Beyond The Headlines: The Forgotten Wars of 2014


This summer the Middle East and Eastern Europe vied for supremacy in the headlines.  Each day news reports on Gaza, Syria and Ukraine dominate the media.

Recently, I was witness to a discussion which was taking place about Leaving Cert history.  A seventeen year old girl tried to shock those present with You know Hitler wasn’t the only one; there was like, others… like Stalin and stuff”.  She could not quite find the word ‘dictator’ to glue that sentence together, yet she thought that her barely cohesive statement would be a revelation about the state of the big bad world to our fragile little minds.

Unfortunately, once you review what’s happening in the rest of the world, beyond the headlines, there is little that will shock you about the state of global affairs.

Once a conflict reaches more than 1,000 battle related deaths per year it graduates to a war.  At current there are ten wars, eight serious armed conflicts and hundreds of other conflicts taking place throughout the world.  As dramas flare up in Gaza, we tend to lose track of the others.

The South Sudanese Civil War

South Sudan is the world’s youngest fight that the world seems to have forgotten about.  Fighting in Sudan between the Arab north and the black Christian South has existed for decades, leading to them gaining their independence in 2011.  President SalvaKiir Maryardit represented the majority Dinka tribe and vice President Dr.RielMacharTeny, the second largest Neurtribe. In late 2013 President SalvaKiir accused his vice President of planning a coup.  Fighting broke out in the capital Juba between SPLA loyalists (Salva) and rebels (Neur).

There have been more than 10,000 deaths this year.

Nigerian Armed Conflict

Surprisingly, the twitter frenzy #BringBackOurGirls wasn’t enough to bring down an Islamist group like Boko Haram, because they’ve been on a violent mission against Nigeria’s secular government since 2009.  Occasional riots between the majority Muslims and Christians have ensued in Nigeria since 1999 with the introduction of Sharia (Islamic law) in the northern part of the country.

There have been more than 5,000 deaths this year.

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