August student blogger of the month and former Marine Robert Maniak (3L) recently wrote a powerful, moving post called Rules of Engagement that appeared on this blog. This morning, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ran that post as an opinion piece. Congratulations to Robert. Be sure to check out Robert’s other blog posts here, here, and here.
Afghanistan was hot. An almost indescribable amount of heat meant that you were constantly sweating as everything you wore became soaked, so that you were never truly dry. I was there in 2014 as part of, what we thought at the time, was the U.S.’s withdrawal from the country. The unit I was a part of had the impossible task of maintaining the operation of Camp Bastion’s flight line, providing all the logistics that kept the aircraft and crews happy, while also keeping them safe.
Contrary to public assumption, and most recruiting commercials, the U.S. Marine Corps isn’t made of just infantry and aircraft units. There is a whole ecosystem of support jobs which keep everything moving along. My job was one of the less glamorous, less flashy, less likely to be publicized ones. I maintained air conditioners and refrigerators. And the unit I was assigned to wasn’t all that exciting either. We were a support squadron of the aircraft squadrons. We did not have any aircraft to maintain. Rather, we were supplied all the less glamourous logistics for the units that did fly.
Part of that logistic support was security. After the disastrous 2012 attack which killed two Marines and destroyed millions of dollars of aircraft, the airfield, which was nested inside the larger base, was subject to increased security protocols, limiting access to only those who had business there. This meant that in addition to doing our daily jobs, like vehicle and heavy equipment maintenance, we would also be tasked to stand post at the entry points for the flight line or be on stand-by as a quick reaction force in the event that someone breached the base fence and made the one-kilometer trek to the flight line. Continue reading “Rules of Engagement”
As you might have calculated, we returned to the U.S. on that Saturday that the world saw those crazy pictures at O’Hare after the President’s announcement to shut down the U.S. [Nothing like hearing from him that “no one from Europe” will be allowed back to the U.S. and taking 2 hours from 1:30 a.m.-3:30 a.m. to confirm that the rules were actually not applying to U.S. citizens nor to flights from Ireland!]
And the end of our trip was definitely informed by the fact that we were coming home to a world quite different from one we left. Our fun travel story included several long lines (luckily in Dublin for customs and not Chicago); a plane that finally took off with no luggage on it (!) since they couldn’t take the time to sort the bags between those who made it through customs and those who were detained; and then another 2 hour line at Aer Lingus to fill out a form to claim our bag! Now that we can confirm all bags have returned home and, more importantly, all participants have remained safe and healthy, I can comfortably say this was just another layer to our memorable trip. I am truly grateful that we were able to have this last trip before we all came home to lockdown.
This trip and experience provided an avenue to understand Irish culture in a way that few can. Continue reading “Ireland Reflections 2020–Final Thoughts”
As we begin a new year, it is interesting to look back on how things have changed in both our personal world and in the world at large. One interesting development that has taken place over the past two decades in the world of international politics has been the drastic increase in the use of economic sanctions. It seems as if the imposition and lifting of sanctions is the language of international diplomacy, rather than being a single tool in the diplomatic toolbox.
The efficacy of international sanctions in changing a country’s behavior is debatable. One study, as reported by World Finance, found that economic sanctions only have a 20-30% success rate in this regard. Nonetheless, even if economic sanctions may not be the most effective way of changing behavior, they can provide an economic benefit to the countries that impose them. Continue reading “International Sanctions with Domestic Benefits”
In the midst of our recent, deadly skirmishes with Iran, President Trump at one point threatened to bomb 52 sites that were “important to Iran and the Iranian culture.” Commentators quickly pointed out that doing so would violate the UNESCO World Heritage Convention as well as the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. (For just a sampling of those responses, see here, here, here, here, and here.) For my own part, I was struck by the President’s understanding of “culture” and his willingness to destroy it. Continue reading “Trump’s Willingness to Destroy Culture”
Any law student interested in Study Abroad opportunities during calendar year 2020 — which includes the Spring 2020 academic semester, the summer 2020 semester, and the Fall 2020 academic semester — should plan on attending an information session that will take place on Thursday September 5 from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm in Room 257 of the Law School.
Attendance at this information session is MANDATORY for any student who wishes to participate in a semester long exchange at the University of Copenhagen, the University of Comillas (Madrid), or the University of Poitiers (France) during the year 2020.
