Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
One State/Two States: Rethinking Israel and Palestine
Posted by René Volpi
from an article by Danny Rubinstein
AGAINST the background of Barack Obama’s attempt to defend the idea of “two states for two peoples” in Israel/Palestine, consider a recent talk given by the Palestinian Sufian Abu-Zayda. Abu-Zayda is fifty years old. He was born in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, the largest of the Palestinian camps, and he is considered the Palestinian spokesman most fluent in Hebrew, which he learned during the fourteen years that he spent in....
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Post by René Volpi
Christine Stansell - July 30, 2010 12:00 pm
“A half a day per victim.” That’s how an outraged bystander parsed the prison sentence given to Kaing Guek Eav, aka Comrade Duch, by the hybrid Cambodia-United Nations Extraordinary Chambers in Cambodia. The sentence amounted to nineteen years for the murder of fourteen thousand people in the torture and interrogation facility Duch ran as an official of the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. Duch was the first of four henchmen of Angka (the KR name for its purified communist Cambodia) to go on trial, and the only one likely to apologize. The fourteen thousand victims were a drop in an ocean of 1.4 million Cambodians who were starved, worked to death, and murdered by the KR between April 1975, when they overthrew the infirm and corrupt Lon Nol regime, and January 1979, when the Vietnamese invaded and took power.
There was no lack of evidence in the trial, even though only twelve prisoners are known to have survived Duch’s prison (a number of prison personnel survived and can be seen reenacting their gruesome chores in Rithy Panh’s fine documentary about Tuol Sleng, S-21). Because he had a Stalinist penchant for meticulous documentation, there are reams of heart-wrenching confessions made under torture and a photo archive of prisoner mug-shots the Vietnamese found when they arrived. The Vietnamese also left the facility intact almost as it was, and it is now Phnom Penh’s premier site of dark tourism, a museum that thousands visit each year. The prisoners’ photographs, which are at the heart of the museum’s displays, give a sense of the demographics of the “enemies of the people” Duch processed: little boys, mothers with babies, stony-faced KR cadre, toddlers, frightened teenagers.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Posted by René Volpi on August 7th, 2010
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