The Arsenal Of Democracy

Crossroad In Syria

In an interview with the BBC’s Weekend World Today, Faisal al-Qudsi, a leading Syrian businessman, has said that, largely thanks to western sanctions, the Syrian government has only the resources left to fight the rebels for another six months, ‘the army is getting tired and will go nowhere’ he said.

What this means for the people is not sure. Even if it is so that Assad’s regime only have six months left to fight it is what happens in these months and how they will negotiate the changing circumstance that will be of concern.

Recent reports have suggested that to tackle this growing realisation security forces are preparing for a ground assault in Homs, the leading rebel stronghold and are reluctant to show any sign of weakness. This combined with renewed attacks on mourners taking place in Damascus suggest the security forces will attempt to crack the opposition before their funds run dry and having to relay on negotiations or the threat of a rebellion that has equal or greater strength and financial support.

The changing makeup of the rebel forces will put pressure on the west to act decisively before this plays out.

No doubt the rebels have become disillusioned by the high rhetoric tacking place in the UN with no action to support these words and, though western sanction are taking there toll on the Syrian forces, this will mean little to the people who have lost numerous relatives and loved ones as well as the rebel forces who have lost thousands of their fellow fighters. Reports suggest they have been taking support from other sources that are able to take more decisive action.

In recent weeks Al Qaeda have become increasingly involved in the conflict. Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the radical organisation since the death of Osama Bin Laden, has vocally supported the uprising. “If we want freedom, we must be liberated from this regime. If we want justice we must retaliate against this regime,” he said in a video message addressing Al Qaeda supporters. This message was supported by two blasts, largely thought to be the responsibility of al-Qaeda, in Damascus that killed forty-four and reports of armed fighters and weapons crossing into Syria from Iraq and Lebanon.

The involvement of al-Qaeda will make the possibility of intervention that much murkier for the western states as the war on terror enters its eleventh year and a $25m dollar US bounty remains on al-Zawahiri’s head.

It is also the manner in which al-Zawahiri words his statement of support that will be of great concern. “This regime” although directly referring to the Ba’ath party, Assad, and the security forces, are also likely to be referring more greatly to those who stand in the way of the global jihad which has long be the centre-point of al-Qaeda policy.

The fight has quickly fallen into the hands of the Sunni’s. With a 74% majority in Syria it seems appropriate that a civil war may be fought along these lines with the ruling Ba’ath party representing a minority Alawi minority who along with Twelvers, and Ismailis represent a 12% Shia population (the other 14% being Druze, Christian, and other minority religious groups). Many of the areas fallen under rebel control are those with a majority Sunni population as have been the majority of the fighters who left the armed forced to create a large majority of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Many of the minority sects who originally supported the uprising have become by the violence. Whilst the Ba’ath regime respects secularism and allows a degree of religious freedom which is unprecedented in the region, it is becoming clear to these groups that the same may not be true of a country ran by a majority Sunni government. Increasingly radicalised by anti-Shia rhetoric coming from Saudi Arabia and the arming of the security forces by the strictly Shia Iran is leading to a Sunni uprising mirroring the origins of the al-Qaeda formation during the Islamic Jihad of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The Syrian regime currently stands at a crossroads: break the rebels before the money runs out or to negotiate a settlement before the battle is lost. Unfortunately it seems for the west their crossroads may already be passed without realising its existence.

With early support the west may have been able to prevent the slaughter of thousands of Syrian people and negotiate a peaceful settlement much like Yugoslavia in the late 90s and Bosnia half a decade before. In Syria it is increasingly clear we may have passed this stage and fear we may be leading to one of two worse case scenarios. First, the rebels win, possibly creating one more state in the Middle East run by religious principles and replacing the rarity of a sectarian state or, secondly, the security forces suppress the rebellion, the Ba’ath party remain in control with some minor constitutional changes, and a potentially more hostile Sunni population who’s core is more conservative, members more militarised, and ethos more hostile to the west.

It is not too late for the west to act but thinks must not be allowed to play out by themselves with the result with more lives lost and the battle continuing in the form of minor skirmishes and a fractured state. Proposals to create a kill free zone in the northwest border with Turkey will allow the rebels to properly organise themselves and create proper networks in order for the west to provide meaningful support.

