Sunday, November 13, 2016

Recent Editorials

Here are some recent editorials I wrote for The Gulf Today. (Posted for my records) 
Bury acrimony, 
move forward

Months of bitter, venomous presidential poll campaign, where mudslinging remained a norm, has come to a stunning end, exposing deep divisions within the world’s lone superpower.
The wide margin of victory for Donald Trump negated the hollow predictions of polls, pundits and a large section of media, which grossly failed to gauge the pulse of ordinary Americans yearning for change.
The verdict reflected the voters’ worry over economy, jobs and lifestyle.
Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the "greatest jobs president that God ever created."
His fiery words during his campaign targeting a large section, including women and immigrants, left a bitter taste, meaning the nation needs healing time.
So does the rest of the world.
The vote outcome initially sending shockwaves through global markets is one glaring example.
Share markets plunged and the dollar tumbled. The Mexican peso fell to a record low. Japanese and South Korean authorities had to even call crisis talks.
Fortunately, though uncertainty remains over Trump's trade, immigration and geopolitical policies and the future of globalization itself, investors appeared somewhat comforted by his victory speech, in which he praised rival Hillary Clinton and urged Americans to "come together as one united people."
The Republican tycoon has not outlined any lucid plans or a line-up of people to implement radical promises that he has made.
He has stated he would dismantle the health insurance open to the uninsured introduced by President Barack Obama.
His threat to jail opponent Clinton, build a wall on the border with Mexican money or sharp criticism of NATO are issues that caught the world by shock and surprise.
Now that he takes over as president, it is imperative that Trump acts in a statesmanly manner on subjects like these.
In a globalised world, separation walls are not the answer. What is called for is intensified, positive engagement among nations. Washington should continue to promote democratic values and stand by its allies as a guarantor of peace.
Trump’s sober victory message pledging to reach out to opponents and extend hands of friendship abroad does come as a balm.
Lack of government experience may pose a challenge for the oldest man ever elected president.
Nevertheless, he has taken off on a positive note and should continue on that track, burying all the acrimony and conflict-ridden rhetoric that came as part of the poll campaign.

Need to address anxiety
over move on rupee

While the Indian government's sudden scrapping of the high denomination notes may be seen as a bold step, the severe hardship caused to the common people and the persisting confusion raises questions about the way the decision has been implemented.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier announced the demonetisation of Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes in what he termed was a crackdown on "black money.”
Anxiety and confusion has gripped millions in the country as well as expatriates.
Serpentine queues outside banks where people waited for long hours to get lower denomination currency and new banknotes to pay for their daily basic needs are apparent indication of the worry among the people.
Several banks had to seek help from thousands of police personnel to manage huge queues.
Many were not able to buy groceries and essential items, ATM centres were crowded and shop owners were said to be refusing the notes.
Although a few people were able to exchange their old money for new notes, the strict caps on account withdrawals posed additional challenges.
Trading of farm commodities around the country was also disrupted and in many markets farmers were struggling to sell their produce.
Prices of perishable fruits and vegetables fell as traders were unable to sell them to vendors, who pay in cash.
Adding a tragic twist to the episode, a farmer in southern India committed suicide fearing she would be left penniless after the government's shock decision.
Kandukuri Vinoda, 55, had a large amount of cash at her home in 1,000 and 500 rupee notes and panicked that her savings had become worthless. She had ostensibly sold some land last month and had been paid in cash.
Some also see a political reason behind the announcement. Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav argues that the Modi government took the decision with an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Terming the decision as imposition of "undeclared economic emergency,” Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati has also alleged that the Modi government is diverting attention of voters from failures of his government.
Interestingly, the first demonetisation had happened under the British rule in 1946 and the first one after the Independence on Jan.16-17, 1978 when the Morarji Desai government demonetised bank notes of Rs1000, 5000 and 10,000 notes.
While the overall goal to tackle black money is appreciated, the Modi government could do well by providing enough breathing time for honest and common people to make alternative arrangements.

