«A los que se fueron, a los que se quedaron, a los que se perdieron». A ellos dedica Kenneth Branagh Belfast, la película que define como «una mirada a una gente y a un lugar en conflicto». A través de los ojos de un niño de nueve años, el director muestra los días de agosto de 1969 en los que Irlanda del Norte entró en una dramática y sangrienta espiral. El estallido de violencia en las calles de Belfast dio paso a una intensa campaña terrorista en la que más de 3.000 personas fueron asesinadas. Sin embargo, Belfast apenas muestra la brutal violencia de aquellos días, tan solo un atisbo poco realista que impide un verdadero tributo a los habitantes de esta emblemática ciudad.… Seguir leyendo »
The road I grew up on in Drumahoe, on the outskirts of Derry, has been on the news lately, and not in a way that makes me proud. Journalists stand at its junction with the main road from Belfast, pointing up at the purple flag of the Parachute Regiment fluttering high on a lamp-post. They explain its significance at this time of year: it was paratroopers who killed 13 unarmed civil rights marchers in the city on Bloody Sunday in January 1972. Family members of those killed have talked about the pain the flying of these flags causes them. Politicians, including some unionists, and even the Parachute Regiment itself have called it “unacceptable”.… Seguir leyendo »
When extremist militants slaughtered hundreds of Hindus and Sikhs in Kashmir during the early 1990s, Makhan Lal Bindroo, a respected Hindu pharmacist in the provincial capital of Srinagar, refused to flee. Bindroo’s own father-in-law was shot four times in the carnage and was forced to flee to Delhi, but Bindroo was unperturbed. “I have no threat,” he said. “I will live with the Kashmiri people I have grown up with.”
Bindroo was killed this month, as separatist militants murdered almost a dozen civilians within just two weeks. Hindus and Sikhs were targeted, sparking off yet another exodus of minority communities for the first time since the 1990s.… Seguir leyendo »
«No es solo por el pasado, sino también por el presente». Al inaugurarse el parlamento irlandés Micheál Martin explicaba así los motivos por los que el partido que lidera, Fianna Fáil, rechaza la entrada del Sinn Féin en el gobierno. Fianna Fáil es el partido con más escaños tras las recientes elecciones en Irlanda, seguido del Sinn Féin, formación que todavía hoy está controlada por la cúpula de un grupo terrorista, el IRA. Lo han confirmado públicamente tanto mandos de la policía de Irlanda del Norte como de la República de Irlanda. En ese contexto Micheál Martin denunció el populismo de izquierda radical del Sinn Féin, que carece de los estándares democráticos del resto de formaciones políticas irlandesas y que ha sido el más votado por el electorado joven.… Seguir leyendo »
If I dream, it invariably takes the form of being hunted by men with guns—in a house, in a forest, on a street. Sometimes these dreams end with me being shot, sometimes with me stabbing someone. I only ever stab someone, even though, growing up, we had a gun, illegally, in the house—a double-barreled shotgun that my father kept beneath his bed and that we’d use occasionally for shooting rabbits. In my dreams I never see the face of the man I’m stabbing. I’ve had these dreams all my adult life. Maybe they’re common among people like me, maybe they’re not.… Seguir leyendo »
“Aproximadamente la mitad de los países que salen de una guerra vuelven a caer en la violencia en un plazo de menos de cinco años”, escribió el exsecretario general de las Naciones Unidas Kofi Annan en 2015. En Colombia, donde ya transcurrió más de la mitad de ese periodo, la paz permanente no está garantizada. Un acuerdo de noviembre de 2016 puso fin a medio siglo de conflicto entre el gobierno y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), un grupo guerrillero de izquierda. Pero cada vez hay más motivos para preocuparnos.
Iván Márquez, el segundo al mando de las Farc y quien encabezó al grupo de negociación de la guerrilla en La Habana, anunció que tomaría de nuevo las armas.… Seguir leyendo »
An older woman spoke haltingly into a microphone, her hands trembling from the memory: “They beat my whole body, my eyes and hands were tied. They hit me with a big plank of wood. There were four of them. They hit me on the head, and whipped me with a belt.”
