Friday, January 02, 2009

Palestinians in Gaza - We Are All Guilty

Just when you think the Palestinians have suffered enough and nothing more can test their fortitude, trust Israel to come up with more ingenious ways of winning hearts and minds.
Just look at the shock and awe of the Gaza offensive.

What perfect timing and what a surprise to spring on a fatigued and famished people. A perfect Christmas present from Israel when the whole world is either away on holiday or in a general celebratory mood to ring in the New Year. The weather is great. This is perhaps the best time to be in the Middle East and holy land — the land of olives, peace and prophets.
At a time like this, the Palestinians are burying their dead. They’ve already buried hundreds of them. And by the time Israel is done dealing with “Hamas terrorists”, they might have buried thousands of their loved ones.
What Israel has unleashed on Gaza is outrageous even from Israeli standards. Amira Haas, a correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, in her despatch aptly titled, Christmas in Gaza: No More Room in the Morgue, says: “There are many corpses and wounded, every moment another casualty is added to the list of the dead, and there is no more room in the morgue. Relatives search among the bodies and the wounded in order to bring the dead quickly to burial. A mother whose three school-age children were killed, and are piled one on top of the other in the morgue, screams and then cries, screams again and then is silent.”
Another first person account by Safa Joudeh for an online publication talks of a “surreal” experience comparing deluged Gaza hospitals to slaughterhouses: “Never had we imagined anything like this. It all happened so fast but the amount of death and destruction is inconceivable. The streets are strewn with bodies, their arms, legs, feet, some with shoes and some without. Hospitals and morgues are packed and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them. And even after the dead are identified, doctors are having a hard time gathering the right body parts in order to hand them over to their families. The hospital hallways look like a slaughterhouse. It’s truly worse than any horror movie you could ever imagine.”
Israel of course assures the world that all these victims were “Hamas terrorists” and they deserved to die. Even the young children and infants dying in the arms of their parents were a clear and present danger to Israel.
Like the family of Anwar Balusha who lost five of his daughters when Israel bombed a mosque in Beit Hanoun. The five sisters were asleep when one of the mosque walls collapsed on to their small asbestos-roofed home and they were all killed in sleep. The eldest one was 17 and the youngest just four. But of course their death was necessary for Israel’s safety.
Tzipi Livni, the ‘moderate’ successor of Ehud Olmert, reminds the international community that Israel has to protect itself. “We need to give a better life of peace and quiet to our citizens,” pointed out Ms Livni after two days of bombing that killed nearly 300 Palestinians.
Killing Palestinians and flattening Palestinian towns and cities is the only way of protecting the Jewish state that was carved out of Palestinian land.
And as always Israel’s loyal American friends second her view. The honourable US ambassador to UN Zalmay Khalilzad holds Hamas responsible for the whole thing. ‘Sequence wise’, Khalilzad pointed out after another of those pointless UN Security Council meetings, ‘it’s the Palestinian rockets that started this!’
If we are talking of ‘sequence’ and history, ambassador Khalilzad, why not go back a bit more in time and look what started those homemade, rudimentary rockets in the first place? The answer is Israeli occupation of the past six decades. By the way, over the past seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by those rockets made from fertilizer while more than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel with the weapons given in aid by the US.
The Europeans are more nuanced in urging “restraint by all sides”. In other words, victims are once again to blame for inviting this upon themselves. The familiar charade! There has been no Western denunciation of the Israeli slaughter. Such aerial destruction is after all routinely visited on Iraq and Afghanistan.
As for the UN, that toothless wonder and handmaiden of big powers, the less said the better. Three days after Israel unleashed its blitz on Gaza, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stirred out of his slumber to call for end to violence! When it comes to standing up for the Palestinians, the world body’s record has never been spectacular. But under Ki-Moon, it has truly been a headless chicken. It knows not what it’s doing or where it’s headed.
The Arab and Muslim world has done little too. Let alone confront Israel or respond to the Palestinian suffering they could not even agree on when and where to meet to discuss the crisis in the first three days.
So while Israel relentlessly pummels and pulverises Gaza and the world watches in silent indifference, all the Arabs and Muslim countries can do is condemn the Jewish state for its “flagrant violations of the principles of international humanitarian law.” As if Israel cares for what Arabs and Muslim think about it!
But then what’s new? This has always been like this. This has always been a disproportionate, one-sided conflict.
Where’s the civilised world for God’s sake when we need it? Where is the international community with all its hallowed institutions and august organisations? Where are all those human rights agencies and NGOs that never tire of talking of all kinds of rights and charters and conventions? And where are the Arabs and Muslims?
We should realise that by remaining silent and doing nothing to stop these crimes against a famished and long-terrorised people, we actually prove our guilt by complicity?
As British philosopher Edmund Burke warned, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. The world is watching the Arabs. If they fail to act now, history will never forgive them.

2009 - There are still job opportunities in Dubai,

We are optimistic about 2009.....

2009 presents a golden opportunity for those who are willing to see it
Financial headlines did not make comforting reading as we saw off a difficult 2008 and welcomed 2009 with some trepidation as to the fiscal future.

Five thoughts you should bear in mind this year
It is too late to avoid the now-deepening recession. But it is not too late to learn important lessons from 2008, and resolve to do better this year. Here are five thoughts to bear in mind in 2009.

How to ride out the tough storm
The biggest complaints in my inbox from entrepreneurs are not about winning business, but getting their customers to pay on time.

'This year is going to be challenging'
Globally, the year 2008 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Be it bankruptcies, bailouts or bad predictions, the financial landscape has been littered in the past 12 months with unwanted souvenirs.

Good news: ‘Who said that jobs will disappear in Dubai?’

Summary
- Jobs will still be available this year
- companies will not stop recruiting qualified staff despite talk of flat growth
- a number of companies are still recruiting “strongly
- recruitment habits have changed.
- Companies are not using overt or more expensive means of advertising for jobs
- The good news, he added, is that the crisis has raised job loyalty and broken the back of high staff turnover.
- Now that the economy is slowing down, people will be more comfortable in their job and this will make employees more loyal to their companies
- The high job turnover seen here will slow down. It will serve the economy better.
- The inevitable correction is welcome as for the longest time, the economy was overheating
- Costs were rising and payrolls were increasing and became an untenable situation. And even then, people were having trouble making ends meet.
- The hunt for talent will still go on as all companies face a natural turnover rate. Any company, even those in a steady state, will lose 10 to 15 per cent of its staff due to attrition, poor performance or people moving on.
- The crisis has forced employers to become smart recruiters.
- A lot of companies are slowing down on recruitment. A company looking for five or six people to hire is now looking for one or two persons who can do the job
- The extent of the crisis would be clearer by March 2009
- Up to 20 per cent jump in the number of job seekers in the last two months.
- People from outside of Dubai still want to move here -- majority of them are from India, the Philippines and Kenya. Even Europeans, when it comes to finance jobs
- For the more experienced people, there is a serious slowdown because of high salaries.
- Companies now are looking at less experienced candidates
- Employers can now be more picky with people they are hiring – staff with better qualifications and long-term outlook are targeted

UPSIDE
* Employers: The market now is flooded with good talent
* Workers become more loyal to companies in times of crises
* Companies face lower risk in hiring younger people

DOWNSIDE
* Worst hit are real estate and finance sector workers, especially those who are highly-paid executives
* Moderately hit: tourism and hospitality sector workers

SAFE SECTORS
* Healthcare, telecoms, education sectors, sales