Sunday, October 18, 2009

Genocide Studies Media File
October 4 - 18, 2009

A compendium of news stories, features, and human rights reports pertaining to genocide and crimes against humanity. Compiled by Adam Jones. Please send links and feedback to

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"Folk Legend Mercedes Sosa Dies"
The Telegraph, 5 October 2009
"The Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, who fought South America's dictators with her voice and became a giant of contemporary Latin American music, died on Sunday aged 74. Sosa had been in intensive care in a hospital for days with kidney problems. Her body was taken to the congress building in Buenos Aires on Sunday afternoon and her remains were to be cremated on Monday, local media reported. Known affectionately as La Negra -- 'the Black One' due to her dark hair and skin -- Sosa was dubbed 'the voice of the silent majority' for championing the poor and fighting for political freedom. Her version of Violeta Parra's 'Gracias a la Vida' ('Thanks to Life') became an anthem for leftists around the world in the 1970s and 1980s when she was forced into exile and her recordings were banned. 'Her undisputed talent, her honesty and her profound convictions leave a great legacy to future generations,' her family said in the statement posted on her website. The breadth of her powerful voice earned her plaudits abroad and popularity at home and she cut a striking figure with her long hair and trademark ponchos at live shows into her 70s. In the turbulent 1960s and 1970s Sosa was a key exponent of the highly politicised Nuevo Cancionero (New Song) movement, which sought to take folk music back to its roots. She also was a member of the Communist Party and her political sympathies attracted attention from the authorities during Argentina's bloody 1976-83 dictatorship, when up to 30,000 people were killed in a crackdown on leftist dissent. State censors banned her songs and she fled to Europe in 1979 after being arrested in the middle of a concert along with the entire audience in the university city of La Plata. She frequently asserted herself as a woman of the left but maintained that her only true vocation was singing. ... Sosa continued singing up until this year and remained hugely popular, outselling popular teen artists and reggaeton singers in the top charts. [...]"
[n.b. RIP to a great voice and a great activist.]


"Ending the Debate on an Armenian Genocide"
By Gwynne Dyer, 15 October 2009
"The first great massacre of the 20th century happened in eastern Anatolia 94 years ago. Armenians all over the world insist that their ancestors who died in those events were the victims of a deliberate genocide, and that there can be no reconciliation with the Turks until they admit their guilt. But now the Armenians batck home have made a deal. On October 10, the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers signed an accord in Zurich that reopens the border between the two countries -- closed since 1993 -- and created a joint historical commission to determine what actually happened in 1915. It is a triumph for reason and moderation, so the nationalists in both countries attacked it at once. The most anguished protests came from the Armenian diaspora -- eight million people living mainly in the United States, France, Russia, Iran and Lebanon. There are only three million people living in Armenia itself, and remittances from the diaspora are twice as large as the country's entire budget, so the views of overseas Armenians matter. Unfortunately, their views are quite different from those of the people who actually live in Armenia. For Armenians abroad, making the Turks admit that they planned and carried out a genocide is supremely important. Indeed, it has become a core part of their identity. For most of those who are still in Armenia, getting the Turkish border re-opened is a higher priority. Their poverty and isolation are so great that a quarter of the population has emigrated since the border was closed 16 years ago, and trade with their relatively rich neighbour to the west would help to staunch the flow. Moreover, the agreement does not require Armenia to give back the Armenian-populated parts of Azerbaijan, its neighbour to the east. Armenia’s conquest of those lands in 1992-94 was why Turkey closed the border in the first place (many Turks see the Turkic-speaking Azeris as their 'little brothers'), so in practical terms, Armenian president Serge Sarkisian has got a very good deal. The communities of the diaspora, however, believe the Armenian government has sold them out on the genocide issue. Their remittances are crucial to Armenia, so President Serge Sarkisian has spent the past weeks travelling the world, trying to calm their fury. In the end, he will probably succeed, if only because they have nowhere else to go. [...]"

"IAGS: Armenian Genocide Recognition Must Be Starting Point of Historical Commission, Not One of Its Possible Conclusions"
PanARMENIAN.Net, 14 October 2009
"William Schabas, the president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), addressed an open letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, in which he said that 'acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide must be the starting point of any "impartial historical commission," not one of its possible conclusions.' 'The proposed protocols between Armenia and Turkey call for an "impartial historical commission" to investigate what the world knows as the Armenian Genocide of 1915. As the leading scholarly organization engaged in the study of genocide, we welcome continued investigation that will enhance our understanding of the 1915 massacres. However, we are extremely wary of any call for allegedly impartial research into what are clearly established historical facts. The world would not accept an inquiry into the truth of the Nazi Holocaust, or the extermination of the Tutsi in Rwanda, and nor can it do so with the genocide of the Armenians,' Mr. Schabas said."

