Following the horrific killing of the US photo-journalist James Foley, international anti-Islamic State rhetoric has gone up a notch. World leaders are all inveighing against the group. But in truth it's still not really clear what's being done to help the Yezidis, the Christians, the Shi'a Turkmen, the Shabaks, and indeed anyone in Iraq (including Sunni Muslims) threatened by the Islamic State and other armed jihadi groups.
Much has been written about how the upcoming independence referendum represents a divorce between Scotland and England. But if we're making relationship analogies, let's just say that historically the British government is a power-hungry polygamist and Scotland is just the latest in a long line of unwilling wives to leave.
This group who claims to be speaking for all Muslims, truly isn't. They don't speak for me. And I have given them no right to represent me, I have given no approval, in the actions of what they're doing. None of what they do, is complacent to the rules of Islam, none of what they do, signifies Islam in any way. In short - THEY. ARE. NOT. MUSLIMS.
"What could I do about this stuff? What is my area of expertise and how can I take action about things that I care about and can actually help with?" I don't want to do it alone. I'm powerless that way. I need a group of cool, passionate people who care and want to talk about serious shit but also use entertainment, creativity, storytelling and music to do it - blend entertainment with reality...
There has to be a balanced approach by world leaders and humans in general to the death of civilians irrelevant of race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. President Obama's selective wording in which crimes a 'Just God' would stand by and stand against is as farcical as his statements on global peace and stability.
"Father, how far are they from Baghdad?" asks Husam's 14 year-old son as he sees the military helicopters fly overhead, bringing the injured back from battle. It's a question that makes him very uncomfortable. The "they" is the ISIS, otherwise known as Daash or Islamic State, and reputed to have already infiltrated the Iraqi capital with sleeper cells. Husam could leave. Like other UN staff he's been offered evacuation. And having seen fellow workers lose members of their families and having had to three times repair his house for explosion damage, you wouldn't blame him.
My support of the petition has been attacked as anti Semitic. I understand anti Semitism to be a hatred of Jews, the denial of the right for Jews to have a homeland, the denial of the horrors of the last century and the plight of the Jewish people throughout history. This is obviously not my position, anti Semitism, Islamaphobia and homophobia are all prejudices that I resolutely reject, like any right-minded person. In the context of the accusation that I face, anti Semitism must be taken to mean opposing big businesses making profit from violence against Palestinian people.
I'll tell you what I know about war in Ukraine, and life there. Some of you will scream "you are not there!" and that's right, I'm not in Ukraine but in France, and the war is not where I am but in Ukraine. However, as are all Ukrainians, I'm living this war too, even though I'm far away from it. It's like a long-distance relationship, and I know those very well.
The psychological trauma inflicted when children lose their parents, see their homes destroyed, or experience torture, is not easily alleviated, particularly when they have to remain in the stressful and unfamiliar environment of a refugee camp. Save the Children's staff see the signs of this in places like Syria and Gaza, from night terrors and bed wetting to children who refuse to speak.