December 14, 2016
"I have said before that we have collectively failed the people of Syria. The Security Council has not exercised its preeminent responsibility with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security. History will not easily absolve us, but this failure compels us to do even more to offer the people of Aleppo our solidarity at this moment." United Nations(UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at Tuesday's Security Council meeting on the situation in Aleppo.
Humanity's shame is Aleppo, it is Syria, it is the increasing number of civilian and child deaths in conflicts and agitations from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, to Myanmar and other places in Asia to South Sudan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere in Africa along with all the other places worldwide where injustice, inequality and violence are wrecking the lives of good people.
Yes, the UN, other organizations and the alleged stalwarts of democracy, with their talks of freedom and of peace, have failed many people. They will continue to fail many more because the global community, apparently, does not have the will or the desire to usher in peace and stability.
Humanity's shame is inescapable despite the non-karma belief of many. Yet, it is for certain that with any action, there will be a reaction. Therefore, who knows what price humanity will pay for its failing?
December 13, 2016
Crimes Against Humanity in Aleppo, Syria - the Assassination of Civilians
The United Nations(UN) human rights office is confirming the summary execution of civilians, including children and women, by regime forces, in Aleppo, Syria. Reliable evidence regrettably confirms the on the spot assassination of 82 civilians by Syrian forces, the BBC-News reported.
Eastern Aleppo, which had been in rebel hands for some four-years, is being blasted into submission by the forces of Bashar al Assad, supported by heavy bombardment from Russian forces. The remaining thousands of civilians in eastern Aleppo, have been forced onto a small corner to the south. There, as regime forces enter, they are going house-to-house killing civilians on sight, the UN reported. Among the confirmed 82-assassinated civilians, 13 are children and 11 are women.
"We're filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this hellish corner," of eastern Aleppo, remarked UN human rights office spokesman, Rupert Colville. Additional reports confirm bodies lying in the streets with residents afraid to remove them for fear of being shot on the spot. Moreover, other reports confirm the presence of children trapped in buildings that are under attack by regime forces.
Yet, the over powering forces of the Assad regime backed by Russia, have denied a truce for trapped civilians to be evacuated.
Aleppo has clearly fallen. The crimes against humanity being committed in Aleppo are not the first of the prolonged Syrian conflict. The gross failings by the international community and by the alleged stalwarts of freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law, to mitigate and to grant relief and solace to the Syrian people, are blemished scars upon the integrity of humankind to protect those who are frail and exposed to violence. Yet, sadly, there will be more Aleppos.
December 12, 2016
Democracy, whether or not by theory or by practice - implies rule by the majority - government of the people, by the people, for the people...that nations on a regular and timely basis would freely elect governments either directly or via representatives acting for the majority of the people. The majority vote getters would rule.
That said democracy has been the core of American foreign policy for many years with groups like the Peace Corps, USAID, the US Information Agency, the State Department and many other government agencies as wells as Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs), blazing the doctrine from villages to townships, to cities, to countries and to continents.
However, the preliminary results of the United States(US) Presidential Election 2016, has exposed an inherent flaw in the American democratic model that if formalized by others, would be criticized as counter to the true spirit of democracy. The Republic of the United States of America, in essence, allows for an Electoral College, and not the democratic popular choice of the people, to select the office of President.
Under ideal conditions, as it often has been in the past, the Presidential candidate gaining the majority of votes from citizens would also win the majority of votes from the Electoral College.
But 2016 has been anything but ideal. With compelling evidence that a foreign nation, Russia, meddled in the election on behalf of the Electoral College winner, an inevitable question must surface as to whether or not the result could stand given that the majority and the popular vote winner has tallied two million plus more votes than the Electoral College apparent winner.
If America stands by its antiquated agrarian provision that denies victory of the Executive Office to the winner of the majority and popular vote, and instead seats the Electoral College victor, then the United States of America is self-disqualifying itself from all future criticisms of any forms of government of other countries.
December 11, 2016
The Decline of the Forthcoming America
Ceteris Paribus, if all other things hold equal - the information, the evidence and the statements pertaining to the 2016 Presidential Election, the decline of the great United States(US) is forthcoming.
The unprecedented influence by Russia on the US elections, which has now been confirmed by the nation's spy agency, whose confirmation of the sovereignty breach has been categorized by the President-elect, as "ridiculous", affirmatively points to an era of declining American influence over world affairs, something not witnessed in modern times.
