Trust High Schoolers with the Earth

by Matthew Cubetus

Would you trust your typical band of high schoolers with running the world and solving all its problems? Of course, the great majority would say no. However, one teacher here at Sturgis has decided why not give it a try. So, to simulate teens ruling the world, one history teacher here at Sturgis West, Mr. Lee has created and runs M.U.N. – or Model United Nations. Every Monday the members of M.U.N. gather around in Mr. Lee’s classroom at lunch, where they deliberate and discuss the trending international phenomena and hysteria of the week. Many topics have been discussed so far, including Illegal Immigration, the Israel-Iran conflict, and soon to be the Syrian civil war. Each debate, a collection of students that are present volunteer to speak on behalf of their beliefs, or against them, depending on which country they choose at the start of the meeting – but what they state must reflect the view points of the nation they are representing, much like a real United Nations debate. Many ideas have been tossed about in these discussions; and though many refuse to compromise, a resolution (or solution) is usually reached.

Before the next meeting, Mr. Lee emails all members what they will be discussing, and what they should research in order to be rock-solid when presenting their country’s opinion. Though it is not expected, many participants and speakers bring up statistics and numbers as evidence for their case, while other times, such as during affairs in the Middle East, ancient conflict and what some call the “blame-game” is the easiest to challenge arguments. Not surprisingly, the more powerful and influential countries usually take the stand and make the case for her and her allies, such as the United States, Britain, Russia, Israel, the Peoples’ Republic of China, and Iran. In case you get tripped-up while speaking, unlike in the real M.U.N., help is always there for those who require it.

As of recent, there has been a general consensus regarding the issue of Illegal Immigration in the U.S. and a resolution for the Israel-Iran conflict. Several weeks ago the club concluded, with both sides of the political spectrum being represented, that a simpler pathway to citizenship, repeal and replace of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) with a new trade agreement, and an ease away from the drug war, specifically in Mexico, would be the most intelligent decision. According to Will Perry, one M.U.N. regular, a pathway to citizenship ensures the “safety of the innocent and slow of illegal border-hopping.” Matt Cubetus stated that “After extensive research on the issue, I found NAFTA full of holes – when it made its way through Congress it got eaten by corporate interests and lobbyists controlling our politicians. That’s why it hasn’t been effective. A real free trade agreement with Latin America would work to get countries like Mexico back on their feet economically.” When asked about the drug war, like the voters of Massachusetts this November, most said that the “drug war is pointless. There are illegal drugs, like marijuana, that have a proven medical use. Sure there’s abuse of it – then make it prescription. We saw what happened in the 20’s when alcohol was prohibited: no one listened. How is this any different?” Matt Cubetus pointed out that over the last six years, 1,000+ Mexican children, 318 federal police, 14 marines, 138 army, and 1,000+ police and prosecutors have been killed as a result of the drug war. Recently one Mexican mayor was dragged from her car while her daughter watched her be killed by cartels. “Also,” Matt pointed out, “A great number of American prisoners are non-violent offenders… and we have the highest rate of citizens incarcerated per capita. All this… just because someone wanted a buzz.”

A more heated debate came about when Iran and Israel came up. Israel and the United States representatives at the meeting insisted Israel had a right to defend itself, therefore it had the right to attack Iran preemptively, and that over the years Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.” Iran and Russia countered by denying any nuclear development within Iran, that Israel was being too anxious, and Israel has made similar claims of wanting to destroy Iran. After the delegates cooled off by sitting on opposite sides of Mr. Lee’s classroom, India and Russia offered to be envoys between Iran and Israel. Back and forth deals and offers were proposed, each shot-down by the opposing side almost immediately. Despite all the disagreement, a resolution was finally reached: Iran would allow U.N. inspectors to overview Iran’s nuclear technological build-up for five years, and in return Israel would not make any attempt at armed conflict with Iran. Though not all satisfied, the resolution was enough to get the unanimous approval of the group. All delegates agreed, “Peace is the only option. War will only bring about the utter destruction and decimation of both countries. Iran and Israel may have their faults, however, blowing each other up into obliteration is going to make us like each other. Killing people doesn’t make them like you, or means you’ve accomplished a great victory. It just makes them dead, and you look pitiful and immature.”