This information session will provide details on fast-approaching application deadlines for the semester exchanges, and will also discuss how to apply for the 2020 Summer Session in Giessen Germany and the International Conflict Resolution trip over Spring Break.
Contact Professor Ed Fallone for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This summer marked the 11th year that the Summer Session in International and Comparative Law was held in the town of Giessen, Germany. The program brings together law students from the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America to learn and live together for four weeks. This one of a kind program is a partnership between the Marquette University Law School, the University of Wisconsin Law School, and the Justus Liebig University.
I was proud to address our 37 participants at this year’s Closing Ceremony on August 15, 2019. Here is the text of my remarks.
Herr Doctor Professor Marauhn, Vice President Kampfer, Honored Guests, Faculty and Graduates:
It all started with a Big Bang.
No, I am not referring to the American television show about young scientists that is apparently popular in every country on the planet. I am talking about the original Big Bang, that sudden burst of light and energy that began our universe.
Imagine if you had been there when the Big Bang occurred. At first, there was chaos, disorder, and confusion. But slowly, the gases cooled and became planets, and the planets formed orbits around suns, and the universe took shape. And it was beautiful.
Four weeks ago, you arrived in Giessen, Germany with your very own Big Bang. And yes, there was chaos. Continue reading “A Big Bang in Germany”
Most of this blog post is from my colleagues Alex Lemann and Rebecca Blemberg who joined Natalie Fleury (our fabulous DR program coordinator) and me on the trip. It was such a delight to have them with us on this great and educational adventure. And, as they note, we are all likely returning with more questions rather than less. Here is one last group pic:
It is hard to believe that a month has gone by since we returned from Israel. On one hand, the experience was so intense and meaningful that it feels like it just ended. On the other hand, it was so far outside our normal experience that it immediately felt foreign, such that looking back now it almost feels like it was all a dream.
We have all had time to rest and reflect since we got home, and we even got the chance to gather socially for a potluck dinner. Seeing everyone again has been a great joy; there is a special bond between us now that we hope will be lasting. Initially, we wondered what it would be like to travel with 40 students. To our delight, we were warmly received by students and welcomed into serious conversations, joyful silliness, and everything in between. (We are grateful we got to travel with such wonderful students.)
One thing that has been particularly interesting upon our return has been following the news from Israel. Many students have been sending articles on current events to our (still vibrant!) group chat. Much of the news from the Middle East has a new immediacy that it lacked before our visit. We also feel informed and aware of the issues in a much deeper way than we were before. Reading that the Trump administration recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights mere days after being there ourselves, for instance, was almost surreal. And Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection, a week after he promised to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has given us all a lot to think about.
Alex: I still haven’t been able to shake something we heard on our very first night in Israel, from Dr. Alick Isaacs. Dr. Isaacs is the co-director of Siach Shalom, which works to create a dialogue about peace that builds on a foundation of deep respect for and understanding of the fervently-held religious beliefs of people on both sides. This type of emphasis feels very foreign to us as Americans, something Michael Karayanni, Dean of the faculty of law at Hebrew University, echoed on our very last day. To many Americans, the problem of peace between Israel and Palestine (and in the region more generally) can seem like an interesting puzzle, one whose solution lies in figuring out how to fit the pieces together (or perhaps divide them up) in just the right way. Dr. Isaacs suggested that to people of faith, the Holy Land cannot simply be divided up. It is as if, he said, two people found a Torah (a bible scroll) at the same time. Cutting the Torah in half is simply unthinkable; another way to share must be found.
Rebecca: The question that stays with me also came up at Dr. Isaacs’ talk, after he gave a powerful account of people meeting together after an act of violence and finding empathy for one another. Student Shayla Sanders asked how peacemakers can bring that deep empathy we experience when we interact as individuals into more large-scale political questions that consider group interests. That question stayed with me when we heard Adam Waddell from EcoPeace speak about sharing resources and social space and “being human with one another” despite differences. I thought about it again when Genevieve Begue from the Shutafot Coalition for Economic Equality spoke to us at Juha’s Guesthouse in Jisr al Zarqa and stated that sharing personal and even painful experiences bridged some cultural divides and helped create trust needed for a social business seeking to empower impoverished women and children. Again it came up at Kuchinate, a refugee women’s collective, in Jaffa. Refugees shared their personal stories with our group, and I will never again think about political questions concerning refugees and status without remembering these two brave women.
Where thoughts like these lead us is open to interpretation. One benefit of understanding a problem more deeply is that easy answers are no longer satisfying. At the very least we all feel that we all understand so much more than we did when we left, not only about Israel but maybe also about the human condition.
