September 30, 2018
A Soaring Death Toll in Indonesia in the Wake of Double Whammy Natural Disasters
The grim reality of an increasing death toll is now taking hold over Indonesia in the wake of double whammy natural disasters - earthquake and tsunami, last Friday. Sadly, the confirmed dead has now climbed to 832, with fears that that number could end in the thousands.
The BBC-News reported earlier today that recovery and rescue efforts are discovering grim realities of people trapped in fallen buildings and scores of dead along the coast following the 7.5 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that cascaded water of over 20-feet into the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi.
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla is cited by the BBC-News as fearing the final death toll could be thousands. The nation has called for heavy machinery to clear rubble. Many of Palu's 335,000 population is missing and great concern also surrounds the condition of the town of Donggala, where the full impact of the tragedy is still unclear, the BBC-News reported.
The Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Strong aftershocks continue to fear residents. Again we offer comfort and strength to the Indonesian people and a hope that they should find the resolve to rebuild.
September 29, 2018
Comfort and Strength to the People of Indonesia in the Wake of Natural Disasters
That more than 380 people have fallen victim to an earthquake and its aftermath tsunami in Palu, on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, last Friday, clearly underscores humanity's vulnerability to the wrath and power of natural disasters. We send our condolences to the people of Indonesia and our prayers of comfort, and strength toward a resolve to rebuild.
Last Friday a 7.5 earthquake struck the seismic-prone area sending a tsunami of some 10-feet-tall onto the vacation land. Hospitals, streets, buildings and neighborhoods were decimated with flooding sea water resulting in the hundreds of casualties. Indonesia, like a number of other nations in Asia, sits on the Ring of Fire - an active volcanic plate stretching to Hawaii, Alaska and northern Europe.
In the meantime, in the Caribbean, flooding from Hurricane Kirk inundated parts of Barbados, especially the vulnerable northern parish of St. Andrew with a deluge of water. We also extend our comfort to the people of my birth land.
Yet, we remain conscious that no one on Planet Earth is immune from natural disasters, thus we stand at the ready to aid each other as Mother Nature completes her natural cycle. Comfort and strength to all.
September 28, 2018
An Erred Chemical Past Returns to Roost - PCBs Threaten to Doom some Orcas
A chemical - polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB - once heavily and widely used in industry in the manufacture of plastics, sealants, paints and coolants, but banned largely in the 1980s because of its toxic property, has returned to wreak havoc upon the ecology of the seas. And according to a new study, the difficult to destroy chemical now threatens into extinction as much as 50% of the world's killer whale population.
Citing a study published in Science Magazine, the BBC-News reported that killer whales, orcas, are in dire trouble because of persistent chemical pollution in the environment. The study said long-term viability of more than half of the different orca groups around the world is now in question, the BBC-News added.
That orcas are top predators in the seas put their viability in danger because they absorb all the PCB pollution taken in by different prey in their food chain from fish, right up to seals and sharks, the BBC-News explained from the study. PCBs toxify the reproductive success and survivability of the orcas. Thus, in polluted waters like the west coast of Scotland, the killer whale population is now down to just eight individuals who have not produced a calf in more than 20-years. One scientist believes this group will disappear in his lifetime.
However, the outlook appears brighter for orcas living in cleaner waters at the Arctic and Antarctic, where numbers are expected to increase.
Yet, for the mammals living in the most polluted water, the BBC-News reported that the next 30-50 years will be grim for them.
Therefore, in order to save the orcas and other sea life, a better disposal method of PCBs becomes urgent. "Improper disposal of PCB-containing equipment in landfills may lead to leakage and leaching of PCBs into nearby streams, rivers, estuaries, and oceans", the lead author of the study, Jean-Pierre Desforges, of Denmark, is quoted as warning.
September 27, 2018
Her Story - Their Stories - all Need a Fair Hearing
As a matter of principle, and out of respect for all victims of alleged sexual abuse, the names of said victims will not be repeated there.
With that said and referencing the matter concerning the hearing of a nominee for the United States (US) Supreme Court, I submit that all victims of sexual abuse are entitled to a fair and just hearing of their claims. And the accused a rebuttal.
Traumatizing events from the times of youth demand clarification at an appropriate hearing.
So let her story be told, let their stories be told and be allowed for rebuttal, all in the name of truth, justice and moral character.
September 26, 2018
Each Nation for Itself - the Trump Way
In publicly rejecting globalism on the international stage, yesterday, at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), United States (US) President Donald Trump, in essence called for 'each man for himself' or for each nation to fend for itself and its own interest over all other things - a stark reversal of the role and theme of US foreign policy ever since the culmination of World War II.
