International Politics

The war that never ends

“What is the fundamental question one must ask of the world? I would think and posit many things, but the answer was always the same: Why is the child crying?”      —Alice Walker (Possessing the Secret of Joy)   His name was Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa.  He was Palestinian; he was Gazan; he was human.  He was the first of 30 children killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza in the space of just 11 days last month.  He – like all the others – stood no chance: a 13 year-old boy with weapons no more deadly than the football he was playing with, shot in the stomach.  Such ‘surgical precision,’ such care! It’s only a month after these events that I feel able to write about them with any sort of cogency.  Even now, I only have questions: Who are the terrorists here?  Which is the ‘rogue nation’?  Where …

The Divine Ultimatum

Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength.  Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?                                                                                                      — John Milton Areopagitica Submit, or die.  That’s effectively the message being dished out to the West by the tens of thousands protesting against Innocence of Muslims, the crude film trailer that depicts the ‘prophet’ Mohammed.  This message is not facetious, nor is it half-hearted.  It forms what can only …

Will the real Aung San Suu Kyi please stand up?

When Aung San Suu Kyi delivered her landmark acceptance speech after being awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, she made a plea on behalf of victims of persecution worldwide: “Wherever suffering is ignored,” she observed with characteristically understated defiance in her voice, “there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages”.  How right she was.  How different, though, from her non-committal response last week to whether Rohingya demands for justice in Myanmar should be satisfied: “I don’t know”.  Was it pusillanimity, hypocrisy or just a slip of the tongue? Whatever her justification, for the 800,000 Rohingya Muslims who have lived in Myanmar for centuries, “I don’t know” simply isn’t good enough.  Imagine being born country-less, with no state, no police force, no institution to represent you.  Imagine being marginalised, ostracised and ignored.  Imagine being incarcerated in your village, with no way of escape, no hope …