Human Wrongs Watch
30 August 2014
AFTER 50 DAYS, the war is over. Hallelujah.
On the Israeli side: 71 dead, among them 66 soldiers, 1 child.
On the Palestinian side: 2,143 dead, 577 of them children, 263 women, 102 elderly. 11,230 injured. 10,800 buildings destroyed. 8,000 partially destroyed. About 40,000 damaged homes. Among the damaged buildings: 277 schools, 10 hospitals, 70 mosques, 2 churches. Also, 12 West Bank demonstrators, mostly children, who were shot.
So what was it all about?
The honest answer is: About nothing.
Neither side wanted it. Neither side started it. It just so happened.
LET US recapitulate the events, before they are forgotten.
read more »
29 August 2014 – Three million Syrians will have registered as refugees outside of their country today, the UN refugee agency reported, amid accounts of increasingly horrifying conditions inside their homeland – cities where populations are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed.
The parents and children of this Syrian family sleep on the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. They are among the 3 million refugees from Syria, many of whom live in desperate conditions. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baldwin
A news release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that a further 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria, bringing to almost half of all Syrians who have been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives.
One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million people more than a year ago. Over half of those uprooted are children.
read more »
Nearly half a million children in Gaza will not be able to return to primary and secondary schools on Sunday as the new academic year starts, UNESCO, Save the Children and UNICEF said on 25 August 2014*.
**Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after summer break but faces overcrowding in classroom and shortages of supplies. | Girls lining up for class | Author: Al Jazeera English | Wikimedia Commons
More than one million Palestinian students were expected to return to school on 24 August, but classes will remain closed in the conflict-stricken coastal enclave, denying these nearly 500,000 children their right to education.
“Going back to school means bringing back normalcy to children. For this we need a durable ceasefire, and we must meet the most pressing needs for the rapid recovery of the education system,” said Lodovico Folin Calabi, Acting Head of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah.
Since the beginning of the conflict on 8 July, at least 219 schools have been damaged, 22 of which so severely that they can no longer be used.
Among those still standing, 103 have been turned into collective shelters for some 330,000 displaced people, half of whom are children.
read more »
26 August 2014 – The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe, with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reporting that at least 300 people have died in successive boat tragedies.
Photo: UNHCR/M. Sibiloni
“In all, we now believe 1,889 people have perished this year while making such journeys, 1,600 of these since the start of June,” said Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson, telling reporters in Geneva on 26 August 2014 that over the past few days, at least three vessels having overturned or sunk.*
The first and largest of these incidents occurred on Friday when a boat reportedly carrying at least 270 people overturned near Garibouli to the east of Tripoli. Nineteen people, one of them a woman, survived.
“The Libyan coastguard has since recovered the bodies of 100 others, including five children under the age of five and seven women, but the remaining passengers are feared drowned,” said Fleming.
read more »
By John Scales Avery*, 25 August 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service – In the follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in which it declared 26 September the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The first ever event will take place a month from now on 26 September, 2014.
What can you, as an individual, do? You can plan an action to commemorate the day. You can write to your Prime Minister/President and/or Foreign Minister, to ask what your government plans to do to commemorate the day. You can ask your local parliamentarian, mayor and city council the same question. You can tell http://www.unfoldzero.org about your activities.
The Inter-parliamentary Union, with 167 members, passed a resolution in March, 2014, calling on its members to support the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Why is the total elimination of nuclear weapons so urgent? Although somewhat reduced in numbers from the insane heights of the Cold War, the power of today’s nuclear weapons is more than sufficient to destroy human civilization and much of the biosphere.
Many of the weapons are on hair-trigger alert, meaning that those in charge of them have only minutes to decide whether a radar signal is a true or false report of an attack. Most of us alive today owe our existence to Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, who correctly reported such a warning as a computer error.
read more »
Nothing good. But let us have a look at it in the standard peace studies way: Diagnosis-analyzing, Prognosis- forecasting, and Therapy–remedies, even solutions.
**Image: Jewish Wedding in Morocco by Eugène Delacroix, Louvre, Paris | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons
“Israel-Palestine” is the discourse Tel Aviv-Washington prefers. They have all the strong cards: overwhelming military power, political veto in the United Nations Security Council, the economic upper hand in interlocking economies–not just oil cash from Saudi Arabia-Qatar–and the idea of working for a solution with Washington as “mediator”–only USA can bring the two together, gently or roughly–toward a sustainable peace.
It is needed a great distance from reality to believe in that spin.
read more »
By Mike Pflanz*, (UNICEF) – As a food crisis threatens millions in conflict-stricken South Sudan, families are eating whatever they can to survive. Without more urgent international help, many will likely die of starvation.*
KIECH KUON, South Sudan, 25 August 2014 – In the field next to Nyakaka Wal’s home in rural South Sudan, maize plants stand tall and dense, an acre or more of desperately needed food slowly growing in the hot sun.
© UNICEF Video | A child is checked for signs of malnutrition in Kiech Kuon, South Sudan.
But it is ripening too slowly for Nyakaka and her children. Harvest is still six weeks away, at least, and she and her family are struggling on the fringes of survival, eating only wild plants plucked from the ground, or dry-roasted cow’s blood.
An estimated 3.9 million people are facing emergency levels of food insecurity in South Sudan, where conflict that broke out at the end of 2013 forced people to flee their homes and fields. As a result, planting was delayed, and food stockpiles kept for lean times were looted.
read more »