Originally poster on The Grapevine

Iran: the need for a true diplomatic solution

On the 24th of January US President Barrack Obama gave the State of the Union and in it, amongst others, noted the situation in Iran. “America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” he said. “I will take no option off the table to achieve this goal. But a peaceful resolution on this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligation, it can rejoin the community of nations.”

New fears that Iran may again be developing nuclear weapons at the risk of international security has created a mass of new sanctions about including a ban on trading with the central bank and now an all out EU embargo on Iranian oil representing 20% of their oil trade and pressure on Asia to do the same.

These attempts at forcing cooperation has not been without resistance, with Iran claiming they will attempt to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, connecting the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the pathway for a fifth of the world’s oil. The Western response to this has been to send ships from the US, UK, and France to protect the free movement of oil with, what Defence Secretary Philip Hamond described as “a contingent capability to reinforce that presence should at any time it be considered to do so.”

Diplomatic tactics which focus on the intimidation of war and sanctions are not new, whether the western nations would be willing to go to this extent after the catastrophe of Iraq and the misguided attempts in Afghanistan is questionable but what it clear is that with victories in both these wars as well as the recent victory and Libya has instilled a sensibility that fighting for what is right and moral, at least by western standards, means victory is assured. Is this the best way for a peaceful settlement however?

Justification for this escalation has been the denial of Iran to enter negotiations on the issue of nuclear weapons. These negotiations are sure to simply be that Iran must open their borders to inspectors and they must seize any attempts at developing nuclear weapons. The option of a true negotiation focused on why Iran are developing such technologies, if in fact they are, and attempts to quell these fears are unlikely and the reasons for them wanting to develop these capabilities is not arcane or as purely iniquitous as expected.

Israel is notably the state most opposed to a nuclear Iran. With statements from Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described Israel as the “stain” of the Islamic world and must be “wiped off the map” the fear of a nuclear Iran is the fear of a feasible destruction of Israel through such nuclear weapons.

With a potentially nuclear Israel however it is only natural that Iran may wish to procure this technology. We may not agree with the politics of Iran but to bring them back to the community of nations we must consider offering them incentives to stop their nuclear programme, fundamentally an independent inspection of Israel’s nuclear facilities, free from the influence of western powers. If any programme for developing nuclear weapons should exist, a serious negotiation of abandoning these programmes should be considered. In this way we can ensure added security for the people of Iran whilst one of the most advanced armies in the world as well as the nuclear umbrella of the USA provide for the security of Israel.

Writing on the wars and technological growth of the mid-19th century, historian Eric Hobsbawn wrote, “Modern technology puts any government which did not possess it at the mercy of any government which did.” This fact has not changes. All nations have the right to security regardless of their politics, and with a nuclear Israel, Iran will always be at their mercy and be threatened by the constant fear of war. Simply because Israel is a known ally of the west, as we see it creating vital stability in an oil rich area, we must realise that they are in many ways inciting fear. It is perhaps this irrational provocation of war from Israel that has driven the US to take such a firm stance in the Gulf to pre-empt more violent attacks by their allies.

In many ways President Ahmadinejad knows this. “Why should we shun talks? Why and how should a party that has logic and is right shun talks? It is evident that those who resort to coercion are opposed to talks and always bring pretext and blame us instead?” He is right in saying that “it is the West that needs Iran” as it is the West that needs them to open up their borders to part take in the international community but to ensure international confidence in Iran they must open up their borders to UN inspectors and do so on grounds mutually agreed but we must learn that the only way to go about this is through mutual co-operation. We must address Iran’s reasoning for wanting to develop this technology and reassure them in their fears.

Previous tactics with rogue states have not worked and never will. Our current one option system of forced compliance with western rules often broken by the west themselves amounts to self-righteous hypocrisy on a grand scale. We cannot install peace through the threat of war and we must realise that a war on Iran will remain a war on its people, no nuclear weapons choice victims and neither do financial sanctions. Isolating already unstable nations may seem like the diplomacy by avoiding war, but we must realise their rights are the same as every nation and whilst the USA, China, France, Russia, the UK, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and potentially Israel have nuclear weapons, there is little course for them to complain Iran should not.

Originally published on The Grape Vine

Private Health Care Has No Interest In Your Health

On the day after Boxing Day the government announced new proposals representing the slow and inevitable privatisation of the health service. These proposals took the form of a rise in the current cap on the number of beds and the amount of theatre time that may be dedicated to private patients in NHS hospitals, from its current level of 2% to 49%.

