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.»
It is clear however that Beijing has increasingly instrumentalized the threat of terrorism in both domestic and foreign policy.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s sweeping new counter-terrorism legislation, which takes effect in January, may constitute a Patriot Act-like moment for the country.
Just as homeland security has dominated politics in the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks, «counter-terrorism» is becoming a central ordering principle for both China’s domestic and foreign policy.
The new law requires local governments from the city level up to coordinate counter-terrorism activities with a soon-to-be-constituted national agency.
It provides a legal basis for the country’s various counter-terrorism organs to identify and suppress individuals or groups deemed to be «terrorists» and requires Internet providers and technology companies to provide technical assistance and information, including encryption keys, during counter-terror operations.… Seguir leyendo »
IT is widely assumed that the Northern Ireland conflict was settled in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The war was over and the good guys had won.
Many Americans may even derive satisfaction from the role played by American presidents and political grandees — notably, President Clinton’s point man, George J. Mitchell, who presided over the negotiations leading to the agreement.
Yet the deal delivered by Senator Mitchell contained the seeds of its own destruction. In effect, the Good Friday Agreement assigned every person in Northern Ireland to either the unionist or nationalist camp, and the decision-making institutions it created, the Northern Ireland Assembly and its accompanying Executive, were designed to be balanced between the two camps.… Seguir leyendo »
On March 31, two men disguised as lawyers entered a downtown Istanbul courthouse. They headed to the office of Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, locked the door, drew their guns and held him hostage. Soon they revealed that they were members of the DHKP-C, or the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, an illegal Marxist-Leninist party. Their aim was to avenge the “murder” of Berkin Elvan, a victim of the massive antigovernment protests of June 2013, who died at 15 after being hit in the head by a police tear-gas canister.
Mr. Kiraz was the prosecutor in charge of investigating the death of Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
It took more than three months from start to verdict in the Boston Marathon bombing trial. It will most likely take another couple of months for the government and the defense to lay out, respectively, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and for the jury to determine whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted of all 30 charges on Wednesday, gets the death penalty, or life without parole. The trial has been an astoundingly time-consuming and expensive undertaking, but it has not given the public what it needs and wants most: the fullest possible understanding of what happened.
The two sides offered distinct visions of Mr.… 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 »
On Saturday, in the wake of the rocket attack that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged the U.N. secretary-general to recognize the two main rebel groups in his country, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, as terrorist organizations.
In a similar vein Monday, Poroshenko told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that everyone must chose between the terrorists and the civilized world.
Although any country can declare those two rebel groups terrorist in accordance with their national legislation, and so make it illegal for any of their nationals to provide them with support, the U.N. secretary-general cannot, and nor can any other part of the United Nations, except possibly the Security Council.… Seguir leyendo »