That Russia has been able to influence the US election without any consequences and without any condemnation from the President-elect, underscores the stark reality that Russia can now play puppet with the great United States of America at Vladimir Putin's will and whim.
Moreover, that the President-elect has not stood by the findings of the country's Central Intelligence Agency(CIA), affirms the forthcoming decline of the US.
However, there is redress. The President-elect is yet to take the oath of office as Commander-in-chief of all the US armed forces and agencies. The US Congress, the Electoral College and the Supreme Court hold special abilities to ensure the non-compromise to a foreign power of the United States Executive Branch. Only eight days remain before a key event leading to inauguration day, January 20, 2017
December 10, 2016
Human Rights Day - "Stand Up for Someone's Rights Today"
Today is Human Rights Day across the world - a day to commemorate the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations(UN) General Assembly.
And this year, the fitting theme put forward by the world body is: "Stand up for Someone's Rights Today". There are many people who need others to stand for them. If, a worrisome evolving trend that attacks the rights of many people holds firm, then, into 2017 and beyond, more and more people will be in need of others to stand for and with them in defense of the rights of humankind.
The rights of the Native Americans and other minorities in America, including Black people, Latinos, Women and members of the LGBT community, will need protecting in the future. The First Nations of Canada will need protection. Immigrants in Europe and in the United States(US), the Rohingya people of Myanmar, the human rights lawyers of China, the young independence seekers of Hong Kong, the various sects of India, Nepal, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa and all the tribes people of the globe, all will need someone to stand for their rights very soon.
Will each and everyone of you stand when necessary? Justice must be served, humanity must flourish, all peoples must be protected.
December 09, 2016
The Missing Men of Aleppo, Syria - a Prelude to a World Without a Rights Enforcer
The United Nations(UN) has confirmed that hundreds of civilian men, who crossed from rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria, into regime territory, have gone missing.
With no real enforcer of human rights in Syria, given the documented war crimes committed by the parties to the conflict there, the missing men represent an enlarging reality of a prelude to a world, within and afar from Syria's borders, without a rights enforcer in light of a possible isolationist foreign policy from a new Washington administration.
As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, noted that some 100,000 people were still trapped in "ever-shrinking" rebel areas of eastern Aleppo. He said the world body had gathered evidence that "hundreds" of men had disappeared after leaving for government-held areas.
Concerns about the human rights of the missing men are troublesome, according to the UN representative:"Given the terrible record of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances by the Syrian government...", the BBC-News reported.
Men between ages 30 and 50 were separated from their families, the UN said, adding that other displaced people were being detained for questioning by the regime with many having their identity cards confiscated.
Yet, Syria's missing men could merely represent the unfolding of a larger span of rights abuses that become possible under any isolationist foreign policy by a new administration in Washington, DC. The UN and others will continue to monitor and to observe rights issues, but without any power of enforcement.
December 08, 2016
Vulnerable Giraffes at Risk of Extinction - Protection Needed
The Giraffe - that long slender-neck, graceful and spotted animal of the African savanna that remains a hit of safaris and at every zoo, fortunate enough to have one, is in danger of becoming extinct. Scientists have determined that the population of the tallest terrestrial animal has shrunk by nearly 40 percent in just 30 years, thus the giraffe is in need of protection.
The threat to the world's giraffe population was revealed yesterday at a biodiversity meeting in Mexico, where the International Union of the Conservation of Nature(IUCN) noted that giraffe population, which numbered between 151,000 and 163,000 in 1985, was now down to 97,562, the Associated Press(AP) reported.
As a result, the world's largest ruminant - the giraffe, has been placed on the official watch list of threatened and endangered species worldwide and its status has been classified as "vulnerable".
Co-chairs of the specialty group of biologists who put the giraffe on the IUCN Red List, Julian Fennessy and Noelle Kumpel, described the demise of the giraffe as a "silent extinction", while noting that planet Earth now has four-times as many pachyderms(elephants), as giraffes. In just 30 years, the giraffe moved up two notches on the endangered species ladder from a point of least concern species.
Scientists blame habitat loss for the extinction pressure placed upon the even-toed ungulate mammals. In some places of Africa, conflict is destroying the home of the giraffe and the encroachment of humans is also adding to the demise of the wild beauties.
Therefore, it is high time for greater protection be accorded to these beautiful creatures so as to ensure the continuity of the giraffe as a means to sustaining a full kaleidoscope of Earth's rich biodiversity.
