Daños colaterales

Dejen que la gente coma

En las peores condiciones imaginables —tras huracanes, terremotos, bombas y disparos— aparece lo mejor de la humanidad. No una vez, ni dos, sino siempre.

Las siete personas asesinadas en una misión de World Central Kitchen en Gaza el lunes eran lo mejor de la humanidad. No son anónimos: tienen rostro y nombre. No son trabajadores humanitarios genéricos ni daño colateral de la guerra.

Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, John Chapman, Jacob Flickinger, Zomi Frankcom, James Henderson, James Kirby y Damian Sobol arriesgaron todo en favor de la actividad más fundamentalmente humana: compartir nuestro alimento con los demás.

Junto a ellos serví en Ucrania, Turquía, Marruecos, las Bahamas, Indonesia, México, Gaza e Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Let People Eat

In the worst conditions you can imagine — after hurricanes, earthquakes, bombs and gunfire — the best of humanity shows up. Not once or twice but always.

The seven people killed on a World Central Kitchen mission in Gaza on Monday were the best of humanity. They are not faceless or nameless. They are not generic aid workers or collateral damage in war.

Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, John Chapman, Jacob Flickinger, Zomi Frankcom, James Henderson, James Kirby and Damian Sobol risked everything for the most fundamentally human activity: to share our food with others.

These are people I served alongside in Ukraine, Turkey, Morocco, the Bahamas, Indonesia, Mexico, Gaza and Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mourners at the funeral of Alon Shamriz, who was mistakenly killed by the IDF last Friday, at Shefayim kibbutz, Israel, on 17 December 2023. Photograph: Oren Ziv/AFP/Getty Images

From 7 October onward, Israelis have clung to the one hope that unified this normally fractious and now broken society: freeing the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. The faces of those stolen people haunt us on every street. Hope soared when nearly half of the hostages were released in a temporary ceasefire deal last month, and Israelis took to the streets demanding more.

Then on Friday, three hostages who had survived 70 days in violent, wartime captivity in Gaza somehow got loose, only for Israeli forces to mistake them as a threat – and shoot them dead. They were shirtless and holding a white flag.…  Seguir leyendo »

Al-Khansaa Maternity Hospital in Mosul in 2017, after a repaired section was reopened. Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

I started training to be a doctor in the aftermath of the gulf war. It was a dark time to commit to a career of healing. U.S. sanctions and relentless bombings had decimated our medical infrastructure and endangered our access to medical supplies. Surrounded by devastation, we fought to heal, to operate, to comfort — often with the barest of resources. Every day was a battle in itself, trying to save lives as our facilities crumbled around us.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 pushed a teetering health care system to the brink. Bombings and counterinsurgency operations relentlessly flooded hospitals with injured civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saeed and Niloufar at their civil wedding ceremony in London in 2019. Niloufar's parents, Shahin Shakooea and Masood Ebrahim, are standing behind them as Navaz joins in on FaceTime.

Living in Dallas for the past six years, I have ached to see my only sibling, Niloufar. There were days we missed each other so much that I almost wanted to give up my life in Dallas just to go and see her, but I knew if I left, I might not be able to come back to be here with my husband. I had to wait for my immigration case to process before I could visit them, and Niloufar couldn't come see me because of the recent US travel restrictions for Iranians.

I remember the day when I realized I couldn't go to Niloufar's civil marriage ceremony to my brother-in-law Saeed in London, where they lived; I cried.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this Jan. 8, 2020 photo, rescue workers search the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ebrahim Noroozi

The crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, with the loss of all 176 people on board, including 15 children and 57 Canadians, was a horrific tragedy. It’s also deeply revelatory regarding several seminal issues involving Iran.

Flight PS752 went down shortly after it took off from the Tehran airport, just hours after Iran fired some 15 ballistic missiles at two large bases in Iraq that housed American and allied forces, as retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani.

The coincidence of the airline crash and the Iranian retaliation resulted in speculation and suspicion. The Iranian regime immediately and implausibly claimed mechanical problems as the crash cause.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Forgotten Lessons of Black Hawk Down

Twenty-five years ago this week, a Somali warlord named Mohammed Farah Aidid offered the American military a glimpse of its future. But neither policymakers back in Washington nor commanders in the field were attuned to what he had on offer.

