Aug 04

Hillary Clinton’s Historic Nomination

by Marielle Hankerson

On July 25 at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, former Secretary of

State Hillary Clinton received 2,382 delegates, the number of delegates needed to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

Clinton has made history with her nomination by becoming the first woman in the United States to be the presidential nominee of a major political party. Prior to being the Secretary of State during the first Obama administration, Clinton was a U.S. Senator of New York and the First Lady.

Campers who were interviewed were not excited about Clinton’s nomination, but they repeatedly said anything is better than Donald Trump as president. They asserted that she is not the worst candidate that they have to choose from but they would have supported Bernie Sanders if he was the front runner.

One upper girls camper expressed her disdain for a possible Trump presidency and said, “As long as it’s not Trump or Ted Cruz. As long as it’s not anyone in that [the Republican] party.”

Another upper camper is more nonchalant about Clinton’s presidential nomination and said, “I think she’s gotten this far we might as well nominate her.”

Although both campers somewhat support Clinton they also have their concerns with her presidency. People are not all supportive of what she has supported in the past and what she supports now. The upper girls camper said, “I’m not super excited about her war stances.” Clinton supported the invasion of Iraq but has recently said that she doesn’t agree with that vote anymore.

Both campers seem to think that even if they disagree with some of Clinton’s views she will still be better than Trump as president. The upper girls camper said, “She would not accomplish what Donald Trump is trying to do,” following that with, “She would not set the world on fire. She would not have ISIS at our door.”

Although a Clinton presidency seems like the best idea for many people in America, others are afraid of what Clinton will do based on her past records.

Many people feel that Clinton’s email scandal makes her unfit as president. The uppers girls camper said, “The emails are not a big deal.”

The question surrounding this particular scandal is whether or not Clinton broke any laws when handling classified information on her own server.

The email controversy began when Clinton first became Secretary of State in 2009. She wanted to use her personal Blackberry for all of her work emails in addition to personal emails. Superiors of her were worried about the security of her personal phone and they repeatedly advised against using her personal phone.

Clinton was investigated by the committees in the state department and the FBI. Neither investigations have resulted in criminal charges against Clinton, unlike what many Republicans have called for.  

Clinton has given less attention to the email scandal in her recent campaigning and more to what she’ll try to achieve as president. Two main focuses for Clinton’s first 100 days are immigration reform and investment in the infrastructure.

It has been said that her infrastructure plans are the largest scale since Eisenhower’s highway infrastructure spending. The plan would cost around an estimated $245 to $300 billion. The plan would include improvements on existing infrastructure like roads and public transit.

The second main focus of Clinton’s first 100 days includes immigration reform. Clinton said she will try to create an easier path to citizenship for immigrants and she will work harder to keep families together in relation to deporting undocumented immigrants. According to her website, Clinton’s plan will “treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.”

In addition to Clinton’s personal plan, the Democratic party platform describes a higher minimum wage, fighting against inequality, and protecting voters’ rights. Immigration and infrastructure reform are also included in the platform aligned with Clinton’s plans.

The party platform also includes key points from Sanders’ former campaign such as guaranteed universal healthcare and more spending on infrastructure.

Clinton will continue the focus her campaign on trying to gain the support of Sanders’ supporters and  focus on what she would accomplish if she became president. She is also focusing more on unifying the Democratic party, and with the help of other Democratic leaders working hard to make sure that Trump is not elected.

Clinton’s main goal now is to gain the backing from former Sanders’ supporters in order to beat Trump. An upper girls’ camper who isn’t the biggest Clinton supporter said, “She would maintain the same state we are in and work more on civil rights.”


Aug 04

Michelle Obama’s Speech Unifies Divided Democratic Party

by Lauren Boyle

At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama took to the stage as an elegant and poised force to be reckoned with. She approached the American People not as the First Lady, but as an American citizen. A citizen who wants her daughters and the future generations of this country to grow up in a strong, powerful, and stable environment. Obama is a woman ready to fight for black and female role models in the White House and assist Hillary Clinton to bring the divided Democratic parties together.

