Monday, October 31, 2011

UNESCO votes Palestine in

In an earlier posting (27 Sept. 2011) I wrote about the UN vote and Palestine being recognized as a sovereign state.  UNESCO has voted to allow Palestine full membership, thus recognizing the existence of Palestine as having sovereignty.  The reaction to such an event is not at all surprising.
What really pisses me off is all the historical garbage about who did what and when.  The facts of the case are skewed to almost hilarious proportions.  The only fact that should matters is that humans are being killed, forgotten, isolated, and held at gun point because politicians and idiocy allow such.
A country is going to withhold funding of UNESCO because of this, how childish can you get?  A peace agreement cannot be forced upon either side, it has to be negotiated and created.  Having conditions of peace mandated, by an outsider no less to what is acceptable is bullshit. 
History is a major sticking point in this entire situation and yet the history has proven that the current path is not working.  It has been stagnant since 1967 and worse today than it was in 1945.  That is the only fact that needs to be noted.  Religion should not even be mentioned.  No one even listens to the doctrine of peace that each religion professes to have as a foundation.
World leaders my ass, a group of five year olds act with more leadership than what we have in this situation.  Get ready for a veto from the Security Council from one of the permanent five and the temper tantrum that goes with it. 
Peace and truth have long been known as the first casualties of war.  In the Mid-East we still have not peace and truth is hard to find.  At some point we must say enough.  I for one have had enough of children being taught to hate, taught to kill and/or not even allowed to go to school.   The lives of the future innocent children have already been condemned, because we are too stupid to make peace, for what purpose?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Africa? What next?

It is always a desire that we learn from the past.  As we move along there will be situations that arise in which circumstances remind us of past mistakes.  I have recently come across some futurist writing about politics on the African continent.  I find these futurist writings to be a bit of conspiracy theory but there is always a piece of truth to be had.  What I was reading made me think of what Africa was like during 1920's and continuing into the 1990's, is that going to return?  This is my futurist/conspiracy thought now:
The permanent five (Russia, Britian, France, China and USA* I think we should start using the moniker RUSA because it is really the Republic of the United States of America thus RUSA) are heading down a path for more proxy wars on the African continent.  Not that either country is fully aware of doing so but I think it will be a situation that will morph into such a situation - if we do not stop history from repeating itself. 

Of the five, Britain and RUSA have been fighting really tough wars since 2002.  France and Russia have been engaged in wars with Russia more so and are good for more.  China has not really been all that active outside it own borders but may step into a proxy war.  Also, China and India have been increasing their economic impact on the African continent for the past decade.  Why would such proxy wars take place?
The world economy is not good and may get worse.  War has been a staple of economic improvement theory since 1945 with the industrial complex.  Furthermore there has been no clear winner in Iraq or Afghanistan and the steam from that ego hit must be released somehow.  Chechnya along with the tense situation with Georgia that Russia is dealing with is far from over. China has a growing middle class and at some point they are going to seek higher pay.  That will drive costs up and there will need to be cheap labour.  Cheap labour, oil, resources, arms trade, market share and power struggles are all part of this intricate dance being played out.
Of course these are just crazy thoughts of possible realities.  I pray that none of this is even remotely accurate.
Dark days are ahead. More and more African societies are deeply divided internally. Africans need to reflect on the fall of Gaddafi and, before him, that of Gbagbo in Cote d'Ivoire. Will these events usher in an era of external interventions, each welcomed internally as a mechanism to ensure a change of political leadership in one country after another?

One thing should be clear: those interested in keeping external intervention at bay need to concentrate their attention and energies on internal reform.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is a world government needed?

All day I have been thinking of a question asked of me early in the morning.  What do I think of having a world government?  I am not in favour of such a reality, to be honest. 

First of all, I like the system we have now.  The reason for that is because it is working quite well and we rarely use it to its core intent or utmost efficiency.   Cases in point.

Lately I have noticed an increase of reports dealing with the governance of conflict resources, along with small arms and light weapons.  These two issue are often seen linked together.  I know the United Nations Global Compact is being looked at right now and that deals with corporate social responsibility.  Add to that the frustrated feelings of people about the gap between rich and poor.  No one knows that gap more so than a child forced to work for pennies a day picking cocao, coffee, mining gold, making clothes etc.... 

