Monthly Archives: March 2019

Rocky Road to World Law: Need for a U.N.-led Conference on the Reaffirmation of Humanitarian Law by Rene Wadlow

World law, as world citizens use the term, is more than current international law. World law has as its base universally recognized international law but also the human rights declarations and standards, the oft-repeated declarations of the United Nations General Assembly as well as the international legal bodies such as the World Court and the International Criminal Court (ICC) The International Criminal Court is the most recent of the world courts, and its Rome States have not been ratified by all U.N. members, the United States being a significant holdout. 

Some States have withdrawn from the ICC and other States do not cooperate with it, such as the Sudan. The ICC can act only after the relevant national courts have acted or when national courts are unable to act (the case of some ‘failed States’) or when there is an unjustified unwillingness of national courts to act when crimes against humanity have been committed.

wc00The Association of World Citizens has repeatedly stressed that humanitarian law (international law in times of war, primarily the Geneva Conventions) are being systematically violated and that there should be a U.N.-led World Conference for the Re-affirmation of Humanitarian Law.

In the armed conflicts in Afghanistan, there have been repeated violations of humanitarian law by all sides: violations in the treatment of prisoners of war, violation of the prohibition of torture, prohibition of attacking medical facilities and medical personnel. The ICC has undertaken preliminary investigations to collect evidence. Among those who have violated humanitarian law are U.S. troops, and thus evidence should be collected.

Although most evidence could be collected within Afghanistan itself, it would be useful to interview persons who had served in Afghanistan but now have returned to the U.S.A. and to see written reports no longer stored in Afghanistan. Thus the ICC plans to send investigators to the U.S.A. to interview and collect documentation.

However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on 15 March 2019 that the U.S. will revoke or deny visas to ICC personnel investigating allegations of torture or other war crimes committed in the conflicts in Afghanistan. Pompeo also announced that the U.S. will consider imposing financial sanctions and restrictions on “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such ICC investigation”. He could have added imprisonment if we recall those who provided evidence of war crimes in Iraq.

Unfortunately Pompeo sends the wrong message to all other parties that torture, rape, attacks on medical facilities will not be tried. Pompeo helps to undermine further international humanitarian law.

law001_400We have to think back to 1947-1948 and the leadership of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt as chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to recall any U.S. leadership on world law. Unfortunately law has never been part of U.S. culture. The lone cowboy taking the law into his own hands by shooting it out on a dusty street seen in many films remains the U.S. ideal.

As mentioned, most of the necessary evidence can be found in Afghanistan itself. Bringing anyone from any party to trial for crimes in Afghanistan seems to me unlikely. Nevertheless, as world citizens, we need to keep the standards of world law in mind. These standards should be clear. Thus our repeated call for a U.N.-led conference on the re-affirmation of international humanitarian law.

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The Greek Express #96 – Brexit by Thanos Raftopoulos

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Trump’s Crusade Against Truth is Reminiscent of Scopes Trial by George Cassidy Payne

Later this month The George Eastman Museum in Rochester is set to screen the 1960 courtroom drama Inherit the Wind. Based on the Scopes “Monkey” Trial of 1925, the film remains one of director Stanley Kramer’s most relevant and masterful creations. As the Dryden Theatre wrote in their bulletin: “Inherit the Wind relates the sensational trial of a young teacher, Bertram Cates (Dick York), who is prosecuted for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a high school science class — a violation of state law. Three-time presidential candidate Matthew Brady (Fredric March) is the prosecutor pitted against the controversial and brilliant defence lawyer Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) in a rhetorical battle between fundamentalism and science, while newspaper journalist E.K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly) of the Baltimore Sun gives the case national coverage. Released during the McCarthy era, Inherit the Wind provided a means to critique the present through history.”

truth0001_400The McCarthy reference in particular made me stop and think about Kramer’s film in the context of Donald Trump’s presidency. In 1925 religious fundamentalists refused to accept the evidence and implications of Darwin’s theories. They honestly did not give a damn about facts if they interfered with their version of reality. Today, the policies and views of Mr. Trump are as bigoted, irrational, and unscientific as those who fought to block evolution from schools nearly a century ago. Even as Trump co-opted the language of the McCarthy scare to cast himself as a victim of a witch hunt, the real crusade going on in Washington — and across our nation — has been the one Mr. Trump has personally launched. It is a fundamentalist crusade against the edicts of common sense, the value of moral decency, and the integrity of the scientific method.

Just take Trump’s performance in the past week, in which he made three statements that are as ignorant and close minded as anything introduced and criticized during the Scope’s Trial.

Referencing a comment made by Fox and Friends guest Patrick Moore, a self proclaimed co-founder of Greenpeace, Trump retweeted: “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” Trump punctuated his re-tweet with “Wow!”

There is a tremendous amount that is wrong with this, but let’s start by getting one fact straight. According to Greenpeace, “Although Mr. Moore played a significant role in Greenpeace Canada for several years, he did not found Greenpeace.” The organization went on to clarify that “Phil Cotes, Irving Stowe, and John Bohlen founded Greenpeace in 1970…and the group eventually voted him (Mr. Moore) out of leadership roles and he left the organization in 1986.”

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Western World by Nikos Laios

He stood outside
With the snow
Falling on his
Bloodied face
And was
Breathing
Heavily.

wester001The snow
Cleansed
His tired soul,
And he wiped
His face with
His scarred hands
And looked up
At the winter night,
And the city
Was sleeping.

He had
Become a
Street fighter
And slept
In abandoned
Basements
When the
Money was
Tight between
Fights.

He used to live
In the suburbs once:
Had a wife,
Two kids
And a picket
Fence.

Missed
The mortgage
Payments,
Lost his job:
And the bank,
His wife
And the city
Chewed him
Up and spat
Him out
When he
Outlived his
Usefulness.

He was replaced
By the new-wave
Of the future boys,
Slept on the streets,
And became a ‘bum’
And a street fighter,
And came to the
Realisation
That the life
He once had
Was a fragile
Illusion.

He took
A swig
Of scotch
From a bottle
Wrapped in
A paper bag,
And the snow
Fell on his face,
Held the bottle
Up to the sky
And drank
To the progress
Of the western
World.

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With a digital drawing from Nikos Laios

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Check Nikos Laios’ EBOOK
Ida & Her Magic Camera
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!
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Kiss and sky by Moustafa Al Yassin

Cloud larger than kiss
kiss larger than sky
so the evening pass
near your eyes
and the wondering little birds, slept near your wonder
kissI have the best moment to confess
to draw a traveler dream in our smiling earth
but
the dream raid over wailed horse saddle

does it help to be on this earth
I am sometimes here
but mostly there
every thing in me there
even my last hug
it is here from there
you may ask god and angels and the seventh sky
all can tell you
this cloud it has rain and this sky it has kiss
and the moment is not yet to say goodbye

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Worming 910 by Thanos Kalamidas

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Never in my life by Bohdan Yuri

Never in my life have I seen such an image.
if I only had known what expressions unfold
when I expose my regrets, so full of discontent,
to have conformed so easily, to losing my soul.

never again in my life will I forget such a sight.
I can feel my chaste eyes falling deeper inside,
it was the day my heart died from its very first lie.
just walk away from this mirror, what can it say.

never01_400

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