"Turkey and Armenia: Reconciling History"
The Los Angeles Times (Editorial), 13 October 2009
"More than a million Armenians were massacred in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, from 1915 to 1918. This bloody chapter of World War I should be recognized as genocide and remembered, not only to honor the victims but for its lessons to future generations. It should not, however, prevent Turkey and Armenia from approving the historic accords signed Saturday in Zurich to restore diplomatic ties and open their shared border. Nor should Armenia's fraught relationship with neighboring Azerbaijan -- Turkey's ally -- derail a rapprochement. The Armenian and Turkish parliaments must ratify the agreements hammered out with the help of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because reconciliation is in the interests of both nations. The slaughter is a painful issue for Armenians, particularly so for the diaspora that has fought unsuccessfully for official Turkish and U.S. recognition of the genocide. That is understandable, and they should continue pressing Turkey for an accurate public accounting. Some Armenians fear that the commission to be established under the accords for an 'impartial' examination of the massacre is simply a means for Turkey to continue denying history. We also are concerned about this part of the agreement, but we hope in the end it will offer an opportunity for the two sides to face the issue together. Turkey, meanwhile, should not condition ratification of the accord to open its border on an Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of Azerbaijan inhabited largely by ethnic Armenians and occupied by Armenia since 1993. In fact, a thaw in bilateral relations between Turkey and Armenia should make it easier to resolve the issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. If Armenia feels more secure, it is likely to be more flexible. As in all negotiations, both sides must give on important issues if they are to alter the stasis. [...]"

"Genocide Forgotten: Armenians Horrified by Treaty with Turkey"
By Robert Fisk
The Independent, 8 October 2009
"In the autumn of 1915, an Austrian engineer called Litzmayer, who was helping build the Constantinople-Baghdad railway, saw what he thought was a large Turkish army heading for Mesopotamia. But as the crowd came closer, he realised it was a huge caravan of women, moving forward under the supervision of soldiers. The 40,000 or so women were all Armenians, separated from their men -- most of whom had already had their throats cut by Turkish gendarmerie -- and deported on a genocidal death march during which up to 1.5 million Armenians died. Subjected to constant rape and beatings, some had already swallowed poison on their way from their homes in Erzerum, Serena, Sivas, Bitlis and other cities in Turkish western Armenia. 'Some of them,' Bishop Grigoris Balakian, one of Litzmayer's contemporaries, recorded, 'had been driven to such a state that they were mere skeletons enveloped in rags, with skin that had turned leathery, burned from the sun, cold, and wind. Many pregnant women, having become numb, had left their newborns on the side of the road as a protest against mankind and God.' Every year, new evidence emerges about this mass ethnic cleansing, the first holocaust of the last century; and every year, Turkey denies that it ever committed genocide. Yet on Saturday -- to the horror of millions of descendants of Armenian survivors -- the President of Armenia, Serg Sarkissian, plans to agree to a protocol with Turkey to re-open diplomatic relations, which should allow for new trade concessions and oil interests. And he proposes to do this without honouring his most important promise to Armenians abroad -- to demand that Turkey admit it carried out the Armenian genocide in 1915. In Beirut yesterday, outside Mr. Sarkissian's hotel, thousands of Armenians protested against this trade-for-denial treaty. 'We will not forget,' their banners read. 'Armenian history is not for sale.' They called the President a traitor. 'Why should our million and a half martyrs be put up for sale?' one of them asked. 'And what about our Armenian lands in Turkey, the homes our grandparents left behind? Sarkissian is selling them too.' [...]"


