Previous Tab
Next Tab

A slap on the wrist: Justice, from the Holocaust to Rwanda to Nineveh

Any day now, Theoneste Bagosora, a mastermind of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, will be eligible to apply for early release. In 2011, Bagosora’s life-in-prison verdict was reduced to 35 years by Theodor Meron, the American judge heading the international court administering sentences; the genocidaire has now served two thirds of his sentence. Meron has been criticised for freeing other architects of the slaughter that killed 70 per cent of the Tutsi ethnic group living in Rwanda.   Reuters: A rose bouquet is laid on a coffin in the Catholic church in Nyamata containing the remains of victims of mass killings during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In the words of a survivor who was eight years…

+

Race and Christianity in America

By: Rebecca Tinsley “My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?” is the greatest blues line of all time, according to the African American intellectual, Stanley Crouch. For the rapper, Tupak Shakur, Jesus was, “Somebody that hurt like we hurt, that understands where we’re coming from.” James Cone’s “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” www.goodreads.com/book/show/12417679-the-cross-and-the-lynching-tree explains the parallels between Jesus, the innocent victim of mob hysteria in the Roman Empire’s province of Judea, and almost five thousand African Americans who were lynched, mostly between 1880 and 1940. In both cases, Cone suggests, the point was not the punishment or death of the supposed offender, but a warning to those considering sedition against the powers that…

+

Iraq, and the warning from Jewish history

Hakham Ezra Dangoor, chief rabbi of Baghdad, pictured with his family in 1910. (Jewish News) What do these three news items have in common? 1) The beautiful synagogue in Akra in Iraqi Kurdistan is crumbling to the point of collapse, as Iraq’s famous Jewish families (Sassoon, Saatchi, Gubbay, etc.) are written out of Iraqi history. 2) Thirty six Iraqi Christian churches were destroyed by Islamic State in 2014, but thousands of Christians cannot return from internal exile. Their homes are now occupied by Muslim Arabs, and their former communities are controlled by opposing Arab and Kurdish militias who each claim territory in the plain of Nineveh. 3) August 3rd marks the fourth anniversary of Islamic…

+

The lingering legacy of Ebola in Sierra Leone

As the deadly disease appears in Congo, Sierra Leone is still counting the cost of its 2014 epidemic. Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2015. Image: Simon Davis/DFID, CC BY 2.0. During the day, the streets of the Kissi district of eastern Freetown are perpetually crowded with pedestrians, as if a concert or soccer game has just finished. On either side of the road, in every available space, there are makeshift stalls selling mangos, grilled chicken feet, SIM cards, and second-hand clothes. There is a ceaseless soundtrack of trucks, animals, people and radios. The air is heavy with pollution from ancient taxis, and rubbish is heaped in rancid piles. It is hard to imagine these streets empty and silent….

+

Our selective outrage about Gaza

Events in Israel tend to mobilise otherwise dormant keyboard warriors. This week, social media has heaved with indignation at the plight of Palestinian protesters. Yet, the same critics of the State of Israel are strangely silent about the slaughter of far greater numbers of people in places like Sudan. Could it be that the Darfuris are the wrong type of Muslims? Or, like European Jewry in the 1930s, is the Sudanese cause simply less fashionable than the Palestinian one? When I give talks about our work with Sudanese refugees, someone invariably asks what I’m doing about “all the dead Palestinian children.” The fact that a far higher proportion of children have been killed by the…

+

Events

All Christians are brothers, and all Muslims are brothers – except when their skin is black

How much empathy do Christians feel for their brothers and sisters in Africa? Why do Muslims lose so little sleep over the elimination of their co-religionists in Darfur? South Sudan refugee camp, 2011. Maximilian Norz/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.Judging by the millions protesting against president Trump’s policies on behalf of the vulnerable and voiceless, empathy is alive and well. Or is it? Trump’s recent immigration ban exempts Christians from Muslim-majority countries, recognizing their status as the world’s most persecuted faith. But how much empathy do Christians feel for their brothers and sisters in Africa? And why do Muslims who care about the plight of the Palestinians lose so little sleep over the systematic elimination of their black…

Why is Obama Silent About Meriam?

Last week a woman gave birth while chained to a prison wall in Sudan. But as soon as baby Maya is weaned, her mother will hang for the crime of ‘apostasy’. Meriam Ibrahim considers herself a Christian. Although her father was a Muslim, he abandoned her Christian mother when Meriam was a child. The twenty-seven-year-old Meriam compounded her ‘crime’ by marrying a Christian, a US citizen, and now she faces death. The head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, Hillary Clinton and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, have condemned Meriam’s sentence. But President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are silent . Their failure to join the global chorus of outrage at Sudan’s warped interpretation…

PRACTICAL HELP FOR SURVIVORS OF GENOCIDE

Rebecca believes it isn't enough to be informed about genocide - we need to support the resilient and resourceful survivors of genocide who reject the label 'victim.' That's why she founded Network for Africa, a registered charity in the USA and UK. Please click here to learn about Network for Africa's practical projects offering a helping hand to survivors of the Rwandan genocide, and survivors of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda. Thank you.

Featured Articles

Nigeria and the deadly political legacy of military rule

            ‘Congratulations to our governor on his first year in office,’ reads the vast hording by the main Abuja-Jos road. A chubby-cheeked man with perfect teeth beams down on passing motorists. You don’t need to read the small print to know the poster was paid for by the businessmen who bankrolled the successful candidate. Fifty miles further along the same road another benevolent ruler favours travellers with his cherubic grin. ‘My heart goes out to all the people of south Kadema,’ reads the inscription. Meanwhile, his grateful voters carefully negotiate the atrocious highway between Nigeria’s capital and Jos, a city of nearly a million. In the words of a local…

+

Why Isn’t Saudi Arabia On Trump’s List Of Banned Muslim Countries?

Rebecca Tinsley Journalist and human rights activist The Kingdom and its school books remain the source of hatred. Why doesn’t President Trump’s executive order include Saudi Arabia, the country of origin of 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11? And why does the US State Department refrain from pushing The Kingdom to drop the incitement to commit violence from the text books it exports around the world? Some years after 9/11, Saudi Arabia eventually promised to revise its hate-filled school books by 2008. Since then, the State Department has exaggerated the extent to which anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bigotry have been purged from the Saudi curriculum. In fact, analysts believe, US officials have covered-up for the Saudis, failing to ask…

+

No more partying in Congo Russia

REBECCA TINSLEY 9 December 2016 On the UN International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide, we are reminded: if western voters are angered by globalisation, for Nigeria its by-products are far more deadly.   “Homes and businesses have been wrecked by firebombs, churches are blackened shells, and only Muslims are safe.” Image courtesy of author.“The attack on our town began at midnight,” explained the district leader, a tall, slender man wearing a Manchester United shirt. “We called the security services immediately, and we kept phoning them, but they never arrived. So, the terrorists took their time, working their way through the streets systematically, house by house, killing the…

+

Teach Your Children Well

It takes political will to prevent genocide, not international law December 9th is the international day of genocide awareness and prevention. The Genocide Convention (1948) was a response to the Holocaust, marking the special status of mass murder committed with the intention of eliminating a category of people on the basis of their ethnicity or faith. The Genocide Convention has been followed by sundry international laws and treaties, aimed at creating legal norms recognized across the world as universal ethical standards. Yet, to judge by the collective impact of these worthy pieces of paper, the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, guaranteeing state sovereignty, still overrides well-meaning attempts to stop leaders slaughtering their own people. The problem lies…

+