Archive for the ‘World's news’ Category

I read a book by Izzeldin Abuelaish, entitled “I Shall Not Hate”, which described by Sunday Times as ‘a remarkable study of compassion, and of daily life in the Gaza strip’. It was one of the most powerful and moving notes i had ever read regarding exceptional humanity, and one’s ability to forgive. The following is the summary of his extraordinary life’s journey.

Izzeldin Abuelaish, was amongst one of the Palestinians that have to live in Gaza strip, following the Israel’s state declaration. Living day-to-day under extreme poverty and worry to feed their little brothers and sisters, he had grown to be a strong-willed boy, hungry for education to lift up his family. When he was 15 years old, he then worked at a israeli’s jewish farm where he experienced warm welcome, and came to understand that there are more similarity than differences between Palestinian and Israelis. That peace and coexistence are things that desired by both and its possible to be reached. Soon thereafter, he then witnessed the destruction of houses instructed by Ariel Sharon to widen the road for the tanks to patrol.

Despite all the misfortune, he managed to get a medical education in Egypt, even goes further to pursue study in Harvard.

Although most of the world has heard of Gaza strip, but only few really knew what its like to live here, blockaded, impoverished that span on period over decades. Abuelaish provides view of daily life in Gaza and tells remarkable story of how he became first Palestinian doctor that works in Israeli hospital. Abuelaish has devoted his life for medical purpose, helping everyone who needs it, despite their origin. Whether they are Palestinian or Israelis.

Unfortunately, recently in 2009, three of his daughters were killed by shells fired directly to their bedroom. The events were shocking as Abuelaish was well-known to the Israelis.  His eye-witness reports for Israeli TV was heartbreaking and eye-opener.  Despite his great lost, he refused to hate or commit a revenged. Instead, he hoped for common understanding and co-existence as a means to counter violence and bloodshed. His hope is that his daughters will be “the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis”.

This book is a great read and great example of a man’s character. As honest as it is, sometimes its often painful to read. The characters has shown a great strength to endure all the pain and losses without thinking for a revenge or hate.  A definite must read to understand the conflict in Gaza strips and what we should do to end it. Not with hatred, but rather, common understanding and embrace co-existence… Hopefully both Palestinian and Israeli leaders read this book and got to their common sense on not to provoke wars and increasing death toll, but rather, to seek for peace….

Its been a gloomy day for this past weeks for Indonesia as this country was forced to deal with 3 natural disasters, including an earthquake, a tsunami and a volcanic eruption in period less than 24 hours on 26th October 2010.

First,  a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit 48 miles west of South Pagai, in the Mentawai islands, and destroyed most of the buildings in the coastal village of Betu Monga.  This triggered a 10-feet tsunami waves that swept away at least six villages. Both of this twin disaster have caused 431 deaths as today,  300 people reported missing and 7,000 households have been affected.

A young Tsunami survivor carries her belongings after her village was hit by the earthquake-triggered tsunami at Munte, North Pagai island (photographed by : Achmad Ibrahim/AP)

Survivor walks through the devastated area where once hundreds house stood – (photograph : Reuters)

Meanwhile, a few hours after, on Java Island, 800 miles away from Mentawai, Indonesia’s most volatile volcano Mt. Merapi spewed out clouds of hot ash and killed at least 30 people.  Since then, this “Volcano of the decade”, named by International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of Earth’s Interior due to its high volcanic activity that had scored 80 eruption from 1995, had spewed again for third time in less than a week. The biggest was on 3rd November 2010, causing nearby town flooded by ash and people are being evacuated away more than ever, including those who had settled previously in the refugees camp.  As today, the death toll had risen up to 38 people.

Mount Merapi erupted  (photographed by : Beawiharta / Reuters)

Volunteers helped carry the bodies of those who died after Mount Merapi erupted (photographed by: Beawiharta / Reuters)

Dwiyono, a state vulcanologist, believes that the volcano will continue to spew out gas and rocks for weeks, possibly months, easing the pressure building up inside the crater.  In addition, there is no guarantee yet if the third eruption is the last one.  Right now we can just hope that there won’t be a massive explosion.

The earthquake and volcano that struck Indonesia recently lie on the same volatile fault line known as the Pacific ring of fire, but it was simply a tragic coincidence that both disasters occurred within a few hours of each other, said experts.  Located at the top of the Pacific ring of fire had forced Indonesia to expect more natural disasters to come, as what had happened in the past.  According to USGS (US Geological Survey – visit http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/ ), in 2010 itself, there had been multiple significant earthquake in Indonesia, as follow:

Also, in the past there had been multiple volcano eruption, most notably Krakatao in 1883 that had caused global effect and became the inspiration for Edward Munch on his painting “The Scream”,  and Mount Tambora in 1815 that the eruption itself even caused a harvest failure as far as Canada and that year was famous as “A year without summer”.