Give high priority to
low carbon future

The Marrakesh Conference, in which parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are discussing how to advance action to combat climate change, offers an ideal opportunity to sustain momentum on climate action.
The international community should not let go of the golden chance to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
Adopted by 196 States that are party to the UNFCCC last December, the Paris Agreement, aims to strengthen the response by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In October, the accord cleared the final threshold of 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global emissions required for the accord to come into effect within one month.
The conference comes just four days after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement.
Before the meeting wraps up on Nov.18, the parties should lay out a viable plan for providing at least $100 billion a year to developing countries to support climate action.
While the Paris Agreement did give clear pathways in respect to decisive action, many details regarding how to move forward as one global community in that common direction still remain unresolved.
The changing climate can directly impact billions of people as the risks of extreme weather events grow.
Fourteen of the 15 hottest years recorded have all been in the 21st century.
Global sea-surface temperatures reached record levels in 2014, even in the absence of a “fully developed El NiƱo” weather pattern.
In a study released ahead of the Morocco conference, researchers from 13 global organisations found the average compliance of donor governments with UN climate finance transparency requirements had declined from 58 per cent per country report filed in 2014 to 52 per cent in 2016.
The world's poorest countries are battling increasingly extreme weather. But, as experts point out, the aid on offer globally to help them cope is still a pittance.
This is a matter of concern that needs to be addressed.
Rich countries should dig deeper to help poor respond to the climate crisis.
The world certainly has no choice but to shift to a low-emission, climate-resilient path.
The Marrakesh Conference should pave the way to move on a more sustainable course and a safer future.
It is clearly time to delete empty words and shift to decisive action.

Sharjah’s spellbinding
world of words

Books open the doors of true wisdom and the visionary leaders of Sharjah know this best.
The Emirate revels in opening a new chapter in the love for the written word every year through its hugely-popular Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).
It is amazing to note that more than 650,000 visitors have already attended the first four days of this year’s SIBF, which is a record in its 35-year history.
This is a clear indication that the current edition of the fair is set to break the record for overall number of visitors at a single edition, surpassing last year’s SIBF which welcomed one million visitors by its close.
With 1,681 publishing houses taking active part and 1,417 activities taking place, the venue has not only been bustling with activity, but is also generating healthy reading habits among people, mainly the younger generation.
As Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, has pointed out, the “Year of Reading 2016” initiative and numerous other literary-themed campaigns and activities organised by government bodies have encouraged more and more residents and tourists to throng SIBF.
The popularity of SIBF can also be the gauged by the fact that Sharjah was recently named as Sao Paulo International Book Fair’s Guest of Honour for 2018, in the presence of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
Incidentally, Sao Paulo International Book Fair is one of largest and highly popular events in Latin America.
The Sao Paulo honour underlines Sharjah’s status as a cultural leader in the Arab world.
One of the most interesting observations at a SIBF panel session was that eBooks have failed to replace paper books despite persisting demand from a section of the society.
Though a large part of the local population is under 25 years and love electronic gadgets, experts say that one cannot expect more than 20-30 per cent of them going for eBooks. This is indeed positive news for true knowledge-seekers.
The panel also pointed out the lack of a proper distribution system as a major roadblock and this needs to be addressed.
Making quality books accessible to youngsters at affordable prices has been SIBF’s grand source of attraction.
Sheikh Sultan’s own words reflect the vision: “We believe that books must be available to all and from this concept we turn book fairs into an oasis of knowledge and enlightenment.” 

Ensure protection of
civilians in Mosul

News that Daesh militants in Iraq have abducted thousands of men, women and children from areas around Mosul and using them as "human shields" is deeply distressing.
There are also reports that several innocent people have been killed for refusing to comply with Daesh orders or previously belonging to Iraqi security forces.
Forced out by gunpoint, many such hapless people are being moved to strategic places where Daesh fighters are located.
Though Iraqi forces are advancing from several directions, they are still well outside the city itself and need to take extreme care to protect innocent civilians.
Families are at extreme risk of being caught in crossfire or targeted by snipers.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi girls, boys and women may also be under siege or held as human shields.
Iraq is already facing one of the world’s biggest internal displacement situations.
Since January 2014, some 3.38 million people have fled their homes – among them, families that have been displaced multiple times.
Last week, the UN rights office reported dozens of execution-style killings in villages near Mosul, including the shooting of a physically disabled girl who failed to keep up on a forced march.
Shockingly, environmental pollution is also adding complexity and danger to the humanitarian crisis sparked by the offensive in Mosul.
UN officials have indicated that fumes from burning stockpiles of sulphur dioxide, and oil wells that have been set ablaze, have led to further suffering for civilians in northern Iraq.
Some civilians have been experiencing near-suffocation and respiratory illnesses due to what UN officials say is Daesh’s “scorched earth policy.”
Armed groups set 19 oil wells on fire near Al Qayyarah, a town just southeast of Mosul. As a result, citizens and armed forces were exposed to toxic fumes.
The burning crude oil released a wide range of pollutants, including soot and gases that caused skin irritation and shortness of breath.
A sound counter-strategy to meet such Daesh atrocities should be in place at all times.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, as of Thursday, 15,804 people had been displaced since the operation began on Oct.17.
Going by this trend, a massive displacement cannot be ruled out and hence it is imperative that the international community gears up to face the potential challenge of a huge humanitarian crisis.
It is important for all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and to ensure the protection of civilians.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Recent Editorials