Thus began two days of testimonies at the local parliament house in Lhokseumawe, in the northern part of Aceh, a province of Indonesia located at the northern end of Sumatra. On 16 and 17 of July fifteen victims and family members of the disappeared took their place on stage, speaking before Aceh’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).… Seguir leyendo »
Kevin Barry O’Donnell told me that he and his friends wanted the Troubles to come back. “The madness, the riots, the shooting, the bombings, everything,” he said of the 30 years of conflict between mostly Catholic republicans who wanted to reunite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland and the mostly Protestant unionists who wanted it to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
I was interviewing Mr. O’Donnell in 2017 for a film I was making about life after the Troubles. He was 16 years old and living in Derry, the city in Northern Ireland that was famous as both the site of the conflict’s beginning and one of its worst atrocities, the killing of 14 Catholics by British soldiers in 1972 in an event known as Bloody Sunday.… Seguir leyendo »
On August 31, 2018, I was in the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, waiting for my flight to New York, when I received this text on WhatsApp: “Trevor and Barry had their doors kicked in this morning in dawn raids and are presently in police custody for breach of s5 of Official Secrets Act.”
With a few clicks and a hasty review of a police press release from Belfast, Northern Ireland, I was able to grasp the basics. Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, two producers on a documentary film I had directed, No Stone Unturned, had been arrested and held for questioning for the “theft” of classified documents relating to the Loughinisland Massacre, the subject of the film.… Seguir leyendo »
There are times when working as a journalist provides a front-row seat to some of the most important events taking place on Earth. On the downhill slope to Brexit, Derry -- also known as Londonderry -- certainly fits the bill.
Since the end of The Troubles, Derry has become a vibrant cultural hub. It hosts Europe's largest and most vibrant Halloween celebration each year, attracting thousands of tourists.
It was designated the UK's City of Culture in 2013.
But a car bomb last weekend that blasted granite chunks off the street and through windows lifted the curtain on something darker going on in this city on the border with the Republic of Ireland.… Seguir leyendo »
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the deal that brought an end to a 30-year bloody conflict in Northern Ireland, known as “The Troubles,” in which more than 3,000 people lost their lives. The agreement created a power-sharing assembly, hoping that would stabilize a divided society.
But for most people in Northern Ireland, the anniversary is cause more for concern than celebration. Right now, Northern Ireland has no functioning executive body. The Nationalists (predominantly Catholics) and the Unionists (predominantly Protestants) who fought during those years still live in separate and segregated communities. As Brexit looms, some fear conflict might return.… Seguir leyendo »
Cuando un ser querido desaparece sin dejar rastro, el conflicto resultante se llama “pérdida ambigua”: ¿estará muerto o acabará regresando? Cada uno cree con absoluta firmeza una cosa u otra. Nadie lo sabe, no hay certeza, pero los que quedan acaban dándole un sentido ambiguo al misterio. “Para mí está muerto” o “sé que algún día volverá”. La superación no consiste en cerrar el episodio, sino en encontrarle sentido.
Este es el eje sobre el que se sustenta una maravillosa obra de teatro, The Ferryman (El barquero). Escrita por Jez Butterworth y dirigida por Sam Mendes, se representa en el West End de Londres.… Seguir leyendo »
The April 3 bombing on the St Petersburg metro was the highest-profile terror attack on Russian soil since a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in January 2011. According to Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee, at least 14 people were killed and 49 injured by an improvised explosive device; further casualties were prevented when a second device was disarmed at another station. Days later, another bomb was found and defused in a residential building.
The prime suspect is reportedly Kyrgyzstan-born Russian citizen Akbarzhon Jalilov, who was identified on CCTV and died in the attack.
The use of explosives and the success of the attack despite heightened security measures – President Putin was in St Petersburg at the time, and national newspapers Izvestiya and Kommersant both reported that the security services had advanced warning that an attack was planned – makes it unlikely he acted alone.… Seguir leyendo »
“‘You are a writer. You have to speak up,’ I kept telling myself,” said Yasar Kemal, the great Turkish author of Kurdish descent. As a human rights activist and advocate of pluralistic democracy, his task was not easy – to promote co-existence in a land where hatred spoke louder than peace. Since his death in 2015, things have taken a turn for the worse. Yet another terror attack hit Turkey this weekend, aiming at driving a further wedge between Turks and Kurds, and shattering our hopes for peaceful reconciliation.