Since Pacific Ring of Fire is essentially a horsehoe of geologic activity, including volcanoes, earthquakes, deep sea trenches and major fault zones, located on top of it should have made Indonesia became more aware and prepared for years to come.  Although after the deadly tsunami in 2004,  Indonesia already created national disaster and emergency response team, as well as early warning system to notify majority of the population in a case of natural disaster, there is still some improvement required. The early warning system for example, has not reached some remote islands such as Mentawai yet.

In addition, the infrastructure as well as buildings  in Indonesia are mostly not designed for preventing earthquake like what Japan have done. Even, its often built on area prone to natural disasters.  Therefore, in a case of significant earthquake and tsunami, most of the villages and buildings will be severely damaged.  To make the matter worse, often the civilians are not prepared on taking immediate and urgent actions to protect and evacuate themselves from such disasters.

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To help ease Mentawai and Mt. Merapi’s disasters victims,  feel free to provide donation through :

Rekening Donasi Musibah Nasional IA-ITB (Donation account for national disaster IA ITB)
Bank Mandiri : No. 070-000-436339-1 a.n Ikatan Alumni ITB qq Dompet Amal
Ikatan Alumni Institut Teknologi Bandung (IA-ITB)

I was reading Wall Street Journal on my flight back to Jakarta from Pekanbaru when i read the touching speech of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari in remembering his wife’s assassination, dated 2 years back.

Two years ago the world stopped for me and for my children. Pakistan was shaken to its core and all but came apart. Women everywhere lost one of their greatest symbols of equality. And Islam, our great religion, lost its modern face.

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We are now counting down to the sacred 31 december as the final curtain of year 2009. 2009 has been a rough tough year.. a year of uncertainty as global crisis impact still widely seen in some part of the world (for example, USA where 49 mn people are food insecure, in a country with the highest obessity cases– weird rite?). Although Indonesia has seem quite immune on that… – but lets see.. hope the scandalicious century bank does not turn this positive economic outlook into another direction..

So yeah.. to make it hotter before we reach the turning point, lets do some reality checking on who are the most fascinating people that coloring the newspaper over the last 12 months.. 🙂 Here is some of the list..

PS : Please remember what i meant by “Fascinating” here does not always mean they are the cooler or the most sophisticated celeb/politician, but.. they are the one that when we heard or see bout them, its make our jaws dropped.. of course, not always in a good causes :))

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The fall of Dubai

Posted: November 30, 2009 in World's news

27 Nov 2009, Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) – The “Dubai vision,” which has suffered a crushing blow from the freewheeling Gulf emirate’s sudden debt crisis, is the creation of one man who failed to apply the rules of open governance.

The city state’s rapid growth revolved around the ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who outlined his ideas in a book, “My Vision,” where he suggested other Arab countries could replicate Dubai’s success. Now the model — always controversial among Gulf Arabs since it involved building shining cities in the desert at breakneck speed through the import of foreign residents, finance and labor — is on the ropes.

Questions will surface over what went wrong.

This week Dubai said it wanted to delay payment on billions of dollars of its total $80 billion debt, sending global markets plummeting as investors feared defaults could hit the global economy just as it was recovering from the financial crisis.

“Where next for the ruling family in Dubai?” said British historian Christopher Davidson. “The massive loss of legitimacy that the ruler is now facing, the massive loss of legitimacy that his son and crown prince face after lying to the World Economic Forum last week — where do these guys go from here?”

Sheikh Mohammed, whose face and words grace posters all over town, told the forum this month that the worst had passed for Dubai which was well-placed to pursue its development plans.

The news that investment vehicle Dubai World could not pay a $3.5 billion bond was released just before the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday and UAE national day on December 2. Local media have almost entirely avoided comment on the debacle.

“Dubai could not be more transparent and open about the challenges it is facing due to the global economic downturn as it has been,” the English-language Gulf News said. The Arabic daily al-Khaleej praised the UAE’s investment climate.

There is uncertainty about what assets are owned personally by the ruling family, directly by the government or simply sponsored either by the ruler or the government.

So, the question next is, what will dubai do? Will it rectify mistakes quickly? 

It has 90US$ Bn debt, in which US$ 20 Bn will due next year..  If they decide not to honor debt, the consequences paid  might be bigger than that.. Dubai will lose its credibility and will be much more difficult in attracting foreign investment.. The country will suffer.. 

Their future will depends a lot on  how this country handle its debt negotiations over the next months.  Given its limited natural resources compare to  much stronger neighbour such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai government certainly can not just simply neglect international investor interest or prioritize its local lenders.

It will be interesting to see how the government act and hopefully, their action is for better than for worst..