At this very moment we have declarations concerning human rights and child rights.  Both of these declarations have been agreed to by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which makes all memebers bound to such declarations.  Now if the system was allowed to work we would have a great many more criminals in jail for torture, child slave labour, weapons trafficing and a host of other crimes.  However, we do not play to the full operational capacity of the current system.  Lord knows there were 3000 people killed in Syria since March 2011 alone, why is the world allowing that?

As sad as it is, somethings are not perfect and governance is far from it - completely due to the fact that we are far from perfect.  The current system has enough governance in place to deal with all that is going on, we just are not using it.  The reason is that there such an accountability cavity hinges on the singular issue of a power struggle which wages on.

On one side we are seeing the power struggle take place with the increase in revoultions spread around the world.  The Rose revolution, Orange Revolution, Jasmine Revolution, and the Arab spring.  These are the forces of the people trying to make current government work and it is slowly getting there.  The other power struggle is behind the curtain of all the news.  A struggle that has waged for years between the supremacy of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Security Council.

We are witnessing the need for an expanded Security Council and the end of the permanent five holding veto power.  These two elements of change within the United Nations structure will alter the balance of power overnight.  Now my question has come to this - What that change would bring is quite unknown to me so should or maybe I do fear that change?  I must think on that.

In closing, a world government is not needed, I all ready have enough government.  What we need is more accountability.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Peaceful transition in Libya

The situation in Libya can go either way right now.  There exists a window of opportunity here for things to go a peaceful route.  What is needed is a firm grasp of leadership, almost dictatorship for the very short term.
There needs to be a strong hold on disarmament as fast as possible.  In tandem there needs to be an influx of cleaning up of unexploded ordinance, clear the rubble of destroyed buildings and other infrastructure.  The world community needs to step in and help with maintaining the rule of law while the transitional government works to hold elections.
There is a large possibility that gangs will infiltrate the police and government right now.  This is the largest piece of concern that has to be dealt with.  As the country rebuilds its self the rule of law has to be kept intact if not improved.  Trust has to be built for peace to take root and that trust begins with enforcing the laws of the country as fairly and as transparent as possible.
NATO forces have taken on the role so it should stay until the job is finished; or it can take the G W Bush saying to cut and run. 
I know this is a very simple outline to a complex and lengthy situation.  However this outline is the crux of what needs to take place in the coming months.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

have we forgotten the Jasmine Revolution already?

The past few weeks we have seen the demonstrations about the state of the economy.  In most newspapers I have read, these protests are linked to the Arab Spring. 
We can not allow the Jasmine Revolution to die so easily.  Remember the peaceful revolution in Tunisia? 

It was sparked off by the self-immolation of vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17. The movement grew over the issues of unemployment, food inflation, corruption, lack of freedom of speech and poor living conditions and overflowed into Egypt where it has been raging.

That revolution then spread to Libya, Yemen, Syria and other areas.  But it is all part of a continum of events that we forget has taken place.  Let us not forget about the man that died in Genoa Italy during the G8 summit in 2001, a 23-year-old activist, Carlo Giuliani and all the protesters who shed light during the economic boom.

Today we speak of the Occupy whatever city.  These protests all have a history and the two men mentioned above are people that we are forgetting.  The Arab Spring does not happen without Bouazizi.  Giuliani is also a casualty in the war for a just and equal society.  These two men are examples of how the world moved into this economic state.  We forgot our history.
The 1930’s gave us the experience to know that rampant unchecked lines of credit will eventually collapse.  We paid no attention to that lesson and we are paying for it now. 
I am not one to blame governments as I see every individual as holding power in government.  That may be difficult for some to see or understand, which is why I focus on peace and conflict.  We have to believe and understanding that we will learn, we will improve, we will not forget the past and we will take responsibility to protect.  We can not forget Mohamed Bouazizi, Carlo Giuliani and the millions of children that have worked, still work and will work in slavery so that we have cheap products to buy. 
Occupy whatever city, but first occupy the boardrooms.  Make the world accountable where it has failed us, the pursuit of money in corporate head offices.  Realize that you are government, realize that corporation listen to their stockholders (so buy up stocks), live within your means and for the love of peace hope for a world when someday we will not be afraid to arrest those that commit crimes – even if they are Presidents of countries.

