Is reconciliation possible in South Sudan?

If impunity is the cost of peace, how can societies recover from violent conflict? A South Sudanese man holding a Heckler and Koch G3 rifle. Credit: Steve Evans/Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons. When diplomats met in Vienna at the end of October to try to break the ongoing stalemate in Syria, they were divided on whether President Assad should stay in power. Garnering less attention but tackling equally unpalatable choices, the African Union has finally published its report on the civil war in South Sudan. In both cases, the victims of conflict will probably be denied the justice they deserve, and it’s doubtful whether sufficient political will exists to deliver the truth-telling mechanisms that are necessary…

America’s not so exceptional foreign policy

What can explain the myopia of US policy towards Sudan, when it knows Sudan has been facilitating ISIS in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and other terror groups? Albert Gonzalez Farran/Demotix. All rights reserved. The US Special Envoy, Donald Booth, will be given a warm welcome when he visits Sudan at the end of July. Khartoum’s hard-line Islamist regime anticipates the normalisation of relations with America, and the end of sanctions imposed by Bill Clinton in 1997, following Sudan’s role in bombing US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Five years ago Sudan’s President, Omar Bashir, was indicted for the crime of genocide against his own citizens in Darfur. However, Washington justifies this diplomatic thaw by claiming Sudan…

Africa’s Angry Young Men

No school, no job, no future. Why so many of Africa’s young men choose militias The Central African Republic (CAR) is a poor, arid, landlocked country the size of Texas. According to the United Nations, the former French colony is now experiencing the world’s largest forgotten humanitarian crisis. In March 2013, a mainly Muslim rebel group overthrew the corrupt regime of President François Bozizé. In response, a Christian militia took revenge on the country’s Muslim minority with a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. Ninety-nine percent of Muslims in the capital, Bangui, are dead or have left, and one quarter of the country’s entire population have fled their homes. Despite the religious make-up of the warring parties, refugees who have sought…

Sheep and Goats in the Places that Don’t Matter

SHEEP AND GOATS IN THE PLACES THAT DON’T MATTER Central Africa’s problems are symptomatic of a wider malaise in the undeveloped world It may sound harsh, but some countries don’t matter inpurely geopolitical terms. However, one of the world’s more obscure places, Chad, is emerging as an unlikely player in the war on terror. Click the link below for the full article. interLib201503

When does a refugee camp become a permanent home?

REBECCA TINSLEY 20 May 2015 Encamped refugees are often portrayed on our TV screens as objects of pity with deadpan expressions. Time to ask what they think and feel. Love in a hard place: on St Valentine’s evening 2013, the families of Aya and Mohammed gathered in a tiny building in Jordan’s Zaatari camp, housing an estimated 90,000 refugees who fled Syria, and agreed on their engagement. Flickr / Oxfam International. Some rights reserved. Across the globe 10m people are living in refugee camps. Many, like the Syrians in Jordan and Turkey, arrived recently. Others, like the Palestinians in Lebanon or Burma’s ethnic minorities in Thailand, have been there for decades. At what stage do people realise their port-in-a-storm…

Mary Did Not Have a Great “Day of the Girl Child”

Mary, a ten-year-old in northern Uganda, was not aware the International Day of the Girl Child was on October 11th. At the time, she was being held by a man who raped her for three days. The man is still at large, but Mary — not her real name — is in hospital, facing months of medical treatment to repair her body. We can only guess how long she will be mentally scarred by her experience. Mary’s ordeal reflects the low status of woman and girls in many traditional societies, and the powerlessness of children, as perceived by those who abuse them with impunity. You may not wish to read what follows, because some of…

The Dysfunctional Childhood of the World’s Newest Nation – South Sudan

  Interlib Article   South Sudan emerged from decades of bloodshed in 2011, liberated from its brutal Islamist masters in Sudan. Yet, ever since the heady independence celebrations in the new capital Juba, the fledgling nation has been sliding toward civil war. In August this year, the situation deteriorated to the point that aid workers now warn of a massive famine, and Sudan experts see little chance of a lasting cease-fire. It is not unusual for a guerrilla army to hold together until it reaches its goal, and then fracture into political feuds. Add to that several bloated egos who manipulate ethnic tensions to their own ends, indifferent to the thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians who are slaughtered to serve their gross ambitions. Underlying tensions within the ruling…

Ebola: An African Disease

If ever a disaster represented Africa’s challenges, it is the Ebola outbreak. The crisis has its roots in poor governance, superstition, poverty, ignorance and underlying it all, the ruling elite’s indifference to the woes of the vast majority of their citizens. Yet, at the same time the Ebola epidemic has shown African medical workers at their best, literally sacrificing their lives to save patients, limiting the spread of the much-feared virus. The fact that there is no known cure for a disease that has been around since 1976 also reveals the unpalatable truth about the pharmaceutical industry: there is little incentive to research the diseases killing poor people in the developing world. There’s more profit…

Westphalia uber alles – is international law a liberal fantasy?

In June an unlikely duo, William Hague and Angelina Jolie, hosted the London summit on rape in conflict. Delegates watched as officials from around the world pledged to improve their nation’s record on sexual violence in war. In many cases, those same officials returned to countries that systematically exclude women from medical care or legal redress in the event of rape, blaming them for surviving their ordeal, rather than dying honourably while fighting off their attackers. Some of the very nations condemning rape allow and even encourage their armed forces to oppress minorities by raping women and girls. Yet, the officials wanted to be seen to be in favour of virtue and against evil. As…

A Simple Guide to the Roots of the Israel/Palestine Conflict

“Debating Palestine and Israel” by Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Mary Grey Impress Books, Ltd (paper and ebook) This book is both timely and valuable for those who want to understand the roots of the Middle East’s seemingly endless conflict. It takes the form of a conversation between two compassionate and peace- loving people, exchanging letters that illuminate the recent history of the region and the deeply-felt arguments raging still about who is entitled to call the Holy Land home. Many of us mentally turn off when we see reports about Israel/Palestine. If you missed the beginning of the story, you are not inclined to jump into the latest episode. Understandably, people may lack a grasp of…