Heavenly hotels in hellish countries


Above: Serena Hotel in Kampala, Uganda (Joseph Kony’s beloved country)

Many people might consider the bizarre idea of Aga Khan, one of the direct descendants of Muhammad the Prophet, spiritual leaders of more than 10 million Ismaili Muslims, followers of Shi’a Islam, to establish a chain of 5-star hotels and resorts in war-ravaged nations, simply ‘bizarre’. Serena Hotels, so-called ‘Ritz Carlton for the failed states’, have so far built hotels in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uganda, Mozambique, and a few countries in Africa and Asia, each of which successfully garners high annual turnover. Despite political instability, the hotel group manages to keep on growing, and as of the end of 2011, their assets have surpassed half a billion dollars (as a matter of fact, a night’s stay in Serena Hotel Kabul will cost you almost 360 dollars).

For sure, however, all of these hotels are not prone to guerrilla attacks, or any forms of violence. One of its hotels in Kabul was the witness behind the bloody siege by Taliban insurgents, which ended up in a brutal military crackdown that resulted in dozens of deaths, in the troops’, insurgents’, and the visitors’ sides, and massive destruction to the entirety. Conclusion? The war may go on, but so will the business. Nobody can’t wait longer for more bucks.


Read it at Foreign Policy.

How Youtube made Joseph Kony ahead of Susan Boyle


In less than a week, a video posted by Invisible Children – a previously little-known NGO involved in advocacy against illicit exploitation of children and teenagers worldwide – featuring Joseph Kony, a reportedly ‘self-claiming sage confessing himself to have been commanded by Jesus to establish a fully Christian state in Uganda’, has attracted more than 70 million pairs of eyes – the second most viewed video in Youtube of all time after Susan Boyle’s ‘I Dream a Dream’ in less than one week. The video itself has also highlighted the acme of Internet activism – which has previously fully restored the notion that ‘people power’ can oust dictatorship, and restore freedom and democracy to their states, as seen from the Arab Spring. Right now, the most talked-about issue, and the next target, in Internet activism is the urgency for the trial of Kony, founder of Lord Resistance Army (LRA), which has been involved in countless crimes against humanity, most notably by exploiting children as either child soldiers who conduct guerrilla warfare deep in the jungles of Uganda, or sex slaves to satisfy the beastly desires of LRA’s troops, in International Criminal Court.

Never mind about the harsh criticisms it has attracted. Kony may – or may not be – the tipping point of a new ‘revolution’ instigated by Internet activism – to bring all the warlords in the world to justice.


Read it at Singularity Hub.

‘Dear my people, our country is sinking’

Accept or deny it, the axiom is inevitable that the so-called ‘climate change’ has been seriously affecting humanity in myriad aspects. The domino effects range from melting polar ice caps to drought in heavily-malnourished and conflict-stricken nations, to en masse famines in dozens of underdeveloped, mismanaged polities, to weird-yet-haphazard storms, until rising sea levels which threaten the existence of multitudinous archipelago states.

Whether inspired by what Maldivian government has been attempting to purchase plots of land in India were the sea level to rise to flood the jewel-like islands, the authorities in Kiribati, a nation of approximately 100,000 – whose minutiae number accounts for a mere one percent of Jakarta’s – are considering to move the entire populace to 6000 acres of land in Viti Levu, the main island, also serving the main administrative epicentrum of their neighboring country, Fiji. The seemingly impossible notion is currently being discussed in Fijian parliament, while the government – and the people – are waiting in uncertainty upon the latter’s ultimate decision, which may determine the existence of the 3-decades-old nation.

Expect the new geopolitical shift in the near future: our grandchildren probably won’t be able to find the exact location of all these island states.

Read it in MSNBC.