0

“Given the numbers of people who continue to be killed and injured in Afghanistan, it is unconscionable to claim that the country is safe enough to send people back to," Omar Waraich, deputy director for South Asia at Amnesty International, said.

"Callously diverting their eyes from the bloodshed, states that once pledged their support for the Afghan people are now putting their lives in immediate danger, in brazen violation of international law,” Waraich added.

“The international community cannot abandon Afghans fleeing conflict and violence at this time."

I don't know how to parse the sentence in bold above(such as subject, verb, object, etc), hence unsure what it exactly means.

Also, I don't quite get the meaning of "cannot abandon Afghans fleeing conflict and violence".

The full source.

Appreciate if one can help me!

  • I think this is a matter of basic comprehension for a relatively extended passage, so unless you identify some specific construction within the text and show what efforts you've made to parse it yourself, this isn't a suitable question for ELL. – FumbleFingers Jul 26 '18 at 13:26
  • @FumbleFingers My main issue originally was I failed to identify the subject of that sentence. Now I get it. Thanks! – dan Jul 26 '18 at 13:54
  • 1
    Ah right! So if the writer had used countries rather than states (which could easily be mis-parsed as a verb rather than the noun which is the primary subject of the sentence) you probably wouldn't have had a problem in the first place. I suggest that you edit your text to clarify the fact that the reason you didn't understand was because you couldn't identify the subject (I know that's a bit weird, since now you can! :) If you do that and remove the second question (one question per post, please) I will retract my closevote. – FumbleFingers Jul 26 '18 at 14:09
  • @FumbleFingers originally, I wrote "I don't know how to parse the sentence in bold above(such as subject, verb, object, etc)". Is it okay to ask like that, because as the time I asked those parts(subject, verb, object) were not clear to me. Maybe, I can just remove my second question. But it's weird as the answer below has included it already. – dan Jul 26 '18 at 14:42
4

In brief:

Subject = "states" (i.e countries)

Object = "the Afghan people"

Verb = "[are] putting" (auxiliary "be" + present participle of "put")

Detail

So breaking the sentence into parts and rearranging to put the subject first, gives the following:

states that once pledged their support for the Afghan people are now putting their lives in immediate danger,

Countries that supported the Afghans are now putting them in danger

Callously diverting their eyes from the bloodshed

...by ignoring the bloodshed (turning their eyes away)...

in brazen violation of international law

...breaking international law

As for: "cannot abandon Afghans fleeing conflict and violence"

Afghan people are running away from a war. [The International community] should not abandon them.

This article sounds like an "opinion" piece that takes a strong viewpoint and criticizes the "international community" for not helping the Afghan people more.

  • Why do you say sounds like? It is an opinion piece even if it is not an editorial per se. – Lambie Jul 26 '18 at 13:37
  • Originally, I thought states is a verb here. Now, I got it. Thank you very much! – dan Jul 26 '18 at 13:52
  • 2
    I would say the main verb is "[are] putting [lives in danger]" the "helper" verb are is simply a syntactic requirement where the main verb is in the form of a continuous participle. – FumbleFingers Jul 26 '18 at 15:50
  • @Lambie Are you asking why I wasn't definite in my statement that it is an opinion piece? That is because I only read the excerpt provide by the OP. The full article might give me some reason to say otherwise. I don't know. I didn't read it . Does it really matter for the purpose of this conversation? – Colm Jul 27 '18 at 9:51
  • @FumbleFingers Yes I agree. Will edit. – Colm Jul 27 '18 at 9:52
1

Here is a parse of the sentence:

1=Callously diverting their eyes from the bloodshed,|| 2=states |that once pledged their support for the Afghan people| 3=are now putting their lives|4= in immediate danger|5= in brazen violation of international law|,” Waraich added.

Please note: Yahoo News may have presented this as that man's words and is quoting it. However, it really sounds more like it is writing than speech. Perhaps they took a recording and re-organized it a little bit. Usually when people speak, they do not use adjective phrases this way (1).

Here is a simpler sentence, structured the same way.

  • Calling for peace, the countries involved in the war are now changing their positions in violation of international law.

A speaker will rarely, in spontaneous speech, use a structure like that. speakers usually do not use adjective phrases using a gerund (diverting their eyes) positioned before a subject.

The subject = states, the main verb = are putting direct object= lives at risk the idiom: to put lives in danger, just like: to put lives at risk

  • The first phrase. or 1, is: a participle phrase functioning as an adjective modifying the word states.
  • that once pledged their support, etc. is a relative clause

  • states [clause removed] are putting their lives [of the lives of Afghans] in immediate danger in violation of international law.

in immediate danger is a prepositional phrase and in violation of international law. To put lives at risk or to put lives in danger, are idioms. And "in violation of international law" functions as an adverbial phrase modifying how the lives are being put at risk.

1

In the SVOC pattern:

States | are putting \ lives / in danger.

The sentence begins with the introductory participial phrase "callously diverting their eyes from the bloodshed". This entire phrase is an additional modifier for the complete subject of the main clause.

The complete subject of the main clause is "states that once pledged their support for the Afghan people". Here, "states" is a noun that takes the sense of polities or political entities. The subordinate clause "that once pledged their support for the Afghan people" is a relative clause. Within it, "that" is the simple subject, "pledged" is the predicating verb, and "support" is the simple direct object.

The verb construction "are now putting" has the adverb "now" embedded within it. This construction employs the present tense, continuous aspect, active voice and indicative mode.

The complete direct object of the main clause is "their lives". The antecedent of the third-person genitive pronoun is "the Afghan people".

The verb to put licenses not only a direct object but also an object complement. The prepositional phrase "in immediate danger" suits that role.

The remainder of the sentence is also a prepositional phrase. As I parse the sentence, "in brazen violation of international law" is supplemental, modifying the entire main clause. Another reasonable interpretation is that it modifies only the verb construction of the main clause, "are [now] putting".

It is easier to see the structure of the main clause if you temporarily disregard the two phrases that are set off with commas.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.