In March 2011, the military forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on protestors seeking government reforms. Violence between police and demonstrators sparked a rebel movement seeking to ouster Assad, and the nation soon became embroiled in an ongoing civil war that’s left millions displaced. Peace talks between opposition leaders and Assad’s government have repeatedly broken down as the people of Syria continue to suffer. Read More
George Clooney, who in addition to being one of Hollywood’s biggest actors, is also a founder of the international relief organization Not On Our Watch, has penned this concise and informed overview of the deteriorating situation in South Sudan with the Enough Project’s John Prendergast. In the Atlantic piece, they explain how suddenly, “the world’s youngest country, a mere two and a half years old, now stands on the precipice of a new civil war.”
Violence in the young country recently erupted, and now, according to the duo, “The worst-case scenario is rapidly unfolding: political and personal disputes are escalating into an all-out civil war in which certain ethnic groups are increasingly targeted by the others’ forces and the rebels take over the oilfields.” Clooney and Prendergast are raising awareness about the growing conflict in an effort to encourage international intervention and a U.S. diplomatic response: They write that if the UN Security Counsel takes measures to help the people of South Sudan, countless innocent lives can be saved from the violence. And, they argue, that if the U.S. deploys its Special Envoy for the Sudans, mediation efforts between the factions and local church leaders can be jumpstarted ... Discuss
If you have a few minutes today, this comic strip examining the refugee crisis in Syria from artist and writer Andy Warner, published by Slate, is definitely worth a read. Currently, more than 2 million people have been forced to flee the country during a horrific civil war that has been raging for the last two years. And though the chemical weapons negotiations have largely taken the conflict out of the headlines, the war that has displaced millions is still going on each day. Organizations including Unicef, Doctors without Borders and Mercy Corps currently accept donations to fund programs aimed at helping the refugees of Syria … Discuss
Photographer Marcus Bleasdale has been documenting the horrific violence, the victimization of child soldiers, the empowerment of warlords and the enslavement of workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than a decade. And while stories of “blood diamonds” and “conflict diamonds” have long been known, his latest photos (which will appear in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine), show how “conflict minerals” used in electronic consumer devices help to fuel the on-going conflict. Bleasdale told Mashable, "Anyone in today's world is using a significant amount of electronics products. All of these consumable products have, at some time, had conflict minerals from Congo in them. We as consumers should be appalled by that."
Bleasdale said that instead of foregoing the use of devices like smartphones, the focus should be on influencing tech companies to ensure their products do not contain conflict minerals. Following a piece of Congressional legislation that passed in 2010, companies must disclose whether minerals they use in their devices come from mines that have ties to warlords. The Enough Project produces an annual report, showing which companies are helping to stop the use of conflict minerals for Congo, and how consumers can support change. Bleasdale said, “We have a long way to go, but I do see that there's an opportunity for change" … Discuss