One wonders why the world insists on re-visiting Rwanda's violent past when it has such a promising future. To be sure, we must never forget, which is why last night's touching service was so important. Today though, when I think of Rwanda, I think of Joyce, Bruce, and Victor, and celebrate the victory of a bright future over a dark past.
The decision by the influential Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the British Parliament to initiate an in-depth and comprehensive inquiry into all aspects of the Kurdistan Region is a triumph for all those who have long argued for the need to increase understanding between the UK and the Kurdistan Region.
It is a tactic beloved of despots: while the world's attention is on one bloody conflict, you can slaughter with impunity elsewhere... Since mid-December the media has watched as the world's newest nation, South Sudan, has torn itself apart. Meanwhile, its old oppressor next door in Sudan is enthusiastically grasping the chance to "end" its own troublesome "rebellion".
Seventy years ago in October something extraordinary took place in Europe. Standing in solidarity with their fellow Danes, the people of Denmark organized a large scale rescue of the Danish Jewish community, bringing the overwhelming majority to the safety of neutral Sweden and thus preventing their deportation by the Nazis to extermination camps...
Sudanese have plenty of reasons to demonstrate against the disastrous state of the country's finances; inflation is running at 40% and years of oil revenues have been frittered away. Beyond the capital, Khartoum, there has been little investment in infrastructure, education or heath facilities. Unemployment and under-employment have demoralised those millions who do not benefit from the crony capitalism that has sustained the ruling elite for decades.
The virtues of forgiveness in many different contexts of life are manifold and well known. Forgiveness can encourage and enable healing, peaceful relations, improved individual and social welfare, and psychological well being. But forgiveness is a personal choice and it must not be coerced, whether implicitly or explicitly. It is not a panacea.
It sometimes seems that Iraqi Kurds have no word with the urgency of manana but it hasn't stopped Iraqi Kurdistan making tremendous strides in a few short years. The best start date for their renaissance is 2006, the first full year of the new Iraqi constitution, agreed by the people and which recognised Kurdistan as a largely autonomous region.
Somewhere near Dohuk and the 4,000 year old town where the three wise men possibly began their journey to Bethlehem is a Christian monastery set high on a mountain with commanding views of tremendous scenery. Sadly, our driver had no idea where it was and I only managed to get directions by e mailing a friend in Hawaii.