An education is not a piece of paper that you get as you Instagram a photo of yourself in a cap and gown. Education is a doorway to a better future. It can help you find the voice to fight, open the the eyes of those who have never seen beyond their front door and break the cycle of poverty. Education is knowledge and that can change everything.
We can and we should provide both if the decades-long international system of protection of civilians and regulation of warfare is to have any meaning. It is urgent to ensure the safe passage of civilians in Eastern Aleppo according to International Law; and it is imperative to investigate the responsibility for the crimes that have already been committed.
The lesson to be learnt from Syria, we are told, is that this appalling tragedy is the kind of thing that happens when foreign powers turn their backs on tyranny and refuse to intervene. The lesson to be learnt from Iraq, on the other hand -- and Libya, and Yemen, come to that -- is that chaos, violence and human suffering on an unimaginable scale are what follow when foreign powers intervene.
As I write this, I have just been given the devastating news that Yasser Lakmoush, a SARC volunteer from Idlib, has tragically been killed while undertaking humanitarian work. Poignantly, before his death, he tried to illustrate the emotions of being a frontline first aider in this crisis: "the feeling you have when you save somebody cannot be described, it is a matter of life or death."
Don't feel overwhelmed by the scale of the horror - or turn away because it is too upsetting. Don't not share something on social media, or not join a protest because you feel embarrassed. Don't think that social action is something that belongs only to the 'lefties' and students. Don't think that we can't make a difference because it is "Governments" who should be doing more. Government's answer to us!
The military victory for Assad is now pretty much assured. The election of Trump will turn the US position on Assad from ambivalence to open support, ensuring a political victory as well. The sad reality is the new warmth in US/Russian relations will be consummated with Assad's victory against his own people.
For us within Tell MAMA, anything that challenges stereotypical and lazy views about Muslims is to be welcomed. This not only challenges the views of anti-Muslim bigots, it also challenges those who hold views similar to Abdul Haq and who believe that Islam and Muslims must behave and act in a specific manner or they are not deemed to be Muslim.