The government claims this will be good for the NHS, bringing in more money that will go to supporting the hospitals and increasing the quality of health care for all through the positive influence of competition. This may be so and competition maybe the key to lowering costs in the short terms, but is a two-tier system, in which those able to pay are first in line whilst the patients not able to afford these benefits are left with affectively second-rate care a reasonable solution?

The appeal of private health care is obvious. By paying for your service you can ensure quicker care and assumedly better quality with a private room (or at the least in a private) wing and arguments that by doing so whilst continuing to contribute to the NHS are not without merit. For the government it represents a large saving in health bills.

The appeal of the NHS is more obvious for patients, it’s free but represents a huge dedication of funds from our national budget in a time when employment is low and there is little to spare. This difference is key when we continue the pros and cons of both system and this goes further than simply government cost.

With the NHS paid for by taxation (a baseline of £103.8 billion for 2010-11) they have a natural incentive to ensure our population is healthy as a pre-emptive measure. Cost cutting, especially in times of economic downturn, is always a priority and by ensuring our population is healthy reduces the level of care, procedures, and time needed to deal with ill health. As opposed to this the alternative is simply cutting services and relying on private health care. Taking up the first opportunity would increase the nation’s economy by making our work force happier, have a longer work life and be more productive.

Private health care has no such incentive. Firstly the providers make their money through procedures. With this in mind we cannot deny that the health care providers are reliant on a population ravaged by ill health and reliant on procedures, operations, and care. Although we would like to believe business will act honestly in their activities, from experience we know this is not so, with many attempts to create a false demand. In this instance it’s likely to be in the form of tests, procedures, and care but taken by the exploitation of the trust patients have in their doctors. As Roger Strube said, “we should not consider patients “wise consumers” of medical care’.

This fear is not unheard of and may be witnessed in the current investigation by the Fair Trade’s Competition Commission into the practises of the these health care providers in not providing patients, GPs, and insurers enough choice and putting into the question the nature of the competitive health industry and government claims these measures are intended to create.

Secondly, the private health insurer has the same lack of incentive. Unlike the providers their income comes from regular payments with the promise to pay for an agreed amount of treatment when needed (treatment provided by the previously mentioned health care provider). Although they may have the same intention to ensure their clients remain healthy to cut down on expenses, by ensuring that the populations health is at risk they can increase premiums in order to cover greater apparent risk. Just like the health care provider, the insurer also has an interest in the undertaking of unneeded and unwarranted tests and procedures in order to justify the higher premium rates to cover the greater risk in insuring the people.

We can largely see this by studying health care insurers in the United States. A country that is famously reliant on privatised health care to a much larger extent then our own, many claims of the greater efficiency of this system proven wrong with private health care insurance prices rising 700% between 1969 to 2009 and changes to the cost of Medicare (the government funded health care program for over 65s and the disabled) having risen only 400% in the same time.

So what does this mean for the British health care system?
It is not the case that the NHS will be abolished in a favour of complete free market health system but these proposals are pushing people in to the arms of private health and away from the NHS. By doing so they are extending the market share of the health sector and are likely to draw the best personnel, and therefore the best potential for care as people will always be drawn towards high pay and better work environments. This ultimately harms the NHS as they may be left doctors and nurses less able to deliver the same level of care as private providers subsequently creating a positive feedback loop, furthering the lack of faith in the NHS and increasing the cause of the free-market believes.

Privatisation has for thirty years become the free-market followers aims for all industry. Their beliefs that markets can lead people, and free people from the tyranny of government has seen us fall to economic ruin and social divides. We must consider the long-term impacts of such decisions rather then just the short-term savings for these things do not happen overnight but represent the slow erosion of the pillars of society.

Originally published on The Grapevine

Are We A Christian Nation?

Religion and politics is one of the most contentious relationships of modern society, and for that matter ancient societies also.

As a British nation we long considered ourselves to be, in some way, above the issue of religion. Although the majority of our residents may consider themselves Christian (to what extent this is genuine faith is disputed), church attendance has been constantly and considerably reduced since the end of the Second World War, showing undoubtedly an end to the power of the Church of England over UK citizens.