"Srebrenica: The Fight for Justice"
By Duncan Staff
The Mail & Guardian (South Africa), 17 October 2009
"Hasan Nuhanovic has the eyes of a man who has seen too much. He spends his evenings and weekends hunting for the remains of his murdered family. 'There's no closure -- that can come only when we die,' he says. 'But I need to bury them.' Nuhanovic's father Ibro, mother Nasiha and 18-year-old brother Muhamed were killed in the Srebrenica massacre, Europe's largest genocidal act since World War II. It is at the heart of the case against the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, whose trial starts next week in The Hague. On July 11 1995 Karadzic's general, Ratko Mladic, attacked the United Nations safe haven of Srebrenica, which was being guarded by a Dutch garrison. Hasan's family were among the at least 6,000 men, women and children who sought refuge in the Dutch military base. Two days later the Dutch, terrified for their own lives, handed the refugees over to the Serbs. Nuhanovic survived only because Mladic needed a skilled interpreter to translate his orders to the Dutch UN commander, Colonel Tom Karremans. He agreed to take me to the Dutch base at Srebrenica and to tell me what happened there. We met outside a disused battery factory in the village of Potocari, close to Srebrenica. Its vast, empty production hall echoed to the sound of a lumber business's rotary saws. 'This space was full,' Nuhanovic told me, gesturing to the bullet-riddled walls. 'There were 6000 people. They were told to sit down by the Dutch soldiers. They weren't allowed to go to the toilet -- so they did everything here. The temperature was 35C. The place stank so much you almost couldn't breathe.' Outside, the Serbs waited for the Dutch to cave in. Then Hasan was told to climb on to an army truck and address the crowd. 'They handed me a megaphone and said, "Shout to the people to start leaving the base" -- but the Dutch would not tell them what was waiting outside.' [...]"

"Bosnian Serb Officer Found Guilty of Genocide"
Agence France-Presse dispatch in The Malaysian Mirror, 17 October 2009
"A former Bosnian Serb officer was found guilty of genocide on Friday and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his part in the killing of Bosnian Muslim civilians in Srebrenica in July 1995. Milorad Trbic was found 'guilty of genocide, for his participation in a joint criminal enterprise which consisted of the common purpose and plan to capture, detain, summarily execute and bury all able-bodied Bosniak (Muslim) males from the Srebrenica enclave,' the court said in a statement. 'Moreover, the Court found that the Accused perpetrated these acts with genocidal intent,' it added. Serb forces took control of Srebrenica near the end of Bosnia's 1992-1995 war before summarily killing around 8,000 Muslim men and boys within a few days. At the time, the 51-year-old former army captain served in the area with the Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serb army. The court found him guilty of selecting sites where Bosnian Muslim males from Srebrenica were detained and executed en masse. Trbic was also involved in the exhumation and reburial of victims of the mass executions during which bodies were dismembered and body parts reburied in different mass graves. 'These actions have considerably lengthened the time needed to identify the bodies and has extended the suffering and grief of the victims' families,' the court said. The Srebrenica massacre, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, has been classified as an act of genocide by the International Court of Justice and the UN war crimes tribunal, both based in The Hague. Trbic was originally indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) but his case was transferred to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2007. Local Bosnian authorities are dealing with low-profile war crime cases, while the ICTY is tasked with hearing those involving top wartime officials. In July 2008 Bosnia's war crimes court sentenced seven Serbs to up to 42 years in jail for committing genocide during the Srebrenica massacre. The trial before the ICTY of the Srebrenica massacre's alleged mastermind, Bosnian Serb war-time leader Radovan Karadzic, is expected to start on October 26. [...]"


"Rape a Weapon of War in Congo, Activists Say"
By George Lerner, 17 October 2009
"Rape has turned into a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the number of attacks on women having grown threefold over the past few years, human rights activists said Friday. Anneke van Woudenberg, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, told Christiane Amanpour that 200,000 women and girls have been raped in Eastern Congo since 1998, and the condition of women has become more dire as the Congolese army has pressed a military campaign against armed groups in the countryside. 'Rape is being used as a weapon of war in eastern Congo. So we notice and we have documented that when armed groups walk into town, they will rape the women and girls, sometimes publicly, sometimes privately, in order to punish the local population,' she said. 'It's the easiest way to terrorize a community.' Congo has witnessed one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II, with a death toll estimated at more than 5 million. Most of the dead have come not from direct violence, but the consequences of the fighting: disease and starvation. While the war formally ended six years ago, fighting persists in eastern Congo, and women are paying a high price. 'One of the other sad realities is that the majority of those who are raped are adolescent girls, 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds. Their lives are often ruined by this. And I think we've got to take more seriously -- protection of civilians is not just protecting them from death. It's protecting them from rape,' van Woudenberg said. There have also been reports of members of the Congolese army, particularly high ranking officers, attacking women. In May, the United Nations handed over the names of five top military officers accused of rape. Two of the senior officers are being detained in the capital of Kinshasa and the three others must report to authorities under close observation. They are awaiting trial. Still more must be done, aid groups say, starting with the establishment of a special court made up of Congolese and international judges and prosecutors to investigate rape allegations. [...]"

