robertogreco + genocide   14

Feminist cyborg scholar Donna Haraway: ‘The disorder of our era isn’t necessary’ | World news | The Guardian
"The history of philosophy is also a story about real estate.

Driving into Santa Cruz to visit Donna Haraway, I can’t help feeling that I was born too late. The metal sculpture of a donkey standing on Haraway’s front porch, the dogs that scramble to her front door barking when we ring the bell, and the big black rooster strutting in the coop out back – the entire setting evokes an era of freedom and creativity that postwar wealth made possible in northern California.

Here was a counterculture whose language and sensibility the tech industry sometimes adopts, but whose practitioners it has mostly priced out. Haraway, who came to the University of Santa Cruz in 1980 to take up the first tenured professorship in feminist theory in the US, still conveys the sense of a wide-open world.

Haraway was part of an influential cohort of feminist scholars who trained as scientists before turning to the philosophy of science in order to investigate how beliefs about gender shaped the production of knowledge about nature. Her most famous text remains The Cyborg Manifesto, published in 1985. It began with an assignment on feminist strategy for the Socialist Review after the election of Ronald Reagan and grew into an oracular meditation on how cybernetics and digitization had changed what it meant to be male or female – or, really, any kind of person. It gained such a cult following that Hari Kunzru, profiling her for Wired magazine years later, wrote: “To boho twentysomethings, her name has the kind of cachet usually reserved for techno acts or new phenethylamines.”

The cyborg vision of gender as changing and changeable was radically new. Her map of how information technology linked people around the world into new chains of affiliation, exploitation and solidarity feels prescient at a time when an Instagram influencer in Berlin can line the pockets of Silicon Valley executives by using a phone assembled in China that contains cobalt mined in Congo to access a platform moderated by Filipinas.

Haraway’s other most influential text may be an essay that appeared a few years later, on what she called “situated knowledges”. The idea, developed in conversation with feminist philosophers and activists such as Nancy Hartsock, concerns how truth is made. Concrete practices of particular people make truth, Haraway argued. The scientists in a laboratory don’t simply observe or conduct experiments on a cell, for instance, but co-create what a cell is by seeing, measuring, naming and manipulating it. Ideas like these have a long history in American pragmatism. But they became politically explosive during the so-called science wars of the 1990s – a series of public debates among “scientific realists” and “postmodernists” with echoes in controversies about bias and objectivity in academia today.

Haraway’s more recent work has turned to human-animal relations and the climate crisis. She is a capacious yes, and thinker, the kind of leftist feminist who believes that the best thinking is done collectively. She is constantly citing other people, including graduate students, and giving credit to them. A recent documentary about her life and work by the Italian film-maker Fabrizio Terranova, Storytelling for Earthly Survival, captures this sense of commitment, as well as her extraordinary intellectual agility and inventiveness.

At her home in Santa Cruz, we talked about her memories of the science wars and how they speak to our current “post-truth” moment, her views on contemporary climate activism and the Green New Deal, and why play is essential for politics.

We are often told we are living in a time of “post-truth”. Some critics have blamed philosophers like yourself for creating the environment of “relativism” in which “post-truth” flourishes. How do you respond to that?

Our view was never that truth is just a question of which perspective you see it from.

[The philosopher] Bruno [Latour] and I were at a conference together in Brazil once. (Which reminds me: if people want to criticize us, it ought to be for the amount of jet fuel involved in making and spreading these ideas! Not for leading the way to post-truth.)

Anyhow. We were at this conference. It was a bunch of primate field biologists, plus me and Bruno. And Stephen Glickman, a really cool biologist, took us apart privately. He said: “Now, I don’t want to embarrass you. But do you believe in reality?”

We were both kind of shocked by the question. First, we were shocked that it was a question of belief, which is a Protestant question. A confessional question. The idea that reality is a question of belief is a barely secularized legacy of the religious wars. In fact, reality is a matter of worlding and inhabiting. It is a matter of testing the holdingness of things. Do things hold or not?

Take evolution. The notion that you would or would not “believe” in evolution already gives away the game. If you say, “Of course I believe in evolution,” you have lost, because you have entered the semiotics of representationalism – and post-truth, frankly. You have entered an arena where these are all just matters of internal conviction and have nothing to do with the world. You have left the domain of worlding.

The science warriors who attacked us during the science wars were determined to paint us as social constructionists – that all truth is purely socially constructed. And I think we walked into that. We invited those misreadings in a range of ways. We could have been more careful about listening and engaging more slowly. It was all too easy to read us in the way the science warriors did. Then the rightwing took the science wars and ran with it, which eventually helped nourish the whole fake-news discourse.

Your PhD is in biology. How do your scientist colleagues feel about your approach to science?

To this day I know only one or two scientists who like talking this way. And there are good reasons why scientists remain very wary of this kind of language. I belong to the Defend Science movement and in most public circumstances I will speak softly about my own ontological and epistemological commitments. I will use representational language. I will defend less-than-strong objectivity because I think we have to, situationally.

Is that bad faith? Not exactly. It’s related to [what the postcolonial theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has called] “strategic essentialism”. There is a strategic use to speaking the same idiom as the people that you are sharing the room with. You craft a good-enough idiom so you can work on something together. I go with what we can make happen in the room together. And then we go further tomorrow.

