With a Twist Blog: Humanitarian Disasters of 2014



Syrian Refugee Camp in March 2014 - Source: Wikipedia

Syrian Refugee Camp in March 2014 – Source: Wikipedia

My previous blog was entitled, “Glad to see the end of 2014? You might be surprised to learn about the 8 ways in which there has been no better time to be alive.”

Despite these successes, last year we witnessed many failures. Once again, I am sharing Riley Sparks’ research which appeared in her January 2, 2015 article in The Toronto Star. This blog post addresses three significant political and human disasters of 2014 and after each I suggest remedies that we can seek in 2015.

1) Recent civil wars have been particularly deadly, especially in the Central Africa Republic and Syria. Since late 2013, more than 5,000 have been killed in the CAR; approximately the same number are killed each month in Syria.

WHAT CAN BE DONE? Let’s encourage the United Nations to create a new form of intervention. Let’s stop relying on individual countries to participate in wars or peace-keeping operations, which always demands that nations ask themselves, “What will we gain from entering this conflict?” Imagine a new force, made up of highly trained career soldiers from all nations in the world, which can be quickly dispatched into conflict zones, especially those involving genocide. Also imagine that these troops are accompanied by representatives of the World Court who will investigate war crimes and bring perpetrators to account.

2) The number of refugees is greater now than since 1998. In 2013, there were approximately 33.3 million displaced people.

WHAT CAN BE DONE? Let’s pressure the Harper government to make good on its promise to accept a paltry 1300 Syrian refugees, and also demand that this number be increased. Canada welcomed 100,000 Vietnamese refugees in the 70s and 80s and in doing so, we demonstrated compassion and enhanced our nation.

3) Terrorist attacks killed 61% more people in 2014 than in 2013.

WHAT CAN BE DONE? Rather than engaging in an impossible and unending “war on terror”, let’s make the contribution of analyzing the underlying causes of terrorism and suggesting solutions. YES, CANADA, LET’S ENGAGE IN SOCIOLOGY! Let’s recognize that jihadists are most often motivated by marginalization, unemployment, hatred of the west brought on by relentless bombing of Muslim communities, and perhaps mental illness. Then let’s determine how Canada can play a role in acknowledging these injustices, develop strategies to reduce and eveutally eliminate these causes of terrorism, and broker peace talks. After all, our strength is not as a military power but as a highly educated nation, previously recognized as a peacekeeper. Let’s demand that our government restore Canada to this extremely valuable role.

Please comment on these challenges and my suggestions for meeting them.