Monthly Archives: October 2008
“We cannot have a soldier behind every tree, in every field, on every road and in every market; it is impossible.”
And there are a lot of trees in Congo.
The problems, of course, are lot greater than an abundance of trees. As I highlighted the other day, MONUC’s mandate was crafted over-ambitiously, and this only now coming home to roost. The result is, as Refugees International Advocate Erin Weir opines from Goma, an increasing sense that the MONUC forces on the ground have been “hung out to dry.”
Ruthermore, there are no shortages of culpable actors in this tragedy, either. In addition to the “alphabet soup” of armed groups in eastern Congo that Change.org helpfully outlines here, Rwanda is playing a large role in the conflict. Former RI Advocate Rick Neal commented:
Rwanda is the key in all aspects of this crisis, and yet amazingly little attention is given to its role and what it should do. When I worked in the region, no one wanted to speak out too loudly against Rwanda for fear of being called an apologist for the génocidaires, and perhaps this still applies.
The failures to respond during one hundred days of genocide 14 years ago, unfortunately, are still painfully reverberating.
The final discussion prompt in our week long salon on human rights challenges facing the next administration comes from Cato scholar and On Day One user Justin Logan, who says that the United States should swear off nation building.
Eric Schwartz and Suzanne Nossel respond.
Over on Huffington Post Harold Pollack gets into the Halloween spirit.
We must be equally jazzed about bringing the world’s children basic sanitation, nutrition, and who knows: maybe a few reading lessons. Seven dollars protects a kid against malaria–not to mention the itchy bites. Fifteen dollars buys a carton of high energy protein biscuits–not the crud people hawk on cable TV–the kind that supports three severely malnourished kids for a whole month. Twenty dollars vaccinates nine kids against polio. To quote PBS, Forty-five hundred thousand dollars…. well, you get the picture.
Last time around, many economists donated through this post, because they realized that UNICEF and related charities are among the most cost-effective strategies to improve the world.
To donate, click on my tacky personal donation web page
If that’s too tacky for you, the UN foundation’s website is cool, too:
PS: Your kids might like this fun time-wasting flash link.
And for the uninitiated, this is the kind of life-saving work that UNICEF does.
Both the LA Times and the NY Times have fascinating articles this morning on the booming pirate economy in northern Somalia. Included are some rather jaw-dropping quotations.
How easy is it to become a pirate?
“All you need is three guys and a little boat, and the next day you’re millionaires,” said Abdullahi Omar Qawden, a former captain in Somalia’s long-defunct navy.
What brings the pirates together?
“We are just a group of people with a common interest in making money,” said Sugule Ali, a spokesman for the pirates.
How do they deal with questions of legality?
When one young thug complains that a $5,000 deduction for disobeying an order is “illegal,” the old man snaps back: “Even the $15,000 you are getting is illegal! It’s all stolen!”
Los Angeles Representative (and blogger) Xavier Beccera hosted one of The Global Debates — an initiative of the The People Speak, a UN Foundation program designed to get youths discussing important issues — between these two Santee High School students (and potential future members of Congress).
by Anita Sharma
(This op-ed first appeared at Open Democracy)
The international effort to end world poverty may not at present be the highest-profile one on a global news agenda dominated by financial turmoil and worries over the coming recession. But the public engagement with the issue is real and sustained. This was reflected in an extraordinary global mobilisation on the weekend of 17-19 October 2008. “Stand Up and Take Action” was supported in 131 countries by nearly 117 million people, who participated in diverse events – from marches to religious ceremonies – and were united by a shared demand that this generation of political leaders do their utmost in the anti-poverty endeavour.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.