After the scandal of Melania Trump’s plagiarism at the Republican National Convention, the First Lady came forth and delivered a speech that will go down in history as one of the best of our time. Filled with authenticity and emotion, she spoke out, saying, “Make no mistake about it, this November, when we go to the polls, that is what we’re deciding, not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. No, in this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.” Cleverly, Obama focused her speech on the younger generations, bringing indecisive and hesitant voters together in hopes that a better future will be created for the youth of America as they grow and navigate our ever-changing world.

Gazes were fixed on television and computer screens while Michelle Obama spoke and pride radiated from those watching. Hallie Ferguson, a 15 year old from Denver, Colorado, said, “I was sitting in a cafe while watching the speech, trying not to cry. Her entire speech was emotional and hard-hitting.” Ferguson has grown up in a smaller scale, political environment. Her mother was head of the Denver School Board for one term. “When she was talking about her kids having to hear all these lies about their father, I definitely identified with that. Of course, not on the same scale as the Obama girls. But, it’s just hard to know how much hate people get in politics and the lies that are spread so others can gain more.”

Like so many, Ferguson thought it was a great speech, one of the best she’s ever heard. With a majority of endorsement speeches, they are forgotten the moment they’re over. But this one has yet to fade into the backs of our minds. Obama reflected in her speech that, “I want a president with a record of public service. Someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves; we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed. And we give back even when we are struggling ourselves because we know that there is someone worse off. There, but for the grace of God, go I. I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters.”

Scottie Seawell, a long time supporter of Hillary Clinton since her primary campaign in the 2008 election against Barack Obama, and before that when Clinton served as First Lady, remarked, “It was brilliant. As one of the first speeches at the DNC, it set the bar high for others to follow after. And since she is a pretty private person, and stays out of the public eye by not giving many speeches, that made it more memorable. But also in terms of having such a positive message for the country, since there’s so much news around black men getting killed and police brutality and the war in the Middle East and just the US feeling unstable, I think she really helped to ground everyone with what she said.” Michelle Obama gave democrats and others something they hadn’t felt in a while. She gave them hope, as she has done over her eight years as First Lady. Closing her speech, she reminded us to take satisfaction in the country we call home and to work together to make Hillary Rodham Clinton the next president of the United States. “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country is not great. That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.”


Aug 04

How Adidas Did It

by Eric Li

James Harden, Aaron Rodgers, and Lionel Messi, what all of these superstars have in common? They’re all sponsored by the german sportswear brand Adidas. After falling behind Under Armor as the second largest sportswear brand in the US in 2015, Adidas is now on track to take back their number two position and may eventually overtake Nike. Adidas is truly making a comeback with its newly appointed CEO Kasper Rorsted making an immediate impact on the company as Adidas recently announced that its sales are up 15% and its company is reaching a net worth of $25.2 billion, which is the company’s all time peak. The company does not seem to be slowing down any time soon because they are constantly signing new deals with athletes and teams and by pushing out new product as soon as they can.

Having been seen in Nike’s shadow for the past couple decades, Adidas is shaking things up with different strategies in order to beat their competitors. Within the past two years adidas have closed down all of its stores in Russia and put its golf brand Taylormade up for sale. In addition to getting rid of their useless assets, Adidas has increased their influence in the soccer world. Recently Adidas made sponsorship deals with major soccer clubs such as Manchester United and Juventus some of the most popular teams in the world and also sponsor all teams in some of the most watched leagues such as Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association. This summer, Adidas has a great chance to expand its brand as Adidas is one of the main sponsors of the European Championship and at the Olympics where Adidas sponsor many of the athletes and countries competing in the games.

Within the past year, Adidas sneakers made up more than half of its revenue at $9.13 billion, which is a $1.03 billion dollar increase from last year. Although it may look surprising, it truly isn’t. Throughout 2015 and 2016 Adidas has released multiple lifestyle and running sneakers including the NMD Runner, Ultra Boost, new Superstars, reimagined Stan Smiths, and the Yeezy Boost 350 and 750. All of these have taken the world by storm and have made Adidas sneakers some of the most hyped and popular sneakers on the market. Within the past six months Adidas hs put out 15 different Ultraboosts and over 30 different NMD’s and are continuing to create new products every few weeks, helping the brand grow in profits and popularity.

