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French Daily Liberation Becomes 'Tahrir' For Syrian War Anniversary

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Libération, March 11, 2016

To mark the upcoming fifth anniversary of the start of the civil war in Syria, French daily Libérationrenamed itself Friday in Arabic, featuring a striking front-page image of children spinning on swings around a bomb.

Calling itself Tahrir ("Liberation" in Arabic) for the occasion of the March 15th anniversary next Tuesday, the newspaper is devoting its entire issue to the daily lives of Syrians during the ongoing war. This "Libé of Syrians" is entirely composed of pieces by Syrian authors, most of whom have fled to Turkey. Throughout the issue, Syrian journalists, as well as artists, doctors and writers explain how the conflict has changed daily habits, from religious and medical practices, while also influencing art and literature and touching almost every aspect of their lives.

French and Syrian journalists, Libération's editor-in-chief and members of NGO's, such as Reporters Without Borders, brought these stories together in order for the issue "not only to be written by Syrians ... but also dedicated to the entire Syrian community." An estimated 250,000 people have been killed since fighting broke out, and more than half the country's pre-war population of 23 million have been displaced.

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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