Saturday, January 27, 2007

NOW AVAILABLE: Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, by Adam Jones (Routledge, 2006; 430 pp., US $33.95 pbk). See "The best introductory text available to students of genocide studies ... likely to become the gold standard by which all subsequent introductions to this enormously important subject will be measured" (Kenneth J. Campbell).

Genocide Studies Media File
January 20-27, 2007

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to

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"Ex-Argentine Leader Faces New Charges"
Reuters dispatch on, 25 January 2007
"Former Argentine President Isabel Peron faced new charges in Spain on Thursday over her alleged authorization of killings, torture and kidnappings of leftist dissidents during her 1974-1976 rule. An Argentine judge wants to extradite her over links to an anti-communist death squad that operated during her chaotic 20-month rule, a spokeswoman for Spain's high court said. Peron, 75, was arrested by Spanish police at her home near Madrid on January 12 after another Argentine judge ordered her to return to Argentina to answer questions about the disappearance in 1976 of a student activist last seen being taken into custody by state security officials. She was released from custody but must appear at a police station every 15 days while Spain awaits an Argentine extradition request. Peron was sworn in as Argentine president in 1974 after the death of her husband, Juan Domingo Peron, a three-time president. She struggled to hold on to power amid violence between leftist guerrillas and anti-communist death squads. She was deposed in a 1976 coup that ushered in seven years of 'dirty war,' during which between 11,000 and 30,000 dissidents were kidnapped and killed. Peron has lived in exile in Spain since 1981. [...]"


"Rules Dispute Imperils Khmer Rouge Trial"
By Seth Mydans
The New York Times, 25 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"The Cambodian judges were on one side and the foreign judges on the other this week in a dispute that captures a decade of difficulties in bringing to trial the last surviving leaders of the murderous Khmer Rouge. If they cannot agree on procedural rules soon, analysts and officials at the tribunal say, some foreign judges may walk out. That would cast a deeper shadow over a process that some critics say is already so compromised as to be of doubtful value. Seventeen Cambodians and 12 foreigners took office as judges and prosecutors in July, inaugurating a United Nations-sponsored process that mixes Cambodian law with international standards of justice. It is an awkward formula made more questionable by the meager qualifications of the Cambodian judges, who are seen as poorly trained and subject to political manipulation. Pragmatists say that a flawed trial is better than none and that there is no choice but to proceed with the tribunal you have rather than the tribunal you may wish to have. ... The foreign co-prosecutor, a Canadian named Robert Petit, has been pursuing the evidence vigorously but has not said where it is leading him. In an interview, he said he was ready to propose his first indictments once the judges formalized the rules at a plenary session tentatively set for March. A trial might then begin by the end of the year. Cambodia and the United Nations agreed on the structure of the mixed tribunal in 2003 after years of negotiations that involved technical and political differences. Those differences remained at the heart of the disagreements that have stalled the trial since November, say experts on the tribunal. A rules committee of nine judges is trying to resolve the differences. Sean Visoth, the tribunal's Cambodian coordinator, said, 'If there is no compromise and there is no plenary, the international judges will walk away.' [...]"


"Palestinians Under Pressure To Leave Iraq"
By Joshua Partlow
The Washington Post, 25 January 2007
"The shouting in his Baghdad apartment building woke Luay Mohammed seconds before intruders broke down his door. The men, some wearing police uniforms, entered before dawn demanding identification cards, Mohammed recalled. They tore the doors off the closet, threw the television on the floor and hauled Mohammed and his two barefoot brothers outside to be blindfolded. They and 14 other men were taken to what they thought was a government office, where a man others kept calling 'sir' spoke to their huddled group. 'You are Palestinians. Why are you still living in Iraq?' Mohammed recalled the man saying. 'You have 48 hours to leave.' Within 24 hours, Mohammed was gone. The 36-year-old was among dozens of people who loaded their meager belongings onto buses at dawn Wednesday inside Baghdad's main Palestinian enclave in the Baladiyat neighborhood. They drove north toward the Syrian border, joining a growing exodus of Palestinians now following their familiar story line: an unwelcome people searching for a home. Baghdad is a dangerous place for anyone to live, and the fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslims has displaced hundreds of thousands. Largely forgotten amid this violence is the plight of thousands of Palestinians in Iraq, who face an increasingly hostile environment because they are predominantly Sunni and perceived as having been favored during the rule of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Palestinians and human rights officials in Baghdad say members of the group are being targeted by roving Shiite militias and Iraqi police in efforts to expel them. [...]"

"The Battle to Save Iraq's Children"
By Colin Brown
The Indepedent, 19 January 2007
"The desperate plight of children who are dying in Iraqi hospitals for the lack of simple equipment that in some cases can cost as little as 95p is revealed today in a letter signed by nearly 100 eminent doctors. They are backed by a group of international lawyers, who say the conditions in hospitals revealed in their letter amount to a breach of the Geneva conventions that require Britain and the US as occupying forces to protect human life. In a direct appeal to Tony Blair, the doctors describe desperate shortages causing 'hundreds' of children to die in hospitals. The signatories include Iraqi doctors, British doctors who have worked in Iraqi hospitals, and leading UK consultants and GPs. ... The doctors say the UK, as one of the occupying powers under UN resolution 1483, has to comply with the Geneva and Hague conventions that require the UK and the US to 'maintain order and to look after the medical needs of the population.' But, the doctors say: 'This they failed to do and the knock-on effect of this failure is affecting Iraqi children's hospitals with increasing ferocity.' They call on the UK to account properly for the $33bn (£16.7bn) in the development fund for Iraq which should have supplied the means for hospitals to treat children properly. They say more than half of the money -- $14bn -- is believed to have vanished through corruption, theft and payments to mercenaries. ... Their letter was supported by experts in international law, including Harvey Goldstein, professor of social statistics at the University of Bristol, and Bill Bowring, a barrister and professor of law at Birkbeck College. [...]"
[n.b. Saddam or no Saddam, sanctions or no sanctions, it seems the leading Western powers just can't kick the habit of killing Iraqi children.]


"On the Holocaust Conference Sponsored by the Government of Iran"
Letter issued "by Gholam Reza Afkhami and over one hundred others"
Published in the New York Review of Books, 15 February 2007
"We the undersigned Iranians, Notwithstanding our diverse views on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; Considering that the Nazis' coldly planned 'Final Solution' and their ensuing campaign of genocide against Jews and other minorities during World War II constitute undeniable historical facts; Deploring that the denial of these unspeakable crimes has become a propaganda tool that the Islamic Republic of Iran is using to further its own agendas; Noting that the new brand of anti-Semitism prevalent in the Middle East today is rooted in European ideological doctrines of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and has no precedent in Iran's history; Emphasizing that this is not the first time that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has resorted to the denial and distortion of historical facts; Recalling that this government has refused to acknowledge, among other things, its mass execution of its own citizens in 1988, when thousands of political prisoners, previously sentenced to prison terms, were secretly executed because of their beliefs; Strongly condemn the Holocaust Conference sponsored by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran on December 11–12, 2006, and its attempt to falsify history; Pay homage to the memory of the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and express our empathy for the survivors of this immense tragedy as well as all other victims of crimes against humanity across the world."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the letter.]

"Israelis Prepare Public for Conflict with 'Genocidal' Iranian Regime"
By Anne Penketh
The Independent, 22 January 2007
"Senior Israeli politicians and analysts appear to be preparing the public for military conflict with Iran as the Iranian President again refused to bow to international demands to curb its nuclear ambitions, and Tehran announced fresh military manoeuvres. Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu told a security forum in Herzliya yesterday that individual states and companies should go beyond the UN economic sanctions. He argued that the first step should be to invoke financial sanctions to 'divest genocide' and 'delegitimise the regime of Iran through economic and political pressure.' The hawkish Likud leader added: 'Either it will stop the nuclear programme without the need for a military operation, or it could prepare for it. When we are talking about rallying public opinion on genocide, who will lead the charge if not us? No one will come defend the Jews if they do not defend themselves. This is the lesson of history.' Talking to journalists, Mr. Netanyahu said he doubted that the 'genocidal regime' of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was 'deterrable.' This view was shared by Shmuel Bar, an Islamic specialist at the Herzliya centre, who said that the US and Iran were engaged in 'very dangerous brinkmanship.' He said that seen from Tehran, 'the conspiracy theory goes that the US, with the UK and Israel, will take action to topple the Islamic regime, and that this has nothing to do with the nuclear issue.' Tehran has shown no sign of yielding to UN demands to halt uranium enrichment. 'The resolution was born dead and even if they issue 10 more it will not affect Iran's economy and policies,' Mr. Ahmadinejad said yesterday in a televised speech."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"China Angered by Nanjing Massacre Film"
By Justin McCurry
The Guardian, 25 January 2007
"China has reacted angrily to plans by Japanese nationalists to make a documentary describing as a myth the massacre of tens of thousands of Chinese civilians by Japanese troops in 1937. The film, entitled The Truth About Nanjing, will insist that the massacre never took place, despite evidence presented at the postwar Tokyo war crimes tribunals that Japanese troops slaughtered at least 142,000 people when they invaded Nanjing, then the capital of nationalist China. Chinese historians have put the death toll at 300,000 men, women and children. 'We have seen the reports,' said Jiang Yu, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman. 'I think that there is irrefutable evidence for the Nanjing massacre, and international society has long ago come to a conclusion about it. Japan's taking of a correct and responsible attitude to properly deal with historical problems helps it truly win the trust of Asian neighbours and the global community.' ... Tokyo's rightwing governor, Shintaro Ishihara, is one of several leading politicians to have come out in support of the film, directed by Satoru Mizushima, who heads a nationalist satellite TV channel. 'If we remain silent, anti-Japanese propaganda will spread across the world,' Mr. Mizushima said at a press conference, flanked by about 40 supporters. 'What is important is to correct the historical record and send the right message.' The film will be funded by public donations and should appear before the end of this year, the 70th anniversary of what many historians have described as an orgy of rape, pillage and murder by Japanese imperial army troops. [...]"