Here are some recent editorials I wrote for The Gulf Today. (Posted for my records)
Bleeding Aleppo needs
balm, not bombs
The tears of Aleppo refuse to cease, nor do the bullets that rain incessantly on innocent civilians.
The tormented city cries for humanitarian attention, but the international powers are too busy trading charges against each other.
The city’s residents are facing a precarious situation with worsening food and medical shortages. Stores of food and vital medical supplies are rapidly dwindling to nothing.
One of the toughest challenges for the residents is that the water supplies to many areas remain cut after pumping stations were damaged during weekend attacks.
Distressingly, the denial of access to food, water and medicines has been used repeatedly as a weapon by all sides in Syria's brutal five-year-old civil war.
Adding to the civilians’ woes, several charity kitchens in the eastern districts are no longer operating because of the danger of air strikes.
Many hospitals are struggling to deal with a huge number of casualties. Heavy shortage of blood has also compounded the problem.
But it seems that the world just would not care, with powerful countries locking horns and engaging in rhetoric.
Western powers at the United Nations have accused Russia of war crimes.
US Ambassador Samantha Power has accused Russia of "barbarism," while the British and French envoys went even further.
"War crimes are being committed in Aleppo," French Ambassador Francois Delattre has stated, while Britain's envoy spoke of "a new hell" unleashed on Syrians with bunker-busting bombs and more sophisticated weaponry used to pummel residential areas.
Moscow, on its part, has hit back at the accusations, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denouncing "the overall unacceptable tone and rhetoric of the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States, which can damage and harm our relations."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has correctly warned that the use of advanced weaponry against civilians could amount to war crimes.
Instead of squabbling, the world powers should work towards ending the nightmare in Syria that has already left more than 300,000 people dead and driven millions from their homes.
It is extremely painful that even the images of children under rubble and the bodies of innocent men, women and elderly have not prompted the international community to find an urgent solution to end the agony of Aleppo.
The situation is worsening by the day, which the city cannot endure anymore.
The bleeding of Aleppo should stop, now.
What the city needs is balm, not bombs. 
Dubai Opera: UAE’s
cultural masterstroke
It is the latest masterstroke by the land of superlatives, the UAE, that literally comes as music to the ears.
The opening of Dubai Opera has effectively pitched the country as a vibrant global cultural hub, heralding a new creative era for the city, region and beyond.
The "king of opera," Spanish tenor Placido Domingo’s spectacular opening concert on Wednesday night at the venue set the rhythm for a perfect takeoff.
Domingo launched the event with a series of performances including Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" and the Broadway musical "West Side Story."
Dubai Opera is the city’s first purpose-built multi-format performing arts theatre and the definitive destination for quality entertainment productions and performances.
Creative talent would be exhibited in varied ways. Dubai Opera's stage will host an incredible lineup including operatic performances, ballet, classical music concerts and productions at the core.
It will also stage musical theatre, fashion shows, jazz, comedy, family shows and a full range of live entertainment.
Emirati singing sensation Hussein Al Jassmi will take centrestage on Oct.10 giving fans the opportunity to enjoy the live concert.
Incidentally, Al Jassmi has achieved more than 500 million views on YouTube and continues to capture hearts around the globe with his innovative fusion music.
The new opera building has been designed as an architectural masterpiece, blending tradition with modernity. In recognition of its long history as a port city, the opera house is shaped like a dhow.
Music is a universal language and the UAE recognises this. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has rightly affirmed that the strong cultural movement witnessed by the UAE contributes to positioning itself as a beacon of thought and creativity at the regional level and shows its keenness on maintaining its effective role in enriching the Arab cultural life.
Here is a venue where one can experience the best entertainment, immerse senses in a variety of performing arts and also discover a wide selection of shows that offer something for everyone.
Trade, travel and tourism are all synonymous with the UAE, and with the opening of Dubai Opera, Arts and Culture have also become important icons.
As Sheikh Mohammed pointed out, the Dubai Opera has a great value as a new platform for the arts, an effective cultural bridge and an intellectual window for the infusion of the world's creative arts.
Children bear the
brunt of conflicts
The world has to awaken to the fact that children are paying a heavy price in conflict zones and much more needs to be done to protect them.
A report from the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has indicated that almost 50 million children worldwide are uprooted, forcibly displaced from their home countries by war, violence or persecution.
Sadly, young ones driven from their homes due to conflict or in the hopes of finding a safer future face further dangers along the way.
The dangers include the risk of drowning on sea crossings, malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and even murder.
Unicef Executive Director, Anthony Lake, has cited the example of Aylan Kurdi and Omran Daqneesh's to highlight the plight of children.
“Indelible images of individual children – Aylan Kurdi's small body washed up on a beach after drowning at sea or Omran Daqneesh's stunned and bloody face as he sat in an ambulance after his home was destroyed – have shocked the world,” he has noted.
The report “Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children,” presents a sobering picture of the lives and situations of millions of children affected by violent conflict and other crises that make it seem safer to risk everything on a perilous journey than to remain at home.
What is shocking is also that more and more children are crossing borders on their own.
Figures reflect a scary pattern. In 2015, over 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries – triple the number in 2014.
UN officials have listed specific actions to protect and help displaced, refugee and migrant children:
These are valuable ideas that should be duly implemented.
Among the suggestions are;
* Protecting child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence.
* Ending the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating by introducing a range of practical alternatives.
* Keeping families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status.
* Keeping all refugee and migrant children learning and giving them access to health and other quality services.
* Pressing for action on the underlying causes of large-scale movements of refugees and migrants.
* Promoting measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalisation.
The failure to protect children would reflect very poorly on the international community and leave an unsightly scar on its face. Ignoring the plight of such a large  number of children would come at a very high cost.

