“Syrian army assault leaves bodies strewn in Aleppo streets”

“Government-aligned forces continue to advance on rebel-held districts”

The above headline was taken directly from the online newspaper http://www.timesofisrael.com on November 30th, 2016.
Whilst it appears that as the war intensifies, the state of flux has engulfed the general body that has been mandated to end wars and conflicts.
Enter: The United Nations General Assembly who upon the observance of the Day of International Solidarity with Palestine were able to ceremoniously pass six (6) Resolutions against Israel in one sitting! A nation who has always held out itself to enjoin any deliberation dealing with issues of peace and the two state solution between itself and Palestine.
But, this is not the topic of discussion that holds this author’s attention but the credulity in which the general body of the United Nations are able to come together and accomplish so easily, their collective stance on voting for what they perceive as right.
The importance of the peace process cannot be under stated, but as this debate continues, the question is asked has over 300,000 civilians lost their lives during this issue between Israel and Palestine during the last five years? Why isn’t the same fervour and commitment been taken up by this “league of nations”?
Since, it was also reported on the same day and in the same issue of thetimesofisrael.com that Mr. Peter Thomson of Fiji; the President of the UNGA of the 71st session showed his support to Palestine by “Donning Palestinian flag, UNGA president marks Palestinian solidarity day”

So my logical question is, will he wear the Syrian flag and engage the General Assembly body in six (6) resolutions calling for the end of the Syrian war in (yes) Syria.
As this author read the excerpts of his speech concerning “Israel and Palestine”, one could have easily substituted them for the words “Syrian government” and the “Syrian people” in order to achieve the same result. For ease of reference here are the following extracts from Mr. Thomson’s speech:

“Donning the colours of the [Syrian] flag as well as [the colours]… with [Syrians], Peter Thomson of Fiji, the president of the 71st Session of the General Assembly, said peace between [the Syrian government] and the [Syrian people] was “fundamental to our efforts to realize the inalienable rights of the [Syrian] people, and to ensure that they are able to enjoy lives of dignity, opportunity, prosperity, and equality.”
“However, the pursuit of peace has been mired by continuing terror attacks against civilians, and brutal acts of violence by both sides,”

“Thomson urged “[Syrians and the Syrian government] to descale tensions to refrain from violence and provocations, and to avoid incitement, and polarizing rhetoric that pushes peace further out of reach”.

He also issued a call to the international community” to redouble its efforts to support credible efforts to peacefully end the [Syrian conflict].

Finally, the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson put it this way:

“To [the Syrian Government and people], I say: “We recognise your legitimate grievances and the grave injustices you have faced, but nothing justifies terror, violence and incitement. And unity among [Syrians] must be restored,”. He said.

One must look forward to the day as with Israel and Palestine; when the only thing that separates the Syrian government and the Syrian people are issues of peace on how it is to evolve and not barrel bombs, death of children and adults, destruction of buildings, hospitals, schools, the complete lack of critical social and humanitarian services and the respect for international conventions on chemical weapons.

It is hoped that true solidarity of the Syrian people cries’ for help from this world body will cease to go unheeded; that the [UN] will stand up for justice on behalf of the Syrian people who daily are at risk of not seeing the sun rise tomorrow or have the liberty to enjoy the basic human rights and freedoms afforded to all free men and women in a democratic country.

Non-Violence is All that Matters.

The civil rights movement was characterized as a continuous struggle for minorities; namely blacks in America against the establishment’s institutional rules and norms. The ruled versus the rulers. Despite everything; at the centre was the core belief of peaceful protest, non-violent in nature in the face of one of the greatest turbulent periods of race adversity.

The exceptional leadership led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and others denounced and condemned all forms of violence through their words and deeds; by refusing to follow the path of extremism by taking up arms towards their perceived oppressors.

It was unheard in the day, for those at the forefront, to brandish weapons of violence or to incite followers to inflict harm on the brunt of the lawful arm of government, whilst in the execution of their duties, even though at times in admonishing the letter of the law truth and justice was suppressed.

