Currently viewing the category: "Ending Mass Atrocities"

For Burundi today, however, the question is, how to engage to defuse the violence and help Burundians forge a stronger path out of crisis than the one that led them into it. Without doubt, this will require a unified and resolute international mediation, and subsequent commitment to evaluating how longer-term commitments can participate in Burundian efforts to build resilience.

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Below is an excerpt from an article, “When it comes stopping genocide, there’s a will but not a way” by Sarah Rothbard summarizing the Zócalo Public Square sponsored event, “How to stop genocide?” held May 4, 2015 at the Goethe Institute in Los Angeles, which featured WPF’s Bridget Conley-Zilkic as one of the [...]

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Whether one engages with the goal of regime change for reasons of civilian protection or anti-authoritarianism, or a goal of maintaining the state in the name of respect for sovereignty and anti-terrorism, or some other form of rationalization, the effect is the same. The regime in Syria is despicable; ISIS is despicable–but there is a difference between removing the state and conceding ground to nihilist insurgents. The choice is not between friends and enemies, but the choice to de-escalate violence and shift opposition to a political (rather than military) plane, or to increase violence. And whatever the goal, it is important to ask at what point does continuing to feed the dynamic of violence become the worst option?

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Hollow Existence

On February 14, 2015 By

What a tangled web did Eritrea weave when the top leaders took us for granted and led us to a conflict that could have been avoided! They squeezed us empty, and then they tried to fill us with small-minded hogwash. Memories of my friends who perished in the war remind me of the sacred hope to which I give refuge in my exiled heart. Tears will not fall on their graves … but I hope tears of joy will be shed in their memory, during the great embrace with their ghosts when we, the living, celebrate the rebirth of our country.

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The work of prevention cannot be adequately conceived as simply pushing a conceptual framework upstream, as it were. Even the basic vocabularies to describe on-going violence may be ill-suited for contexts where violence has not occurred. Worse yet, these vocabularies may obscure the very relationships and social structures that are best suited to protection. Some of the most compelling work on atrocities prevention today begins precisely at this impasse by challenging the assumptions of what factors are relevant to the work of prevention, adding new concepts to the analytical framework, and diversifying the cases that inform the work of atrocity prevention.

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In the late 1800s, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov famously introduced a principle that would later come to be known as “Chekhov’s gun”: “if in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”[i] Chekhov thereby succinctly illustrated the principle [...]

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