Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Kerry meets Zarif at his New York Residence


Secretary of State John Kerry met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif at the Iranian ambassadors residence in New York. This is the first meeting of the two after the P5+1 signed a deal that will see Iran reduce nuclear enrichment that will in effect ease sanctions. This is also a diplomatic victory that will redefine Iran and US foreign policies.

See more analysis on Al-Monitor  

Monday, 27 April 2015

TIME 100: A Reflection

I read through The Time 100: The World's Most Influential People before Sunday Mass yesterday. Inspiring? YES, Informative Graphics? YES, Choice of people? Mh..that is for another day. All in all I enjoyed reading this April 27 - May 4 2015 double issue of TIME. The cover had Kanye West, the maverick American artist - who according to the writer Elon Musk, says would be the first person to tell you he belongs on the list. Kanye West is known far and wide. In our part of the world, he is famed more on his relationship with Kim Kardashian - who is also in the list - than his music. Or am I wrong? My wife doesn't read TIME Magazine, but she took notice of it when she saw Kanye on the cover. Was this TIME's intention? The graphic representation of the Homelands - where the 100 were born is covered in the first pages. It is not surprising to observe the left side of the page which has the Americas is filled with more people - almost three quarters. 

I am not surprised that the list has Kim Kardashian - the first lady of #fame. You can see the harshtag, yes she is a media phenomenon with over 29 million followers on Instagram. When Kim flew to Armenia, her ancestral land, it made the news and remarkably, she made a plea to President Obama to recognise the Armenian Genocide. I am moved by the first woman in charge of the US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, this is a positive stride in women empowerment. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the celebrated Nigerian novelist also makes the list an indication that the strides women are making are also been felt in Africa. I have read all her books save for Half of a Yellow Sun which I intend to read soon. The way she moulds her characters in her works is just amazing. Her stories resonate with many people in Africa - remember Kambili in Purple Hibiscus

Jorge Ramos is described as "America's New Anchor" a man with silver-haired but with a heart of gold. Christiane Amanpour says Ramos who has redefined the immigration narrative can 'move the needle' with another presidential election coming up. Obiageli Ezekwesili was the face of the #bringbackourgirls campaign. You know making the list of TIME 100 is not an easy task, it requires, in some instances, selfless service to humanity, unbreakable commitment and service. It has been a year and the girls in Chibok have not been rescued but Nigeria has a new man in Muhammadu Buhari who also makes the list. 

Mohammad Javad Zarif, is a man I have always admired. Iranian top diplomat returned from the Iran Talks with a deal. The deal has brought about world rapprochement after decades of Iran isolation from international relations. Zarif was a member of the prominent personalities of the dialogue among civilisations of President Mohamed Khatami. A distinguished scholar who has encapsulated President Hassan Rouhani's constructive engagement policy. I also hold to high esteem Pope Francis, who according to Desmond Tutu has instilled a new sense of human-centredness in the papacy. Pope Francis is indeed God's gift to humanity. His humility and modesty is bringing hope to the world's poor. Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu also makes the list. Ehud Barak, writing on Bibi in his last paragraph, he states "To leave his mark Netanyahu must swiftly heal wounds opened by his campaign [] for a tougher policy, and even, if needed, an attack against Iran [..]. Daring actions are needed. Not just words. From praising Zarif's diplomacy during the Iran Talks to Obama's victory on nuclear nonproliferation deal, TIME ought to have warned against Ehud Barak's insinuation.

TIME 100 gives young people like myself time to reflect on the future. I aspire not to make the list of 100 but to be like Pope Francis, a face of humanity or like Malala a champion of education or just simply like Abby Wambach, to use passion to lead. Or simply like the many who have not made the list who touch the lives of others by bringing hope in their lives.