But, over time, in the face of perseverance, the movement reaped rewards although coming as time in an hour sand glass. Nevertheless change did come, whether it was the desegregation of the South; the dismantling of the apartheid educational system; the implementation of one-man, one vote or the passing of cornerstone legislation in the passage of the Civil Rights Act for blacks.

This was the beginning of the seeds that were planted, but the substantial fruits matured in less than 50 years, with the arrival of flowers of more achievement- blooming in the garden of progress for blacks- with the appointment to the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff; the position of Secretary of State, selection to a Supreme Court of Justice, the unprecedented election to the office of the President of the USA; two Attorney-General’s; male and female; Mayors, Governors, Senators, House of Representatives; Chief of Police, Warders, prosecutors, prominent CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and even the rise of a black man to the coveted Forbes Billionaire list.

The gains have been incremental, but not negligible- all through non-violence. Those who therefore purport to look through the narrow lenses of history to state that blacks have not enjoyed advancement, including in the areas of sport and entertainment, do so, with a disservice to the tireless work of leaders of a by-gone era who had an agenda which contained more than one item.

Those who agitate, by hindering politicians on podiums, burning and looting cities; killing law enforcement officers are on the wrong side of the present and certainly what the past civil rights movement stood for: police brutality in its vilest form cannot be condoned; violence by retribution to police is undeniably unacceptable and reprehensible.

The point is this: The new civil rights movement cannot be leaderless and only about the narrow important issue of police brutality. It has to be something wider covering jobs and income inequality; criminal justice reform; addressing the current needs of the black and minority communities; it has to be about institutional opportunity to oversee reformation and the rooting out of police brutality by governing from a place of justice and not perpetuating injustice.

Sadly, Black Lives Matter loss its way psychologically when it called itself ‘Black’. Movements to bring about change are not defined by colour. Movements are heralded by its objectives and standards it upholds. Dr. King did not represent only blacks; it was deeper than that- he represented what was right in the face of wrongs; acted justly when he was beaten and jailed unjustly. His leadership exemplified restraint not provocation, accomplishment not ad hoc activity.

The message about police brutality should never go away nor the memory of the dead whether police or civilians but heard and remembered through rational voices of leaders amplifying the sound of calm in the midst of chaos. Assimilating the issues to a level of asking the simple questions “Who, What, Why, When and Where?”.
Black Lives Matter was a movement which had the potential in transforming the debate of race in America into a proper ‘Millennia Civil Rights Movement 2.0’; it has however squandered its opportunity by not adequately rejecting violence and embracing the mantra of non-violent protest; blurring the lines of its grass-roots communications to its followers vis-à-vis identifying its leaders and goals in an effective way.

In contrast Black Lives Matter may now find itself on the brink of being tainted as a radical organization; lacking clarity and integrity to sit as the legitimate representative at the table of mediation to end police brutality across USA. Indeed it would be a tall order to ask this movement to negotiate from a position of non-violence when one or two of its “members” have openly identified themselves as such and horribly executed police officers.

Ironically, BLM run the risk of instead being the victim, now appears to be seen as the front runner for the title of “aggressor” however unintended; by embracing the misguided culture of mass hysteria of the town crier ambition to stone to death the guilty rather than seeking to adopt the tenets of “he who is without sin let them cast the first stone”.

Whither Russia and the I.A.A.F: Equitable decisions must be arrived at Equitably.

By David Bryan

Laws are formulated to protect individuals in society and not to restrict the freedom of any one person or group of persons from enjoying their fundamental rights and principles enshrined in the rule of law and natural justice- from the Ten Commandments to the Magna Carta.
Therefore, Moral codes and laws have been enacted to prohibit certain illegal acts such as; ‘Do not steal’; Do not murder’, but until such acts are committed ‘clean citizens’ cannot be found guilty and then be proven innocent. This is against the foundational democratic tenets of the right to fairness and reasonableness.

