Child trafficking

The main causes of child trafficking are poverty in their country of origin and family disintegration. Such children are sold by their parents, kidnapped or lured to take a journey for a better life. The problem doesn’t lie just in host countries alone. Countries of origin should have the mean to protect its young population from the delinquencies. Education centres should be setup to save those trapped. As long as children are available for trafficking, a dissolved network engaged in such an activity will be replaced by another. The solution is not legislating laws, but finding concrete means wherever these children happen to be to stop them from being trafficked around.

Smuggling adults or post-teenagers seeking work can be less embarrassing; in that, these people seek work. Their existence can raise political debates. But child trafficking raises moral issues. Accepting this on European soil is simply accepting human rights violations in a more abject manner.
Illegal immigrants can have a legalised situation through time. But it remains unimaginable to make child prostitution legal in any country.


Career Women & Marriage

In developed countries it is a foregone conclusion that, in most cases, if a man is set on marriage he will meet a career woman since women have become a major force in the market although discrepancies still remain for top jobs. But this fact is creeping in developing countries. Some work areas recruit more women than men such as the textile industry, nursing.

A lot of men are resentful to see women at the top because of their chauvinism. When it comes to marriage, a man likes to be the boss in the house. For that, a woman with a career -especially superior to his- finds it difficult to have the last word.

A man still sticks to his sense of superiority to women. It is no wonder if the majority of men prefer for their marriage a woman who is less old, less tall, less rich, less educated, less situated in work than them. Some women, if not the majority of them, take pride in marrying men superior to them to show themselves and their surrounding how valuable they are. In a sense, women brandish the equality law just to have a status in society and to be independent. When it comes to relations or marriage it is nature that dominates. A man feels pride in protecting a woman and she, too, takes prides in being protected. A man seeks protection from a woman emotionally, rather than financially.

As career is about income and responsibility, some men find it difficult to adjust to the fact that the women with whom they share the same roof can be a person inside the house and another in the place of work, where they have professional responsibilities entailing professional relationships. Men, in other cases, resign to women with a career just for economic reasons or fir fear of not being able to have any prospect of marriage at all. it has now become rare to find a woman ready to sacrifice her career to be blessed by marriage, which at any time can end in divorce.

Nasrallah, Regret & self-mockery

Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah expressed his regret about triggering a war with Israel. In other words, he confessed his political immaturity. His political short-sightedness led him to think that he would changed the course of history in the Middle East probably as it had been revealed to him in a dream from a messenger.

Many upstart politicians depend on stirring the public emotions to achieve popularity. Hassan Nasrallah had his heydays for more than a month in which he was portrayed as the new hero or the new superman of the Middle East. After the ceasefire, he was bold enough to declare victory despite the devastating damages.

His regret is an implicit recognition that he has given more than he has taken. To free a score of Lebanese in Israeli jails, he caused the death of at least 1000 people and the injury of thousands others. To free Shabaa Farms, he caused the destruction of considerable areas in Lebanon.

His expression of regret is an admission of defeat. He has never expressed sorrow for the damages Israel suffered because of his rockets. But his declaration can be seen an “olive branch” to Israel or simply an order he received from his masters in Syria and Iran. Basshar Al Assad of Syria retracted his derogatory statements about the conduct of some Arab political leaders during the war.

If Nasrallah has learnt his lessons and means his words, politically he will have to make it easy for the UN peacekeeping force to succeed in its mission by not envisaging any other foolish act that will stir Israeli retaliation. The good news can be for the UN to send the agreed number of forces at least to test Nasrallah on his public expression of regret and desire for peace.

Rape in Muslim Countries

In many Muslim countries, rape is common but the idea that there should be four witnesses to prove the rape can be hard to produce as rape can take place when the aggressor and the victim are totally alone.
Some women prefer not to report the rapist for fear of scandal as sex outside marriage or rape is seen as dishonouring their family.

The Islamic law or sharia condemning the aggressor to lashes or death is practised in very few countries like Saudi Arabia. In other Muslim countries like Morocco the penalty is imprisonment and a fine or the aggressor with the consent of the victim in case of deflowering her should marry her.