Adidas doesn’t only sponsor world class athletes but they also sponsor some of the biggest names in pop culture, most importantly Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. Pharrell and Kanye both play a huge role in the Adidas brand by promoting their respective products. Pharrell Williams, a well renowned artist, brought back some Adidas classics like the Superstars and Stan Smiths. Now these sneakers have been idolized as some of the most popular shoes right now because of the cool factor brought over by Pharrell when he wore them. How could anyone talk about Adidas without mentioning Kanye West? When the world famous rapper announced his breathtaking collaboration with Adidas, Yeezy, people began to lose it. When it was first released, 40,000 pairs of the rapper’s sneaker were sold in the matter of minutes. And every time Kanye releases new Yeezys, another 40,000 pairs sell out in minutes. No other fashion designer comes close to matching the popularity of Kanye West. Although Pharrell sells more shoes in volume, the popularity of Kanye’s Yeezys helped shape Adidas into the streetwear powerhouse it is today. Now Adidas isn’t famous for its sports wear, but for its lifestyle wear that millions of people around the world wear and love.

For many people, Kanye West’s Yeezy introduced them to the new and reformed Adidas. Alex Winzenread, a counselor here at DYWC, got into Adidas when Kanye West announced the release of his first Yeezys. Alex loves the distinct look the Yeezys give and the Yeezy put Adidas on the radar for him. Due to the limited availability of sneakers released, Alex has tried to purchase the Yeezy 750 seven times and almost purchased them on many occasions. Although he hasn’t been able to buy his dream sneaker, he owns a pair of Stan Smiths, one of the more common and affordable Adidas sneakers. Alex loves the minimalist look Stan Smiths give. They’re clean, simple and they look great with almost any outfit. Unlike Adidas’s competitor, Nike, Adidas’s branding is noticeable but subtle, which is one of Alex’s favorite qualities of Adidas. However, if Alex has one concern about Adidas, it is the availability of some of their products to a large crowd. Because the 40,000 pairs of Yeezys sell out within minutes, only a very small percentage of the consumers are able to purchase it. Alex wishes that Adidas made the distribution of Yeezys more equitable because some people are able to purchase 40 pairs while some dream of buying one.

After suffering a major setback in the last couple years, Adidas has made great strides to bring itself back to the top. By sponsoring and collaboration with world class athletes and infamous pop stars, Adidas has attracted many supporters who love the brand and everything it stands for.

Aug 04

What Made Those DYWC Dancers Run for Their Lives?

by Staff

At Friday’s DYWC dance, disaster was averted after a dancer sabotaged a light fixture in the ramshackle Randolph girls’ commons. Emergency maintenance was rushed in to restore safety and proper mood lighting back to the room. Despite the lack of enthusiasm at that dance, it’s safe to say that the DYWC Friday night dance was hit by something lit.

Aug 04

Talent Show Lets Campers, Counselors Show their Stuff

by Staff

On Wednesday, August 3, campers from both S.M.I.L.E.S. and Duke Young Writers’ Camp of Duke Youth Programs gathered in White Lecture Hall to either spectate or participate in the annual talent show for session three. There was a diversity of acts, including Irish dancing, first aid training, countless songs, and much, much more. Roughly two hundred campers and counselors gathered in the auditorium to celebrate the second-to-last night of camp.  

The show started with the two hosts of the talent show, Alyssa and Zach, introducing rules dictating manners and decorum. After the two finished, they introduced the first act, a rendition of the Pokemon theme song by Dyl. After a few more jokes by the hosts, the show continued.