Equitable decisions must be equitable. Thus, for instance; Russia must have a “strong and effective anti-doping infrastructure capable of detecting and deterring” athletes cannot be created in 7 months after decades of systematic cheating and widespread doping at all levels. It is unreasonable to have such a dramatic change within such a short space of time.
This author has no brief for Russia, but, will not be complicit in a decision by the IAAF which has ousted the rights and fettered the legitimate expectation of ‘clean’ track and field athletes to take part in the Rio Olympic Games.
This ruling seeks to punish those ‘clean Russians’ who have not even run one race but arrogating their testing ‘positive’ for doping before the fact. The IAAF in the circumstances may have overstepped its authority and jurisdiction by painting the entire track and field of the Russian Olympic team with the same conclusion; by starting with a false premise: that all Russian Track participants are ‘dirty’.
Until such evidence is proven after the running of the races by the ‘clean’ Russian Athletes; the same holds true for everyone: “innocent until proven guilty”.

World Anti- Doping Association, Federation of International Athletics Association and Russia: “Two legs good; four legs bad”

By David Bryan

23“ Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 ”The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Payback what you owe me!”he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him,’Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ’You wicked servant’, he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Should’nt you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Matthew 18:23-35 (New International Version)

From time immemorial, the human spirit and will has always been motivated to break barriers. The Olympic competition in the days of the Greeks encapsulated this central attribute, coded in man’s DNA: “to the victor the spoils”. The games harnessed this instinctive energy and propelled athletes to become highly motivated in order to be the elite of the elite in their respective disciplines, albeit, on equal footing, in the quest for victory, gold and glory.
Unfortunately, the clean can be soiled with the dirty; by unscrupulous individuals seeking an unfair advantage, who have no difficulty in tipping the balance in their favour by wide margins- by indulging in the practice of enhancing their performance through illegal undetectable substances whether by externally assisted sources or by self- induction.
This corrupt philosophy of winning at all cost cannot be embraced and is rightfully struck down by the world’s sporting governing and anti-doping body of firstly those athletes who are caught cheating the system and secondly those countries who condone such abuse by usurping the principles of fairness through mass colluding, aiding and abetting in the doping of its athletes.
The extra-ordinary step therefore taken by WADA and the IAAF to ban Russia as a nation from competing was justified in the circumstances; the question is whether the ban should be extended thereby inflicting undue hardship upon Russian athletes by foregoing the Rio Olympic Games?
The law of collective responsibility must be always applied sparingly and only in extenuating circumstances, in those situations predicated by extreme acts as was done in the case of Russia. Such application must never be indefinite and should be tempered by measured approaches. The test for removal is objective in nature and not based on tearful sorrow but a true sense of penitence for real reformation.
The ‘reformation test’ cannot be carried out in isolation it must go hand in hand with the maxim” the punishment must fit the crime”; taking into account the time already served- the initial time from the day the accused was sentenced including up until the last day of his incarceration or isolation as in this instant.
Ancillary, the question whether Russia has implemented structural reform in its laboratory and doping program is fundamental to the first question. Given the short period, this question may be problematic to answer, but on the face of it, the preponderance of evidence and facts suggest the presumption of attempts to co-operate, reform and streamline its athletic program.
It is, however, still too early to arrive at any concrete definitive answers of the long term impact of Russia producing ‘clean’ athletes. Sufficient to add, democratic societies who not only recognize but uphold the rule of law in practice understand the principle, second chances are earned, whether or not one believes they deserve it.
The primary role of WADA and the IAAF is to govern and enforce the rules, regulations and protocols of those to which they are responsible. The Olympic games was incorporated for all nations and kingdoms’ premium competitors and to prevent the participation of one nations entire athletic force would therefore be deemed an injustice, given the fact the games are organized every four years; Russia has attempted to make significant attempts to clean up its sport which is different from its image and has already served a punishment befitting the crime.
This second breath should be seen as ‘probationary’ with stringent imposition of relevant protocols and conditions for testing of athletes to be established before, during and after the games in order to keep them clean and mitigate the effects of illegal doping in sport by nations.

