The UN Security Council solve the Rohingya crisis, How Arabs can avoid an Israel-Iran war, Windrush scandal sparks soul searching among black Tories, Nicaragua upheaval a warning about changing presidential term limits, Global press freedom worsens

A roundup of global commentary for the May 14, 2018 weekly magazine.

A.M. Ahad/AP
A Rohingya refugee child, Minara, reacts to the camera at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, April 28, 2018.

The Daily Star / Dhaka, Bangladesh

The UN Security Council must step up on the Rohingya crisis

“We welcome the commitment made by the [United Nations Security Council] delegation that resolution of the Rohingya crisis will be its top priority,” states an editorial. “Now that the high powered delegation [has visited] Myanmar having seen firsthand the plight of the Rohingya refugees ... we expect it to convey to the Myanmar government in no uncertain terms the urgency of resolving the crisis that Myanmar has itself created.... Bangladesh has done more than its share by sheltering more than a million Rohingyas in its land.... We are waiting to see how the international body will address the issue of repatriation of the Rohingyas, ensuring that all the fundamental causes that led to this massive exodus are removed.” 

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

Arabs must negotiate to stave off an Israel-Iran war

“The continuous fanning of the idea that Iran is our archenemy in this embattled region has become a cash cow for the United States...,” writes Jawad Anani. “We, as Arabs, should not put the war option against Iran as our plan A.... [I]n a recent article, published in The New York Times, Thomas Friedman cautioned and actually predicted that an eminent war will soon break out between Iran and Israel.... Israel knows only too well that this war is going to be very costly and I doubt if it ever does it alone. Thus, we hear war drums beating in Washington.... Now, if we are to reserve our dignity as Arabs ... we need to negotiate our way with all parties and Iran first....” 

The Guardian / London

Windrush immigration scandal sends black Tories into soul-searching mode

“Not long ago, black Conservatives would invoke the name Windrush in a positive context, as evidence of how far the Tories had come since the bad old days of overt racism...,” writes Afua Hirsch. “Most of the black Tories I know ... were raised with values that emphasise enterprise, faith, family and social conservatism.... They have adopted a worldview in which racism ... is largely a thing of the past. This has enabled them to create a mental divide between the party’s social and economic values, which they like, and its dodgy history on race.... [T]he Windrush scandal has, perhaps not surprisingly, sent my black Tory acquaintances into a bout of soul-searching.”

 The Hindu / Chennai, India

Nicaragua upheaval a warning about changing presidential term limits

“The violence and the clampdown that have convulsed Nicaragua ... have left many dead, and undermined President Daniel Ortega’s authority,” states an editorial. “The public protests were triggered by the government’s decision to simultaneously raise individual contributions and reduce social welfare benefits and pensions.... The backlash has forced Mr. Ortega to roll back the reform proposal.... [T]he reversal of the decision has energised the opposition to mount a concerted challenge.... [Ortega] has over time altered the constitution to overturn the prohibition on a second term and, in a separate manoeuvre, allowed for indefinite re-election bids.... The country offers yet another instance of the dangers posed to democratic accountability by those dispensing with presidential term limits.... It is time the matter was considered at a larger regional forum.” 

The Namibian / Windhoek West, Namibia

The global picture of press freedom is worsening

“Namibia has lost pride of place at number one on the African continent in terms of press freedom rankings by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Ghana ... has taken the top slot...,” writes Gwen Lister. “What is most disturbing is that the global picture of press freedom has worsened overall. According to RSF, this year’s Index shows growing animosity towards journalists.... The climate of hatred has become steadily more visible in the Index of the 180 countries evaluated.... This has been fuelled, in my view, by the aversion towards the media expressed by US president Donald Trump. His references ... to journalists as ‘enemies of the people’, have emboldened other world leaders....” 

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