"World Events Mark Holocaust Day"
BBC Online, 27 January 2007
"International events are being held to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in memory of the six million Jews and other victims of the Nazi death camps. Most of the commemorations take place on 27 January -- the date on which the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Soviets in 1945. Victims of more recent atrocities are also being remembered. On the eve of the memorial, the UN General Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution condemning Holocaust denial. The resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by more than 100 countries, says 'ignoring the historical fact of these terrible events increases the risk they will be repeated.' The resolution does not mention any particular country, but diplomats said it was aimed at Iran, which has cast doubt on the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II. Holocaust Memorial Day was set up by the UK Prime Minister in 2001 to create a lasting memorial to the people who perished in the concentration camps, and two years ago the UN designated 27 January as the date for international commemorations. The events include a ceremony at the former concentration camp of Sachsenhausen in Germany. There was also a wreath-laying ceremony on Berlin's Putlitz Bridge, where there is a plaque commemorating the deportation of the city's Jewish community during the Nazi regime. [...]"

"Holocaust Honour for Arab Who Saved Jews from Nazis"
By David Sharrock
The Times, 24 January 2007
"An Arab who saved the lives of two dozen Jews during the Holocaust is about to receive an unprecedented honour from Israel. Khaled Abdelwahhab, a wealthy Tunisian landowner, is poised to become the first Arab to be celebrated as a Righteous Gentile. The award, presented by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance authority, is granted to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust in which six million died. More than 21,000 people have been granted the title of Righteous Among the Nations since it was established in 1963, with Oskar Schindler probably the best known. But, in spite of stories of heroism and friendship recorded by members of North Africa's once-large Jewish community, no candidate has emerged from the Arab Muslim world. The story of Khaled Abdelwahhab was uncovered by an American Jewish expert on Arab and Islamic politics who was researching for a book. A survivor told Robert Satloff that Abdelwahhab had rescued 23 Jews, including her family, as they sheltered in an olive oil factory after being thrown out of their homes by German soldiers. He feared that the women were going to be put to work in a brothel and gave them sanctuary for the remaining six months of the German occupation. ... More than 1.5 million Jews lived in northern Africa during the Second World War and were subject to persecution by the Nazis and their allies there, although few were sent to the death camps in Europe. [...]"


"World Ignores Signs of Civil War in Lebanon"
By Robert Fisk
The Independent, 24 January 2007
"This is how the 1975-90 conflict began in Lebanon. Outbreaks of sectarian hatred, appeals for restraint, promises of aid from Western and Arab nations and a total refusal to understand that this is how civil wars begin. The Lebanese army lifted its overnight curfew on Beirut yesterday morning but the smouldering cars and trucks of a gun battle was matched only by the incendiary language of the country's bitterest antagonists. Beirut's morning newspapers carried graphic pictures of gunmen -- Sunni Muslims loyal to the government and Shia supporters of Hizbollah -- which proved beyond any doubt that organised, armed men are on the capital's streets. The Lebanese army -- which constantly seeks the help of leaders on all sides -- had great difficulty in suppressing the latest battles. One widely-used picture showed a businessman firing a pistol at Shia during the fighting around the Lebanese Arab university, another a hooded man with a sniper's rifle on a rooftop. All three dead men were Hizbollah supporters whose funerals in south Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley yesterday were accompanied by calls for revenge and -- in one case -- by a colour guard of militiamen and farewell shots over his grave. After 29-year old Adnan Shamas's widow and young children were brought to his funeral in Ouzai, there were cries of 'blood for blood.' It was all very far from the self-congratulations of the western and Arab leaders in Paris yesterday, where European and American diplomats -- after drumming up £4bn in aid for Lebanon (strings attached, of course) -- seemed to believe they had just saved Fouad Siniora's government from the forces of Islamic 'extremists.' [...]"


"Russian Court Backs Closing Of Chechen Rights Group"
By Peter Finn
The Washington Post, 24 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"The Russian Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that shut down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a Western-funded grass-roots organization that had challenged the Kremlin's interpretation of events in the continuing conflict in Chechnya. The society's leadership called the decision a chilling example of the government using a recently enacted law on nongovernmental organizations to quash activism that clashes with official policy. The society, which had a network of correspondents and activists in Chechnya, a republic in southern Russia, reported on rights abuses by Russian forces and their Chechen allies. Oksana Chelysheva, one of the group's leaders, promised to fight the ruling. 'We are going to take our case to the European Court of Human Rights and, possibly, our Constitutional Court.' Last February, Stanislav Dmitrievsky, co-chair of the society, was convicted of inciting racial hatred for publishing in a society newsletter a statement by Aslan Maskhadov, a Chechen separatist leader, calling for negotiations to end the Chechen conflict. Another published statement cited by prosecutors was a commentary critical of the Kremlin by the London-based Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev. Maskhadov -- who officials here say played a role in the 2004 Beslan school massacre in southern Russia that left 331 people dead, including 186 children -- was killed by Russian forces in March 2005. After that, the society, in its monthly newsletter Human Rights Defender, ran a portrait of the separatist with a black mourning border, a decision that infuriated Russian officials and raised eyebrows among other Russian human rights activists. [...]"

"Russia Investigating Officials in Politkovskaya Killing"
German Press Agency (DPA) dispatch on, 23 January 2007
"The head of a US-based journalists' lobbying group said Tuesday that Russia had opened a criminal investigation into police officials in the October killing of Moscow journalist Anna Politkovskaya -- leading to a wave of denials from Russian officials. Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said the Russian Prosecutor General's Office is investigating 'several' officials in the wartorn republic of Chechnya. Politkovskaya, he said, was due to publish an article revealing the officials' alleged connections to torture in the republic, scene of two wars in the last 10 years, when she was murdered. 'We are heartened to hear of any information that could lead to justice in this crime,' Simon said at a press conference called to release the results of the committee's delegation in Russia. He added the case was one of several versions prosecutors were looking into. Simon said the CPJ's four-person delegation had received its information during a meeting with Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Malakhov on Monday. The ministry, however, shot down Simon's announcement. 'The CPJ's assertion absolutely does not correspond to reality,' a ministry statement said. It added prosecutors were looking at 'a few' versions of the murder and that Chechen investigators were examining leads from Politkovskaya's final article, which was printed posthumously. [...]"


"Rwanda to Release 8,000 More Genocide Suspects", 27 January 2007
"Some 8,000 detainees who have accepted to testify before Rwandan traditional courts over the country's 1994 genocide are to be provisionally released soon, the official press has reported, quoting Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama. 'This release is due to start in February,' Karugarama said, noting that it would be the third wave of releases of 'repentant genocide authors.' Some 800,000 people were killed in the Rwandan ethnic genocide and the number of prisoners was officially put at 68,000 in 2006, with 80% of them actually accused of the genocide. Some 22,000 detained suspects were first released in 2003 and a smaller number in 2005. But survivors of the massacres are questioning the so-called 'reconciliatory justice,' noting that witnesses faced persecution by suspects. According to the main genocide survivors organisation, Ibuka, many of the released suspects pose threats to the survivors and prosecution witnesses. The courts set up on the Rwandan traditional justice system have tried 6,267 out of the 63,447 suspects, according to official figures. A UN-backed Tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania is trying those with the greatest responsibility for the genocide."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Habyarimana's Widow Denies Having Organized the Genocide"
Hirondelle News Agency dispatch on, 22 January 2007
"Agathe Kanziga, the wife of the late President of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimana, denies in an interview to the Figaro Magazine she has ever played a role in the genocide which broke out in her country in 1994. On January 4th, the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA in French) rejected her demand for asylum because of her alleged participation in the planning of the genocide. Immediately, her attorneys seized the Appeals Board which is to examine her case next Thursday. 'The real organizers of the Rwandan tragedy are those who shot down the plane' of President Habyarimana on April 6 1994, Mrs. Kanziga declares. 'Who wanted the president dead also wanted the end of the Rwandan population because he knew the consequences of his action,' she accuses. Mrs. Habyarimana blames the genocide on the new president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and his party, the ex-rebel forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). 'Everything points in the direction of the RPF. They recently declared the attack was legal. And Kagame said he didn't give a damn that 12 had died in the crash,' she adds. The wife of the late president also says she has never meddled with politics. 'I never got involved in political affairs, either before, during or after the events that stirred our country. Let those who say it, I did prove it! I was simply the First Lady,' she says. [...]"


"Kosovo Wins Support For Split From Serbia"
By R. Jeffrey Smith
The Washington Post, 26 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"Nearly eight years after NATO warplanes intervened in a bitter ethnic conflict between Serbs and rebellious Kosovo Albanians in the former Yugoslavia, the United States and its European allies have agreed to support Kosovo's permanent secession from Serbia under continuing international supervision, according to senior U.S. and European officials. The decision is likely to lead, possibly as early as this summer, to the formal creation of a new Connecticut-size country in southeastern Europe with membership in the United Nations and, eventually, its own army, the officials said. But a foreign diplomat posted in the capital would retain authority to fire officials and rescind legislation deemed divisive, while leaving routine matters of government to local control. Under the plan, NATO troops would continue to patrol the new state to ensure peace and help protect minorities, but would gradually withdraw as Kosovo neared membership in NATO and the European Union. Putting Kosovo on a path toward eventual full independence is meant to close a chapter of Balkan history marked by war, political upheaval, widespread loss of life and the destruction of billions of dollars' worth of property. ... Officials say that finally allowing Kosovo to stand mostly on its own also has a major economic impetus: They anticipate it would open the door to private investment, new Western lending and aid, supplanting more than $2.5 billion already poured into the province by foreigners since 1999 with only a slight impact on a faltering and highly corrupt economy. Kosovo has Europe's largest deposits of lignite coal. Economic planners hope that the new state might build power plants and emerge as a primary supplier of electricity to its Balkan neighbors. [...]"

"Nationalists Triumph in Serbian Elections"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 22 January 2007
"Extreme nationalists led by a former warlord on trial for crimes against humanity romped to a comfortable victory yesterday in Serbia's most critical general election in years. But the Serbian Radical party's election triumph, six points ahead of their liberal pro-European rivals, left the extremists probably unable to cobble together a coalition government. According to early projections last night by independent poll monitors and partial results from the state election watchdog, the Radicals took around 29% of the vote, a point up on the last election in 2003 despite a campaign by western leaders to persuade Serbs to reject the nationalists. ... The Democrats, led by President Boris Tadic, took a projected 23% of the vote, a good result boosted by a 60% turnout. They should be able to supply the core of a new government if the conservative nationalist prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, agrees to a coalition. His Democratic Party of Serbia took a projected 17% and third place. While under strong western pressure to agree to a coalition with the pro-western democrats, he has not ruled out a coalition with the extreme nationalists. The election came just days before a UN mediator, Martti Ahtisaari, unveils proposals to redraw Serbia's borders and carve a new state out of its Albanian-majority southern province of Kosovo. He is to deliver his blueprint for a complex form of Kosovo independence to US, Russian, and European officials on Friday before revealing it next week to Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders. [...]"

