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It’s not often that I agree with Donald Trump, actually I never do, but he tweeted something poignant the other day that summed up our feelings on the global situation right now.
“We are now at a time perhaps more than ever when the world needs GREAT leadership”
Truer words have never been tweeted.
In April of this year, 234 girls were kidnapped in Chibok Maiduguri, North East Nigeria and it took the government 3 weeks thanks to the mounting pressure from global leaders and social media, to acknowledge the situation. 100 plus days on and several more kidnappings and killings later, most of the girls are still missing and nothing has been said about them for a while now. Or done on the part of the Nigerian government. The day after the girls were kidnapped President Goodluck Jonathan was campaigning for office. Unbothered.
The issue in Nigeria runs deep, but it is relatively uncomplicated, the government has always been unbothered about the welfare of the people. It’s easy to say this about most nations of the world, but the Nigerian government, has almost made this a prerequisite of assuming office. Regimes are shamelessly and monumentally corrupt; the extent of Sani Abacha’s recently revealed corruptions, is another matter entirely and let’s not forget about the $20 billion that mysteriously went missing. Other factors are at play and have contributed to the government’s disinterest in bringing back our girls but none more so than cultural and religious differences; Boko Haram operates mostly in the North. With the religious and cultural divide in the country, especially between the North and the rest, the government does not feel compelled to act. Nigeria spent several years under military rule with Northerners at the helm; as one Hausa ruler stepped down, another one took his place and surrounded himself with lieutenants of the same school of thought, and they were only there for themselves. Indeed when it comes to the Nigerian presidency, it is not about making an ounce of a difference, it is about how much money one can make. Regardless of religion or culture. Goodluck Jonathan proves that; he was meant to be the man with a different plan; a man who never had shoes, as he informed us in his declaration speech, so was supposed to be able to sympathise with the common man, the everyday man struggling to make ends meets in a country where basic amenities have become a luxury. He was not a part of the old boys club but was seen as a man of the people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is not the first time Boko Haram has kidnapped or killed people in Northern Nigeria especially, but the reaction of the government has always been to shrug its shoulders, blaming their complacency on the lack of resources to pursue intelligence or thwart a threat. Meanwhile they hop on private jets, drive around in Beasts and Bentleys funded from on the nation’s cash and have no vested interest in the future of the children yet hundreds of women and children are still missing and the world has very little to say about it.
ISIS has struck in Iraq. Taking over the country little by little because of the instability in the region. Thanks to the mess made by George Bush and Tony Blair. The war never really ended, it was not enough to remove Saddam Hussein from office or kill him. There is the situation of generations of sectorial neglect and conflict which was unaddressed and is now the source of a deadlier situation in the country. Thousands driven from their homes and even more killed whilst the government and the world have remained powerless or distracted by other conflicts in other regions.
The situation between Russia and Ukraine worsens everyday, the shooting down of flight MH17 by Russian backed rebels has done nothing to endear Putin to the rest of Europe and abroad, but this seems to be of no bother to Putin, despite the fresh wave of sanctions that could potentially endanger the Russian economy which is already weakened.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is one that has been raging from time. If we want to go deep it can be traced back to the days of Abraham and his two wives, some 2000 or so years ago, but I’m not about to start that battle.
In June of this year three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. Alleged to be the workings of Hamas, it would be the catalyst to spark one of the deadliest conflicts between Israel and Palestine. Although it has emerged that Hamas was not behind the killing of these teenagers, it was committed by rebel group. Still, this was a savage act that was condemned the world over. Binyamin Netanyahu promised retaliation and wasted no time in getting down to business; Hamas activists were targeted and in retaliation Hamas launched an air strike into Israel, and Israel returned with full force. Now here we are; three weeks into a conflict that has become a full blown war between mortal enemies. How do you even avenge the death of a citizen or three? What is the right amount of reasonable force for retaliation? Palestinians and Gaza have long been a combative issue for Israel. Hamas came into power in 2007 in Gaza, but has left very little to be desired of them, little distinguishes them from terrorists groups like Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda etc. Over the years weary peace was brokered between the two nations, that famous handshake of the Oslo Accords between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, treaties signed and the moment immortalised as monumental. Still, the relationship has been cold and cantankerous, like a bomb just waiting to go off. When Netanyahu took office after the death of Yitzhak Rabin that fragile peace unravelled. Israel will not recognise a Palestinian government that includes Hamas and Hamas will not recognise Israel period. Netanyahu puts it plainly when he says, relinquishing security control of the West Bank is just not possible. Innocent people on both sides have emerged as the collateral damage in this war, suffering more and losing more. Ceasefires are a ploy of delay tactics.
I will say it again, the world is a mess. We watch these atrocious events unfold, crippled in the face of conflict. Whilst the court of public opinion, which in this case has made the most sense, calls out Israel because it is expected to know better, and its actions only puts Hamas in a better light, World leaders have remained complacent, and accepting, even supporting of Israel’s actions, under the guise of a ‘right to defend”. No one is about to argue the contrary, even if we see it so blatantly. The right to defend ends where another’s begin. The United Nations has never been more impotent than in recent times. Save for a few rebel journalists and critics who continue to speak up and out loud. There have been several protests in the UK with hundreds of thousands matching through the streets to Downing St but not a pip was reported in the news, if you didn’t live in London you didn’t even hear about it. Its a shame that we have become so de-sensitised to bombing schools, killing children, upending families and essentially, raising the next angry generation. This is not a war that will end here, it has been raging from time, allegedly from the time of Abraham, Sarai and Hagar, but as I said, I am not about to start that because religion and politics are like water and oil.
Still, the world could really do with some leadership, throw in divine intervention, but where do we start?