We can’t resist closing with a big Thank You to Professors Andrea Schneider and Natalie Fleury for all the work they put into this incredible class trip!
And thanks to all of our students for their wonderful reflections and our blog readers for their attention–feel free to reach out with any comments or questions. We hope that the blogs gave you a sense of the range of our trip and what we learned. What you might not have picked up is how much fun this was (for me too!) and how much I enjoyed. With much appreciation to Marquette Law School and our extra trip funders for supporting this!
Cross-posted at Indisputably.org .
Our last chunk of speakers were strong women who work to make Israel more inclusive and safer. Kylie Owens shared her thoughts on our first speaker.
Professor Halperin-Kaddari is a renowned expert in family law, who earned both her L.L.M. and J.S.D. from Yale Law School. Our visit with Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a family law professor from Bar-Ilan University, was truly enlightening. Israel has a unique system of law that regulates marriage, divorce, and child custody issues. Under this system, mainly governed by religious courts, women can be oppressed, the courts completely prevent interfaith marriage, and domestic abuse can be overlooked. Professor Halperin-Kaddari discussed some of these problems in detail and offered a look at the current state of the opposition and efforts to change the system to allow the possibility of civil marriages in Israel.
Our second speaker Keren Greenblatt immediately connected to all of us when she started speaking having fun when you go out at night. She then talked about her organization Layla Tov (Hebrew for good night), which organizes bars and clubs to combat harassment. (News story here.) Continue reading “Israel Reflections 2019–Feminism & Women”
It is always such a highlight of our trip to hear from Justice Barak and this was no exception–student Lucas Baker reflected on the meeting:
It was an incredible opportunity to meet with retired Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Justice Aharon Barak. Rarely do law students have the chance to learn from a true giant in the law. Justice Barak lectured our group about the general contours of Israel’s Judiciary and non-constitutional system, before we took a deeper dive into a number of other topics.
The Chief Justice fielded questions regarding differing judicial philosophies between the United States and Israel. With incredible insight, Justice Barak discussed how the public confirmation proceedings in the United States lead to manufactured and politicized “judicial philosophies.” In Israel, on the other hand, the confirmation process is not public and therefore not politicized, which allows for consensus in rules of interpretation. In Israel there are no “activist” nor “originalist” judges. Rather, judges have a much more uniform approach to the law. After witnessing the recent circus of a confirmation process here in the United States, it was fascinating to hear that there is little political split among judges, and no divergence in methods of interpretation in Israel.
Another key takeaway from Justice Barak’s lecture involved dispute resolution. Continue reading “Israel Reflections 2019–Justice Aharon Barak”
On our first full morning in Tel Aviv, we turned to some (other) hard issues facing different parts of the population in Israel. Our first speaker was Mazal Bisawer, a PhD candidate and student leader at Tel Aviv University. Mazal spoke to us about the Ethiopian population in Israel—a minority within a minority—most of whom immigrated to Israel in the 1970’s and 1980’s. We’ve had visits with other Ethiopian Jews over the years (see blogs from 2017 here and 2015 here) dealing with the issue of diversity in Israel. And even on the main street in Tel Aviv, the concept of refugees is front and center with this beautiful mosaic:
Shayla Sanders identified with Mazal’s comments:
She spoke broadly about police brutality against young Ethiopian men and emphasized that while only 2% of the population in Israel, Ethiopian young people make up 60% of the population in juvenile detention facilities. I was struck in this moment with a sickening, yet somehow validating sense of déjà vu. I recognized these statistics. I know that African Americans in the US face a similar plight. In hearing her speak to some of these issues, I heard some of the same emotions I myself experience when discussing racial issues here in the US. I heard in her the same passion I feel when discussing instances of injustice against my people. I heard her pain when she told us how people would say that Ethiopians should feel lucky to only be experiencing minor levels of racism because they are the only group of black people not brought by force into a country and compelled into slavery. I felt her frustration when she emphasized that speaking out on these issues, she is often met with the same reaction as if she had stated a belief in little green aliens and UFOs… I have myself been written off as a radical idealist who plays the race card all too frequently. I have been faced with those who would rather police my tone than address and confront the truth in my statements. So, imagine my utter lack of shock when our very own tour guide immediately dismissed Mazal as radical and gave an open invitation to our tour group to take her opinion with a grain of salt not granted to any of the other speakers we had seen thus far.