Thought for food?

Are you hungry? Already dreaming? Well you can enjoy your next meal, till then why don’t I take you on a little tour of food lesson? Food is a fundamental element of life, the energy of all mankind that is why we run after it like crazy animals. Yet, it is a complex and a challenging subject matter to examine effectively. So why is food important? Well many of you will hit the main and the obvious part; it is important to stay healthy and we won’t be able to survive without it, hmm quite obvious. All of you will also agree that everyone should have access to it, it’s the basic necessity. So how it is that 821 million and counting, of the world population are not getting enough to survive on? 1 in 9 people sleep without consuming a grain of food? And they are just left to keep dreaming? There are 2 reasons that account for this and they both are profoundly important to evaluate and judge upon.

1. Unfriendly Climate Change

(image from CGIAR (2016), ‘New guidance for climate-smart agriculture in Southeast Asia’ )

As we know the phenomenon of global warming is real and is therefore interrupting the production of our crops. Especially in the tropics where many developing nations are located. So how is this global warming happening? Well, for over 2 centuries or so, the burning of fossil fuels, production of agricultural commodities (e.g. rice and livestock), and deforestation has resulted in concentrations of carbon dioxide, and other existing greenhouse gases (Darwin, 2001). Then how does this affect the agricultural production? Leading of all problems, is the amount of time it takes to grow crops in seasons, depending on when the soil conditions are fit enough due to its temperature and moisture. Moreover, the global rise of sea level which is consuming the amount of land availability for agriculture. Also, frequent monstrous natural disasters occurring, such as storms and floods can reduce production. There must be ways to counter this phenomena. Farmers and governments need to find the alternatives immediately and adapt to these. Although, Farm-level adaptations (Rosenzweig and Parry, 1994) is taken into account but it does not guarantee farming in the long-run. Farmers and governments are the key actors to be able to feed the whole world that is racing its way to becoming 9 billion by 2050!!!

2. Unhealthy Humanitarian Crisis


(image from The World Bank (2016), ‘Building Resilience, Creating Sustainable Solutions to Food Insecurity’)

“Acute hunger and malnutrition continue to spike”, warns new global report on food crisis (UNFAO, 2018). We do not take this statement lightly! People due to shocks, such as conflicts and natural disasters, are crawling to have an access to basic food needs. This is not just in terms of quantity, quality of food is of a concern too. UNFAO reported that 124 million in 51 countries were severely affected by this in 2017 (UNFAO, 2018). Some of the countries are Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia. When a conflict starts, what do we see? Shelling acting the opposite way of fireworks and destruction of infrastructure and their hard-earned economy. But what is not very visible is the fact that their food system on which they depend on is also being destroyed.

So, how to stop the hunger winning? The international actors are required to take actions, invest in the humanitarian crisis and help people cope. Otherwise the emergency of food insecurity will keep rising. Not undermining the fact that some food is just lost and wasted. According to the UN food organization, that is 1.3 billion tons of uneaten food (UNFAO, 2018). In 2008, over 40 countries protested about the rising of world food prices and food shortages (O’Brien’s and Williams, 2016). Following this incident, came the global financial crisis. And together, they increased the amount of hungry people living in developing countries. Mostly, it affected the poor, homeless and female-headed households. Making it scarier and unsafe for them. This affects the global economy to perform efficiently, as workers suffering from food insecurity, are not physically, socially or mentally prepared to participate productively in the workforce. This values poor educational outcome and lifetime earning. Our earth is crying for help and we are lost in our ways. How sad are we….

References
1. Darwin, R. (2001), ‘Climate Change and Food Security’, ‘In food security issues’, USDA, p. 765-8
2. Rosenzweig & Parry, C. & M. (1994), ‘Potential impact of climate change on world food supply’, New York, Nature publication group, p. 133-137 (journal)
3. World Food Progamme (2018) ; http://www1.wfp.org/zero-hunger
4. UN, food (2018); http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/food/
5. UNFAO, ‘SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction’ (2018); http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/
6. United Nation, DESA (2015), ‘World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050’, New York
7. Global Report on Food Crises (2018), UNFAO;
http://www.fao.org/emergencies/resources/documents/resources-detail/en/c/1107313/ and video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z8ORd1Icpo
8. O’Brien & Williams, R. & M.(2016), ‘Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics’, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 281
9. CGIAR (2016), ‘New guidance for climate-smart agriculture in Southeast Asia’;
https://ccafs.cgiar.org/research-highlight/bridging-gap-climate-information-decision-makers#.W8Xa_GhKjIV
10. The World Bank (2016), ‘Building Resilience, Creating Sustainable Solutions to Food Insecurity’; http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/02/03/building-resilience-creating-sustainable-solutions-to-food-insecurity

M00642759- M.F

The Rise of Populism and its Impact.

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‘The Rise of the Populists’ (The Economist, 2015)

Anti-globalisation has been increasing evermore in recent times. Not only have we witnessed the election of anti-establishment, Nationalist Donald Trump as the new President of the United States – a vote for American values, American citizens and a strength against politically correct, and unwanted involvement with other states, but this set a precedent for other countries, particularly in Europe. Trump’s protectionist promises to force Apple to manufacture on American soil, as opposed to China (Michael Moore, 2017), and his promises that they will cut down on immigration, blocking 7 nations any access to the US and drawing up a wall to keep Mexican’s out – Trumps vote was one against non-populism and for patriotic reforms in favour of their own people, a shift away from international economic integration and globalisation.

A win by Marine Le Pen would have added to the success of this anti-globalisation movement, however, whilst France did not vote for the far right, Italy – a nation which witnesses a lot of migration as one of the gateways of Europe – are set for a likely coalition between the Eurosceptic populist Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League, showing the resistance towards internationalism and towards nationalism (Henley and Voce, 2018). These rises can be attributed to the shift into de-globalisation seen since the UK’s exit from the EU last year. Reluctance to contribute to shared obligations, particularly concerning matters of immigration, and resentment aimed at foreign workers, spiked this political shift towards sovereignty and independence. Whether this will impact the UK and its trade partners is yet to be seen, however, difficulties in securing trade deals during the negotiations regarding the UK and its new relationship with the free market demonstrate that the ease of trade and developing of one’s economy is significantly easier through the process of globalisation, and interconnectedness between states.