"Kosovo Looms over Serbian Vote"
By Alissa J. Rubin
The Los Angeles Times, 21 January 2007
"Once the most powerful of the former Yugoslav republics and a kingdom that reached from the Adriatic to the Aegean, Serbia is about to lose the only vestige of its days of glory: Kosovo. United Nations mediators say they will unveil their plan for the province, which is predominantly ethnic Albanian and Muslim, and has been governed as a U.N. protectorate since 1999, sometime after today's Serbian general elections. Although the result of their deliberations appears to be a foregone conclusion and most outsiders have viewed Kosovo as a separate entity since a U.S.-led NATO air campaign forced the withdrawal of Serbian security forces, Serbs hardly see the same reality. The imminent loss of the province has been a central issue in the parliamentary campaign. Serbian politicians, intent on proving their loyalty to the country's traditional identity, have pulled out the stops to convince the world that the province should remain within their nation's borders. They have hired the high-powered Republican-affiliated lobbying firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers in Washington. The Serbian Orthodox Church has allied itself with televangelist Pat Robertson, who shares its concern about the rise of Muslim influence in the West. Serbian political leaders have been on the phone to the Russians, fellow Slavs who have veto power in the U.N. Security Council, which would have to approve any broad independence deal. [...]"


"First Test for New UN Chief: Darfur"
By Howard LeFranchi
The Christian Science Monitor, 26 January 2007
"The new United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki Moon, lists Darfur among his top priorities. Putting an end to the violence there, which the United States calls 'genocide,' is also turning into the UN leader's first major test -- of his credibility as a global moral force and of his ability to cajole the international community, and in this case Sudan, beyond words to action. Mr. Ban is underscoring his commitment to resolving the conflict in Darfur by making the African Union summit, to be held in Ethiopia Monday, the focus of his first international trip. There he plans to meet Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and to press him to accept deployment of a 'hybrid' African Union-UN force of 20,000 peacekeepers for the war-ravaged province. UN officials say Ban, who has been in his job since Jan. 2, does not want to lose the 'momentum' that was thought to have been made at the end of last year, when Mr. Bashir sent a letter to outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he seemed to accept the idea of a hybrid force. 'The problem is that the Sudanese agree to things, but then they backtrack and dawdle. So the worry here is that they made a gesture but then saw they could use the change from Annan to Ban to stall,' says one UN official close to the thinking in the secretary-general's office. 'The idea will be to move ahead with what has already been approved,' says the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Ban's meeting with Bashir is a good first step, some analysts of conflict diplomacy say, but they add that he can do much more. [...]"

"Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival"
By Jen Marlowe
AlterNet, 25 January 2007
"Editor's Note: Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival is a book that accompanies a major documentary film now showing across the world. It tells the story of the genocide in Darfur, through the eyes of the Darfurians. It also shows, 'the real lives of these people, and that they had had a thriving life, society, and culture that preceded their appearance on the world stage as victims and refuges,' the introduction reads. Darfur Diaries is written by Jen Marlow with Aisha Bain and Adam Shapiro (Nation Books, 2006). The following excerpt is from Chapter 7, 'The Antonov Plane and the Wedding.' [...]"

"Sudan Peace Deal 'Unravelling'"
By Stephen Collinson
Sapa-AFP dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 25 January 2007
"A former United States envoy to Sudan on Wednesday complained that United States policy on the country was based on a 'fundamental flaw' and warned a new war could erupt without urgent action by the US administration. Roger Winter also made a personal appeal to President George Bush, warning that the peace agreement that ended Sudan's bloody, 21-year civil war was at risk and would darken his White House legacy if it failed. Winter told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee's Africa sub-panel that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) could collapse because of the National Islamic Front-controlled government led by President Omar al-Beshir. The NIF has more recently been known as the National Congress Party. 'It is my very strong belief that the CPA is unravelling,' said Winter, the deputy secretary of state's former special representative on Sudan. 'There is a fundamental flaw in the way the United States has been approaching Sudan,' said Winter, who served under former deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick, who resigned last June. 'The fundamental flaw is the belief within our policy establishment that the National Islamic Front wants to be a responsible government. It's my assertion that the National Islamic Front does not in fact want to be a responsible government the way we understand those terms. It's my belief that the NIF no longer wants the CPA to be fulfilled.' [...]"

"Sudan Leader Admits Darfur Raids"
BBC Online, 24 January 2007
"Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has confirmed that government forces have been bombing northern areas of the troubled Darfur region. In an interview with the BBC Arabic Service, Mr Bashir said the action did not breach a UN-brokered ceasefire signed earlier this month. He said the government had no option but to use its armed forces in response to attacks by rebel groups. Nearly four years of fighting in Darfur has killed some 200,000 people. More than two million people have been displaced. Rebel commanders in northern Darfur said on Monday that government aircraft had hit three villages over the weekend -- claims the Sudanese government strongly denied. But in an exclusive BBC interview broadcast on Wednesday, President Bashir confirmed his troops had carried out the bombardments. He said the government had no option but to strike as 80% of attacks on civilians in the region were carried out by rebels groups, undermining security. [...]"

"AU Confirms Darfur Air Raids"
By Alfred de Montesquiou
Sapa-AP dispatch in The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 23 January 2007
"Sudan's air force bombed Darfur villages in violation of a recent ceasefire, hindering African and American attempts to unite rebel groups under a common leadership that can commit to peace, the African Union said on Monday. The AU comments were the first independent confirmation of reports from rebel leaders about the air raids in northern Darfur last week. The Sudanese military on Sunday denied the bombing raids. 'Preliminary investigations by [the African Union] have confirmed that the aerial bombings indeed took place' against the village of Anka and in the region of Wadi Korma last week, the AU said in a statement. The AU did not mention any casualties. But the United Nations mission to Sudan said it received reports that two people were killed in other bombings in Ein Sirro, also in North Darfur province. Rebel leaders said the air raids also killed a large number of cattle and destroyed stocks of crop. The bombings, which breach United Nations Security Council resolutions and a peace agreement, came after the Sudanese government vowed to adhere to a new truce brokered by visiting US governor Bill Richardson and others earlier this month. [...]"

"Sudanese Planes 'Bombing Darfur'"
BBC Online, 22 January 2007
"Rebel commanders in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan say government aircraft have bombed northern areas of the province, in breach of a ceasefire. They claimed several villages had been hit over the weekend. The Sudanese government has denied the reports, which come days after President Omar al-Bashir vowed to adhere to a UN peace plan. More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5m have fled their homes in Darfur during the four-year-old civil war. A rebel commander, Abdallah Banda, from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, said three villages had been destroyed by Sudanese aircraft in north Darfur. He did not say how many people had died. The Sudanese army denied the allegation. 'We never bombard civilians anywhere,' a military spokesman told the Associated Press news agency. Earlier this month a UN envoy said President Bashir was fully committed to a UN plan to send a hybrid UN and African peacekeeping force to Darfur. [...]"


"Five Turks Charged in Murder of Editor Dink"
By Stephen Collinson
Reuters dispatch, 25 January 2007
"A Turkish prosecutor has said five people were charged in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Turkish media reported on Thursday. Istanbul's chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin charged Ogun Samast, a 17-year-old unemployed man from the Black Sea coast, with premeditated murder and membership of an armed group. Four others were charged with forming an armed organization and incitement to murder. Samast, who is reported to have been close to an ultranationalist group in his home town Trabzon, has admitted to shooting Dink in daylight as he left his newspaper Agos in Istanbul last Friday. The murder brought 100,000 mourners to Istanbul's streets for Dink's funeral on Tuesday and has reignited debate about hardline nationalism in a country seeking European Union membership. 'From the quality and the nature of the crimes attributed to the suspects it is clear the result emerges that they formed an armed group,' Engin told reporters late on Wednesday in comments reported by the NTV Web site. ... Samast has confessed to killing Dink for 'insulting' Turks in his writings and statements on the massacres of Armenians during World War One -- a highly sensitive issue in Turkey. [...]"

"Armenian Editor's Death Leads to Conciliation"
By Susanne Fowler and Sebnem Arsu
The New York Times, 23 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"The killing of an Armenian-Turkish editor in Istanbul last week and the sorrow it has generated within Turkey are leading to rare conciliatory gestures between Turkey and Armenia, historic enemies, and to calls for changes in laws here defending Turkish identity. On Monday, Armenian political and spiritual figures accepted an invitation from the Turkish government to attend the funeral of Hrant Dink, the founder of an Armenian-Turkish newspaper, who was killed outside his office on Friday, apparently by a young nationalist fanatic. The suspect in the slaying, Ogun Samast, 17, was escorted back to the scene of the crime Sunday night by law enforcement authorities. The head of the Istanbul security forces said that Mr. Samast 'was driven to commit the crime by his nationalistic feelings' and had no ties to any group. Mr. Dink was a staunch defender of free speech and like other intellectuals was prosecuted for insulting 'Turkishness' and sentenced to six months in jail, though his term was suspended. Bulent Arinc, the parliamentary chairman from the ruling Justice and Development Party, said he would back efforts to abolish the measure under which Mr. Dink was prosecuted, known as Article 301. 'It can be discussed to totally abolish or completely revise the Article 301,' Mr. Arinc said, adding that members of Parliament 'are open to this.' Despite the fact that the Armenian-Turkish border has been sealed since 1993 and diplomatic relations severed, Armenia is sending a deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian, to the funeral, and the archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamian, also accepted the government's invitation to the ceremony. [...]"