In his speech in Oxford to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, not only did David Cameron claim Britain to be a Christian nation, but he also claimed it was within the tradition of Christian values that Britain may be able to counter what he claims is a “moral collapse”.

"The history and existence of a constitutional monarchy owes much to a Bible in which Kings were anointed and sanctified with the authority of God and in which there was a clear emphasis on the respect for Royal Power and the need to maintain political order."

Amongst its influences, Cameron likes to claim it’s relationship with politics is it’s most important, saying firstly we owe the Bible our monarchic society, as if this is something we should be grateful to the Bible for:

"When every human being is of equal and infinite importance, created in the very image of God we get the irrepressible foundation for equality and human rights a foundation that has seen the Bible at the forefront of the emergence of democracy, the abolition of slavery, and the emancipation of women."

He goes onto to claim that the Bible has been the source of human rights and that the image of man as God has been the key player in the rights of all mankind:

Although the Bible may have been used in the pursuit of these goals, it has also been used against them. God being made in the image of man being used as proof non-whites were not descended from God and therefore not of equal footing during the days of American racism, for example. This isn’t to mention democracy dating back to the Greeks, the abolition of slavery being only two hundred years ago and women’s right to vote only one hundred. As usual the it depends on interpretation, the historical problem with all religions.

The PM claims it is Britain’s Christian nature that makes it a breading ground for multiculturalism and multiple faiths being able to thrive, but he even seems to proof himself wrong in his own speech:

"Many people tell me it is much easier to be Jewish or Muslim here in Britain than it is in a secular country like France. Why? Because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too. And because many of the values of a Christian country are shared by people of all faiths and indeed by people of no faith at all."

In reality it is not the Christian demands of our society that provide space for religious tolerance but our drive to be a truly enlightened and moral nation that provides this framework.

So are we a Christian nation? Given the morals, ethics, and beliefs David Cameron likes to claim are rooted in Christianity are also key building blocks in those of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism; probably not. It’s worth considering that these are also the building blocks of humanitarianism and secularism…

Young, Angry, and Ignored

The economy is in its worst state for decades and it’s predicted that matters are only going to get worse. Unemployment is going to rise, average pay is likely to go down, the rich-poor gap is going to get bigger and the environment is taking a back seat to economic recovery.

This is not simply hearsay or doomsday predictions but the admittance of our own government who, with this in mind, refuse to steer us away from the narrowing mountain top path.

Whilst debates go back and forth about the state of Europe, the place of big business in these financial times, and government cuts it is ultimately the young and the poor who become left behind, with the young becoming more and more incorporated into the deprived area of society.

It’s not as if we have taken this move lightly. Worldwide we have seen a movement of protests, occupations, and riots which, with the exception of a handful of Middle Eastern states, have gone largely ignored by the powers that be. In many examples it has not simply been the message that has been ignored but the basic human rights of the actors who have been confronted by police batons and pepper spray.

It’s not only on the front lines where the young are feeling the harsh reality of the after shocks of the economic disaster.

The summer riots showed the fear and anger of a youth politically ignored, being ostracised by police, the government, and people in general who see them as gang members, drug users, and members of society who have no interest in taking part in it. Despite over a million youths unemployed, benefit cuts, elimination of EMA, closure of youth centres – the right wing claim the action was unnecessary, unprovoked, and unwarranted.

Little has changed since the summer with public housing being sold off, threat of privatisation of the NHS, and the demonization of squatters commandeered by the media.

This is a dilemma that has spread from the usual suspects of inner cities and deprived areas to university graduates attempting to find their way in a hostile and unsympathetic jobs market.

A simple study of facts and figures shows that in the last year business leaders have seen their salaries and bonuses increase whilst jobs are being cut and recruitment is stagnating.

The lack of possibilities for hired work gives young people only two options. Either to do their best in any jobs they can get (coffee shops, waiting, retail, etc.) or try to survive as an intern doing jobs that only a few year ago would have been paid and often replacing paid employees made redundant weeks, or months before.

Working an internship whilst maintaining rent payments and providing for your self the basic necessities for survival is infamous enough but, for those lucky enough to be able to land an internship, it is made harder by rising costs of food and even steeper rises in housing costs.

So why should we trust, care, or believe in what anybody tells us? The truth is, after the promises made by Nick Clegg to provide a true alternative for Britain creating the coalition that has done nothing to improve the economy and has specifically done nothing to help us, in honesty we shouldn’t.

