Tributes to Sheldon Seevak

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"The mice would be disciplined and the lions would be free," said a Mexican delegate to the proceedings that created the UN charter in 1945. He astutely predicted the double standards that would govern the application of international law. The decades since have provided no shortage of examples. In fact, this year began in the midst of a large-scale attack on a civilian population by one of the current lions of the international order — Israel. Notably, Israel's recent military assault on the Gaza Strip prompted no shortage of criminally vapid reactions from Washington. "Israel has obviously decided to protect »

It's good that we're beginning to get all relaxed and comfy about genocide, isn't it? Samantha Power's important book on the subject was called A Problem From Hell. But in recent discourse, genocide seems to have become A Problem From Heck. One aspect of the shift is a new "realism" about genocide that reflects the way the world has come to tolerate it: We now tacitly concede that in practice, we can't or won't do much more than deplore it and learn to live with it. Another – more troubling – trend is toward what we might call "defining genocide »

There was yet another outbreak of Darfur Chic at the Institute of Contemporary Art on Friday night. The traveling photography exhibit Darfur/Darfur was in town, and the ICA packed an auditorium with well-fed local glitterati to hear chin music about the four-year-old humanitarian crisis, as well as some real music from cellist Yo-Yo Ma. I'm glad I took in Darfur/Darfur, because I narrowly missed last month's "Rip the Runway for Darfur" gala in New York, sponsored by Level Vodka. I see the Designers for Darfur are showing off their fall collection. Marvy. Oh, look - here's an invitation from Ambassador »

"If I look at the mass I will never act": Psychic numbing and genocide Paul Slovic1 Decision Research and University of Oregon Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 2, no. 2, April 2007, pp. 1-17. Abstract Most people are caring and will exert great effort to rescue individual victims whose needy plight comes to their attention. These same good people, however, often become numbly indifferent to the plight of individuals who are "one of many" in a much greater problem. Why does this occur? The answer to this question will help us answer a related question that is the topic of »

Why Genocide Matters By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF When I spoke at Cornell University recently, a woman asked why I always harp on Darfur. It's a fair question. The number of people killed in Darfur so far is modest in global terms: estimates range from 200,000 to more than 500,000. In contrast, four million people have died since 1998 as a result of the fighting in Congo, the most lethal conflict since World War II. And malaria annually kills one million to three million people -- meaning that three years' deaths in Darfur are within the margin of error of the »

Back to The Tragedy of Darfur The Tragedy of Darfur Fighting in Sudan has killed at least 200,000. And now the man who was the best hope for peace has unleashed a new wave of violence DINAW MENGESTU There is generally only one reason anyone goes into a refugee camp to conduct interviews. At Farchana, a United Nations facility overflowing with more than 17,000 villagers from Sudan, I imagine that reason hangs over me as clearly as if I were wearing a sign around my neck that read TELL ME ABOUT THE WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE. Marion Mohammed »

Americans make a habit of bashing China for all the wrong reasons. It's hypocritical of us to scream at President Hu Jintao, as we did during his visit last week, about China's undervalued currency. Sure, that's a problem for the world economy but not nearly as much as our own budget deficits, caused by tax cuts we couldn't afford. We're now addicted to capital from China and other foreign countries, and that should be a concern. But our deficits aren't China's fault, and junkies like us don't have any basis to complain about the moral turpitude of those »

April 2, 2006 If Not Peace, Then Justice By ELIZABETH RUBIN I. A Day in Court for the Criminals of Darfur? A thick afternoon fog enveloped the trees and streetlights of The Hague, a placid city built along canals, a city of art galleries, clothing boutiques, Vermeers and Eschers. It is not for these old European boulevards, however, that The Hague figures in the minds of men and women in places as far apart as Uganda, Sarajevo and now Sudan. Rather, it symbolizes the possibility of some justice in the world, when the state has collapsed or turned into an »

April 2, 2006 If Not Peace, Then Justice By ELIZABETH RUBIN I. A Day in Court for the Criminals of Darfur? A thick afternoon fog enveloped the trees and streetlights of The Hague, a placid city built along canals, a city of art galleries, clothing boutiques, Vermeers and Eschers. It is not for these old European boulevards, however, that The Hague figures in the minds of men and women in places as far apart as Uganda, Sarajevo and now Sudan. Rather, it symbolizes the possibility of some justice in the world, when the state has collapsed or turned into an »

The Secret Genocide Archive By Nicholas D. Kristof The New York Times Wednesday 23 February 2005 Photos don't normally appear on this page. But it's time for all of us to look squarely at the victims of our indifference. These are just four photos in a secret archive of thousands of photos and reports that document the genocide under way in Darfur. The materials were gathered by African Union monitors, who are just about the only people able to travel widely in that part of Sudan. This African Union archive is classified, but it was shared with me by someone »