When asked if she had any talent, a DYWC upper girls’ counselor jokingly stormed off the stage while yelling to her co-host, “I’m leaving Zach!” However, she ran off in style. Alyssa bounded down the aisle, ending in a backflip! She finished off her gymnastics in the wider aisle with a back kick-over and a few other stunts. However, tumbling is not the counselor’s only talent! Everybody’s favorite counselor ‘couple’, Sahil and Alyssa, sang a duet. As the pair ascended to the stage the crowd of campers cheered and chanted “Salyssa!” Alyssa began singing “Run This Town” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Jay-Z. As the chorus ended Sahil surprised the crowd by rapping Jay-Z and Kanye West’s parts in the song. Their performance was a little different from the original song with a calmer tone, yet still powerful.

One of the most impressive acts in the show was a S.M.I.L.E.S camper who not only solved a Rubik’s Cube in a short few minutes but also recited pi at the same time.The S.Mcamper approached the stage with unwavering confidence and proved that there was no doubt in his ability. As he stood profoundly on the stage, his hands moved as quick as lightening as he scrambled to try as many different combinations with the Rubik’s Cube. While he fixated his concentration on solving the Rubik’s Cube, he managed to multitask and recite at least 60 digits of pi. As one of the most remarkable participants of the show, he deserves a lot of credit for his intriguing and unique performances.

One of the earlier performers was an upper DYWC camper, Jae, who led the audience through a Peanut Butter and Jam Chant. The group song consisted of Jae elaborating on the various steps of making a PB&J sandwich and the audience subsequently repeating the steps back in a loud chant. Each step in the sandwich process was described in a few words as well as dance moves and the steps were repeated multiple times, each one louder and crazier than the last. It is safe to say that after Jae’s educational performance, no one will forget how to spread peanut butter and jam onto pieces of bread again.

One camper from the S.M.I.L.E.S. program delivered a monologue, in which he taught the proper treatment of a puncture wound. He shared all of the steps, completely recited from memory. He stated why it was important to cleanse the wound with water, clog the bleeding, and wrap the puncture in cloth or paper towels. Later on in the evening, he returned with a fellow S.M.I.L.E.S. camper and demonstrated the proper technique for us. After their performance, White Lecture Hall erupted into applause.


Aug 04

Ninth Street a Destination for Campers

by Amanda Zhang

Located within walking distance of Duke’s East Campus is a breath of fresh air from the university’s studious environment, a slice of local Durham with that college feel still lingering. Ninth Street features distinctive and divergent shops selling books, clothes, and memorabilia. It also features Latin American restaurants, college bars, and unique coffee shops. Along the street, there are all kinds of artwork such as murals and small statues. If you visit Ninth Street on a Saturday afternoon, you will find a bustling scene with people of all ages strolling along this historic road.

The Erwin Cotton Mill in West Durham is intertwined with the history of Ninth Street itself. It began construction in 1892 when the company purchased a few pieces of land in West Durham and built a two-story factory, dyehouse, a pick building, boiler room, engine house, and office building. As stated by Open Durham, it officially opened in 1893 and shut sometime during the early 1980’s. By 1895, the factory obtained 375 workers working on 11,000 spindles and 360 looms to create fine denim. The Erwin Mill became one of the largest denim producers in the country. The company also began building homes to the north, west, and east of the factory. According to Old West Durham, textile company owners even had Queen Anne style mansions built into the neighborhood. The community even included the EK Powe elementary school. The facility has been there since the early 1900’s. In fact, a building across the street from the school (now Monuts) used to be Scarboro’s Food Store. Local writer Katherine Van Dis, who is currently researching Ninth Street’s history, states, “EK Powe students would go there after school to buy candy!” And as merchants moved to Ninth Street, they formed a thriving business and shopping district that still lives on today.

It’s all about change in Durham. These days, lots of businesses are making the Raleigh-to-Durham move. According to IndyWeek, the duo of Tyler Helikson and Matt Whitley finalized a lease for a space on Ninth Street three times the size of their cafe in City Plaza, Raleigh. That makes their restaurant, Happy + Hale, the latest in this string of moves. Other shops that have done it are The Pit and Lilly’s Pizza. The Ninth Street Merchants Association is also working to bring more awareness to the features of Ninth Street in order to create a more unique, modern shopping read where practical chores can be completed such as buying groceries or sending a package. Another way Ninth Street is spreading local businesses and welcoming new customers is incorporating modern fads into everyday life. Cafes like Francesca’s and the Triangle Coffee Shop are putting Pokemon Go lures in their coffee houses. Avid Pokemon Go trainers flock to the spot to obtain new and rare Pokemon. Player Alice Silberling states, “The lure at Francesca’s helped me catch another Eevee to evolve it into a fire Eevee (Flareon)!” The effect of setting up lures reaches out to possible customers who play the game and may want to buy a good. At Francesca’s, Silberling purchased a Strawberry Lemonade to sip on while sitting at a table playing Pokemon.

