Arts in Gaza, police in Kenya, nuclear power in Japan, tech skills for students, lessons from India

A roundup of global commentary for the July 25, 2016 weekly magazine.

Mohammed Salem/Reuters
A Palestinian boy looks on as a youth dive into the seawater to cool off during a hot day at the seaport of Gaza City.

Ma’an News Agency / Palestinian territories

Arts in Gaza

“I am writing this ... to denote a fact that seems to escape many of us: Gaza is also an abode of poetry...,” writes Ramzy Baroud. “Alas, how many of us can name a single Palestinian poet from Gaza? Likely, very few. It is because we are accustomed to affiliating Gaza with death, not life. Poetry is the greatest intellectual affirmation of life because great poets never die. Their verses linger like the roots of an ancient Palestinian olive tree.... True, the wars have devastated Gaza and the siege is severely diminishing its ability to develop the massive and promising human capital it has. But it has not disfigured its essence, or lessened its humanity. Gaza remains a place of poets, artists, dabka dancers and untamable spirits of utterly resilient and refreshingly stubborn people.” 

Standard Digital / Nairobi, Kenya

Police in Kenya

“[Following the] killing of lawyer Willy Kimani, his client Josphat Mwendwa and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri by people suspected to be police officers ... [t]he abuse of police powers and the impunity with which police officers have been operating for years is astounding, to say the least,” states an editorial. “The Government’s laid-back attitude in effecting proper reforms within the discredited police service only compounds an already dire situation.... The Internal Security Cabinet Secretary must uphold the rule of law. He must address underlying reasons why the National Police Service does not conduct its affairs in a way that is different from any criminal gang on the streets.” 

Asahi Shimbun / Tokyo

Nuclear power in Japan

“With brutal heat forecast for this summer, the government is not calling for power-saving efforts this year...,” states an editorial. “Japan appears to have become less dependent on nuclear power generation since the Fukushima disaster.... But we need to re-examine whether the government is moving toward maintaining or abolishing its current nuclear policy.... Our basic thinking is to approve the restart of offline reactors for the time being when urgent power needs exist. But at the same time, high-risk and antiquated reactors should be decommissioned, starting with the oldest and the most dangerous.” 

The New Zealand Herald / Auckland, New Zealand

Tech skills for students

“It is hard to escape the sense that Education Minister Hekia Parata should have gone further when announcing a limited inclusion of digital technology in the school curriculum...,” states an editorial. “Technology is entrenched at the core of the economy. High-tech is New Zealand’s third-largest export sector after dairy and tourism.... This hole in the programme needs to be patched soon to reassure the industry and give teachers certainty that education’s overdue embrace of digital technology will inspire as many young New Zealanders as possible.” 

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany 

Lessons from India

“Only six months after a gigantic India-Africa summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now ended his trip to Africa which added weight to the proclaimed realignment of Indian foreign policy...,” writes Ludger Schadomsky. “[T]he real focus of Modi’s geopolitical attention lies beyond the often mentioned race between India and China for African markets and resources. India sees Africa as a natural partner in the laborious process of reforming the United Nations Security Council.... It’s easy to criticize the far from delicate manner in which the Chinese and Indians are acting in Africa. It would be better to cast off such negative feelings and instead take advantage of the great confidence Africans have in Germany and German products and utilize it for mutual benefit. Creating new jobs could also create real incentives for young Africans to stay in Africa. Or, in the words of the Indians: to link both river banks with a stable bridge.”

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“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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