Mohamed, Pope
on a peace mission
The UAE has always been in the forefront when it comes to promoting the values of peace, justice and coexistence in different parts of the world.
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s historic meeting with Pope Francis has certainly pushed that noble mission to a much higher level.
Pope Francis’ praise of the UAE's efforts to promote tolerance and coexistence is a vindication of the fact that the UAE remains an oasis of peace in the region.
Under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the country is a leading supporter of humanitarian initiatives and is the world’s largest donor of development assistance in proportion to its gross national income.
Generosity has thus always remained the hallmark of its leaders and people.
It has provided humanitarian assistance totaling Dhs6.97 billion to help save lives, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity during and after emergencies worldwide.
In December, the International Humanitarian City will organise the first bi-annual World Humanitarian Forum in Dubai to coincide with the Ten Humanitarian International Leaders meeting, which aims to bring together the humanitarian community to share experiences, build relationships and discuss emerging challenges and solutions.
The UAE assistance has solely humanitarian objectives and is never ever governed by politics or limited by the geography, race, colour or religion of the beneficiary.
In such a background, Pope’s hailing of the UAE for its ongoing humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives, its role in promoting sustainable development and support to all countries and communities in need, makes perfect timing and sense.
It is not mere talk. The UAE walks an extra mile when it comes to promoting an open society. A law against hate crime and discrimination was issued by President Sheikh Khalifa last year that strongly reinforces the concept of safe coexistence.
In a world ridden by strife in many parts, meaningful discussion between well-meaning personalities goes a long way in alleviating the situation.
The Pope has been playing a positive role in peace-building and promoting dialogue among civilisations.
With over 200 nationalities living with a spirit of harmony and understanding, despite differences of culture, race and religion, the UAE remains an adorable model for unity.
The momentous Sheikh Mohamed-Pope Francis meeting highlights the genuineness of the UAE’s mission to promote peace across the globe. It is an extraordinary meeting with a noble goal.
Need for greater police
accountability in US
The fatal shooting of 43-year-old African-American Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of Charlotte police is the latest in a long series of controversial police killings of black men that have ignited tensions in the US.
The killing has raised growing concerns about accountability in the country’s law enforcement community.
Scott's relatives claim that he was not carrying a gun as claimed by the police, but had a book in his hands when he was gunned down.
According to the relatives, he was waiting for his young son at school bus stop when police arrived.
The city had to be brought under emergency following violent demonstrations as news of the shooting spread.
Incidentally, the violence in Charlotte came on the heels of another fatal police shooting of a black man, Terence Crutcher, on Friday in Tulsa.
Tulsa police chief Chuck Jordan conceded that video footage of Crutcher's deadly shooting was disturbing and "very difficult to watch."
The 40-year-old is seen with his hands up, appearing to comply with police officers before he is shot once by officer Betty Shelby and falls to the ground. Another officer fires his stun gun.
The US Department of Justice has promised to conduct a federal civil rights probe into the Tulsa shooting.
However, the question remains on whether any effective means are being enforced to end such questionable killings.
On July 17, 2014, African American father-of-six Eric Garner, 43, died after being held in a police chokehold while he was being arrested for selling individual cigarettes illegally in New York.
On Aug.9, a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager, college student Michael Brown, 18, prompting violent protests and heavy-handed police tactics in Ferguson.
Unarmed Walter Scott was shot in the back as he ran away from an officer in South Carolina in April 2015.
A study by the Center for Policing Equity showed police used force on blacks at rates more than three times higher than for whites.
The use of force by police against African-Americans in cities from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore and New York has sparked periodic violent protests.
Such killings have even spawned a movement called Black Lives Matter.
Police have the ability to take suspects into custody without killing them and there have been several examples for this.
Questions about racial bias in US law enforcement need to be answered. There is certainly a need for greater police accountability for the killings of black people in America.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Free bird