So according to the Trump way, if the ship is sinking, then forget about rational coordination of rescue with others, it's each man for himself - chaos and selfishness with an emphasis on the "me" and not the "we". And whether or not the US President is aware of it, his rejection of globalism during his speech in New York City, New York, yesterday, could also be construed as the US surrendering a global leadership role it has played so well for decades.
Yet, as Trump rejected globalism, he ironically invoked that other nations should isolate Iran - a nation he criticized before the UN body. Trump, who was laughed at by world leaders after his allegation that his administration had done better than any other in history, is proceeding along an unprecedented path in leading the US Republic. Spats with traditional allies and a growing trade war with China will all impact and define the fate of the US over the next couple of years.
And in a meantime, according to Trump, it's each nation for itself.
September 25, 2018
Multilateralism is not an Infringement on Sovereignty - It Promotes Rational Cooperation on Stability and Security
If the Donald Trump administration argues that multilateralism is in any way an infringement of sovereignty as a motto to the flawed jargon of "Make America Great Again", then the administration will only succeed in further isolating the United States (US) at a crucial juncture when international cooperation is needed to further human development.
Multilateralism and not imperialism or nationalism, is what has brought great wealth and power to the US over the years. Yet, instead of continuing the developmental alliance with other nations toward the general good of Planet Earth, the Trump administration as the president might today claim at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), could deepen the Republic's growing isolation by summoning a larger break in cooperation with European and other allies.
Multilateralism is good. It is good economics and governance. It does not infringe upon sovereignty, but certainly enhances it for allowing for a healthy exchange of views, policies and works, to further the existence of the human species.
While isolation might appear attractive to nationalists who only see their own backyards and not the wider forests, in the long run, isolationists policies could lead to the death of a nation state since it would become contained within a limited scope of influence, thus unable to grow as a healthy organism.
Therefore, for the good of the world's stability, security and environment, as well as that of the Republic, isolationism must be deemed as a self-infected policy to state-death and be condemned. Multilateralism should be promoted and embraced as a means to the greater wealth and health of nation states.
September 24, 2018
The "Tiger" Roars Back - Woods Wins
American golfer Tiger Woods won his first PGA Tour event in five-years, yesterday, at East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia.
With that victory, Tiger has roared back into golfing highlights and has sparked renewed interest in an often boring game, which has netted its best audiences when Tiger does very well.
His command for the game of golf enticed me in 2000, to attend my first and only golf tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at Bay Hill, Florida, where my two older sons got to witness a Tiger victory, down the street from where he then lived at Isleworth, and across the street from our home at Dr. Phillips, Florida.
Although I'm not, and I have never been a fan of golf, Tiger's phenomenal play over the years, has made me a fan of his. Inspired by his mixed-race heritage and his domination of golf prior to injuries and other setbacks, I believe Tiger has and will always be an extraordinary asset to golf.
Born in 1975 to an African American father and a Thai mother, Tiger Woods wooed the golf world and created much interest for the game of golf via television audiences and attendances in the late 1990s and up to a time following his father's death in 2006. Whether or not Tiger would admit, his father's passing adversely impacted him. A divorce and gossip of relations with waitresses and four painful back surgeries, overwhelmed Tiger's performances in golf.
Now at age 42, it appears that Tiger has re- found himself by winning his 8oth PGA victory and placing himself ahead of golf legends Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. He sits just two victories shy of the all-time PGA leader, Sam Snead. Tiger is also a 14-time major winner.
We welcome Tiger back to the limelight and we wish him the very best.
September 23, 2018
Humanity's Last Best Hope - the United Nations
If the late great statesman and former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan, of Ghana, was correct in describing the international organization as: "The last best hope of humanity", then substantial progress toward world harmony and global peace and stability would emerge out of the present 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), taking place in New York City, New York, that concludes on October 1.
But I submit that no measurable consensus toward a better world will emerge following the 73rd Session of the UNGA. Instead, humanity could expect wordy rhetoric, political posturing, gloating, finger pointing and accusations to emerge from the world list of leaders, who will address the body. At the conclusion, the world could emerge as a more dangerous place rather than being a better place.
Not that Kofi Annan's premise is false, for it is true, however, the flawed character of man - many of those in leadership positions, coupled with the inherent flawed structure of the UN, do combine to make the world body often impotent to realizing Annan's hope.