Tough Problems require Tough Action!

Moving forward in Syria, a caretaker government without President Assad is vital in order to resolve the structural differences between the sectarian groups; militant or otherwise. A political solution has always been first and foremost the preferred response as opposed military action; but ideological disparities must not prevent an unified secondary position.

There are many different roads to peace; clearly the long road in Syria has failed to produce the desired plan. The international community must not allow this horrible civil war to drag on for other five years, two or even one more year. It has to be brought to a grinding halt, one way or the other.

Syria is a fractured nation and can only be made whole through broad political consensus leadership which strikes a balance amongst the core of that leadership. The on-going talks, must view such practicality not as impossibility but an eventuality. The world is replete with major examples, including two world wars and countless other civil wars, where millions of people died, but for the sake of humanity such viciousness was terminated to bring about peace for generations.

What is so special about President Assad that the global community cannot find within itself another workable solution to end the barbaric killing of the Syrian people? There is no comfort in the truth, but let it free the Syrians- Assad will not end this war, Iran will not end it and certainly, even if President Putin of Russia wanted too, he cannot do it alone.

Are the European Union and its leaders comfortable with the thought in allowing a dictator to continue to destroy the future of Europe’s political and social cohesion? The EU leadership needs to abandon its soft answers to the harsh realities which are bearing only temporary results to Assad’s role in their migrant crisis. Assad must not and cannot be rewarded for his crimes against the Syrian population; his crimes against humanity cannot be shielded because of the involvement of Russia and Iran in the fight of the common enemy-ISIS.

Assad must be brought out of hiding from behind the legitimacy of the war against terrorism for his atrocities. ISIS is a problem, so too is Assad, the root cause of the problem. The notion that Syria would be left in a vacuum, if he departs is a fallacy. Isn’t Syria in the very same predicament, as in Yemen and Libya? Is there a better chance for unity and peace in Syria on his exit? Is Syria going to more divided or less into different sectarian provinces, as it is now? Is Assad’s removal guaranteeing the ending of the civil war between the groups? Is there going to be a formation and a commitment to real peace after he demits office? Would there be a unified Syria? Is his removal going to curtail the outflow of refugees?

No one knows the answer to these logical questions, but it is the right start in the right direction to bring justice to a man who has ordered the murder and destruction of his people- to allow him to continue in power based on an ad nauseum argument that Syria will fall into a stateless dysfunctional societal vacuum (like Libya and Yemen) is farcical. Repeating isn’t Syria in the same position as these countries today with Assad in power. Assuredly, it can only get better without Assad.

This cannot be the underlying rationale to facilitate, aid and abet a dictator to remain in power, it should be the reason to hasten his removal from power. Since it is his actions which has created the political turmoil and vacuum. To continue with this false premise that there is no one better than Assad is akin to saying it would have been better off to leave Hitler in charge because it would of created a political vacuum in Nazi Germany.

 

 

 

 

8 Year of Political Trying- “Happy Errol Barrow Day Barbados”.

By David Bryan; Attorney-at-Law

The economic wilderness engulfing the landscape of Barbados has crept undoubtedly into every family home across the length and breadth of this Island. Let’s be blunt; the last 8 years under the Democratic Labour Party has been more down than up. The majority of Barbadians have spent the bulk of their time just trying to survive this slow moving storm of recession which has over-shadowed their lives.

As we celebrate January 21st, 2016, for ‘the father of Independence’ -the Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, there is no loud parliamentary table thumping which can be heard for any substantial gains of socio-economic development under this current DLP government when compared to the significant achievements donned by the “dipper”.

Errol Barrow was an outspoken Prime Minister, a political maverick and visionary who led with bold, imaginative ideas that capitulated Barbados from a series of “villages” to a modern society through his path of economic “adventure”. Fast forward to 2016, the opposite of Barrow’s real politick of ingenuity is all but disappeared.