In the struggles around climate change, for example, you have to join with your allies to block the cynical, well-funded, exterminationist machine that is rampant on the Earth. I think my colleagues and I are doing that. We have not shut up, or given up on the apparatus that we developed. But one can foreground and background what is most salient depending on the historical conjuncture.

What do you find most salient at the moment?

What is at the center of my attention are land and water sovereignty struggles, such as those over the Dakota Access pipeline, over coal mining on the Black Mesa plateau, over extractionism everywhere. My attention is centered on the extermination and extinction crises happening at a worldwide level, on human and non-human displacement and homelessness. That’s where my energies are. My feminism is in these other places and corridors.

What kind of political tactics do you see as being most important – for young climate activists, the Green New Deal, etc?

The degree to which people in these occupations play is a crucial part of how they generate a new political imagination, which in turn points to the kind of work that needs to be done. They open up the imagination of something that is not what [the ethnographer] Deborah Bird Rose calls “double death” – extermination, extraction, genocide.

Now, we are facing a world with all three of those things. We are facing the production of systemic homelessness. The way that flowers aren’t blooming at the right time, and so insects can’t feed their babies and can’t travel because the timing is all screwed up, is a kind of forced homelessness. It’s a kind of forced migration, in time and space.

This is also happening in the human world in spades. In regions like the Middle East and Central America, we are seeing forced displacement, some of which is climate migration. The drought in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America [Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador] is driving people off their land.

So it’s not a humanist question. It’s a multi-kind and multi-species question.

What’s so important about play?

Play captures a lot of what goes on in the world. There is a kind of raw opportunism in biology and chemistry, where things work stochastically to form emergent systematicities. It’s not a matter of direct functionality. We need to develop practices for thinking about those forms of activity that are not caught by functionality, those which propose the possible-but-not-yet, or that which is not-yet but still open.

It seems to me that our politics these days require us to give each other the heart to do just that. To figure out how, with each other, we can open up possibilities for what can still be. And we can’t do that in a negative mood. We can’t do that if we do nothing but critique. We need critique; we absolutely need it. But it’s not going to open up the sense of what might yet be. It’s not going to open up the sense of that which is not yet possible but profoundly needed.

The established disorder of our present era is not necessary. It exists. But it’s not necessary."
donnaharaway  2019  anthropocene  climatechange  science  scientism  disorder  greennewdeal  politics  interdependence  families  critique  humanism  multispecies  morethanhuman  displacement  globalwarming  extermination  extinction  extraction  capitalism  genocide  deborahbirdrose  doubledeath  feminism  postmodernism  harikunzru  cyborgmanifesto  philosophy  philosophyofscience  santacruz  technology  affiliation  exploitation  solidarity  situatedknowledge  nancyhartstock  objectivity  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships 
june 2019 by robertogreco
M.I.A. Talks 'Maya,' Sri Lanka, and Political Pop - The Atlantic
"Kornhaber: This is what your documentary is in large part about—your career-long attempt to get the world to care about Sri Lanka. Do you think the film will receive a different response than, say, you did in 2009, when you were protested and dismissed while trying to bring attention to the shelling of Tamil civilians?

Arulpragasam: When I was met with pushback back then, it was by people who had optimism toward state oppression. [They believed] that there would be an effort to change. But after 10 years of waiting for justice, Tamils not being heard, the [increasing] militarization in Sri Lanka, and the country being billions of dollars in debt to China, hopefully people are understanding and won’t see me as a flippant pop star who is using this for fame.

A million diasporic Tamil people abroad were silenced when the war ended. They were called terrorists. They were told not to be proud of who they are and their flag. After 10 years of waiting, there’s been no progress in the Sri Lankan state getting rid of extremism on their side. Extreme Buddhist chauvinism and fascism is inciting hateful actions toward not just Tamils but Muslims, as well. We’ve seen Sri Lanka’s template spread like cancer to other countries, like Burma. You’ve had the Killing Fields documentary that’s come out. Hopefully these all add to people making the right decision on Sri Lanka.

Kornhaber: If people are fans of yours, is it their responsibility to be with you on these issues—to be paying attention and to be vocal on Sri Lanka?

Arulpragasam: I’ve never asked them to be with me before, but I think I do need them to be with me now. Because especially in America, you can’t discuss the concept of activism, standing up against Donald Trump, standing up against a right-wing government, females standing up against sexual violence, or racism, genocide—you can’t stand up against any of these things if you don’t stand up for somebody else going through the same thing. We live in a global community now. The days of hypocrisy and seeing your problems in isolation are over.

The struggles of the Tamil people connect with the struggles of the spirit of people across the world fighting state oppression. If you are a Tamil, you can relate to what’s going on in the African American community in America. You can relate to what’s happening in Yemen. You can relate to what’s happening to the Rohingya dissidents. It’s very difficult to talk about immigration or refugee problems without discussing how people get made to fall into those categories and what makes them refugees.

Kornhaber: When the documentary first premiered, you said you were surprised it didn’t focus more on your music. Did that reaction stem from a general feeling that people think of you more in terms of politics than art?

Arulpragasam: It’s very difficult to separate the two. It’s a luxury not to be political in your work. If I lived in the land of marshmallows with unicorns flying around, that is what my art would be about. But unfortunately, what I know is what I know. And that’s what I make work about. As the only [mainstream] Tamil musician who made it to the West ever, it was not an option to remove that. I just happened to have people who loved me and people who hated me for it. The whole idea is to encourage discussion and give people something they might not get from anybody else.

Kornhaber: But when you watch the documentary, do you come to feel like the twists and turns of your career stemmed more from your musical choices or more from controversies outside of music? After the success of “Paper Planes,” you made Maya, which was a gonzo, challenging album. But its reception coincided with backlash over a brutal music video and a New York Times profile.

Arulpragasam: It was about all of it. Up to that point, I had a very romantic idea about the West and America and creativity and the internet. I didn’t just pick up a guitar and make acoustic music. I brought you an entire brand-new genre. I brought so much to the table that didn’t exist before, and that has inspired what you’ve seen for the last 15 years in the mainstream. They made millions out of my experiences—how I traveled, how I met people, how I was the outcast that had to fight the boring system. I fed this society. I fed the West.

And when it came to the crunch, the West chose to back the oppressors. They backed a genocide. They chose to back the [state] that bombed [hundreds of thousands of] people on a strip of beach. The UN said, Yeah, there’s war crimes, but they couldn’t really penetrate into changing the Sri Lanka government. Everybody was like, Oh look, it’s great they’ve defeated terrorism. It was heartbreaking to see that the survival of the fittest, survival of the richest, survival of the biggest guns is what people want. To me, that’s way more violent than what the Tamil side was accused of.

Do you think I’m going to make a celebratory album after that and give them the same thing I gave them before? Absolutely not. Because you literally are dealing with a separation. It was a divorce. I’m not looking for acceptance. I’m looking to say, as a society, you should make the right decisions.

Kornhaber: As you look around at pop music and hip-hop in the West these days, do you feel influential?

Arulpragasam: Yeah. I think the fact that your charts have been filled with Diplo songs for the last five years is something I did. People being activists overnight is something I did. Where you have mainstream artists—who encouraged girls shaking booties in front of mirrors and singing into hairbrushes for 10 years—turn their fan base into politicized beings, that’s my influence, but without substance. It wasn’t easy to speak up for all of these things back in 2009. I didn’t get invited to the White House. I wasn’t given a Grammy, and I wasn’t celebrated for speaking out.

Kornhaber: Do you want to talk about any specific examples of political pop that rub you the wrong way?

Arulpragasam: I encourage people becoming politicized. And women being more empowered. But the idea of female empowerment in America excludes the women who are exposed to the heavily militarized Sri Lankan state, who are raping and murdering. Sri Lankan women are not invited to that conversation about feminism and uprising and empowerment, because that conversation is being held in America. When will these women get brought to the table to join in that conversation? How do we open up that discussion so it doesn’t only include shiny Hollywood girls?

Kornhaber: Do you worry it’s going to be even harder to get Westerners to care about these issues when all eyes are on the crises in America under Trump?

Arulpragasam: They need to understand the root of Donald Trump: not being conscious of your effect on the world, and not being conscious that you have been living the good life the last 20 years and that the wars across the world have helped the American economy. Greed is what put Donald Trump there. The obsession with our celebrity culture is what put Donald Trump there. All of these things are what we champion in the mainstream—through movies, through music, through the news.

Everyone has to be more conscious of what we support. You don’t like refugees; you don’t like immigrants? Well, stop creating them!

Kornhaber: Do you take inspiration from any figures in musical history who’ve changed public opinion with their work?

Arulpragasam: Back in the day, I romanticized American artists who worked together through music to change the culture to oppose the Vietnam War. I don’t think that’s happened since. It’d be a beautiful thing if that could happen again, to where citizens are that empowered and artists encourage change. But that’s real change, where you can actually stop people from dying and not look after the interests of just America.

Now [the U.S. government is] talking about getting rid of the International Criminal Court. And that’s what [the international community] told the Tamils was the solution: Don’t worry. Just lose, just die, and then spend 10 years trying to get somebody convicted in the criminal court. Then, boom, out of nowhere Trump comes in and says, That thing is bullshit. So we’re left with nothing. This is why Americans and my fans need to know that everything is connected.

Kornhaber: The documentary is such a personal story, delving into your life and your family. Is that personal approach the best way to get people to care about big issues?

Arulpragasam: What happened to [the] Tamils is a collective experience. It’s not just an individual experience. But right now, discussing individual experiences has become trendy in America. So even when documenting human-rights violations by the Sri Lankan government, we had to reduce it to talking about it on a personal level: [This person] from this little village was raped by the Sri Lankan government and here’s her particular story. You have to isolate the experience in order to communicate to the West, because, at the moment, that’s how they’re engaged in the rest of the world. Whether you’re a girl from Saudi Arabia who can drive, a girl from Pakistan who’s wanting to wear a short dress on Instagram, a trans girl in New York, or a woman who’s pro-abortion in South America, you cannot be a movement. You have to reduce it to personal stories."
mia  srilanka  activism  feminism  race  resistance  protest  solidarity  2018  yemen  burma  fascism  isolationism  myanmar  rohingya  oppression  genocide  storytelling  us 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Solidarities of Resistance: Liberation from Education: Reflections on education, colonization, and freedom | The Dominion
"In today's society, school is sometimes spoken about as a necessity for a happy life and as an inherent good. The concept of education is thought to be synonymous with learning, and separates those who are knowledgeable from those who are deficient. This is true even in radical pedagogy circles, where education is portrayed as a universal need and a means of liberation.

