How impotent is the UN?

United Nations flag

United Nations flag

The United Nations is just forum for debates while action is carried out by countries that can bypass its resolutions. It has just the power of recommendations and condemnations in face of complex problems in hot areas like  the Middle East.

The UN has historically proven its inability to establish peace without the accord of the parties concerned. Its peacekeeping forces have been defied on many occasions as during 2006 summer war between Hezbullah and Israel.

What is needed is that nations within their borders and with their neighbours should live in peace without provocation. Currently, many unresolved conflicts are internal as it is the case in Sudan, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast and DR Congo. The UN can do little to solve these conflicts if the parties concerned can’t find permanent solutions to the core of their problems.

However, the UN despite its failure to resolve long-standing problems in some areas like Darfur has had some success in other areas like East Timor. The world can be worse without it. If it can’t solve all political problems, at least, it limits their worsening at a larger scale.

The UN should reshape itself to have more credibility by cleaning its house and by having a more balanced Security Council. It should make its past scandals from child sexual abuse of its peacekeeping forces, fund embezzlement to arming militias. Among other things, the Security Council needs restructuring. Its current permanent members were the consequence of political powers that existed when it was founded more than 60 years ago. It’s unfair that emerging powerful countries like India remain excluded from its permanent membership.

Listen to a   BBC Worldhaveyoursay show on how the United Nation is impotent.

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Is killing ever justified?

Savage murder
Savage murder

Self-defence is a right that everyone should enjoy. Paralysing an attacker isn’t the same as killing him/her.

There is no excuse to kill a person with intent. This amounts to taking the law in one’s hand. Killing can be possible only in special circumstances when there is just the choice of killing or being killed.

However, there are cases in which murder is committed because of the loss of temper, which starts in a violent argument ending in a fatal action.

Killing for some is a matter of survival, when it comes to preserving a passionate relationship and the victim is seen as a threat to it. It can be due to feud between gangs etc.

But when the law is strong and society is nurtured with the principle to respect life, the chances of murder become extremely rare. There are two countries that are in sharp contrast: Japan and South Africa. In Japan, there is one of the biggest rates of suicide but very rare cases of murder. In South Africa, it is estimated that about 30,000 are killed every year. So the more murder there is, the more desire for revenge. It’s a vicious circle.

When the law and justice are well carried out, people can feel safe and the risk of killing or being killed will be very minimal.

Here is a poem by Robert Frost : “Fire and Ice“, which sums up the drive to kill, namely hate which can be the cause of fatal revenge.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

 
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Is there an excuse to murder?

Celebrities, fame and shame

amy winehouse, drug addiction victim

Amy Winehouse, drug addiction victim

Celebrities have their ups and downs like anyone. Their talents make them a success to emulate and get inspired by. They become public property as their private lives become a public concern. However, the public should be responsible for their own action. They shouldn’t blindly follow their favourite stars. This amounts to total enslavement to them and to the lack of having independent judgement.

Celebrities like Amy Winehouse show that fame isn’t without a price. They have to struggle to have a balanced life through destructive means like drugs. Amy Winehouse remains a role model that keeps her fans worried about her because she has so far failed to take a responsible decision to carry a normal life without (excessive) use of drugs.

Her songs make people happy, but she, the source of this happiness, is now frequently plunged in fits of bad health related to irresponsible conduct.

Let’s not generalize when it comes to fame and responsibility. There are many stars who act responsibly. There are famous actors who are committed both artistically and personally. There are goodwill ambassadors. One of my favourite actors is Richard Gere, who is a role model for the causes he stands for (like the Tibet issue and the fights against AIDS.

There are stars like Will Smith who started from scratch to world stardom. Amy Winehouse and other stars can be just an exception of those who can’t have a balanced life. In other words, like any population, in the artists population there may be a fraction of those who can’t get a stable life. People should choose what’s good for them and be supportive for those who need help, including seemingly successful artists, who like any human beings have their strong points as well as drawbacks.

 

Is it time to stop having many children?

An editorial in the British Medical Journal by argues that if you live in the developed world you should stick to two children for the sake of the environment.

Here is the story of a father from the United Arab Emirates who already has 78 children and is aiming to have 100 (yes one hundred children)!

Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, 60, has already had 15 brides although he has to divorce them as he goes along to remain within the legal limit of four wives at a time.

He will to have at least three more marriages to hit the century.

World population can’t multiply indefinitely. There should be a limit to its growth so that it can fit the limited resources of the earth. Even the current population can use up the available resources in a short time, causing huge environmental disasters, if the current consumption is tripled or quadrupled.

It is not enough to have a stable population, but also the mechanism to make each individual aware of his or her responsibility to the planet. This can be achieved if we stick to our basic needs without greed.

