The importance of monitoring civilian losses

In late 2002, US journalist Helen Thomas strongly opposed the impending invasion of Iraq. Unlike many of her colleagues, whom she regarded as having a groupthink or “herd mentality”, she asked tough questions, considered by the herd as unpatriotic, at presidential press conferences. On one occasion in exasperation she asked White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer,

“Ari, why does the president want to kill thousands of people?”  The reply came: “Why are you saying that, Helen?   They have a dictator! They have no say in their country!”

The notion that people unfortunate enough to be born under the rule of a …

A world of no-go zones?

As the population of our ‘global village’ grows to more than 7.22 billion and mega-cities multiply, the world’s wilderness withers, agricultural land shrinks, oceans become waste dumping grounds, and former industrial sites are reduced to polluted, decaying wastelands. The climate warms and sea levels rise. Humans have rendered many areas in the world no longer accessible for humans.

These areas are ‘no-go zones’, as the lawless streets of Boston were known in the 1980s. The same term applied to Redfern’s Block in the 1990s and parts of Birmingham in the noughties. It is true of Ferguson in the mid-2010s, and …