Martes, 5 de agosto de 2014

This week, President Obama is hosting in Washington the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. This occasion is to be welcomed for many reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity it provides for African leaders to voice their concerns about the International Criminal Court (ICC), and their wish to establish an African Court of Justice.

Believing the ICC would be a genuine universal court, many African states joined it. Twelve years later, along with many international observers, however, Africa’s conclusion is that the International Criminal Court is unfit for its purpose. Africa has come to realize that it was sold a false bill of goods.…  Seguir leyendo »

During the past few days, the extremist group known as the Islamic State has made significant advances. After consolidating its gains since the fall of Mosul and other Sunni areas, the group sought to move toward Baghdad. For now, that advance has been blocked by Shiite militias, what remains of the Iraqi forces and assistance from Iran and the United States. It is evident, however, that the Islamic State has amassed enough manpower and resources to move against the Kurdish region. Its recent attempt to take over the Mosul dam as well as its seizure of the city of Sinjar and the other areas controlled by the Kurds, who were overwhelmed by a force using superior U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

«Who do you want to see?» asked the Salafi Jihadists holding their AK-47s at the gate.

«Hamas leaders,» I replied.

«Why Hamas? Why not our Jihadi brothers?» the guard asked.

«Well, Hamas are in government in Gaza.»

«They won’t be in future,» he responded. «They have sold out and become agents of the Israelis, and in years to come we will govern Gaza. Be sure to meet our brothers here in the camp, too.»

The guard then gave me directions to a safe house where someone could take me to Hamas.

This was last summer. I was visiting a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut for book research.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last Friday, I was in Uganda’s Constitutional Court as a member of the legal team that persuaded its judges to overturn our country’s inhumane anti-homosexuality law. Today, I am in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit «Investing in the Next Generation» with a message: Invest in human rights in Africa.

It’s hard to believe that African leaders and some development experts still debate whether human rights is a «Western concept» and whether countries can grow without human rights. African leaders have been too eager to advance their own economic and security agendas without consideration of the rights of their citizens.

Let’s take the record of my country, Uganda, and its Anti-Homosexuality Act.…  Seguir leyendo »

Recently, a young Nigerian girl—just 15 years old—approached a group of police officers and blew herself up. The attack failed; she claimed no lives but her own.

Boko Haram may have launched bloodier attacks, but I struggle to imagine a more heinous terror plot. That girl was just one of four Nigerian women to weaponize themselves this July in the populous northern city of Kano. The second attempt, targeting a shopping mall, likewise killed just the bomber. The third slaughtered three women lined up to buy oil for their cook-stoves. The fourth cut short the lives of six young people at Kano Polytechnic.…  Seguir leyendo »

Avalada la efectividad socioeconómica de la reforma laboral de 2012 por instancias nacionales e internacionales (y por los recentísimos datos de la EPA del segundo trimestre de este año), quedaba pendiente la comprobación de su ortodoxia jurídica y, más concretamente, de su adecuación a la Constitución, que desde algunos sectores se venía poniendo en duda.

El Tribunal Constitucional (TC) -que ya había emitido en su auto 43/2014 un juicio favorable sobre la primera fase de la reforma (llevada a cabo por el Real Decreto-Ley 3/2012)- ha resuelto por amplia mayoría en su sentencia del pasado 16 de julio un recurso de inconstitucionalidad planteado contra varios preceptos de la Ley 3/2012, de medidas urgentes para la reforma laboral.…  Seguir leyendo »

Admite ETA en su último comunicado que su final es inevitable y que no conseguirá contrapartidas políticas. Nada más parecido al reconocimiento de una derrota de su estrategia terrorista. No cabe duda, para quien tenga una mínima objetividad, que hemos derrotado a la banda terrorista, aunque todavía algunos considerarán, con voluntad tridentina, que es la banda terrorista la que ha conseguido derrotarnos y somos nosotros quienes hemos doblado la rodilla. Pondrán ejemplos que rectamente demuestran lo contrario. Dirán, por ejemplo, que su posición al frente del Gobierno tanto en el Ayuntamiento de San Sebastián como en la Diputación de Gipuzkoa es la prueba de su victoria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tiempos de crispación y antagonismo

Un modo de aproximarse a los complejos asuntos contemporáneos es intentando definir la característica principal del sistema global. A mi entender, una de sus más relevantes características actuales es que se trata de un sistema sobrecargado; con exceso de contradicciones, presiones y dilemas que, más temprano que tarde, requerirán de un ajuste.

Este sistema recargado puede ser visto a través de cuatro tableros: el internacional, el mundial, el institucional y el interno. El internacional remite a las relaciones específicamente interestatales. En este tablero, el dato fundamental es la acelerada redistribución de poder, riqueza e influencia de Occidente y del Norte en la dirección de Oriente y el Sur.…  Seguir leyendo »

En los últimos tiempos los debates de nuestro país se centran preferentemente en el modelo de Estado que podemos querer para el futuro próximo, si deseamos una estructura autonómica, autonómica reformada, federal o la disgregación sin más. Naturalmente, la urgencia de discutir sobre estas opciones viene provocada por la inminencia de la consulta catalana y cuanto ella implica, pero es preciso preguntar si el tema por sí mismo es tan urgente o lo es mucho más el de la justicia social.