Another point is that in many Islamic countries rape within marriage isn’t recognised as the woman should be at the beck and call of her husband even in sexual matters. But in countries like Morocco, there are associations formed to help women in difficulties with their husbands, including the sexual abuse they can be exposed to.

In view of the traditional restrictions on sexual freedom in Muslim countries and the desire for a romantic relation, many women fall victims to rape resulting in deflowering which is considered as a loss of dignity for the woman and a dishonour to her family.

To deal with the problem of rapes and to have real statistics about it in the Muslim world, taboos on this should be lifted and open debates should be organised to sensitise women about the legal procedures they should follow as well as sensitizing societies and families to provide the victim with support instead of looking down on her as a shame to her surrounding.

Kidnapping for Money & Statement

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Kidnapping is a form of terrorism. The reasons for kidnapping are many. They can be for some political organisations a means to get publicity or it can be for spreading fear or simply to get ransom.

Kidnapping has become a business in some countries like Brazil where people are kidnapped for money. But there were famous case of kidnapping ending in murder like the late Italian Prime Minister Al Do Moro who was kidnapped and later found dead on the street in Rome. Lebanon, during the civil war as notorious for kidnapping westerners by political organisation as a pressure on their countries to comply with their political demands.

There have been different cases of kidnapping of all sorts. There was the kidnapping of UN keeping soldiers in Ivory Coast, the kidnapping of tourists in Algeria and yemen, the kidnapping of journalists, just to give some examples.

At present Iraq has become one the most notorious places for kidnapping. None is excluded. There was the kidnapping of diplomats, businessmen, policemen, workers of Iraqi or foreign nationalities.

But dealing with kidnappers should be done carefully to save the life of the kidnapped and not to yield to their demands, especially when it is about ransom.

Iran Growing Influence?

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Iran is using the current situation in Lebanon and its confrontation with USA over its nuclear programme to find more fuel for support in the Muslim world which increasingly sees the USA as a malevolent power trying to influence their traditions and shape their identity. Iran as a Muslim country uses this asset to galvanise support based on religion. The Muslim world sees in Iran an alternative to change the course of events in the Middle East.

Economically Iran is banking on its geographic position in a region rich in oil and of which Iran is a great supplier.

But Iran can’t achieve its goal of toppling US influence in the region if it is itself confronted with sanctions, weakening its power and leaving it stand alone among countries in the region that have no choice but to remain US allies.

The past events have shown that many figures gain popular support by standing to the US whether they are head of states as it was the case in Iraq where Saddam was humiliatingly toppled and paraded on the media after his capture. Kaddaffi, Libyan leader had to abandon his nuclear programme to win US friendship. Iran has a history of confrontation with the US since the establishment of Iranian Revolution. There have been rounds of diplomatic confrontations prior to the nuclear programme. Time will tell how the US and Iran will work out their deep differences without either losing face or involving the whole region in complete instability or ruin similar to what we are witnessing in Iraq or Lebanon.

Migration, Causes and Consequences

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Migration is the consequence of the economic and political problems facing the countries where migrant come from. There are many people who are forced to migrate because of drought, civil war or political repression. There are many displaced people in Africa for whom leaving their country is the only way-out. Africa, in particular, is in the news because the would-be migrants take huge risks, including death, to reach European shores.

These migrants are starting to cause political embarrassment for their countries, the recipient countries and the countries they take as a transit. There is mainly great pressure on European countries, mainly, Spain and Italy which are the nearest to Europe.

The great loss that developing nations face is brain drain. There are many people from the third world with good qualifications. Their countries don’t give them incentives or find them jobs. Developed countries remain their destinations.

But rich countries and the governments of the countries where the migrants come from bear responsibility for this. G8 in particular failed many times to concretise its goal to make poverty a history. The governments of the migrants are inefficient in dealing with economic and social problems. The international community should work together to regulate migration, which is becoming a source of pressure on all sides, breeding just networks for which people smuggling is a lucrative industry.

Terror and Paranoia

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Two men of Middle Eastern appearance raised suspicion when they were on a plane. . They were taken off a flight bound for Manchester after some passengers became alarmed about what they regarded as suspicious behaviour. Then they were allowed to resume their journey.

