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From "Shock 'N Awe" to "I Was Here," World Humanitarian Day Evolves

World Humanitarian Day set annually for August 19th was originally designated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who had lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It's origin was a direct result of a massive bombing attack of Iraq by America and its allies, escalating on March 21, 2003. Known in military parlance as "Shock 'N Awe," and taken from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (544-496 BC), it's a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight back.

While Baghdad's defenses against these forces were futile, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, Saddam Hussein's Information Minister became known for his grandiose and grossly unrealistic propaganda broadcasts extolling the invincibility of the Iraqi Army and the non-existence of American troops headed to Baghdad. In the graphic novel satire, Crude Behavior, "Shock 'N Awe" and "Baghdad Bob" (as he came to me known by the Western world) were lampooned by the world media.

Page from "Crude Behavior," graphic novel satire about the Bush AdministrationPage from "Crude Behavior," graphic novel satire about the Bush Administration
Five month later on August 19, only 5 days after the United Nations began its "Assistance Mission" in Iraq, an Iraqi suicide bomber blew up the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, killing 22 people, including the United Nations' Special Representative in Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, while wounding more than a hundred others.

Flash forward  8 years, "I Was Here" was a song recorded by American R& B recording artist Beyoncé Knowles from her fourth studio Beyoncé KnowlesBeyoncé Knowlesalbum, "4" released in 2011. It's a reflective ballad, in which Knowles vulnerably reviews her past, reflecting on her desire to leave an impact on the world before her life comes to an end. The song's development was motivated by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

On July 25, 2012 Knowles left a cryptic message for fans on her official website stating "Leave Your Footprint on 19 August 2012", the opening lyrics to her song. . . intimating the intent of the song was transitioning from a personal to global message.


On July 27, 2012 it was revealed that Knowles would be releasing a music video for the song as part of a global launch of World Humanitarian Day, held by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The video is expected to be released simultaneously on television, cinema, projection screens and facilities prepared for venues in New York, Dubai and Geneva, on August 19, 2012.



From the horrific bombings on US soil to those that followed in Iraq, its fitting that an organization that's committed to working closely with all the governments of the world should designate this annual observance to shift man's focus from war to global peace.

Readers, you can assist Beyoncé, the UN and the humanitarian aid organization around the world to reach their goal of touching 1 billion people on that 1 day, "with 1 message of hope."  To show your support for World Humanitarian Day. visit www.whd-iwashere.org and sign up using your Twitter and Facebook accounts. In turn, your tweet and status update will register and add your "social reach" to the goal of reaching those 1 billion folks (which presently, at the time of this posting had scaled past the 61 million mark!)

World Humanitarian Day to touch 1 Billion People via Social MediaWorld Humanitarian Day to touch 1 Billion People via Social Media



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Ron Callari
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