Stepping out of my third-floor home, I crossed the building’s ground floor when I noticed a couple of beautiful, colourful birds locked in a balcony.
Just outside the glass pane, hardly six feet away, was a gigantic tree, where mynahs and sparrows were merrily chirping.

For a moment, my mind was rattled and I exclaimed to the watchman, “How sad! Such beauties in jail! And the world is wide open for the birds on this tree.”
“You are wrong,” his perception differed. “The ones in the balcony live in air-conditioned rooms. They are fed at the right time and are safe from any danger. Just watch the cat under the tree. It would pounce on any of the sparrows that you admire on the tree anytime.”
His logic instigated a dilemma.
Is he right?
For a moment, I almost thought so.
Then wisdom dawned on me, and I told myself there is nothing in the world that can match freedom, whatever the cost.
As William GT Shedd put it, a ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Revellers usher in Eid with joy

(My article in The Gulf Today, posted for my records) 

SHARJAH: The UAE woke up to a joyful mood on Wednesday as “Eid Mubarak” greetings filled the air right from Tuesday night.
The hot, humid weather failed to deter the spirits of the enthusiastic residents who thronged the streets and hugged each other.
Many had decked up their homes and could be seen queuing outside sweet shops to buy delicacies for family and visitors.
Sharjah resident Toqeer Usman said one should not forget the underprivileged during the great occasion and refrain from indulging in extravagance. “It should be a spiritual celebration, spreading love and tolerance among all people.
“I am expecting a large number of guests at home. I wanted to pick up the sweets before it runs out. Eid for me is a perfect time to be with family and near ones,” said Zoya Mehmood, a Sharjah resident, who was spotted at a popular sweet joint in Rolla.
Incredibly, people held on to the strength of traditions by exchanging greetings and gifts, even while embracing digital technology in a way that the spiritual connection was not lost.
The social media was abuzz with Eid greetings, cutting across all nationalities and religions and ringing in a spirit of love and brotherhood, which is the prime message of Islam.
Several colourful events have been lined up across the Emirates on the Eid days.
While the prime attraction is likely to be fireworks displays, shopping deals, stage shows and a variety of buffets are also on the menu.
Years of tradition will continue with the faithful thronging mosques to listen to the Eid sermon and prayers.
Eid Al Fitr, also called the festival of fast-breaking, marks the end of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar and the beginning of the lunar month Shawwal.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Recent Editorials

