Issues Home About Contact Us Issue 30 - July 2024 عربى


A pattern is generally understood as any regularly repeated arrangement, including a recurrent way of acting by an individual or group toward a given object or in a given situation, also known as a behavior pattern. Keen observers of human behavior from a macro vantage point have identified patterns replicated across history.

Karl Marx wrote, “History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce,” while the most well-known quote about history repeating itself is attributed to George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Playwright Eugene O’Neill, even went so far as to say, “There is no present or future—only the past, happening over and over again—now.” Sydney J. Harris later observed that “History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.”

Of course, human experience unfolding over time is never an exact replica of the past, as contexts change. However, the various costs, loss and damage that Harris referred to form the starkest reminder of the consequences of unlearned history. This issue of Land Times/أحوال الأرضreveals a continuity of domicide and genocide that is particular to the Middle East and North Africa region today, but also shared across time and continents.

The example of Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people may be the most prominent contemporary example. That criminal pattern has extended throughout the Zionist colonization of Palestine, characterized by Coveting Land, Targeting Homes, Shelters and Shelter Seekersas Israel’s raison d’état, military doctrine and consistent practice. The current context now adds the use of artificial intelligence, as UN Special Rapporteurs denounced it in these pages. However, the costs, losses and damage in Gaza have yet to be fully computed with such purposeful precision.

This issue explores the falsehood of dismissing the human and other material and intangible consequences as the liability of previous generations or made-up ancient history. We are reminded of more-recent origins of deprivation also by analyzing the obstacles to remedy in Syria and reporting the displacements arising from the one-year-old war in Sudan, as well as Russia’s two-year-long invasion of Ukraine and India’s five-year direct rule in occupied Kashmir.

This issue of Land Times/أحوال الأرضalso featuresprofiles of HIC Members Gaza Urban and Periurban Agricultural Platform (GUPAP) and The Day After (TDA), who are working amid war and continuing deprivation for the dignified survival of those affected in Palestine and Syria, respectively. GUPAP’s goal of food sovereignty in Gaza is complemented by efforts to achieve food justice, including by civil initiatives reported here that have come together in regional consultation that has strategized to resist the weaponization of food and deprivation of food producers across the Near East and North Africa.

While TDA seeks restitution of housing, land and property (HLP) rights for those displaced by conflict and otherwise dispossessed in Syria, those suffering the displacing impacts of climate change also must adhere to the positive norms as developed in their favor. These include the Pinheiro Principles that remain the standard for nearly 20 years and have been used for post-conflict remedy in other regions, as well as the emerging norms that recognize the spectrum of legitimate tenure updated here to inform remedy and reparation.

In pursuit of patterns of remedial behavior, GUPAP and this issue of Land Times/أحوال الأرضconsider such strategies as Cash Support and Survivor- and Community-led Crisis Response with commitment to the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Predictable patterns are seen in the global sphere also in an article summarizing the repeated pattern of housing, land and other human rights violations accompanying mega-events such as the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. The annual pattern of reviewing states’ performance of their 2030 sustainable development commitments returns this summer with HIC Member engagement in the High-level Political Forum. Last year, that review again found the performance of states wanting at the 2030 Agenda’s midpoint. Efforts remain to break that pattern, amid repeatedly failed global governance, in this pivotal year with the upcoming Summit of the Future and much-debated Pact for the Future.


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