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Standing with Nepal, UN's failure in Syria, balancing freedom and security, Korean relations, inequality in South Africa

A round-up of global commentary for the May 11 Monitor weekly magazine.

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Nepal army personnel and earthquake survivors search for belongings at a collapsed house in Sankhu on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday.

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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China Daily / Beijing
The Nepalese are not alone in earthquake recovery
“Natural disasters know no border and they often catch us unawares,” states an editorial. “Tremors of similar magnitude struck [China] in the past decade. We know how desperate the people trapped underneath the collapsed structures are for help.... In the face of natural disasters, emergency aid and rescue efforts should also know no borders.... China will do whatever it can to help its neighbor and so will most of the countries in the rest of the world.... Many Chinese people have prayed online for Nepalese people.... They have also shown their respect and concern for the Chinese rescue team, which has already arrived at the site. Nepalese people should know that they are not alone in this time of tragedy.”

The Daily Star / Beirut, Lebanon
The United Nations’ latest failure: Syria
“The U.N. envoy to Syria [, Staffan de Mistura,] is gearing up for another attempt to end the conflict but his approach now borders on the reckless,” states an editorial. De Mistura argued “that Iran should be invited to a proposed ‘Geneva 3’ set of discussions on Syria’s future, because the Islamic Republic has influence in Syria and an ‘impact’ on what is taking place. By this logic, and according to the logic of the Syrian regime, a global conspiracy is underway against Damascus, with dozens of countries having an impact on the war.... The U.N. has been largely unable to enforce its own resolutions on chemical weapons and aid access. It can now add its peace envoy’s blunders to a long list of disappointments that have devastating consequences for millions.”

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Asharq Al-Awsat / London
The tension between fighting terror and losing freedoms
“[T]he fight against terror forces any country ... to curb ... freedoms in order to tighten its grip on the terrorists,” writes Amal Mousa, a Tunisian writer and poet. “Perhaps the first example of this was in the United States following the 9/11 attacks.... Many in the country considered the measures, which included ... hacking individuals’ phone lines and monitoring their bank accounts, an attack ... on the concept of democracy itself.... This situation ... is ... more acutely felt in countries new to the democratic experience, whose citizens are still basking in the glory of the newly found freedoms.... Their sadness at the loss of these hard-won fruits ... is both palpable and highly moving.... [W]hat is sorely needed ... is for us to remain vigilant against this disastrous threat which it, and the subsequent wars declared on it, pose toward our basic freedoms....”

The Korea Times / Seoul, South Korea
Small steps toward inter-Korean relations
An editorial states, “The word ‘inter-Korean’ seemed to have disappeared from the news – that is until [recently] when the Ministry of Unification allowed a private group, Ace Gyeongam, to ship 15 tons of fertilizer for a greenhouse project in Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province. Ace Gyeongam is headed by the chairman of Ace Bed Corp., who happens to be from North Korea.... Seoul is seeking to host a joint soccer competition, traditional wrestling and cultural projects to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.... [W]ith South Korea sandwiched between a shifting geopolitical power balance in Northeast Asia – notably the tightening of U.S.-Japan relations and recent warming between China and Japan – working with North Korea would certainly build up Seoul’s diplomatic muscle....”

The Reporter / Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Xenophobia and inequality in South Africa
“[T]he roots of xenophobia are found embedded in the psyche of South Africans,” writes Raji Gezahegn, a lecturer of Law at Wolaita Sodo University in Ethiopia. “They have unconsciously internalized the values of their white oppressors and use them to define their position in relation to African migrants. This is reinforced by the post-apartheid South African identity which only recognizes South Africans leaving no room for integrating African migrants into the fabric of the rainbow nation.”


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