The backlash against the refugee crisis spurred nationalism across many states. Originating in the East, concerned by terror attacks in France, nations such as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic formed a political alliance called Visegrad, which collectively rejected their responsibility to accommodate third-world refugees claiming “the mainly-Muslim refugees have no place in their predominantly Christian societies” (Kirby, 2017). Populist parties in the West also gained ground by criticising and openly opposing the idea of accepting so many refugees, Germany with the AfD and France with the National Front – both saw a rise of the more extreme right-wing parties (Joffe, 2017). This demonstrates that countries are losing patience to pick up the costs for the people affected in the aftermath of international wars, with the EU alone spending €17.7 billion from their budget towards migrants between 2015-2017 (Publications.europa.eu, 2017).

The EU had threatened action against states unwilling to cooperate with the EU obligations, and were using financial leverage by threatening to freeze funds to ensure the adherence by all states to honour their commitments. Worryingly this division in the EU led Brussels to sue Poland and its supporters (Kirby, 2017), and the EU could potentially impose sanctions on other states, leading to a nationalist vs pro-EU trade war. This could impact upon states’ individual economies, and thus instability could eventually bring about the demise of international organisations such as the EU, if enough members follow in the rise of the far right.

What does this mean for the international political economy?

Populism increases economic nationalism which goes against the concept of globalisation and the free market. This would impact upon the ability to trade and can lead to trade wars, such as between the USA and China, which is currently taking place. Protectionist measures culminated in massive increases in taxation by the US on steel and aluminium imports by China, in order to increase their own steel production, meaning that prices have increased, and trade has suffered as a result (Walker, 2018), with the World Trade Organisation head stating that this would have “a severe impact on the global economy(BBC News, 2018), with China’s trade with the US “the heart of global trade” (Pei, 2018). Statist and protectionist positions, as witnessed in the US’ actions recently, are increased when anti-globalisation becomes more of a hostility or rejection of global links and institutions (Held, McGrew, 2007: 198). These can also be justified when driven by the opposition of threats to national identities or religious traditions (Held, McGrew, 2007: 198), which can be argued for Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ and forcing of production to be held within national borders. If this process escalated further, into full trade wars with other products, it would “harm [the] economy…kill jobs…slow innovation, and strain ties with nations around the world” (Delaney, 2018), and this would eventually impact the entire global economy as global supply chains are rerouted, which would cost billions to match the labour and production networks that were in place previously. Further, if this trend spreads, it could eventually lead to the “unravelling of the World Trade Organisation” (Pei, 2018).

These incidences all lead to the same result. The exit of the UK from the EU, the election of Trump as President – the people are showing through these votes how tired they have become from the state constantly sacrificing their own needs for ‘foreigners’ for ‘terrorists’ and for ‘immigrants’ (Ravenhill, 2017: 81). The costs that terrorism and migration has on the economy are undisputable, but the rise of far-right populism is a non-effective way of combatting these issues. Anti-globalisation in the long run could prove harmful if the world continues to shift away from interconnectedness and proceeds to follow a statist path, which would further macroeconomic inequality, as some states rely on exports to make up their economy, and could impact upon all other areas of the global political economy.

 Leila Lerari – M00559185

 

 

BBC News. (2018). US-China trade war impact ‘severe’. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43564714 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2018].

Delaney, R. (2018). US media mogul Bloomberg vows to stop Trump’s China trade war. [online] South China Morning Post. Available at: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2142338/us-media-mogul-michael-bloomberg-vows-scuttle-donald-trumps-trade-war [Accessed 20 Apr. 2018].

Economist.com. (2016). Big, bad Visegrad. [online] Available at: https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21689629-migration-crisis-has-given-unsettling-new-direction-old-alliance-big-bad-visegrad [Accessed Dec. 2017].

HELD, D., & MCGREW, A. G. (2007). Globalization/anti-globalization: beyond the great divide. Cambridge, Polity.

Henley, J. and Voce, A. (2018). Italian elections 2018 – full results. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/mar/05/italian-elections-2018-full-results-renzi-berlusconi [Accessed 9 Apr. 2018].

Kirby, W. (2017). EU INFIGHTING: Brussels to SUE three member states for refusing to host asylum seekers. [online] Express.co.uk. Available at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/889103/eu-news-poland-hunagry-czech-republic-sue-asylum-seekers-europe-border-migrant-crisis [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Joffe, J. (2017). The right is rising and social democracy is dying across Europe – but why? | Josef Joffe. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/29/right-social-democracy-dying-europe-afd-far-right-germany [Accessed Dec. 2017].

MICHAEL MOORE. (2017). 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. [online] Available at: https://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/ [Accessed 13 Apr. 2018].

Pei, M. (2018). Trump’s China trade war threatens world economy. [online] Nikkei Asian Review. Available at: https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Trade-tensions/Trump-s-China-trade-war-threatens-world-economy2 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2018].

