Last week, I was part of a UN inter-agency convoy that brought much-needed emergency supplies to the Areha district, including for nearby Muhambel town. It has been months since humanitarian assistance has been able to get through. Even now that the fighting has stopped in this area, the 22-truck convoy had to take a circuitous route to avoid active hot areas.
Like it or not, poppies no longer represent what they initially were created for. Every year we have remembrance services where those in power in the state talk about our military and giving thanks to their courage, whilst handily forgetting that when current soldiers often come back from tours of Afghanistan, it's up to charities to mend what's been broken.
You're watching TV and a fundraising appeal for Syria comes on. There are shocking images and no one can deny the serious needs of the men, women and children on the screen. But you don't reach for your debit card at the end. Something in you has not been moved quite as much as when you saw such an appeal for the tsunami victims in 2004.
Earlier this week, the United Nations declared Syria's refugee crisis the 'humanitarian calamity' of the century. Every day, roughly 5,000 refugees flee Syria with little more than the clothes on their backs. The number of Syrians who have left their war-ravaged country has risen to more than two million. A year ago, that number was 230,671.
For more than 50 years, the island has been unsettled: with periods of violence in the past, there is a now a kind of 'frozen conflict'. The two main communities on the island live apart and a wall separates Greek Cypriots in the south from Turkish Cypriots in the north. Nicosia remains the only divided capital in the world since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Ten years ago, when I, along with colleagues from many countries around the world launched the Control Arms campaign, we had a simple message for governments: the arms trade is out of control and ordinary people around the world are suffering at the rate of one death every minute, with millions more forced from their homes, suffering abuse and impoverishment.
Syria - the death toll reaches 93,000, the US administration says it has firm evidence of nerve gas use by the Syrian government and further says it will supply arms to the opposition. Things are moving - but towards what? The debate is focused on the arguments for and against armed intervention. I think that may well be very misleading.
Audiences the world over are captivated by images of violence. Rolling news runs round-the-clock footage of troops and tanks fighting harsh battles in some of the world's most inhospitable places. This deserves our attention and thank goodness these pictures stir the public and their political leaders to tackle pressing security issues.
The so-called war of words involving North Korea, South Korea and the United States, raises an important question for our time: how do we define violence? Many people have pointed to the threat of violent conflict, but I believe that it has already taken place. In Buddhism, violence is thought of not just as physical action, but in terms of our thoughts and words as well.
A new report from Save the Children has revealed another dimension to this silent crisis, showing that children are bearing the brunt of sexual violence in war. It says that in current and former warzones from Sierra Leone to Liberia, Congo to Colombia, more than half of the victims of sexual violence are children.