Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ending Modern Day Slavery

Ending Modern Slavery

“Human trafficking is as old as humankind. Regrettably, it’s been with us for centuries and centuries. But… it is our hope that the 21st century will be the last century of human trafficking, and that’s what we are all committed to.”  Tillerson.
 Of course if you think that slavery is over or has been abolished, you may be making a great mistake about it. Modern slavery is deeper than old but same as old in continuum. “Today more than 27 million people, many of them women and children, suffer under forced labor and sexual servitude in over 165 countries around the world, including the US” According to US Senator Bob Coker, who is championing legislation to end modern slavery globally.  And I quote him again- “As I have seen firsthand, the stark reality of modern slavery is unconscionable, demanding the United States and civilized world make a commitment to end it for good”. And I couldn’t have agreed more.
Modern day slavery is a problem hidden in plain sight, found most in developed world and across the world. Human trafficking, or modern day slavery, is more pervasive than ever. The International Labor Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation— more than at any other time in history.

Count Down 
One in five of those victims are the most vulnerable among us: boys and girls separated from their families and forced into prostitution, or labor that makes use of their small hands, like sewing or untangling fishing wire. High unemployment rates and poverty are just two of the factors that put children at risk. In India, for example, over 100,000 kids are trafficked each year across the border from Rajasthan to its neighboring state of Guajarat. These children are forced to work in cotton fields, often in debt bondage— to pay back what their families owe.
Image result for picture of modern day slavery
Women, refugees, and those fleeing war or conflict are also at higher risk of enslavement. “Trafficking in people in conflict situations is not a mere possibility but something that happens on a regular basis,” said Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on human trafficking, in October 2016.
But modern slavery isn’t just a morally abhorrent crime. It’s a lucrative industry— human trafficking is one of the largest international crime industries in the world. Each year, forced labor in sectors like domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and entertainment generates $150 billion in illegal profits.
Drug dealers, money launderers, or arms dealers are in part enabled or funded by human trafficking activities. And some governments, let me not mentioned names, depend on forced labor to elicit revenue.
In some countries like the U.S. consumers also play an unwitting role. Some products Americans use and enjoy may have been produced by those in forced servitude. The U.S. State Department works to alert businesses during these situations so they may take direct action to insure they aren’t complicit in human trafficking.
But my little joy is that the U.S. is taking action, leading global efforts to address human trafficking. Its policy involves three “P”s: preventing trafficking, protecting victims, and prosecuting traffickers.

What the U.S is doing?  

Image result for picture of modern day slavery
Just six months ago, at the Congress the End Modern Slavery Initiative, legislation introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and supported by a bipartisan Congress, faith-based organizations like Bread for the world and World Vision as well as countless individuals pushed for this law to be effected in the U.S and across the world.
“By providing strong U.S. leadership and leveraging our limited foreign aid dollars, this initiative will work with foreign governments and philanthropic organizations to match the funding being provided by the United States and create a coordinated effort to implement best practices to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking around the globe,” stated Corker. And I say Amen.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

How fake is Fake News

Fake news is stoned age news. So if you are wondering where or when fake news emanate from, you will be wasting my time for nothing in a discuss that have no end. 

Fake news is not really new in developed world per se; it has always been there in news print- media and is placed close to where verified news print stands are. That is what I was made to know. But before that, one thing is clear that getting it is a matter  of choice and just that those choices has misshaped so many world views to the extent  that friends are no longer friends. People are fighting war and hunger, while only few are making money out of it. Rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer every day. So I ask why it is that war happens most in poor countries .That is no fake news you know.
File:How to Spot Fake News.pdf  
Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention.  Fake news often employs eye-catching headlines or entirely fabricated news stories to increase readership, online sharing and Internet click revenue. Fake news also undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories. Many people follow fake news seriously and claim that there is no smoke without fire.