I dare say, the citizens of our country have spent much time agonizing in trying how to keep their heads above water, trying to pray that someday things will turn around financially, trying to pay their light and water bills to avoid disconnection, trying to buy the basic food for themselves and household members-without becoming malnourished in the process, trying to find ways to get more money in their pocket, trying not to dip into their life- long savings (if they have any at all), trying to keep their house from being sold because they can’t pay their mortgage, trying to keep their businesses afloat, trying not to send home anymore employees, trying to last out to the next Budget to see if anything in it can assist, trying to last until Crop Over, trying to last until Christmas and the end of the year, trying trying….

Trying to see if they can get the N.I.S cheques, trying to get their pension on time each month, trying to get V.A.T returns, trying to get Tax refunds, trying to pay the bailiffs, trying to pay hire-purchase companies, trying to get ‘little’ water to cook and bathe with when the days come, trying to get a job, trying not to get laid off, trying to keep healthy and not go to the Q.E.H, trying to get the right prescription drugs (if they have them in stock), trying to avoid the pot-holes, trying to get money to pay road tax and car insurance, trying to find gas money for the vehicle each week, trying, trying….

Trying to pay the children’s school fees, trying to get lunch money for them, trying to pay for them after secondary school if they want to go to UWI, trying to get a loan to send them to UWI; trying to get a roof over their heads, trying to buy land and house for the longest time, trying to pay the rent to the Landlord, trying to pay the hiked professional fees by the end of January every year, trying to get a tax ease somewhere, somehow with government, trying, trying….

As I reflect with a clarity and a forthright honesty, this is not the Barbados I was born in, educated by and worked for; this Barbados represents all that has gone wrong for the majority of people but ‘right’ for a select few within the inner circle of the halls of government.

This Barbados has lost its philological mooring and ideology which once looked out for the people first. Where our hopes, aspirations, dreams and ambitions were pregnant with excitement of what tomorrow would bring by successive governments, who always looked after their wants second.

Rest assured the harsh economic realities of everyday Barbadians open up as sure as the sun comes up each morning. In it all, Barbadians, have lost their voice in the duly elected officials of this government, who have neglected their duty to champion the rights of its people for a more equitable economic enfranchisement for all.

A Barbados which is so off-course, that it cannot be found in the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of failed fiscal monetary policies of the Prime Minister Stuart led government and that of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. These policies are having marginal positive trickle down impact upon the everyday lives of ordinary Barbadians and the economy.

Finally, democratic institutions fail not because of policies but because of man’s failure to institute policies to ensure a thriving democracy. One may ask is there no silver lining to be found with this government? My answer in 24 months. Happy Errol Barrow Day.

 

 

The Reality of Davos

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

INSTRUCTIONS

Delegates are allowed 10 minutes to read through the questions before starting to write. This 10-minute period is in addition to the days allowed for the forum.

Delegates MAY write during the time allowed for reading through the questions.

  1.  Section A consist of ONE question. You MUST answer this question.
  2.  Section B consist of ONE question. You MUST answer this question.

SECTION A

Read the following extract carefully and in your own words, write your answer of approximately 250 to 300 words in length.

You MUST write in Standard English.

Question 1.

” Davos Man, finding it boring to shake the hand of an obscure Prime Minister, prefers to meet Microsoft’s Bill Gates”.

                                                 (1997 Editorial- “In praise of Davos Man” -The Economist)

Write an essay supporting or opposing the views of this quote.

SECTION B

Read the following extract carefully and in your own words, write your answer of approximately 400 to 450 words in length.

You MUST write in Standard English.

Question 1.

” The 1% Davos Man, finding it unrealistic to globally impact real change on the lives of poor people, prefers to meet the elite”.

                      (Davidic House -paraphrasing the 1997 quote in Editorial of “In Praise of                                Davos Man”- The Economist)

Write an essay supporting or opposing the views of this quote.