The picture above, from 2014, is from Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. It is now about the eighth or ninth largest city in Jordan - estimates for the population sit at around 80,000. It is hard to know the exact number.
In today's Alternet, I have a short report that draws from a series of UNICEF reports on the situation of child refugees. Currently, children comprise almost half the world's refugee population. UNICEF says that there are about 50 million children who are in the status of refugee. My report notes,
- The term ‘refugee’ denudes the people of their humanity. They are human beings who have seen cruel, human intentions break apart their possibility of survival and reduce them to the condition of refugee. No-one wants to be a refugee. It is not an identity of pride. It is a mark of inhumanity. It is not the refugee who should be ashamed. It is those who have allowed the production of such historical levels of displaced people who should consider what their policies have wrought.
You can read the rest here. I am grateful to UNICEF and to the UN Refugees Agency for their work to allow humanity to stay alive in such difficult circumstances.
At The Wire, I have a review of Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri's indictment of regime change policies, some of which have contributed - without doubt - to the escalation of the refugee crisis. I had interviewed Ambassador Puri in 2012 to talk about the UN vote on Libya and the ongoing situation in Syria and elsewhere. He was forthright in his critique of the way in which the UN's Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine had been used. His book - Perilous Interventions - is an elaboration of his argument. My general sense of his book in this review is captured here,
- If there were a body to adjudicate bad decisions of the past decade, that body should take Puri’s chapter on Libya and ask the main protagonists of regime change to answer its charges. It is a sharp repudiation of the Western governments who wanted to go into a conflict when other options lay available and where the outcome of the conflict already appeared to be very dangerous. Western leaders brushed aside alternative paths to peace and warning about the dangers of regime change. None of this interested them. They had a messianic sense of their abilities. Even after the fiasco in Iraq, they felt that they could ? from the cockpit of their bombers ? bring freedom to the world.
You can read the rest of the review here.
Finally, there is a debate ongoing in India about whether the political regime that now exists has slipped into fascism. The CPI-M's Prakash Karat wrote a piece in the Indian Express, where he argued that this is too exaggerated a position and that Modi's government is more like Erdogan's - both authoritarian. Karat was attacked by historian Jairus Banaji, with a tone that was quite outside the bounds of left solidarity. I wrote a response to Banaji. At the LeftWord Books blog, we have a post that summarizes the debate and gives links to the various articles. You can read the blog post here. I hope you are visiting the blog - it is very active. We have, coming up. Subhashini Ali on the post-Una protests and Chaman Lal on Bhagat Singh.