Monday, October 10, 2011

idle thoughts about coming home from where ever

Working in post conflict countries is a very rewarding job. While working in conflict and post conflict zones you deal with the worst of human conditions, very limited resources and the insanity of war.  After some time you get used to it all and it becomes normal.  Then comes the day you have to go home.  Coming home from such places can actually be quite difficult.  
First you realize that you can go home.  Most of the people you work with are home and leaving is not an option.  Then you begin your travel home, which often entails a flight.  Yes the airplane food, drinks and seats.  This is a chance to steady yourself for your transition of human hardship to luxury.   Now you have the airport lay overs of 2 to 12 hours.   Food courts, shopping, liquor, news stands, restaurants, book stores and bars all at the ready.  Airports are quickly becoming like the average mall but with a constant change over of customers.  Then you set foot on the last flight home. 
You can feel the sameness of everyone from your own country, an ease that you are going home.  Little bits of home pass by and you hardly notice them at first, until you revert back to that culture.  It is then you realize how much the world is now part of you, you have changed in some way.  However you are going home to a place that has not changed as you have.
Your heart is still in the communities you have been working with for so long.  The faces and routine you have come to know all dance in your mind.  The struggles you over came make you smile and some you could do nothing about make you tear up.  Perhaps you drink, pray, write, chat watch movies or sleep for most of the time but you always go between what you now know as your homes – the one you left and the one you are going to.
The world has changed for you.  Then you get home and for some the world is the same as when you left.  Food, water, electricity, medicine and housing are all in abundance.  The newspaper has articles which argue how much of a social safety net is too much?  Actors, singers, sports players are often more popular than the police chief, who actually does something.  It all sinks into your mind and it grates as you wonder if anyone is paying attention to what is going on?
 You are tired and just want to be alone to let the world sink in as you try to grasp how could there be so much difference, you only traveled for 26 hours.  The world closes in on you and you see similarities in the faces of people from your home where you left on some of the people in the home, where you are now.   People, you have seen them at their worst, their best and now you see them in between.  You smile and look around as you wonder, this is what we strive for?  Peace is what we each must decide for ourselves and when you know what it is for you, you realize that everyone else is trying to do the same thing.
Then you see the homeless person and you feel the weight of the world because you know that all you can offer is a smile, a comforting word and maybe a dollar or two.  So you give what you can and then you see that same smile of thanks you felt two days ago from that lady you helped.  Now you are changed again.  How long before you go back?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Democratic Republic of Congo

Peace in Africa
It is possible and it will happen.  If there is one country that I believe is a key to peace in all of Africa it is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The reasons DRC is such a vital country are due to its geographic location, size and the enormous wealth that is buried in the soil and on top.
First of all the location and size of the DRC is such that it has borders on nine differing countries, all in various states of peace, economic stability and development.  This is very much a domino effect theory and as we know such a theory has its flaws but, it also has its benefits.  A peaceful DRC would no longer offer a hiding place for many armed groups;
Second, there is an enormous wealth of resources which are now being plundered.  The riches of the DRC are escaping with little benefit to the people of the country.  Also there exist a vast potential for energy security for all of Africa in the hydro electric opportunities;
With the need for infrastructure in the DRC the building boom will offer many jobs.  This will also have a stabilizing impact as people will be working and have restored hope in a brighter future.
Now I write all of this and it is easy to do so.  Yet the current situation holds that such efforts to bring peace to just even a province of the DRC is very difficult.  We need the will of the international community to heavily invest in sector security reform, infrastructure building and ending corruption.  It is possible and it will be accomplished – someday.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The world as it is today

