Learning from the village that conquered COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought out the best of humanity. But also exposed a lot of hypocrisy about global health solidarity even as policies of national and sub-national selfishness have worsened inequalities. But in a tiny corner of India, the villagers didn’t lament their leaders nor their gods. They conquered the pandemic by taking matters into their own hands. Their lesson for the wider world is neither new nor complex. But easily overlooked in our sophisticated technocratic age. What can the world learn?

Health in the crosshairs of the Tigray conflict

Mukesh Kapila  – 31 August 2021 As Ethiopia’s civil war  approaches its first deadly anniversary in November, there is, as yet, little prospect for peace.  The underlying causes of the immediate conflict are bitterly contested and the essential conditions for solutions remain elusive.  Geopolitical factors mean that the African Union and United Nations are paralysed,Continue reading “Health in the crosshairs of the Tigray conflict”

Following the Tigray conflict, the rocky road to peace in Ethiopia

Experience shows there are no shortcuts, quick-fixes, avoiding tackling underlying causes and ignoring the bringing of justice and healing to end a war & sustain #peace. Also, while all wars eventually end, how long and viciously a war is fought has a direct bearing on the quality of peace that follows.
When #genocide acts are part of the warmaking, forging peace is substantially more difficult.
What are these and other lessons from war and peace around Africa and the world?

Will #Ethiopia #Tigray learn? And others engaged in endless conflicts in so many places.

Comply or leave: the dilemma facing humanitarian agencies

Mukesh Kapila – 9 August 2021 The Ethiopian government has suspended the activities of three foreign humanitarian organisations which had been working in the Tigray region. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Mukesh Kapila, a specialist in humanitarian affairs, to provide insights into the challenges humanitarian agencies face and what can be done to better support them.Continue reading “Comply or leave: the dilemma facing humanitarian agencies”

The harsh shadow of ‘Long Covid’ on our most cherished values

What is the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on what were once the universal and benign values of health? Our health is now a matter of national security and we are all conscripted as soldiers.

What is killing humanitarian aid workers?

Today’s soldiers are smart. They launch missiles and drones from a safe distance behind computer screens. And when they are obliged to venture out, they are forewarned by intelligence and well protected by their armour.

In contrast, more and more civilian aid workers, protected by little more than their sense of righteousness, serve at chaotic frontlines, and are pressured to bear witness and provide succour…come what may. Unsurprisingly, some of them are bound to be harmed.

But it is not just being in the wrong place that puts humanitarian workers at risk.There is increasing mistrust of the humanitarian enterprise either because its practitioners are not so scrupulous nowadays or their efforts can be easily abused for other ends. Besides, in a world of impunity where bad behaviour is a norm and there is rarely any accountability for hurting aid worker, it is simple to target humanitarian access as part of warmaking tactics.

Could it be that it is not random bombs and bullets but the erosion and abuse of humanitarian principles (including by careless humanitarians themselves) that is killing more of them?

Much ado about nothing:The strange case of the UN Secretary-General who cancelled himself

The silence of good men like the UN Secretary-General encourages despots and dictators and betrays the most desperate people on the plant. Why has Antonio Guterres degraded his high office by cancelling himself?

What happens when the world doesn’t move freely?

When the world is not able to travel, distances of the heart grow faster than bodily distances. And we understand less and less about places not visited. Terrible atrocities can then flourish so easily behind closed borders. Worst of all, as our worldview shrinks, we stop caring and growing ourselves. The sooner the world re-opens, the better for both our sanity and our common humanity.

“Genocide! Save Me?”

Is genocide unfolding in Tigray? Against the Rohingya? Against Uyghurs? Does using the G word still have the moral authority to summon help? Have genocides ever been prevented? Before invoking ‘genocide’, what exactly is it? Is the Genocide Convention still stuck in the 1940s, while dictators and despots find ever more clever ways to get around the definition? Reflections here from my own personal journeys through genocide – some even as they were underway.

Will Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce be good for philanthropy?

11 May 2021 – Mukesh Kapila Growing up in the famine-affected Indian state of Bihar in the 1960s, I recall my mother’s eulogy of gratitude to America for sending us food aid. But my childish mind translated the accompanying sense of national humiliation into a dislike of the foreign donor who I knew only from schoolContinue reading “Will Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce be good for philanthropy?”