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Global Affairs

Beyond Politics: People for Sale in Hungry World

By RAMZY BAROUD One might be tempted to dismiss the recent findings of the US State Department on human trafficking as largely political. But do not be too hasty. Criticism of the State Department’s report on trafficked persons, issued on 16 June, should be rife. The language describing US allies’ efforts to combat the problem […]

The Drones Are Coming: New War on Civilians

By RAMZY BAROUD US President Barack Obama took the podium in a White House press conference and stood with an all-embellished confidence that often accompanies new presidents. He was flanked by two leaders whose apparent grandeur barely reflected their embattled situations on the ground: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. The […]

A New Afghanistan Nightmare

By RAMZY BAROUD When US envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke met with Afghanistan’s ‘democratically’ installed President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on February 14, he may have just learned of the historic significance of the following day. February 15 commemorates the end of the bloody Russian campaign against Afghanistan (August 1978-February 1989). But it is unlikely […]

Cluster Bomb Treaty and the World’s Unfinished Business

By RAMZY BAROUD The United States, Russia and China are sending a terrible message to the rest of the world by refusing to take part in the historic signing of a treaty that bans the production and use of cluster bombs. In a world that is plagued by war, military occupation and terrorism, the involvement […]

The Rights of Women as Casualties of War

The Rights of Women as Casualties of War

By RAMZY BAROUD Qurban-Bibi and Nahil Abu-Rada are two women, one Afghan and the other Palestinian, who made news with similar tragedies. But their losses also helped further delineate the plight of millions of women in war zones and poor countries. The United Nations news service reported on the troubles of Qurban-Bibi, a pregnant woman […]

Playgrounds for Palestine: One Marathon at a Time

By RAMZY BAROUD My right knee is wrapped. My left ankle is iced. I lost the nail on my right big toe, and have about 20 blisters and a similar number of bruises on both of my feet. This doesn’t even begin to convey half of the story of the punishment that my body has […]

World Food Day: Global Crises’ Double Standards

By RAMZY BAROUD The 25th annual World Food Day, marked on 16 October, was an occasion whose arrival and passing received little media attention or governmental fanfare. Evidently, much of the world media and governments are consumed with an economic crisis of epic proportions, which is perceived in the US as the worst such upheaval […]

Olympic Follies and Triumphs

By RAMZY BAROUD To run a full marathon experts suggest that the aspiring athlete requires at least six months of rigorous training, proper gear, a particular diet, regular check-ups, mental focus and preparation, and a variety of gadgets depending on one’s budget. Ironically, the poorest countries in Africa have also produced some of the world’s […]

The Saakashvili Experiment

By RAMZY BAROUD Just as the world’s attention was focussed on China’s Beijing Olympics, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, on 7 August, invaded the tiny breakaway province of South Ossetia. The initial attack on the South Ossetian capital, Tskninvali, soon extended to an all out war, which eventually invited Russia’s wrath, and the death of thousands […]

ICC and al-Bashir: Ocampo’s Justice

By RAMZY BAROUD The crimes committed against innocent people in Darfur represent a shameful episode in the history of Sudan and its neighbours, including Chad, which has played a dubious role in sustaining the seething conflict. Equally disgraceful is the politicising of the bloody conflict in ways that will ensure its continuation. The decision of […]

Why Should Barack Obama’s Religion Matter?

By RAMZY BAROUD Whether Barack Obama is or, at one point, was a Muslim should be a trivial matter in any society governed by secular, democratic dictates that apply to all, on equal footage, regardless of race, gender or religion. But in a society that is taking a turn toward the right, the matter is […]

The Bomb Squads: How to Survive a Gaza Refugee Camp

By RAMZY BAROUD The following are excerpts from Baroud’s upcoming book, “101 Ways to Survive a Refugee Camp.” We waited breathless. Breathing heavily was hazardous under these somewhat exceptional circumstances. The army, my father often advised, was sensitive to the slightest movements or sounds, including a whisper, a cough, or God forbid, a sneeze. Thus […]

