Refugees, Titans

Submitted by admin on Fri, 06/30/2017 - 19:47
Yasmine Hadni


Dear Friends,

The United Nations' refugee agency - UNHCR - has offered a stark number: that the world's refugees now number close to 66 million. That makes refugees the 21st largest country in the world. A study shows that by 2020, it is likely that the refugee population will be at 2 billion. This is not an alarmist figure. It is one that should be taken very seriously.

My report at Alternet this week is on the ongoing refugee crisis, with stories from the Sahara, but also on the failed project of dealing with refugees through the lens of 'security' and not 'humanity'. It quotes from the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed who warns that a security lens will be utterly incompatible with needs of the refugees and of our world order. It is a voice that needs to be heard. It echoes the worlds of the UN Refugees chief - Filippo Grandi - who rightly notes that endless wars have created an endless crisis.

You can read my report here.

While strolling the streets of Rabat (Morocco) the other day, I popped in to see an art show by a young Moroccan artist Yasmine Hadni. The picture above is a part of a painting she has on our current crisis. I found it very affecting. so there it is.




India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited US President Donald Trump. The picture above is by Jay Mandal, one of the best photojournalists. It captures the unevenness of the relationship. At Al-Jazeera, I have a short report on the meeting of these 'titans of hate', which you can read here. The core is that the most important part of this relationship is arms deals. India just bought drones worth $2 billion from the US. As I note, 'It is of course a vulgarity that India - where 50 percent of the population lives in deprivation - spends so much of its budget on weapons. But today it is how the government chooses its priorities - ignoring the pressing needs of its population in order to service Western arms dealers'. It sickens me to see how much of our precious resources goes towards war.

And to top it off, related to the essay above, the US continues to cut its contributions to UN Peacekeeping. War, not peace, is what is promoted. No wonder we will soon live on a planet of refugees.

Meanwhile, across India there have been Not In My Name Demonstrations. Fabulous videos to watch of these protests at Newsclick.

Warmly, Vijay.