Stories about United Nations

The 126 innocent lives lost were mere collateral damage to them, nothing less and nothing more

Beads of perspiration glistened on his forehead. Wiping it clean with the back of his hand, he stared around. “It is overloaded,” he thought to himself as he pulled his five-year-old up on his lap. His wife had fallen into a slumber. After days of abject disappointment, the call for rescue had finally come. They were being sent outside Aleppo to safer refugee camps. He felt sad to be leaving his village but the gory streets made it easier to do so. It didn’t look like his home anymore. It was like a page out of a war-torn story with red blood anguish and ...

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Why Pakistanis are happier than Indians

The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations on March 20, 2017 – to coincide with International Happiness day – has ranked India at the bottom of the pyramid, in terms of happiness of its citizens. India has been ranked 122 out of 145 countries, even below Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. These findings are based on evaluating the responses to a structured questionnaire sent to around 3,000 respondents who were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of zero to 10, where zero represents the worst possible life and 10 the best. The questionnaire covers six key variables like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life ...

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“They thought I have a ‘foreign agenda’ because I teach children free of cost”

I was volunteering at a makeshift school for nomads and slum children when one day, a young student of mine, not older than 10-years-old, approached me and said, “God’s anger does not work on me.” This was the first time in my life that I had been exposed to the slum life, aside from what I saw in movies and read in books. This young soul has suffered so much and yet he still lives every day with resilience. To him and so many others like him, life is a manifestation of every day survival. Indeed, some people consider it an unchangeable fate as ...

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An open letter to the UN secretary general on Rohingya persecution

Dear Mr Secretary General, I am writing to you to express my deep concern over the fate of the Rohingya people of Myanmar. I am certain you are familiar with their extremely precarious situation, as we have seen them teetering on the edge of genocide since at least 2012. Since the series of attacks against the border guard outposts in October 2016, the police and army in the local state of Rakhine/Arakan have carried out over 100 indiscriminate extra-judicial killings of Rohingya – including old men, women and children. The fear on the ground is that the violence may now escalate ...

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Why is it so easy to kidnap a child?

Imagine going through an abusive marriage while holding up to be an inspiration to your daughter simultaneously. Imagine your three-year-old daughter, your angel, being kidnapped by your very own husband and taken away to a country across the globe. Imagine doing everything you can in your power to get her back, yet failing at every turn. Imagine living for months without hearing any news of her, without knowing if she’s okay and being taken care of. Imagine her continuously crying profusely for her mother yet you’re unable to hold her in your arms and soothe her. This is what my friend, Nadia ...

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A dispute over water, a lifetime of war?

When the Indus Water Treaty was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan in September 1960, President Eisenhower described it as the, “One bright spot…in a very depressing world picture.” Only eight months after independence, in 1948, India had first begun diverting water from the Pakistani canal system emanating out of the Indus water system. After about a decade of conflict over water (which also saw the two countries reject a proposal for unified basin development that would have brought Pakistan and India together in many ways), it fell to the newly installed military regime in Pakistan and Jawaharlal Nehru in India ...

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Omran, we can all play together

He looks well. Well-dressed, well-fed and well-rested, his face is not covered in the debris of a house demolished by shrapnel. He sits in peace and quiet, not against a backdrop of blood-curdling screams of humans in pain or the earth-shattering sound of rockets hitting targets. His eyes sparkle, not with tears but with hope and promise. His aura reflects confidence that comes from living in a safe home not by living under the real threat of death every day. This is Alex from Scarsdale, New York, the subject of yet another emotionally moving video in which a child ...

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Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte: An effective leader or a despotic one?

Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  First, he has been accused of large scale human rights violation, where tens and thousands of people have lost their lives due to extra judicial killings, drug trafficking, rape, murder, arson and other related criminal activities. The second incident relates to an interview he had given, where, when asked how he would react if Barack Obama were to criticise him for extra judicial killings of over 1,000 persons involved in drug trafficking and other acts of crime, he responded with cuss words against the president. Although Duterte realised his faux pas and expressed regret over his ...

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I fell in love with Pakistani art in New York City

Pakistan has once again made headlines in New York City, but this time it’s for a good reason. Go Figureis a group show of young aspiring artists from Pakistan, showcased at Aicon Art Gallery in the East Village area of the city. The prospect of meeting Pakistani artists and art lovers in the city kept me excited for days before the inauguration. The show was exceptionally well curated, displaying highly imaginative illustrative, graphic and sensual work. Photo: Hassan Majeed Photo: Hassan Majeed On the opening night of art shows in New York, art-loving crowds ...

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Why has non-violent India become so violent?

India carries somewhat of a reputation globally as the home of spirituality and a champion of non-violence. The combined legacies of Emperor Ashoka, Gautam Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and many other renowned gurus and sages have left an imprint on the way India seeks to carry itself on the world stage and also to an extent how the rest of the world perceives it. Many seekers of wisdom and inner peace make their way to India, hoping to find a path to spirituality and enlightenment. Some succeed in finding what they were looking for, while others return with disappointment, disillusionment, and ...

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