December 07, 2016
The Death of a Rebellion - Syrian Rebels Withdraw from Aleppo
The dreams, the hopes and the desires to freedom from the tyrant Bashar al Assad in Syria, are quickly fading for rebel groups in Syria. After days of intense fighting, the rebels - out-gunned, out-planed and out-bombed by the Assad and Russian forces, have retreated out of 'old city' Aleppo.
The rebels have now ceded to the Syrian regime more than 75 percent of eastern Aleppo - a position, they have held for the past four years. Hopes are in flames in Aleppo as rebels beg for a five-day humanitarian truce to allow for the evacuation of civilians. Rebels now occupy a small area in the south of eastern Aleppo and it might not be long before they are routed by Assad and his ally, Russia's Vladimir Putin.
And so it has come to past that after the death of 500,000 people, including children and women - many in gas attacks and by barrel bombs, that the tyrant, Bashar al Assad, would continue his domination over Syria aided by Russia, with little fear of any opposition from the United States(US), especially in light of the apparent closeness between the US President-elect and Putin. With President Barack Obama leaving the White House in just over one-month, there is very little hope for the Syrian rebels. A violent insurgency may follow, however.
While France and other humanitarian powers might attempt to forge on with the fight against Assad as they attempt to serve justice for the crimes against humanity committed by Assad and his forces, very little might materialized without US support.
Therefore, today, humanity should mourn the Syrian dead and it must take responsibility for the gross miscarriage of justice and of the rule of law for what has transpired and for what else will continue to occur in the Levant. May God Bless and grant relief to all the children of conflicts. Amen!
December 06, 2016
Relief to the Sioux - a Government Stand-down at Standing Rock
The decision on Sunday by the United States(US) Army Corps of Engineers not to approve a permit to allow for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline along a planned route, brings relief, even if temporary, to the Sioux people, who have been protesting the pipeline's possible environmental impact upon their lands.
However, President Barack Obama administration's blocking of the pipeline crossing under the Missouri River and over Sioux land, does not guarantee any long term relief to the Sioux, for with a non-environmental President-elect and money contracts about to be adversely effected with any delay in the completion of the pipeline, the Sioux and their supporters, might be forced back onto the battle lines again very soon.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, pipeline owner, Energy Transfer Partners, has repeated assertions that it was not open to alternative routes and that the company was "fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and full expect(s) to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting...", the newspaper reported.
The company said nothing the Obama administration has done changes their plans. Apparently, the company is holding firm to its $2.5 billion investment to date and a January 01, 2017 deadline to get oil flowing in the pipeline or risk losing lucrative oil contracts, the Los Angeles Times added.
So the last stand at Standing Rock and its protests might not have been witnessed just yet, for despite pleas from the Sioux chief that protesters disband, most have remained. Relief to the Sioux might be short lived.
December 05, 2016
The European Sunday Decisions - Renzi Loses in Italy, a Green Wins in Austria
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has tendered his resignation as expected after heavily losing a constitutional referendum, yesterday. In Austria, in the race for the ceremonial position of President, the leftist Green Party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, easily disposed of his far right wing opponent, thus calming immediate fears of a far right head of state in the European Union(EU).
The defeat of Renzi's constitutional reform, came as no surprise in Italy given this year's climate of failed referendums in the United Kingdom(UK), Colombia and a shocking upset in the Presidential Election in the United States(US).
Renzi gambled that Italians would do away with many years of having a bicameral legislature, would accept an easier path to enacting laws by eliminating or weakening the country's senate, so as to accord easier governance in order to deal with an impending banking and financial crisis. He was wrong. His measure was defeated by a 60/40 percentage split. Italy's president may ask him to stay in office for a transitional period, or he may be replaced immediate, or elections may be called to fill the office. Whatever happens, anti-EU parties in Italy have been strengthened with Renzi's lost.
Austria's new president-elect is the leftist Green Party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, who defeated the far right contender, Norbert Hofer, for a second time yesterday. Van der Bellen beat Hofer in an election last May by 30,000 votes, but that decision was vacated by the Austrian courts. The margin of victory increased to 300,000 votes yesterday as Austrians decisively rejected a far right state.
Yet, Europe's concerns and issues are far from being over as a crisis still looms in Italy, as right wing parties focus on other parliamentary elections in Austria and with upcoming votes in 2017 in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
December 04, 2016
Two European Decisions on a Sunday that Hold Broad Ramifications - the Italian and Austrian Votes
Italians are voting today on a referendum to accept or to deny constitutional changes offered up by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Austrians are deciding between left and right wing candidates for the ceremonial position of president.