Only at the edges of radical movements are people calling the very concept of education into question, creating a culture of school resistance they say rejects the commodification of education and its connections to state building, and even genocide.

“Education is a concept that co-evolved with capitalist society, which has long been known by dissenters to be a tool for streamlining capital accumulation, with classrooms that resemble factory floors, and bells that mirror the break-time whistles,” says University of Victoria professor Jason Price. In his book In Lieu of Education, Ivan Illich pointed out that the word “education” only appeared in the English language in 1530, at which time it was a radical idea and a novelty.

“Schools have been functioning for some time to create students with obedient minds, rarely pondering beyond the controlled learning habits they promote,” says Dustin Rivers, an Indigenous youth from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation.

Before the process of education was commodified, says Rivers, “learning was present everywhere in my traditional culture. Even our word for 'human being' can be deciphered into a 'learning person'.”

Important skills were demonstrated through mentorship, and were inseparable from culture. “Some of these aspects of the traditional culture remain” says Rivers, "but it often does so in spite of institutions like schooling, politics, and occupations attempting to dissuade or direct focus towards lifestyles that don't reinforce traditional ways of life."

A look back through history indicates that the separation of learning from community and the natural world is not only intertwined with the rise of capitalism, but also with the formation of nation-states. “All nation-states practice a continual effort to homogenize, using for this purpose the institutions and particularly education,” writes Gustavo Esteva, author of Escaping Education.

In his book, Esteva notes that of the 5,000 languages left in the world, only one per cent exist in Europe and North America, the birthplace of the nation-state and where education is most prevalent. Thus, says Esteva, where education goes, culture suffers.

A Mexican study shows one impact of education on culture: In San Andres Chicahuaxtla, Oaxaca, 30 per cent of youngsters who attend school totally ignore their elders' knowledge of soil culture, and their ability to live off of the land; 60 per cent acquire a dispersed knowledge of it; and 10 per cent are considered able to sustain, regenerate, and pass it on. In contrast, 95 per cent of youngsters in the same village who do not attend school acquire the knowledge that defines and distinguishes their culture.

Schooling as a tool to homogenize Indigenous youth into national patterns is especially obvious in Canada and the United States, writes Ward Churchill in his book Kill the Indian, Save the Man. In both countries, says Churchill, genocidal policies designed to “compel the adoption of Christianity, reshape traditional modes of governance along the lines of corporate boards, and disperse native populations as widely as possible” were carried out through compulsory boarding schools. According to Churchill, these schools were administered with such vigour that the survival rate of children was roughly 50 per cent. According to the Assembly of First Nations, the last Canadian residential school closed in 1996.

“What came down through compulsory schooling was very harsh, very damaging, and very brutal for our communities,” says Rivers. “It still is to this day, because it is all a part of the assimilation process. There is a responsibility for us to find new paths, and new ways.”

“I have a lot of suspicion about the entire school model," says Matt Hern, a long time advocate for school resistance. "I think pretty much all its basic premises and constructions are suspect—bound up with a colonial and colonizing logic aimed at warehousing kids for cheap and efficient training of industrial inputs.”

School resistance is a movement that attempts to undermine dominant narratives around school, and to broaden the deschooling movement to create new ways of engaging and learning together. “I strongly believe we need counter-institutions, ones that can support people and their passions, assist different types of learning, introduce people to new subjects and experiences, pass knowledge down (and up!), provide meaningful work, pay fair wages if possible, build a community infrastructure, reach out to people from different backgrounds,” says filmmaker Astra Taylor.

There are many people in the deschooling community who are doing just that. Hern co-founded the Purple Thistle Centre with eight youth 10 years ago. Today, the Thistle is a thriving deschooling centre in Vancouver.

“We need to be building alternative social institutions—places for kids, youth and families that begin to create a different set of possibilities,” he says. “Something new that begins to describe and construct a different way of living in the world, and a different world.”

Unschooling is simply defined as life-learning. Unschoolers spend their time exploring, learning and doing their passion, often with rigour and on their own time. Unschooling does not mean anti-intellectual; in fact, according to proponents, it is the opposite. “Unschooling is that very moment when you are really sucked into something, whether it's an idea or project and you just want to study it or be involved in it, master it,” says Taylor.

There is certainly a strong emphasis on deschooling at the Thistle, but that does not mean the centre is only run and used by youth who are unschoolers. In fact, most of the youth are local schooled kids. Of the 25 youth on the collective, five are unschoolers, and a few have college degrees. Out of 200 plus youth who use the space, the ratio is the same.

The Thistle is not anti-school per se, rather it is about creating something new, according to Hern. “We wanted to rethink it all—rather than start with 'school' as the template—let’s start over entirely and create an institution that is for kids, by kids, has their thriving in mind, and takes that idea seriously, however it might look,” he says.

While there are also alternative schools with mandates aimed at undermining and changing conventional school, Hern says they are often part of the problem. “These schools are inevitably lovely, nurturing inspiring places, but if they are providing one more great opportunity for the most privileged people in world history, then they are regressive, not progressive projects. They are making the fundamental inequities of the world worse.”