Here are some recent editorials I wrote for The Gulf Today. (Posted for my records)
When will peace
return to Iraq?
What can be more agonising than the merciless killing of several innocent people during the Holy Month of Ramadan by mindless and ruthless terrorists!
Just a week after the Iraqi security forces recaptured Fallujah from the dreaded Daesh, a number of people have been killed or wounded in the deadliest single terrorist attack this year in Baghdad. Many of those killed were children.
The heartless militants chose a time when the streets were crowded at night at the end of a day's fasting.
Iraq has been forced to endure endless misery for a long time, ever since a war was imposed on it by Washington based on lies that it possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Shockingly, there has been a long list of deadly attacks in Iraq this year.
On June 9, two suicide bomb attacks near the entrance of a military base in Taji killed 18 people. On May 17, a series of attacks, including suicide bombings, claimed over 48 people in Baghdad.
On May 12, 16 people were killed when gunmen attacked a cafe with gunfire and grenades in Baghdad and then detonated suicide belts against security forces in pursuit. Daesh claimed the attack on the cafe in Balad town that is popular with fans of Real Madrid football club.
The list extends with such grim statistics.
The situation is also worst for children. One out of every five Iraqi children are said to be at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and recruitment into armed groups, according to a new United Nations report.
In “A Heavy Price for Children: Violence destroys childhoods in Iraq,” Unicef has stated that some 3.6 million children are in danger – an increase of 1.3 million in 18 months.
The report also states that 4.7 million children are in need of humanitarian aid, which amounts to one-third of all Iraqi children, as military operations in Fallujah and around Mosul lead to deteriorating living conditions.
At a time when the world hoped for a period of calm during the month of peace and compassion, it is highly unfortunate that violence continues to take its toll on civilians in Iraq.
As UN officials point out, terrorists did not spare an occasion to strike at markets, mosques and areas where people gathered in order to exact maximum casualties among civilians.
The international community needs to unite more strongly to fight and defeat the monstrous forces of extremism.

Heinous, cowardly
attacks in Turkey
The terrorist attacks that targeted Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport and resulted in several deaths and injuries are heinous and despicable acts that targeted innocent people.
Terrorism is a common enemy of all human beings. Terrorists are responsible for innumerable abuses against people from all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities, and without regard to any basic value of humanity.
Sadly, the year 2016 has seen a slew of such mass killings in Turkey.
Until June, almost 200 people have been killed and thousands wounded in bombings in Istanbul and Ankara.
A bombing in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet Square in January claimed the lives of 11 German tourists. Car bombings in Ankara in February and March killed more than 60 people.
For a destination that hosts historic sites like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia church at Sultanahmet, the explosions have proved economically devastating.
The senseless attack in Ataturk is also the latest to target airports and the aviation industry, coming three months after suicide bombers struck Brussels airport.
Data published on the morning of the attacks already signalled a grim outlook.
Tourist arrivals not only fell in May for a record tenth month, but as hotels and resorts enter peak season, the slump is said to have deepened.
Basaran Ulusoy, the president of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, has been quoted as saying that the industry is headed for a 35-40 per cent drop in income in 2016.
Figures released at the end of May by the Turkish tourism ministry showed that the month had seen the worst drop-off in visits in 22 years, down 35 per cent on 2015's figure.
April's figure had already been 30 per cent down on the previous year.
While visitor figures from countries like Germany and Britain, have been particularly weak, almost 90 per cent of Russian tourists have stayed away as Ankara and Moscow entered a war of words after Turkish forces downed a Russian warplane.
That's bleak news for an industry that normally brings in close to $33.2 billion in foreign currency each year.
The UAE has rightly called on the international community to stand united and uproot the bane of terrorism.
As stated by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the heinous act contradicts all religions, human values and principles.
There is a dire need to intensify global efforts to combat violent extremism by promoting tolerance, understanding and peaceful dialogue.

Cracks in the
Any parting is painful. The majority of British voters, though, have opted for “freedom” over the pain that comes with parting.
The implication of the Brexit verdict is that a 28-member commission in Brussels cannot anymore steer the laws and choices of the British people.
The London-Brussels divorce, after four decades of often-troubled relationship, has not only triggered a seismic blow to the European Union (EU) bloc, but has also left a trail of socio-economic tremors across the globe.
With events unfolding through the day, Friday marked a turning point in the history of Britain. The verdict prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to resign and sent the world financial markets into a freefall.
The vote result threatens to lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom itself after Scotland raised the prospect of another independence vote.
Top anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, says that June 23 will "go down in our history as our independence day," while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has declared that a second independence vote is now highly likely after a 2014 referendum backed staying in the UK.
Amid the turmoil, the man who led the “Leave” campaign to a convincing win, Conservative MP Boris Johnson, insists that Britain is not becoming isolationist. On the contrary, he argues that the country will head for a prosperous future by taking back control of laws and policies.
Incidentally, Brexit has also reawakened fears of a domino-effect ripple of exit votes in Eurosceptic member states that could imperil the integrity of the bloc.
Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders and French National Front leader Marine Le Pen have already called for referendums on EU membership in their own countries.
Almost a quarter of EU citizens view the bloc "very negatively,” according to the most recent Euro barometer public opinion poll conducted by the EU Commission in November 2015.
There can be no doubt that Brexit is now the biggest blow to globalisation, challenging the world’s cuddling of freer movement of goods, services and people.
The economic impact was harsh on Friday. Sterling, global stocks and oil prices plummeted with the US stocks tumbling the most since February.
What looks certain, at least in the short term, is uncertainty. With Brexit, one can expect a lot of volatility in the coming days. What is essential is a calm and consensual approach to implementing the Brexit process. In this, global unity will serve better. After all, divided we fall.

