Archive for the Children Category

Wake-up Call: “I never want to go to school again” Shanno Khan (1998-2009)

Posted in Asia, Children, Europe, India, United Kingdom with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by mariayzk

cutest-baby-ever“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Mohandas Ghandi, political and spiritual leader in India

Violence; the 21st century first aid kit. Whether we are examining the reasoning behind the war waged on Afghanistan and Iraq, September 11th bombing or an aggressive domestic marital feud between a couple, like the recent beheading of a New York based women; 37 year old Aasiya Hassan who was allegedly murdered by her husband, one no longer stands shocked at these fanatical acts of violent behavior. The subject of this article is yet another act of brutality; the culprit is none other than a school teacher; an honorable profession, which has now become synonymous with pedophiles, killers and kidnappers.

The current state of schools is fear-provoking; Sunday school teacher in California charged with the murder and rape of an 8 year old girl who was her daughter’s playmate, killers and pedophiles in UK applying to become teachers and most recently the 11 year old asthmatic girl in New Delhi who died after being punished by her teacher to stand in the scorching sun for two hours. It leaves you wondering; is it even worth procreating in such a stigmatized environment? Continue reading

Post Mortem Report; The Migration-Displacement Nexus in Pakistan

Posted in Afghanistan, Asia, Children, Iran, Pakistan, Politics, Refugees & IDPs, War with tags , , , , on June 29, 2009 by mariayzk

swat_refugees_081A looming threat from Al Qaeda & the Taliban militia and an in-flux of Afghan refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) has left Pakistan in a worst refugee crisis since the partition in 1947. US led drone strikes and Pakistan military’s onslaught against the Talibans has crippled a great mass of Afghan and Pakistani civilians. Why do states always carry out post-mortem reports on innocent war causalities, instead of ensuring civilians’ security prior to the attacks?

afghn-101351In view of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s corrupt governments and the rising number of people uprooted by the growing conflict in north-west Pakistan, can we trust these governments enough to tackle the fragile situation or is it a case of another humanitarian disaster? Perhaps another Kashmir, another Palestine. The victims in the end are always the civilians, who end up losing their only prized possession; their identity.

May 5, 2009: Afghan officials say up to 120 non-combatants were killed when US warplanes dropped bombs on two villages in Bala Baluk, a Taliban-controlled district in the western province of Farah.

May 11, 2009: UN estimates, over 360,000 people have escaped from the three worst affected areas of Dir, Swat and Buner.

May 12, 2009:­­­ A total of 501,496 displaced people from the new influx had been formally registered by authorities, with UNHCR’s help, since May 2.

May 13, 2009: The number of people who have fled the fighting in northwest Pakistan this month and been registered or recorded by authorities reached 670,906 on Wednesday, up from just over half a million the day before.

May 15, 2009: Almost 1 million displaced people so far registered this month by authorities and UNHCR are in addition to another 550,000 uprooted people who fled fighting since last August. According to the latest figures, 987,140 people have been registered from the current influx, including 907,298 outside camps and 79,842 in camps.­­

swat_refugees_05What will be the outcome of Pakistan’s face-off with the Talibans? Will success be measured on the battlefield in the Swat Valley and the Pakistan-Afghanistan border or will it be measured by the number of civilian casualties? Continue reading

I am Alive – Restoring Family Links

Posted in Children, Disasters with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by mariayzk

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Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. Jane Howard

You wake up in the morning, get up to brush your teeth and there in the mirror pops up a familiar face. Beneath your exterior exists another you, a part of you that carries a million memories with your loved ones spread across borders. What if one day due to  a  natural disaster or armed conflict you lose all ties with your loved ones? What would you do to reunite with them? In this article; I’ll be highlighting one such case; an Aunt’s search for her lost blood ties, her twin nieces who are fighting their lost identities in a small camp based in Tanzania.

In a day and age when domestic violence has become an open day policy in every other household; it is highly motivating to see people who are still keen on restoring family links. I dedicate this article to all those people who have sacrificed their lives in hopes of sustaining a peaceful family life.

Bound under confidentiality, I will be unable to disclose names here. The case revolves around twin sisters, born in early 1990s in Nyanza Lac, Burundi. Having lost their mother at an early age; the girls were being raised by their mother’s employee who passed away a few years ago, leaving them all alone in a world they had yet to understand. To escape the conflict zone, they fled to seek refuge in a camp based in Tanzania; where the girls are presently living. About a week ago, they were led by camp officials to the Burundi embassy, where they were notified that they will soon be sent back to Burundi.  The girls didn’t take this too well considering they have no family ties in Burundi; it seemed like a whole new world to them. In fear of being deported back to Burundi they managed to escape from the embassy and spent the next few days on the streets. However, they couldn’t get too far and were brought back to the camp. Continue reading