Even the schools that challenge that status quo in a meaningful way are subject to corporate and government interference, he says. Although Taylor and Hern describe deschooling as a collective, grassroots effort, it is still very much on the fringe of society and social consciousness. The reasons are many; primary is the belief that school is inherently good for us.

“The stigma around drop-outs and incomplete graduations is daunting, and you rarely hear of a positive outlook on leaving school,” says Rivers. Despite this, he left school and became a thriving unschooler who has spent the past few years reconnecting and building his community. He currently runs Squamish Language workshops for his community on his reserve.

Indigenous people face an especially difficult stigma for resisting school. Cheyenne La Vallee, from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation, also left school to become an unschooler. “It’s considered shameful if you don't finish high school,” she says. “In my experience, I did face a lot of resistance to the idea of unschooling from family members and friends.”

La Vallee knew that schooling and colonization went hand in hand, but she had never "thought it through that the act of unschooling can be a direct link to begin the process of decolonization.”

“Once I left school I found a deep love for my family and myself, my community and culture, life and my landbase, where I got to actually learn my culture, language and land," says La Vallee. "Going back to my land taught me about how my ancestors lived and I saw that as a way to decolonize.”

“As an unschooler I felt very empowered as a citizen—I volunteered, I wrote a zine, I protested, I read widely, I made stuff—but when I briefly attended public high school I suddenly became a student, my interests were compartmentalized and my sense of agency was dramatically diminished," says Taylor.

Schools can be a barrier to ones own cultures and values. “School does everything in its power to make you feel disempowered and ashamed for being Indigenous, for being a youth, for being alive,” says La Vallee.

But leaving school isn't easy for many to imagine. “Narrowly describing de/unschooling as simply 'getting out of school' tends to privilege those with resources, time and money. Generally, middle-class, two-parent, white families,” says Hern.

The same can be said for homeschooling, says Hern. “I think there are some things that many schools do well and are worth considering and respecting. Schools tend to put a lot of different kids together and when you're there you are forced to learn to deal with difference: people who don’t look, act, think or behave like you do. That’s really important, and often deschoolers end up hanging out with a lot of people who are very similar to themselves.” Which is why he thinks deschooling needs to be a form of active solidarity and activism.

An important … [more]
carlabergman  mikejobrownlee  gustavoesteva  2010  resistance  liberation  education  unschooling  deschooling  vancouver  britishcolumbia  indigeneity  indigenous  society  learning  capitalism  accumulation  jasonprice  ivanillich  obedience  mentorship  culture  wardchuchill  genocide  firstnations  matthern  schools  schooling  purplethistlecentre  alternative  lcproject  openstudioproject  youth  grassroots  decolonization  homeschool  difference  activism  solidarity 
march 2018 by robertogreco
The Look of Silence
"The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion piece to the Oscar®-nominated The Act of Killing.

Through Oppenheimer’s footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. The documentary focuses on the youngest son, an optometrist named Adi, who decides to break the suffocating spell of submission and terror by doing something unimaginable in a society where the murderers remain in power: he confronts the men who killed his brother and, while testing their eyesight, asks them to accept responsibility for their actions. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence."
film  towatch  joshuaoppenheimer  theactifkilling  thelookofsilence  indonesia  genocide  silence  history  documentary 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Exclusive: Rwanda Revisited | Foreign Policy
[See also: “What did the Clinton administration know about Rwanda?”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/04/06/what-did-the-clinton-administration-know-about-rwanda/ ]

"The indifference of outside powers, particularly the United States, was a central theme of the talks.

A lot of the criticism centered on the fact that the U.N. and other world powers failed to respond to a clear warning, issued in January 1994, that a plan for the extermination of the Tutsi was underway.

The contents of that cable, drafted by the U.N.’s Canadian force commander, Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, were never shared with the U.N. Security Council.

But the U.N.’s top officials in Rwanda shared the cable’s contents with representatives of the United States, Britain, and Belgium.

“I never knew about the genocide fax. I am not sure my colleagues in the African affairs bureau knew about it,” said John Shattuck, the then-U.S. assistant secretary of state for labor, human rights, and democracy. “Had this fax become more widely known in the U.S. government, it would have provided ammunition for those who were trying to resist” efforts to constrain U.N. peacekeeping.

“I do think the genocide fax could have made a difference to those like myself who were trying to impact on the debate,” he added.

But Dallaire, who attended the conference, cut Shattuck off.

“I must rebut rapidly. President Clinton did not want to know,” he said. “I hold Clinton accountable. He can excuse himself as much as he wants to the Rwandans, but he established a policy that he did not want to know.”

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Prudence Bushnell reinforced the view that top policymakers in the Clinton administration paid little attention to events in Rwanda leading up to the genocide.

“I was way down the totem pole and I had responsibility for the Rwanda portfolio,” she recalled. “That shows you how important it was in the U.S. government.”

Indeed, there had been other warnings that had been ignored or missed. As far back as August 1992, Leader wrote a cable to Washington citing local concerns that an extremist political party linked to President Habyarimana was pursuing a “Ku Klux Klan-like approach to ethnic relations” that was “widely interpreted as a call for the extermination of Tutsis.”

In August 1993, Bacre Waly Ndiaye, a U.N. human rights researcher from Senegal, produced a troubling report about the prospects of genocide. And on Feb. 25, 1994, following a visit to Rwanda by Belgian Foreign Minister Willy Claes, the Belgian Foreign Ministry sent instructions to its United Nations envoy to explore how to strengthen the U.N. peacekeeping mission.