The decisions made in both countries could have broad ramifications on the future of Europe that could witness a significant rise in right wing sentiments, parliamentarians and governments.
Italy's Renzi has bet his office as prime minister on achieving a "yes" vote on the referendum for constructional changes aimed to undermine the country's bicameral legislature - by eliminating, or by severely weakening the senate. Renzi hopes that constitutional changes would allow for more effective governance as Italy faces a possible financial and banking crisis. He said he would resign if he fails to get a yes vote and this could lead to major inroads by right wing candidates in Italy.
Last May, in Austria, left wing presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, narrowly won the presidential election over right wing candidate, Norbert Hofer, but the decision was thrown out by the Austrian court because of irregularities. So today, both candidates are running in another close election.
As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, should Hofer win, he would become the European Union's(EU) first far-right head of state. His possible victory could embolden far-right parties all over Europe with France, Germany and the Netherlands all facing elections next year.
December 03, 2016
"Be Not Always"
The late pop music superstar Michael Jackson had a number of mega-hits in his lifetime - from "Ben" to "Thriller" to "Beat It" among many others. Yet, today, taking into account the conflict in Syria and uncertainties in the United States(US), the United Kingdom(UK), Italy and other places, a not too popular song of Jackson's comes to mind - "Be Not Always".
In the melancholy song, which happens to be my most favored Jackson hit, the superstar encouraged us "...please be not always...bow our heads in shame...bow our heads in blame 'cause time has made promises, just promises."
With respect to the child victims of conflicts, I've always related the following verse of Jackson's song: "Faces, did you see their faces, did they touch you, have you felt such pain - to have nothing, then lose hoping, is not life but lame? But time has made promises, just promises."
Michael Jackson further observed: "Mothers cry, babes die, helplessly in arms, while rockets fly and research lies in progress to become, but what of men, of flesh and blood - we turn our backs on life, how can we claim to stand for peace, when the races are in strife - destroying life."
He concluded: "...'cause time, time has made promises - death promises." Michael Jackson's "Be not always" should remind humanity to examine and of the consequences of the state of affairs everywhere.
December 02, 2016
The Coming Italian Referendum - a Constitutional and Fiscal Health Risk Placed before Voters
Italy faces a referendum vote on Sunday that holds consequences to the future constitutional and fiscal health of the European Union(EU) nation. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has already said he would resign if his "yes" vote is defeated.
Italy's vote comes in the wake of recently failed referendums in the United Kingdom(UK) and in Colombia, South America as well as a shocking Presidential Election result in the United States(US). In the UK vote, the electorate surprisingly voted to leave the economic powerhouse, the EU, thus giving rise to a Brexit. In Colombia, in a narrow 50.2 percent vote, a peace deal was defeated, however, that deal has now been allowed because it was re-drawn and approved by the Congress instead of being given back to the people.
Among other things sought in Italy's constitutional referendum on Sunday, the prime minister is asking Italians to remove power from the country's Senate so that new laws would require only approval by the lower house of the Parliament. Presently, laws must be approved by both houses of Parliament.
Prime Minister Renzi believes a "yes" vote would allow easier governance permitting his government the ability to better manage Italy's unfolding economic troubles. Along with a stagnant economy, Italy's banking sector faces great pressure from bad debts and under performing loans. Renzi hopes that a constitutional change would best allow for the management of the economy.
However, should the prime minister fail in his bid for constitutional changes or should any of Italy's larger banks fail, Italy could face a financial crisis on Monday morning. In the mean time, Italians will have a say to approve or to deny the constitutional changes at referendum on Sunday.
December 01, 2016
Peace has Come to Colombia - the Farc Peace Deal is Ratified
Thanksgiving and an early peace for the yuletide season has come to the Latin American country of Colombia - the Congress has ratified the Government-Farc peace deal, thus providing the picturesque nation with the opportunity to live free of conflict for the first time in 52-years.
It was back in 1964 that an insurgency of peasants rose up in Colombia to fight for land rights among other things. Over the years, the Farc developed into a well armed group with unfortunate ties to drug trafficking. The human toll from the insurrection remained high with some 260,000 people dying in the half-century of conflict. Colombians hoped for peace and talks started to end the violence.
Although it took more than four-years of negotiations with Cuba and Norway acting as mediators to reach and to approve the peace deal, Colombia's President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Juan Manuel Santos, remained resolute to effecting the peace even after the original peace deal was defeated in referendum on November 2 by 50.2 percent of Colombia voters.