Taking a look around the world is an entertaining experience.  We truly are living in interesting times.  However, those times have (as always) two sides, positive and negative.  No matter which side you tend to view life, the world continues on no matter what.  How you choose to view the world is your foundation of understanding and outlook for the future.
Perhaps it is useful to acknowledge the past.  The world ruled by Ghangis Khan fell apart, the Roman Empire fell apart, the Ottoman Empire fell apart, the British Empire fell apart and most recently the Russian Empire has broken up.  Historians will debate whether some were by choice such as the British and Russian empires, others were destroyed such as those in the North and South American continents.  The fact remains that life goes on.
Today we have a vast problem with the economy, so much so that the environmental issue has taken a step back from the public eye.  The political landscape is changing as well before our eyes.  The international boundaries in Africa have changed and will change even more in the coming years.  This has not happened since 1918.  The  Jasmine Revolution/Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East is taking place right now.
The Prime Minister of Russia is seeking to build an economic union with its neighbours.  China has been sending foreign aid in exchange for oil and gas to Africa and South America.  China has rarely ever sent aid to any country before.  While all of this is going on we still have to put food on the table, educate and keep healthy. 
Depending how you see the world, positive or negative, all of these events can be a weight, a delight or just more of the same as life rolls on.  For me I see it as more of the same.  Power shifts, economies fail, empires die, oil will run out, Israel and Palestine will continue to fight eachother and someone will feel the need to kill another. This is life.
The crux of the matter here is how much do you want to be involved?  No government rules without the will of the entire people and when the people have enough it gets ugly, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain for example.  It is this function of involvement that has most people perplexed. If you pay attention you can see where things are going.
The current economic situation is one that evolved from over spending.  The new economics that was boasted about during the gold rush was just that, a gold rush.  Extravagance got the best of us and now we have to pay.  If we panic and fear we will only dig a deeper hole.
A persons mentality and outlook are not enough to stand alone on, work ethic is the balancing factor.  The economy is mostly a mirror of the peoples psyche.  People were tired of spending, consuming, buying a new car every five years and having to put up with appliances that are built to last for only so long.  The garbage pile we have built due to consumerism will haunt us longer than the benefits of consumerism.  The economy is in trouble because in part we built shoddy appliances, passed laws that, for some resource sucking reason, have outlawed food production in cities and the hanging of laundry to dry.
As for peace and security, the world has been experiencing a decline in violent wars.  However there are some countries that will argue to the point where they will shoot you if you agree to that reality.  In some countries multiculturalism has been deemed a failure.  If that is true then the world is in for a tough ride because it is multicultural, all countries are multicultural and will be even more so as populations grow.  In truth it is not that multiculturalism has failed it is that there are people who do not or can not deal with conflict properly.  This is all part of the reduction in violent wars.  When a violent act happens it will garner more attention because the vast majority of us have an increased sense of peace.  This peace highlights the acts of violence and more noise is made of it thus making it seem that more violence is taking place.  However we are making great progress in this area of human existence, we are living up to the tasks of saving the future generations from the scourge of war.
Having a proud Russian people, a China that gives aid and economies built upon providing what is needed is where the world is heading.  It will be interesting times to go through.  There will be difficulties, setbacks and failures.  Over all we will be making steps forward, improving, being peaceful and sorting out the changes that will take place.  We will work together on most things, disagree on others and hopefully someday do all of this without the need to fear or hold anger towards the other.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Here I sup with people, people of great warmth and love
Here I sit alone with metal mosquitos that travel past me carrying their injurious venom.
Here I think of those I am protecting while they dance and laugh together.
Here I wish I was there – there I think of here.
                                I am torn
Today my love has gone and only now do I fear death.
Today she dances with another.  I have lost my reason to protect.
Here I sit with those that protect me yet the greatest injury has not come from those outside but from within, the one that I protect, that I love.
Today I no longer wish to protect
Today I wish to walk and forget about everything.
Here I sit thinking of there wishing I was elsewhere
wHere is elsewHere
                                I am torn.

I wrote this some years back.  It was after a few years of anguish that my mind had enough of war.  I had no idea how to stop people from killing eachother.  The mantra of kill or be killed soon began to take root yet so did the mantra, if you can not beat them join them.  I had enough.  However I kept thinking of the soldiers that spent years on end in the theatre of war for just causes.  How could I stop when I see the faces of children in IDP camps?  Who will stand up for them?  How will they view the world if I stop?  After sometime I realized that my struggles are important but will be overcome if I keep working to the best I can for those children. I have not stopped yet and I will continue on.