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Perilous Journey and Human Security to Fortress Europe

first_imgUnder increasing pressure from ‘globalization’, traditional boundaries that once signify territorial demarcation among nations continue to vanish as weaker states and their populations succumb to political, social and economic upheavals in Europe. As a result, we continue to witness movement of people in search of ‘Human security’, i.e, people are migrating out of fear of waking up and getting hit by stray bullets, losing one’s job, not having enough to eat or drink, fear of being raped, alienated or discriminated on the basis of ethnicity, religious belief, social status or afraid of being exploited because of lack of education.In an effort to protect and collectively safeguard their citizens’ interest against these global upheavals, most Western countries engaged into various treaties in order to achieve integration, collective security and economic expansion. Meanwhile, similar amalgamation is taking place in less developed and developing region, albeit, relative variation and minimal emphasis on issues that could protect citizen’s welfare and collective security. In Liberia, the lack of human security manifested by poverty, the absence of health care, poor living conditions, alienation on the basis of social and ethnic backgrounds and youth unemployment, can lead to movement of people in all shapes and forms: whether as migrants, guest workers or refugees, in search of Human security. “Whenever people lack human security, they seek it anywhere,” noted one scholar.Troubled by the growing waves of refugees and migrant crisis confronting the EU, a Liberian Peace-building and research organization decided to critically examine the nexus between local excitement for European soccer and the possibility of idled youth embarking on ‘dangerous journey’ to fortress Europe for ‘human Security’.This Liberian NGO has been thinking on the migration problem evident by the effort to gauge youth perspectives on the migration issue confronting Europe and other Western nations. Platform for Dialogue and Peace in Liberia is a peace building organization that uses participatory action research methodology in the country to constructively identify fault lines and root causes to societal problems before making relevant contributions to building sustainable peace. It could be recalled that this organization recently conducted a study of framework for assessing resilience and it is now looking at the nexus between human security and migration. The current focus is on video club goers to determine the level of interest the youth have in Europe, with key interest in what could possibly make them travel to Europe or the West, particularly as they watch EU soccer amid news of migrant crisis that have permeated Europe through various foreign news outlets. On one of my usual routines around the city for random information for our news stories, I bumped into P4DP researchers and was impressed with their effort to mitigate unplanned migration. A brief chat with the team leader, Alphonso Woiwor, demonstrates the depth and seriousness this organization attaches to problem concerning youth and society. Initial empirical findings are not only captivating but very critical for the development of robust youth program for the nation. For example, unlike other African countries where youth embark on hazardous journeys for greener pastures, P4DP study shows that in the nine communities across Monrovia where the survey is being conducted, many youth are poised on doing manual and casual labor jobs to sustain their families, such as working on commission with a local mineral sellers, water depot and selling of dry goods including cassava, toothpaste, slippers, cosmetics, vegetables, etc., than taking dangerous journey to Europe. While the ‘dangerous journey’ phenomena is yet to hit Liberian youthful population, some of the youth, especially in ELWA, intoned that they are not better than their colleagues who are braving the storm to cross the Sahara Desert and theMediterranean Sea. Through my interaction with the research team, it seems that even though many of our youth may not have the means to travel in large number like the North African counterparts, there is a strong omen that when opportunity avails itself, example human traffickers luring vulnerable young people to pay money for greener pastures, as we have seen in recent times, with the Liberian girls that were trafficked to Lebanon, these young people could do likewise.According to P4DP’s team, many of the respondents they engaged are saying that though they may not be in the position to travel to Europe in their numbers for now, by watching these European games and seeing developed infrastructures, such as basic social services, educational and business opportunities, and programs that empower youth – such as sport, especially football which they argued does not require one to have a PhD before you can play to make money – they see life better out there than here. Many references were made of several top European players that make money without acquiring PhD. Other respondents spoken to said though they are made to sell dried goods in the streets, but they are regularly harassed by police officers who at times seize their goods including money as well.I am informed that the survey population of 22 persons is in the age group of 18-34 years of age and a wider research could be conducted soon.Sincerely, such undertaking is laudable and worth promoting, if our country is to avoid what we are seeing in other countries. No doubt, targeted training with constructive engagement with society organization like P4DP is essential to ensure sustainable peace and stability in Liberia and the Sub-region.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Muslims reflect on Prophet Muhammad during Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations

first_imgA few Muslim brothers partaking in a prayer ceremony during Eid-ul-Fitr on WednesdayBy Davina RamdassMuslims across Guyana on Tuesday ended the fasting period of Ramadan with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, which saw sweetmeats and gifts being distributed on Wednesday in observance of that celebration.While most Guyanese look forward to Eid-ul-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, because of sweetmeats, the day is for Muslims very symbolic, as it reminds them of the doings of the Prophet Muhammad when he was on earth.Guyana Times caught up with Imam of the Peter’s Hall Masjid on the East Bank of Demerara, who explained the significance of the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.“Today (Tuesday) we celebrate the ending of the holy month of Ramadan, (in) which we had 29 days of fasting, and so it is now the end of the fast. It’s the first day of the new month, and we have our celebration after one month of fasting,” he explained.Fasting, for Muslims, is important, as it reminds them of the human beings Allah wants them to be. In fact, during this period, Muslims stay away from eating, drinking and ‘worldly pleasures’ among other things from dawn to sunset. This, the Imam said, is intended to train persons in Islam to be Godly, as no lies, fighting, arguing or malice-bearing is permitted.Ramadan usually lasts for about 29 or 30 days. This year it wrapped up within 29 days, after the moon was sighted on Tuesday evening.During Ramadan, Muslims would visit the Mosque for daily prayers. It is their hope to continue these traits even after Ramadan has been concluded.The sighting of the moon plays a vital part in this holiday. “In the Islamic calendar, the moon shows every month, and from one moon to the next moon is…one month. So…the starting of every moon marks the starting of the month; so for us to know when the month (starts), we have to see the new moon…(when it) disappears, then the month (has finished)”, the Imam explained.He further stated that the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr begins with prayers. The morning after Ramadan concludes, believers would gather at the Mosque, where they are reminded of what is expected of them as they seek to obey their creator.Imam Intiaz Sahid said the worshippers at his mosque would usually participate in a feast following the sermon, wherein food and drinks are shared among believers. It is a time of laughter and celebration as they reflect on their time of devotion towards Allah and meditate on the way forward.Following this, he explained, some Muslims would also share meals with family members while some would share sweetmeats to their neighbours, co-workers, friends, and even the less fortunate.“This is the time when we distribute to the poor. This is the time when we have a ruling that for everybody who fasted they give one gallon of grain, or equivalent of one gallon of grain for every member of the home. So if you have five people in the home, you have to give five gallons of grain or equivalent in cash towards a poor or needy (person), so that they may be able to have an Eid, and this is supposed to be paid before you pray (to break the fast),” the Imam informed.This is all done to mirror the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The Muslim leader explained, “Basically, Allah is our creator. He orders our command…our holy Prophet, who was a human being, was our teacher, and in his lifetime he did the same thing, and what we are doing is following what he did and what he taught us”.Imam of the Peters Hall Mosque, Intiaz Sahidlast_img read more