Talks resumed on the peace deal in Havana, Cuba, immediately following the defeat of the peace referendum, seeking a compromise to appease the naysayers to the agreement. A full accounting and surrender of Farc assets were negotiated to compensate victims along with other provisions and the deal was agreed by the parties.
However, instead of sending the deal back to the people, it was agreed that the Colombia Congress would approve or deny the agreement. As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, one day after the pact was endorsed by the Senate, Colombia's lower house of lawmakers ratified the Farc Peace Agreement allowing peace to grace the plush hills and valleys of Colombia for the first time in 52-years. Viva Colombia!
November 30, 2016
Standing Rock - the Re-Emergence of Native Americans into Activism and Civil Engagement
Protests by Native Americans, joined by various others in the state of North Dakota, against an oil pipeline crossing their sacred burial lands among other things, have done much to raise environmental awareness to some of the continued trials of the first nations, as well as to serve as notice of the re-emergence of Native Americans into activism and into civil engagement in the United States(US).
Forced from their lands, slaughtered in battle and driven onto reservations by European settlers in America, the history of the Native Americans is well documented.
Although many first tribes have been involved in many different social, economic and political activities for centuries, their involved activism on these matters have not been fully noted and chronicled by main stream media. Moreover, while some tribes have gained economic riches over the years via casinos and tax free cigarette sales, others have remained obscured on reservations fighting bouts of poverty and alcoholism. Others have lived quietly in multicultural mixed communities in the US.
However, with the present legitimate protests against the erection of an oil pipeline across Sioux lands in North Dakota that also threatens the main water source for the Sioux of the Missouri River, Native American culture and plight have once again become national issues, thus throwing the first nations into activism and into civil engagement in America.
Civil liberties organizations welcome the re-emergence of the Native people. Their fight in North Dakota is a good fight worthy of full support.
If the 2016 Presidential Election rhetoric by the President-elect against immigrants and against key social programs and laws are precedent to the type of government the President-elect will run, then 2017 and beyond could bring new cooperative relations and protests by Native Americans working side by side with other minority groups fighting for the preservation of the rights of all the people.
So here's to the Native peoples: the Navajo, the Apache, the Sioux, the Cherokee, the Iroquois, etal; welcome back friends, brothers and sisters, your fight is the fight of all good people. Solidarity is strength!
November 29, 2016
The Fall of Aleppo, Syria
Aleppo, Syria - that tip-of-the-tongue word for a known town that epitomizes the humanitarian wrongs and failings of the Syrian conflict, is falling. The demise of rebel-held Aleppo becomes another tragic milestone in the six-year execution of Bashar al Assad's war upon the Syrian people.
With rebel held, government held and Kurdish held areas of the city, the rebel held sector had become the focus of much international press in recent months as starvation and other humanitarian sufferings intensified within the region, brought to wrought by Russia's reinforcement of Bashar al Assad's forces in the fight for Syria. The rebels have been out lasted and out-gunned in Aleppo by the forces of Vladimir Putin's Russia backing the Syrian army.
The United Nations(UN) Humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien sounded yet another alarm over Aleppo this morning admitting that he was "extremely concerned about the fate of civilians as a result of the deeply alarming and chilling situation unfolding in Aleppo." In recent days, some 16,000 civilians have become displaced from the city because of government and Russian shelling of rebel held areas. Under Russian bombs, regime troops and militiamen have retaken more than a third of the rebel held eastern half of Aleppo since this weekend, the BBC-News revealed.
As a result, the fall of rebel-held Aleppo appear imminent with an associated added humanitarian tragedy unfolding in its wake. Sadly, the humanitarian blight that is the Syrian conflict will not end in Aleppo. Given the great rift, divide and high crimes committed in the conflict, Syria faces many years of insurgency fighting.
November 28, 2016
Bruised Faith and Spirits - Lingering Effects of Decision 2016
How do you mend bruised faith and spirits that have been twisted and churned from a surprising election result? How do you continue to trust, to promote and to value a system that is flawed? How can you criticize other fallible systems of elections when yours denies winning to the majority vote-getter? Is majority rule a farce design to further dupe developed and developing states?
Many families, friends, associates and neighbors have suffered bruised faiths and spirits from the surprising results of the 2016 United States(US) Presidential Election. Though it is rumored that time heals all wounds, I'm not sure whether or not enough time could ever past quick enough to bring back any normalcy to the desired and trusted system of democratic elections. Maybe China has been right all these years and everybody else have been wrong?
While our children have grudgingly accepted as possible that that not expected or desired could become reality, many adults are having a difficult time adapting to the jolting results of November 8, 2016.