In Africa, there are many (poor) families with many children. These are not the cause of environmental problems. It is the rich in the developed countries that cause them these problems – for example- through illegal and excessive logging.

The current population can save the planet by being more environmentally aware and by using product that are environment friendly.

Should we insinuate from John Guillebaud’s editorial that the extra kids of today are the monsters of the future as they will ravish the environment?

There is an old maxim which says,” Our grandparents left us a safe environment, what environment shall we leave our children?”

With the ageing and falling population in many countries, children are still needed. There are countries like France that provide material incentives incentive to parents to have more children.

What is needed is to create an environmental and population balance for plants, species and people can live in harmony.

Considering kids as the future trouble is like seeing them as time bomb that should be stifled in the womb.

Can Barack Obama be above criticism?

Barack Obama in a primary campaign

Obama’s full name is Barack Hussein Obama. This is enough for his opponents to “accuse” him of being a Muslim.

There was an incident in which an advertisement on CNN for a feature about the whereabouts of the al-Qaeda leader carried the caption “Where’s Obama?” over images of Bin Laden. This was due to a misspelling of “Osama”. The CNN apologized for the mistake.

 

 

 

 

There can be tangible criticism of Obama concerning his policies. But the exploitation of his race, colour and even his name is gratuitous. As a hopeful candidate, he should stand all criticism and be able to ward it off. What will make the presidential campaign thrilling is the aggressive strength of views that shouldn’t leave the voters undecided.

 

 

 

From his speeches and interviews, Barack Obama looks more leaning towards resolving international problems through negotiations rather than war. His appeasing tone towards Iran may have drawn criticism towards him. Some want him to sound more threatening than appeasing.

 

 

 

Concerning his attitudes in the Middle East, some see that he’s more inclined to be responsive to Israel’s concerns because of the strong Jewish lobby in Israel. Like his predecessors, he won’t force Israel to show concessions to the Palestinians, especially the construction of new colonies.

 

 

 

Obama still have to endeavour to convince the voters that he’s the right man for the presidential job, by being categorical on foreign and domestic issues. The slightest slip of tongue or the wrong gesture will be exploited by his opponents, as it was the case during the primary contexts. Obama needs to be more careful, instead of resorting to apologies and clarifications as it happened when two women wearing a Muslim headscarf were barred from sitting next to him.

Is nuclear energy a viable solution?

 

 

The world currently holds 1.24 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves and 6,263 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. . As the current daily need of oil is 86 million barrel a day, this means the world has enough oil for the coming 40 years, without counting future oil reserves discoveries.

 


There are people who accept nuclear energy as an alternative in view of the soaring oil prices. But at the same time, they say, there can be a nuclear station, except in their area.

Although nuclear accidents are rare, their disaster can be far worse than that of an oil refinery bursting into flames.

 


It will be better to develop clean energies from water, the sun and the wind. Efforts should be made to invent machines needing less energy consumption. Nuclear energy should be the last resort and not the priority, if there are no other options.

 

Some may argue that nuclear weapons are safe as long as they have never been used. They’re kept under heavy guard. The same can apply to nuclear stations if rigorous security standards are maintained. However, the problem with nuclear stations is the nuclear waste that should be kept in safe places. Dumping underground with vast and growing nuclear waste- should all countries opt for nuclear energy- can itself become a time bomb, threatening the soil which is the source of life.

Nuclear energy should be the last option for developing countries because of the risks it entails in case of a natural disaster or under-funding for the maintenance of the nuclear centres. It can also be used as a weapon by the developed countries that provide its technology to developing countries. In case of economic sanctions, the first thing to do is to deprive the target country from nuclear fuel. Understandably, any developing country wanting to acquire nuclear plants should do so under international supervision. For any country, it can be easy to buy as much oil as it wants and establish oil refineries without being under suspicion.

Radovan Karadzic arrested and under trial

Radovan Karadzic

Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, one of the world’s most wanted men, has been arrested in Serbia after more than a decade on the run.

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic must be good news for the relatives and friends of his victims. Justice must be served. Such war criminals have nowhere to hide indefinitely as long as there are concentrated will and efforts to capture them.

Only people with great influence can evade arrest for such a long time in a small country like Serbia. His weight as a prisoner will add weight to the political gain Serbia will have from Europe. He must be seen as big catch that will pave the way for Serbia to consolidate its relations with Western Europe.

In The Hague Court prison, he can have good company with other war criminals like former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Mandela’s 90th birthday

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Here is a slideshow to celebrate Mandela’s 90th birthday.

 

Nelson Mandela, who sacrificed his youth in prison for the good of his country, is still an inspiration to African generations. During the apartheid era and after stepping down from the presidency, he has remained an icon.

