I arrived at the Robben Island prison on a wintry and cold day and was escorted to my prison cell in B-Section from the admissions section by a fellow comrade and prisoner, Tokyo Sexwale. By then, Nelson Mandela had been removed to Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town in preparation for his release... Other prisoners and comrades beamed at my presence and welcomed me very warmly and it was almost by-the-way that one of the remarked that I was allocated the cell from which someone famous had departed - a Mr Nelson Mandela.
A man died yesterday. He was 95 years old and had been seriously ill for several months. Not an unusual occurrence, yet his death is reported this morning on the front page of just about every newspaper on earth. That man was Nelson Mandela, one of the very few men of whom it can truthfully be said that he personally changed the course of history.
In the last few days, with the spotlight shining on Britain's relationship with China, there have been only warm words from David Cameron about "a dialogue of mutual respect and understanding". As Mr Cameron was still in the country, Tibetan nomad Kunchok Tseten set himself alight in protest against China's rule...
The tragedy and loss brought on by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has triggered an overflow of generosity from the British public along with acres of media coverage. However quietly fading away from the daily headlines, Syria is also watching its children's futures cruelly slip away from them.
The impending elections in January 2014 can further the disparity, simply by leaving the choice between devil and the deep sea. Enchanted as always, other countries will watch this voyeurism of poverty and political instability with only as much concern and curiosity as the election results unfold post polling, just to see if their predictions were close enough.
Sierra Leone should be one of the most prosperous countries in West Africa, with its diamonds, iron ore and bauxite reserves. Yet, the vast majority of its people live in grinding poverty, and the country has the fourth highest maternal mortality rate in the world. On health, though, it is making progress.
I know I will leave here one day, perhaps soon. I have long been cleared, for six years now. But what of the other men here? Again, I worry about the 80 people who have not been cleared more than I do about myself and the other 83 who have. Some might get a trial of sorts, but scores never will. They say it's because they can't use the evidence against them in court. Even if we believe this excuse, we might well ask why the evidence is inadmissible - is it because they tortured the men? If so, then a thousand years of experience tells us that the statements are certainly unreliable, and probably false.
Working under this kind of pressure also requires that we overcome hurdles together and that we celebrate successes, big or small. It's amazing to see the group spontaneously applaud their colleague for getting a record number of concept notes in, for getting those airplanes to deliver the food to the far flung areas or for winning a big grant from an institutional donor...
Another Syrian refugee, nine year old Samar from Daraa, drew a woman who was smiling and crying at the same time, holding a flower in one hand while her other hand was missing. When Samar talked, she alternated between sharing the feelings of fear and hopelessness she experienced in Syria and the security and stability she is now feeling in Lebanon.
Shezanne Cassim has been living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2006, having moved there after graduating... In October 2012 he made a 19-minute mockumentary about a fictional martial arts school that teaches people how to throw sandals in a joke about young people in Dubai who call themselves gangsters but are in fact known for behaving well.