Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has sparked a new introspection in the West. A number of commentators, most of them writing from the US and the UK, have come up with their latest scapegoat: Germany’s to blame, they say, with its decades-long policy of appeasing Russia. Really?
It’s a strange trial, with no defendants. The purpose is not to hand down a conviction, but to bring visibility to an atrocious event that occurred almost a hundred years ago in northern Argentina and was concealed by the State for decades with singular success: the massacre by security forces of hundreds of indigenous people who were protesting labor mistreatment and discrimination.
The voracious search for gold in southern Venezuela, practiced by thousands of illegal miners under the protection of various armed groups, represents the greatest threat today to the lives of indigenous peoples, their habitat and their cultures, according to their organizations and human rights defenders.
An entirely unnecessary and all too tangible nightmare continues to scourge Ukraine. Without doubt, one catastrophe after another still awaits. Much of Ukraine’s harvest, of paramount importance to global food supply, is at risk of being lost due to Vladimir Putin’s and the Russian army’s belligerent actions. Last year, Ukraine harvested a record of 106 million tonnes of grain – 25, or even 50 percent of this amount is currently feared to be lost during this year while most experts add that “this is an optimistic forecast.”
Mr. Vladimir Putin’s illegal War of Aggression in Ukraine, launched on February 24, 2022, brought into stark relief the fractured state of Global Peace and Security. Militarized conflicts, civilian deaths and forced migration in the tens of millions have been ongoing for decades, with little or no relief to the beleaguered victims.
When I ended last month’s column hoping that April would not prove to be hapless Sri Lanka’s ‘cruellest month’ (in the words TS Eliot), I hardly anticipated the current turn of events.
The Russian Federation, which invaded Ukraine last February killing scores of civilians and destroying entire cities, has been condemned, vilified and ostracized by the international community.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was emphatic last month when he remarked: “The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold. This applies to the present military offensive. It is wrong. It is against the Charter. It is unacceptable”.
Capital flight from the global South is immense, with widespread adverse effects. A new book proposes measures to curb, even reverse capital flight from Africa. It also offers pragmatic lessons for many developing countries.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issues an annual report evaluating press freedom globally.
This year’s index focused on 180 countries across the world.
Empowered by a global pandemic and the drum beats of war, the strongest despots are growing more despotic, and criminal cartels even more brazen in their violence. Extremists of various hues are also stepping out of the shadows.
Just when the world most needs press freedom to thrive, the liberties that societies only really treasure when they are emasculated are coming under more pressure from different directions, old and new.
Curbing capital flight from developing countries is long overdue. New sanctions against Russian oligarchs show this can be done with the requisite political will. Recent research also shows how to more effectively stop capital flight.
I recently visited Abu Dhabi and my impressions became intermingled with worries about the war in Ukraine. I also happened to read Livy’s The Early History of Rome
, written around the beginning of CE, coming across these lines:
A trend of declining trust in governments and politicians can turn into a threat beyond some point.
John Adams, an astute political philosopher and second president of the US, was emphatic: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself." This has been a subject of intense debate, with recent but mixed evidence. Is this an overly pessimistic view?
Responding to several shouts Viraj emerges from the ruins of his shelter in northwest Bosnia. He is originally from India but is now squatting near Bihać in what remains of a house abandoned since the 1990s Balkans war.
Pakistan’s impossibly debonair and incredibly urbane cricketing star turned politician, Imran Khan, is a man of a myriad parts. Where English is spoken and cricket is played, he remains a hero. Time was when leading his team in many a Test match he caused blood to rapidly pulsate through Pakistani veins. In a nation buffeted by the vicissitudes of misfortune and thirsting for pride, he had fulfilled his people’s dream by winning them the ultimate prize in cricket, the World Cup. But then he switched games and went into politics. The fates, with him for a while, eventually withdrew their favour. He gambled with a tactic that was no more than a political stunt. Alas it failed, and the Courts in his country refused him relief. But this essay is not so much about him. It about the Courts that finally caused his fall. It is also about the role the judicial organ of the State has played along the inscrutable path of Pakistan’s constitutional and political destiny.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has left many communities facing catastrophe. In a world already wracked by multiple crises such as searing inequality and escalating climate change, this conflict is tearing through communities.
The unprecedented flow of arms to Ukraine, and the rising miliary spending by European nations to strengthen their defenses, are threatening to undermine development aid to the world’s poorer nations.
Now, since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, the world’s attention has been focused on the war’s terrifying levels of death, destruction and suffering.
In the eyes of the Kremlin leadership, the basic precondition of the successful war against Ukraine has been the perceived power of the Russian Armed Forces and possible superiority over the Ukrainian forces.
The other day a friend asked me “Can Russia be expelled from the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority?”
Almost impossible to do that, I responded.