Tag Archives: conflict

Aren’t we all human?

A distressed vessel discovered by the US Navy (USN) Oliver Hazard Perry Class Guided Missile Frigate USS RENTZ (FFG 46) 300 miles from shore with 90 people on board, including women and children.  The RENTZ provided assistance and took the Ecuadorian citizens to Guatemala, from where they would be repatriated. (SUBSTANDARD)

I thought about the best way to start this post, to be honest, as the subject seems to have sparkled controversy everywhere.

These past weeks have been filled with news about refugees entering Europe. They come mostly from Syria (although there are nationals from other countries as well), fleeing the war.

I must say that my Facebook feed looked like a political discussion show past few weeks. The opinions of Europeans were mixed, some want to help, some think that refugees will “steal” our jobs and are an excuse to let terrorists enter Europe. Same thing on comments on news articles online (I need to stop reading those…). I was a bit shocked with the lack of humanity of some comments.

Now, I’m very pragmatic in these type of things. If we could be letting in terrorists disguised as refugees? Yes, perhaps we are. But what about the people that actually need help? Are we going to close the door and say “sorry, busy”?. We need to put ourselves in their shoes. Can you imagine how desperate you have to be to risk your life and your kids’ life to come all the way here? Very desperate. These people are not coming to Europe for a better life. They come because they’ve lost everything.

We can help. And it is important that we help.

Some say that Europe won’t be able to cope for long. Maybe. Can we stop the Syrian war and other existing conflicts, so refugees can go back? That answer would have enough written material for a lot of blog posts, but let me know what you think.

Please, don’t forget that we are all human. No one is better than you, and you are not better than anyone. Compassion makes us human.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Europe, International Relations, Others, Refugees

Do you feel safe?

10582094105_4d7d1c3d57_oTerrorism. If you check on Wikipedia, it is defined as (…) violent acts (or the threat of violent acts) intended to create fear (terror), perpetrated for an economic, religious, political, or ideological goal, and which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.

For those of you that don’t know, I currently live in the UK. 10 years ago, a series of bombings happened in London, killing 52 people. These were terrorist attacks. Another one had occurred the previous year in Spain. We all know about the 9/11 attacks. Several others happened in the last years, a recent one in Tunisia.

The feeling I had on the anniversary of the bombings here in the UK was of profound sadness. How can anyone, despite their ideology or religion, can do something like that? Take out so many innocent lives? The fact is, they can. And it is happening all over the world.

Today, I was reading about the terrorism threat levels in the UK. I must say that I was a bit shocked to find out that the level is “severe” at the moment, meaning an attack is highly likely. Something like this makes you feel uncomfortable. Now, I am usually a very relaxed person on these types of matters, but I’ve been finding myself more worried than usual once in a while. If first we had Al-Qaeda and others, now we have the Islamic State. And even if the latter disappears there is always going to be some other organisation that will come and enforce fear. And the most disturbing thought is that an attack can happen anytime, anywhere.

So, my main question here is what should be done? As far as we know the war on terror is still ongoing, is that enough/good? Or should we address the issue in a different way?

7 Comments

Filed under America, Asia, Europe, International Relations, Others

The day that everything changed

4af416d7e9966New-World13 years ago something changed in the world.

I remember arriving home (in Portugal) to have lunch and seeing the images of the attacks in the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and I didn’t quite understand what was going on at the time (I was 11 years old). I remember having this feeling of sadness, the shivers down my spine. I understood that a lot of people died and a lot more were suffering.

As some of you know, both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degree were in International Relations. It was almost impossible to be a student of IR and not talking about this particular event. I remember discussing how it affected the world, what changed. We analysed it, talked about it.

Unfortunately, I think it was the first time that the USA felt that it could be hit in its own territory. The feeling of being safe ended, and the war on terror started. Since then it has spread to other countries as well, however this expression hasn’t been used in a while and has been substituted for others more “friendly”. All of a sudden, terrorism was being used for almost everything, and I feel that it still is like this, at least a bit. Many wars were fought and many lives lost because of this. Are we any safer now?

This is a controversial topic, I know. And it will be for many years to come. My opinion is that many mistakes were made in past few years. But I don’t disregard the effectiveness of several decisions… What I often think is how many terrorists has this war on terror created? And how many has it destroyed? It is hard to know.

And I must say that it is one of those subjects that I honestly don’t know what to think about… What do you think? Do you feel safer now?

36 Comments

Filed under America

Your ecological footprint – what?!

green-footprint-shutterstock11I could start with the typical “save the earth, it is the only we have”, which is completely true, but I will start to tell you that we, as humans need to stop acting like the planet is infinite and it is never going to run out of resources, if not for the earth we share, for ourselves. It will. It is already… And still, it passes us by like it is nothing. Why? Because we don’t see it truly in front of us. If we see war, we see dead people, we see injured people, we know it is happening, we know we need to do something. We don’t see the impact of our actions in our planet, at least clearly. But it is happening.

