Thursday, April 07, 2005

Pause and Poll

Apart perhaps from the occasional brief observation and barring unforeseen developments, I will be taking a break from blogging until next Tuesday or so.

In the meanwhile, however, if you feel so inclined, you can vote in the second ever Trans-Int poll on possible topics for future coverage. I’ll try to get to the winning topic next week. The candidates, with a bit of introduction, are as follows:

1. The Attack of the American NGOs

There is a specter haunting Europe: the specter of American NGOs. Taking their cue (as is so often the case) from a report in the NYTimes, European media now widely portray American NGOs, assumed to be vectors in turn of the American government, as having orchestrated the recent wave of regime change in former Soviet republics. What evidence is there to support this scenario? And what about European NGOs? Were they completely absent from the terrain? What is their relation to the EU and/or European governments?

2. Return to the Hotel Ivoire

Last November, I wrote a number of posts on the clash between French troops and Ivorian protestors at the Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan that left at least seven Ivorian civilians dead. (See here, here, here, and here.) French documentary filmmakers Stéphane Haumant and Jérome Pin have labeled November 9, when the Hotel Ivoire incident occurred, “The Black Tuesday of the French Army”. What is now known about the Hotel Ivoire incident and the circumstances that led up to it?

3. A Society for “Endangered Peoples”?

The Göttingen-based Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) has an unusual name: literally translated, "The Society for Endangered Peoples" – a name that revealingly treats the “peoples” into which human beings are supposed to be divided as analogous to species of animals. The GfbV was one of the German NGOs most intimately involved in promoting the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this capacity, it did not hesitate to employ distinctly revanchist tones by accusing all of the permanent members of the UN Security Council – and first and foremost, the United States – with the commission of “crimes”. “The USA must expect that an ICC could also indict US citizens for crimes against humanity,” the GfbV warned, with more than a hint of satisfaction, in a 1998 memorandum. What is the ideology that drives the self-proclaimed “second largest human rights organization in Germany”?

You can vote in the side-bar on the right. And please come back next week!