I’ve been following the Syrian crises since its onset, since the protests turned into a crackdown and then subsequently a full blown civil war and even up until Islamic extremists hijacked the fight against the Government and now that the Islamic State is relentlessly pushing for territorial gains in the country. All these have happened in the space of over three years.
Now, the world seems to be forgetting about the Syrian Crises and moving on to other seemingly ‘more pressing issues’ amongst which is the threat of the Islamic State. Russia and the U.S now fear that the Islamic State is gaining ground in Afghanistan.
But, that’s not the aim of this post. Call it a preamble if you wish.
I want to use this post to highlight the impact of the Syrian War on the country. I don’t want to say much. This picture says so much already.
Talk about the impact on Infrastructure, Housing, Health, Education; and most importantly, the people.
I just sit down and imagine how many billions of dollars, how many years and what it will take to get Syria back to its glorious self, that’s if it is ever going to he possible. What about the children? So young, forced to live as refugees, deprived of the joy of growing up and being proud of their homeland. How can they even be patriotic?
Its hard to swallow that 36% of hospitals have been destroyed! I don’t even want to start giving the depressing figures of the casualties.
And yet, the war is not over and we can’t even see the end in sight.
What’s left of Syria now and what will be left of it when the war is over?
Written by Olisa Lotenna
In this post, I would like to talk about how the United Nations has failed severally and repeatedly to stop different conflicts around the world and how the Veto power of some Member States is killing the organization’s productivity.
I started blogging actively in Dec 2013 and I did so throughout 2014. I’ve been blogging about Human Rights, Humanitarian issues around the world, social injustice and the influence of politics on the kind of life people have around the world. For the time I’ve been blogging, due to my undying will to find out what’s really happening and get the accurate facts, I have keenly followed so many human rights stories and humanitarian situations around the world; Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Cambodia, Mali…just name the country and you’ll most likely find that I’ve written something about the situation in it.
Trust me, I’ve been constantly overwhelmed by the amount of evil a and injustice I have seen around the world, most recently the ISLAMIC STATE medieval style executions, kidnappings and brutal rape. A story currently making headlines is how the group kidnapped about 90 Christians in Iraq, shortly after beheading several others in Lybia.
2014 was indeed a catastrophic year for human rights and world peace and we are experiencing a spill over into 2015.
As said by Amnesty International, 2014 was characterized by:
• World leaders failing to protect civilians from groups like ISIL.
• Arms trade approaching $100bn annually
• Number of displaced globally highest since WWII (50million)
How does the United Nations come in?
The fundamental aim for the establishment of the UN is to ensure world peace and foster unity and cooperation amongst world nations.
However, with the way the world is presently boiling over with multiple crises to which the UN either says it is overwhelmed by or lacks the capacity to deal with, it won’t be wrong to conclude that the UN is failing in its primary assignment.
The UN could have stopped many of these present conflict from reaching catastrophic levels but it was either to slow to react or initially underestimated or overlooked the conflict in favour of supposed ‘more pressing ones’ or approached the conflict initially with a faulty strategy.
Another important factor that is killing the efficiency of the United Nations is the Veto Power which 5 member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) enjoy. The five permanent UNSC members- Britain, China,
France, Russia and the US – have consistently abused their veto right to promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians and humanity.
An example is seen in China’s continued blockage of sanctions against North Korea whose citizens are suffering under extreme repression and autocratic rule and where the human rights situation is highly despicable.
I can go on citing examples of how these ‘untouchable’ super powers on the Security Council keep manipulating decisions to suit them in cases where they are involved, and the result?
Injustice prevails, the so-called big countries even bully smaller ones, the countries with the Veto Powers or other big spending countries direct attention and resources to where they want and not necessarily where they are actually needed, the big countries support their allies even if they are guilty of human rights abuse, repression and even genocide. This is gradually killing humanity, and all these just to serve a country’s self interest? This is highly despicable.
The Veto-powers should be largely dropped in order to allow effective and non biased actions and decisions at the UN, especially in cases involving human rights abuses, repression and genocide. No country, no matter how big should have the power to obstruct justice!!!
Written by Olisa Lotenna
What happens when the media gets tired of a story and the world attention shifts to seemingly ‘more important issues’?
It is so sad but it seems like this is the fate of the about 3.7 millions Syrian Refugees. I’ve written severely about the agony the Syrian refugees are passing through and I won’t get tired of highlighting their plight. Imagine the rude shock of being torn apart from your home, country and even from some loved ones and forced to flee to somewhere unknown, totally depending on charity for survival. Having to deal with shortages of food, extreme weather conditions, unsanitary or inappropriate shelter and inadequate eduction for your children. How pathetic!
