Let’s accept it, the year 2020 didn’t start off well. Seeing our world, “a global interconnected village” fall to a complete lockdown was something no country, international committee or organization could have predicted. Globally, continents, countries and cities are increasingly sealing their borders as a reactive yet precautionary way to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. The only known cure for this pandemic is to practice “Social Distancing” – a recently coined and trending term which has forced our global economy to come to a complete standstill.Read more
In collaboration with Anam Jalil Sheik
The upper middle class and elite of Pakistan lounge in appropriately furnished homes with full fridges and a large bag of chips next to them while they worriedly watch the news about increasing cases of COVID-19. Amongst these people are those who have a fixed salary and are somewhat relieved that they are getting two weeks off without doing any work, those who work from home, and those who have enough money to last them a few generations and aren’t really concerned about not being able to step outdoors for a few days. Most of these people are using their free time to catch up on their favorite shows, to message crushes and potential future partners and to strengthen their dating/flirting game.Read more
It’s been a banner year for the #MeToo movement, with a now staggering list of men in power facing sexual assault and rape allegations. And in May, media mogul Harvey Weinstein turned himself over at last to the police, and social media exploded with the victorious cries of survivors of sexual violence worldwide. It was undoubtedly a huge step in the eyes of the brave people who finally felt safe enough to speak out after years of silent shame. However, there may have been some unfortunate side effects in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement’s success, despite its excellent intentions. #MeToo was, in part, supposed to break the silence and stigma of sexual violence, and yet it’s possible that for many, it has done the opposite.
As per “The Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar” by Penny Green, Thomas MacManus and Alicia de la Cour Venning: “The first President of Burma, Sao Shwe Thaike, a Shan, claimed in 1959 that the ‘Muslims of Arakan certainly belong to the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races”.
Social media has become the voice of our world today. Facebook has surely made the world a smarter place. It is a free tool to share your personal information. It’s not wrong to say that it has changed the way we share our lives with the world. Whether it is your thoughts, photos, videos, your favorite movies, books or anything that is supposed to be personal is now smartly plastered on your social media profile. For women in Pakistan, however, things like Social Media aren’t as straightforward.
Gina Haspel got nominated on March 13th, 2018, by President Trump to be the new CIA Director, and as many presidential decisions, this one was sharply criticized by the public and several members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In November 2017, in the Northern Highlands of Egna, a six-year-old girl was burned and cut after being accused of witchcraft by her community. Her mother had died 3 years prior as a result of being publicly set on fire, burning to death in Mount Hagen. No one has been prosecuted for these crimes. While this case is shocking and deplorable, sadly it is unlikely to shock the women of Papua New Guinea where violence against women and a system designed to oppress them is still flourishing.
The ones most affected by climate change and violence in the world are people living in poverty. Where should they go? What should they do to save themselves? How can they live a normal life? These are the questions that bring tons of other questions with them. But who is going to take responsibility for them? Children, of all, suffer the most, but a solution is hard to come by.
Forced child marriage is a human rights violation. It is a severe impediment to social and economic development. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is well known for its work to end forced child marriage almost all over the world and especially in developing countries.
How is it to Live Without Water?
– Hi, this is Teresa, can I speak to Emmanuel?
– Hi Teresa, Emmanuel can’t come to the phone right now. He’s gone filling up some buckets with water.
– So, Luis, are you coming on Friday?
– I can’t. The water is on that day and I have to do the laundry.
[Text message] Excuse me, teacher, I couldn’t make it to class today because we’ve now been without water for 4 days at home and we had to move temporarily to my aunt’s house.
Venezuela Without Water
These conversations do not belong to a specific Venezuelan; they belong to most of them. Among the many issues that trouble our hearts, there is one that makes us run and set up our lives so as to be able to get it: water. Between the years 2016 and 2017 there were more than 9 million people who lived under strict water shortage plans and who received around 48 hours of water per week.
In 2010, the United Nations declared that having access to clean water was a fundamental human right but since the Venezuelan government has already a Master’s in violating these rights, the one related to water access was not going to be out of the list. Venezuelans are modifying their habits, routines, and life, in general, to suit the water plans and be at home when there is water in the pipes.
They do their cleaning, laundry, watering plants or similar chores only under these timetables and the rest of the week they have to use water containers very, very wisely.
According to the World Health Organization “enough” water per person refers to 50-100 liters per day, but some families are used now to work with 40 liters per day to drink and cook for all family members, or one bucket per person for personal use. It is hard to tell how many liters each home receives since water service is not measured anymore.
How We Live Without Water
Nueva Esparta, Falcon, and Carabobo are some of the states that have suffered the most with water shortage. Some families without water in Margarita, next to the beach, have learned to “shower” with one 2-liter bottle and use water from the sea to clean the house, flush the toilets and do the dishes.
Some other people are looking for water sources themselves, opening wells when they can. These natural deposits are being used without the proper revision by the authorities and may be contaminated so they are used primarily as a source of water for household chores and not for drinking or cooking.
Leakages, poor pipe system and failures in the general pumping systems directly affect the quality of the service in the country. Water that comes out of the tap is poor in quality because water processing industries do not have the resources and ability to cover the demand and process all raw water that comes from lakes and dams. These companies depend on government’s allocations which explains their deficit.
When compared to other Latin American countries, Venezuela’s water is extremely cheap, and therefore extremely inefficient. While in Peru water costs $0.3 per m3 and in Colombia $0.2 per m3, in Venezuela each cubic meter of water costs $0.000137. How can a service keep a quality standard if prices are close to nothing?
A Regular Day Without Water
Wake up early to go to work, take a shower with your 2-liter bottle and brush your teeth with one single cup, hopefully, your hair is still decent and you don’t have to wash it, yet. You have to shower with a container below your feet so as to collect those 2 liters again and use them to flush the toilet. Leave home, work all day and come back. Cook dinner and lunch for the following day using one or maybe two more bottles. If you have air conditioning at home, you may want to use its water to wash some underwear, remember to store soapy water for your next toilet flush. Dishes can wait, apparently tomorrow there’s going to be water on the tap. Apparently.
What to Do Now?
Regular citizens cannot do much to solve this problem. This is not something that can be solved by recycling, reusing. We are already doing that. It is necessary to invest and repair equipment, pumping stations, treatment plants, electrical pieces, and engines. It is necessary for politicians and people in power to stop stealing the money they should be using to keep the service working. I wonder if after all these problems and new lifestyles we are going to finally learn something about how to use resources correctly and wisely, or maybe we will just learn how to live without water.