Impunity Watch Articles

Once a week (hopefully more, when I get settled), I write for the human rights legal journal Impunity Watch. Although I’m unable to reproduce those articles here, my writings can be followed through this hyperlink: http://impunitywatch.com/author/srvcelka/.  Another one should be coming out in the next couple of days!

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Self-Care and Chaos

I am surrounded by chaos. The school year just ended, and it is time for me to move back home for the summer. Things are strewn about my apartment, and several moving boxes are tipped onto their sides, waiting to be filled. I need a break from the mess, and pour myself a cup of tea.

Tea is my happy place. It provides a quick ten minutes of relief, and reminds me that I am at peace with the universe. I am water, transformed, just like the tea in my cup. Nothing is impossible with a cup of tea in my hands, and harmony in my soul.

Yoga gives me the same feeling as tea, but lately, I haven’t been as faithful with my practice. School and life have both gotten in the way, and I’ve failed to take care of myself as fully as I should. Tea, on the other hand, is not something I will neglect so easily. One does not forget an absolute necessity of life.

I’m starting to realize that self-care, like tea, is an absolute necessity of life. Law school does not offer me much time to take care of myself, and it often feels like a battle between self-care and schoolwork. Unfortunately, schoolwork almost always wins. However, the more self-care I engage in, the better I feel about all aspects of my life. This reminds me of Audre Lorde, who once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Because of what I’ve experienced in life, and the field I’ve chosen as my career, I need to take time to care for myself. People are expecting me to fail or give up, and those are simply not options.

Tea is an important part that I didn’t realize I had incorporated into my self-care ritual. For me, just taking the time to slow down and live in the moment is enough to realign and reassert my priorities. Sometimes, just repeating to myself “I am enough” over a quick cuppa is sufficient to satisfy my restless mind. Taking the time to breathe, relax, and inhale the fumes of the tea reminds me that my troubles and worries are temporary, and I am powerful beyond measure.

The warm mug is very still, except for the spirals of heat coming off the tea. I am at peace, and I am happy. For this moment, life is not as daunting as it seems.

Surviving Cinco de Mayo: one man’s ambivalent guide to the Taco Bell of holidays

This explains perfectly everything I feel as a mixed Mexican girl in America on Cinco de Mayo. Put down the sombrero; my heritage is not a fucking costume.

Fusion

It’s not that I hate Cinco de Mayo, I’m mostly just confused. Are Americans who celebrate with sombreros and jalapeño poppers making fun of Mexicans or celebrating us? If I were to host a Cinco de Mayo party, serving homemade pozole and showing Iñárritu films, am I reclaiming the day or being suckered into something unsavory?

The only comparable celebration in America to Cinco de Mayo is St. Patrick’s Day—the country’s homage to drunkenness and the color green. And the Irish have pretty much made it into mainstream America, so maybe a debaucherous, stereotype-driven holiday is a milestone on the path to cultural acceptance?

I haven’t always been so ambivalent about the 5th of May. Once upon a time, at the height of my self-righteousness, I thought I knew what to make of this strange holidayish fiasco: it was bullshit, simple as that, a marketing invention that was also kinda racist.

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Cilantro Margarita

Oh my god, finals week is killing me.  Technically, I take finals for two weeks because it would be cruel and unusual punishment to make law students take 4 hour finals every single day for one week.  I come home exhausted every time I take a final and, let’s be honest, all I want is a drink.  Here’s a perfect drink for Cinco de Mayo, or for any time after taking a four hour final.


Ingredients

  • salt
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces triple sec
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 lime wedges

Directions

  • Throw some salt on a plate. Dip the rim of your glass in water and dip in the salt to create a salt rim
  • Slightly bruise the cilantro to bring out the flavor
  • Put the tequila, triple sec, sugar and cilantro in a margarita shaker
  • Add in ice, top the shaker, and shake for about a minute until sugar is dissolved
  • When ready, pour into the glass, and garnish with lime wedge and more cilantro

A Pattern of Curbing Dissidence Emerges as Turkey Convicts Cartoonists for Insulting President Erdogan

Two cartoonists for a Turkish satirical magazine have been sentenced for 11 months and 20 days for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan. The usual penalty for the crime of insults was increased to over a year due to the attachment to a public official. The Istanbul court has commuted the sentence for “good behavior” to a fine of 7,000 Turkish liras (approx $2,700 American dollars) for both Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan, cartoonists at Penguen magazine. The cartoon showed an aide welcoming President Erdogan to the presidential palace. As he approaches, Erdogan says, “But this is so dry. We could have at least slaughtered a journalist.”

According to Penguen, a citizen filed a complaint following the publication of Baruter and Aydogan’s cartoon, claiming that the cartoon suggested President Erdogan was gay. The complaint stated that the circular hand gesture the aide made in the cartoon is a symbol frequently used to insult homosexuals in Turkish slang. Shortly after this complaint was filed, the prosecution office was notified of the cartoon, and indictment charges were brought against the two cartoonists. The court case and subsequent conviction followed soon after. The sentence was for both the dialogue in the cartoon and for the hand gesture. Penguen plans on appealing the conviction, and has openly mocked the case against their cartoonists with new cartoons.