What we should do is remember every word they said, and every promise they make. We need to remember everything because in the next ten, twenty, thirty years we are going to inherit this country and we’re going to inherit the world and we need to remember what we learnt in our youths. These actions and this anger isn’t simply youth idealism but something to be kept close to hearts in order to provide a better future for our children and theirs.

We need to remember what it feels like to feel left behind by our leaders in order to ensure no generation must go through this again.

Originally published on New Political Centre

Is Shale Gas really worth it?

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In the state of Pennsylvania, fracking is common and the supporters claim it provides low cost energy without relaying on foreign, unstable forms of energy which has a lower carbon output than coal. The affects for the local people have been devastating though.

The process utilizes water laced with chemicals and sand pumped in at high pressures to fracture the Shale rock and realise the gas inside. Not only has this process been proven to create seismic activity but the chemicals, although unknown due to corporations rights to keep this information secret, they have been known to include carcinogens. This mix of water and cancer causing chemicals have a tendency to find their way into the local water supplies, causing authorities to warn citizens they must boil their water before consuming.

Of course David Cameron’s government is now endorsing the idea for Lancashire.

Driven by the affects the gas has had on the US energy economy, halving overall prices and offering gas security to both Canada and the US for an estimated one hundred years the temptation to fall for Shale Gas seems obvious.

Is it really worth it though?

The carbon output, after extraction being about equal to coal, from one fifth of the 2tr cubic feet of gas trapped under Lancashire would produce 15% of our total carbon dioxide emission by 2050, ruining our own goals and the risks are already mentioned.

Although British companies do not use the same mix of chemicals that the American companies infamously utilize but it is also the methane released in the process that becomes deadly to human health. In a famous clip from the documentary Gasland a Pennsylvania citizen demonstrates the levels by igniting the water from her faucet.

The move would also be a body blow to those dedicated to the use of carbon neutral, green, and sustainable methods of creating energy.

As the green energy movement has been under constant attack this last week, with shots fired over the bow of wind farms by Prince Philip, the harnessing of this gas would simply prove the government has more interest in costs and the present whilst discriminating against those to come, jeopardising their own future for energy stability and crippling sustainable energy.

Reports suggest the amounts needed to utilize this gas could amount to £32 bn or 2,300 off shore wind farms. Although wind farms may be by no means perfect by investment we can improve them and other green energy sources. Only by doing so may we hope to have a chance to become a sustainable community.

Originally published on Daily Organ

For Rent Control in the Capital

With the London Mayoral elections quickly approaching and our candidates getting into campaign mode, their faces and promises are soon to become ubiquitous around the capital. The debates are sure to take a predictable pattern; transport, crime, council tax, and competitiveness and with the events of the last summer more than likely the protests, occupations, and riots that have defined the capital over the last twelve months. There is one issue that should become a must for this election however and an issue that will likely take a back seat. Rent prices.

Rents across the country have been rising since the financial crises and as expected London has felt this more so than any other area in the UK. From October 2009 to October 2011 rent prices in the capital increased by 13 percent. Consider this alongside an increase in the amount of people living in a property rising from 1.5 to 2 in the same period as well as the average tenant income in the capital raising 6% in this period and a clear picture is painted.

Now more than ever the capital needs rent controls. This idea is not new and the practise is common in the United States many cities: New York, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Oakland all having such measures in places.

But what are the benefits of having such controls? One of the key arguments for such action is to increase living standards for those in rented accommodation. It is not unusual, as anyone ever living in student or low rent housing will tell you, for landlords to conceal known defects to the house from the tenant only to arise later in their tenancy. Tenant complaints about these issues can result in rents being increased as the lease runs out. This practise of increasing rents is also becoming common in order to remove student and young graduates in favour for older tenants who may be more financially stable. With the implementation of a price ceiling however this issue is removed and any discrepancies amongst houses should be evened out as landlords are forced to bring housing standards up to a level required by the law.

It is not simply this factor of housing quality that could be improved by the introduction of a price ceiling.

Undeniably those taking part in the summer riots came from the poorest boroughs of London and these were a direct reaction to government austerity measures that affected these groups most. Whether the riots were mindless violence or political stand is not the issue but rather the cuts to EMA, child tax credits, and youth centres, increased unemployment, police discrimination, and rent prices played an undeniable role. Such measures as to ensure lower rent prices would at the very least ensure less burden on the shoulders of those taking the hits of the financial crises hardest.

