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Praying For Syria

With the news that the USA has launched its first direct military action against Assad, Komal Rasheed has penned her initial thoughts and reaction.

Prayers for the civilians, the innocents in Syria who continue to suffer…from all sides!!
A few thoughts….still coming together.

1.) The US informed Russia before air strikes and Russia no doubt informed Assad.

2.) Assad is a bastard and a component of an ugly multi head monster that is plaguing Syria…if one of the other heads cut him off…it doesn’t kill the monster and make things better…it just grows a different head tied to the same monster. Regardless I can see the appeal when no other solution comes to mind.

3.) Direct military involvement in Syria by a country that continues to not want to talk about Syrian refugees…seems slightly disingenuous or rather really disingenuous.

4.) The timing of our stand against Russia on the Syrian conflict seems to benefit an administration plagued with Russian controversy, related perjury and abysmal Presidential approval ratings. To reference Dug from the movie Up, this is a mighty squirrel much like the Muslim ban (still wrong) that allows the administration to do a bunch of shady shit while the country looks elsewhere and focuses on something else. Ahem and queue …the nuclear option on the SCOTUS nominee, and Nunes.

5.) America has done this same dance before during WWII. A crazy regime was wiping out an entire ethnicity of people for several years while the US was watching from the sidelines….not caring about the human carnage that lay on the other side of the Atlantic because it wasn’t our problem….until of course it personally touched us and our interests. 6 million Jews died across Europe between 1933 and 1945. 400,000 Syrians are already dead, with 2.1 million of them as refugees. WWII was 70 years ago, when the world sacrificed, learned and pledged never again…so here we are..again….teetering in the verge with better weapons that allow us to kill remotely so we are even less sensitive to the loss of human life.

6.) I am not saying something didn’t need to happen…watching those videos break my heart…but I can’t help and think…or try to think of a time when Western military (emphasis on the military) involvement in the Middle East has yielded positive results, abroad or at home for anyone besides the war machine. I haven’t been able to come up with an example yet.

7.) Did you say we need jobs?! are you a veteran who can’t find a job, or an disenfranchised American looking to be gainfully employed?! Have you realized that factory jobs will never return to the US the way they were before? Are you an American who wants to show they care the only way that really counts? Well …WAR, huh, good God, what is it good for?! Absolutely nothing you say…nah…it’s a great way to fulfill a campaign promise, risk the lives of our finest and their families by capitalizing on their love of country, and falsely and temporarily boost the economy…win win win right? (Btw total praise for the men and women who serve our country and do so bravely and genuinely.. hats off).

After all this thinking tonight…what I can praise even if I can’t trust it’s genuineness …is the need to act…I just can’t say the act itself will yield positive results for those suffering in Syria and across the world as refugees. I can assume it will yield positive results for this administration much like a well rehearsed State of the Union speech given not too long ago by our president, that duped people and critics on a man who hadn’t changed his message but just his tone to “sound presidential”.

Duas and love ❤️ to my Syrian brothers and sisters. Remain resolute! #PrayingForSyria

By Komal Rasheed

Komal has dedicated her career to public service. She currently serves as an advisor and director at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) where she leads a team of analysts focused on driving efficiency within the federal government. Under the Obama Administration, Komal was part of a small team of experts responsible for the Top to Bottom reviews of the agency, which saved the taxpayer approximately $31 million annually. She was also a contributor to President Obama’s second term Presidential Management Agenda (PMA) and worked on proposals for a more effective and efficient government. In 2015, Komal was asked to come to the U.S. Department of State for a year to advise on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) strategies and public diplomacy efforts in South and Central Asia. During her time, Komal worked on the State Department’s preparation and positions for United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA); supported Secretary Kerry’s historic trip with all five Central Asian countries; evaluated educational, public diplomacy, CVE, and democracy, human rights and labor programming; and served as the Deputy Director of Community Engagement at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad among other contributions. Follow her @TheKRasheed

Image credit: Christiaan Triebert
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.

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Women are tearing down the walls that divide us

2016 was unfortunately marked by dog whistle politics, the rise of the Far Right, and an increase in hate crimes against women and minorities. We are living in increasingly challenging times, and when I speak to everyday grassroots women, they often tell me about their fears for their safety, anxieties about what the future holds, and report a sense that the most divisive elements of society have been emboldened on the back of political campaigns which have been dogged by xenophobic rhetoric. I was keen to participate in the Women’s March, so that I could mark the beginning of 2017 with positive action, which would unify and bring people together, irrespective of their background or views.

The Women’s March is taking place in many cities all over the world, on the 21st of January 2017, the day after President-elect Trump’s inauguration, and will be a global show of strength and solidarity of diverse communities marching for equality and the protection of fundamental rights for all.  As a passionate believer in listening to and promoting diverse women’s voices, I couldn’t wait to get involved with and support a global movement for everyone, organised and led by women.  Women’s voices are fiercely needed now more than ever before, as during the US elections we have seen how women have been demeaned, patronised and are expected to put up with routine sexual harassment.  Moreover, we are now living in a world in which for many women of colour and especially Muslim women,  physical assault, verbal abuse and anti-Muslim hate attacks, are not only on the increase but have become a daily norm. Thus it is vital that women’s voices of all backgrounds, including minority groups, are meaningfully heard, and their experiences which are often intersectional in nature – that is they face multiple challenges such as racism, misogyny and ablism – are acknowledged and amplified.

We may not all agree on all issues, but when faced overwhelmingly with the prospect that our fundamental rights to exist are being threatened, it does not matter. Critically, many unified voices will be much more effective and powerful in sending a message to those who would seek to divide, that we will not allow a climate of fear and hatred to overcome us.  And our message is clear: walls will not be built to separate us from our neighbours, Muslims are equal citizens and justice (social/political/economic) is a fundamental right for all.

It would be too easy to focus on the negative consequences of the new era of divisive politics that we now find ourselves in. This would however, only lead to despair and hopelessness, which in turn leads to fear, and this fear is exploited by the far right and other xenophobes.

It is my hope that by coming together in solidarity, across all boundaries of sexuality, ethnicity, race and religion, we will demonstrate that a united and just society is not a far away dream but a very real and tangible possibility. Change will happen when we join together to stand up to and fight for justice against misogyny, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry and hatred, taking our negative feelings of despondency and channeling them into positive affirmative action. So let’s come together to march on London, not in protest but in celebration of diversity, equality and peace.

By Akeela Ahmed

Founder & Editor



Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.