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On fire

As we all sat with a heavy-heart and watched the iconic roof of the Notre Dame collapse in front of us, it was a moment of reflection. A reflection on the power of cultural capital. Why were we not crying when back in 2015 the Syrian Arch of Palmyra was destroyed by ISIS? And while this is not to say pain and grieve can be comparable – it is a reminder that Western power is still deeply ingrained in our global consciousness. 

In the meantime ISIS has claimed responsibility for the murderous attacks in Sri Lanka. These acts of terror remind of similar attacks in Amman 2005, 2008 in Mumbai or 2015 in Paris. However, the situation in Sri Lanka is quite special. Both Christians and Muslims are vulnerable minorities in the Buddhist country, and the legacy of a long civil war still persists.

What we can say for sure is that there are forces all over the world whose aim it is to bomb all of us into a global war of religions.  We, the people of the Earth, should stand together and share our compassion and solidarity with the victims of this brutal and ruthless act of division.

Welcome back to FairPlanet, a place to find solace between the chaos. A place of hope within the hardship, and where we bring you a few stories from around the world, a good fact, and a bad fact.  

 

Read, Debate: Engage.

The good

The first ever image of a black hole was captured

The other week, scientists produced the first image of a black hole – gripping the world with a depiction of one of the universe's greatest mysteries. The image is not a photograph, but an image created by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, which used a mixture of data captured by eight ground-based telescopes situated around the world. 

Yet another proof that if we work together, truly magnificent outcomes can be achieved. 

Image courtesy of the Verge
The bad

Saudia Arabia is forced to face its inhumane treatment of activists

The Saudi kingdom has been in the global light for its recent arrest of at least 10 activists who were protesting women's rights. This came just as the Saudi rule was preparing to lift a long-disputed and criticised ban that forbids women from driving. 

In response, Change.org has launched a petition to put pressure on the Saudi kingdom and demands that the United Nations hold the country and its governing powers accountable for their violations of human rights. Sign the petition and help release the non-violent women's rights activists.

saudi

Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable - Free Saudi Activists!

by Murat Suner

A Change.org petition launched by Women’s March Global is calling upon the United Nations to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights violations.
From Moscow, Mexico and Kabul
stalin cult

Stalin is back and welcomed by the Russians

by Igor Serebryany

The approval rate of Joseph Stalin has outdone the disapproval for the first time since the break up of the Soviet Union.
waoresist.amazonfrontlines

Waorani territory is not for sale: The fight for the Amazon

by Magdalena Rojo

The indigenous tribe Waorani from the Ecuadorian Amazon is suing the Ecuadorian government for drilling oil in their territory without consent.
Afghan leaders and Taliban

Opportunity missed to end the senseless Afghan war

by Shadi Khan Saif

Afghanistan lost a phenomenal opportunity to embark on a path to peace and to move away from the bloodbath it has been going through for decades.
Country focus
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

With a population of 32 million, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known for its close ties with Western economies through its booming oil industry. The Kingdom spans a vast area of 2.24 million square kilometres – making the country the largest nation in the region. 

Mecca, the custodian birthplace of Islam (and Muhammad the prophet), is situated within Saudi Arabia, making it one of the largest destinations for yearly pilgrimages around the world – only Muslims are allowed to enter the city. Saudi Arabia is known for its puritan Sunni Islam governing by a dynasty, not democracy, and is currently led by King Mohammed bin Salman – the current de facto ruler with a dubious role in the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Alongside immense wealth and capitalist-driven development, Saudi Arabia still holds a poor human rights record, with women's rights and freedom of speech close to non-existent, and death penalties executed in vast numbers. 

One of the darkest, ongoing chapters of Saudi Arabian human rights abuses and war crimes, is the Saudi-led war in Jemen. Airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians at weddings, funerals and on school buses, aided by American-supplied bombs and intelligence.

But a more insidious form of warfare is also being waged in Yemen: an economic war that is causing a far greater toll on civilians and tipping the country into a famine of catastrophic proportions.