Endless plight of
the Rohingya
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, is absolutely right in asking the Myanmar government to take concrete steps to end the systemic discrimination and human rights violations against minority communities, particularly the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
A report requested by the UN Human Rights Council in July 2015 has documented a wide range of rights violations, including arbitrary deprivation of nationality, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, threats to life and security, denial of rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limitations to political rights.
It also notes that for those formally charged, fair trial guarantees are often not respected.
The report has clearly highlighted the possibility that the pattern of violations against the Rohingya may amount to crimes against humanity.
Some 120,000 Rohingya remain displaced in squalid camps since fighting erupted in Rakhine State between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012. Thousands have fled persecution and poverty.
Rakhine has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country, and non-citizens, including Rohingya, are excluded from studying certain professions including medicine, economics and engineering.
Some 30,000 Muslim children in camps depend on temporary learning spaces supported by humanitarian organisations.
Incidentally, Myanmar leaders have told UN officials that the government will avoid using the term "Rohingya" to describe the persecuted Muslim minority.
The country’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Thet Thinzar Tun, criticised the use of "certain nomenclature" by a UN representative as "adding fuel to fire" and "only making things worse."
"For the sake of harmony and mutual trust between two communities, it is advisable for everyone to use the term 'the Muslim community in Rakhine State'," she is reported to have said.
The country’s popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi has disappointed rights groups by avoiding direct discussion of the issue and asking for "space" while she seeks to build trust.
Adding to the problem, there has been an alarming increase in incitement to hatred by ultra-nationalist Buddhist organisations.
It is true that the government has taken some initial steps like creating a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs and establishing the Central Committee on the Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development of Rakhine State.
But there is still a long way to go. Entrenched discrimination should end. As UN officials point out, it must be a top priority for the government to immediately halt violations and prevent further ones taking place against ethnic and religious minorities.

Israel’s ‘don’t
care’ arrogance
Less than a week after the United Nations and its diplomatic partners in the Middle East peace process released a report urging Israel to stop its settlements policy, Israel has snubbed the international community again by approving hundreds of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
Under the approval granted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, planning for 560 new homes in the large Maale Adumim settlement east of occupied Jerusalem will be allowed to move forward.
Incidentally, the settlement already includes a population of more than 37,000.
Netanyahu has also given approval for the planning of 240 new settler homes in occupied east Jerusalem settlement neighbourhoods.
Most countries consider Israeli settlements on occupied land illegal.
The diplomatic Quartet’s recommendations clearly mention that Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development.
The report has urged Israel to implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements.
While many European countries have recognised the Statehood of Palestine, several European parliaments have also recommended that their governments follow suit.
Also, during a recent visit to the Palestinian territories, UN chief Ban Ki-moon had asked Israel to address key underlying causes of violence. They include growing Palestinian anger, the paralysis of the peace process and endless occupation.
However, arrogant Israel just would not bother to heed any suggestion aimed at bringing peace to the region.
Peace talks have been at a complete standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.
Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva, Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, rightly criticised last week the continuing violations against the rights of Palestinians by Israel and its dangerous policies, including incitement of hate, arresting and killing of Palestinians and seizure of Palestinian properties.
The international community should ensure that a comprehensive, permanent and just settlement is reached to end the Israeli occupation within a set timeframe.
Israel should be forced to withdraw from all lands it continues to occupy since 1967, including East Jerusalem, so as to create an opportunity for a fully independent and viable Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Protecting the rights of the Palestinian people, who have endured hardship under ruthless occupation for decades, is a duty of all peace-loving people and countries.