Reuters blog archive

from The Great Debate:

Meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, a savior to children


It is thanks to Kailash Satyarthi that thousands of children have been saved from a life of slavery and agony in India. It is thanks to his organization, BBA -- the ‘Save the Childhood Movement’ -- that these children can regain trust in other human beings, the vital ingredient of life.

It was six months ago in New Delhi, in the gardens of the Imperial Hotel, that I first met Kailash. Sipping a cup of iced tea, he began telling me the story of two little boys he had just rescued. These newcomers were refusing to bond with the other children, sitting on the side, looking terrorized and suspicious. It was only days later, when another child got them to utter a few words that they said: “Why are these people so kind to us? Do they want our eyes or our kidneys?” They could not imagine for a minute that someone would want to feed them and look after them without wanting to abuse them even more. That story touched my heart.

Imagine the kind of hell these children are coming from. They come from a place where children are beaten, abused, treated like a production tool and destroyed. It’s the parents who often give them away, conned by middlemen and a few rupees; but parents can also be abused by clerics, Kailash told me.

These children have been terrorized and dehumanized since their youngest age. How can they conceive a world where a child is respected and loved for nothing in return? The road to recovery is very long, and Kailash and his organization play a crucial role in this process. Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) puts these children back on their feet, educates and trains them, makes them human again.

from Africa News blog:

Was South Africa right to deny Dalai Lama a visa?

By Isaac Esipisu

Given that China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and given the close relationship between Beijing and the ruling African National Congress, it didn’t come as a huge surprise that South Africa was in no hurry to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama.

Tibet’s spiritual leader will end up missing the 80th birthday party of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a fellow Nobel peace prize winner. He said his application for a visa had not come through on time despite having been made to Pretoria several weeks earlier. (Although South Africa’s government said a visa hadn’t actually been denied, the Dalai Lama’s office said it appeared to find the prospect inconvenient).
Desmond Tutu said the government’s action was a national disgrace and warned the President and ruling party that one day he will start praying for the defeat of the ANC government.