From this incident, it seems appearance is not the only criteria needed to become suspicious of someone based on ‎their race or clothes or even their look. A would be terrorist can be of European ‎decent, recruited by a group. They can use him to blow up a plane if he escapes ‎stringent security measures. There was the case of John Walker, the American caught ‎in Afghanistan in 2001 fighting with the Taliban. There was the case of John Reid ‎who had explosives in his shoes. In Morocco, after the terrorist attack in Casablanca ‎on May 16th, 2003, a Frenchman was found among the terrorist group that was behind ‎the attack.‎

‎ It is not enough to mount strict measures just in UK and USA to face terror on flight. ‎The same measures should be in all international airports. If a terrorist can’t make it in ‎UK, he will try his “chance” in another major airport where there are American ‎airliners.‎

A would-be terrorist can look cheerful on the flight without raising any suspicion, ‎engaging in a lively conversation and telling jokes. What is needed is thorough ‎examination of passengers and the detection of would-be terrorists before even they ‎get close to the airport. Once all the passengers are stripped of any suspicious material ‎before they get on the plane, any suspicion will be just the result of paranoia ‎

Baby Boomers Turn 60

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The US baby boomers witnessed and forced changes in their society. That era was marked by sex, drug and rock n’ roll. America had, to a large extent, been shaped by the forceful ideas of the sixties.

But age must have brought up changes in the attitude of these baby boomers. Those who are now in power have different views as they are faced with the reality of the world. Pt Bush who in his youth was alcoholic and maybe drug addict has changed side and become one of the ferocious advocate of conservatism, ready to wage wars for US interests.
Many of the BB are parents or grand parents struggling to perpetuate family values according to their views after being conservative in their youths was considered as reactionary. Their impact is still felt as a lesson to all.

In many third world countries, there was a baby boom. Their concern was to reduce birth rate. But these baby boomers didn’t have a great effect on the course of things. The majority of them were illiterate, under political systems struggling for survival or putting the basis for a modern state following independence. So we can talk just about the achievements of baby boomers in the developed countries where these babies boomers were fighting for their rights and the right of others like blacks in the US, because in their countries they had freedom of expression.

The current generations are faced with a new reality. They inherited much from BB. But the age of new technology and their incessant aspirations for a better life economically, culturally and socially will be assessed in what the world would look like in view of the spiral changes on all levels.

War of Words and Make-believe

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After the ceasefire following the relentless attacks and counter-attacks from ‎Hezbollah and Israel, the field was left to the war of words as militarily nothing was ‎achieved for Israel or Hezbollah. Israel didn’t manage to return its captured soldiers as ‎it failed to completely disarm and destroy Hezbollah. Hezbollah didn’t get the release ‎of Arab prisoners from Israeli Jails as it didn’t mange to get Israel out of Shebbaa ‎Farms it claims to be Lebanese soil.‎

But in view of the big mismatch between Hezbollah force and Israeli force both in ‎men and equipment, Hezbollah can claim victory in that Israel destroyed more ‎civilian installations than military ones and it killed in its raids more civilians than ‎Hezbollah fighters. In a sense, Hezbollah force remained intact. ‎

Hezbollah also won huge popularity, especially in the Muslim world at the expense of ‎Israel that has been portrayed as an aggressor. During the war, there were big ‎demonstrations in many Muslim countries as there were “victory” celebrations at the ‎start of the cease-fire. Hezbollah seems not to have disappointed its backers Syria and ‎Iran as through its confrontation with Israel it stirred the international community to ‎take action including sending huge peacekeeping force.‎

Hezbollah can now use its TV channel Al Manar showing footage of its struggle ‎against Israel, the damage, human and material Israel left in Lebanon to keep hold of the hearts and minds it has won. Hassan Nasr Allah may give himself the ‎right to be the new idol in the Muslim world and the Middle East. ‎

Hezbollah has more time to be in the news as there are still international preparations ‎for completing the peacekeeping force. When all is quiet, it will no longer be in the ‎news drawing such an interest. Then it will have the real task of keeping its credibility ‎among the Lebanese population and its stature among Syrian and Iranian leaders, its main ‎supporters.‎

The international community has to see the outcome of this war in its context. It has ‎to look to Lebanon, the country and to resurrect it from the rubble it is under now ‎instead of letting it continuously remain the battleground where proxy wars are made and in ‎which the civilian population pay the heaviest price.‎

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