Plus, it’s not only Pokemon that gather on Ninth Street. Since West Durham has been a local community for a long time, there are many Durham inhabitants, high school students, and families that shop here. To add on to that, Van Dis says, “The college’s presence is certainly positive in terms of the business it brings to Ninth Street.” The road is a forever and fast growing West Durham shopping attraction. It continues to grow and develop with new customers and big opportunities, all just a few blocks down from renowned Duke University.

Aug 04

More Gun Control Needed in US

by Yael Asofsky

The last few months have seen a rash of mass shootings in several major American cities, including Orlando, Dallas, and Las Vegas. In these shootings, the attackers used an array of arms including attack rifles as well as handguns. Each year about 4.5 million firearms, including approximately 2 million handguns, are sold in the United States. Over 33,000 Americans die a year as victims of gun violence. Clearly, gun violence is a major issue in the United States, one which the government is not working hard enough to resolve.

Many controversies are rising from the state of America’s current gun laws. “While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence,” the Wall Street Journal shares. In the U.S. constitution, the second amendment states that all citizens have “the right to bear arms.” These words may have been relevant to the late 1700’s, but times have changed. While many guns are being kept for protection and safety reasons, they are all too commonly being used in mass killings, as well as accidental shootings of the gun owners and their families. The constitution was created to guard us, not to make it easier for us to kill one another.

Our constitution had once stated that the manufacture, trade, or transportation of alcohol was illegal. Later on in the country’s evolution, we repealed the 18th amendment with the 21st amendment to catch up with the modern times. Amending the constitution is not a new concept, especially when the current amendment puts American civilians in danger. Many people reference the constitution for the gun control laws and strictly follow the paper, but the constitution is a document suited for interpretation in order to protect our citizens and help our country be at its finest.

Many strides are being made to create stricter gun laws, and many people are working to prevent situations like the current ones from occurring. “… [Democrats polled] 92% saying they wanted expanded background checks, 87% supporting a ban for felons or people with mental health problems and 85% saying they would ban people on federal watchlists from buying guns. Among Republicans, that number is even higher — 90% say they favor preventing people on the terror watch list or “no fly” list from buying a gun,” states CNN.

A 15-year-old teenager from New York who wishes to remain anonymous comments, “It is too easy to get a gun. I believe it should be legal to buy guns, but no assault rifles, and getting [a gun] should be very hard to do.” If a teenager who hasn’t even gotten their driver’s license yet feels the gun control laws are too easygoing, it shows that the laws affect all of the U.S., from the young to the elderly.

However, a 14-year-old from Ohio states, “We should have the right to bear arms. Most criminals obtain weapons illegally anyway, so seeing that, taking away the average citizen’s gun would render them defenseless. Plus, there’s a huge gun and hunting market that would crash.” Clearly, the youth can stand on the opposing side as well. It’s true that the cash generated from gun sales can help our economy, but at what expense?

The crisis of gun violence in America is an issue that needs to be resolved. The most logical way to do so is through banning the sale of higher-impact guns such as assault rifles, and doing deeper background checks and new certifications to ensure the safety of our people. With stricter gun laws, we can aspire to  call our country safe and our citizens protected.


Aug 04

DYWC Campers Enjoy a Night at the Ballpark

by Sarah Nicholson

Duke Young Writers’ were able to witness a Durham Bulls win at home against the Toledo Mud Hens on Wednesday the 27th. The campers arrived at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park via the Duke Transit buses, pouring into the entrance with matching gray t-shirts. Many campers were excited for this experience, since the last time a trip to the Bulls game occurred for Duke Youth Programs Session 3 was in 2013.

