Live Like You Were Dying | Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw's song 'Live Like You Were Dying,' serves as yet another reminder that each of us is allotted a certain amount of time here on earth. None of us knows the date or hour that we will be called home, which is why we should live as if we were dying.

We often pity people with terminal illnesses, but in truth we all have a terminal illness because living is a terminal illness. We all are born and will die, it is just that some are more acutely aware of their impending demise. How would you live if you knew you would die soon?

Wouldn't you take the time to touch other people's lives in a more positive manner? Would you hold back from cursing out a driver who cut you off? Perhaps they just received a report from their doctor that so preoccupied them that they didn't even notice.

Would you care so much about office politics, celebrity gossip, jealousy, or despair over worldly or other ephemeral concerns? This was a wake-up call for me, and a remembrance to not judge others nor ourselves, but to start from where we are to live and to love!

Editor-in-Chief: @AyannaNahmias
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Buhari's First Challenge: Military Mass Killings

nigerian soldiers riding in lorry, photo courtesy of dammex1

nigerian soldiers riding in lorry, photo courtesy of dammex1

NIGERIA - Amongst the feeling of hope and a fresh start in the air from President Muhammadu Buhari's inauguration, Nigeria was slammed this week with a report from Amnesty International that claims the Nigerian military is tied to over 8,000 deaths in the country.

The research for the report has been conducted since 2009, in alignment with the rise of the Boko Haram insurgency. While the rise in violence by the military was driven by Boko Haram, the report finds that the majority of those 8,000 deaths have nothing to do with Boko Haram members.

This process was started through widespread rounding up of boys and young men, over 20,000 of them, based on often unreliable informants and poor intelligence. The report states that one could be arrested based on the word of a single unidentified informant. Upon arrest, the thousands of prisoners were placed in detention centers where they were commonly cramped into overcrowded cells in abysmal condition.

Many died from starvation, dehydration, suffocation and preventable diseases, as the prisoners were kept from adequate water, food and basic hygiene and sanitation. In one case, a detention center survivor told Amnesty, they were denied water for two days and 300 inmates died. In these dire situations, they were often forced to drink urine.

Those who were able to survive these terrifying living standards were still at risk of the brutal treatment by the military commanders, which included extrajudicial killings, torture, electrocution, and a myriad of other horrifying tactics. On March 14, 2014, after a Boko Haram attack on the Giwa barracks (and detention center), the military killed at least 640 men and boys who were imprisoned there. Satellite analysis has confirmed the presence of multiple mass graves in the area shortly after this date.

More worrisome is that this system of detainment and mass murder was widely known through all levels of the Nigerian military, including senior officials, Chief of Army staff and Chief of Defense Staff who regularly received reports of military activity in these regions of war-torn Northern Nigeria.

As stated in Amnesty's report, "A high ranking military officer...further said: '...people were not strong enough to stand...They keep them to die. They are deliberately starved. The effect is devastating. You have massive deaths. I believe close to 5,000 [in total] have died like that. It increased after the state of emergency.'" This behavior indicates that the Nigerian military's strategy to fight Boko Haram included murdering thousands of boys and young men without giving them fair trials or even the slightest confirmation that they were tied to the terrorist organization. Through this tactic, they managed to make the Boko Haram insurgency more detrimental to their country and its citizens.

Since the report has surfaced, the Nigerian military has rejected the findings as "concocted and biased," and even called Amnesty International an "irritant" in a Premium Times' article. Regardless of their response, the international community is up in arms over the findings and it is increasingly evident that new President Muhammadu Buhari must address these atrocities as soon as possible. If he wants to keep his promises of tackling human rights violations, it is imperative that he holds those who are guilty accountable and pave a new, morally upright pathway forward. The future of the country depends on it.

The entire report can be found here. 

Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols
LinkedIn: Jessamy Nichols

Migrant Worker Abused in Lebanon Takes Life

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:17 AM EDT, 21 March 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon - An Ethiopian domestic worker, Alem Dechasa, was taken to a psychiatric hospital following an attempt by a group of Lebanese men to kidnap her outside the Ethiopian embassy.

First aired by Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), the video shows Dechasa lying on the ground, crying while her employer Ali Mahfouz’s repeatedly tries to drag her toward a waiting vehicle.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBf_-QKp6pw&feature=player_embedded]

Asaminew Debelie Bonssa, Ethiopian general consul in Lebanon, told The Daily Star newspaper that Dechasa subsequently committed suicide by hanging herself, despite expressing a desire to return to Ethiopia.

The barbarity of the ill-treatment of migrant workers throughout the Middle East has been of grave concern to human rights watch groups. Many of these workers are in effect indentured servants who are treated more like slaves than domestic help.

Immigrants from Africa and Asia, come to Lebanon seeking opportunities to improve their lives but quickly become disillusioned. They discover that despite promises, Lebanese laws do not protect their rights, and as second class citizen’s they are not guaranteed basic healthcare, vacation, or equitable wages.

Additionally, because the sponsorship system ties the domestic worker to one employer, unscrupulous people can keep workers in bondage by withholding their passports, visas, and work permits ostensibly for ‘safe keeping.’

Rola Abimourched, program coordinator at KAFA (Enough) Violence and Exploitation, spoke passionately about the Dechasa incident. We hope that this case may become the catalyst that galvanizes the Lebanese government to introduce stronger laws to protect migrant workers and other immigrants to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.

Volga Ferry Boat Accident Claims Lives of Children

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:38 PM EDT, 12 July 2011

VOLGA RIVER, Russia - 83 people are presumed drowned in Russia's Volga river after a ferry-boat accident this past Sunday.

To date the divers have retrieved the bodies of 16 children, 51 women and 16 men but many bodies remain trapped in the wreckage according to divers. 79 passengers were rescued by a passing riverboat just before the ferry sank beneath the surface. This tragedy is the latest international ferry accident with passenger deaths.

On July 7th a ferry sunk in Bangladesh killing 8 passengers after colliding with an oil tanker.  The accident appeared to be the result of human error.

The cause of the sinking of the 'Bulgaria', the name of the Volga ferry, has not been determined but improper safety procedures, maintenance and certification seem to be a contributory cause. The ferry was carrying 208 passengers which is 75 percent more than the 120 the boat was designed to transport.  Of these passengers, 50 were children who had gathered in the entertainment area of the ferry just before it sank.

Divers have retrieved the bodies floating in the river but claim to have seen the bodies of children trapped in the wreckage. A salvage mission to raise the boat from the bottom is scheduled for later this week.

The operators of the Volga ferry were not licensed to provide tour services.  Corruption and graft are suspected in this company's ability to continue to operate. Oleg Moseev, spokesman for the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Rosturism is quoted as saying 'neither the AgroRechTur company that held the lease of the Bulgaria, nor the Intur-Volga travel agency that sold the cruise tickets were listed in the Unified Russian Federal Roster of Tour Operators and that neither company was therefore insured.'

The statement appeared to be an attempt by the government to distance itself from any culpability in the matter. Russia declared today a nationwide day of mourning and memorial services will be held in all Russian Orthodox churches.

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Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

King Tut died of Malaria

It is a little disappointing to learn the truth of King Tutankhamun's death, because like so many others, I reveled in speculations of palace intrigue, royal malfeasance, murder and usurpation. Today the world learned that King Tut was merely a boy, one who had access to and buried with the riches of ages, but a frail boy nonetheless who died from a very treatable infection. Watch the video here.

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