That document cited the “possibility of genocide in Rwanda…. It will be inacceptable for Belgians to be passive witnesses to genocide in Rwanda.”

On April 6, the day the Rwandan and Burundian leaders’ plane was shot down, French President François Mitterrand walked into the office of his foreign affairs advisor, Hubert Védrine, and asked: “Have you heard? It is terrible. They are going to massacre each other.”

U.N. officials and diplomats in New York said at the review that they were unaware of the reports. Iqbal Riza, a retired U.N. official who oversaw Rwanda for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping, and Colin Keating, a New Zealand diplomat who served as the president of the U.N. Security Council, said they were unaware of the Ndiaye report.

The U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, meanwhile, never provided the U.N. Security Council with a briefing of Dallaire’s troubling cable.

The backdrop for America’s lack of interest in Rwanda went back to the end of the Cold War, when then-Secretary of State James Baker sought cuts in the State Department to fund the establishment of more than a dozen new embassies in the former Soviet Union, Bushnell recalled. The Africa bureau in the State Department saw its budget shrink. Clinton also showed little interest in Africa.

“Early in the Clinton term, I was not able to get a new, democratically elected president in Africa, a former human rights activist, to see the president because, I was told, ‘President Clinton would find him boring,’” Bushnell said.

The one initiative that sought considerable engagement was Somalia, where President George H.W. Bush had authorized the deployment of U.S. Marines to pave the way for a massive humanitarian relief effort. Clinton inherited the operation, which gradually entangled American military forces in a war with Somali militia challenging the international presence.

The Oct. 3, 1993, the deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers in a botched raid in Mogadishu put the Clinton administration on the defensive, and cooled the Pentagon’s attitude toward U.N. peacekeeping.

As the genocide unfolded in Rwanda six months later, the White House was finalizing a presidential directive, known as PDD-25, which placed severe constraints on the conditions required for U.S. support for peacekeeping missions. President Clinton, meanwhile, was preoccupied with producing a health care bill and upcoming midterm congressional elections — and was determined to keep America out of any foreign military entanglements, said Shattuck.

“It was effectively a straitjacket for U.S. decision-making, vis-a-vis various kinds of peacekeeping operations,” said Shattuck. “In a sense, PDD-25 was the U.S. equivalent of the withdrawal of Belgian forces after the killing of the peacekeepers, in the sense that it gave a ‘green light’ to the genocide planners.”

Even after the killing began, the White House was focused more on getting Americans and the U.N. out of Rwanda than coming to the aid of Rwanda’s victims.

Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, who moderated the 2014 discussion, said that a review of declassified State Department cables and logs of a task force set up to handle the crisis showed that 80 percent of the discussion in the United States concerned the evacuation of American citizens.

Most of the remaining 20 percent was about convincing the warring parties to abide by a cease-fire and resume talks on a power-sharing agreement, Blanton said.

The White House focus on protecting civilians was largely limited to one individual, a Rwandan human rights activist named Monique Mujawamariya, who had met with President Clinton in the White House in December 1993, several months before the genocide began.

“Oh my god, all hell is breaking loose, and I am getting phone calls, ‘Where’s Monique?’” Bushnell recalled. “The greatest pressure from the White House during the entire Rwandan affair was finding Monique.” Mujawamariya fled Kigali in one of the last flights by foreigners out of the country.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, showed little interest.

The Defense Department “did not want to spend money,” Bushnell recalled. “I used to call them the ‘nowhere, no how, no way, and not with our toys’ boys.”

“Boy, oh boy, did the shooting down of the plane on April 6 and the withdrawal of the Belgians give us the excuse we need to pull the plug,” she said. “It was an unfortunate period in my government’s history. I regret it greatly, as I think all of us do.”

The U.N. peacekeeping mission was woefully unprepared for the violence, and Rwandan government troops killed 10 Belgian peacekeepers."



"ter years of blocking U.N. efforts to pressure Israelis and Palestinians into accepting a lasting two-state solution, the United States is edging closer toward supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement, according to Western diplomats.

The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive re-election Tuesday after the incumbent publicly abandoned his commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state — the basis of more than 20 years of U.S. diplomatic efforts — and promised to continue the construction of settlements on occupied territory. The development also reflects deepening pessimism over the prospect of U.S.-brokered negotiations delivering peace between Israelis and Palestinians."



"France, however, recently renewed its appeal to the United States to consider taking up the issue before the council, according to diplomats familiar with the matter.

The United States, according to the diplomats, gave no firm commitment. But the administration indicated that it was willing to consider action in the council once a coalition government is put into place.

“I think they probably just want to see how it pans out,” said one U.N.-based diplomat. “But certainly the message we got back in December was that they might be able to show more flexibility after the election.”

Security Council diplomats say there remain significant differences between the U.S. approach and that of France. “There are discrepancies between the U.S. and European positions but I think they will bridge them soon,” said an Arab diplomat. “The key elements are the same: a framework for a peaceful solution that leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state … plus guarantees for Israel’s long-term security.” The United States is unlikely to hit Israel or the Palestinians with punitive measures if they fail to comply.

