We have arrived at the point of no return. At this very moment the world is witnessing the highest level of humanitarian needs since World War Two. We are experiencing a human catastrophe on a titanic scale: 125 million in dire need of assistance, over 60 million people forcibly displaced, and 218 million people affected by disasters each year for the past two decades.
“The objective of extremists is for us to turn on each other [and] our unity is the ultimate rebuke for that bankrupt strategy.”
On the 17th of April, Italians were called to vote in a national referendum, on the extension of licenses to extract petrol and gas from the seas. The government, the media and those in the economic circles, all took a position against the referendum, claiming that 2000 jobs were at a stake. The proponents of the referendum (among them five regions), lost. Italy is following a consistent trend, after the Summit on Climate Change (Paris December 2015), in which all countries (Italy included) took a solemn engagement to reduce emissions.
A total indifference has accompanied the number of refugees injured by Macedonian police in Idomeni, where more than 12 000 people, including 4 000 children have been trapped, since Austria asked Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, to prevent the continuing passage of refugees. Austria has now informed the Italian government that it will send several hundred troops to its border with Italy.
On Sunday, 3 April, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released an unprecedented leak of documents exposing the secretive financial dealings of some of the world’s richest and most powerful. Few countries are safe from the findings; twelve current or former heads of state are implicated among 143 politicians, their relatives and associates for using offshore tax havens.
Europe is reeling under yet another terrorist attack on one of its capitals; its cities are locked down and on high alert. All Sri Lanka can say is “we’ve been there before; we’ve seen it all”. We know the pain and anguish law-abiding peace-loving citizens are going through in those countries.
The recent Brussels massacre has created a short term reaction, which ignores a long term projection. All the debate is now about security, police reinforcement, new military strategies, as if terrorism can be solved just as a matter of public order.
The enemy isn’t Brussels: it’s Europe. The so-called Islamic State clearly signaled this by attacking, even more than the airport, a metro station. Maelbeek is not just another subway stop in the Belgian capital. Although the symbolism could have been more dramatic if the terrorists had chosen the neighouring station named after Robert Schuman…but perhaps the tighter security there dissuaded them.
While the United Nations marked this year’s World Water Day on March 22 focusing on the connection between water and jobs, a new report has rung loud alarm bells about the heavy impact of corruption on the massive investments being made in the water sector.
Water scarcity is already a clear and present danger, and it is the innocent, particularly women and children, who are harmed most. When we are inundated with information about water it’s easy to become desensitized. World Water Day
on March 22nd gives us an opportunity to reflect on the one simple truth: water is life.
It is wise of Angela Merkel not to have panicked in the wake of setbacks for her Christian Democrats (CDU) in Sunday`s three regional elections. The German chancellor acknowledged the blow, but discounted the likelihood of abrupt changes to her government`s policy on refugees.
The EUropean Union – a criminal?The EU that has peace as its top goal and received Nobel’s Peace Prize?The EU with Schengen and Dublin?
Besieged by US, UK, French, Russian and Syrian war crafts and ground intelligence, both in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (Daesh from its original acronym in Arabic) has reportedly been searching for a new base in the North of Africa, specifically in Libya, in what has been called the “Colombian Triangle.”
When the leaders of 28 European states enjoy again this week their exclusive flights, luxurious suites and official limousines, to meet for a new summit in Brussels to adopt a final decision on their proposed plan of using refugees as bargaining chips, 20.000 Syrians will most probably be still starving in the Idomeni camp in Greece, in a situation that has been described as “worse than World War I.”
In a yet another violation of international laws and their own human values, 28 European countries have just agreed with Turkey to open a new “bazaar” of refugees, this time using the old barter system. i.e. Iraqis and Afghans in exchange of Syrians.