In September 2001, soon after the attack on the Twin Towers, the Bangladesh government issued a public announcement to contact the America & Pacific wing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the whereabouts of Bangladeshi residents. The director concerned was travelling from Barishal to Dhaka that evening; he remained ignorant of the horrible incident that had taken place that day. He came directly from Sadarghat to his office and started receiving a flurry of phone calls from worried relatives. He called in his associate, my wife, and asked: "What's the deal with the Twin Towers?" My wife briefed him, but he was in utter disbelief. "What do you mean the towers have collapsed? How could that even happen?" he exclaimed. My wife used two pencils and an eraser to demonstrate the incident, only to confuse the man even further. He rested his chin against his hand, and said: "Thank God, I took a photo in front of those buildings during my last visit."
Described as the “worst terrorist attack ever in the United States”, September 11, 2001 is a moment which has led to multiple transformations, cascading around our world.
The main contradiction of the modern era, and indeed of all human history, is not between capitalism and socialism, and not even between authoritarianism and democracy, but between individualism and collectivism, between public and personal interests. Countries that are getting ahead in the economic race allow themselves the luxury of individualism, prioritizing human rights, which ultimately undermines their political and economic power and causes their decline and the rise of more collectivist civilizations. It is literally the story that is as old, as the world itself…
Like most of us, I rely on news media to find an explanation to tragedies I watch on TV. Neverthelss, some of my opinions about the Afghan tragedy have furthermore been influenced by talks I once had with my friend Bernth Dagerklint. We had for some years been working as teachers at a high school, though this was not Bernth’s main occupation. Most of the time, he served as an officer during international, armed campaigns supported by the Swedish government. He had been to former Yugoslavia, the West Bank and not the least in Afghanistan, where he since 2003 on several occasions worked as ”instructor” for Afghan officers.
There are several points of similarity between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Viet Nam. The Taliban, like the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, proved to be formidable tacticians and fighters. They managed to contain a far better equipped opponent and mount effective counteroffensives; access sufficient domestic and foreign funding to pay their fighters and support their families; build a formidable intelligence network; and acquire necessary technical capabilities in areas such as repair and maintenance of small arms.
Whether desperately trying to get a place on the last evacuation flights out of Kabul or trekking to the borders with neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, tens of thousands of Afghans are fleeing their country once more.
Events are unfolding at speed. The Taliban are establishing a central government in the capital to fill the void of the collapsed western-backed administration, but they do not control all the country as the protracted civil war enters a new stage. The UN refugee agency UNHCR says that in its “worst case scenario
” it is preparing for around 500,000 new refugees in the region by the end of this year. As with many past estimates that could prove optimistic.
Some years ago, on a piece on the Afghan crisis I had written that Mullah Omar’s face bore no resemblance to that of the impossibly beautiful, albeit mythical, Helen of Troy. Yet it too had caused the launch of a thousand ships (airships to be more precise), just as Helen’s had done in Homer’s epic tale, the Iliad. Like Troy in that ancient narrative, Afghanistan of the present times was swarmed with invaders who could also be seen as the counterparts of those Greeks- the Americans and their NATO allies. This war lasted for double the time of the Trojan episode, twenty years instead of ten. At its end it led to a reverse situation, victory of the Trojans, in this case, of the Taliban. Though the Greeks destroyed Troy by the ruse of a gift of the Wooden Horse, eventually a Trojan warrior, Aeneid, sailed to southern Mediterranean and laid the foundation of the Rome and its empire. The Greek epoch ultimately yielded to the Roman age, and the annals of geopolitics of that time took a completely new turn. Will the impact of the Afghan war be the same? Shall we see a power transformation in a new paradigm from what we have at the present time? Will American predominance make way for a risen China, now or in the future?
Fourteen Pacific Island Countries have enacted specific legislation to address domestic violence. While these laws have been developed to respond to domestic violence, implementation continues to be a challenge. It is affected by various factors that include practical social, cultural, religious, political, environmental and economic challenges.
“Sexual harassment is not about sexual attraction, it is about power. If an individual uses power plays to subjugate other people, when we have such dynamics going on in the workplace, what we need is a system that fights back against it, which unfortunately a lot of workplaces, they allow it to persist,”, says Adrienne Lawrence, anchor and legal analyst in an interview given to me here
It is a metallic sound, harmless. It lasts just over a second, but it can become as sharp as a machete blade or as devastating as the burst from an assault rifle. It is a beep, just the beep of a phone notification. A woman is on the ground, her belly open, her intestines exposed and her severed head resting on her arm. A pagne of colorful fabric still girds her hips. Where? Why? Then, a video. Do you hear those voices? It happened there, in that village. It was them who did it, it was them.
On May 6, 2021, after a decision by President Félix Tshisekedi, a state of siege was established in Ituri and North Kivu, two provinces that are located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and that are in the grip of endless violence.
Steven Butler describes it as “mass panic.” As the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator has been fielding “hundreds and hundreds” of daily pleas from journalists asking for help to flee the country.
Earlier in January, Indian journalist Nidhi Razdan found out she was a victim of one of the most sophisticated and elaborate cyber attacks. Razdan wrote in a piece
that it was all an attempt to access her bank account details, personal data, emails, medical records, passport and access to all her devices, including computer and phone.
The first time I visited South Sudan in 2004 - prior to its independence - I travelled across the entire the country which was then a region devastated by man’s inhumanity to man. Although South Sudan is slightly larger than France, I could find only one concrete school building in Rumbek.
“We have buried twenty-eight people. I have seen them with my own eyes. We also found three bodies in the fields and buried them too. I can show them to you. It’s not far from here. We buried them there.” The man points to the hills. He doesn’t want to show his face or say his name, but he agrees that his voice can be recorded, so that his words don’t get lost. The camera can’t shoot him; it can only look at the tall grass or at the forest towards the countryside where it is no longer possible to cultivate food. The man talks while music from Lengabo’s catholic church marks the time of truce and hope.
The first year of the Covid-19 pandemic saw wide-ranging impacts on multilateral peace operations.
The crisis simultaneously affected all operations, host nations, headquarters and contributing countries. It caused major disruption—from the political-strategic level where mandates are drawn up, down to the operational and tactical levels.
The family of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has called for “lessons to be learnt” after an independent inquiry found that the Maltese state bore responsibility for her death.
It had been four long months since the meeting in Alaska between Chinese and American officials, their first interaction since President Joe Biden assumed office in January this year. That was when the Chinese Foreign policy top mandarins Yang Jiechi (Director, Central Foreign Affairs Commission) and Wang Yi (State Councillor and Foreign Minister) bitterly locked horns with the American top diplomats, Antony Blinken (Secretary of State) and Jake Sullivan (National Security Advisor) in Anchorage in intensely chilly circumstances. Bilateral relations remained pretty much frozen since. Both sides might have come around to the belief that a resumption of some level of contact was overdue. Not so much to bring about a thaw; rather, simply to test the water.
Branded as being born ‘criminal’ 150 years ago under British colonial rule, De-Notified Tribes (DNTs) continue to bear the brunt of the various laws that stigmatised them since 1871.
He moves aside the curtain, thin as gauze, and then bends over. The darkness dazzles for a few seconds when one enters the house—actually, a den made of earth where air and light filter through the narrow entrance. Jean de Dieu Amani Paye holds her tiny baby, wrapped in an elegant fabric, in his arms. He was a teacher of French and Latin and had a small business. He also cultivated the land: cassava, corn, sorghum, and beans.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most hostile and dangerous regions for journalists. A complex conflict, deeply rooted in the country’s past, allows very little freedom, both movement and the press.