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The Maastricht Diplomat

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A tale as old as time

The chronicle of Jerusalem is ancient and controversial — it transcends time, generation and has left everlasting wounds. When they are not treated with utmost precision, these wounds can reopen anytime. This is what happened on 10 May 2021 when two Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad fired rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israel retaliated with its superior military power. One can easily get caught up in all the histories and confrontations of governments and militant groups but forget about the people that are the most affected by these attacks — the civilians. According to the Wall Street Journal, Palestinian health ministry officials reported that the Israeli air campaign has killed 65 people, 16 of them are children. Despite these deaths, when Hamas called for a ceasefire on 13 May 2021, Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected. It appears that parties will continue trying to answer the Palestine question with force.

History does not repeat itself only around the Holy City of Jerusalem. In Zimbabwe, the story of the government criticizing the judiciary once again repeated itself. Zimbabwe’s justice minister, Mr Ziyambi Ziyambi, accused the country’s High Court of being "captured" by foreign forces seeking to destabilise the government after its ruling against the extension of the chief justice’s tenure. The decision is hostile to the wish of the current president, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa. The criticism reminds Zimbabwe politics observers of the era of former president Robert Mugabe, who casually criticized judges for unwanted rulings. A democracy can only sustain itself based on the rule of law which requires an impartial judiciary with high institutional trust to carry out its duty. This move by Mr Ziyambi Ziyambi reenhanced a poisonous practice to Zimbabwe’s democratic development.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, the story of the law sounds more promising as Chile held a referendum to choose drafters of its new constitution. The protests and riots over the last few years due to rising inequality and inadequate social services has led the incumbent government to consider redrafting the old constitution, which was drafted under the country’s dictatorship era. To draft a constitution is a difficult job; by engaging its citizens, the Chilean incumbent government at least ensures the new constitution’s legitimacy.

Another “heartwarming” story comes from Myanmar. The tale of LGBTQ rights seems a little bit brighter in the country as the incumbent National Unity Government swore its first openly gay minister. Mr Aung Myo Min, since 4 May 2021, has started serving as Myanmar’s Union Minister for Human Rights. Despite his appointment under a coup d’etat, his pledge to “protect everyone — LGBT, Burmese or Rohingya” alike — shines a light of hope for the future of human rights in Myanmar.


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