While the character of some world leaders contributing to the ineffectiveness of the UN is self evident to many, the structure of the UN Security Council (UNSC) remains flawed by giving super veto power to individual members of the Permanent Five - Russia, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), France and China. Thus, as Russia has demonstrated over and over again with vetoes of measures that could have ended the Syrian war years ago, therein lies the problem of the super veto.
Until the UN is reformed to replace the single super veto with a simple majority of the SC, then the world body will continue to stand in its own way to realizing humanity's best hope to stability and peace.
September 22, 2018
No Solace in the Arrival of Autumn 2018
Under a very round harvest moon, Autumn falls on the Northern Hemisphere, today, September 22, 2018 at 9:54 E.S.T. The arrival of the Autumn Equinox brings no guarantee of comfort or of peace with the natural ushering in of cooler temperatures. It, however, threatens to underscore the conflicted reality of no solace to the many people in dire need of comfort.
Sadly also, this Autumn 2018, could see new conflicts take shape against named proxies as competing foes seek to gain national recognition via desperate acts to cling to diminishing power over their realms. Existing conflicts could also alter their forms this Fall after giving appearances of reaching their ends, yet to become more metamorphosed into more complex and violent ends to hundreds of thousands of innocents.
An escalating trade war started by United States (US) President Donald Trump has the potential to upend the entire global economy this Autumn. However, as in all Autumns before, there is hope toward regaining the luster of human development. Congressional elections in the US slated for November 6, could place checks upon the controversial Trump and seek to rationalize the traditional integrity of the American democracy.
But until then, it remains very unlikely that there will be any widespread solace this Autumn 2018.
September 21, 2018
World Peace Day 2018
Today, September 21, is United Nations (UN) observed International Day for Peace, or World Peace Day, for short.
The theme for this year's observance is: "The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70", in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed at Paris, France, December 10, 1948, an admission of a standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
In commemorating this day and its theme of "the Right to Peace", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has declared: "it is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race." The 1948 declaration observed: "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person."
However, the 1948 declaration did not go far enough to guaranteeing all of the fundamental rights of the human race because it failed to include the right to peace, thus the UN has fittingly named such a right as this year's theme for World Peace Day.
Humanity's right to peace is current being violated via the violent execution of armed conflicts from Syria to Yemen and beyond.
Therefore, on this fitting day - World Peace Day 2018, the international community should demand peace in Syria, peace in Yemen and peace across the globe.
September 20, 2018
...of offenses of yore
How accountable and for how long should an individual be held responsible for a past transgression? If the transgression was conducted while of minor age, how much, if any, accountability should be carried into adult life?
Moreover, how much weight should a prior transgression carry based upon whether or not there is an adult pattern that fits the lewd action as a minor? Is there still such a thing as forgiveness? How about manning up to actions of the past and seeking atonement?
And more importantly, could any formality stand in the way of a victim's decision to report an offense? Does the length of time between an offense and the present bear any weight upon the credibility of the victim's report?
I offer these questions for your consideration and discussion in light of events that have occurred, those that are occurring and those that will come.
September 19, 2018
Progress out of Chaos
Amid all the various strained global affairs and issues - from migration, to populism and nationalism, to election meddling, to xenophobia, to trade wars, to violent conflicts, to the erosion of traditional democracy and its institutions and to a general disturbance within the general world order, there is still hope that out of such chaos that progress for humanity will ensue.
The human species has withstood many self-inflicted wounds overtime originating from the first land walk of the brachiators and transcending through time to the advent of the use of fire, to the development of organized communities, to organized warfare, to the dark ages, to plagues, to exploration, to discovery, to enlightenment, to two World Wars and all the associated events in between.
Yet, humans have often demonstrated a propensity and a resolve to survive and to enter new eras of progress out of much chaos. So given our history, humanity will weather all that is present today with a full view to entering a new era of progressive thought and action, in the not too distant future.
September 18, 2018
Why Things are the Way they Are
Consider current affairs and issues: from community discord, spats, crime and inequality to the wider world of war, conflict, migration, income gaps, race and gender inequality and the disparity between developed and developing nations. All of these matters - the sum of why things are the way they are - all are indicative of historical wrongs that are yet to be made right and of the stark difference between the super rich and the average "Joes" as well as the non effective means of the redistribution of wealth across the international spectrum.
Therefore, all struggles are brought to wrought by the failure to correct past wrongs and by the institutionalized reality of too few people having too much wealth and power at the expense of the people.
Today's affairs and issues are also prolonged by the passive acceptance of the present by misinformed sects, the poor, the ill-equipped and the under-armed peoples. Thus, things will continue to be the way they are until some type of breakout occurs to ameliorate the circumstances of the masses.