A mission that had begun 10 months earlier to provide relief supplies to starving Somalis had evolved into a vastly more ambitious nation-building project. On the night of Oct. 3-4, 1993, an American military operation to capture Mr. Aidid ended in catastrophic failure, including 18 Americans dead. Soon afterward the entire mission collapsed, and the United States withdrew. Yet any lessons that might have been learned from this debacle stayed in Mogadishu, alongside the smoldering wreckage of the Black Hawk helicopter that Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

The world is failing a generation of Iraqi kids

Iraqi children have been the victims of the country’s dire political situation even before the start of the war led by the United States. The negative effects on children started with the harsh United Nations sanctions against the regime of Saddam Hussein and were considerably aggravated by the war, whose consequences are still felt.

Even now, hardly a week passes in Iraq without violence leaving both children and adults with permanent physical and mental scars. Experts such as Dr. Haithi al-Sady from the Psychological Research Center at Baghdad University have warned of the high number of children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).…  Seguir leyendo »

Awaiting a doctor in the Hamam al-Alil refugee camp, near Mosul, in April. Credit Carl Court/Getty Images

Military planes have been flying low over our hospital. I have been working in Hamam al-Alil, about 15 miles from Mosul, at a Doctors Without Borders trauma hospital. The Islamic State’s last holdout is now a small area of Mosul’s Old City, and the battle to recapture it is reportedly in its final moments.

The roar of the military planes triggers painful flashbacks for one of our patients, Hamza, a 10-year-old boy from a Mosul neighborhood that had been controlled by the Islamic State from 2014 until very recently, when the coalition forces retook most of the city. In May, he watched his father burn alive in an airstrike over their neighborhood.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rescue workers searching through debris for bodies in Mosul, Iraq, in March. Credit Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Two weeks ago, the American military finally acknowledged what nongovernmental monitoring groups had claimed for months: The United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State since August 2014 has been killing Iraqi and Syrian civilians at astounding rates in the four months since President Trump assumed office. The result has been a “staggering loss of civilian life,” as the head of the United Nations’ independent Commission of Inquiry into the Syrian civil war said last week.

“At least 484 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition strikes,” the United States Central Command, or Centcom, the military command responsible for the Middle East, said in a June 2 statement.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Taxi Driver’s Last Ride

When Mohammad Azam started his shift on May 21, it was just another sunny morning in Taftan, a small desert town in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. Like taxi drivers around the world, he planned to spend this day waiting for customers, and navigating through traffic when he could find a fare. He had no idea it would be his last day alive.

By that evening, Mr. Azam’s body had been found burned to death, barely identifiable. He had the bad luck of picking up the target of an American drone strike: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, who was then leader of the Afghan Taliban.…  Seguir leyendo »

A U.S. fighter jet flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State group targets in Syria. (Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Associated Press)

During the Vietnam War, U.S. military leaders infamously used the number of enemy killed — body counts — as the measure of U.S. battlefield accomplishment. Even if accurate, these numbers were a spectacular failure as a touchstone of success.

It was ironic that Vietnam War opponents used a similar but opposite body count to undermine the war effort — that of civilians killed. The iconic image of protesters chanting, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?” foreshadowed a paradigm shift in how the U.S. military approaches the issue of civilian casualties, particularly in asymmetric conflicts. Now, “civilian protection” is, appropriately, central to both the international law of war and the legitimacy of U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

A food factory hit by a Saudi-led coalition, killing workers and destroying the building in Sanaa, Yemen, last week. Mohammed Huwais/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the span of four days earlier this month, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen bombed a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital, killing 19 people; a school, where 10 children, some as young as 8, died; and a vital bridge over which United Nations food supplies traveled, punishing millions.

In a war that has seen reports of human rights violations committed by every side, these three attacks stand out. But the Obama administration says these strikes, like previous ones that killed thousands of civilians since last March, will have no effect on the American support that is crucial for Saudi Arabia’s air war.…  Seguir leyendo »

Two faces of the Syria tragedy

The look in his eyes is hypnotic.

Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, his face covered in dust and blood, sits quietly in the orange chair of the ambulance, his tiny bare feet barely dangling over the edge. Photographers snapped the picture after rescue workers pulled Omran from of a collapsing building in the city of Aleppo, in Syria, after it was hit by a Syrian government or Russian airstrike.

The picture has spread at lightning speed across social media, making him a symbol of the relentless suffering being experienced at this very moment by millions of Syrian civilians, including countless women and children.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rebels in Aleppo say they have broken the siege of the city, but have yet to establish a secure route for civilians. Government forces under President Bashar al-Assad deny they have been pushed out of the city. The battle for Aleppo may mark a military turning point, but for Aleppo's remaining residents, it marks only an intensification of a misery that seems to go unheeded by the international community.

No one is coming to save the Syrians. If President Obama did not act in 2013 after the chemical attacks in Ghouta, where children died of asphyxiation, testing his "red line", then he surely will not act now after footage of chemical attacks two weeks ago in Idlib showed fighters, allegedly poisoned by Assad's chlorine, gasping for breath.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’emploi d’armes explosives, dont certaines sont interdites par des traités internationaux, a significativement augmenté ces quatre dernières années. Ces armes explosives sont utilisées en zones peuplées dans la majorité des conflits actuels, par les forces du gouvernement ou des acteurs non gouvernementaux, avec des exemples récents en Syrie, à Gaza, au Yémen ou en Ukraine. Le recours massif à ces armes, y compris les mines antipersonnel et les bombes à sous-munitions, dans les zones urbaines montre une absence totale de considération pour la vie des civils.

La zone d’impact de ces armes peut aller de quelques mètres à plusieurs centaines de mètres autour de l’explosion.…  Seguir leyendo »

El secretario general de Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, nos ha convocado a la I Cumbre Humanitaria mundial. Estamos llamados a dar respuesta a las crisis humanitarias que asolan buena parte del planeta. Más de 125 millones de personas están necesitadas de asistencia y protección urgente y más de 60 millones han sido desplazadas de sus hogares como consecuencia de guerras como las de Siria o Yemen o de catástrofes como el terremoto de Ecuador.

No se trata de situaciones esporádicas sino de crisis estructurales. Somos conscientes de que la comunidad humanitaria está al límite de su capacidad de respuesta. Tan solo en Siria, desde 2011, han muerto más de 280.000 personas, son 6,5 millones los desplazados internos y hay más de cuatro millones de refugiados.…  Seguir leyendo »

The grainy, stuttering CCTV images are haunting. Dr Mohammed Maaz, the last pediatrician working in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, diligently going about his work, in the face of unimaginable pressure. The footage is then engulfed by a cloud of dust and debris, as the Al Quds hospital is hit by an airstrike. At least 50 died, 60 more were injured. Dr Maaz perished along with his colleagues and patients.

Dr. Maaz was the last known pediatrician left in rebel-held Aleppo. The children of that city are now left more vulnerable than ever before. It is lamentable that in Syria, the World Health Organisation reports that 57% of public hospitals and 51% of public health clinics have been closed.…  Seguir leyendo »

En Alepo nos estamos quedando sin ataúdes

A finales de abril, aviones sirios o rusos bombardearon el hospital Al Quds, en la parte este de la ciudad dividida de Alepo. Al menos 50 personas murieron y otras 80 resultaron heridas.

Entre los muertos por el ataque estuvo mi querido amigo y colega, el Dr. Muhammad Wassim Mo’az, un ser humano cálido que se preocupaba mucho por sus pacientes y su comunidad. Dormía en el hospital por si hubiera una emergencia y tuviera que correr a atender a los bebés y los niños. Era el último pediatra en Alepo.

Otro amigo, el Dr. Mohammed Ahmad, también murió por los ataques aéreos.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Pentagon on Friday released the findings of its inquiry into the October 3, 2015, air attack on a Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. If the report was meant to demonstrate that appropriate action had been taken against those responsible, it was a failure. Instead, it highlights both the unlawfulness of the attack and the inadequacy of U.S. military justice. Those responsible received administrative punishment -- and not a single criminal charge was pursued.

The airstrike killed 42 patients, caregivers and medical staff, and injured dozens more. Some patients burned alive in their beds as the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »