The Only Road Out of Africa by Brin Enterkin
14 Ways Agriculture is Reducing Poverty via Farming First
The women vanishing without a trace by Nina Lakhani
Death in Syria by Karen Yourish, K.K. Rebecca Lai and Derek Watkins
How Fear Drives American Politics by David Rothkopf
Five reflections on Europe's migrant crisis by Mark Urban
The Syrian Crisis: Practical ways to help by Cerys Parker
The CAR's rushed elections are a dangerous gamble via African Arguments
Russia: Children With Disabilities Face Discrimination via Human Rights Watch
Adept at Adapting by Bill Gates
While perusing Facebook on Sunday, I noticed this video was circulating with this article from Independent UK, showing a young boy being pulled from the rubble after a bombing in Syria-
I thought the video was thought-provoking and shared the link right away on our Facebook page. I also noted the date that the video was published- January 22nd, 2014. The person I copied the link from said that this had just happened last week and it was shocking to her that this was going on…
My frustration here is not just that people don’t pay attention to what they are sharing and getting upset about, but that people act like these are isolated events. This person apparently had no knowledge of what is happening in Syria, much less that this video was over a year old.
It should be upsetting to see a child in this situation, but children are caught in the middle of violence and war EVERY SINGLE DAY.
These children lose their childhood instantly, as well as any sense of safety or peace. Their families can be taken away by bombs and raids, their homes destroyed, and everything they know disappears.
Like the buildings turned to rubble around them, their lives are in ruins. It takes years and years to rebuild and a lot of these families have no choice but to live in the devastation as they attempt to pick up the pieces. And let’s be honest, life is never going to be the same.
Syria is not hidden from the media and their problems have been escalating for years. According to War Child UK, an estimated 100,000 people have died from the conflicts in Syria. And two million people have been displaced- one million being children.₁
It is difficult to picture such large numbers and it’s certainly not pleasant, but remember that it’s not fun for them either. I understand that a lot of people have never experienced life that way, but we have to stop dismissing others because their suffering makes us uncomfortable.
Watching that video again, I see two realities-
1) We are capable of unimaginable cruelty and hatred. Millions of innocent lives have been taken by war and terrorism, and not one is justified. Not every one is so lucky to be pulled out from the debris after these attacks; not every mother and father gets to hold their child again.
2) Humanity can prevail. The emotion, urgency, and ultimately love shown in this video is encouraging. Watching all of these men work to free this little boy; being so careful with his tiny body, wiping his face, comforting him, and praising their god that he was alive… That is what we are also capable of.
We are capable of good things and capable of making a difference in the world wherever we are. Videos like this should stir up feelings and call people to action, but they don't mean anything if we don't really pay attention to them.
Sharing a link on Facebook is one way to get people to notice an issue- but people have to understand what they are seeing. At the very least, check the dates, READ the material and WATCH the videos that you are sharing. If you don’t understand the context, then look it up. Be informed of what is happening around you.
To learn more about the conflicts in Syria and more about children caught in these places, check out the links below--
The Reuters' Syria feed and the Human Rights Watch Syria feed are great sources for current information on what is happening there.
War Child UK is an awesome organization that works with children that have been effected by war. They work in several high-conflict areas and have a great reputation.
Several issues combating the Nigerian people have succeeded in turning peace into a very rare commodity indeed.
For a great percentage of the populace, the most worrisome of these issues would be insecurity and the rising spate of brazen insurgent attacks on innocent and average citizens of the North Eastern region of the country.
Like rubbing salt on an open wound, the absence of peace is further compounded by the seemingly unresponsiveness and insensitivity of the government to the plights of her stricken people. To cut the government some slack, ‘concerted’ efforts far removed from public views may well be going on ‘underground’to protect the Nigerian people but the results are definitely slow in showing.
Come April 15, the missing Chibok girls –if still alive- would have been in captivity for a period of one year. Although the Nigerian Government would have the people believe spirited and calculated efforts are ongoing to secure their release, there has been little to show for it as the Chibok girls are still in captivity and would have forcefully become women by now.
From the period of the abduction till date, more men, women and youngsters have been reportedly abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram group in the same region.
The ‘BH’ group which has become one of the most dreaded groups globally is a controversial militant Islamic group founded in 2002. The group is intent on completely Islamising the Northern part of the country by the imposition of Sharia law and principles. Even though the purely Islamic group opposes Western education and ideologies, as well as every semblance of Western culture and modern science, they are apparently not averse to making use of the products of modern science and technology. This includes high tech fire arms in achieving their aims. The knife-wielding foot soldiers of yore have become an effective commando force that boasts of sophisticated weapons in its arsenal. They are no longer poor and disgruntled but are now reportedly backed by wealthy unnamed individuals within the Nigerian state.
It is clear that in the past five years, the group has grown horrifically in stature and gruesomeness in Nigeria's north-eastern region. The membership has grown in leaps and the mode of operations has drastically changed. They now control large territories after successfully establishing their ‘Islamic caliphate’ seat and all those beyond government control in a country regarded as Africa’s largest economy.