This is not the first time Turkey has prosecuted journalists on alleged insults toward politicians. A clear pattern has emerged where any alleged insults towards President Erdogan will be prosecuted, regardless of age or status. Prosecutors are encouraged to be aggressive with these prosecutions, and seek out opportunities for a defamation conviction. As a result, Turkey has been listed by Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog group, as one of the worst jailers of journalists and “not free” in terms of free speech. Recently, 37 teachers and students have faced charges for alleged insults during a protest in February. Similarly, former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac faces 4.5 years in prison for insults on social media. Earlier in March, a 13-year-old boy was questioned for a Facebook post.

Good News!

I have been entirely neglectful of my posting the past couple days, and I blame finals 100%.  Law school exams are soul sucking to the point where I am a mere shell of a human being until Thursday afternoon, when all of this will be over!  After an excruciating 3 hour Constitutional Law final, I am finally done for the day.

But I have some good news!  A couple of weeks ago, I applied to Impunity Watch, a human rights law review run by my law school.  Since I hope to practice human rights law one day, I was really hoping to get a spot as a Desk Reporter at the European desk.  I am super pleased to say I have been offered a position as a Desk Reporter!  I’ll find out what desk I am assigned to on Thursday afternoon.

If possible, I’ll try to post some of the articles I write on here, in addition to what is written on Impunity Watch.  If not, I’ll just post links to the website.  Who knows what kind of contract I’ll have to sign?

Mint Julep

Happy Derby Day!  I’m gonna make this a quick post because I’ve got more studying to do (yay, Constitutional Law), but know that I will be taking time out of my day to make a Mint Julep.


Ingredients

  • For mint simple syrup
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 bunch mint
  • For actual drink
    • 2 cups crushed ice
    • 2 ounces bourbon (sorry Jack, but actual bourbon. Not the rye or blend whiskey)
    • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

Preparation
  • For mint simple syrup
    • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar and stir together until sugar dissolves.
    • Let mixture simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally
    • Take the pan off heat, and add mint leaves.  Let it steep for five minutes
    •  Strain, and refrigerate until cold. Usually takes about three hours
  • For actual drink
    • In a highball glass or silver Julep cup (which are awesome, by the way), add mint simple syrup, 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon and a splash of water. Just a splash because you don’t want to ruin your alcohol with water
    • Add enough of the remaining ice to almost fill up the glass
    • Stir and garnish with mint spring.

Happy horse racing!

Whiskey Tea

Two of my favorite things in the world are tea and whiskey.  Especially since I just finished a horrendous four hour Criminal Law final, I might need a little bit of both to get me through the rest of the day.

Here’s a perfect recipe for those useless hours between “coffee” and “wine.”


Ingredients

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tea bag (best with a black tea)
  • 2 shots of whiskey (or more, if you feel like it. No judgment here!)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

Directions

  1. Boil some water. Pour it in a fancy pants mug.
  2. Throw in the tea bag to steep for as long as the tea needs. Usually around 3-5 minutes. Remove and discard.
  3. Put one shot of whiskey in the tea.  Take the other one because you deserve it.
  4. Add milk and sugar to your pleasing.
  5. Stir, drink, forget your problems.

An Open Letter to Barbri Prep

Dear Barbri Prep,

As finals approach, I wanted to write a quick note (as I procrastinate for finals) about the services you provide and how they have helped me throughout my first year in law school.  While I am still prone to heart palpitations when the professor looks for a student to call upon, I am the basest level of prepared for any ridiculous question they might have due to those wonderful videos you have on your site.  It brings me immense joy when I am able to adequately answer a question that some other idiot student in the class was asked, but was unable to answer.  The extra five minutes I save from reading your outlines and watching your videos allows me to have the mental breakdown I deserve.  That being said, I understand that your company forsaking me in my time of need is a definite foreseeable risk.  Please be aware of your duty of care to me, as breaching this duty of care in the next two weeks constitutes adequate provocation.  All I want is an estoppel from failure, and a good night’s sleep.

Have the best day legally allowed,

Shelby

PS- betraying the relationship of trust that we have makes you a fidouche. Remember that.

What’s My Starbucks Name?

I am a huge fan of Starbucks.  I know it’s a really bad habit to have (especially for a poor law student), but I love my lattes and my iced teas.  It’s a shameless addiction, and it won’t go away anytime soon.

Starbucks is notorious for spelling names wrong.  Mine usually comes out right, but some names are horrendously butchered.  The website What’s My Starbucks Name? shows some of the name massacres that are happening all across the country.  It’s pretty funny.

Find out your “Starbucks name” here! http://www.whatsmystarbucksname.com/