In the past, the weather has been tricky with unpredicted storms. The procedure for bad weather for Duke camps is that “We would stay if there is rain, but if there is any lightning the trip would get cancelled or we would go back to campus,” says counselor Sydney. Near the beginning of the game, strong winds picked up through the stadium and dark clouds emerged. Many were worried about the outcome of the possible storm. Thankfully, the clouds passed over quickly and only a few raindrops were felt overhead.

The weather proved to be pleasant, and many campers seemed less affected by the humidity than in days past. “It wasn’t that bad, [the air] was very still with no breeze. After the clouds came and passed through it was nice and not too hot,” says Duke Young Writers’ camper Sarah Flores. Many expected the game to be miserably hot and humid, but luckily, it turned out otherwise.

The Bulls won in a slow paced game 5-2, and campers seemed let down by the lack of action until inning six, when the Bulls scored four runs and advanced the game from its previous score of 1-0 for Toledo.

Many campers were content attending the game despite their lack of interest for the sport itself, as the experience itself proved engaging with many different food options in the venue.

Campers were provided with ‘bucks’ available for spending throughout the park for food, drinks, and dessert. A crowd favorite was Chick-Fil-A, which disappointed some with their little options and high prices. “I was upset there were not fries and lemonade available [at Chick-Fil-A],” Said camper Mari Jones.

One lower camper said, “I don’t like watching baseball but the food was good and worth the experience. I liked the funnel cake with powdered sugar.”

Additionally, some campers turned to Pokemon-Go as their source of amusement during the three hours. Dylan Jones, an extended day camper who attended the game preferred this option. “Baseball is boring for me so I played Pokemon-Go instead. There were a good many Pokemon so I would say it was pretty successful.”

A counselor even had a rare pokemon sighting in the park.
Overall, the night proved to be a successful trip for Duke campers.

Aug 04

Sanders Supporters Protest at Democratic National Convention

by Emily Holland

The 2016 Democratic National Convention, held in Philadelphia, PA from July 25-28, made history when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated by a major political party for the office of President of the United States. Despite the historical importance of the nomination, not everyone in the convention hall was satisfied with Clinton’s nomination.

Many supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s main opponent in the primary elections, protested her nomination. Because of the recently released emails sent within the Democratic National Committee, they believed that the board had favored Clinton throughout the primary elections and gave her an unfair advantage over Sanders. Also, Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State with no penalty kindled disdain for her and the adoption of a phrase used in reference to Clinton during the Republican convention, “lock her up.”

Protests occurred throughout the DNC, both in the convention hall and on the streets of Philadelphia.

On Monday, supporters chanted Sanders’s name throughout the convention speeches. Many protesters claimed that they would never vote for Clinton, which caused major division in the Democratic Party.

Several convention speakers attempted to suppress the protests in their speeches. Comedian Sarah Silverman, a known Sanders supporter, addressed the protesters after her speech on party unity, saying, “To the ‘Bernie or bust’ people, you’re being ridiculous.” Others, including Representative Al Franken, praised Sanders for his contributions to the election but also stressed the importance of supporting Clinton in the general election.

Sen. Sanders himself addressed the convention later that night and encouraged Democrats to unite behind Clinton. He formally endorsed her, saying, “Any objective observer will conclude that–based on her ideas and her leadership–Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States,” and, “I am proud to stand with her.” He also asked protesters to consider the alternative of Republican nominee Donald Trump becoming President to make his case for why the Democratic Party must stand with Clinton.

At the end of Tuesday’s roll call vote, Sanders made a motion to make Clinton the Democratic nominee by acclamation, meaning that all delegate votes would be counted for her. This action gave rise to another wave of protests. About 100-200 ardent Sanders supporters staged a sit-in at the convention’s media center later that evening. Many took symbolic vows of silence and held signs that read “Silenced by the Convention” to express their antipathy for the convention committee. The Philadelphia police terminated the protest, but protesters still openly communicated their indignation toward the committee for the remainder of the DNC.

