Children Freeze to Death as Attack Prompts Largest Exodus of Syrian War – The New York Times

“REYHANLI, Turkey — The baby wasn’t moving. Her body had gone hot, then cold. Her father rushed her to a hospital, going on foot when he could not find a car, but it was too late.

At 18 months, Iman Leila had frozen to death.

In the half-finished concrete shell that had been home since they ran for their lives across northwest Syria, the Leila family had spent three weeks enduring nighttime temperatures that barely rose above 20.

“I dream about being warm,” Iman’s father, Ahmad Yassin Leila, said a few days later by phone. “I just want my children to feel warm. I don’t want to lose them to the cold. I don’t want anything except a house with windows that keeps out the cold and the wind.”

Ahmad Yassin Leila and his infant daughter Iman, who froze to death.

Syria’s uprising began in a flare of hope almost exactly nine years ago. Now, amid one of the worst humanitarian emergencies of the war, some of those who chanted for freedom and dignity in 2011 want only to ward off the winter cold.”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
There is misery, suffering, blood and death on Trump’s hands. When he stabbed the Kurds in the back, by removing our small force that protected them from airstrikes from Russian and the Syrian government, he unleashed this terror on them and on our other allies in the area, the Syrian rebels, who I think, were being protected also by the military prowess of the Kurds. I am disgusted, and embarassed by our current president, and his subservience to Putin ofRussia, Bashar Al Assad of Syria, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey.

Opinion | Shifting Collective Memory in Tulsa – the 1921 massacre – by Russell Cobb – The New York Times

The aftermath of the attack on black residents and businesses in the Greenwood District in Tulsa.

Credit…Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

“Down the street from the actual Greenwood Cultural Center, Cleo Harris sat in his T-shirt shop remembering the first time he talked about the tragedy with a white man. Mr. Harris was working as a truck driver, and somehow the event more commonly known as the Tulsa Race Riot came up. When Mr. Harris said it should be recognized as a massacre, the white man became belligerent. “He thought it was all about reparations,” Mr. Harris told me.

No one is sure how many people died; estimates range from around 75 to over 300. Virtually every black citizen was left homeless. Over 30 city blocks were completely destroyed. Commandeered airplanes dropped firebombs on Greenwood. The change in the wording around 1921, then, is more than mere semantics. “It reflects the intentionality of the destruction,” Mr. Armstrong said.”

Opinion | Trump’s Code of Dishonor – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Gregory Bull/Associated Press

“Iran’s Qassim Suleimani was an engine of mayhem in the Middle East. His business model was to go to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq and recruit Arab Shiites to kill Arab Sunnis (and Americans and Israelis) and to create pro-Iranian statelets inside Iran’s Arab neighbors to weaken them from the inside. I followed this man closely. No one should mourn his passing.

So why do I still question the wisdom of his assassination? Because it was done without a clear strategic or moral framework. And the biggest lesson I learned from covering the U.S. interventions in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan is: When administrations are not constantly forced to answer hard questions from the outside about what they’re thinking strategically and morally — when questioners are dismissed as unpatriotic — that administrations’ inside thinking gets sloppy, their intelligence gets manipulated and trouble follows.

Never assume that people who are in charge know what they are doing just because they are in charge.

What is President Trump’s strategic framework? One day, without any consultation with allies or our commanders, he ordered U.S. troops out of Syria, where they were serving as a critical block on Iran’s ability to build a land bridge to Lebanon and were a key source of intelligence. In the process, he abandoned our most important allies in fighting ISIS: the Syrian Kurds, who were also creating an island of decency in their region, where islands of decency are the most we can hope for.

And then, a few weeks later, Trump ordered the killing of Suleimani, an action that required him to shift more troops into the region and tell Iraqis that we’re not leaving their territory, even though their Parliament voted to evict us. It also prompted Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program, which could well necessitate U.S. military action.”

Hospitals and Schools Are Being Bombed in Syria. A U.N. Inquiry Is Limited. We Took a Deeper Look. – The New York Times

By Malachy BrowneChristiaan TriebertEvan HillWhitney HurstGabriel Gianordoli and 

“The bombs smashed into a child care center, a refugee camp and a school. They destroyed makeshift clinics and hospitals, disabling essential services for tens of thousands of people.

