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Victim of April 4 chemical attack
Victim of April 4 chemical attack

Members of the U.N. Security Council will gather today for an emergency meeting following reports of a chemical attack in Syria that may have have killed between 50 and 100 people, including children.

The appalling story is front-page news today in many of the world's newspapers. The chemical attack is considered the deadliest in Syria since August 2013.

France, Britain and the United States have all blamed the Syrian regime. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister, spoke of "a disgusting act," while his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, said "all the evidence I have seen suggests this was the Assad regime ... using illegal weapons on their own people." And Donald Trump described "heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime."

The accused Syrian regime, meanwhile, denied all responsibility.

The three countries drafted a resolution that will likely be put to a vote at the Security Council meeting. But if past experience teaches us anything, Assad's ally Russia (and perhaps even China) will likely answer with a veto.

Commenting on yesterday's attack on a rebel-held town in the northwestern Idlib province, Russia's Defense Ministry rejected accusations of a deliberate chemical attack by government forces. It claimed instead that Syrian airstrikes in the area had hit "a large terrorist ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware" including "workshops which produced chemical warfare munitions' similar to those used last fall in Aleppo, ministry spokesman Igor Konoshenkov said. The accused Syrian regime, meanwhile, denied all responsibility.

Unsurprisingly, all sides are sticking to their narrative. As the ancient and famous saying goes, the first casualty in a war is the truth. And that is all the truer in a total war like the one that's been unfolding for more than six years now. What yesterday's attack and the reactions it sparked brutally remind us is that the Syrian war won't end until all sides agree to put aside their differences and work together on the country's future. Or until one camp annihilates the other.

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Society

Papá, Papá, On Repeat: Are We Men Ready For Fatherhood To Change Our Lives?

There is a moment on Saturday or Sunday, after having spent ten hours with my kids, that I get a little exasperated, I lose my patience. I find it hard to identify the emotion, I definitely feel some guilt too. I know that time alone with them improves our relationship... but I get bored! Yes, I feel bored. I want some time in the car for them to talk to each other while I can talk about the stupid things we adults talk about.

A baby builds stack of blocks

Ignacio Pereyra*

This is what a friend tells me. He tends to spend several weekends alone with his two children and prefers to make plans with other people instead of being alone with them. As I listened to him, I immediately remembered my long days with Lorenzo, my son, now three-and-a-half years old. I thought especially of the first two-and-a-half years of his life, when he hardly went to daycare (thanks, COVID!) and we’d spend the whole day together.

It also reminded me of a question I often ask myself in moments of boredom — which I had virtually ignored in my life before becoming a father: how willing are we men to let fatherhood change our lives?

It is clear that the routines and habits of a couple change completely when they have children, although we also know that this rarely happens equally.

With the arrival of a child, men continue to work as much or more than before, while women face a different reality: either they double their working day — maintaining a paid job but adding household and care tasks — or they are forced to abandon all or part of their paid work to devote themselves to caregiving.

In other words, "the arrival of a child tends to strengthen the role of economic provider in men (...), while women reinforce their role as caregivers," says an extensive Equimundo report on Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighting a trend that repeats itself in most Western countries.

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