Not only are these high costs of living making it harder for those already struggling with financial hardship but also for young graduates and young professionals attempting to start their career. As Ross Perlin describes in his book Inter Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy, internships are becoming more and more common as the economic landscape gets worse for young people, the vast majority of which being unpaid with the exception of expenses and some being illegal under minimum wage laws. The argument of unpaid internships has been had in the House of Com to little end result as companies save millions in salaries by replacing redundant staff with unpaid inters.

As England’s industry remains centralised in London, anyone wishing to pursue a career in almost any industry is forced down to the capital in the hope that an internship awaits them. It is not the fierceness of the competition for internships that remains the biggest issue but rather the fear of being excepted to one of the few places to have the worries of balancing the unpaid role and the demands of the landlord. Whilst minimum wage jobs fail to support living expenses when worked full time in the capital this is a delicate balancing act that rules internships out for most of the countries young, hopeful, and aspiring people.

There are some that argue that the rent control lessens the incentives on letting agents to improve the quality of their properties, as the value of housing is limited. With a well-regulated code to ensure basic qualities are ensured, these qualities being focused on health and safety, basic amenities, and sustainability, this should not become an issue. Others argue we are restricting the rights of landowners to do what they will with their land. With this there may be a case and people should have the right to do what they wish with their property. But when people take basic rights as an excuse for irresponsibility surely the rights may be revoked?

The chance is the Mayoral election campaign will have no mention of a rent ceiling and rent itself will play second fiddle to crime and transport. During the campaign and during the next year, two, and possibly three it is not out of the question that the sequence of rent increase will continue to outshine incomes and we need our leaders to take up this discussion. 

Originally published on The New Political Centre

Seven Billion and the Risks of Urbanisation

 

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At the time of my grandfather’s birth in 1930 there was an estimated two billion people on the planet. Today that figure has increased by 250% and a child born to day is born into a world of seven billion people. It is, in fact, the day I write this that the seven billionth child was born.

Of course we do not know for sure that child was born on this day but we know that with a buffer of six months this number has been reached and much talk has been had about the implication of this number.

We are all aware of the effects overpopulation has on the ability of the world to produce enough food, water, and energy to support such a large group of people. As well as the regular Malthusian predictions there are however more concerns than the issue of how to feed a growing population. Much of this grows from where people are living as much as how many.

As of 2008 over 50% of the global population lives in urban areas and this rate of urbanisation is simply going to rise as we continue through the century as will be global population. This factor creates issues in itself. Acting as kindling, condensed populations make these populations vulnerable to three scenarios in particular – political unrest, viral outbreaks, and environmental disaster.

Political unrest we can see the affects of in the Middle East as well as in western cities enthralled in protest and unrest. It is not the large population that results in the situations that occur but rather the ignition source. In this case the economic crises, media censorship, and overbearing states, create a fire that spreads further and deeper into society.

With the case of the Middle East the flame burns particularly brightly due to the low average age of the population. Combined with modern technology, the large amount of like-minded citizens in confined areas makes the message spread quicker and the action more prevalent.

Just as political unrest can spread with more speed and more intensity in large urban areas, so can viral outbreaks. The wide spread outbreak of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, affecting almost 10% of the global population showcased the affects of a viral outbreak in a world of a highly urbanised global population.

As well as the stronger global connection through cheaper international travel and more international trade allowed the virus to spread to all corners of the world and through luck, rather than attempts by scientists, was not as deadly as it could have been and may potentially be next time round.

There is one last major concern with a growing, urbanised population and that is also one we have been feeling more and more in the last few years. With the increase in natural disasters as well as the increase in the severity of such disasters means peoples around the world are becoming more vulnerable to these events. When these events arise and especially when they affect urban areas the outcome can be devastating.

As we head into the future these concerns will likely worsen with the poorest and worse off being ultimately the most vulnerable. It is no longer the time to pretend as if these concerns are not real but time to ensure our population is protected as best as can be and that our global community is strong and our governments fair.

As our leaders become consumed by the economic crises it is time for them to remember the numerous humanitarian crises, the scale of which we cannot yet judge, that lurk around the corner.

Originally published on Daily Organ