Los datos de informes como los de Cáritas son aterradores: familias cuyos miembros no allegan ningún ingreso, parados de larga duración y sin expectativas de futuro, trabajadores empobrecidos, dependientes que no ven llegar sus ayudas, inmigrantes que mueren antes de llegar a la costa.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los españoles haríamos bien en aprender el dicho inglés «Cuando las cosas van mal, lo mejor es que se estropeen del todo». Al problema catalán le hemos dado toda clase de soluciones, desde las arancelarias a las autonómicas, pasando por la «conllevancia » orteguiana. Sin éxito. Al revés, agravándose hasta llevarnos a una consulta, ilegal para el Gobierno de la nación, irrenunciable para el de Cataluña.

El choque frontal estaba servido cuando un suceso inesperado ha sacudido la escena política española con la fuerza de un terremoto de fuerza 9. El hombre que había convertido el catalanismo en nacionalismo y luego en independentismo confesó que él y su familia han venido defraudando al Fisco durante todo ese periodo.…  Seguir leyendo »

La pasada noche del 25 de julio, día de Santiago, el teatro romano de Medellín recobraba su vida primigenia tras dos mil años de sepultado silencio en la ladera del castillo de esta histórica villa extremeña. El Festival Internacional de Teatro Clásico de Mérida, decano en su especialidad con 60 ediciones y 81 años de vida, ponía en escena una espléndida versión del Ayax de Sófocles, del escritor Miguel Murillo y por la compañía también extremeña Teatro del Noctámbulo.

Muchos de los allí reunidos, con el presidente José Antonio Monago, recordamos aquella histórica jornada de junio de 1933, cuando la Medea de Unamuno interpretada por Margarita Xirgu, y también en presencia del presidente de la República Manuel Azaña, devolvió el pulso al teatro romano de Mérida, el teatro más grandioso de los de su género en el Occidente del Imperio.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sunday, July 27

For the last two hours we’ve heard nothing but sonic booms and the sound of rockets and mortars. Shells have fallen on our street a few hundred yards from my father-in-law’s house, where my wife and I, and our five kids, are staying, and on the street behind us.

My wife, Hanna, is arguing with the kids over what to buy to celebrate Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. She has forbidden them to go to the grocery store, and she’s adamant that they won’t visit the Internet cafes or the PlayStation shop near my father’s place.…  Seguir leyendo »

The tragedy of the centenary we commemorate this week is that it falls as some of the most brutal and merciless wars of those same hundred years are raging. What characterises contemporary wars above all – in Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic – is that the main victims are civilians, many of them utterly innocent children. Furthermore their deaths and injuries cannot be dismissed as unintended consequences of war. Some are deliberate.

Attacks on Belgian and French civilians, including children, by Germany’s invading army in August 1914 shocked the public and politicians in Britain and elsewhere into intervening, and many individual men into enlisting – so much so that conscription in Britain was not introduced until 1916.…  Seguir leyendo »

The day Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, I was in Moscow, having dinner with a small group of friends. Three of those present were living in Moscow and the other three, including me, were former Muscovites visiting from the United States. Perhaps because most of the people at the table were linguists, discussion of the airplane soon turned to a conversation about words.

“Why do we have to say ‘our country”’ asked one of the linguists. “Why can’t we say ‘this country,’ like Americans do?”

It’s a language thing: When speaking of Russia, Russians indicate possession the way English-speakers do with most other nouns — “my hand,” “my drink” — but not, as it happens, with countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

In June, Corsica’s most active separatist group, the National Liberation Front, or FLNC, declared an end to its decades-long armed resistance against the French mainland. For many, its communiqué outlining “a process of demilitarization” and “progressive exit from clandestine activities” was a surprising reversal.

Since the establishment of the FLNC in 1976, there have been over 10,000 terrorist operations on the island. The FLNC and other separatist groups claimed responsibility for about half of these (most of which targeted the homes of non-Corsicans); the FLNC has also been implicated in some 40 assassinations.

But despite what the separatists would like to believe, only a tiny minority of locals support independence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Centuries of European colonialism have provided the world with certain basic lessons about subjugating colonized peoples: The longer any colonial occupation endures, the greater the settlers’ racism and extremism tends to grow. This is especially true if the occupiers encounter resistance; at that point, the occupied population becomes an obstacle that must either be forced to submit or removed through expulsion or murder.

In the eyes of an occupying power, the humanity of those under its thumb depends on the degree of their submission to, or collaboration with, the occupation. If the occupied population chooses to stand in the way of the occupier’s goals, then they are demonized, which allows the occupier the supposed moral excuse of confronting them with all possible means, no matter how harsh.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post’s correspondent in Iran, was arrested in Tehran on July 22 almost certainly not because of anything he had written, but because the hard-liners among Iran’s ruling elite seek to embarrass and weaken President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate. For good measure, they arrested Mr. Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, and two American citizens working as freelance journalists.

Since Mr. Rouhani’s election in June 2013, elements in Iran’s intelligence services, its judiciary and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have sought to undermine him and his agenda of pragmatism and reform. For the sake of his credibility abroad, as much as for the cause of justice, he needs to speak out now on these journalists’ behalf and on behalf of many other unjustly incarcerated Iranians.…  Seguir leyendo »