Publications.europa.eu. (2017). The EU and the migration crisis. [online] Available at: http://publications.europa.eu/webpub/com/factsheets/migration-crisis/en/#what-is-refugee-crisis [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Ravenhill, J. (2017). Global political economy. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reuters. (2016). German government plans to spend 93.6 billion euros on refugees by end. [online] Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-germany-costs/german-government-plans-to-spend-93-6-billion-euros-on-refugees-by-end-2020-spiegel-idUSKCN0Y50DY [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Schuman, M. (2011). What the U.S. debt deal means for the global economy | TIME.com. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://business.time.com/2011/08/01/what-the-u-s-debt-deal-means-for-the-global-economy/ [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

The Economist. (2015). Donald Trump’s rise seen through The Economist’s covers. 12th December. [online] Available at: https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/10/tracking-trump-presidential-candidate [Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

VICE News. (2014). Deaths and Damages Due to Terrorism Have Never Been Higher | VICE News. [online] Available at: https://news.vice.com/article/deaths-and-damages-due-to-terrorism-have-never-been-higher [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Walker, A. (2018). Reality Check: Are we on the brink of a trade war?. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43715084 [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

 

 

US Hegemony – beneficial or detrimental to the global economy?

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‘US Hegemony’ (Internationaltimes.it, 2018)

US dominance, economically, politically and militaristically, has increased over the years, particularly since the end of World War Two and the decline of the British empire, the end of colonialism and in conjunction with a new wave of neo-colonialism. There are two identifiable ways in which the US has been detrimental to the world, but what stands out the most in regards to this American hegemony is their military interventions – not only a costly affair for the attacking nation, but for all the nations that have been targeted as a result of the US’ continuation of exceptionalism. It is argued that the US as a hegemonic power today, need to ensure they protect their economic and political position, thus they should go to war at any cost in order to maintain their hegemonic position (Yazid, N. 2015). However, the quest for imposing western-style democracy and retaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency across the world, has witnessed lengthy, costly wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and interventions in Syria and Libya for example, that affect the entire global economy.

How does war impact on the global political economy? Not only does the US dedicate roughly $850 billion per year (The Balance, 2017) to their military spend, countries that feel the effects of war or interventions in their home nation naturally suffer much more. Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have been destroyed, with pure humanitarian disasters in these nations with “about 13.5 million people [who] need humanitarian aid in Syria; in Yemen, 21.1 million; in Libya, 2.4 million; and in Iraq, 8.2 million” (World Bank, 2016), along with heavy decreases in their respective GDPs. Worryingly the interventions across the Middle East, which are massively detrimental to the economies of those involved, could worsen further and we could see an escalation in war between the great powers, or at the very least a new cold war era, an arms race, which could cost trillions in a battle for who can produce the best guns and weaponry for the sake of idle threat. In Syria especially, devastation has seen near complete damage to businesses, infrastructure, housing and healthcare facilities, with the GDP of Syria declining and damages “estimated at $226 billion, about four times the Syrian GDP in 2010” (World Bank, 2017). The effects of these wars, which the US have a direct or indirect involvement with, have spread across the MENA region reducing neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt’s individual GDP Per Capita by roughly 1.5% (World Bank, 2016), further aided in poverty and, as a consequence, mass migration, which has a separate detrimental affect across the world economy, and with the latter costing Germany, for example, $20billion in 2016 alone (World Bank, 2017). Is it fair to say that the global economy is hindered and (at times) helped sporadically by the actions and efficacy of the US? As a world superpower the scope of their influence, in both political and economic affairs must be acknowledged.

Another major impact of the American superiority is the power of the economic actions to sabotage the entire global economy. Whilst Bush was the incumbent President during the US financial housing crisis, which witnessed an entire global recession, as nations were halted in their progression and inflation rose, at the detriment to the poor, Obama soon preceded, actually increasing national US debt by 68% in eight years – the addition of $7.917 trillion (The Balance, 2017). Massive debt leads to inflation, it can lead to mistrust and withdrawal of investments, and shifts to cheaper labour or manufacturing forces, which subsequently creates unemployment, personal debt, and inability to contribute to the GDP through consumerism, which halters the American dream of capitalism and profit. The US, as a global hegemonic power, have an underlying control over the economic (in) stability of the rest of the world as seen in The Great Depression in 1929 (Lombra, 2018). Globalisation and interconnectedness, along with international trade between nations means that “one nation’s economy can have a dramatic effect on that of others” (Lombra, 2018). This is particularly exacerbated when considering the size and dominance of the US in the global political economy. Growth declines on US exports and imports, lead to budget cuts that, due to interdependence between many nations across the world, are witnessed across the global economy, and lead to periods of economic malaise and employment cuts which create soaring unemployment or cheap, illegal labour prevailing to make up the lost costs required to continue the profiting of the elite or through Transnational Corporations (TNCSs) which increase inequality between the rich and poor. Socio-economic issues increased as a result of the US financial crisis, however, whilst those at the top seemed to slip through feeling the effects of such a monumental crisis, “the first synchronised world recession since 1974” (Gokay, 2009) led to increases in inequality and poverty, not only in the US but in both developed and developing nations around the world, with it estimated that “an estimated 55 to 90 million more people will be living in extreme poverty than anticipated before the crisis” (Evans, 2009).

All matters that detriment the global political economy can be identified as having witnessed increases due to the actions of the US. This is why hegemony by one nation gives them too much authority and control over the rest of the world. ‘Hegemonic stability theory’ originated by Krasner, argued that one hegemonic power is needed for the maintenance of an international liberal economic system (O’brien and Williams, 2016: 82) and that this hegemony is what keeps stability in the global economy (Yazid, N. 2015). However, not only have the US proven detrimental to its fellow states in the global political landscape, the decline of a hegemonic power would bring about instability that could recreate another global recession as evidenced through the UK’s hegemonic decline during the Great Depression (O’brien and Williams, 2016: 82). Paul Kennedy in his ‘Overstretch Thesis’ (The Economist, 2002), could be correct in assuming that the decline of the US is inevitable and imminent; whilst this could be beneficial for economic equality between nations, due to the influence that the US seemingly exhibit in world affairs, we must also worry that this could create havoc in the global political economy.

Leila Lerari – M00559185

 

Bartlett, M. (2015). Nobel panel saw Obama peace prize as ‘mistake,’ new book claims. [online] The Washington Times. Available at: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/16/nobel-panel-saw-obama-peace-prize-mistake-new-book/ [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Blum, W. (2013). America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else. Zed Books.