The vast lands that were once Palestine have been stripped away leaving Palestinians to live on swaths of blockaded territory in dire poverty.
Shiploads of riches out of Africa have been squirreled away by colonial powers and used to enrich nations and privileged families, while extreme poverty and a lack of development continue to devastate the still resource rich continent.
Women continue to earn less than men for equal work as they struggle with present and past events of sexual abuse and discrimination within and outside of the workplace and halls of learning.
Centuries of disenfranchisement through the system of slavery, to discrimination in the modern workplace, in housing, in economic development and on the streets of American cities, have brought a dying-disease of second classism to the American Black. Black men unfairly punished by a flaw system of justice are blocked from social mobility via an array of impediments that force many to live their entire lives within the penal or justice system. Added to that pitfall is the strong likelihood of being shot and killed by police on the streets.
The offspring of Arab traders in the Seventh century in what is today's Myanmar - the Rohingya people - remain stateless in 2018. And a battle for ideological control of large numbers of people continues to victimize millions of people to conflict in Syria and in Yemen.
In the meantime, one percent of the world's population continues to amass great wealth at the expense of the other 99% of average folks.
No end is within sight to halting why things are the way they are. Yet, all of the peoples, have a common goal to survive and a strong sense of community along with a willingness to cooperate with each other toward the common good, do possess the final answer to determining when things will change.
Until such a time, as reggae great Bob Marley crooned in his song 'Natural Mystic', "...many more will have to suffer, many more will have to die."
September 17, 2018
Puerto Rico's Colonial Saga
An island-crippling Hurricane one-year-ago from which Puerto Rico is yet to recover, coupled with arguments of slow federal relief and a false claim by President Donald Trump that the amended figure of 2,975 deaths associated with the storm, was not accurate, have all now directed attention to Puerto Rico's colonial saga as a territory of the United States (US).
Last September, Hurricane Maria destroyed a large swath of normality across Puerto Rico - a Caribbean archipelago, acquired by the US via the Treaty of Paris in 1899 following the 1898 end of the Spanish-American War.
Power outages were very wide spread across the island in the aftermath of the storm and many people died. After Hurricane Maria, researchers counted Puerto Rico's actual death toll, directly related to the storm, at 2,975 - a figure accepted by its government.
Puerto Rico is a territory of the US and not a state, thus it residents, although holding US citizenship, cannot vote for president. The territory has a non-voting delegate in the US House of Representatives.
However, last week as another hurricane, Florence, threatened the east coast of the US mainland, memories and anger over Puerto Rico's suffering were rekindled when Trump challenged the accuracy of the legitimate 2,975 deaths.
In rebuffing Trump, Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello, of the New Progressive Party that seeks statehood for the territory, argued that Puerto Ricans were disenfranchised and treated like "second-class citizens". He said: "We need to solve the century-old problem of colonialism in Puerto Rico."
His comments were fitting considering the justafix position of the island- territory's status of being unable to vote for president and not having a vote in Congress. On June 11, 2017, in a low-voter turnout of just 23%, Puerto Ricans commandingly approved a referendum for statehood with 97.18% of the votes. Yet, its saga as a territory continues as it slowly recovers from Hurricane Maria.
September 16, 2018
A Statesman's Declaration - Juncker's Vision for the E.U.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, in his state-of-the union address last week before the European Parliament at Strasbourg, France, called for the European Union (EU) to be secure from the many threats that faced it.
Yet, Juncker blatantly declared:"We will not militarize the European Union. What we want is to become more autonomous and live up to our global responsibilities...Only a strong and united Europe can protect our citizens against threats internal and external - from terrorism to climate change."
The internationally acclaimed statesman, in his final year of leading the EU Commission, made recommendations toward the continuity of the continental pact, while he unveiled a vision for Europe's "twin continent" - Africa, which would help create 10 million jobs in Africa in the next five years. He called for the new Africa-Europe alliance to be based upon cooperation and not charity. "We will create framework that brings more private investment to Africa," Juncker envisioned.
His remarks on Africa were appropriate as a means to stemming economic migration from the continent into Europe - one of the key sources of increased tension and the rise of the far right throughout Europe in recent years.
Of the populist movements present across the EU and brought to wrought by increased migration of conflict and economic refugees, Juncker concluded: "We should embrace the kind of patriotism that is used for good, and never against others...We should reject the kind of exaggerated nationalism that projects hate and destroys all in its path. The kind of nationalism that points the finger at others instead of searching for ways to better live together," the BBC-News reported.
