Currently viewing the tag: "atrocities"

The real dilemma concerns what must be excised from international genocide and mass atrocities agendas in order to produce the kind of lessons learned that are palatable to powerful international actors. When truth telling aligns with the interests of power, it invariably softens its demands. If you bring together people from key international decision-making institutions to discuss a historical event that can only be deemed a colossal failure, the lessons will inevitably be focused on how the different actors did not coordinate their efforts behind a single, guiding ethos or policy. This is invariably true and it evenly distributes blame. It is also invariably true of many international failures, mistakes and faux-pas: it may even describe the “international community” rather than a problem within it.

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But in the circumstance of deaths at sea, too often the “perpetrator” is able to masquerade as natural phenomenon–it is storms, waves and rocks that cause death. Mass atrocities, we assume, require intent, focused violence, and usually a gun. When the seas become mass graves, the trail back to a source of violence or outrageous inequity is frequently an abstraction. “Traffickers” or “immigration policies” are to blame–a “perpetrator” as nameless as its victims.

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We are starting a project that will document the patterns of famines and episodes of mass starvation over history, including their causes, locations, and best estimates for the numbers of people who died. Remarkably, this does not appear to have been done before in a systematic manner. Our aim is to bring together evidence for major famines and instances of deliberate mass starvation (related to war and genocide).

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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 Z√≥calo 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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Episode seven in the eight part comic illustration of South Sudan’s predicament, with art by Victor Ndula and text by Alex de Waal. Sponsored by the Cartoon Movement, JSRP, and World Peace Foundation.

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