In May I wrote about my trip to Banja Luka to see the restoration of the 16th century Ferhadija mosque. My story about the project airs on PRI’s The World today. Here’s the link to the audio, slideshow and script. Huge thanks to Andras Riedlmayer for planting the idea and helping with contacts. You can see his own account here. Let me know what you think.
If you missed this much-awaited film on PBS you can see it online for the next 10 days or so.
The link is here.
The film is by Elizabeth Farnsworth (of the Newshour) and Patricio Lanfranco and it’s about the judge who went after Pinochet. .
The Guardian has a piece today which suggests a rift among human rights advocates over the performance of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Paula Donovan and Stephen Lewis of AIDS-Free World continue to impress me with their unwavering focus on the issue of sexual violence in eastern Congo and elsewhere. They speak more often and more loudly and in more unashamed graphic detail than just about anyone else for the purpose of spurring the rest of us to action. Here is a link to a transcript of Donovan’s speech at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City: The betrayal of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Here’s some info about my work on rape as as a weapon of war.
Richard Just has an excellent if devastating summary of the record on Darfur in The New Republic. Here’s the link:
The Truth Will Not Set You Free: Everything we know about Darfur, and everything we’re not doing about it.
Yet another investigation into France’s role in the Rwandan genocide.
Marco Werman gets Philip Gourevitch’s take on the report released today by the Rwandan government.
Got a lovely email from Mary Sherhart of Sevdah North America in response to my story about the Damir Imamovic Trio. She has given me permission to quote from it here:
A huge thank you to Jeb Sharp for her wonderful story on Damir Imamovic and sevdah. Not only did Jeb shine a light on a deserving artist and musical form, she also gave voice to Kristina Coric who is working with so many young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to preserve the pre-war multicultural society.
Sevdah takes on an even more important role within diaspora communities. I sing sevdah in communities all over North America and can see how deeply it touches the refugees’ hearts and souls. It takes them to a time before their lives were shattered. It is also an important bridge into Bosnian culture for the children who were born and/or raised in North America. Stories like Jeb’s and the work Damir is doing help affirm immigrants’ and refugees’ sense of themselves when they live so far away from their roots. Bravo to Jeb and Damir!!!!
Sevdah is a source of healing and reconciliation since it was beloved by Bosnians, Serbs and Croats alike before the war politicized the music. Sevdah can provide common ground in a field where that is very scarce and wounds of war are still open. Here in Seattle we held a concert called Evening of Sevdah last November at which local artists from the various Balkan communities performed sevdah. Artists included Bosnians, Serbs, Croatians, a Macedonian, Americans, Catholic, Jew, Moslem. The audience, a standing room only crowd of over 600, were 100% supportive of each and every artist. It gave such great hope!
As president, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Jeb, Damir, Kristina and all the people working to bring sanity back to one of the most beautiful places in the world, physically and culturally.
Sevdah North America
P.O. Box 99667
Seattle, WA 98139-0667
A little relief from the war crimes beat with a piece for our Global Hit segment about the Damir Imamovic Trio and their contemporary version of sevdah. They launched their second CD back in May in Sarajevo with a brief performance outside Babylon, a bar in the Old Town. I was lucky enough to be there and to interview Damir Imamovic. Here’s the link. Enjoy.
Alan Brinkley has a review of Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals in tomorrow’s NYT Book Review. He calls it “a powerful, brilliantly researched and deeply unsettling book.” His concluding paragraph:
The Bush administration is not, of course, the first or only regime to violate civil liberties. John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt all authorized or tolerated terrible violations of civil and human rights, all of them in response to great national and global crises. In some respects, the Bush administration is simply following a familiar path by responding to real dangers with illegal and deplorable methods. But Jane Mayer’s extraordinary and invaluable book suggests that it would be difficult to find any precedent in American history for the scale, brutality and illegality of the torture and degradation inflicted on detainees over the last six years; and that it would be even harder to imagine a set of policies more likely to increase the dangers facing the United States and the world.
MSF evacuates staff from North Darfur because of attacks. Here’s their press release.
U.N. Peacekeeping mandate is extended but U.S. abstains from the vote to protest language about the ICC. Here’s the NYT story. More details here.
Mia Farrow plans to broadcast from a Darfur refugee camp during the Olympics.
Lisa Mullins interviews Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition about a new report Grounded: The International Community’s Betrayal of UNAMID. The report lists the countries the authors argue are best-positioned to provide much-needed transport helicopters for the U. N. Peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID).