On 11 April 2012, a poem appeared in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and in other European newspapers which led to a controversy in the west and definitely would cause concern in the western elite as the poem exposed the flaws in the international political system marred by the western hypocrisy in the name of peace and democracy. German Nobel Laureate Gunter Grass through his poem entitled Was gesagt werden muss – or ‘What Must be Said’ – termed Israel a threat to world peace and exposed the western hypocrisy in dealing with Israel and Iran’s nuclear programmes.
Grass points out that German government’s decision to sell sophisticated submarines equipped with nuclear capability to a country like Israel possessed with nuclear weapons and threatening to go for first strike against Iran prompted him to stand against western discriminatory policies. Continue reading
Somali people argue that rather than anything else illegal fishing and dumping toxic waste into Somalia’s seas are the root causes of piracy. Yet regardless of the originality and authenticity of this claim, piracy remains an international phenomenon discussed at global meetings. In relation to piracy, there is both good news and bad news for Somalia. The good news is that the number of pirate attacks in the Somalia seas has substantially diminished in this year and the last quarter of previous year. So Somali pirates seem to be defeated. And the bad news is that there is still another untold story about a new type of piracy (which is illegal fishing) where foreign vessels are sucking away Somalia’s natural resources. These foreign vessels have lost 6 billion dollars since the outbreak of piracy according to maritime sources.
Since the anti-piracy maneuvers undertaken by NATO forces were commenced, the piracy rate has diminished sharply, as it was mentioned in last year’s report of International Maritime Bureau. Notably, not only NATO forces, local people (through their own methods and motivation) are also fighting against pirates. Continue reading
The Global Citizenship Forum, organised by the British Council, was held at Selsdon Park, outside London, from 8 – 10 March 2012. The initiative came from the US Centre for Citizen Diplomacy and it was attended by delegates from around the world. However, I was the only delegate from organisations based in South Asia. I represented two organisations at the Forum: the non- official Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, the oldest think tank in Pakistan, of which I am Chairperson and Aurat Foundation Pakistan, the leading non-governmental organisation working in the fields of women’s rights and empowerment in Pakistan, of which I am President.
Discussion at the Forum ranged from recognizing global citizenship, identifying challenges, discovering shared objectives, transforming ideas into action and assessing collective impact. Much of the discussion was informal and held in small groups. Some of us struggled with the concept of global citizenship and, as was expected, only a vague definition emerged from the ideas penned on numerous flip charts. However, we still moved ahead to the “way forward” and there were many converts before the meeting concluded.
The keynote address on the first day was delivered by Simon Anholt who prefers to be regarded as a “policy adviser” rather than a “consultant” and said he has advised governments around the globe. His talk was witty, a bit sceptical about global citizenship at the beginning but tolerant of it towards the end.
As is usual at such meetings, one was fortunate in getting to known many interesting persons from different backgrounds. I was particularly happy to meet the two Palestinian delegates, Sami Khader from the MAAN Development Centre and Rami Nasereddin from Palestinian Vision. They said they had come to the Forum to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people.
The Global Citizenship Forum is to be followed by an international conference on the subject in the near future. My video interview is available below.