Evans, R. (2009). Recession adds 6 percent to ranks of global poor: U.N.. [online] Reuters. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-financial-poverty/recession-adds-6-percent-to-ranks-of-global-poor-u-n-idUSTRE56502P20090706 [Accessed 17 Apr. 2018].

Gokay, B. (2009) ‘The 2008 World Economic Crisis: Global Shifts and Faultlines’, Global Research, 15 Feb. Available at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-2008-world-economic-crisis-global-shifts-and-faultlines/12283. (Accessed: 10th April 2018)

Internationaltimes.it. (2018). The Megalomania of Modern America | IT. [online] Available at: http://internationaltimes.it/the-megalomania-of-modern-america/ [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Lombra, R. (2018). The U.S. Financial Crisis: Global Repercussions. [online] Pennsylvania: JA Worldwide. Available at: https://www.juniorachievement.org/documents/20009/36541/USFinancialCrisisGlobalEffects.pdf/f94cdd1c-2d2e-4efc-865d-82a0260f914d [Accessed 6 Apr. 2018].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2016). Global political economy. 5th ed. Palgrave Macmillan, p.82

The Balance. (2017). How Much Did Obama Add to the Nation’s Debt?. [online] Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/national-debt-under-obama-3306293 [Accessed Dec. 2017].

The Balance. (2017). Which President Added Most to the U.S. Debt?. [online] Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296 [Accessed Dec. 2017].

The Economist. (2002). Imperial overstretch?. [online] Available at: https://www.economist.com/node/1188741 [Accessed 8 Apr. 2018].

World Bank. (2016). By the Numbers: The Cost of War & Peace in the Middle East. [online] Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/02/03/by-the-numbers-the-cost-of-war-and-peace-in-mena [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

World Bank. (2017). The Toll of War: The Economic and Social Consequences of the Conflict in Syria. [online] Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/syria/publication/the-toll-of-war-the-economic-and-social-consequences-of-the-conflict-in-syria [Accessed Dec. 2017]

Yazid, N. (2015) The Theory of Hegemonic Stability, Hegemonic Power and International Political Economic Stability. Global Journal of Political Science and Administration Vol.3, No.6, pp.67-79, (December 2015). Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (www.eajournals.org)

 

Women’s (subordinate) role in the global political economy.

Picture11(Stop Sex Trafficking, 2017)

The end of Communism witnessed the ever-growing necessity for capital and finances, to keep up with globalisation and soaring rates for produce and housing. This precedented an advance in employment roles which were either exclusive of women, subjugating of women or which forced women into unhealthy working environments. “Globalization is tied to momentous political changes of the present era such as the rise of identity politics” (Butale, 2015). Representing nearly 50% of the population, women’s identity is one of the most crucial to understanding and improving our current political and economic landscape. The disparity between men and women detriments not only women themselves, but the economy, society and general global prosperity. Furthermore, not only is poverty “both a cause and a consequence of inequality” (McBain, 2014), it is also reported that “gender inequality is costing the global economy trillions of dollars per year” (McBain, 2014).

Inequality for women affects both developed and non-developed countries, and “there is no country in the world where women have equal economic and political power to men” (McBain, 2014). Since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, women’s rights have had more focus as has their necessity in the global economy. Whereas women were once not regarded at all, today women are given more influence yet under the guise of “equal” rights. In more advanced societies, whilst both men and women contribute to the job industry, the dominance of males in the workplace is evident with unequal wages between genders and the disparity henceforth remains.

Worryingly, the exploitation of women in numerous job industries – which often aids a country’s economy – remains a deadly factor. Globally, the increase in vulnerable women has multiplied astronomically. There is a direct link between the rise of capitalism and globalism and the way in which women are subject to its pitfalls, corroborated by “Marxist feminists [who] make a causal connection between capitalism and the subordination of women. They contend that women are an exploited class in the capitalist mode of production” (Butale, 2015). Whilst women suffer both in developed and developing nations, the frequency in which women migrating to other countries is a great matter for concern and “migrant women from developing countries are increasingly victims of trafficking, for the purpose of sexual exploitation” (Butale, 2015).

Beijing intended a monumental implementation of factors to accomplish female inclusion and equality, yet since, the sex trafficking industry has alone seen a massive influx in workers where women simply are forced into finding any way to keep up with the demanding expenses that have pressured them since the progression of globalisation. A report for a Workshop organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women, on behalf of the United Nations, further explains that women are much more likely to end up “in intolerable forms of employment” and that “globalization to date has done too little to minimize gender inequalities” (Lim, 1999). Women have been forced to find “alternative circuits of survival” to earn a living, including “prostitution, labor migration [and] illegal trafficking” (Roberts, 2008).

This current era was coined by Pettman as the “international political economy of sex” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212), where women’s bodies are “tradable commodities” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212). This is referred to as the “feminization of survival” as these means of creating income “are dependent on women” and are a necessary, and often only, choice for some women (Roberts, 2008). These not only contribute to the woman’s livelihood, but also government revenue, demonstrating that governments are profiting from gender inequality, and in effect profiting from the vulnerable and dangerous situations women find themselves in, due to the disparity between genders in the modern global economy (Roberts, 2008). The sex industry “is estimated to be worth billions of dollars per annum” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212). Whilst governments may profit from certain industries that inhibit women and force them into dangerous situations, “it is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion” (UN Women, 2017).

The UN Women organisation states “when more women work, economies grow” (UN Women, 2017). The question remains as to why there is still a dichotomy between genders, particularly when regarding the benefits that would be reaped to truly create equality, and as a consequence an increase in each nation’s, and the global, economy.