Protester Christopher VanderStouwe told the Guardian, “The purpose of this was to show how we’ve been silenced, and to get the media coverage that the DNC refuses to give us.”

On Thursday, Sanders supporters once again showed their contempt for the DNC and Clinton by wearing neon yellow shirts printed with “Enough is Enough” during Clinton’s acceptance speech. They also held signs that said “Liar” and chanted “No more war” during the final speeches of the convention.

The DNC apologized to Sanders supporters for the disrespect, and Sanders championed respect and support for Clinton. However, tensions remained strong between protesters and the DNC throughout the convention.


Aug 04

Chaos and Uncertainty in Turkey: What You Need to Know

by Brandon Scarberry

On Friday, July 15, lines of dissenting soldiers and rogue tanks filled the streets of Turkey’s capital city of Ankara and Istanbul. Media of all kinds, international and domestic, was shut down and forced to cut any programs covering the events. Social websites were blocked and virtually all sources of information from the two biggest cities of Turkey were cut. Finally, military officials released a public announcement declaring that a “political administration that has lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdraw,” according to CNN.

This is the story of the beginning of Turkey’s failed, albeit increasingly complicated, military coup d’etat, veiled with mystery and growing conspiracies.

The coup is believed to have been spurred by a power-hungry president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the fall of the once-secular state in Turkey. BBC claims that low ranking military officials, for the most part, led the coup in retaliation against Erdogan’s consolidation of power for his own office and tax dollars spent on lavish gifts for himself.

As the coup ensued, president Erdogan contacted the nation through FaceTime from his vacation home in Europe. He expressed his concern about the matter being spurred by Futhulla Gulen, a longtime political enemy and cleric that now lives in refuge in the United States. Erdogan spoke out to Obama and other Western leaders, saying, “I call on the United States and President Barack Obama […] I call on you again, after there was a coup attempt. Extradite this man from Pennsylvania to Turkey!”

Erdogan then urged his supporters to flood the streets of Istanbul and Ankara.

“Go to the streets and give them their answer,” the president said, according to CNN. Those that had voted for his presidency then lashed out against the military officials, and even with gunfire in the president’s multibillion dollar palace, Turkey’s national information service announced the coup to be over within a matter of hours.

Though the coup was over before the night ended, its effects still resonate through Turkey. For the coup to have ever succeeded, the opposition military party would have either had to gain support from the people or from the entirety of the military, according to BBC. It accomplished neither of these things, and this may reveal the attitude of Turkey’s people towards their government.

Brian Sebor, a residential counselor at Duke Young Writers’ Camp and a world history major at Marymount Manhattan spoke about the cause of the coup, saying, “There doesn’t seem to be a leader of the military. It was operated by a single person, but the way it was operated, it was incredibly disorganized.”

Even during the coup, media outlets were not able to report. Turkey’s historical iron fist on journalism has caused a surprising lack of knowledge on what exactly is going on after the coup even now, according to CNN. Brian agreed with this, stating, “We don’t know exactly what’s going on there. Reporters don’t have rights there, so it’s hard to paint a real picture. But what we do know is that the secular founding of Turkey is dying.”

This vagueness has had its own effect on coverage of Turkey’s coup. As a country with a living history of military coups, the last one occurring only a little over twenty years ago, most experts find it unlikely that any citizens or even military officials would back an overthrow of the government, says BBC. The people seem to be in overwhelming support of the democratically elected parliament, prime minister, and president.

“The more I read about it, the more it seems like it is staged. A coup against Turkey’s government would have been more organized. It wouldn’t be unlike Erdogan to use this to consolidate power to himself, especially when the opposing military forces only seized airports and media headquarters, as opposed to government buildings,” says Brian.

Many historians and experts agree with this notion of a staged coup. This would give credit to the coup’s disorganization, media shutdowns, and Erdogan’s vacation. Other conspiracy theories run just as rampant.

The reality of the situation is that as of now, most explanations for who was involved and why the coup happened remain unknown. Turkey is a historically unstable part of the globe, and its most recent coup d’etat attests to this.


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