Think again

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
Patrick Mono Mbura
12 January 2003

As the US and its allies prepare for war on Saddam by building up troops and military personnel in the Gulf to disarm Saddam of his arms of mass destruction, perhaps they should bear this in mind: Saddam is also busy preparing for war. When the US attacks him, he’ll retaliate and probably strike back by using those harmful weapons.

In this part of Africa I have friends young and old who are asking the following:

  • How destructive are Saddam’s weapons?
  • What effect could those weapons have on human life and the environment?
  • Has everything been done to avert this war?

Let those concerned with this war give it another thought, a thought for a peaceful resolution. Let them do so for the sake of the innocent, for Iraq’s women and children and for the sake of Iraq’s neighbours. Public opinion in Kenya is already worried about the possible repercussions of this war on our lives and on our crippled economy. Let this be known to the world, openDemocracy, and let us have some responses, please.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II


Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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