Leila Lerari – M00559185

 

 

Butale, C. (2015). Globalization and its impact on women in developing countries | International Association for Political Science Students. [online] International Association for Political Science Students. Available at: https://www.iapss.org/wp/2015/03/30/globalization-and-its-impact-on-women-in-developing-countries/ [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Ferant, G. and Kolev, A. (2016). The economic cost of gender-based discrimination in social institutions. [ebook] OECD Development Centre. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/dev/development-gender/SIGI_cost_final.pdf [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Lim, L. (1999). Women and the Global Economy. [online] Beirut, Lebanon: Gender Promotion Programme International Labour Office, Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) United Nations. Available at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/beirutglo.htm [Accessed Dec. 2017].

McBain, S. (2014). Gender inequality is costing the global economy trillions of dollars a year. [online] Newstatesman.com. Available at: https://www.newstatesman.com/economics/2014/02/gender-inequality-costing-global-economy-trillions-dollars-year [Accessed Dec. 2017].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2016). Global political economy. 5th ed. Palgrave Macmillan, p.205. & p.212.

Revenga, A. and Shetty, S. (2012). Empowering Women Is Smart Economics. FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT, March 2012, Vol. 49, No. 1. [online] International Monetary Fund – IMF. Available at: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2012/03/revenga.htm [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Roberts, A. (2008). Review: Women and Work in the New Global Political Economy. International Studies Review, [online] 10(3), pp.622-625. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25481998?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Stop Sex Trafficking. (2017). [image] Available at: https://borgenproject.org/causes-of-human-trafficking/ [Accessed Dec. 2017].

UN Women. (2017). Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment. [online] Available at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-empowerment/facts-and-figures [Accessed Dec. 2017].

UN Women | The Beijing Platform for Action Turns 20. (2015). The Beijing Platform for Action: inspiration then and now. [online] Available at: http://beijing20.unwomen.org/en/about [Accessed Dec. 2017].

 

 

Africa – the forgotten continent?

Picture1.png(Migrant captured at gunpoint by Libyan slave traders, 2017)

 

Africa is a continent that has suffered – since the beginning of slavery, through colonialism and imperialism; since the destruction of its lands, the mistreatment of its people, and now left in a state of extreme poverty, no access to fresh water and limited opportunities for survival and developing of one’s livelihoods, Sub-Saharan Africa today accounts for almost three-quarters of the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) globally (Oxfam, 2001: 7).

Development assistance in LDC’s has fallen by approximately 30% since 1990 (Oxfam, 2001: 15) and Africa’s “marginalisation in world trade” (Oxfam, 2001: 11) has led to Africa being unable to prosper. Inequality between people, and inequality amongst states, have created a breeding ground for criminal activity to strengthen and progress. Extreme poverty which affects around 48% of African people’s lives (The Borgen Project, 2015), provides little or no hope to the people living there. More than 20% of children die before the age of 5 in countries such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia (Oxfam, 2001: 7)  with many familiies’ only hope is that of migrating to a better land where they may be able to improve their lives, in favour of being sucked into the vast and dangerous criminal circuit that is prevalent across the African continent. Not only an issue of humanity, but issues of poverty and issues of immense inequality, Africa has become the world’s forgotten land.

“The existence of glaring disparities between rich and poor nations will continue to fuel a trade in  people-smuggling and illegal migration” (O’brien and Williams, 2016: 312). Today, this is evidenced across Libya, where Libyan’s are profiting from the hopes and dreams of the 150,000 sub-Saharan Africans looking to migrate into Italy each year (Aljazeera.com, 2017), exploiting their desperation and selling the men and women, as slaves to the highest bidder. But in this continent where Africans have been pitted against each other for centuries, can we be surprised at those maximising off of the weaknesses of others, knowing that they too probably have limited options themselves too to live? The migration crisis that is often the only choice for some Africans has natural costs that detriment the entire global economy, with the cost of migration for the European Union in 2016 alone was estimated to be £20billion (Little, 2016), not inclusive of 2017 in wake of the further Libyan migration crisis, however, these financial costs are relatively nothing in comparison to the cost of loss and suffering of human lives.

Africa’s inability to recover from history that has led to monumental issues of poverty, and inequality, have been amplified in world wide affairs. “Trade policies in industrialised countries are carefully designed to prevent LDCs from taking advantage of export opportunities” (Oxfam, 2001: 9), therefore, being unable to trade and build upon their GDPs is restricting Africa’s chances of progression. Furthermore, the debt system has placed many African nations in such a cycle that up to 20% of their funds, including through aid, are being spent on debt servicing and repayments, (Oxfam, 2001: 16) because they are simply not creating enough disposable revenue. Debt programmes through the IMF and World Bank have jeopardised the already fragile nature of African economies, meaning that they are stuck in a state of extreme poverty.

Additionally, in an article titled “Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth”, the author argues that the rest of the world is actually further preventing Africa from development and growth, and that “sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world to the tune of more than $41bn”, with $213bn leaving the continent, ‘stolen’ by multinational corporations along with ‘illicit financial flows’ (Dearden, 2017). Considering Africa’s numerous political and economic issues, those involved need “to stop perpetuating the harm they are doing” (Dearden, 2017), in order for Africa to capitalise on the maximum amount of opportunities possible to develop the continent and as a result, their people’s lives. For now, however, it appears that the world wants Africa to suffer. Underdevelopment of the country and its people, is meaning that inequality is worsening, due to a system of elitism and corruption that does nothing to benefit the poor. Despite forms of aid, “poverty has not declined in the LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa and the incidence of poverty has risen to more than 60% in countries such as Zambia, Mali and Niger” (Oxfam, 2001: 7).

Only 5 countries have met the 0.2% of GNP promised to be dedicated towards aid for LDCs at the UNLDC 11 Programme of Action (Oxfam, 2001: 15). This shows that it has become less of a concern to help a land that some argue is irreparable. However, duty free and quota free access for exports could help these nations build a bigger trade network that, if distributed appropriately, could build upon their economies and aid in self-assistance to such global economical threats such as extreme poverty and inequality, and bring about a change that includes prosperity and longevity for its inhabitants.

