Domingo, 8 de mayo de 2011

Barack Obama's first executive order when he was made president called for the closure of Guantánamo Bay as quickly as possible. He didn't follow through immediately when he had the chance – when he was still riding high on his election victory and the world was in love with him. Instead, he tried to work with the Republicans to create a bipartisan solution, an effort which failed dismally.

Now, with the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama again has a window in which to close this prison. Indeed, it could even be a shrewd political move, a demonstration to a world which is questioning the legality of Bin Laden's killing that the president has a handle on what is right.…  Seguir leyendo »

Continued fighting and looting in Ivory Coast have marred President Alassane Ouattara's first two weeks in office. The four month post-electoral standoff came to an end when pro-Ouattara forces captured the outgoing president, Laurent Gbagbo, but fighting has been slow to end in the capital, Abidjan. This was demonstrated by the recent killing of the high-profile militia leader Ibrahim "IB" Coulibaly and the discovery of mass graves in the neighbourhood of Yopougon. Last weekend, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson travelled to Abidjan to encourage national reconciliation. A truth and reconciliation commission has been established after the South African model and will be led by the the ex-prime minister, Charles Konan Banny.…  Seguir leyendo »

La contundencia y el aplomo con que se han ido produciendo las manifestaciones categóricas a favor y en contra de la forma en que la Administración Obama ha acabado con la vida de Bin Laden me obligan a refugiarme en el brillante acto de apostasía de la philosophia perennis, basada en el ideal platónico, que Isaiah Berlin hizo al final de su vida.

Aprovechando la ceremonia en la que recibió en Turín el premio de la Fundación Agnelli, el casi octogenario reinventor del pensamiento liberal explicó que la experiencia le había demostrado que ni era cierto «que todas las preguntas importantes deban tener una respuesta verdadera y única» y menos aún que esas «respuestas verdaderas deban ser necesariamente compatibles entre sí».…  Seguir leyendo »

Aunque no soy creyente, tengo muchos amigos católicos, sacerdotes y laicos, y un gran respeto por quienes tratan de vivir de acuerdo con sus convicciones religiosas. El cardenal Juan Luis Cipriani, arzobispo de Lima, en cambio, me parece representar la peor tradición de la Iglesia, la autoritaria y oscurantista, la del Index, Torquemada, la Inquisición y las parrillas para el hereje y el apóstata, y su reciente autodefensa, Los irrenunciables derechos humanos, publicada el 1 de mayo en Lima, justifica todas las críticas que en nombre de la democracia y los derechos humanos recibe con frecuencia y, principalmente, de los sectores católicos más liberales.…  Seguir leyendo »

La muerte de Bin Laden, un símbolo e icono del terrorismo, no tiene casi importancia para los musulmanes del mundo. Para la mayoría de ellos, sus ideas y sus acciones no eran objeto de imitación ni de respeto, como confirman numerosos sondeos llevados a cabo por Gobiernos occidentales y expertos en antiterrorismo. Se trata, sobre todo, de un acontecimiento importante para Estados Unidos y, en menor medida, para Europa.

La escenificación del anuncio, con la firme y meditada declaración del presidente estadounidense emitida en directo por televisión, quiso transmitir una impresión de calma en el momento de la victoria sobre el terrorismo y el enemigo público número uno de Estados Unidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

«Si Cristo no ha resucitado, vana es nuestra predicación y vana también nuestra fe», reprende San Pablo a los miembros de la comunidad cristiana de Corinto. Y, en efecto, sólo la Resurrección de Cristo da sentido completo a la Encarnación, a la Redención y a la vida futura que se nos ha prometido a cada uno de nosotros, tras la Parusía. Pero, ¿cómo fue esa resurrección que anticipa la nuestra? No fue un mero revivir a la existencia terrena, como el de Lázaro o el de la hija de Jairo, sino que pasó «del estado de muerte a otra vida más allá del tiempo y del espacio», leemos en el Catecismo (nº 646).…  Seguir leyendo »

A man is shot in the head, and joyous celebrations break out 7,000 miles away. Although Americans are in full agreement that the demise of Osama bin Laden is a good thing, many are disturbed by the revelry. We should seek justice, not vengeance, they urge. Doesn’t this lower us to “their” level? Didn’t the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say, “I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy”? (No, he did not, but the Twitter users who popularized that misattributed quotation last week found it inspiring nonetheless.)…  Seguir leyendo »

After Osama bin Laden’s corpse was slipped into the North Arabian Sea, the White House’s chief counterterrorism adviser declared that the United States had buried him “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices”. According to a senior military official, the body was washed, shrouded and dispatched with a funeral prayer.

Despite its best efforts, the United States government still has much to learn about the intricacies of Muslim funerary law. Its strictures are more nuanced, and perhaps also more flexible, than it imagined.

According to the Koran, the origins of burial stretch back to the dawn of humanity. Cain, full of remorse after killing his brother, was inspired by a ground-scratching raven to hide the naked corpse in the earth.…  Seguir leyendo »

Had Osama bin Laden been killed during the presidency of George W. Bush, he might have become an iconic martyr for anti-Western movements throughout the Muslim world. Those days are gone. Jihadist Web sites mourn their slain mentor, but few in the Arab street care for a man who brought nothing to the region but havoc and desolation, provoked the United States into waging war and, above all, reinforced the very rulers whom radical Islamists most wished to topple.

Arab despots initially saw their life expectancies extended after 9/11: better Ben Ali, the thinking went, than Bin Laden. Now the dictators — Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt — are being thrown out, while their counterparts in Libya and Saudi Arabia cling to power by playing the old trump card of Arab oil.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last year I visited a friend of mine, journalist Raúl Silva, in a working-class neighborhood of Cuernavaca. A popular destination for tourists and students of Spanish, the city, about 60 miles south of the Mexican capital, was on edge. Only a few weeks before, a drug gang had audaciously displayed its power, issuing a curfew one Friday night, warning that anyone out after 8 p.m. might be "mistaken" as an enemy and killed. A terrified public huddled indoors, and although no serious violence occurred, the incident left a deep scar.

Raúl and I spoke for hours, and I realized too late that I faced a taxi ride on a dark two-lane road to return to my wife and children in a nearby town.…  Seguir leyendo »

The killing of Osama bin Laden could be a transformational moment for Pakistan and its military. The country has an opportunity now to decide whether it wants to decisively confront Islamist violence or face the consequences of the military's current policy of giving support to jihadis with one hand even as it slaps them with the other. If Pakistan chooses this second path, it will be increasingly vulnerable to internal chaos, more drone strikes and more direct U.S. action against the jihadist groups openly operating in the country.

Soon after American commandos in helicopters descended from the skies early Monday in Pakistan , they carried back the body of Al Qaeda's founder-king.…  Seguir leyendo »