"Murder of Outspoken Journalist Tests Turkey's Democratic Gains"
By Yigal Schleifer
The Christian Science Monitor, 22 January 2007
"[...] The past few years have seen Turkey engaged in a deep internal struggle. On the one hand, the country's drive toward European Union (EU) membership has resulted in significant political reforms, particularly regarding democratization and human rights, and the freeing up of the debate on what had previously been taboo subjects, such as the Armenian question. On the other hand, the EU-related reforms have been met with a strong nationalist backlash. Nationalist lawyers and prosecutors, for example, have been able to use a law, known as Article 301, to charge writers and journalists like Dink and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk with the crime of insulting Turkish identity as a way of stifling the emerging debates and putting the brakes on Turkey's EU bid. Dink was tried under this article, and in 2005 was convicted and handed a suspended six-month prison sentence. 'In a sense, both sides have been sharpening their axes, thinking that the EU question is the final intellectual battle in Turkey,' says Ali Carkoglu, a professor of political science at Istanbul's Sabanci University. 'It touches on everything that is salient in Turkish politics: the Islam versus secularism debate, democratization, and the extent to which individual human rights are to be protected.' [...]"

"Prosecutor: Teen Admits Killing Editor"
By Benjamin Harvey
Associated Press dispatch in The Guardian, 21 January 2007
"A teenage boy has confessed to fatally shooting an ethnic Armenian journalist outside his newspaper office in a brazen daytime attack, a prosecutor said Sunday. Ogun Samast, who is either 16 or 17 years old, was caught in the Black Sea city of Samsun late Saturday, a day after Hrant Dink was gunned down in Istanbul. Police said the youth was captured following a tip from his father after his pictures were broadcast on Turkish television. The slaying highlighted the precarious state of freedom of expression in a country that is vying for European Union membership. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the swift work of police, saying 'this is a lesson to those who want to shoot at freedoms ... to those who don't want calm to reign in Turkey.' Chief prosecutor Ahmet Cokcinar told The Associated Press that the teenager had confessed to killing Dink during initial questioning in Samsun. He refused to give any further details. Most Turks assume Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, was targeted for his columns saying the killing of ethnic Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century was genocide. Nationalists consider such statements an insult to Turkey's honor and a threat to its unity, and Dink had been showered with insults and threats. Turkey's relationship with its Armenian minority has long been haunted by a bloody past. Much of its once-influential Armenian population was killed or driven out beginning around 1915 in what an increasing number of nations are calling the first genocide of the 20th century. [...]"


"Ethnic Cleansing in L.A."
By Brentin Mock, 20 January 2007
"[...] [Anthony] Prudhomme was murdered because he identified himself as black (he was in fact mixed-race) in a neighborhood occupied by one of the many Latino street gangs in Los Angeles County. Incredibly, even though these gangs are fundamentally criminal enterprises interested mainly in money, gang experts inside and outside the government say that they are now engaged in a campaign of 'ethnic cleansing' -- racial terror that is directed solely at African Americans. 'The way I hear these knuckleheads tell it, they don't want their neighborhoods infested with blacks, as if it's an infestation,' says respected Los Angeles gang expert Tony Rafael, who interviewed several Latino street gang leaders for an upcoming book on the Mexican Mafia, the dominant Latino gang in Southern California. 'It's pure racial animosity that manifests itself in a policy of a major criminal organization.' 'There's absolutely no motive absent the color of their skin,' adds former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michael Camacho. Before he became a judge, in 2003, Camacho successfully prosecuted a Latino gang member for the random shootings of three black men in Pomona, Calif. 'They generally don't like African Americans,' Pomona gang unit officer Marcus Perez testified in that case. 'If an African American enters their neighborhood, they're likely to be injured or killed.' A comprehensive study of hate crimes in Los Angeles County released by the University of Hawaii in 2000 concluded that while the vast majority of hate crimes nationwide are not committed by members of organized groups, Los Angeles County is a different story. Researchers found that in areas with high concentrations, or 'clusters,' of hate crimes, the perpetrators were typically members of Latino street gangs who were purposely targeting blacks. Furthermore, the study found, 'There is strong evidence of race-bias hate crimes among gangs in which the major motive is not the defense of territorial boundaries against other gangs, but hatred toward a group defined by racial identification, regardless of any gang-related territorial threat.' Six years later, the racist terror campaign continues. [...]"


"A Loud Outcry Against Genocide"
By Jeannette Catsoulis
The New York Times, 25 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"Like Atom Egoyan's 2002 fiction film 'Ararat,' the documentary 'Screamers' takes as its jumping-off point the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. Unlike Mr. Egoyan, however, the director Carla Garapedian has a wider agenda: to show how continued refusal to acknowledge the genocide, by the United States and Britain as well as by Turkey, has given governments all over the world courage to instigate their own versions of ethnic cleansing. The relationship between denial of the Armenian tragedy and later atrocities like the Holocaust, Rwanda and present-day Darfur remains far from proven, but 'Screamers' loses no power as a result of its shaky argument. Focusing on the alternative metal band System of a Down, whose members are descended from Armenian survivors, this invigorating and articulate film unfolds at the sensitive intersection of entertainment and politics. Interviewing fans, family members and a wide range of public figures, Ms. Garapedian traces the historical path of genocide and reveals the continuing success of the band's attempts to raise awareness about global suffering. Part rockumentary, part howl of outrage, 'Screamers' would have benefited from less concert film and more historical background. Though the decibel level occasionally threatens to drown out the movie's quieter voices, the harrowing reminiscences of the lead singer Serj Tankian's grandfather, one of the few remaining Armenian eyewitnesses, make the suffering personal. 'This band just started to make you ask questions,' Mr. Tankian tells his audience. That would seem a good place to start."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch. "Less concert film"? Sacrilege! System of a Down rocks!]


"Growing Up In The Shadow Of A Mushroom Cloud ... Again"
By Robert Weitzel, 21 January 2007
"[...] This January 17, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the keepers of the Doomsday Clock, moved the clock forward two minutes, primarily because of the continued threat of 27,000 nuclear weapons in eight countries, 2000 of which are on hair trigger alert and ready for launch. It also cited the destruction of human habitats from climate change. According to the BAS, 'Not since the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has the world faced such perilous choices.' The nuclear ambitions of Iran -- and its president's vow to wipe Israel off the map -- coupled with the United States and Israel's first strike policy and willingness to include tactical nuclear weapons in their battle plan to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear technology is pushing the world to the 'brink of a Second Nuclear Age.' And again, in the 'Long War' on terror as in the Cold War, Pentagon planners are attempting to make a nuclear confrontation imaginable with the illusion of survivability. But this time it is not shelters they are selling. It is scale. They are planning to use only small nuclear bombs from now on ... a whole lot of them. The Pentagon’s 2005 'Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations' calls for 'integrating conventional and nuclear attacks.' This doctrine maintains that the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield will ensure 'minimal collateral damage,' thereby making their use 'safe for the surrounding civilian population.' If this doctrine strikes you as more insane than MAD, you are perfectly sane. It is 5 minutes to midnight. Given the Bush administration’s reckless disregard for the global consequences of its ideological juggernaut, American children are no less likely to grow up in the shadow of a mushroom cloud than were their parents and grandparents. They deserve something better. [...]"


"Gender Imbalance in China Could Take 15 Years to Correct"
By Ben Blanchard
The Guardian, 24 January 2007
"It could take 15 years for China's gender imbalance to sort itself out, the country's top family planner said yesterday, admitting that three decades of strict population policies had contributed to the problem. In 2005 118 boys were born for every 100 girls born in China, as wider use of ultrasound scans and the easy availability of abortions exacerbated the preference for boys. In some areas the ratio is 130 to 100. 'There are many reasons for the gender imbalance, and the first is the existence for thousands of years of a deep-rooted traditional view that men are worth more than women,' Zhang Weiqing, head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told a news conference. 'Of course, there is a certain relationship between the imbalance and China's strict family planning policy ... It has only exacerbated the problem, but that is not to say that having this policy has necessarily caused the large imbalance.' He said South Korea, Taiwan and Pakistan had similar problems even though they lacked China's severe controls. Mr. Zhang said the government would make more effort to raise women's place in society and protect baby girls -- with rewards, such as retirement pensions, for parents who have girls -- as well as to crack down on illegal gender selection tests and sex-selective abortions. 'Solving this issue is rather difficult, and we may have to wait 10 to 15 years for the proportion to balance out.' China, which has 1.3 billion citizens, last year scrapped plans to make sex-selective abortion a crime. Experts have said such a step would better deter parents from aborting girls. Mr. Zhang defended the population plan -- which he said had halted 400m births in 30 years -- and said it was wrong to call the programme a 'one-child' policy. [...]"


"Arar Given $11.5-million in Compensation"
By Jeff Sallot
The Globe and Mail, 27 January 2007
"Maher Arar asked for the impossible: 'I wish I could buy my life back.' Friday he received an official apology from the Prime Minister and an $11.5-million compensation package from the federal government -- the largest legal settlement of its kind in Canadian history. But he says he'll never again know the life he led before 2002 -- as a successful young Canadian computer engineer with a bright future for himself and his family, free to travel to the United States on business, and free of the horrible memories of 10 months in a tiny, wet and rat-infested prison cell in Syria. In dark moments, Mr. Arar sometimes Googles his own name to see how many hits he gets that also include the label 'suspected terrorist.' The anger returns. If a reference describes him as 'computer engineer' he feels pangs of nostalgia for those days when his life really was so uncomplicated. But he knows that that life ended more than four years ago when U.S. authorities shipped him off in the middle of the night to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on behalf of the Canadian government, formally apologized Friday to Mr. Arar for the role the Mounties and other federal officials played in his ordeal. A judicial commission of inquiry last September found that the RCMP passed along false and inflammatory intelligence reports about the Canadian man to U.S. agencies, describing him as a Muslim extremist. This information was 'very likely' used by the Americans to deport Mr. Arar to Syria, where he was imprisoned for almost a year and tortured, the inquiry said. The torment continued, even after Mr. Arar's release, with 'leaks' of misinformation to Canadian news media smearing Mr. Arar's reputation, Mr. Justice Dennis O'Connor found. The entire Arar family has suffered unjustly, Mr. Arar told reporters, at times choking back tears. [...]"

Friday, January 19, 2007

NOW AVAILABLE: Men of the Global South: A Reader, edited by Adam Jones (Zed Books, 2006; 425 pp., US $29.99 pbk). "This impressive collection is a much-needed contribution to the visibility and understanding of diversity in the lives of men from the South" (Dr. Dubravka Zarkov, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague).

Genocide Studies Media File
January 12-19, 2007

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to

Consider inviting colleagues and friends to subscribe to Genocide_Studies and the G_S Media File. All it takes is an email to


"Argentines Fear for Witnesses' Safety in 'Dirty War' Trials"
Associated Press dispatch on, 18 January 2007
"Argentines refusing to be cowed by death threats against the witnesses, judges and lawyers involved in 'dirty war' trials were marching in the capital Thursday, marking four months since the disappearance of a witness who testified against his torturers. Jorge Julio Lopez vanished September 18, after he described being jolted with electric prods by a former police chief and others during two years in a secret prison. Thanks in part to Lopez's willingness to speak up and even show his scars in court, the defendant was convicted and given a life sentence for six disappearances two decades ago. Argentina's leftist government is intent on trying as many as 900 lower-ranking former police and military officers for their roles in state-sponsored terrorism against dissidents during the 1970s and 80s, now that the Supreme Court has struck down amnesty laws that kept all but the top-ranking military leaders from being prosecuted. Key to these trials are as many as 2,000 witnesses, and their safety was at the heart of Thursday's protests. With anonymous death threats raining down on those involved and Lopez still missing despite President Nestor Kirchner's declaration that finding him alive is a top priority, many worry they'll refuse to testify. [...]"

"Argentina Pursues Iran in '94 Blast As Neighbors Court Ahmadinejad"
By Monte Reel
The Washington Post, 14 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"[...] The bombing was the second attack on a Jewish target in Argentina. In 1992, a suicide bomber struck the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29. Shortly after the community center blast, then-Argentine President Carlos Menem blamed the attack on Islamic extremists from Iran. Menem was eventually saddled with some of the blame for the derailed investigations that followed: In 2002, a former Iranian intelligence official alleged that Menem, by then out of office, had received $10 million to cover up Tehran's role in the attack. Menem vigorously denied the accusation, but it nonetheless damaged his standing. The judge investigating the community center bombing -- Juan Jose Galeano -- was also criticized for undermining the case. He was impeached after being found guilty of misdeeds including paying a defendant $400,000 to testify. He also lost hundreds of hours of wiretap recordings and other evidence. The only suspects to be tried in the case have been four Argentine police officers and a car thief who were charged as accessories for providing the van used in the bombing. They were acquitted for lack of proof. ... Iran has repeatedly proclaimed its officials had nothing to do with the bombing. In the weeks since Iran said it would ignore the extradition requests, Rafsanjani has maintained a high public profile in Iran, running for a seat in a council of clerics in December."

"Argentine Ex-President Charged With Rights Abuses"
By Larry Rohter
The New York Times, 13 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"Acting at the request of Argentine officials, the Spanish police on Friday detained María Estela de Perón, the former president of Argentina and the widow of the founder of the ruling party, as part of a broadening investigation by the Peronist government of Argentina into past human rights abuses there. Ms. Perón, who was overthrown in 1976, with Carlos Menem, a political ally, in Buenos Aires in 1988, the year before he was elected president. A judge in the provincial city of Mendoza had issued an order on Thursday that Ms. Perón, known as Isabel, who lives in exile in Spain and gives her age as 75, be detained there for questioning regarding the disappearance of a student during her time in power. Almost simultaneously, a judge in Buenos Aires authorized the arrest of two other officials with ties to the late José López Rega, who was Gen. Juan Perón's private secretary and later Ms. Perón's closest adviser. Those moves were made less than two weeks after Argentina requested that Spain extradite another notorious figure from that era. In each case, the proceedings focus on the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance, or 'Triple A,' a shadowy right-wing paramilitary death squad controlled by Mr. López Rega that first emerged when General Juan Perón was in power and accelerated its activities during his widow's tenure. Ms. Perón governed Argentina for less than two years, from her husband's death in July 1974 until she was overthrown by a military coup on March 24, 1976. Human rights groups have blamed the Triple A for the killings of at least 1,500 political opponents, most of which occurred when Ms. Perón, a former cabaret dancer who was the general's third wife, was in power. [...]"


"Sylvester Stallone to Make a Film about Armenian Genocide", 19 January 2007 [Sic passim]
"Sylvester Stallone has sparked debate of directing a movie adaptation of controversial book 'The Forty Days Of Musa Dagh,' which describes the Turkish massacre of its Armenian community in 1915. According to FemaleFirst the Austrian author Franz Werfel's book is controversial in Turkey, where the maintained genocide was never entirely accepted as a historical fact. The Association On Struggle Against Armenian Genocide Acknowledgement is advicing Stallone not to make the movie. 'The book is full of lies, since the author got his information from nationalist and radical Armenians. We have already sent necessary documents about the mentioned days to the producer of the film. Our allies will urge the producer not to produce the film,' fumes Chairman Savas Egilmez. The Hollywood actor says the movie would be 'an epic about the complete destruction of a civilisation. (But) talk about a political hot potato. The Turks were killing that subject for 85 years.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"On the Run with the Karen People Forced to Flee Burma's Genocide"
By Pete Pattisson
The Independent, 16 January 2007
"When the Burmese soldiers arrived at his village, Maung Taungy knew what would happen next. Seven villagers were arrested, their feet bound together with rope, and they hung upside down for hours. Exhausted and with their ankles lacerated, the men, suspected of being linked to the Karen resistance army, were then beaten. The soldiers did not stop until they were dead. 'After that,' remembers Maung Taungy, an ethnic-minority Karen from eastern Burma, 'we became the virtual slaves of the army. They ordered us to clear the whole jungle so that they could see approaching enemies. We had to wade through chest-deep water full of snakes to get the area cleared. The work was endless, we made roads, dug trenches, cut bamboo and made fences. We had no choice but to escape.' Maung Taungy now lives in Ei Tu Tha camp for internally displaced people, ineastern Burma. An estimated 27,000 Karen have fled an offensive by the Burmese army in northern Karen State, which began last February. Fifty five thousand Karen remain in hiding in the jungles bordering Thailand, refugees from the world's longest-running civil war, between the Burmese army and the Karen resistance, the Karen National Liberation Army. More than one million Karen have been displaced since 1996 in the face of systematic human rights violations including rape, forced labour and torture. And the situation is worsening. [...]"


"Ex-Khmer Rouge Leader Denies Genocide"
Associated Press dispatch in The Guardian, 12 January 2007
"A former Khmer Rouge leader denied in an interview published Friday that the regime whose extremist policies wiped out much of Cambodia's population in the 1970s committed mass murder. Nuon Chea, 80, who was second only to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, is expected to go on trial before a joint Cambodia-United Nations tribunal later this year on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. 'Why should we have killed our own people? I do not see a reason,' the English-language Phnom Penh Post quoted him as saying. 'We wanted a clean, illuminating and peaceful regime.' An estimated 1.7 million people died as a result of the 1975-79 communist regime. Some were executed, while others died of starvation, disease and overwork. None of the leaders have been held accountable for the atrocities. Pol Pot died in 1998, but Nuon Chea and several other top deputies still live freely in Cambodia. Nuon Chea also said any documents linking him to the regime's crimes 'were manipulated,' including photographs of human skulls. 'Those photographs with skulls now being presented do not mean a thing. Modern technology can do this,' he told the Post, a biweekly published every other Friday. The comments outraged Youk Chhang, a Khmer Rouge survivor and leading genocide researcher, who called Nuon Chea 'disrespectful and arrogant.' 'The Khmer Rouge did not regard us as humans. They took away our love, our family, soul, belief. We were not humans in their eyes. We were their enemies,' Youk Chhang said."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Montreal Symphony Premieres Dallaire Tribute", 18 January 2007
"Senator Roméo Dallaire and Montreal audiences have praised the city's symphony orchestra and conductor Kent Nagano for this week's original tribute to the former UN peacekeeping commander. The General is a musical work comprising excerpts from Beethoven's Egmont Overture, woven together with an original narrative inspired by Dallaire's attempts to stop the Rwandan genocide. The General weaves together music by Beethoven and a narrative based on Dallaire's attempt to stop the genocide in Rwanda.The General weaves together music by Beethoven and a narrative based on Dallaire's attempt to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Acclaimed actor Colm Feore served as narrator, delivering the libretto alongside the orchestra in Montreal on Tuesday and Wednesday night. 'To hear in the first person someone saying things that I had lived, and reinforced by an extraordinary, powerful orchestra with that music, I found it quite extraordinary,' Dallaire told CBC News. The project was the brainchild of Nagano, the MSO's enthusiastic conductor and music director. [...]"


"Colombian Militia Leader Confesses to Massacres"
By Sibylla Brodzinsky
The Guardian, 18 January 2007
"A senior commander of Colombia's rightwing militias has admitted taking part in some of the country's most grisly crimes in the first of what could become a flood of confessions from demobilised paramilitary leaders. Salvatore Mancuso told a prosecutor in Medellín this week that he was responsible for hundreds of kidnappings, murders and massacres during his 15-year career in the death squads that spread terror throughout Colombia in the name of fighting leftist rebels. In two days of testimony, Mancuso admitted to directly participating in or ordering the murder of hundreds of people, among them mayors, union leaders and peasants. With presentations projected from his laptop computer, Mancuso listed in chronological order the massacres at El Aro, Mápiripan, El Salado and other towns, all of which he called 'anti-subversive operations.' He also named the victims. Some relatives of the dead heard the confessions. When Miryam Areiza heard Mancuso read her father's name as he recounted the 1997 massacre at El Aro, where he and 14 others were tortured and killed, she said she felt ill. 'Where does he get off saying my father was a guerrilla? My father was a peasant, tending to his farm. He was tortured and killed and Mancuso was responsible,' she said outside the special room for victims and their families to watch the closed proceedings. ... Under a deal with the government, no paramilitary who confesses all his crimes and makes reparations to victims can be sentenced to more than eight years in prison.[...]"