President Bush declared this past Friday that a security force for Darfur will require "NATO stewardship, planning, facilitating, organizing, probably double the number of peacekeepers that are there now, in order to start bringing some sense of security" (New York Times, February 17, 2006). But crucially, Bush did not specify whether these additional peacekeeping forces would come from NATO---or indeed how and when they would be generated. And he certainly did not promise participation by US troops or personnel in any NATO deployment. After the President spoke, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter declared it is "'premature to speculate' on »

Agence France Presse Feb 3, 2006 (WASHINGTON) * The United States has backed away from describing the current violence in Sudans Darfur region as genocide, calling it very serious but mostly a series of small attacks by different parties. In September 2004, Washington had accused Sudan's government and its militia allies of genocide in the now three-year-old conflict with Darfur rebels that has left up to 300,000 people dead and 2.4 million homeless. But Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, briefing reporters on moves to bolster security in Darfur, said the current situation "is very different than »

Dj Vu In an eerie echo of the past, the American news media have drastically underplayed genocide in Sudans Darfur region just as they did a similar catastrophe in Rwanda a decade ago. But some individual journalists have done outstanding work. By Sherry Ricchiardi Sherry Ricchiardi is an AJR Senior Writer. Emily Wax didn't hesitate when a rebel leader offered her a lift in a stolen Land Cruiser crammed with grenades, automatic weapons and mortar shells. Three sharpshooters, perched on the roof, scanned the desolate desert landscape as they moved toward the death zones. Her relentless lobbying with the Sudanese »

Genocide in Slow Motion By Nicholas D. Kristof Darfur: A Short History of a Long War by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal London: Zed Books, 176 pp., 12.00 (to be published in the US in March) Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide by Grard Prunier Cornell University Press, 212 pp., $24.00 1. During the Holocaust, the world looked the other way. Allied leaders turned down repeated pleas to bomb the Nazi extermination camps or the rail lines leading to them, and the slaughter attracted little attention. My newspaper, The New York Times, provided meticulous coverage of World War II, but of »

Ben Kiernan Letting Sudan Get Away with Murder Debate over whether to call the mass murder in Darfur "genocide" is preventing efforts to bring those responsible to justice NEW HAVEN: In two years of mass killings and forced population displacements, Sudan and its Arab Janjaweed militias have caused the deaths of over 200,000 Africans in the country's Darfur provinces. Though existing international law already provides both a relevant statutory definition of genocide and a court to judge these crimes, needless semantic disputes are hampering effective punishment and deterrence. Failure to promptly bring those responsible before the International Criminal Court (ICC) »

Darfur and the U.N. Friday, July 22, 2005 On Friday, July 15th, I had the occasion to travel to the United Nations to meet with both key officials and the ambassadors of various countries in the hope of both educating myself and contributing to the debate about how to stop the genocide in Darfur. It was a homecoming of sorts. I had lived in New York for five years while attending Columbia University and had actually worked across the street from the UN as a journalist for a year after graduation. But during my entire time in Manhattan, I had »

Eric Reeves, "All Quiet" America's Sudan strategy has changed---for the worse New Republic (October 27, 2005) Early in his first term, after reading a memo outlining American acquiescence during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, President Bush jotted in the margin, "Not on my watch." Bush seemed to be making a promise to himself that, should he ever need to, he would act to prevent genocide in Africa. But now genocide is taking place in Africa on Bush's watch, and the president has done little to stop it. Worse, in the last six months the administration's stance towards the genocidal Sudanese »

Amina Abaker Mohammed occupies a simple mud hut with a thatched roof outside a refugee camp in northern Chad. Until earlier this year, she lived in Darfur, the western region of Sudan, where the Sudanese government is pursuing a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arabs. Amina is a member of the Zaghawa tribe, one of the largest non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur. Her village, which was burned to the ground by Sudanese soldiers and Arab militiamen, is only fifty miles from the camp, but by donkey the trip requires a weeklong journey across the Sahara, through mounds of powdery sand, »

"We have learned nothing from Rwanda, " Kofi Annan on history's judgment of the international response to Darfur (BBC, July 3, 2005) Eric Reeves July 6, 2005 "Are we going to repeat what happened in Rwanda?" asked UN Secretary-General Annan in a recent BCC documentary (July 3, 2005). Annan posed the question again: "Is [Darfur] going to be another Rwanda?" Asked about how history "would judge the international response [to Darfur]," Annan said: "Quite likely that we were slow, hesitant, uncaring, and that we have learned nothing from Rwanda" (Reuters, July 3, 2005). While such an honest assessment is surely »

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