In respect to migration, the Luxembourg statesman stressed the need for legal routes for migration into Europe declaring: "We need skilled migrants", yet he emphasized that illegal immigration would be tackled by among others things, deploying an addition 10,000 guards to the EU borders by 2020. And in expressing humanitarian empathy to migrants, Juncker called for more EU solidarity, rather than "ad-hoc solutions" for people on migrant ships.
Very proud that "Europe's economy has now grown for 21 consecutive quarters" and that "Never have so many men and women - 239 million people - been in work in Europe," Juncker however cautioned that "Youth unemployment is at 14.8 %. This too high a figure but is the lowest it has been since the year 2000."
Juncker has been a relentless statesman as head of the EU despite the migration crisis of 2015, Britain's looming departure in 2019, the rise of the far right and strains from Hungary, Italy, Poland, Austria and Sweden. Under his stewardship, he has managed to keep most of the bloc intact amid sound economic gains and opportunities, thus the EU stands as one, if not the most, viable of economic blocs in the world.
September 15, 2018
International Day of Democracy 2018
Today, September 15, is the United Nations (UN) observed International Day of Democracy - a fitting time to reflect on this system of government that many of us have embraced as humanity's most apt to governance, but a system under extraordinary pressure, in this era.
Toward the strengthening of Democracy, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is quoted on un.org as naming "tackling economic and political inequality" as means to easing the stress upon system.
The UN chief admitted that Democracy "is showing greater stain than at any time in decades". But he stressed that "working for a future that leaves no one behind, requires everyone to consider essential questions, such as: what impact will migration or climate change have on democracy in the next generation? How do we best harness the potential on new technologies while avoiding the dangers? How do we build better governance so that democracy delivers better lives and fully meets the public's aspirations?"
While the UN chief has raised rational measures and questions to strengthening and preserving democracy, he omitted the fact that today, one of the greatest threats to Democracy come from the disassembly of democratic systems by populists and nationalists, especially across Europe and in the Americas.
Whether in present day United States (US), or in Hungary or in Italy or in Poland, the system of democracy remains under pressure. Yet, if the inherent structure of Democracy holds true to the integrity of the system, then very soon, democracy could heal itself via the will and vote of the people. Happy International Day of Democracy!
September 14, 2018
Comfort to the Victims of Storms in the East and in the West
The impacts of an unharnessed "Mother Nature" are being experienced in two unique storms - Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the East and Hurricane Florence and her remnants along the southeastern seaboard of the United States (US). There have been victims and there will be more victims of these two powerful weather systems, thus we pray for their comfort, safety and resolve to rebuild in the aftermaths.
Super Typhoon Mangkhut with winds of up to 180 mph is bearing down on the northern half of the Philippines today following a path of destruction across Guam and the Marshall Islands. Thousands of residents have been evacuated across the Philippines and troops have been deployed to aid in recovery efforts ahead of the storm that threatens four million people in the northern Philippines.
Up next for Super Typhoon Mangkhut could be China's southern region, including Hong Kong and Macau, by Sunday and Vietnam by Monday.
In the US, copious amounts of rainfall, a strong tidal surge, and swollen waterways are eroding beaches and causing major flooding as Hurricane Florence batters the state of North Carolina. Thousands of Carolinians have been evacuated from the storms path, yet many residents remain in danger because of the slowing moving system that could drop feet of rainfall on areas already prone to flooding.
September 13, 2018
Record Number of Child Migrants in U.S. Detention
Child migrants in detention in the United States (US) have ballooned five-fold in the past year, resulting in the highest ever recorded number - a clear blow to the democratic ideals and principles of the Republic.
The New York Times, citing US government data, has reported that there are now 12,800 child migrants detained as of September 2018, compared to 2,400 in May 2017.
Accounting for the human crisis proportion of children in government custody, the New York Times report explained:"The huge increases, which have placed the federal system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors."
Yet, the apparent human rights violation of detaining such large numbers of migrant children in the US, is basically a secondary effect of the harsh immigration policy of the Donald Trump administration, which still remains under court order to release the detained.
What has happened across America is that the Trump administration has created a fear of reprisals among migrant communities, resulting in fewer families and sponsors stepping forward to claim children from detention centers.
September 12, 2018
To Counter the Far Right in Europe - to End Conflicts in Migrant Lands
Far right parties in Europe - riding a wave of displeasure over migration, have made inroads into legislatures from Italy, to Poland, to Austria, to France, to Germany, to Hungary, to the Netherlands, to Belgium, to Sweden and elsewhere across the continent.
