Estonia offers new assistance to Syrian refugees

October 3rd, 2012 → 9:42 pm @

(WNN) United Nations ESTONIA: Estonia’s Foreign Ministry is supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan with 50 000 euros through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated today that the ongoing conflict in Syria has strongly influenced the situation in it neighbouring countries, which have to handle a growing influx of refugees. “As a result of violence and a very difficult humanitarian situation, hundreds of thousands of people have fled from Syria to Jordan, as well as to Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. The international community must show its solidarity by supporting the countries that are receiving refugees,” said Foreign Minister Paet. The UNHCR has warned that if the violence in Syria does not abate by the end of the year the number of people that have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the war could reach to 710 000. The European Union is also increasing the humanitarian aid funds allocated for helping refugees.

According to the Jordanian government, currently over 200 000 refugees have arrived in Jordan from Syria. Jordan has asked the international community for help in dealing with the Syrian refugees arriving in the country and resolving the most urgent issues – access to food, clean water and other necessary items, as well as access to health care services, electricity and gas supplies, and education. The growing number of Syrian refugees over the past few months has put a huge burden on Jordan’s resources and social services in a country that has already been affected by the global economic crisis and the events of the Arab Spring.

The Syrian crisis has been going on since spring of 2011 and is growing worse every day. Two and a half million people have already been affected by the crisis and over 30 000 have perished. The number of internally displaced persons in Syria has increased to 1.2 million and there are 304 000 Syrian refugees seeking aid in neighbouring countries. Three-fourths of the Syrian refugees registered by the UNHCR are women and children.

Estonia has already given humanitarian aid to Syria on two occasions this year – 50 000 euros through the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Syrian Emergency Response Fund and 50 000 euros through the International Committee of the Red Cross.


War — WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Arab Spring, Syria…

March 13th, 2012 → 4:23 pm @

Where is the end to all wars? We now live in the 21st Century where innovation and creativity are supposed to reign. Yet we seem to have no clue or maybe even desire how to eradicate the ceaseless slaughter of innocent people.

Humans are not born with a blank slate for a mind. Instead, we arrive with all the basic rudiments of our mental circuitry in place ready to act in response to our immediate environment. At the same time, we are able to learn from our experiences.

Thus, humans are equipped not only with instincts, but also with much broader innate drives or predisposed genetic tendencies such as concern for status and for affiliation. This means that our behavior is “influenced” by our genes rather than genetically determined and that we do have free will.

Innate drives fall into two fundamental categories: a set of selfish drives (e.g. concern for control, rank, status, territory, possessions, savagery and bloodlust) and a set of altruistic drives (e.g. concern for attachments, affiliation, altruism, care giving, care receiving, morality and empathy).

People seem to function best in a social context where both categories of drives can be expressed in a balanced manner. Such an environment consists of individuals who express a mix of moderate self-interest and outward-reaching altruism.

So, when are we going to learn how to develop social contexts where both categories of our drives can be expressed in a balanced manner? Put another way, when are we going to learn not to constantly energize our selfish innate drives? Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen any time soon when you take a serious look at the media, politics or the quest for international relations.

That means war is inevitable. As Bertrand Russell has said, “War never determines who is right, just who’s left.” And, those who are left will also suffer greatly in the process!