The effects of decision 2016 will last a long time. Beliefs will change. Democracy has become weakened. And with regards to years 2017, 2018 and 2019, predictions are clouded at this time. However, one thing stands ascertained, there will be another vote in 2020. Have faith, Amen.
November 27, 2016
To the Defense of all Minorities: Protection for Myanmar's Rohingya People
The persecution of Myanmar's minority Rohingya people - a Muslim sect in a Buddhist majority country, has intensified in recent weeks. Attacks upon women, children and men have escalated to a point that a United Nations(UN) official has warned of government ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority people.
The Rohingya, who number about one-million of the 57-million Buddhist majority in Myanmar, have been relegated to little or no status in their country, where they are considered illegal immigrants by many. They have been discriminated against for many years. Yet, the Rohingya has been established and dwelling in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state for many centuries. Many are denied state papers.
On October 9, this year, a coordinated attack on Myanmar's Border Security left nine officers dead. Politicians and army officials have blamed the Rohingya for the attack. Since then, attacks on the Rohingya, including the murder and the rape of women and girls, have intensified, prompting UN refugee agency official, John McKissick, to declare that Myanmar's armed forces are killing the Rohingya and forcing many of them to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.
According to a BBC-News report, McKissick charged that the Myanmar armed forces were "engaged in collective punishment of the Rohingya minority".
To this end, the defense of all minority groups must be upheld and protection extended to the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
November 26, 2016
The End of a Marxist Institution - the Death of Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro, the former leader of the Caribbean country of Cuba, who's longevity underscored his impact upon millions of youths in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and the world, died last night. He was 90.
Castro led Cuba as a Marxist revolutionary since 1959, when he and Che Guevara routed the corrupt Fulgencio Batista from power in Cuba. Castro's revolution became the rallying cry for the working classes in Latin American, the Caribbean and Africa at a time when United States(US) and Soviet ideologies split the world. The Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis focused much attention on Cuba in the 1960s.
Born in Cuban on August 13, 1926, Castro, a lawyer, survived many threats to his leadership until his transferred of power to his brother and current Cuban President, Raul Castro, in 2008.
While many Cubans living in the US and especially, in Miami, detested the existence of Castro because their landed and professional families were uprooted from Cuba by Castro, Castro remained very popular among Cuba's working classes as well as among those on other Caribbean islands, Latin America and Africa.
For many youths of the 1960s and the 1970s, Castro was the embodiment of government for the people - a Utopian realization amid economic sanctions and hardships. Yet, Castro's Cuban revealed the inherent reality of economic faults within Marxism. But Castro survived to see the beginning of normalization of relations between his country and the US.
Today, those of us touched or influenced by Fidel Castro over the years stand in honor of the Caribbean leader and hereby state: Travel well Fidel, thanks for imparting hope upon the hopeless and bravery to the weak of heart. R.I.P. Comrade!
November 25, 2016
Erdogan's Migrant Trump Card to EU Accession
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to open the flood gates of hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe in reaction to the European Parliament's vote to freeze European Union(EU) membership talks for Turkey. Hence, Erdogan has revealed his trump card to Turkey's EU accession.
His reaction, according to the BBC-News, was to the non-binding vote by the European Parliament yesterday to freeze talks on Turkey's EU membership because of Erdogan's "disproportionate" response to a failed coup attempt in July.
Since July, more than 110,000 Turks have been fired or suspended from their jobs and some 37,000 have been arrested under emergency powers granted to Erdogan following a coup attempt. More than 15 media outlets have also been shuttered as Erdogan has stifled dissent in Turkey.
In March, the EU and Turkey entered into a deal that called for Turkey to prevent to deter migrant travel from Turkey to Europe. The EU agreed to fast track discussions on Turkish visa-free travel to the EU and Turkish membership into the coveted union. However, matters between the EU and Turkey soured following the July coup attempt when Erdogan embarked on a right denial binge across Turkey in an attempt to purge dissent.
Erdogan has accused the EU of breaking promises. His threat to the EU earlier today stated: "Listen to me: these border gates will be opened if you go any further," he warned the EU as reported by the BBC-News.
Thus, if the EU had hoped for a roll back of Erdogan rights suppression in Turkey with a decision to freeze accession talks, then the union might have to react differently given the direct threat from Erdogan to flood Europe with migrants. More than three million migrants are housed in Turkey.
November 24, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving! To those not celebrating, I bid you peace and comfort.