Touting nationalistic themes and finding ready followers via a message ripe with xenophobia, these right wing parties pose a real threat to greater European integration and the general stability of the continent.
Thus far, European governments have been unable to dilute the xenophobic laced themes of the far right because increased migration, over the years from conflict zones and economically challenged lands, has placed hundreds of thousands of refugees into European cities.
While migrant-accepting European nations have sought to fulfill the humanitarian responsibility of housing refugee peoples from the Middle East and from Africa, an alarming rising number of Europeans oppose any empathy to the displaced peoples.
Therefore, if Europe is to counter the rise of the far right, then the only solution appears to lie in ending conflicts in the lands of migrants and ameliorating the economic conditions in those lands that send droves of migrants onto European soils.
When President of the European Union (EU) Commission Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his state-of-the-union address today, in Strasbourg, France, as a measure of assuring continental stability, Juncker could point out a plan to ending wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, as well as the continuing strife in Iraq. Moreover, Juncker could also reveal some form of EU economic package to African nations from whose shores many migrants originate as a means to stemming migration.
Any failure to end conflicts and economic blight at the origins of much European migration will witness more refugees seeking comfort in Europe and the associated xenophobia and agitations that fuel the rise of the far right.
September 11, 2018
In Memory of the Fallen Innocents
It was 17-years-ago today when I dismounted my horse after an equestrian jumping exercise and returned to the barn in Sanford, Florida, to see television images of the World Trade Center, in New York City, New York, on fire.
My ex and I thought the television images were part of a movie until we became sadly aware that terrorists had attacked the United States (US) using airplanes in New York and in Washington, DC and the subsequent downing of another hijacked plane in the state of Pennsylvania. We had visited the World Trade Center in NYC less than three-weeks before that dark day in American history.
That was September 11, 2001 - 2,977 innocents died that day in terror attacks in New York, Washington, DC and in Pennsylvania. Today we remember them and all the subsequent deaths due to related health problems brought to wrought by those cowardly acts of terror.
That the innocents may not have died in vain, we shall always remember 9/11 - we remember so that our resolve to end terror and to promote peace and cooperation may never be again challenged or broken.
September 10, 2018
Failed Justice in Egypt - Death Sentences and Jail Terms for Protesting
The government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in Egypt, should be condemned and branded as a despicable purveyor of human rights abuses and of crimes against humanity for the mass trials, death sentences and jail terms metered out to protesters, following Sisi's military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, back in 2013.
Instead of immediate world condemnation of the Sisi court's continued mass trials, death sentences and life-sentences to democratic protesters spanning from the Rabaa protests, in Cairo, in 2013, when more than 800 protesters were killed by Egyptian security forces and thousands arrested, some news and rights organizations have opted to turn world focus upon alleged mass detentions of Uighurs, in Xinjiang, People's Republic of China.
Interestingly enough, there are no reports of death sentences or life sentences given to Uighurs in China, but accusations of detentions and re-education processes. Yet, the world has been distracted toward China, while last Friday, in Egypt, in yet another mass trial of democratic demonstrators, the Egyptian Sisi courts sentenced 75 people to death, another 46 people to life-imprisonment and another 612 to prison sentences ranging from five to 15-years, for taking part in demonstrations in August, 2013.
Furthermore, Egypt's failed justice has not held any Egyptian security officer accountable for the killing of some 850 protesters, at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, on August 14, 2013.
It was back on that fateful day in 2013, following the ouster of the Morsi government by Sisi's military, that some 85,000 protesters in support of Morsi had gathered for 45-days at the Cairo square. Then, they were attacked by bulldozers and security forces - 850 demonstrators died, thousands were injured and thousands more were arrested and jailed. Now the Sisi government is sentencing them to death, life sentences and other jail terms without any loud international condemnation.
But in the name of humanity and for the sake of the innocents, I do vehemently condemn Sisi and his government for the unjust sentences and detentions and I do declare that justice has failed miserably in Egypt and I urge the world to take heed of what has and continues to transpire in Egypt.
September 09, 2018
Europe's Defining Challenges - the Far Right, Migration and Defense
Without doubt, the European Union (EU) is an economic powerhouse bloc that is directly responsible for much of Europe's recent development and stability. However, per the continent's socio-political standing, challenges exist in the form of a rising far right, migration and long term defense.
Europe and its many former colonial powers therein face a defining era brought to wrought by the continent's responsibility to humanity to house refugees of conflict and of economic circumstances, whether or not from former colonies.