To conclude that the country lacks the capacity and will to battle the menace of insurgency in the nation may not be far from the truth if the rising spate of gruesome and horrific attacks are anything to go by. For whatever reason, the will…not the capacity.
So far, an estimated 14,000 people –peasants and elites, Muslims and Christians have been reportedly slain in the last five years with the latest massacre occuring earlier in the month of January in the city of Baga. There have been conflicting reports of the total number of casualties with figures as high as 2000 lost lives been bandied around. Millions have been displaced with many fleeing into the neighbouring countries to seek refuge, churches as well as mosques razed down.
It would appear that the fight is no longer against ‘Western Education’ but against humanity. It is no longer against the Nigerian government but against the concept of living as there has been a clear departure from the ‘original objectives’ of the group as Muslims and non-Muslims are equally being cut down daily in the horrific scripts unravelling before the eyes of the world.
Maybe if the whole world stood still as it did when France was attacked earlier in the week, the war would be half won in the hearts of the Nigerian people and the burden of mortal helplessness would become lighter to bear. Regardless of race or color, everyone is important in the big picture as we all form pieces and parts of the big jigsaw.
Also considering recent reports of attacks against Cameroun and Chad, it is becoming clear that the fight is gradually been taken from the doorsteps of Nigeria to neighbouring countries.
The message is loud rather than subtle to the discerning that the fight is no longer only that of the Nigerian people anymore.
As the Nation goes to the polls in February with a view of sorting out her corporate governance issues, there are flickers of (dwindling) hopes in the heart of the Nigerian people…hope of peace…hope of survival…hope of change...hope of an end to insurgency.
For as things stand, sleep has long been murdered and the Nigerian people can neither find peace nor sleep…unless the WORLD unites to fight this war for and with the people regardless of the (in)action of the Government.
Written by Abiola Olaleye
Truly, we can indeed end Ebola together.
It is no longer news that #Ebola is wreaking a devastating havoc on some West African countries with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone being the worst hit countries.
''Ebola is tearing through West Africa, killing up to 70% of those infected and spreading fear through their communities''
Would not forget in a hurry what I went through some months back when Nigeria had a taste of what these helpless countries are currently facing. The fear and the uncertainties are not something to be wished on anyone.
When you have kids or dependents, it becomes worse. I remember my fear was mainly on account of my children, how to protect them from it all.
Children are actually endangered the most with their future left hanging in the balance. Every child should enjoy parental care, love and comfort. Every child should have access to health and education but with the current battle for survival, this is mere wishful thinking at this time.
This is why we all need to act NOW, regardless of our geographical location.
It is better late than never like they say.
Consider the countless lives that have been needlessly wasted. I mean if Sierra Leone or Liberia or Guinea had sufficient resources / infrastructure in place, the effect wouldn't have been catastrophically grave like we are witnessing right now.
Almost 5,000 people have died of Ebola in West Africa and more than 13,500 cases have been confirmed since the beginning of the outbreak - WHO
Think of the young 2 year old girl who contracted the disease after losing her parents to it in Sierra Leone, she later died in Mali.
Think of Dorcas who lost her parents and sibling to the disease but survived.
Think of the medical health volunteers that watch the devastation daily, lives ebbing painfully away while they helplessly could do no more.
Think of the medical volunteers that put their lives on the line just to make a difference in this battle.
Think of how easily it spread to America, Nigeria and other countries.
Think of the over 5000 helpless victims of this dreadful disease.
Think of the devastating after effects on the survivors.
Think what if it comes to my country or state?
It is a real battle for survival out there and it would be unwise to just sit back in our comfort zones thinking we are safe from it all. No country is truly safe until Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and every other country is totally free from #Ebola.
Think of the short + long term effects on kids and adults alike.
Entire families are being wiped out daily.
Children are left parent-less with no hope for the future.
Parents are left children-less.
Schools are closed indefinitely.
Let us come together to act, NOW to stop this epidemic from further destroying our future and the future of our children in West Africa.
How can we help?
You see, there is an upcoming meeting of the all-powerful G20 leaders in a few days’ time -November 15 and this petition may actually make a difference. Even if it doesn't, you would have contributed your own quota, right?
Members of the G20 are capable of delivering the resources required for adequate international response on #ebola. Isn't that some good news?
But if we do not gather enough signatures a la voices, this may just get swallowed up in the face of other issues.
''According to the UN, if states have committed and deployed the required resources by the time of the G20 meeting in November the transmission rate will be on track to decline by the end of the year''
Let us all join the campaign to call on leaders of the G20 to ensure all people, equipment and funding needed to halt the outbreak are in place by the 15th November.
You're probably thinking how you may help out here when you do not know any of the G20 leaders personally and you are neither a medical personnel nor do you have millions of dollars to donate to fight the scourge.
You may simply contribute your 'widow's mite' by visiting Save The Children's website and signing a petition to call on world leaders to act swiftly and rightly.
Kindly sign the petition here, I just did.
The world is one and we can indeed make a difference, together.
Written by Abiola Olaleye