On this day when many of us find numerous things of which to be thankful, I instead offer a special prayer for the children of conflicts who are denied the rights of liberty, of happiness, of childhood and of life.
For a quick path to cessation of hostilities I dream as I hope for a immediate return to normalcy and to solace for all the children victimized by conflicts. Amen.
November 23, 2016
Thanksgiving in Colombia: Signing a Redrawn Peace Deal
Tomorrow, Thursday, November 24, 2016, will be observed as Thanksgiving Day in the United States(US) - to commemorate the life-saving efforts Native Americans provided to the Pilgrims upon the founding of the colony that would later evolve into a Super Power.
However, tomorrow's celebration in the US could be overshadowed by a greater need to give thanks in the Latin American country of Colombia, where its government and Farc rebels, who have been fighting for 52-years, will sign a redrawn Peace Agreement that offers peace to the beautiful people and landscapes of Colombia.
An earlier agreement between the government and the rebels was denied at referendum by Colombian voters on November 2. But with continued support for peace mediated by Cuba and Norway and fully supported by Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded this year's Noble Peace Prize for supporting the agreement, a redrawn peace agreement will be signed tomorrow.
A couple weeks ago, the parties to the peace deal agreed to a redo of the agreement after the original deal was defeated by 50.2 percent of the vote on November 2, under suspicions the plan was too lenient to rebels. The new deal will be put to Colombia's Congress for a vote instead of the people.
Under the redrawn peace agreement, the Farc, among other things, is expected to declare all its assets and hand them over to be used as reparations for the victims of the 52-year-old conflict; and to provide information about any drug trafficking in which they may have been involved.
Tomorrow offers reasons for thanksgiving in Colombia as hopes to peace, to stability and to prosperity engulf a nation of conflict-weary people.
November 22, 2016
A Hope for Relief to the Victims of Conflict
As tens of millions of people enter into the festive season of the year, we here at Community Affairs Consultants, take this opportunity to offer a special hope for relief from suffering to all the children and adult victims of conflict.
From Aleppo, Syria; to Mosul, Iraq; and to the places in Europe, in Africa, in Asia and in the Americas that are under pressure from conflict and from the uncertainty of the unknown, we offer a ray of hope that today, tomorrow, the next day and the coming year, could bring prosperity and comfort to all of you.
May the kindness of the generosity shown to all neighbors be enjoyed by all through peace and in the absence of bloodshed. Amen!
November 21, 2016
Re-Affirming the Rights of the People
The self-evident truths that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the Declaration of Independence by the United States of America, continue to provide the framework to ensuring the rights of the people 200-plus years after the affirmation.
Wherever humans live, their rights to liberty, to equality, to happiness and to the rule of law, must never be abridged. From the east to the west, the people in their varying environs, will continue to stand for justice, for equality and for peace.
Any present or coming system that attempts to re-load any fallible historical practice of inequality upon any people in these dynamic times, will be resisted and unhinged. The peoples of the world stand resolute to adhere and to respect the rights of all people despite color, creed or national origin.
November 20, 2016
Note to Syria's Children XIII
Dearest Children, I greet you with the hope of peace to recapturing your lost childhoods from conflict.
However, reality affirms that war still ravishes around you with suffering, injury, displacement and death in many locations like Aleppo.
Yet, despite all your sad experiences, your youthful beacons of hope to prosperity and solace remain aglow as you so bravely demonstrate time after time an unyielding desire and resolve to have peace.
In my last words to you, Note to Syria's Children XII, March 29, 2016, I pledged "to continue to do whatever we can to press the powers that be to safeguard your deserved freedom and your peace." I added:"Humanity owes you peace and solace, and in as much as it is written, it shall come to past."
Nine-months later, humanity still continues to fail you. That pledge to democracy and its institutions and to the rule of law that I have often urged you to hope, all appear unfair and far-fetched at this time in light of your continued suffering and death and also because of notable democratic hopes that were dashed recently in the United Kingdom(UK), in Colombia and in the great United States(US).
While democracy, its institutions, equality and the rule of war remain sound pillars to the advancement of the human race, they come with inherent flaws that some societies from ancient Greece to the current times have been able to fine tune for the betterment of all humanity, while some societies continue to battle at making necessary adaptations.
Therefore children, I unequivocally declare to you today that in spite of shortcomings and disappointments of democracy, your future lies in your community's collective realization and efforts to keep the rays of your culture and your insisted existence, afire. Only you - all of you, can assure the relighting of your glows to prosperity. Thus, I urge you to attain the unity needed to keep the embers of hope alive, for out of this unity, your beacon to sustained peace is held. Amen!
