WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 19 September 2015

19 Sept 201519 September 2015
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 
In this week’s edition of the Top 10 we go to Europe and Darfur as well as looking at the World Bank, neurobiology, FGM and bamboo toothbrushes – as well as many more stories to inform and inspire!


1.  As the refugee crisis continues in Europe, it is important to be informed about some of the issues that have lead to this human rights crisis. New Internationalist magazine has a feature story on the Syrian conflict and the issues that have lead up to this humanitarian crisis; and a story by Frances Guy on the Syrian people who remain in Syria and what life is like for them. Both are well worth a read.  And there is also an excellent article this week in The Guardian about the history of Isis and the ways in which it has transformed the Middle East.


2.  In this article, Human Rights Watch challenges the World Bank to take more serious action when it comes to human rights abuses in the programs it funds. These are complex but very important issues for developing countries – and the majority of us would not be aware of the many subtleties in this work.


3. The influx of refugees in Europe is continuing amid increasing concerns about the response from many European countries. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued another urgent message about the treatment of refugees in Hungary stating that Hungary continues to violate international law. And the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has drawn attention to the difficulties being experienced on the Serbian border with Croatia. There has also been an excellent article by the BBC on the events in Croatia.


4.   The links between neurobiology, genetics, human behaviour and therefore social change, are emerging as cornerstones in our efforts to understand how we might create a better world. In this article by Helen Thomson from The Guardian, the issue of epigenetic inheritance (the notion that environmental factors and experiences can affect the genes of future generations) is explored with the new finding that genetic changes resulting from the trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors is able to passed on to their children. This is fascinating, albeit complex, stuff and well worth us knowing about.


5.  Human Rights Watch is urging both the United Nations and the African Union to increase protection for people in Darfur after increased attacks on civilians from government special forces (Rapid Support Forces). They have released a report, ‘Men With No Mercy: Rapid Support Forces Attacks against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan’. HRW has also produced an excellent article on the use of child soldiers in Darfur.


6. The first trial against female genital mutilation in Australia has begun. The defence team has argued that nothing of significance took place as they attempt to dismiss the significance of the procedure. It’s expected that the trial will take up to 6 weeks.


7.  Where would the world be without its revolutionaries? The Guardian has featured their ’10 best revolutionaries’. It’s a great read and also an education for those who may not know of some of these amazing people.


8. In a move to lower our individual footprints, New Internationalist has released environmental toothbrushes made from bamboo. Great idea!!


9. And there is nothing like a little bit of inspiration from His Holiness the Dalia Lama. He was recently interviewed in London and asked about his views on the refugee crisis. This is an excerpt from the article by Richard Godwin: “The old thinking about ‘my nation’ and ‘my people’ is outdated. We have to think of the entire humanity as ‘we’. We have to make effort to bring peace in their original lands. If we take refugees and give them shelter and education and the problems still remain, then the whole Arab people will end up emigrating to Europe. Impossible, impossible! So we have to make every effort to bring reconciliation and compromise.”


10. This week we leave you with images of an amazing sculpture, Love, by Ukrainian sculptor, blacksmith and designer, Alexander Milov who presented his work at this year’s Burning Man festival.


Great to have your company this week. We hope to see you all again next week.