Its been more that three years and the Syrian war keeps generating thousands of refugees and millions of internally displaced persons.
The UN has made it clear severally that it can not cope with the Syrian refugee disaster and aid agencies are struggling against all odds to fill the wide gap left but unfortunately, they too are largely overwhelmed.
Only a few countries have continued to bear the huge load of caring for the growing number of Syrian refugees – Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey, most of which are even suffering from one type of internal conflict or the other.
I join Amnesty Intentional in their campaign #OpenToSyria to call on wealthy nations to open their arms and eyes and in fact everything to the plight of the Syrian Refugees. It should be seen as a responsibility to not only provide financial aid but help in the resettlement and rehabilitation of these extremely Vulnerable people in their respective countries. Let them consider it as a just service to humanity. The international community, wealthy countries in Europe especially, should do more for the Syrian Refugees. Irrespective of differences, we are all one, united by humanity!
Written by Olisa Lotenna
I’m really concerned about the fate of Baher Mohammed, one of the Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt.
Just as I feared and I wrote in my last post, “One Al Jazeera staff freed, two to go“, the release of Peter Gretse is not an improvement in the human rights clime of Egypt as regards freedom of speech.
And why do I say this?
The Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi UNDER INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE, issued a Presidential decree as allowed by the Egyptian constitution to Deport the Foreigners among the Al Jazeera journalists held in Egypt.
Peter Gretse who is an Australian has been allowed to return to his home country while Mohammed Famhy who is a Canadian Egyptian has been allowed to drop his Egyptian nationality which he has done and his release is now in progress.
Even, Amal Clooney, Hollywood’s George Clooney’s wife and Human Rights lawyer, is set to fly to Egypt to ensure that Famhy’s release is granted immediately.
So, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO BAHER MOHAMED?
I was so sad to hear these words of Baher Mohamed’s wife, Rashid:
“We’re paying the price for being Egyptian. It’s the peak of injustice for my husband to remain in prison and be tried while his foreign colleagues are freed,”
That sums it all! I don’t think I need to write further but I must say this:
Journalists around the world should know that this is a fight against their noble profession. They must stand up and fight for what they believe in, freedom of speech, information and expression; even as we Human Rights activists support them in this cause.
To all my supportive readers, have a good week and God bless you.
Written by Olisa Lotenna
I guess most of us have already read in the news that Peter Greste, one of the Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt has been released. Baher Mohamed, a producer, and the channel’s Cairo bureau chief, Mohamed Fahmy, who were working on the same stories are still being held. The three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested, falsely accused, shabbily tried and unjustly imprisoned for aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood political party. Two were sentenced to 7 years and one to 10 years imprisonment in a case that has drawn wide spread criticisms of the Egyptian Government and prompted the worldwide social media protest #FreeAJStaff.
As usual, I’m not here to just spill out the news but to give some analysis.
Peter Gretse was released after spending 400 days in prison while his colleagues are still being held in an Egyptian prison.
Of course Peter and his family are happy to have him back and so is Al Jazeera but all parties have stated that they won’t rest or give up their campaign until his other colleagues are released.
My interest in this story is: What does Peter’s release say about Egypt’s Justice system and Human Rights clime?
Some people are of the opinion that it is a step in the right direction. I beg to differ.
Why was Peter really released?
Peter is an Australian and the law of Egypt says that a foreign ‘criminal’ can be deported to his home country under certain circumstances. So, it was easy to apply that to grant Peter a release.
However, that isn’t even the main reason he was released. Despite him being a foreigner, he could have still been left in jail if Al Jazeera had not launched a protest which immediately caught fire and drew a lot of negative attention and condemnation to Egypt. Obviously, Egypt was more concerned about their image and the negative publicity the case was bringing, hence decided to let Peter go after 400 days! Remember that they didn’t actually declare Peter not guilty, they only let him go.
Okay, let’s now examine this: Why Peter and not his other colleagues?
Quite simple. His other colleagues are Egyptians. One is a Canadian- Egyptian who has recently gotten a permission from an Egyptian court to renounce his Egyptian citizenship. Once he does this, he might be released. Also, he is not being declared not guilty of the cooked up charges, Egypt is just finding a way to let him go and kill the bad publicity.
Peter’s second colleague, Mohammed Fammy is an Egyptian and I’ve not heard anything concerning his release except that Al Jazeera has vowed to keep up the pressure until he is released.
So, concerning Egypt’s human rights clime as regards freedom of speech and information, I still maintain that nothing is being done. It is still deplorable. If not, why has only Peter being released? And what about the hundreds of Egyptians arrested during the crackdown against the Brotherhood. What has happened or is happening to them? They are probably languishing in prison because they don’t have ‘Al Jazeera’ to champion the fight for their release.
Written by Olisa Lotenna