Yesterday, according to the Global Footprint Network, was the Earth Overshoot Day. For those of you who are not familiar with this, the Earth Overshoot Day is the date our Ecological Footprint exceeds our planet’s “annual budget”. That means that we already spent what Earth can regenerate during this year. In practical terms, we need a planet and a half to produce the resources that we are spending in one year. If you want to know your ecological footprint, click here. In the link you will also find tips on how to reduce your ecological footprint.

In 1961 we used 3 quarters of the Earth’s capacity. Now, we didn’t even got to the end of the year, and we already need a new planet. As you can imagine, in the long term, this will lead to several problems: climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, lack of food, lack of water and lack of other resources essential and non-essential to human life. It will also bring, in my opinion, conflict over these resources, if the situation continues to escalate like this.

So, how can we make Earth sustainable again? Well, first of all, we need to stop acting like it is something for others to deal with. Reducing the ecological footprint is a responsibility of everyone. We also have to realise that it is not easy and that it won’t happen fast. But, if we try, we can make a better planet.

What do you do to reduce your ecological footprint? Tell me below!

46 Comments

Filed under Environmental, Uncategorized

First World War centenary and the state of the world

This morning I had a conversation about the state of the world. It is something that has been on my mind for quite some time, as the number of conflicts keeps increasing. If you look around in the news you will see articles about the Syrian War, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about problems in Iraq, about the war in Ukraine

The world is a complete, total mess. And how? How did we arrive here?

Last week (28 July 2014) marked the 100 years of the beginning (28 July 1914) of the 1st World War. You can click the link if you want a simple explanation about it. There are several ceremonies around the world regarding WW I, remembering all the sacrifices made, all the lives lost. You can check more here. It is not rare finding a monument to the WW I and II causalities. There is this need for to world not to forget the horror of such a war. So why does it keep forgetting?

In this conversation that I had, I said that I “feel” that something is coming. Now, I don’t like to be a misfortune prophet, as it is really not my style, but I do think that in the next 5, 10, etc years there will be some kind of turning point in these conflict areas. Could be good or could be bad…But there has to be one.

With the experience of the two previous world wars, I try to think that the international community is now too smart to let a 3rd World War start, but I am wrong? Tell me what you think!

 

21 Comments

Filed under America, Asia, Europe, Middle-East, Others

The way life isn’t supposed to be in Israel and Palestine

Israel-Palestine-HandshakeIt took me about 30 minutes to decide how to start this post. I was not having a creative blocking or anything alike, because I knew what I wanted to write. It was just because this subject makes my heart hurt.

From all the international issues, the Israeli-Arab conflict was always the one that got my attention since I was around 15/16 years old. I am used to write about it in different perspectives (for example my master’s degree thesis was called the Israeli-Arab conflict and water issues: from scarcity to conflict) and I try to keep myself updated about the conflict as much as I can.

As most of you know a series of attacks from Israel to Palestine (and vice-versa) are being carried on. It all started with the kidnapping of 3 Israeli Teenagers (and when I say start, I mean that this event was the big red button that you are not supposed to push, as the hurting of people was on-going before that) by who knows who. Then a Palestinian teenager was killed in retaliation by again, mystery murderers. From there, it escalated very quickly (doesn’t it always?).

According to The Guardian, Israel has launched 1300 air strikes at Palestine, while the Palestinians fired 800 rockets at Israel. 166 Palestinians were killed and Israel didn’t report any fatalities. I suggest you look around and gather information from both sides to have an impartial idea.

As for me, I still think that there is a solution: a 2 state solution, where neighbours respect borders. But will it be possible? The hatred between Palestine and Israel is so much that I think that this will never end (I hope, I really do, that I am wrong). They grow up being taught that the other party is the enemy. I have friends in both sides… although they think they can live in peace, the distrust is there. How can we change this? There are some many violations of human rights (by both parts!) that I start thinking if this will ever end. In the end, they are all people, fighting for something that in 2014 shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

My main concern at this moment is how much more this will escalate. Will it end up in war again? Are we looking at a 3rd intifada or is this just business as usual? Since 2008 that there have been two situations like this one. They were mediated and they didn’t develop into something else, so hopefully this situation will be the same.

Never mind the politics or who is right or wrong. People are being killed. Where is diplomacy when we need it? What can UN do? What can we do?

81 Comments

Filed under Middle-East

20 years since Rwanda: What did we learn?

ImageWell, nothing really. People are still killing each other, and it seems that is going to stay like that for a while. Or perhaps we did learn something: how to pass the impression that the governments and ourselves are doing something to change the problems of the world. Well my friends, the ugly truth is: we do almost nothing and the majority of people just don’t care.

For the ones that don’t know, the Rwandan genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority. 20% (!) of the Rwanda’s population – yes you read it well – was killed like that. A series of crimes against humanity were perpetuated, including war rape. Until today, it still amazes me (negatively) how such a massacre could have gone without someone doing something about it. How can you/our governments watch people being killed with machetes (or whatever weapons they could find) and still be immune to it? 

And still, after 20 years, we still see people being killed in cold blood, and I am not talking about Rwanda. I am talking about Syria, Palestine, Sudan and all the countries that suffer some kind of armed conflict. And we are still doing very little. 

 

 

 

34 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized