Friday, July 25

From his speech in the East Room of the White House on April 12, 1999, as part of the ongoing Millennium Lecture series, hosted by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Elie Wiesel:
"Of course, indifference can be tempting -- more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person's pain and despair. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the other to an abstraction."

Monday, July 21

Taylor Will Fight to the Last Man
Business Day (Johannesburg)
July 21, 2003

MONROVIA President Charles Taylor vowed to fight to the last man yesterday as rebels pushed into Liberia's war-torn capital, dashing hope that a quick deployment of international peacekeepers could avert more bloodshed....

Tens of thousands of frightened residents fled the fighting amid machine-gun fire and explosions, while others surged towards the clashes waving leaves and demanding an end to a decade of violence in this west African state.... (use link above to view complete article).

Wednesday, July 9

Liberia has been in the news quite a bit in the last few weeks.

Here are two very informative link regarding genocide and refugee related issues in Africa:

This is a post I found that enlightened me to a situation in Liberia:

Amnesty International 24 Jun 2003
"Côte d'Ivoire: Liberian refugees caught between two conflicts: a solution is urgently needed On the eve of a visit by United Nations Security Council delegation to West Africa, and as fighting intensifies around Liberia's capital, Monrovia, Amnesty International urges the countries of the subregion and the international community to do everything possible to protect Liberian refugees and all others caught in the middle of these two conflicts. In a document published today, Côte d'Ivoire: No escape. Liberian refugees in Côte d'Ivoire, Amnesty International appeals to the international community to implement a humanitarian evacuation programme that includes resettlement in other countries for these refugees, who do not know which way to turn to. At the beginning of April 2003 thousands of people who, a few weeks earlier, had sought refuge from the Côte d'Ivoire crisis by fleeing to Liberia, crossed the border in the opposite direction after increasingly violent clashes in the region where they had sought asylum. These hasty and panic-stricken displacements illustrate the situation of tens of thousands of people -- Liberian refugees, Côte d'Ivoire nationals and people from elsewhere in the subregion -- caught in the middle of two conflicts, one in West Côte d'Ivoire and one in East Liberia, and who do not know where to go to for effective protection. The lives of some 70,000 Liberian refugees, who had successfully sought asylum in Côte d'Ivoire after the war broke out in Liberia in 1989, have been shattered by the crisis that has shaken the country since September 2002. "The Liberian refugees are the victims of atrocities committed by various parties to the conflict, who loot their possessions and ill-treat them, and sometimes forcibly recruit them into their ranks, while at the same time accusing them of supporting their opponents; they cannot return to Liberia, where the situation gets worse every day; and no other neighbouring country seems disposed to welcome them, because they are often perceived as trouble-makers," Amnesty International said. "

Monday, May 5

To quote Elie Wiesel:
"Sometimes we must interfere.
When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

Hotspots in Africa seem to be that place - that 'centers of the universe'. For a source of information about that area try visiting It appears to be a good website for information about Africa. I heard about this website on NPR on 7/7/03 and can only hope that the information is reliable. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Thursday, May 1

The Eight Stages of Genocide are:
CLASSIFICATION: Group(s) Identified and defined.
SYMBOLIZATION: Names or symbols are given to the now classified group(s) in a public way.
DEHUMANIZATION: The humanity of the identified group is denied in a public way. Hate propaganda is used to villify the group.
ORGANIZATION: Genocide is always organized, usually by the State. Plans are made. Military units are often trained and armed to carry out specific genocidal aims.
POLARIZATION: Extremists drive the groups apart. Laws may forbid intermarriage or social interaction with the classifed and now hated group. Assets of the classifed group may be seized.
IDENTIFICATION: Victims are identified and separated out from the main society.Death lists may be drawn up. Victims may be forced to wear identifying symbols.
EXTERMINATION: Mass killing of the identified victims occurs.
DENIAL: Denial and coverup of the atrocities and mass murder by the society that has committed the crime of genocide.

Wednesday, April 30

In essence, I am arguing for a doctrine of 'just war' in certain situations where intervention would be required to protect innocent citizens of the world from hateful and evil acts regardless of the perpetrators. If we can use 'pre-emptive' actions and call it a 'just war' to fight terrorism then certainly we can use this same doctrine to enforce a moral imperative to protect the innocent.

Tuesday, April 29

Short Introductory article about genocide

Raphael Lemkin first introduced the word 'genocide' to the general public in his book 'Axis Rule in Occupied Europe' in 1944. The Genocide Convention was passed in 1948 wherein the world said 'never again'. But genocides have continued. Genocide and modes of mass murder have by some estimates killed 170-200 million people during the twentieth century. It is generally accepted by Scholars whose work I have reviewed, that genocides and mass murders have killed more people in this century than all wars of this century combined. Why do World Leaders lack the political will to stop genocide? I suspect humans may have a tendency to shield their thoughts from the facts of genocide out of shame and fear; shame that we are members of a species capable of such hateful and evil acts, fear that we could ourselves become victims. To move toward prevention of future genocides and mass murders it is my belief that we must first understand the nature of these acts and their early warning signs. We must, as a species have the will to act; have awareness and institutions to intervene, to use force when necessary. I believe there is a moral imperative to do so.