November 19, 2016
Another Ceasefire in Yemen - Hope of Peace
Saudi Arabia and its coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, declared a 48-hour ceasefire to hostilities into that conflict, earlier today. The coalition offered the ceasefire on the condition that the rebels would follow suit to allow desperately needed humanitarian assistance to reach besieged cities, especially conflict-torn Taiz.
The truce which took effect at 12:00 noon Yemen time today, according to the Associated Press(AP), could be renewed, thus offering a glimmer of hope to perhaps a final peace in the conflict, which started in March 2015 and has left some 4,000 people dead, tens of thousands wounded and three million displaced.
Despite the ceasefire declaration, reports out of Yemen suggest that fighting still continues along front lines including the rebel besieged city of Taiz, where Saudi coalition troops have advanced in recent weeks.
However, a hope to peace and a plea for normalcy are worthy in Yemen so that the suffering and the deaths could end.
November 18, 2016
A Needed Security Affirmation to Europe from NATO
In lieu of any declared affirmation to the security of Europe by the United States(US) President-elect Donald Trump, NATO must now confirm its commitment to the protection of the Baltics, Nordics and other European states.
While anxiety over meddling by Russia's Vladimir Putin has increased from Estonia, to Lithuania, to Latvia, to Poland and elsewhere, NATO, minus a US affirmation, is still capable of securing the sovereignty of its members and allies across Europe.
Increased British deployment to the region, especially to Estonia and to Lithuania, could be matched by other NATO members to ward off any assertions by Russia. A declared affirmation from NATO to the security of the region could calm many fears in lieu of any affirmation to Europe's security from the US President-elect.
In the mean time, under President Barack Obama, who still holds title to the White House until January 20, 2017, Europe is assured the fullest and the greatest protection from the United States of America.
November 17, 2016
All Obligations to Combat Climate Change Must be Honored
The United Kingdom(UK) is the latest industrialized country to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, joining the United States(US), China and India among others, in promoting the crucially important environmental necessity.
Thus far, 192 countries have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which focuses on reducing annual global temperature rises by less than two degrees Celsius. Of the 192 signatories, 110 nations have ratified the Paris Agreement.
However, with forthcoming changes in governments in the US and possibly other places, it is important that all governments honor the obligations and commitments already made to the Paris Agreement. Science supports the contentions of the majority of nations that climate change is real. Any failure to honoring the Paris Agreement or any other environmental agreement would be dooming future generations to a sick environment.
Therefore, whether or not a leader emerging from the sales world understands or believes the science of climate change, it remains imperative that he respects the desire of the majority of the people in the nation by ensuring that all obligations to combat climate change are honored in whole.
November 16, 2016
Can All Wounds be Healed?
Not all wounds will heal. If they did, then death would be obsolete. Therefore, symbolically, many of the wounds opened during the recent Presidential Election cycle in the United States(US), will not heal.
However, for the good of the Republic and for the unity of the nation, some wounds could be soothed as a compromise to maintaining the national identity of the US. It is the responsibility of President-elect Donald Trump to usher in the compromise and unity healing phase.
Failure by the President-elect to make the necessary overtures to national healing could result in a festering of racial, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic wounds that were gashed opened during the President-elect's all out ambition to seek the Oval Office.
If ongoing protests by American youths against the President-elect are not sufficient to point to a need for healing in America, then the next four-years could be filled with turbulence from coast to coast in the US.
November 15, 2016
America's Future Leaders Protest the Shock of 2016
Students - the future leaders of America, poured out of their classrooms and onto the streets in a Washington, DC, suburb yesterday, in protest of the apparent election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States(US), last Tuesday, in a shocking voter result.
The students were from Montgomery Blair, Northwood, Albert Einstein, Wheaton and John F. Kennedy high schools, in Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside of the District of Columbia. They walked onto the streets from classes to protest Trump. Some carried placards reading "not my president".
This latest action by America's youth to protest the election of Trump, whose vote tally is some 500,000 fewer than Secretary Hillary Clinton's, follows last week's protests in California, New York, Illinois and other places also to Trump's apparent election.
Moreover, there is a social media buzz this morning in Washington, DC, that calls for students at the District of Columbia Public Schools(DCPS) to walk out of classes today at noon and to head to Trump's new hotel in Washington, to protest against last week's electoral shock that rendered Donald Trump as the President-Elect.
to be continued Asia Today Archives 2