Model U.N. debates Riots vs. Protests

During the past Friday’s Model United Nations meeting, we discussed and debated an article from The New York Times describing the status and effectiveness of global protests led primarily by young adults. The club members debated the difference between riots and protests by analyzing the root of protest: the need for political change. We discussed how protests portray anger or disagreement through hunger strikes or demonstrations, while riots tend to be expressions of anger resulting in violence. While some people believed that protests are simply disturbances of the peace, others argued that throughout history protests have served as a valid and important means of expression for emphasizing dissatisfaction with current legislation and conditions (the Civil Rights Movement being a notable example). For example, Mohandas Gandhi helped free his nation of India from the wrath of the British Empire through peaceful protest, including demonstrations and starvation periods. Although Gandhi’s protests could have been an inconvenience at the time, these protests were a major reason for India’s independence from Great Britain.

As technology evolves, the world experiences new ways of sharing and debating current world issues. Essentially, due to easily accessible social media sites, there are extensive opportunities for global citizens to share their thoughts and opinions around political and economic issues. The group also discussed the declining power of the vote. While voting ensures the famed “power of the people,” it does not ensure that the people are going to get whatever it is they vote for. Our club leaders pointed out that people often resort to public demonstrations and protest when they feel that their political institutions and elected officials are no longer serving their interests.

In the next few meetings we will be discussing the recent worldwide economic struggles (causes and effects), and as always, our opinions.

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