Leila Lerari – M00559185

 

 

 

Aljazeera.com. (2017). IOM: African migrants traded in Libya’s ‘slave markets’. [online] Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/iom-african-migrants-traded-libya-slave-markets-170411141809641.html [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Dearden, N. (2017). Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth. [online] Aljazeera.com. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/05/africa-poor-stealing-wealth-170524063731884.html [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Little, A. (2016). Migrant crisis will cost £20bn: Experts reveal shock price the EU has to pay. [online] Express.co.uk. Available at: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/678878/migrant-crisis-cost-20bn-experts-reveal-shock-price-EU-pay [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Migrant captured at gunpoint by Libyan slave traders. (2017). [image] Available at: http://inquizimedia.com/2017/11/30/libya-slave-trade-beyond-hashtags-avatars/ [Accessed Dec. 2017].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2016). Global political economy. 5th ed. Palgrave Macmillan.

Oxfam, 2001. ‘Rigged Trade and Not Much Aid: How Rich Countries Help to Keep the Least Developed Countries Poor’ Oxfam International. May 2001. Available at: https://www.scribd.com/document/340746020/Rigged-Trade-and-Not-Much-Aid-How-rich-countries-help-to-keep-the-least-developed-countries-poor [Accessed 10th April 2018]

The Borgen Project. (2015). 10 Shocking Facts about Poverty in Africa | The Borgen Project. [online] Available at: https://borgenproject.org/10-quick-facts-about-poverty-in-africa/ [Accessed 13 Apr. 2018].

 

Blog 1 Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza strip; It’s poverty impact on the economy.

NAME: Frank Kwapong                                                      STUDENT I.D M00556702

Gaza strip has been under movement restriction by the Israeli authorities since the early 1990s. The restriction intensified in June 2007,when the Hamas militant group took over that part being occupied by the Palestinian territory at present .

Israel has since then imposed a very serious restriction and blockade on the land, sea and air of Gaza, citing security concerns for its citizens. Despite relaxations of some blockade-related restrictions in recent years, according to a UN report, an estimate of  1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza remain locked in or are denied free access to the remainder of the territory and the outside world.(UN, OCHA’s, Gaza crossings activities database).

Following reports released on the 11th of October 2017, on the total number of people allowed in and out of Gaza, there has been further declination since the beginning of 2017 as compared to the previous years. Particularly, on the amount of people who cross the Israeli-controlled crossing points and also through the Egyptian controlled crossing, it’s indeed an indication of severe low levels. This has infuriate the situation and has secluded Gaza from the remainder part of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world. Hence, the restrictions imposed on Gaza by the Israeli authorities had led to  limited access to medical treatment and facilities, higher education, family, social life, economic opportunities and to employment as a whole.

The rigidity of the restrictions in recent months has prevented the movement of national staff employed by the United Union and international NGOs and has also, hindered humanitarian operations. The situation keeps getting out of hand day in day out and has led to the humanitarian agencies working in the area calling upon the international community to be of great help.In view of this, the humanitarian agencies working in the area has submitted a petition to the international community to provide them with a sum of  US$25 million in their humanitarian funding, for urgent lifesaving interventions to help stabilize the situation at Gaza strip.

As part of the blockade imposed on Gaza in 2007, by the Israelis, following the take over of the Gaza strip by the Hamas, Israel completely banned exports. This seriously led to a sudden decline in their manufacturing endeavors and  increase unemployment. In the year 2010, the export ban slightly eased off to allow the exit of small quantities of goods, primarily cut flowers and strawberries to the international markets alone. Following the 2014 conflict, commercial transfers from Gaza to the west bank resumed, allowing in agriculture produce for the first time and later for textiles and furniture. Limited exports were also permitted from Gaza to Israel in 2015(UN staff, report, 2015) The rate of  denial for permit applications by UN national staff to enter or leave Gaza increased from an average of 4% in 2015 to 26% in 2016 that is from January to September. Access to areas within 300 meters of perimeter fence with Israel is restricted , making it very hard for fishing, fishermen are only allowed to access less than a third of the fishing areas allocated under the oslo Accords.The unemployment rate in the middle of 2016 was almost 42% among the global highs,whiles among youth it stood at 60% and among females at over 65%. Looking at its households, 47% in Gaza’s population suffer from moderate or severe food insecurity leading to more than 70% of its population relying on international aid, the bulk of which is food assistance.

According to an Israeli government spokesperson about 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid is allowed or flows into Gaza each week ,saying it allows enough aid- including food and medicine .But there are no evidence to support this claims by the government. The U.N says 80% the population rely on some form of humanitarian aid. The United Nations has described the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel as the “collective punishment “of the Palestinian people living in that part of the territory.The United Nations has repeatedly criticized the the blockade and the insufficient flow of materials into the area for basic needs reconstruction. The former UN Secretary – General Ban Ki-moon warned the closure ” creates unacceptable suffering, hurts forces of moderation and empowers extremists.BBC.co.uk. The restrictions imposed has undermined the economy, resulting in high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependent. Restrictions on the marketing of goods in the West Bank and Israel; on the import of certain goods ,the access of land for agriculture and fishing,the energy crisis and the recurrent hostilities which result in assets lose and some left with long-term disabilities.

The blockade must be lifted, which contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective penalties and prevents the realization of a broad range of human rights.

By, Frank A.Kwapong

 

WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE USA

NAME:FRANK KWAPONG                                           STUDENT ID M00556702

WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE UNITED STATES IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA

          

 

white supremacy PIC The electing of Donald Trump into the white house as been cited as a factor of the          re- energisation of activities and groups in America that reject both left-wing ideology and mainstream conservatism.

Social media is also said to be playing  a large part in promoting these ideologies. A prominent US civil rights group, the southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) says that it is currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups in the country.