Because he has continued to stand firm on his principles, he has succeeded to keep his glamour all over the world. From his prison cell, he radiated the spirit of freedom to all oppressed South Africans. Now as a free man, he still inspires those seeking a democratic leader in words and actions.

African leaders can learn from him. Being powerful doesn’t mean to stay in office forever. Mandela as a figurehead in his country and in many parts of the world can teach lessons to those who once fought for the freedom of their countries seek to enslave anyone to their regime.

Mandela can be contrasted to Mugabe for whom relinquishing power is a nightmare. While Mandela enjoys respect all over the world, Mugabe is becoming to be seen to many Zimbabweans as a disgrace and to leaders in South Africa as an embarrassment.

Mandela was the symbol of struggle against apartheid. As a man and a head of state, he initiated a new era for South Africa. The struggle against apartheid is now a matter of the past. The new struggle South Africans have is against their current problems. The black majority have only themselves to blame for what is going on now, as the government is in the hands of the ANC.

It is ironic that the level of violence against white minority rule has changed into criminal violence. South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world with the highest rate of murders. There used to be a great divide between blacks and whites during the apartheid era, but now there is a great divide among blacks themselves. There are the have and the have-not.

Apartheid in South Africa is now a matter of the past. The struggle to end white minority rule is over. The burden now is on the current black leadership to engage in ending social strife. Otherwise, poor Africans will have no means but to attack the unprotected foreigners who they think, rightly or wrongly, behind their current difficult situation.

Mandela has accomplished his mission as a fighter and head of state. But a country can’t be built just by one man. South Africa still needs a new successful leadership to start a fight against poverty and violence, which still mar the image of South Africa abroad.

Happy birthday Nelson Mandela!

To concede or not to concede to kidnappers

Conceding to kidnappers’ demands for the release of hostages will just encourage them to take more of them.

Hostage taking can be for money as it happens in many countries like Brazil or for political reasons as it happens in the Middle East, mainly in Iraq. When it comes to taking hostages just for money, it can be less controversial to concede.

But sometimes, if not all the times, it can be very impossible to concede to kidnappers when it comes to political demands. The USA and UK were ready to “sacrifice” their hostages in Iraq that were later executed rather than withdraw from it.

For Israel, to release Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in return for the bodies of two killed Israeli soldiers is a matter of national pride. But beneath, it is a concession to Hezbullah’s demands to have key prisoners released. But Israel hasn’t conceded totally as the aim of Hezbullah was Israel withdrawal from Shabaa Farms. It seems Israel and Hezbullah are now the hostage of their political differences. In view of their irreconcilable approaches, neither will be released from the political stalemate they are both facing at the expenses of hundreds of deaths on both sides, as it was the case during their 2006 summer war.

hostage exercise

hostage exercise

The way the hostages were liberated in Colombia must have come after the exhaustion of all diplomatic efforts to free them. There were mediations mainly by France and Venezuela.

The operation to free them was a part of the war against FARC. War is also cunning. Any means to have victory is justifiable. The use of the Red Cross symbol was just part of the series of “lies” the Colombian government used to deceive FARC.

The Colombian government came out victorious, leaving FARC red-faced and the Red Cross embarrassed. But as long as the Red Cross wasn’t involved in any way in the Colombian government’s “trick”, it shouldn’t be blamed. After all, even rebels use fake uniforms of government soldiers to carry out their out their operations. When it’s war and everything is a matter of life of death, any clever means are acceptable.

Just the success of the operation outdoes James Bond’s operations. His are just fiction. This operation was really real without cut and replay.

Is American culture enriching?

American culture is dominant because of the means it has to flourish.

In terms of entertainment, The USA has 120,000 actors and 12,000 scriptwriters, plus the latest technology to make to make the best films. It’s no wonder if US movies have global appeal. American star actors and singers are famous worldwide. Once becoming a star in the USA- whether American or not- it’s a guarantee to become a star worldwide.

It’s hard to deny that American culture didn’t enrich or influence the cultures of other countries. In the Arab world, there are music channels showing video clips of singers in the American style. Young people there are more attracted to rhythmic songs with simple words, in which female singers have to be sensual in both voice and appearance. The most famous sensual Arab singer is Haifa Wehbi

In Morocco, the encroachment of American culture is visible through the spread- among other things – of rap music, now popular among the young. McDonald restaurants are in all the big cities in the country. Jeans are still very popular.

American culture has a great influence because it has the ability to renovate itself. It is itself the product of the mix of other cultures. The American movies aren’t all about the USA. There are for example movies about the East, bringing to viewers the aspects of other cultures.

When it comes to cultures, it’s better to get enriched by any of them. It’s a way to learn to appreciate those who are different from us culturally. What is unacceptable is to let one’s culture vanish because of the glamour of a foreign one that is constantly innovative, entertaining and more practical.

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