During a recent meeting of U.S. and European officials in Washington, a senior State Department official said the United States was considering a draft resolution at the Security Council but that no decision had been made.

Of course, two other options lie before the Obama administration with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue: continuing to reflexively back Israel at the United Nations, and simply enduring the widespread criticism of the international community, or raising the pressure on Jerusalem by abstaining from a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

In 2011, the United States vetoed a resolution demanding that Israel’s settlement … [more]
rwanda  1994  us  romeodallaire  africa  genocide  un  va:vruba  unitednations  policy  israel  palestine 
april 2015 by robertogreco
6, 5: Hills
"The systemic problems – climate change, mass violence, police state, you name ’em – will not be solved from any single angle. One necessary one, I think, is sushi knife cuts across the idea that we are restoring the world. Sometimes, narrowly, this makes some sense: we can say, for example, that there was a past in which there were better women’s health options in Texas than there are today, and use it as an example. But most of the past sucked real bad, or was not a stable object. The good king to whom Robin Hood was loyal was, in the historical record, what we would now call a bad king. And the implication that we can turn the Anthropocene back into the Holocene is simply false, and a dishonest goal; we have to talk about how we’re never going home, but if we work hard we might make a new home that’s better than what we’ve begun to trek into.

A DM conversation with ace reporter Robinson Meyer (gently edited for clarity):

Rob: Have you played 2048, Dan W edition yet?

Me: No.

Rob: It is a hoot.

Rob: http://games.usvsth3m.com/2048/dan-w-edition/

Me: Astonishing.

Me: Died at 2656.

Me: What can we say about the people who think this is fun and clever?

Me: Can we make a more interesting description than “people who have heard of the New Aesthetic”?

Rob: Confusion: Do you think it was not fun and clever, or are you trying to name the very real category?

Me: I think it’s extremely fun and clever.

Me: And I’m trying to get at what this kind of enjoyment is beyond “people out there share my obsessions with certain ‘boring’/‘weird’ things”.

Rob: Haha, okay. Right. Yeah.

Rob: My shorthand is, indeed, usually “weird.” But that in itself is a shorthand for estrangement.

Rob: Estrangeurs.

Me: I sometimes think if it as: bulk people.

Me: People interested in mass transportation, mass communication, massive slabs of data.

Rob: The Blurry Commons.

Rob: (I think it is common-in-bulk—it being not enough to revive the old, say, Judt-esque progressive adoration for trains.)

Rob: The Fans of Connected Signifiers of Disconnection and Vice Versa.

Rob: Shirepunk.

Rob: Domesdayists.

Me: Census-botherers.

Rob: Because it’s partly about working on problems at 45 degree angles to climate.

Rob: Whigpunk.

Rob: But actually this time.

Me: Ack, perfect.

Rob: That’s what it feels like to be thought-led.

It might also be this thing or not. It might be about scale – the feeling of something on the edge between subitizable and not. (It also has the grace of something made by a friend for a friend – which animates some of my favorite light art, even where it lacks other merits.)"
scale  charlieloyd  2014  whigpunk  newaesthetic  climatechange  mailart  tuitui  micronations  robinsonmeyer  wendellberry  systemsthinking  systems  decline  disaster  lauraseay  jasonstearns  gérardprunier  catharinenewbury  davidnewbury  séverineautesserre  africa  genocide  southsudan  sudan  rwanda  centralafricanrepublic  injustice  libertarianism  normanborlaug  anthropocene 
may 2014 by robertogreco
A History Of Violence Edge Master Class 2011 | Conversation | Edge
"There are studies showing that violence is more common when people are confined to one pecking order, and all of their social worth depends on where they are in that hierarchy, whereas if they belong to multiple overlapping groups, they can always seek affirmations of worth elsewhere. For example, if I do something stupid when I’m driving, and someone gives me the finger and calls me an asshole, it’s not the end of the world: I think to myself, I’m a tenured professor at Harvard. On the other hand, if status among men in the street was my only source of worth in life, I might have road rage and pull out a gun. Modernity comprises a lot of things, and it’s hard to tease them apart. But I suspect that when you’re not confined to a village or a clan, and you can seek your fortunes in a wide world, that is a pacifying force for exactly that reason."
history  violence  psychology  stevenpinker  hierarchy  humanities  philosophy  society  brain  mind  murder  crime  war  genocide  democracy  hatecrimes  race  class  time  scheduling  mentors  mentoring  doing  teamwork  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
In Arming Libyan Rebels, U.S. Would Follow an Old, Dark Path - Max Fisher - International - The Atlantic
"The U.S. has a long, complicated, and dark history of arming rebel groups around the world…Argentina and Honduras…Chile…Nicaragua…Khmer Rouge…

…cycle is a familiar one: rather than commit American lives to a murky & uncertain conflict, White House asks CIA to find or create local proxies that can do the fighting for us. We invariably find the most skilled fighters, most ruthless killers, who can best challenge or outright topple whatever regime—often communist, usually despotic & deserving of ouster—has earned American ire. But the conflict often escalates & turns for worse…

Violence begets violence, instability begets instability, and the U.S. tactic of arming rebels has been incredibly successful at fomenting both, but has done little to end either, often creating problems far outsizing those we originally meant to solve.