Yet, because of the EU's inefficiency to successfully spread empathy to migrants among its various members, xenophobic fears have spread from Hungary, to Italy, to Germany, to Austria, to the Netherlands, to France, to Belgium, to Poland, to Spain, to the Czech Republic, to Sweden and to elsewhere within and outside the EU.
A migration crisis that has witnessed tens of thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria along with economic refugees from Africa, to enter onto European soil, has inflamed too many Europeans, who display little or no empathy to the unfortunate victims of circumstances.
As a result, right wing groups have re-risen on the continent and they continue to make large inroads into governments based upon the increasing presence of migrants within their nation states - Germany, Italy, Hungary, Austria and now Sweden, are prime examples.
With regards to defense, while NATO remains the best constant to European security in light of continuing Russian meddling on the continent, Europe has to enhance its support of NATO - budgetary and otherwise, with a view to the organization's continued function in lieu of any decrease United States (US) involvement.
Despite the challenges, the EU remains very strong based upon its economic performance and its impeccable commitment to fighting Climate Change.
So when EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his state-of-the-union address before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday, September 12, among other things, he could define the EU's path to tackling current challenges with a view to greater integrations within the union.
September 08, 2018
Resurrecting the Republic - Vote 2018
The 44th President of the United States (US) Barack Obama yesterday reminded Americans of the importance of the vote as a safeguard to democracy and toward the continuity of the Republic in the Donald Trump era.
President Obama invited Americans to recall that what is "essential to American democracy, is that in a government of and by and for the people, there should be no permanent ruling class. There are only citizens, who through their elected and temporary representatives, determine our course and determine our character."
Imploring Americans to vote, President Obama, in his speech to students at the University of Illinois, noted: "History shows the power of fear and the closer that we get to Election Day, the more invested in the politics of fear and division will work - will do anything to hang on to their recent gains."
However, the former president added: "Fortunately, I am hopeful because out of this political darkness, I am seeing a great awakening of citizenship all across the country" and he was encouraged by "watching so many people get involved for the first time in a long time. They're marching and they're organizing and they're registering people to vote and they're running for office themselves."
"You cannot sit back and wait for a savior. You can't opt out because you don't feel sufficiently inspired by this or that particular candidate. This is not a rock concert. This is not Coachella. We don't need a messiah. All we need are decent, honest, hard-working people who are accountable and who have America's best interests at heart. And they'll step up and they'll join our government, and they will make things better if they have support," President Obama advised.
"You're the antidote. Your participation and your spirit and your determination, not just in this election, but in every subsequent election and in the days between elections" is important, the former president informed. Why? He concluded: "Because in the end, the threat to our democracy doesn't just come from Donald Trump or the current batch of Republicans in Congress or the Koch brothers and their lobbyists or too much compromise from Democrats or Russian hacking. The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference, The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism."
Noting that cynicism caused too many people to stay at home on Election Day, President Obama told students and all Americans to show up to vote.
September 07, 2018
To Justice, Equality and Opportunity
Justice, equality and opportunity must win out over prejudice, division and corruption in the Republic. But for justice, equality and opportunity to triumph, the people - the American people, must become more involved in the democratic process and especially in the upcoming midterm vote for the United States (US) Congress.
If the pulse of the nation is as I have construed it to be - needing change, then the people have the opportunity to peacefully and democratically usher in this change at the polls in November.
The November 6 vote is shaping up to be another defining event in US history. The vote offers the opportunity for the Democratic Party to win a majority in at least one of the legislative chambers - the House of Representatives, as a means to placing a more rational check upon President Donald Trump, who continues to alarm many people with his rash exercise of the office of President. Democrats could also win a more balancing of power via a majority in the US Senate, a more far fetched aspiration, but a plausible one.
Though I have never been a great fan of the Black American civil rights pioneer, Jessie Jackson, he said something last week at the celebration of the life of soul Queen Aretha Franklin that deserves attention and action from all: referencing the long lines of people stretching around many city blocks, in Detroit, Michigan, waiting to "celebrate death", Jackson said even greater lines should be at the polls for voting.
So to keep hope alive and to promote justice, equality and opportunity, Americans can reinforce these principles by voting in great numbers this November 6 and voting for the Democratic Party.
PS: ( a commitment to serve at my sons' school did not permit me enough time to write a Blog yesterday, September 6.)
September 05, 2018
More Deaths on top of More Deaths - the Peril of Syria
Observers of the global shame: that is the Syrian war, believe a final Syrian government assault upon Idlib, the last rebel-held province in the war-ravaged nation, is imminent.
It the assault occurs, then there will be more deaths on top of the stark and sad number of the reported 511, ooo people already killed in the execution of the Syrian war, dating back to 2011.
