War Crimes

A Time to Break Silence on Central African Republic

Broken glass with the flag of Central African Republic. Via Shutterstock/Micha Klootwijk

This weekend we’ll commemorate the too-short life and great work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While we rightly celebrate his life dedicated to advancing equality for all, too often we overlook his call to peacemaking. This year, in light of conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and an often-overlooked war in Central African Republic, we should remember his words.

In his 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence,” King opposed the violence, saying:

"To me the relationship of this ministry [of Jesus Christ] to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative?"

Those aware of our long history at Sojourners know that we have always been committed to peace, to opposing unjust wars and finding nonviolent solutions wherever possible. And in all the work we do, we aim to speak out for the least of these, the poorest and most vulnerable.

Mladic War Crimes Trial Begins

The BBC reports on the opening day of Ratko Mladic's war crimes trial at The Hague:

Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic intended to "ethnically cleanse" Bosnia, the opening day of his war crimes trial has heard. Gen Mladic faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide, in connection with the brutal 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Read more about the trial here

News: Quick Links

We Are All Occupiers Now: The Mainstreaming of OWS; 10 Cities With The Lowest Poverty Rates: U.S. Census; Senators Push For Syria's Assad To Be Charged With Crimes Against Humanity; Surprise! The Rich Are Still Getting Richer; Paul Ryan To Slam Obama For 'Politics Of Division'; Does Pope Benedict Support Occupy Wall Street?; Clergy Petition Village Voice To Drop Ads Linked To Sex Trafficking.

New and Noteworthy

Communities at Risk

“AIDS is born in the house of poverty,” an Indian health worker says on Making Ends Meet: AIDS and Poverty, a new resource from the Mennonite Central Committee. The 18-minute DVD looks at communities in India and South Africa and how AIDS is impacting the economies of each. The DVD includes additional interviews, a 25-minute story on church workers in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and other features. Excellent for Sunday school or study groups. www.mcc.org/aids

Poisonous Plunder

If you encounter folks who question the growing economic divide in the United States, have them check out Inequality Matters, edited by James Lardner and David Smith. Writers, activists, economists, and religious leaders—such as Barbara Ehrenreich, Theda Skocpol, Jim Wallis, and William Greider, with an introductory salvo by Bill Moyers—contribute essays that illuminate every facet of this toxic state of affairs. The New Press

Powerful Action

Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living, produced by Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, is a 12-part study and action program that covers all aspects of living nonviolently. Each session contains directions for guiding conversation, readings on nonviolence, exercises and role-plays, and suggestions for discussion and action. A practical and helpful manual, especially the chapter on books, videos, and other nonviolence resources. www.paceebene.org

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Sojourners Magazine March 2006
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War Crimes and Misdemeanors

Christopher Hitchens, in this illuminating assessment of Henry Kissinger's war crimes, reports on a filmed 1998 interview with Michael Korda, senior editor of Simon and Schuster. That morning The New York Times had reported on a Spanish court's indictment of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the announcement that the Clinton administration would, however reluctantly, release secret documents on the killings and torture under Pinochet. The article added that some U.S. officials were worried about the implications for American leaders who might someday also be accused of war crimes by foreign countries.

During the interview, Korda was interrupted by a message that Kissinger had called. With the cameras still running, Korda immediately returned the call, jokingly saying the number he was dialing was 1-800-BOMB-CAMBODIA. Korda's side of the conversation made it clear that, as Hitchens put it, "sitting in his [Kissinger's] office at Kissinger Associates, with its tentacles of business and consultancy stretching from Belgrade to Beijing, and cushioned by innumerable other directorships and boards, [Kissinger] still shudders when he hears of the arrest of a dictator."

And well he should. With the spring 2001 arrest and trial of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic and the opening of war crimes proceedings against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by a Belgian court in July 2001, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Henry Kissinger could be indicted at some point on the grounds of crimes against humanity by any number of countries. At least that is the case that Hitchens tries to make. The prospect could be made more likely by the forced release in August of Kissinger's so-called Dead Key Scrolls-transcripts of Kissinger's phone conversations; the recordings were made when a secretary held down a "dead key" on an extension so as not to be heard.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2001
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