"Aid Groups are Little Match for Congo Brutality, Doctors Say", 14 October 2009
"Humanitarian organizations have been unable to meet the 'massive needs' of civilians facing brutal attacks in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a medical aid group said Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of Congolese have been displaced by years of violence in the region. Extreme violence against civilians is spreading from Haut-Uele into Bas-Uele, as well as into neighboring southern Sudan and eastern Central African Republic, according to the international humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). The civilian population in that region has been the target of attacks by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army, known as LRA, and the Ugandan and Congolese offensive against the LRA, the doctors organization said in a news release. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled. The organization said it has more than 150 people working in the Haut-Uele and Bas-Uele districts, where it has provided help to about 16,000 displaced people and treated thousands of patients. 'The local population is the target of violence: murder, kidnapping and sexual abuse,' said Luis Encinas, coordinator of Medecins Sans Frontieres operations in Central Africa. 'We are talking about tactics of violence aimed at instilling fear in the people. Our patients have told us the most brutal stories -- about children who are forced to kill their parents and people burnt alive inside their homes.' To the south, a joint operation has been waged since January by the Congolese army and Rwandan troops against the Rwandan Hutu militia Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda. On Tuesday, 84 humanitarian and human rights groups in the Congo Advocacy Coalition spoke out against the operation in eastern Congo, known as Kimia II and backed by U.N. peacekeepers since March. The operation has resulted in an 'unacceptable cost' for the civilian population, the coalition said. Since the action began, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed and 7,000 women and girls have been raped, the coalition said. Some of the militia leaders participated in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, member groups said in a report on the Human Rights Watch Web site. Sexual violence has grown increasingly brutal in the Kimia II operation, one observer said. 'We're seeing more cases of mutilation, extreme violence and torture in sexual violence cases against women and girls, and many more of the victims are children,' said Immaculee Birhaheka of Promotion et Appui aux Initiatives Feminines (Promotion and Support of Women's Initiatives). [...]"


"Patterns of Genocide"
By James Traub
The New York Times, 15 October 2009
"Evil repels analysis. Poets from the time of Homer have sung of war, but only a monster sings of atrocities. So, too, with journalism and scholarship. We are admonished not to ascribe rational motives to Osama bin Laden or Hitler, or to their followers. To admit of motives is to reduce the moral to the psychological, and thus to the comprehensible, and thus perhaps to the acceptable. Our understanding of unspeakable acts is limited on the one hand to the irreducible moral fact of evil, and on the other to the dynamics of mob psychology -- of mass lunacy. But to exclude mass murder from the realm of conscious action offers an exculpation of its own, both to the killers and to ourselves -- for how could we, ordinary folk who cherish life, descend to such madness? In this magisterial and profoundly disturbing 'natural history' of mass murder, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen calls for an end to such willful blindness. As he did in his celebrated and controversial 'Hitler's Willing Executioners,' Goldhagen insists that even the worst atrocities originate with, and are then propelled by, a series of quite conscious calculations by followers as much as by leaders. 'We must stop detaching mass elimination and its mass-murder variant from our understanding of politics,' Goldhagen writes. 'Eliminationist politics, like the politics of war, is a politics of purposive acts to achieve political outcomes, often of ultimate ends and often of desired power redistribution.' 'Worse Than War' is, in effect, 'Everyone's Willing Executioners.' Goldhagen makes short work of Hannah Arendt's claim that the Nazi machine was the supreme example of a bureaucracy at work, and thus of 'the banality of evil.' Not only was Adolf Eichmann, Arendt's chief subject, a very conscious and proud exterminator, but the millions who have carried out the legwork of murder, whether German civilians or Rwandan Hutus, have not functioned as automatons. 'Their deeds' real character is not opaque to them,' Goldhagen writes. 'They slaughter people, slaughter children, often face-to-face, by shooting them at point-blank range, or by hacking or beating them to death, bespattering themselves with their victims' blood, bone and brain matter.' We place the Holocaust outside of history; Goldhagen embeds it in the larger, recurring pattern of genocidal killing. While noting that the Nazis were unique in the variety of victims they attacked and the means of killing they adopted, Goldhagen points out that the institutions we associate with the Holocaust -- the camps, the death marches, the mobile killing squads -- recur in Stalin's Russia and Mao's China, in colonial Kenya and Guatemala. Atrocities resemble one another; their differences are shaped by the perpetrators’ ideology, their specific fantasy of a purified world, their view of the victims they seek to eradicate. [...]"