The question is , who are these groups, how popular have they become ,and what do they hope to achieve? Here is a look at the most visible of the white supremacist movement in the history of the US till today.

44Virginia governor tells white supremacists: Go home’

Alternative right (alt-right)

The alternative right is a disperate group of provocateurs who hate political correctness and love president Trump, although critics say they are biogoted with nationalists.

In the broadest sense, white supremacy is a populist movement.They belief in the superiority of the white race, especially in matters of intelligence and culture—achieved the height of its popularity during the period of European colonial expansion to the Western Hemisphere, Africa, and Asia stretching from the late 1800s to the first half of the twentieth century. White supremacists have based their ideas on a variety of theories and supposedly proven facts; the most prominent of these include the claims of pseudoscientific racist academic research that attempted to correlate inferiority and pathological behavior with categories of racial phenotypes, especially head size in the case of eugenics. White supremacist belief has also been justified by the Biblical Hamitic hypothesis, which viewed blacks as the descendants of Ham who would be cursed for life. There is a direct correlation between the rise of imperialism and colonialism and the expansion of white supremacist ideology justifying the changing of international order, which increasingly saw Europeans assuming political control over black skin color through military force and ideological means, such as religion and education. It is important to note that the range of those considered “white” expanded considerably in the twentith century

The conspiracy for leftists is an elite-driven globalization that creates inequality and makes minorities and poor people suffer inordinately, whereas the conspiracy for white supremacists today is the New World Order that operates through a centuries-old chain of international bankers and is determined to end the purity of the white race. The logic in each instance — the conspiracy on the left and the right — is parallel, and leads to similar resentment of elites, who have access to special knowledge not available to the ordinary person. On the extreme right it is a mythology of battle and leverage, of heroism and valor, of Robin Hoods and dark cabals, of the Illuminati and Freemasons, of the heartland American values of liberty and individualism under assault by a globalist conspiracy to introduce monotony and conformism. In a way, the grand narrative is simply a much exaggerated version of yeoman values such as a founding father like Jefferson would have advocated.

As the reality of the industrialized economy throughout the 20th century eroded the possibility of independent freeholding such as was possible during 19th-century America and earlier, the grand narrative became more and more powerful in shaping imaginations. We can hardly claim that the emphasis on race is an innovation, because this was a constant throughout the history of oppression of Native Americans (were the Mathers and other New England luminaries of the 17th century any less racist than those we wish to condemn to perdition today?), African-American slaves, and then Catholic and Asian immigrants, except that each of America’s entanglements in foreign wars has provided increasing depth and circumstantial providence to the grand narrative.

I find it not coincidental that the KKK’s great rebirth came in the 1920s, after America had “won” World War I, and that the peak of Bircherism occurred in the 1950s, soon after they had claimed victory in World War II. Each major war is seen to have been brought about by international conspiracy, leading to the progressive diminishment of the rights of white Americans. It is perhaps easier to condemn a government that has been taken over by a secret cabal (as set out in the influential “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which were vigorously disseminated by Henry Ford, the leading founder of American industrialization, and which have in turn shaped the conspiratorial view of the Zionist Occupation Government, or ZOG, followed by those caught up in industrial decline) than to condemn the whole system of government, because to do the latter is to leave no way out, whereas to believe in a conspiracy is to set oneself up as a hero with a shot at salvation.

The persistence of white privilege, even in societies where nonwhites are the majority, has meant that white supremacy and its consequences have not ceased to be sources of social scientific research. A notable event in the growth of “white studies” was the conference “The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness,” held at the University of California, Berkeley in April 1997. This yielded, four years later, a volume of the same name published by Duke University Press.

In my opinion it think is has always been part of the American people, where they have an ideology which justifies the supremacy of the white race. With this in mind ,there is no other way for it to be out of sight soon. We have got a long way to go if we want to be accepted into the society as part of it.

 

 

Bibiography

Boas, Franz. [1945] 1969. Race and Democratic Society. New York: Biblo & Tannen

Brander Rasmussen, Birgit, ed. 2001. The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Montagu, Ashley. 1972. Statement on Race. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University press

TRUMP’S NATIONALISM

NAME:FRANK KWAPONG        STUDENT I.D M00556702

TRUMP’S NATIONALISM:

“FOR ME, IT’S AMERICA FIRST”TrumpPopulism

In a recent interview with President Trump, he did make an exceptional annotation on foreign assistance.

President Trump unhappily, underestimated its impact and overestimated its expense.

The feedback and answers brought up upon him been questioned as to why he would prefer to put to an end to US foreign assistance is as follows, “For me, it’s America first. We have been doing that so long that we owe $20 trillion, okay?” This response conveys a clear advice that the president doubtlessly,  attributes the on-going national debt of the United states, to the exact effect brought about by the rate of its foreign aid spending. And as long as it perpetually remains an immaculate talking point, it’s at a great distance from  it been true.

The verifiable truth is that, according to a statistic based on United States spendings, it’s clear the United States spends approximately 0.8 percent of its federal budget on humanitarian and developmental assistance every year, and only 1.5% percent of their planned disbursement if you combine all of it’s international affairs pay out, like the financial backing for US diplomacy.

Closely examine in contrast that to the 6.1 percent that is paid out entirely on US debt interest every year. These settlements made solely on just US debt interest only, is even over and above seven times it’s foreign aid spending. Therefore, President Trump’s allegations about the fact that foreign support is holding back US debt is unjustifiable and counterfactual.

However, President Trump eradicating US contributions towards foreign aid and support would genuinely have minor influence on US debt. And hence, at the same time generating a calamitous repercussion for the poor and needy communities all over the world, and extremely impeding US guidance and in the near future affluence.

 

Data source : Congressional Budget office, FY 2015 US Federal Budget. http://bit.ly/109j9by

Foreign assistance is being used as a scapegoat for a rising deficit instead of things like tax cuts for corporations and richest among us, which are core to the administration’s policy agenda and are shown to contribute to the national debt. The Washington Post’s analysis on this front brings some important context.

