 4, 2018

Members of Oberlin Animal Rights held a two-hour protest and posted flyers outside Oberlin’s North Main Street McDonald’s Monday to protest inhumane animal conditions and food sourcing as part of a nationwide campaign against the franchise. Although OAR’s effort was a small, three-person protest, the national mission of the campaign is to exert pressure on McDonald’s and convince the chain to adopt stricter regulations for suppliers in their treatment of chickens. “We’re working in conjunction with...

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