I do not want to sound cynical in suggesting that human life has a price. It is priceless as far as I am concerned. But this is a world that is not of my making. It operates according to rules that are sometimes quite absurd, and whether we agree or not, there is a societal consensus that human life, too, has a price.
Eslam wrote back to my sister in tears. She saw that yes, Israelis are human too! That they are shown the same images as she is. That no one hates her for simply being a Palestinian. That there are people out there who really care for her and her safety. And most of all that there is a chance for peace. She was overwhelmed by all of our love for her. And I decided that this article would instead be dedicated to her. To her strength, and that of all those on BOTH "sides of the fence" who question what they are told, acknowledge that we are all in fact the same, and reach out to each other with hope for peace for ALL.
I have always admired the expressiveness of the Russian language. Popular turns of phrase that have become enshrined in everyday language reveal quite colourfully Russians' attitudes towards themselves and ongoing events. In particular I am struck by the way Russians reflect on failure with easy humour, as captured in the phrase 'they hoped for better, but it turned out as usual'.
This week has seen a flurry of activity around an issue that for far too long has been forgotten, silenced or viewed as an inevitable consequence of war: sexual violence in conflict. All of this is extremely important - but in the rush to 'do something' about the horrific crimes being committed in Syria, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and other conflict zones, we should not forget some basic premises.
As someone who has an instinctive aversion to over-praising members of the military (indeed, as someone who cannot help but shudder inwardly every time 'our brave boys' are invoked), I was more than a little surprised that the commemoration of the D-Day landings, which took place last week, brought a tear to my eye.
One busy day the phone rang and I was asked to help with a film about a musician named Branislaw Huberman. I was too busy to help. That is,until I was told his story. And that was my entrance into the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra world and why I agreed to lead the British Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
According a YouGov poll published for the first time since the start of the financial crisis, the economy no longer tops the list of issues the British public is most concerned about: immigration is now on a par with the economy, with 52% or respondents saying it's the main issue facing the UK today.
Who said children don't vote? Well, they don't cast their votes by standing in long lines and on ballet papers, but they cast their votes from under-funded relief camps and feeding centres and ill equipped schools and hospitals. Every hungry child is a vote of non-confidence on humanity. I hope the donors don't ignore them.
It was the worst natural disaster there in two decades. That, in a country where natural and human disasters seem the norm, is saying something - yet in a way that's part of the problem: so accustomed are we today to the view of Afghans as victims, it's becoming difficult to hear stories like that of Aab Barik and still be moved.
Taking full advantage of the opportunity for peace in the Philippines will require a sustained effort on the part of central and local governments, by the rebel movements, as well as in civil society and the business community, over many years. Some of the factors they will need to take into account were identified at by our taxi driver last night.