No Checkpoints in Heaven

By Ramzy Baroud I still vividly remember my father’s face – wrinkled, apprehensive, warm – as he last wished me farewell fourteen years ago. He stood outside the rusty door of my family’s home in a Gaza refugee camp wearing old yellow pyjamas and a seemingly ancient robe. As I hauled my one small suitcase […]

The ‘Known Unknowns’ of the Mugniyah Killing

By RAMZY BAROUD We know well who killed top Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah on February 12 in Damascus. Although in the US media only journalists like Seymour Hersh have the nerve to point out the obvious, the Israeli media has not shied away from evidence of Israeli intelligence’s involvement in this well-calculated assassination. The major […]

US Elections: Just Like the Movies

By RAMZY BAROUD The United States political process bears an uncanny resemblance to mainstream filmmaking. Elections and speeches are scripted to the letter, politicians put on a tirelessly rehearsed act, catering endlessly to the whims of the target audience. A successful Hollywood filmmaker can’t afford to risk raising issues in a way that don’t immediately […]

Machiavellian Musharraf

By RAMZY BAROUD The 42-day drama in Pakistan is far from over; the declaration of emergency and the lifting of emergency are part of a charade, behind which exists a complex power play between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, various camps within the military elite, and the US government. The Pakistani people are the least relevant […]

On Romney, Mormonism and Islam

By RAMZY BAROUD Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speech on December 6th – in which he tried to ‘explain’ his Mormon faith – was met with a mostly sympathetic reception at George Bush Library in Texas. The speech has been long anticipated, not so much for its relevance to the pressing debate on the defining […]

Somalia: What the News Failed to Report

By RAMZY BAROUD The people of Somalia are enduring yet another round of suffering as Ethiopian forces wreck havoc in the capital, Mogadishu. Apparently in response to an attack on one of its units, and the dragging of a soldier’s mutilated body through the city’s streets, an Ethiopian mortar reportedly exploded in Mogadishu’s Bakara market […]

Convenient Racism: The ‘Us’, ‘Them’ and ‘Non’ Factors

By RAMZY BAROUD Racism is, among many things, convenient. It provides simplified, definite and ready-to-serve answers to complex and compounded questions. Racists, in turn, come from all walks of life; their motivation and the root causes behind their contemptible views of others may differ, but the outcome of these views is predictably the same — […]

US Arabs and Muslims: The Search for Common Identity

By RAMZY BAROUD As the security check line began moving slowly at Washington Dulles airport, one passenger standing a few steps ahead of me appeared particularly uneasy. His dark skin, long beard, trimmed moustache, prayer spot centered on his forehead, and overall demeanor quickly gave away his identity, though he had obviously labored little to […]

Losing Afghanistan: Firepower Doesn’t Always Win Wars

By RAMZY BAROUD In a statement made available through the country’s Foreign Office, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri chastised the “international community” for the “abandonment” of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989. In his estimation, it was this attitude that created the conditions which eventually culminated in the rise of the […]

Cape of Good Hope: One Apartheid Regime Down; One More to Go

By RAMZY BAROUD I stand at the southernmost corner of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope. The grand mountains underneath and behind infuse a moment of spiritual reflection unmatched in its depth and meaning. Before me is an awe-inspiring view: here the Atlantic’s frigid waters gently meet the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. They […]

Darfur: The Hourglass of Blood

By RAMZY BAROUD The Darfur crisis in Sudan is perhaps the most politically convoluted conflict in the world today. Its underpinnings involve local, regional and international players, all selfishly vying for power and economic interests. Alliances shift like quicksand, reminiscent of Lebanon. Neither the interest of the people of Darfur, nor the sovereignty of Sudan […]

Losing Focus: Peace and Justice Movement in Britain at Crossroad

By RAMZY BAROUD Growing up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, it was a very familiar encounter: Israeli soldiers storming our house accompanied by shouts of terror and a barrage of insults. Such recollections make me shudder to this day. Just the mere summoning of those memories of my childhood in the […]

While Going Under: The Things We Take for Granted

By RAMZY BAROUD I opened my eyes to the sound of my children, so innocently unaware of what had befallen their father: "is Daddy going to die?" asked one, in a voice engulfed with a worry that transcended her years; "no, but I think that he will have to use a wheelchair for the rest […]

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