Over the past year, attacks on buildings in northwestern Syria, which are supposed to be off limits during wartime under international law, grew so frequent that the head of the United Nations launched an inquiry to document the violations.

Secretary General António Guterres’s establishment of the investigation is seen by many diplomats as a success at a United Nations largely stymied by division in the powerful Security Council. Russia, a Syrian government ally and a major perpetrator of these attacks, has cast 14 vetoes in the Security Council since the start of the war in Syria, blocking accountability efforts and hindering humanitarian aid deliveries into Syria.

Since April, at least 60 health facilities in northwestern Syria have been damaged in strikes, and at least 29 of them were on the off limits list. But the United Nations, at least so far, is looking at just seven incidents. A United Nations spokesman would not say how the inquiry’s sites were determined.

Human rights and medical groups that support hospitals in Syria have criticized the inquiry as insufficient, saying it fails to match the gravity of the violations. The inquiry, for example, is looking at only one attack likely to have been carried out by Russia, despite previous investigations by The New York Times that found Russia bombed hospitals at least five times in May and November.”

Seven incidents on the United Nations list investigated by The Times.Satellite image by Landsat and Copernicus, via Google Earth

In Greece- China Finds an Ally Against Human Rights Criticism – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/world/europe/china-human-rights-greece-united-nations.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

“GENEVA — China has long won diplomatic allies in the world’s poor countries by helping them build expensive roads and ports. Now, it appears to have similarly won over a needy country in Europe.At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council this month in Geneva, the European Union sought to draw renewed attention to human rights abuses in China — only to be blocked by one of its member countries, Greece.

A spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens called it “unproductive criticism.” ”

Is the question now how to punish Greece?     Maybe not. Nicholas Kistof’s op-ed Sunday, about the black man in California on death row, though many are sure he was framed by the Sheriff’s office, suggests that we are in need of focusing on our own human rights abuses.

Unfortunately, I have just seen the play Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare, in its movie form of 1999, and have much to digest about the cruelty and evil of human kind.

One can love China and the United States, and yet, want to hold both to a high level of moral and political leadership. Shakespeare writes in Titus Andronicus about the fragility of leadership, and the abundance of evil and corruption in human centers of power. I do not advocate surrender to evil and corruption. We need to sharpen our weapons, even if only pencils and keyboards, and prepare multiple scenarios for how to attack an army of windmills.

A Rare Survivor of a Philippine Drug Raid Takes the Police to Court – The New York Times

MANILA — The drug raid ended like so many others in the Philippines, with all the suspects shot by the police.But one of them, Efren Morillo, a 28-year-old fruit and vegetable vendor, did not die.As the only known survivor of a so-called buy-bust operation, Mr. Morillo has provided a chilling first-person account that challenges the government’s assertion that the thousands of suspects killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s antidrug campaign were killed by the police in self-defense. And his testimony lies at the heart of the first court case to challenge that campaign.According to his sworn affidavit, none of the five suspects were drug users and none were armed.The police took two of them, including Mr. Morillo, inside a house, handcuffed, Mr. Morillo said. Three others were lined up at a clearing near a ravine, ordered to kneel, their hands tied behind their backs.There was begging and crying as the police shot each man at close range, Mr. Morillo said.

Russia’s Brutal Bombing of Aleppo May Be Calculated, and It May Be Working – The New York Times

by Max Fisher.

“The effects of Russia’s bombing campaign in the Syrian city of Aleppo — destroying hospitals and schools, choking off basic supplies, and killing aid workers and hundreds of civilians over just days — raise a question: What could possibly motivate such brutality?Observers attribute Russia’s bombing to recklessness, cruelty or Moscow’s desperate thrashing in what the White House has called a “quagmire.”

But many analysts take a different view: Russia and its Syrian government allies, they say, could be massacring Aleppo’s civilians as part of a calculated strategy, aimed beyond this one city.The strategy, more about politics than advancing the battle lines, appears to be designed to pressure rebels to ally themselves with extremists, eroding the rebels’ legitimacy; give Russia veto power over any high-level diplomacy; and exhaust Syrian civilians who might otherwise support the opposition.”

Source: Russia’s Brutal Bombing of Aleppo May Be Calculated, and It May Be Working – The New York Times