Tag Archives: Mexico

From Nauru to NYU: Picks of the Week(s)

24 Jun

Will new Nauru asylum centre deliver Pacific Solution?

The BBC recently became the first media org to gain access to the detention centre set up (or commissioned) by Australia in Nauru. This could be viewed as an important step towards transparency, and certainly the journalist is plenty critical of the whole Australian refugee policy, but I find the whole ‘opening up’ of the centre to be deeply suspicious. The reason that the media is being let in is to try to shift debate, and to cast Australian policy as a merciful and humanitarian, even as it imprisons refugees indefinitely.

Today Marks 20 Year Anniversary of Order that Closed “H.I.V. Prison Camp” at Guantánamo

This one is kind of cheating: I work with the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, and for the past week we’ve been focusing on an oft-forgotten chapter in the history of Guantánamo Bay.

In 1991 the U.S. Govt. began detaining Haitian asylum seekers at Guantánamo. The parallels between the plight of these detainees, and the current detainees at GTMO is striking. The parallels between the case of the Haitians and asylum seekers detained at Nauru by the Australian Govt. are equally so.

Objects of the Journey

Vela hosts work by a bunch of fantastic writers, but it is the power of images rather than words that made this article stand out to me. Undocumented immigrants face a whole host of troubles before they even make it to the U.S., and the way they are preyed upon remains for me one of the most terrible aspects of the Drug War as it has recently been fought in Mexico and Central America. This photo essay documents the undocumented, and does so in a concerned, compassionate way.

Yale, NYU sacrifice academic freedom

I love me some NYU bashing, and I couldn’t agree more that NYU is expanding globally so fast that it really has no idea at what cost (lack of academic integrity and quality of education seem obvious possibilities). However, I’m mostly including this link because I take issue with the sanctimonious tone of the article. Separating the world into free and unfree nations, and denying the possibility of freedoms being won in ‘unfree’ nations seems incredibly simplistic. The idea that the U.S. is a bastion of freedom and virtue rings pretty false, given recent revelations about surveillance, and the House’s decision to allow indefinite detention of citizens.

Web art by Josh Begley

I first learned of Begley’s work through his site that documented every single drone strike by the U.S., but have found his other projects equally compelling. The satirical edge to his activist art is really refreshing, as is the scope of his documentary projects (such as documenting the entire history of the race question on the U.S. census).

From Camels to Cavemen: Picks of the Week

14 Apr

Hollande Finds His Gift Camel Was Consumed

I gave a presentation on the Mali Conflict at an NYU conference on Friday, and would have dearly loved to include something about Hollande’s camel. Fifteen minutes just wasn’t long enough, however, to do justice to a topic of such import.

Something tells me Hollande wanted that camel out of his hair and into the tagine all along. An express-posted replacement camel probably wasn’t what he had in mind.

Narco War on TV Screens

I just read Ioan Grillo’s El Narco, a great insight into the rise of the Mexico’s militant drug cartels. In this piece for The Dissident Blog – an interesting project in its own right, and published by Swedish PEN – Grillo highlights the difficulties faced by Mexican journalists, pressured by both the government and the cartels (who are themselves in conflict and not a united entity) to pursue certain editorial lines. The piece is also a testament to the importance of critical, ethical journalism, which is never so obvious as when such journalism and journalists are under threat.

Red Cross chief blasts US for force-feeding Gitmo inmates

The detainee hunger strike at Guantánamo drags on: this article does a good job of highlighting not just the immediate cause of the huger strike, but also the sinister and completely misdirected approach by the US administration to breaking the strike.

Reckoning with Genocide

Yes I’m giving biased attention to Latin America. Expect this to continue indefinitely.

Interesting piece by the New York Review of Books on the slow road to accountability and justice in the aftermath of the mass killings – including a brief account of why these constitute a genocide – in Guatemala in the 80s.

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

NYU’s very own caveman, Slavoj Zizek, on the ethics of charitable giving. Zizek is far easier to understand in animated form.