"Germany Moves to Silence Holocaust Deniers Across Europe"
By Jane Paulick
Deutsche Welle dispatch, 19 January 2007
"[...] With opinion divided on the viability of a Holocaust denial law, it seems Europe has yet to figure out how to reconcile the fight against racism with freedom of speech -- and is still struggling to accept that a society that defends freedom of expression also has to tolerate views it doesn't like. The dilemma was catapulted back into the public consciousness over the last year after the publication in Denmark of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed, which drew accusations from the Muslim world that the EU operates double standards in its attempts to protect religions from insult and injury. Months later, Turkey leveled a similar accusation at France, after the National Assembly passed a law making it a criminal offense to deny that the massacre of Armenians by Turks during World War I was a case of genocide. However eager Europe is to protect Judeo-Christian sensitivities, said Ankara, it is far less interested in combating defamation of Islam."

"A Blanket Ban on Holocaust Denial Would Be A Serious Mistake"
By Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, 18 January 2007
"[...] Holocaust denial should be combated in our schools, our universities and our media, not in police stations and courts. It is, at most, a minor contributing factor to today's far-right racism and xenophobia, which now mainly targets Muslims, people of different skin colour, and migrants of all kinds. Nor will today's anti-semitism be countered most effectively by such bans; they may, at the margins, even stoke it up, feeding conspiracy theories about Jewish power and accusations of double-standards. Citizens of the Baltic states, who suffered so terribly under Stalin, will ask why only denial of the Holocaust should be criminalised and not denial of the gulag. Armenians will add: and why not the genocide that our ancestors experienced at the hands of the Turks? And Muslims: why not cartoons of Muhammad? The approach advocated by the German justice minister also reeks of the nanny state. It speaks in the name of freedom but does not trust people to exercise freedom responsibly. Citizens are to be treated as children, guided and guarded at every turn. Indeed, the more I look at what Zypries does and says, the more she seems to me the personification of the contemporary European nanny state. It's no accident that she has also been closely involved in extending German law to allow more bugging of private homes. Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser (trust is good, control is better). Isn't that another mistake Germany made in the past? ... We must learn the lessons of history. But we must learn the right lessons of history, the ones relevant to a free, multicultural continent today. [...]"

"Swastika Ban Call Upsets Hindus"
Reuters dispatch on, 17 January 2007
"Hindus in Europe are joining forces to oppose German calls for a law across the European Union banning the display of Nazi symbols, saying the swastika symbolizes peace and not hate. Hindus in Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy plan to visit each EU member state, European Commission leaders and members of the European Parliament to garner support for a pressure group intended to resist the German move. 'The swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. This is exactly the opposite of how it was used by Hitler,' said Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum of Britain. 'It is almost like saying that the Klu Klux Klan used burning crosses to terrorize black men, so therefore let us ban the cross. How does that sound to you?' The European umbrella group of Hindus plans to launch in the European Parliament in May. ... Kallidai said Germany's initiative was probably well-meaning but there had been no consultations. 'Every time we see a swastika symbol in a Jewish cemetery, that of course must be condemned. But when the symbol is used in a Hindu wedding, people should learn to respect that,' he told Reuters. 'In Sanskrit it means May Goodness Prevail. Just because Hitler misused the symbol, abused it and used it to propagate a reign of terror and racism and discrimination, it does not mean that its peaceful use should be banned.'"
[n.b. That KKK-cross comparison is pretty hard to gainsay.]

"Germany Bids to Outlaw Denial of Holocaust Across Continent"
By Ian Traynor
The Guardian, 16 January 2007
"Germany yesterday moved to outlaw denial of the Holocaust, the parading of Nazi symbols, and racist speech across Europe, using a meeting of EU interior and justice ministers to call for jail terms of up to three years for the offences. At a meeting in Dresden in eastern Germany, Brigitte Zypries, the German justice minister, demanded that Holocaust denial and the sporting of Nazi symbols be criminalised across the EU. ... The proposals from the German government are supported by Franco Frattini, the EU commissioner for justice, said a commission spokeswoman, although she added that detailed definition of the proposed offences should be left to EU countries to decide individually and that there would be guarantees that 'personal freedoms will not be violated.' Another commission official said that Sweden, for example, whose constitution guarantees absolute freedom of speech, could be granted an opt-out if the EU-wide criminalisation was agreed. Germany has just started a six-month presidency of the EU and is pushing strongly to outlaw statements and actions trivialising Nazi crimes and the Holocaust. 'We believe there are limits to freedom of expression,' said Mrs. Zypries. The European commission says that in a time of growing Islamophobia, racism, and hostility to foreigners across Europe, a decision to criminalise hate speech and praise of Nazi crimes would send a strong signal. But attempts to ban Holocaust denial across the EU have failed on two previous occasions. It is not clear whether the new German campaign will succeed where earlier attempts have failed. [...]"


"Kashmir's Half-Widows Struggle for Fuller Life"
By Haroon Mirani
Women's E-News, 18 January 2007
"[...] Indian-administered Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. During the current insurgency, which started in 1989, many people have vanished, presumed killed or imprisoned without trial or record. The death toll in the current conflict amounts to somewhere between 40,000 and 90,000, depending on the source. During the last 15 years the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, an organization of the relatives of the disappeared in Kashmir, claims that about 10,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances by state agencies, mostly taken by armed personnel. Of the disappeared, they say between 2,000 and 2,500 people were married, and almost all were males. 'There are organizations fighting for land, water, rights, money, freedom, et cetera,' says Parveena Ahanger, chair of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, based in the Kashmiri summer capital of Srinagar. 'We are fighting to obtain just a piece of information about the whereabouts of our disappeared relatives.' Ahanger's son Javid Ahmad Ahanger was picked up by security forces on Aug. 18, 1990, when he was 16; since then she has not heard from him. India denies any connection to the abductions and says fewer than 1,000 people have disappeared. It says most of the missing have gone to the Pakistan-administered side of Kashmir for training in guerrilla warfare. The Indian administration has confirmed 135 such missing persons as dead. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to David Buchanan for submitting this item. For more on gendercide in Kashmir and Punjab, see the Gendercide Watch case-study.]


"Iraq: Counting the Dead"
By Jon Wiener
The Nation, 17 January 2007
"The new UN estimate of 34,000 Iraqis killed in 2006 made headlines around the world, but it's almost certainly far too low. The number, as the New York Times reported, was 'the first attempt at hand-counting individual deaths for an entire year,' and was based on information from 'morgues, hospitals and municipal authorities across Iraq.' The first problem with the UN count is that refers only to civilians -- and thus almost certainly omitted deaths of Iraqi policemen, soldiers, insurgent fighters, and members of private militias like the Badr brigade. News media failed to report how the UN separated 'civilian' casualties from the total, and the UN notably failed to report the total including non-civilians. The second problem is the UN's methodology, which relied mostly on tallying official death certificates. The UN, according to the Times, argues their methodology is reliable because 'a vast majority of Iraqi deaths are registered' with officials because Iraqis want to 'prove inheritance and receive government compensation.' But many bodies found in mass graves or ditches are unidentified. And there's another problem: according to the L.A. Times, 'Victims' families are all too often reluctant to claim the bodies. ... for fear of reprisals.' And of course chaotic wartime conditions in several provinces make it difficult for officials there to issue death certificates even when victim's families do not fear reprisals. None of the reports in leading newspapers mentioned the other count of Iraqi deaths: the Johns Hopkins study reported last October in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet. They estimated that 650,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war -- 600,000 from violence and 50,000 from other war-related causes. President Bush rejected that figure -- 'I don't consider it a credible report,' he told a press conference last October -- and most of the media seem to have agreed. But The Lancet study used state-of-the art demographic techniques, the same methodology employed to estimate war deaths in Kosovo, Congo, and Rwanda, and in natural disasters around the world. World leaders have cited those figures repeatedly without questioning their validity. [...]"


"Activists Condemn Iran Holocaust Meeting"
Associated Press dispatch on, 19 January 2007
"In a statement to be published next week, more than 100 Iranian activists outside their country have condemned its recent conference questioning the Holocaust. The activists signed the statement blasting the Iranian government and paying homage to victims of the Nazi regime. The activists expressed frustration over the relative silence on the subject from the Iranian diaspora. The statement, which began circulating last month, is to be printed next week in The New York Review of Books. The Associated Press recently obtained a copy. The statement notes that the activists signed notwithstanding their 'diverse views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.' The signers include Azar Nafisi, who wrote the best-seller 'Reading Lolita in Tehran.' 'I thought it was inappropriate to use the Holocaust as a political issue,' Nafisi said. 'I thought that Iranians, especially non-Jewish Iranians, had a responsibility to say, "Not in my name."' The two-day conference in December brought together well-known Holocaust deniers and others who have said the Nazi genocide has been blown out of proportion. The Tehran conference was backed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has made strident statements against Israel and called the Holocaust a 'myth' while seeking to elevate Iran's profile in the region. [...]"

"Israel Mulls Genocide Suit Against Iran President"
Agence France-Press dispatch on Yahoo! News, 14 January 2007
"Israel said it was mulling filing charges of inciting genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against the president of arch-foe Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 'The director general of the foreign ministry, Aharon Abramovich, and his deputy, Eitan Bentsur, consulted on this matter last week,' Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tali Samesh told AFP. The Jewish state considers the Islamic republic its enemy number one following Ahmadinejad's repeated calls for Israel to be wiped off the map. According to a report in the Maariv daily, Israel is examining whether other countries, like main ally the United States and Great Britain, could eventually join in the suit. Israel, widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, fears that Tehran is trying to develop atomic weapons under the cover of its nuclear power program. The Islamic republic denies the charge, saying the program is for peaceful purposes."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"Terror and Starvation in Gaza"
By John Pilger
New Statesman, 22 January 2007
"A genocide is engulfing the people of Gaza while a silence engulfs its bystanders. 'Some 1.4 million people, mostly children, are piled up in one of the most densely populated regions of the world, with no freedom of movement, no place to run and no space to hide,' wrote the former senior UN relief official Jan Egeland and Jan Eliasson, then foreign minister of Sweden, in Le Figaro. They described a people 'living in a cage,' cut off by land, sea and air, with no reliable power and little water, and tortured by hunger and disease and incessant attacks by Israeli troops and planes. Egeland and Eliasson wrote this four months ago in an attempt to break the silence in Europe, whose obedient alliance with the United States and Israel has sought to reverse the democratic result that brought Hamas to power in last year's Palestinian elections. The horror in Gaza has since been compounded: a family of 18 has died beneath a 500lb US/Israeli bomb; unarmed women have been mown down at point-blank range. Dr. David Halpin, one of the few Britons to break what he calls 'this medieval siege,' reported the killing of 57 children by artillery, rockets and small arms and was shown evidence that civilians are Israel's true targets, as in Lebanon last summer. ... A historian and two foreign journalists have reported the truth about Gaza. All three are Israeli. They are frequently called traitors. The historian Ilan Pappe has documented that 'the genocidal policy [in Gaza] is not formulated in a vacuum' but part of Zionism's deliberate, historic ethnic cleansing. Gideon Levy and Amira Hass are reporters on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In November, Levy described how the people of Gaza were beginning to starve to death: 'There are thousands of wounded, disabled and shell-shocked people, unable to receive any treatment ... The shadows of human beings roam the ruins ... They only know the [Israeli army] will return and they know what this will mean for them: more imprisonment in their homes for weeks, more death and destruction in monstrous proportions.' [...]"

"A Powerful Voice: An Interview with Ilan Pape"
By Liam Bailey
Blogcritics Magazine, 17 January 2007
"Prominent Israeli academic and author Ilan Pape is openly critical of Israel. In his latest article, he called Israel's policies in the West Bank 'ethnic cleansing' and felt safe to call their actions in Gaza 'measured genocide.' Let us not forget that Ilan Pape is an Israeli and for him to accuse his own homeland of these things must be very hard indeed, and without a strong basis, I'm sure he would reduce the terms to something much weaker. Secondly, Ilan Pape has extensive experience of the conflict. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa. He has also written books on the subject, including, among others: The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and his latest, [The] Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006). An Israeli with so much knowledge criticizing his homeland makes him a powerful voice. [...]"


"Ex-Communist Europe's Pursuit of Holocaust Justice Stirs Anti-Semitism"
By Michael J. Jordan
The Christian Science Monitor, 17 January 2007
"[...] Six decades after World War II, the once-dormant pursuit of Holocaust-related justice is forging ahead in newly democratic central-eastern Europe. Yet the hunt carries a price: It has stirred resentment among a financially struggling populace, which bristles at the multimillion-dollar property claims by their Jewish communities, and sees the harassment of nonagenarians as unnecessary or even cruel. 'I would venture to say Holocaust issues are the major source of anti-Semitism in post-Communist Europe today,' says Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, sometimes referred to as 'the world's last Nazi-hunter.' Other activists disagree, asserting that anti-Semitism merely awaits a pretext to surface. However, there is consensus that the pursuit must go on. 'I understand when young people question: "Why do you go after people who did something 60 years ago when they haven't done anything wrong [since]?"' says Kurt Schrimm, senior public prosecutor for Germany's Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes. 'On the other hand, we have the duty regarding the victims and relatives of the victims, to know the facts of what was done 60 years ago and who did it. So maybe this is more important, to put a 90-year-old in jail.' ... Aided by researchers and archivists, advocates have built their cases. The US Office of Special Investigations (OSI) filed 10 new cases in 2002 alone, a one-year record, against American immigrants who hid a Nazi past. To date, the agency has won cases against 104 people and deported 63, says OSI Director Eli Rosenbaum. 'This sends a message to would-be perpetrators of crimes against humanity,' says Mr. Rosenbaum. 'If they dare to commit such crimes, there is a very real chance they will be pursued for however long it takes -- even into their old age, even to sanctuaries they think they have found, thousands of miles away from the scene of their crimes.' [...]"

"Germany Faces Up to Shame of Sex Slavery in Concentration Camps"
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dispatch in The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 January 2007
"Breaking a long-time taboo in the world of Nazi horrors, Germany has unveiled an exhibition on the 'comfort women' exploited by male concentration-camp inmates. Between 300 and 400 women were forced to provide sexual services to queues of slave labourers from the Nazi armaments factories. 'These brothels were provided as a "performance incentive" so that the male prisoners would increase their output,' said Horst Seferens of the Brandenburg Monuments Foundation, which funded the exhibition at the Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp Memorial. Most male prisoners never admitted after their release that they had exploited the women, who also kept their shame secret. The Nazis used hundreds of thousands of Jews and political prisoners to keep their weapons factories running. The women were selected from Ravensbrueck camp, the main Nazi site for detaining women, and sent to 10 other concentration camps. 'In the story of the concentration camps, the SS's exploitation of women inmates for men inmates has been just so covered up and avoided by everyone,' said Insa Eschebach, the head of the memorial. 'And what did come out was just so distorted and prejudiced against the women.' Items in the show include eyewitness interviews, some of the Nazis' index cards on the victims describing them as 'brothel women,' and the vouchers that were given to male inmates to be redeemed in sexual services. Historians said the story had so embarrassed the women that the Nazis responsible were never prosecuted after the war."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

"Italy Convicts Nazis of Massacre"
BBC Online, 13 January 2007
"Italy has sentenced 10 former members of the Nazi SS to life imprisonment for their role in the worst World War II massacre on Italian soil, reports say. The defendants, all in their 80s and believed to live in Germany, were tried in absentia by a military tribunal in the port of La Spezia. Several hundred people were killed in 1944 around the town of Marzabotto, near Bologna, by retreating Nazis. Most of those who died were women, children and the elderly. ... Italian media said the 10 were also ordered to pay about 100m euros ($129m) in damages to the few survivors and relatives of the victims. Seven other defendants are reported to have been acquitted. Marzabotto was the worst massacre of civilians committed in Italy during World War II. Between 29 September and 5 October, 1944, retreating Nazi troops carrying out reprisals for the local support given to resistance fighters killed civilians around Marzabotto, a mountainous area south of Bologna. The number of those killed in Marzabotto is put at more than 700, and some records say as many as 1,800 were killed by the SS forces as they swept the area in pursuit of partisans. In 2002, then-German President Johannes Rau went to Marzabotto and expressed his country's 'profound sorrow' and 'shame' for the massacre. ... Those convicted are unlikely to go to prison, given their age and the length of time needed for extradition."


"Kin and Rights Groups Search for Pakistan's Missing"
By Salman Masood
The New York Times, 14 January 2007
"Amina Masood Janjua has been fighting for some word on the fate of her husband since he vanished from a bus station here in July 2005. In recent months, she and her two teenage sons and 11-year-old daughter have begun a campaign of court petitions, protests and press releases. Mrs. Janjua's son Muhammad, 17, was beaten as police officers broke up the march. They lowered his trousers as a means of humiliating him. More than 30 families of other missing men have joined her, all seeking to locate what they and human rights groups say are hundreds of people who have disappeared into the hands of the country's feared intelligence agencies in the last few years. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent group, estimates that 400 citizens have been abducted and detained across the country since 2001. Amnesty International says many have been swept up in a campaign against people suspected of being extremists and terrorists. But some here also charge that the government is using the pretext of the war on terror to crack down on opponents. In addition to some with ties to extremist groups, those missing include critics of the government, nationalists, journalists, scientists, researchers and social and political workers, the groups say. [...]"


"No Death Penalty for Genocide Suspects Abroad -- Rwanda"
Reuters dispatch, 19 January 2007
"Rwanda's parliament has scrapped the death penalty for suspects in its 1994 genocide who are either being held at a U.N. court in Tanzania or at large elsewhere abroad, authorities said on Friday. The unanimous 80-0 vote earlier this week paves the way for the transfer of suspects at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) set up to try masterminds of the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Since its first trial in 1997, the ICTR has convicted only 27 people and is due to wind up in 2008, when most pending cases are likely to be transferred back to Kigali. 'Removing the death penalty has been a prerequisite for any legal process to begin regarding transfer of any cases to Rwanda,' Aloys Mutabingwa, Rwanda's representative at the ICTR, told Reuters. 'We are now going to embark on negotiations with the tribunal and I am sure that before the end of this year, we will have some pending cases transferred to Rwanda.' Genocide suspects still at large abroad -- mainly in Europe and the United States -- would also benefit from the new legislation if they were brought home, parliamentary officials said. The new law has to be rubber-stamped by the upper house, but that is a formality, they added. The tiny central African nation has also drafted a law to completely take the death penalty off its statutes. Only four people convicted of genocide inside Rwanda have been executed, in 1997, officials said. About 8,000 remain on death row. [...]"

"Rwanda: Rusesabagina, Genocide And Identity Politics"
By William Church
The New Times (Kigali) (on, 19 January 2007
"[...] It is now my personal opinion that Paul Rusesabagina is not a harmless or even misguided publicity seeker involved in self-promotion to earn speaking fees or sell books. Today, Rusesabagina has gained celebrity status, and now even a well respected news organisation like Reuters feels free to quote him without supporting evidence and checking his facts. The recent Reuters article quoted Rusesabagina as saying: 'Since 1994, Tutsis have been killing Hutus, and even now there are many who are being killed, or who simply disappear,' he said. 'Everything has been taken over by the Tutsi. The Hutu who are 85 percent of the population are intimidated.' A year ago, in his autobiography, he tested the public opinion waters when he said that Rwanda was controlled by a Tutsi elite and any Hutu who cooperated with the Tutsi was 'an empty suit.' At the time, I found this statement highly offensive and insulting to all Rwandans who are trying to rebuild their country. I asked many people one question: 'What would you think if someone was touring Germany 12 years after the holocaust and said that Jews once again run Germany and that any good German who cooperates is not worth anything.' Is there any difference between that last statement and what is being said by Paul Rusesabagina? ... Rusesabagina's approach is an insult to the many NGOs, and Gacaca workers, both Rwandans and non-Africans, who are dedicated to facilitate reconciliation. [...]"
[n.b. Well, if Germany had been invaded and the Nazi regime overthrown by an invading Jewish army, which then set about installing Jews and a few token non-Jews in all high positions and establishing a virtual ethnocracy, then the writer's analogy between Germany and Rwanda might hold.]


"AU Set to Hand Reins to Genocide Accused"
By Beauregard Tromp
"The African Union faces a huge challenge to its legitimacy next week when it has to decide whether to honour a promise to install Sudan's 'genocidal' president as its head. If it does so, President Omar Al-Bashir will have a great say over the actual forces deployed to subdue the militias his government backs. So far, the African Union has given no indication that it will go back on the compromise it reached in Khartoum in January last year. African ministers and officials start gathering in Addis Ababa on Monday, ahead of the heads of state meeting on January 30 in the Ethiopian capital. On Wednesday, 13 UN organisations said the violence against innocent people in Darfur in the past six months had been worse than any time since 2004. Twelve relief workers have been killed and the facilities of 30 NGOs attacked -- more than the total for the previous two years. 'In the face of growing insecurity and danger to communities and aid workers, the UN and its humanitarian partners have effectively been holding the line for the survival and protection of millions. That line cannot be held much longer,' the group said. Since 2003, at least 3 million people have been displaced and 200,000 killed in Darfur, according to UN estimates. ... Should Bashir take up the chair of the continental body, the rebel National Redemption Front has threatened to attack AU peacekeepers deployed in an extended mission to try to stem the killings in Darfur. Bashir has recently given in to pressure and pledged to allow a hybrid 22,500 strong AU-UN force to take over from the AU peacekeepers. [...]"

"For God's Sake, Save Darfur"
By Jim Wallis
The Huffington Post, 19 January 2007
"The genocide in Darfur continues to weigh heavily on my heart. After months and months of talk, it is increasingly clear that there are no real strategies for peace among any of the major players. ... Just before Christmas, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and I met with Bobby Pittman, the National Security Council's director for African affairs, on behalf of Evangelicals for Darfur. Mr. Pittman was positive and responsive as we urged that the administration move quickly from words to strong, real, action. He assured us of the president's commitment on this issue, and readily agreed that much more needs to be done. We then discussed a series of strong steps: Maximum political and diplomatic pressure should be used to force Sudan to accept additional peacekeepers. Efforts to secure the cooperation of other key National Security Council nations must be increased. Strong actions should be taken against Sudan, including rigorously enforcing sanctions, and targeting sanctions against top government officials. Stronger actions could include a no-fly zone over Darfur and a possible naval blockade. We had complete agreement that only a large and strong multi-national peacekeeping force, with the authority to use 'all necessary means,' would suffice to end the genocide in Darfur -- and that Sudan must be compelled to accept it. We stressed the importance of making Darfur primary in the president's State of the Union address, with clear words about what we -- and the world -- will do in the face of Sudanese intransigence. Deadlines have come and gone, with no real change. The State of the Union should mark the moment for the kind of commitment that is necessary to save Darfur. Next Tuesday, as President Bush delivers his speech, I will be listening for action. For God's sake, save Darfur."


"Taiwan Recognises 'Lost' People"
BBC Online, 17 January 2007
"A Taiwanese indigenous group thought to have been wiped out more than 100 years ago has been officially recognised as the country's 13th aboriginal tribe. The Sakizaya people were decimated in attack by Chinese soldiers in the 19th Century and the survivors lived among other tribes to avoid persecution. In recent years they have fought for recognition as a separate ethnic group. They will now have access to government funds to preserve their culture as well as medical and educational benefits. The Sakizaya were granted their official status at a colourful ceremony, presided over by Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang. The Taiwanese cabinet also approved funding for the reclamation of traditional Sakizaya land taken by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported. The BBC's Caroline Gluck says it has been a long fight for the Sakizaya who, like other aboriginal groups in Taiwan, have suffered discrimination. The tribe was believed to have been wiped out entirely in 1878 after losing a battle against Qing dynasty invaders from the Chinese mainland. [...]"


"Editor of Turkey's Armenian Paper Is Killed"
By Sebnem Arsu
The New York Times, 19 January 2007 [Registration Required]
"The editor of Turkey's only Armenian-language newspaper was assassinated today on an Istanbul street. The editor, Hrant Dink, 53, was convicted last year of insulting the Turkish state and identity because of comments he made about the mass deaths of ethnic Armenians before World War I in what is now Turkey -- events that Armenians and many foreign historians say was genocide by the Ottoman army, but the Turkish government denies took place. Mr. Dink also criticized ethnic Armenians abroad for trying to make official Turkish recognition of those events a precondition for Turkish entry into the European Union, but that stance attracted less attention. Mr. Dink was leaving the office of his newspaper, Agos, in the Sisli district of Istanbul early in the afternoon when he was gunned down in front of the building by one or more assailants, the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency reported today. ... Mr. Dink was prosecuted late last year under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, a controversial provision that makes negative remarks about Turkishness or the Turkish state a crime. It has been used to try several prominent intellectuals in recent years, and has been criticized by the European Union as an infringement on free speech. An Istanbul court interpreted several comments Mr. Dink made as an insult to the Turkish identity. It sentenced him to six months in jail and then suspended the sentence. In a recent article in Agos, Mr. Dink complained that extreme nationalists opponents were casting him as an enemy of Turks, and said the increasing threats against him were weighing on him. 'I do not know how real these threats are, but what's really unbearable is the psychological torture that I'm living in,' he wrote. 'Like a pigeon, turning my head up and down, left and right, my head quickly rotating.' [...]"
[n.b. Truly shocking and grotesque.]


"UK Poll Reveals Striking Ignorance of Holocaust"
By Paul Majendie
Reuters dispatch, 19 January 2007
"More than a quarter of young Britons do not know if the Holocaust happened, according to a poll on Friday that sparked alarm among Jewish leaders determined the world should not forget the Nazi genocide. 'This poll reinforces the necessity to observe the motto -- Never Again,' said Winston Pickett, spokesman for the umbrella group, the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The poll, conducted by The Jewish Chronicle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, showed that 28 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds in Britain do not know if the Holocaust happened. But teachers were given some comfort by the poll -- just one percent of those surveyed by YouGov pollsters thought the Holocaust was a myth. By a majority of four-to-one they favored Britain's decision to mark Holocaust Memorial Day every year on January 27, the day in 1945 when the advancing Russian army reached the Auschwitz concentration camp. But only 16 percent of those polled felt that denying the Holocaust should be made a criminal offence in Britain. They won backing from 85-year-old Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller who said: 'We are in a country that has freedom of speech and I wouldn't like that to change.' [...]"


"China's 'Cancer Villages' Pay Price"
By Dan Griffiths
BBC Online, 17 January 2007
"The small hamlet of Shangba is a tiny jumbled collection of houses sitting in the lush green paddy fields and hills of southern China. It sounds idyllic, but many of the locals are dying after drinking polluted water. Shangba has become one of the country's growing number of what have been called 'cancer villages.' A broad river runs to the side of the village, its shallow waters rippling over smooth stones. In the past the villagers relied on the river for drinking water, and to irrigate their crops. What they did not know was that mines further upstream were dumping their waste into it. And they're still doing it, there is a thick red residue at the water's edge. Walk along the little paths that wind their way through the paddy fields outside the village and many of the streams that you pass are a rusty orange colour. Scientist Chen Nengchang has been studying the cause and effects of the pollution on the village. He has found high levels of poisonous heavy metals in the water. He believes there is a direct connection between incidences of cancer and mining in the area. His team is working on ways to make the village's rice crop resistant to some of the chemicals in the river. 'The mines are producing heavy metals which have polluted this area' he said. [...]"


"A Nation in Search of 30 Million Brides for 30 Million Bachelors"
By Jane Macartney
The Times, 13 January 2007
"[...] One effect of China's strict population control has been a jump in gender selection of babies. The traditional preference for a son means that more and more women abort their baby if an early-term ultrasound examination shows it to be a girl. Officials deny that the gender imbalance is a result of the family planning policy. It is illegal for doctors to tell parents the results of an ultrasound test without a medical reason, though many do so. As a result, abortions of female foetuses are widespread, especially in rural areas, as parents try to ensure that the one child they are allowed by law is a boy. China's gender ratio for newborn babies in 2005 was 118 boys to 100 girls: compared with 110 to 100 in 2000. In some regions the sex ratio has ballooned to 130 boys to 100 girls. That compares with an average for industrialised countries of between 104 and 107 boys for every 100 girls. Tradition favours boys over girls, because men are seen as the main family breadwinner and in China only a son can carry on the family line. Daughters are expected to leave the home and become members of their husband's family. Anxious government officials have launched a countryside campaign, painting slogans on walls of village houses that exhort parents to value their daughters. 'Having a daughter is as good as having a son.' ... Chinese officials have given no clues as to how they plan to find wives for the battalions of bachelors now growing up in Chinese schools. However, the kidnap of baby girls is becoming increasingly common as families seek a future bride for their only son. Trade in women is also a problem in many rural areas where poor farmers are unable to attract a bride. [...]"


"106-Year-Old Survivor of Pogroms, Nazis Dies"
Associated Press dispatch on, 12 January 2007
"'Bubbe' Maryasha Garelik, who lived through the entire 20th century, surviving the pogroms of czarist Russia, Soviet anti-Semitism and Nazi terror and then dispensing her wisdom to thousands of Lubavitch Jews, has died. She was 106. She died Wednesday night in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood and was buried Thursday at the Old Montefiore Cemetery near the grave of the ultra Orthodox sect's revered 'rebbe,' Rabbi Menachem Schneerson. ... For decades, the bubbe (grandmother in Yiddish) dispensed wisdom to thousands in her Brooklyn neighborhood who came seeking her guidance. Her advice came from decades of trial by fire. According to a Lubavitch biography of Bubbe Maryasha, her father was killed in a pogrom, or organized massacre, in Czarist Russia when she was 5, and her grandparents, with whom she and her mother lived, were subsequently executed. Years later, under Soviet rule, Garelik, her husband and their small children were evicted from their apartment into the deep snow because he refused to do factory work on the Jewish Sabbath. As a Jewish underground operative, he was arrested in the 1930s during Stalin's rule, then shot. (His wife didn't know exactly what happened to him until 1998, when his fate was revealed in an unsealed Soviet secret police file). ... By 1941, when the Germans advanced onto Soviet soil, Garelik and her brood escaped to Uzbekistan, where she made and sold socks to survive. In 1946, they ended up in a detention camp in Germany. After the war, she moved to Paris, where she established a Lubavitch Jewish girls' school that still exists. She immigrated to the United States in 1953, helping to start a Brooklyn organization whose members visited the sick, and a boys' school for which she collected money into old age. [...]"