That the rest of humanity has been impotent in bringing an end to the seemingly perpetual carnage upon the Syrian people, is preposterous. Therefore, it must also be construed as being a gross failing by humanity, our governments, institutions and organizations to end a war, which has now lasted longer than either World War I or World War II.
Media reports confirmed some 24 air raids upon Idlib, a province of three million people on Tuesday, causing 10 deaths and 20 injuries. Though casualty figures vary within Syria, it is believed that the province has already lost 16,000 lives ever since the conflict started back in 2011.
Hundreds of children and thousands of civilians have died in Syria, yet the war continues as other parts of the world go about their business without any hiccups or thoughts of the Syrian people.
But the war must end. Humanity owes Syria's children a chance of a childhood, a chance to normalcy and a chance at peace, happiness, opportunity and security. Let's end Syria's war. Let's also end Yemen's war for the sake of the children if nothing else.
September 04, 2018
"Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything"
To: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything" is sports giant Nike's new ad campaign featuring NFL player and social advocate, Colin Kaepernick. And today, I stand in full support of Mr. Kaepernick and the Nike brand for endorsing free speech and the individual right to protest in America.
As part of Nike's "Just do it" 30th anniversary, the company will promote, among other things, an ad featuring Mr. Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers American football team, who in 2016, made a bold and defiant gesture not to stand for the singing of the United States (US) national anthem in protest of the continued violence by police against African Americans.
Since then, football teams have overlooked the talented player as Donald Trump and others have criticized Mr. Kaepernick's exercise of his right. Other players and many citizens support the player's advocacy. I too stand with him. If a nation fails to live up to its inherent creed, then an individual has that inalienable right to protest what he/she deems as necessary in order to force that nation into compliance.
While some pundits speculate that Nike would suffer some blow back from using Mr. Kaepernick in its ad campaign, I beg to differ, for how can anyone find fault with: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything"?
Today, I'm wearing a Nike pants in support of the company. My sons have worn Nike shirts and sneakers to school. As the father of four sons, if Nike continues its support for Mr. Kaepernick, then we will increase our purchases of Nike products.
Nike, also as part of its "Just do it" anniversary campaign, will feature ads with tennis great, Serena Williams with the slogan: "It's only a crazy dream until you do it", another fitting theme of hope to go with the grit of Mr. Kaepernick's ad slogan: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything" - all necessary themes to employ in this testing era in the US.
September 03, 2018
In Lieu of U.S. Aid...
Recipients of United States (US) aid, who are facing drastic cuts in such assistance imposed by the Donald Trump administration, must now look within and elsewhere to bolster their shortened economic, financial and social needs.
While some nations, including Germany, have pledged to make up the deficit for American denied aid to Palestinian refugees, Pakistan's stability stands to be impacted from a shortfall of US$ 300 million in aid and having no new surety.
Diminishing foreign aid should become a wake up call to all recipients to amend and to alter their national houses with a view to greater self reliance and independence.
All recipients of foreign aid have obviously been receiving the stipend because of some strategic geopolitical reason, thus in lieu of such aid, these recipients have become free to widely leverage their justafix positions in order to ensure a constant flow of capital to their people.
September 02, 2018
A Prelude to Hardship and Renewed Strife - Withdrawing Aid
For reasons that appear logical to the Donald Trump administration in Washington, DC, it has canceled aid to Palestinian refugees and stopped $300 million aid to Pakistan. But for reasons beyond the grasp of the Trump administration, denying aid to two strategic components to world stability could become a prelude to hardships among the Palestinians and renewed strife from within Pakistan that may transcend its border to touch the international community.
The idea that aid could be used to demand full support of the donee to the donor is passe. Though aid has mitigated and softened would could have been events of greater instability in recent times, the complete removal and cancellation of aid to Palestinian refugees and to Pakistan, is a prelude to hardship and renewed strife.
Whether or not Pakistan has done enough to stamp out military or terror groups operating within its borders, or if reform of refuge aid to Palestine is warrant, then cutting aid to both entities will not translate into any greater stability.
Cutting aid removes an instrument of continued incentive toward peace, better welfare and international cooperation. And removing assistance, however, will unfortunately stoke the possibility of wider hardship and strife in an already and long troubled Middle East.
September 01, 2018
Toward Decency and Honor
On this day, in memory of Senator John McCain, I humbly encourage a return to decency and honor in governance and in life...
[For Earlier Editions of ASIA TODAY, see ASIA TODAY ARCHIVES]