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U.S. President Donald Trump visited the Middle East and met with leaders of many countries in a few short days. During this brief visit he seems to have solidified his position to an extent that makes it possible to push a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Is it good news? I am not so sure.
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I'm tired of pacifists. I'm not going to be polite around them anymore. I'm not going to be accommodating in polite society and pretend that while I differ, I respect the pacifist opinion. I don't. Pacifists are wrong, and this is why. Pacifism tolerates, even abets, terrorism and fascism -- and the war and violence that come from them.
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A registered "charity" with buckets of donations from arms manufacturers and other corporate sources is aggressively trying to push Canadian foreign policy further towards militarism and the use of violence. And the right-wing Canadian Global Affairs Institute seems to be growing in influence.
As I watch Donald Trump giddily dropping the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan, or bombing Syria, or sending a U.S. soldier to his death in Yemen, or threatening war with North Korea, I think of a bearded guy in New Hampshire, washing his pickup truck one sunny Saturday morning in August. He warned us.
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Libya is a beautiful country, but my welcome to it was anything but. I had been in Tripoli less than a week and already my parents' worst nightmare was coming true. Our compound, which was home to most UN agencies and several embassies including Canada's, was under attack.
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We have a problem, rather, a preoccupation with power. It is human nature to want and crave it, but the ways we get it and keep it are usually inhumane. The simplest, most base feeling of power is that of physical might. The ability to defeat one's foes in combat.
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I write this with the crippling cries of a small child playing in my earphones, nerve gas choking him literally to death, his desperate rasping gasps for breath ringing in my ears and unnerving my insides, his agony repeating over and over in the background as a foaming espresso machine steams beside me at the counter.
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Not all that long ago, peace was viewed as the occasional pause between a long lists of conflicts. If we aren't careful, we will soon be in danger of replicating such a timeline. Peace becomes an investment in what we can accomplish; war morphs into everything that we can lose.
In the year 2017, all of us need to reach out to our families and neighbours who feel uneasy about the changing world, and patiently challenge prejudice or intolerance whenever it appears. If the worst happens south of the border and the drums of war and belligerence beat more loudly, the future of the world will be at risk.
Before the conflict in Yemen escalated, 10-year-old Fahd lived peacefully with his family in the northern city of Sa'ada. His routine was to wake up every morning, go to school, play with friends in the evenings and go back home for dinner and do his school homework.
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We as a diaspora, watched the curtain fall on a decades-long conflict we could never fully understand. And although the impact of the war varies drastically between us, what remains consistent is the recognition of a profound loss and the silent mourning of a forgotten identity.
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I was two months short of being 12. I went to bed quite late, only to be startled shortly afterwards by my mother. She was attempting to wake my father. She was yelling, "The war has started!" Years later I can still clearly recall the fright with which I got up. The haunting sound of the sirens still rings in my ears.
Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters
Driving towards Madaya in a convoy that snaked along the Damascus highway for hundreds of metres, a huge knot formed in the pit of my stomach. Not knowing what we would find there, and remembering the harrowing images of emaciated children pleading with their eyes for some respite from this siege, it was hard not to be worried.
In the five years since the uprising-turned-civil-war, the Syrian conflict has become the "biggest humanitarian crisis of our time." The United Nations estimates more than 250,000 people have been killed (this figure is widely disputed among various international organizations), while another 6.6. million have been internally displaced.