Foreign aid contributes to global poverty reduction and helps to protect basic rights and liberties, and benefits America’s interest. All for less than one percent of the US federal budget. Since 1990, the world has made an exceptional advancement-elevating millions of people and communities out of poverty faster than any other time in history. Over the same period, foreign assistance has changed greatly, progressing into more innovative ,more transparent , and more aligned to partner country first concerns. The role of aid is changing, as household taxes and private investments mature more into significant financial resources for developing countries. An approximate calculation of 766 million people still live in extreme poverty, and uncompromising humanitarian crisis threatening the reverse of the gains made.

Worldwide poverty acts as a big challenge to future safety, its development, and the values of United States. Therefore, parting ways with it is not the best option, as foreign assistance has a very valuable part to play globally. The number of people who are in poverty are not just numbers, but they are real people, and most of them are women and girls all over the world, who rely solely upon USAID from everyday’s provisions for survival to providing a better life for themselves and their families,(Oxfam.co.uk).

An example is Aligaesha a succesful Tanzanian farmer and community leader, who formed the union known as the farmers cooperative in the karagwe District of northwest Tanzania in 2007. After getting a great support from the US Agency for international Development (USAID), her cooperative, the Kaderes Peasant Development Ltd., was awarded a big contract to supply beans to the rest of the world as part of the World’s Food Programme (WFP). However, this partnership with the local farmers helped saved money as well as time, and made the channel that the WFP might have taken to supply these same goods to and from other parts of the world during humanitarian crises much easier and faster.

US’s foreign assistance is moving outside limits, other than just providing food supply to women like Aligaesha, the US is doing better by supporting their efforts to produce more and escape poverty for good. She and her fellow farmers stand to benefit if changes to US policy enable more local and regional purchases of food aid for people facing food insecurity.

Reference

SLAVE TRADE IN LIBYA

NAME: FRANK KWAPONG                                                          STUDENT I.DM00556702

                                                              Picture1

Recent news that black Africans are been sold at an auction house in Libya has sparked outrage across the globe. The existence of Libya’s slave trade goes way back when the subjugation and overt dehumanization of Africans was common in Libya.

Some analysts have argured that, the slave trade taking place in recent months in Libya is a result of power vaccum left after the fall of Libya’s long term leader Mummer Gaddaffi and the ensuing lawlessness and giving way to some criminals in Libya to operate a black market  in which the trafficking of black Africans becoming their main export.

Others have focused on the failing of America’s foreign policy and the humanitarian efforts to stop the operational of the slave market. But the main player of it all ,the anti-black sentiment that brought about Libyan slave trade itself, and its historical context, has been given a less attention.

The Libyan people has been plagued by overtones of racial discrimination against black Africans for decades. An examples is what happened in 2000, when the International Confederation of the Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) released statement condemning a wave of attacks that targeted black African migrants who were living and working in the country,while in 2006 and again in 2009. Human Rights Watch orgarnizations has documented that attacks on black African migrants and asylum seekers were very common in Libya.

Muslim smugglers are taking countless Africans as slaves, with many instances of people being starved to death and women being raped. Under Gaddafi, blacks in Libya were protected, but as soon as he was toppled, the Libyans began to enslave them and put them in cages. This was all thanks to American policy, a policy that I fear is continuing unchanged.  As we read in one report:

After the overthrow of Mummar Gaddafi, reports emerged of the mass abduction and killings of African migrants and the black Libyans who were falsely accused by the new government of being figthers under Gaddafi’s regime. Human rigths groups came out to report that such claims were baseless and there were no evidence to support their claims and for a matter of fact , the attacks against the blacks were racially motivated.

Some people being in support of the Arab spring have come out and critised these attacks and saying, such attacks were betraying the revolutionary aspirations of the coup because of the refusal to recognise black libyans as part of the Libyan society.Though Libya is an African country ,the ill-treatmeent that has been exhibited towards towards black Africans has been in existance for soo many years which has led to tensions between the Arab world and the Sub-Suharan region.

As a result of the seperation between two regions, regardles of their close geography, is caused by a perceived difference in culture and racial superiority. These should not be a surprise that such sentiments in the Arab world were established through the times of colonial rule and thought.

The source of Libya’s anti-black sentiment lies with the colonial tradition of racial superiority – the Hamitic hypothesis.These hypothesis is a genetic anthropological theory stating that  anything good was made by the Hamites, a subgroup of the Caucasian race.This theory dates back to the book of Genesis in which Noah has three sons-Ham,Japheth and Shem. It has been understood that Ham was a direct descent of the black race, while Japheth represnted the European Caucasians, and Shem also represented the Arabs or the Hamites.

It was with these perception that influenced colonial feelings towards the African people and was used to determine which ethnic group was superior and based on their physical feature that best resembled Western standards.

This thought has eventually spread along the Arab world and influenced their perceptions of black Africans throughout North Africa. In present day, the influence of the Hamitic hypothesis can seen throughout the racially charged aggression towards black Africans throughout North Africa, in places like Algeria, Libya and Morocco. The factors of the existence of the Libyan slave trade can be traced ways back before the socio-economic collapse Libya after the American led military intervention.

References

“Muslims Are Taking Countless Africans As Slaves, Starving Them To Death, Selling Them And Taking The Women To Rape Them”. 13 April 2017.

TRT World (12 April 2017). “Libya Slave Trade: Rights group says migrants sold off in markets” – via YouTube.

TRT World (26 April 2017). “Profiting off the misery of others: Libya’s migrant

 “African refugees bought, sold and murdered in Libya”. Al-Jazeer tv

Italian doctor laments Libya’s ‘concentration camps’ for migrants

‘They use black men as slaves’: Migrants tell of brutality in Libya.cnn.com

Migrant slavery in Libya: Nigerians tell of being used as slaves bbc.com