On the internet, are many fake news websites and I see social media helping to drive it. The other day, I read how Facebook News Feed has all been implicated in the spread of fake news which has come to provide competition for legitimate news stories. It is even unbecoming to the extent that if anybody want to get attention on the social media, you simply give out fake news and people sleepily follow and believe it.  
Every fake news online have more likes, retweet etc than verified news. 
Anonymously-hosted fake news websites lacking known publishers have also been credited, because they make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news for libel. More alarming and disturbing is intertwine of fake news with freedom of speech.But no, that is not correct. You see, fake news is fake. And I wonder asking you if fake news is freedom of expression or speech? Then I recalled sometimes this year (2017), the inventor of the World Wide Web – Tim Berners-Lee claimed that fake news was one of the three most significant new disturbing Internet trends that must first be resolved, if the Internet is to be capable of truly "serving humanity." And I agreed with him totally. It must be curtailed and the right time  to do that is now. So I have a role to play, so I ask you again what can you do to help.

Internet as it is, has birthed people with characters that some just live on the social media to sow discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory pictures, posts and comments. Some comments you see are just off the messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion. These people interact with other like him/her and do often share misleading information that contributes to the fake news circulated on social media sites.
Social media sites and search engines have criticism for facilitating the spread of fake news. But hope is not lost, as social media platform owners/corporations have taken measures to explicitly prevent the spread of fake news; critics, however, believe more action is needed. I say that is it.
For instance, after the 2016 American election and the run-up to the German election, Facebook began labeling and warning of inaccurate news and partnered with independent fact-checkers to label inaccurate news, warning readers before sharing it. After a story is flagged as disputed, it will be reviewed by the third-party fact-checkers. Then, if it has been proven to be a fake news story, the post cannot be turned into an ad or promoted. Another is the development of what is called “Artificial Intelligence” is one of the more recent technologies being developed in the United States and Europe to recognize and eliminate fake news through algorithms but if that will serve is topic for another day.  

@fakenews #fakenews

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Hate Speech

There are some things I find difficult to understand especially when you watch animated and video games as a child. The games are full of violence motivation, and when children become target of such, the society is really in a sorry state of affairs.
On street walls in some areas hateful slogans are displayed. And I wonder why not love, peace and unity instead. People are finding it easy to preach and promote hate this days especially on the social media.  Most people that do this go unpunished for it. They incite the vulnerable along religious, political, ethnic and other lines, and then cover it up with freedom of speech.  No doubt about that, because hate speech is not freedom of speech and free speech is human right, yet no rights are absolute. This I know. 
What we are in for    
Hate speech is spreading and has entered the internet spreading like wildfire and is dangerous. High numbers of young people are most technologically savvy and their lifestyle revolves round the internet, is my fear. From socializing to entertainment, reading to homework amongst others, the internet is an essential part of young people’s life.
There are many known online forums and groups, chat rooms, websites that promotes hates on the internet, and those sites are places where extremists meets with vulnerable youths and take advantage, by recruiting them into extremist groups . This recruitment is ongoing and is massive, and extremists are exploring the internet more and seem to be more than those using it to promote peace. It beat my imagination.   
On 30th May 2016, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter jointly agreed to EU code of conduct, obligating them to review “(the) majority of valid notification for removal of illegal hate speech” posted on their service within 24 hours.  On my mind, I really don’t know if this has been adhered to, so I need an answer. 
Recognizing, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPPR) states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”. I ask you again, if this covenant is enforceable where you live because mine is not. It is democratic that people are allowed to speak their minds on politic and social issues even when their points of view are unusual or unpopular. But the crime occurs when someone takes his/her speech to another level either by using, or uses, or seriously plans to use, or strongly advocates others to use force or violence to effect change.  That to my mind is hate speech too.  
Words are powerful    
Image result for south sudan war pictures
Violent acts of hate are generally preceded by hate speeches. These acts are expressed publicly and repeatedly by individuals and groups. But more alarming is when public figures promote it too. Basically I see the definition of hate speech as a call for violent attack against individuals or groups.  Whereas in most cases intolerable speeches; are mistaken and garnished to be hate speech. I see intolerable speech as comment, posts and picture uploaded on social media to build hatred. A case in study is the Rwanda genocide (Tutsi vs Hutus, - 1994). That left a sore taste on sand of time and never again should such happen! What of South Sudan? Hate speeches has helped escalate the war.
What about the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims in Bosnia Herzegovina (1992-95), and that of Dr. George Tiller (May 2009) with other doctors killed by pro abortionist in the US? Then to Nazi Holocaust. All were sparked by hate speeches.  All began with words of hatred then those words became weapon of mass destruction through guns and weapons.
Hate speech attracts vulnerable youths especially the marginalized poor, unemployed into action by taking side ignorantly. This has given rise to intolerance, bombing and killing, shooting and maiming innocent citizens to make cheap statement, and breaking news headlines. Take a look at Europe, in Greece when 27 years Shehzad Laqman, Pakistani immigrant was stabbed to death by right wing extremists. Another, in France was how a gunman went on rampage at Jewish School in Toulouse and the victims were 30 years Rabbi, his children- 4 & 5 years old, as well as the daughter of the school principal. I cried emotionally to know that 7 years old girl, Miriam died in her father’s arms as medics tried to resuscitate her from that attack. Also in Sweden, was a string of shootings in Malmo targeting victims with immigrant background? In Norway, 77 innocent civilians, most of them still in their teens, were gunned down by an extremist.  If you look at all these examples there are common feature; which is fanatical hatred of others by incitement. This shows the increasing divide between “us and them”.  That’s a huge gap to tackle. I have not mentioned Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al shabab in Somalia and Kenya, nor have I mentioned ISIS and Al-Qaeda and many others springing up dangerous groups that are recruiting youths into violence groups. Yet I pray for global peace to reign above all.
 Searching for the way forward   Image result for picture of peace                     
I know people are not born hateful.  They are fed up to hate. But education I guess can prevent hate. Like lessons in class rooms on equality and diversity can help too. Education against hateful ideas from the cradle can do better job. Young people must be taught how to love and be loved. Nothing is really wrong in being an extremist, but there is everything wrong when you become violent with your extremism. Let love leads.        

#hatespeech #dangerousspeech #onlinehatespeech           

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

“The miser of Marseilles” I want to be.

There is a legend about many years ago, an old man who used to walk the street of that seaport town. He was called “The miser of Marseilles”. He was an object of derision throughout the whole city and even throughout the south of France, for everybody seemed to know him. Apparently, he loved nothing and had no other object than to hoard every bit of money he got hold of: for what purpose none knew.
He was hated whenever he appeared on the streets. When he died, he was so despised that only a single person attended his funeral. Then his will was read, and these were its strange terms and I quote:

Image result for picture of miser of marseilles
“From my infancy I noticed that the poor people of Marseilles had great difficulty inn getting water. I noticed that water, the gift of God was very dear and difficult to obtain. And when they could get that water, it was not as pure and clean as God intended it to be. Therefore, I vowed before God that I would live but for one purpose, for one end. I would save money, money, money- that I might give it to the city on one condition that a canal is built to bring fresh, pure water from yonder lake in the hills to Marseilles. That I now make possible by leaving all my hoarded wealth to this city. This is my last will and testament “.
Image result for picture of miser of marseillesTravelers in Marseilles today hear the poor people say as they drink pure, sweet water from the lake in the hills, “Ah, when the miser died, we misunderstood him, but he did it all for us”. We called him miser of Marseilles, but he was more than that; he was the savior of Marseilles”.
If human being could but learn one inescapable meaning in this write up parable, we would know the secret of how to get the most out of life which is to give the most to life. Just as they knew of the miser’s   giving selfless service to humanity, I tell you what? We all have something we can give to change the world. Life is not all about how long you live but how well you live it. Short stories are most impact than long articles. So ponder on what you will be remembered for after leaving the earth. What will posterity hold for you and me? Then we can start living and sharing the little we have with others. It is never too late to do good to people you don’t even know. Life is for the living. You are the hope to someone. Peace to the world!   

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