Friday, February 27, 2004

Bearing Witness: Medecins Sans Frontieres

Morten Rostrup has just finished three years as head of Medecins Sans Frontieres. He tells Tony Sheldon how the agency's work is being threatened by the way aid is being co-opted into the "war on terror". More...

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Swiss govt against apartheid reparations case

An American court should not decide a class action law suit seeking reparations for apartheid from international companies, the Swiss government said on Tuesday.
"We are particularly concerned about the extraterritorial application of US laws," said Swiss ambassador Eric Martin of the multi-billion rand law suit, which targeted a number of international companies, including some Swiss banks. Martin, who was addressing a group of South African journalists in Berne, said the Swiss government was following the developments in the Washington district court "very closely" and were in regular contact with stakeholders across the world. More...

Conference on West Africa

A group of concerned students, mostly British Chevening Scholars with the support of the British Council and in conjunction with the Human Right Centre of University of Essex and The Nigeria Coalition on International Criminal Court is organising a seminar on conflicts in West Africa. The Seminar will take place on the 1st of March 2004 at the ‘The Hexagon’ near Barclays bank, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex. We attached the programme schedule. For further information on the Seminar please contact: Ameen Bashir Ayodele (University of Essex) or at 01206 535904, or Candie Pearson (British Council) or at 01223 354817

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A truth commission for Northern Ireland continued...

Back to the serious stuff. Today, once again calls were made for a truth commission in Northern Ireland. Desmond Rea from Policing Board noted,"Therefore a commission is the proper way to take into account that hurt, but also to seek to find a way forward that is a more productive way forward than the road that we appear to be embarking".More.... I have been doing several interviews on the matter, and remain convinced that the starting point is acknowledgment from across the board, then a discussion about models as proposed by the Healing Through Remembering Project following their consultation.

Gadget Man

Since I always publish fairly serious things on my blog, decided today to post something somewhat more silly...a brief email discussion between a friend and I regarding the purchase of a new digital diary....

DB: I am about to buy a new personal organiser. I little bird told me you have just done the same. Any advice gadget man?
BH: I have been in the market for about two months and finally decided on one. Perhaps I should give you a demo of the one I bought, Palm Tungsten C. But let us talk, as I have been shopping since my birthday in September and only settled now.
DB: My last one broke last week. I had been looking at a T3 or Tungsten C. This is all very exciting. Let me know if you have a few moments in Belfast in the next few days.
BH: I will be around Friday. I am in love with my Tungsten C - but don't tell H.
DB: Looked at the TC and the T3…both at the same price on Amazon…how do I choose? The T3 looks like it might be better suited for a Friend of Gadget Man rather than Gadget Man himself. And what the hell is Blue Tooth?
BH: Yes, would be odd for Gadget Man and Friend of Gadget Man to have the same weapon. By having different weapons if we were ever in a situation you could use your bluetooth and I could use my wifi and we would have all bases covered. I will reveal more on Friday, i.e. what is bluetooth and wifi, the advantages of each in different areas of combat.
DB: Good…I feel the world will be a safer place once we have our new weapons … would the US and UK have invaded Iraq had they known we could down load word files on our handheld weapons?…one worry however…will we have to wear our pants outside our tights?

Sunday, February 15, 2004

State Repression and the Struggles for Memory

Dr Rachel Seider, from the Latin American Institute, writes that in State Repression and the Struggles for Memory, Elizabeth Jelin exposes the enduring consequences of repression and the conflicted and contingent nature of memory. Drawing on a wide range of examples, from Bosnia to Rwanda to Argentina's Dirty War, she explores how memory and politics intertwine and the forms in which memory - and forgetting - shape individual and collective identities.

Denis Hurley dies

The Roman Catholic Emeritus Archbishop of Durban, Denis Eugene Hurley, died on Friday at noon after returning from a religious celebration. He was a veteran anti-apartheid activist and human rights champion. He will be missed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Therapy with New Labour

Sent an article by Catherine Bennett entitled "We'll move on when we're ready, Dr Blair" to my mailing list recently, I simply couldn't resist...very amusing...all about Blair, closure and wanting to move on too quick, "therapeutic language" and government, forgiveness,'ll see...

Back in Belfast

I am now, after a very short and cold visit, back in Belfast. The conference on reparations was fascinating. It was very good to be exposed to the broad range of topics concerning the reparations issue from slavery through to individual human rights violations.

Friday, February 6, 2004

Government dismiss Tutu's support for Reparations

Sapa and Christelle Terreblanche report that: The government is dismissive of Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's support for reparations cases brought before United States courts by apartheid victims. If Tutu had discussed his concerns with the minister of justice, who asked the court in July to dismiss the suits, he would have had a clearer understanding of the position of the government, its chief spokesperson, Joel Netshitenzhe. More...

I'm in Canada at a Reparations Conference

I am now in Canada at a Conference focusing on the issue of reparations. It is hosted by the Department of Philosophy at Queens University in Kingston. The conference is entitled, Reparations: An Interdisciplinary Examination of Some Philosophical Issues. I will be presenting a paper on the process so far in South Africa, but the conference will have a wide remit considering issues from reparations for colonialism through to reparations for human rights violations.

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Retributive justice: The Gacaca courts in Rwanda

I haven't read this yet, it was recommended to me by Cornelia from Trauma Research Net. I thought I would post it anyway...looks interesting. The article is written by Allison Corey and Sandra F. Joireman. The abstract reads: "After decades of cycling violence between Hutu and Tutsi groups in Rwanda and Burundi, violence peaked in 1994 with a genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda, during which the Hutu majority slaughtered 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus, leaving the country with 120,000 accused génocidaires awaiting trial. Rwanda's gacaca courts were established as a response to the backlog of untried genocide cases. These courts disturbingly distinguish between genocide and war crimes committed during the same era, trying only those accused of genocide. This article argues that the gacaca process will contribute to the insecurity of all Rwandan citizens in the future, since it pursues inequitable justice, accentuates the ethnic divide and will be interpreted as revenge". More...