Neither the French nor the British share this sordid history with the U.S."
politics  history  intelligence  france  foreignpolicy  us  2011  libya  cambodia  honduras  nicaragua  chile  argentina  afghanistan  pakistan  cia  dirtywar  gorevidal  amnesia  taliban  gaddafi  uk  williamcasey  barackobama  josephlieberman  williamhague  pinochet  communism  coldwar  genocide  despotism  khmerrouge  vietnam  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Human Rights Last - By Gary J. Bass | Foreign Policy
"In Zimbabwe and many other countries far from Beijing, China's hand is increasingly conspicuous these days, and its choice of friends, like the thuggish Mugabe, is increasingly under scrutiny. It used to be that the Western world lectured China most extensively about its poor human rights record at home, for detaining dissenters and silencing free speech. But as China's power and influence grow, the Chinese government now finds itself weathering criticism for its support of cruel regimes around the world -- from accusations, as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and others have put it, that "Beijing is financing, diplomatically protecting and supplying the arms for the first genocide of the 21st century" in Darfur…"For the first time, China's foreign position on human rights outweighs the world's concern for China's domestic human rights."
china  foreignpolicy  humanrights  africa  asia  influence  genocide  sudan  zimbabwe  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Rwanda's laptop revolution | Technology | The Observer
""You know the problem with having a poor education is that you are not given the faculties to cross-check information, not given access to information. Our society, before the genocide, was not open. Now I can go on the internet. I can check what I am being told. I can make my own analysis. "I remember a text that I learned at school. It said you go to school to learn how to learn. If you can enable people in society… with computers… you release the human potential. You can go beyond."...They work out for themselves what they want to do with the computer...Cavallo & OLPC are cautious about how they present themselves. One day he describes to me an ad campaign they rejected...one that the Rwandan government might have liked, but it jarred with Papert's ideals. "It was this Hollywood idea. The hero comes in. Does everything. That's what we rejected. It showed a Nobel prizewinner then wound back 20 years to the XO. But it is not what we're about. We are about teachers and nurses.""
olpc  rwanda  education  learning  genocide  africa  2010  trends  technology  development  via:preoccupations  seymourpapert  nicholasnegroponte 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Seed: Will Self + Spencer Wells
"The writer and the genetic anthropologist meet up to talk about place, identity, and what it means to be human."
willself  walking  transhumanism  psychogeography  genetics  evolution  biology  culture  anthropology  religion  history  genocide  human  geography 
february 2008 by robertogreco
"If I look at the mass I will never act'': Psychic numbing and genocide
"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 gre
culture  psychology  genocide  darfur  socialscience  human  compassion  ngo  research 
september 2007 by robertogreco

related tags

9/11  accumulation  activism  affiliation  afghanistan  africa  agatheuwilingiyimana  alternative  amnesia  anthropocene  anthropology  argentina  asia  barackobama  belgium  billclinton  biology  brain  britishcolumbia  burma  cambodia  capitalism  carlabergman  catharinenewbury  centralafricanrepublic  charlieloyd  chile  china  cia  class  climatechange  coldwar  colonialism  communism  compassion  conflict  crime  critique  culture  cyborgmanifesto  darfur  davidnewbury  davidrawson  deborahbirdrose  decline  decolonization  democracy  deschooling  despotism  development  difference  dirtywar  disaster  disorder  displacement  documentary  doing  donnaharaway  doubledeath  education  ethiniccleansing  evolution  exploitation  extermination  extinction  extraction  families  fascism  feminism  film  firstnations  foreignpolicy  france  gaddafi  genetics  genocide  geography  germany  globalwarming  gorevidal  grassroots  greennewdeal  gustavoesteva  gérardprunier  harikunzru  hatecrimes  hierarchy  history  homeschool  honduras  human  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  humanism  humanities  humanrights  hutu  idiamin  indigeneity  indigenous  indonesia  influence  injustice  intelligence  interdependence  isolationism  israel  ivanillich  jasonprice  jasonstearns  josephlieberman  joshuaoppenheimer  khmerrouge  kofiannan  lauraseay  lcproject  learning  liberation  libertarianism  libya  mailart  matthern  mbayediagne  mentoring  mentors  mentorship  mia  micronations  mikejobrownlee  mind  morethanhuman  multispecies  murder  myanmar  nancyhartstock  newaesthetic  ngo  nicaragua  nicholasnegroponte  normanborlaug  obedience  objectivity  olpc  openstudioproject  oppression  pakistan  palestine  paulkagame  paulrusesabagina  peace  philosophy  philosophyofscience  pinochet  policy  politics  postmodernism  protest  psychogeography  psychology  purplethistlecentre  race  religion  research  resistance  robinsonmeyer  rohingya  romeodallaire  roméodallaire  rwanda  santacruz  scale  scheduling  schooling  schools  science  scientism  seymourpapert  silence  situatedknowledge  socialscience  society  solidarity  southsudan  srilanka  stevenpinker  storytelling  sudan  systems  systemsthinking  séverineautesserre  taliban  teamwork  technology  theactifkilling  thelookofsilence  time  towatch  transhumanism  trends  tuitui  tutsi  uk  un  unamir  unitednations  unschooling  us  va:vruba  vancouver  via:preoccupations  vietnam  violence  walking  war  wardchuchill  wendellberry  whigpunk  williamcasey  williamhague  willself  yemen  youth  yowerimuseveni  zimbabwe 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: