Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to move past a crisis

(February 7, 2014)

One of my first posts was a big debate over Darfur. Out of all the participants, I liked the man called Siyam.

Imagine my surprise when the BBC Arabic was talking about Syria the other day, and Mr. Siyam was back:

He was speaking by Skype from New York. He was part of a discussion about Syria, and he was speaking in very admiring tones of Lakhdar Brahimi. He said:

I want to tell you about Lakhdar Brahimi. He has two important views on any world crisis. First, it's never just a local crisis, it's a world crisis. Second, first you start with small steps that everyone agrees on, like protecting children from the war, and then you build up and eventually get to the real issues. The thing that Brahimi did in Geneva was to get the government and opposition to meet in the same room. Now he's working to execute other small successes, and will build on them and keep going. So when the Geneva talks open again next week, they'll be able to move on to bigger issues.

Then at one point he started going back to the big agreement everyone made in Geneva in 2012, and he mentioned Kofi Annan. It was very nice!

But Mr. Siyam wasn't the only person part of the discussion this particular hour. I think there were four people in total on phones or Skype or video links. Another man was speaking as part of the Syrian Opposition something-or-other in Turkey, and he said the next step would be to help the people besieged in Yarmouk, and not just the people besieged in Homs.

I remember learning about sieges in high school history classes. It sounded like such an antique idea. Like, obviously our modern world is way too civilized to think of doing something like that!

While the four participants were talking, they showed some footage of the evacuation of besieged people in Homs.

This is one of those first "small steps" Mr. Siyam was talking about. Notice the UN car, and I think the man in orange is from the Red Crescent.

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