Shaken by 31 suicide attacks and bombings in the past 15 years only, Turkey has become a nation of perpetual angst.… Seguir leyendo »
After Pakistani militants infiltrated across the line of control in disputed Kashmir and attacked an Indian Army base on Sept. 18, killing 19 soldiers, India shed years of inaction over Pakistan-backed terrorism and retaliated with surgical strikes on terrorist launchpads. In a lightening operation, Indian special forces hit multiple targets located several kilometers deep inside Pakistan.
For long, India’s response to the Pakistani military’s strategy to inflict death by a thousand cuts through terrorist proxies was survival by a thousand bandages. India undertook no punitive action even in response to the 2008 bloody Mumbai attacks, although self-defense is embedded as an “inherent right” in the United Nations charter.… Seguir leyendo »
It's safe to say that India-Pakistan relations are nearly on a war footing.
Saber rattling has been near constant in recent weeks after terrorists -- from Pakistan, according to India -- stormed an Indian military base in India-controlled Kashmir and killed 18 soldiers. India's home minister denounced Pakistan as a "terrorist state." Pakistan's defense minister threatened nuclear war.
Then came Thursday, when India claimed to have carried out a "surgical strike" across the border into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. The operation, according to the Indian government and military, targeted terrorist "launch pads" and killed several dozen militants. New Delhi's detailed (and perhaps exaggerated) account said the operation lasted four hours.… Seguir leyendo »
The latest crisis in India-Pakistan relations was caused by terrorists who came across the border from Pakistan, attacked a fortified army base in Indian Kashmir on Sept. 18 and killed 19 soldiers before being neutralized. Many Indians are demanding Pakistan be taught a harsh lesson with a disproportionate retaliation under the principle of “a jaw for a tooth.”
With each fresh terrorist attack, the clamor for military strikes grows stronger from an outraged citizenry. The political cost of inaction is higher for a Hindu nationalist party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi risks cementing a reputation for bluster: in the Texan vernacular, all hat and no cattle.… Seguir leyendo »
Pakistan has placed its forces on high alert after being denounced by India as a ‘terrorist state’ complicit in an attack on a military base at Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir. The accusations have been strongly denied by Pakistan and fuelled a war of words, raising bilateral tensions to levels not seen since the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008.
The attacks coincide with an upsurge in protests in Kashmir triggered by the death of Burhan Wani, a media-savvy and seemingly popular militant. For Pakistan, Kashmir lies at the heart of its disputed relationship with India. Pakistan has traditionally argued that Kashmir needs to be ‘resolved’ to enable the relationship to improve.… Seguir leyendo »
Within the span of 24 hours, two unexpected events in Central Asia earlier this week may finally have dragged China into the global struggle against terrorism.
Looming instability in the Central Asian, majority Muslim country of Uzbekistan, followed by an attack on the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan, highlight Beijing’s security risks.
During the G20 summit in Hangzhou this weekend, Chinese President Xi Jinping would be wise to seek the advice of leaders who have longer-term experience fighting terrorism – and then move quickly to develop new security measures at home.
For the last 15 years, as the world’s most powerful countries have focused much of their attention on international terrorism, Beijing has largely been able to avoid the issue.… Seguir leyendo »
China's long-simmering problems with Uyghur separatism and terrorism in the western region of Xinjiang has been thrust again into the international spotlight.
The U.S. State Department has criticized China's "lack of transparency" regarding its claims of Uyghur terrorism in Xinjiang, questioned Beijing's stated desire for greater counter-terrorism cooperation with the U.S., and said Chinese policies in the region "may have exacerbated ethnic tension" and contributed to "increased violent extremism."
State media in Xinjiang reported this week that some Uyghur inhabitants would be required to provide DNA samples, fingerprints and a "three-dimensional image," when applying for passports or other travel documents.
China has dismissed criticism of its policies in the region as "inaccurate and "un-objective."… Seguir leyendo »