David Rieff Considers Justice in Sudan

Question: Will the ICC ruling bring al-Bashir down?

Rieff:    No, I expect this to destroy the… I think this is given… You know, be careful what you wish for is perhaps the best reaction I could have or the most synch reaction I could have.  I think that the fantasy of international justice has been exposed for the cruel joke it is by the indictment of General Bashir.  The fantasy was that even though this international court had no state behind it… It was a court based on an international treaty.  That is a treaty between sovereign states.  And even though this court had no army or police force, that somehow the authority of this court was such that it would bring a new world of international justice.  Well, didn’t turn out that way.  The one concrete result of the indictment of President Bashir has been the expulsion of the humanitarian agencies, from the ground and… or for… or many of the 13 of the main agencies.  Interestingly enough, given the fact that everyone associates General Bashir with Islamic fundamentalism and a lot of the [saved movement], in my view, has been inspired by a certain Islamaphobia.  The fact of the matter is that one of the main groups still on the ground is the evangelical relief group, World Vision, just not been expelled interestingly.  The… We see that Bashir has defied the court successfully, he’s gone to Somalia, he’s gone to Egypt, and he’s gone to Doha in the last 3 weeks.  This fantasy of international justice was wishful thinking.  I mean, as the great 18th century German aphorist Lichtenberg, said, “A handful of soldiers is always worth more than a mouthful of arguments.”  And I don’t… I don’t think it [bear] very well.  Mind you, I was always very skeptical about the court so I’m hardly changing my position.  I think it’s a court of dreams.  I don’t… I think, the fact that… I think, indicting only people from the global south, you know, creates in the minds of many people in the developing world and the poor world.  The idea that this is just a flag of convenience for more Western hegemony, I think that was always the problem with the court. That no one ever figured out a way to get around that.  And… Even if that… I’m perfectly willing to accept that that wasn’t the motivation of the people interested in the court but that’s the way it looks.  I mean, you’ll never see an American general or a Chinese general or a British general or French general or Russian general in the court.  You will see people from the Sierra Leone and the democratic republic of Congo and General Bashir. In other words, weak monsters get to be indicted by the International Criminal Court.  That’s really not justice in anyway that’s likely compel a lot of allegiance from people globally.

The author says the International Criminal Court’s ruling on al-Bashir will accomplish nothing.

22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less