"Hitler Had Fillings Made from Gold Torn from Mouths of Jews"
By David Wroe
The Telegraph, 8 October 2009
"Adolf Hitler had dental fillings made from gold torn from the mouths of Jews in concentration camps, a new book on the Führer claims. The theory is based on a newly discovered document that shows Hitler's dentist had about 11lbs of dental gold from the concentration camps at his disposal for the treatment of senior Nazis. 'The most likely place the gold came from is from the supply Blaschke had from the concentration camps,' Dr. Eberle told the Daily Telegraph. 'Most of this came from Jews. Gold from other sources was very hard to find in Germany and that is why I believe that Hitler's fillings came from Jewish victims of the Nazis.' It is well established that the Nazis removed gold teeth and fillings from their concentration camp victims. The new document is a 1941 letter from one of Blaschke's underlings to the office of SS commander Heinrich Himmler. It states that Blaschke had 50 kilograms of dental gold enough to last for years. Blaschke was also the personal dentist to Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring and other senior Nazis. The new book, titled Was Hitler Ill?, and coauthored by Hans-Joachim Neumann, a professor of medicine at Berlin's Charité University, also dismisses popular rumours about Hitler: that he may have had Jewish ancestry, that he was beaten by his father, and that he had a long term drug addiction. [...]"


"More than 85,000 Iraqis Killed in War Violence, Ministry Says"
By Mohammed Tawfeeq and Yousif Bassil, 15 October 2009
"The bombings, shootings and fighting across Iraq in nearly five years of war have left more than 85,000 Iraqis dead, a government ministry said in a report. The Iraqi Human Rights Ministry said 85,694 people were killed from 2004 to October 31, 2008, in the violence across the country. There were 147,195 people wounded during the same period. The figures include civilians and Iraqi security forces but not insurgents and militias. The review is considered the first official report of its kind by the Iraqi government since the war began. The ministry released the report Tuesday, and it has been posted on its Web site. The death toll is Iraq has been a hot-button issue. Officials and other reports have said the toll is higher, and there has been disagreement about the scope of the casualties. A ministry official told CNN that those numbers might be conservative, but they are the confirmed and documented numbers. 'Keep in your mind that there are a lot of missing people who we believe that they are dead, but can not confirm it. There are many people who have died and their families buried them without reporting it,' the official said. The war began in March 2003 with the US-led invasion. But the official said that the causalities from 2003 are not documented because the governmental institutes were not fully operating, so there were no records from that period. The independent Iraq Body Count project reports as many as 102,071 civilian deaths from the war's beginning through August 13, 2009. The IBC's Web site says its count includes only documented deaths and the actual number is probably higher. [...]"


"African Children Denounced As 'Witches' By Christian Pastors"
By Katharine Houreld
Associated Press dispatch in The Huffington Post, 18 October 2009
"The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall. His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him -- Mount Zion Lighthouse. A month later, he died. Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of 'witch children' reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files. Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' 'It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,' said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria. For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund. 'When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,' he said. 'It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change ... and children are defenseless.' [...]"


"UN Rights Council Criticizes Israel over Gaza"
By Laura MacInnis
Reuters dispatch, 16 October 2009
"The UN Human Rights Council on Friday endorsed a UN report that accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza, passing a resolution that singled it out for censure without referring to wrongdoing by Hamas. The report by South African jurist Richard Goldstone accuses both sides of war crimes in Gaza but is most critical of the Jewish state. Up to 1,387 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the war last December and January. In a special session proposed by the Palestinians, 25 states including China and Russia endorsed the resolution. Six including the United States voted against, and 11 abstained. Four, including France and Britain, did not vote. Palestinian officials promptly called for further U.N. inquiries into Israel's actions. 'The international community should make sure that the decision will become a precedent that will ensure the protection of the Palestinian people from any aggression,' said Nabil Abu Rdaineh, aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said the decision was a victory for the Palestinian people and for rights and justice. 'We tell all the countries in the world and the international community to try Israel and its political, security and military leadership for their crimes against our people, in domestic and international courts,' Meshaal told al-Jazeera television. But Israel, which has rejected the charges in the report, said the vote would impair the Middle East peace process. ... The resolution endorsed all Goldstone's recommendations regarding Israel, including that the war crimes issue should be referred to the U.N. Security Council if the two sides failed to conduct credible domestic investigations with six months, and possibly then the International Criminal Court. It did not mention Hamas, which was also criticized by Goldstone. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a joint letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday urging him to initiate an 'independent and transparent' inquiry into the conflict. They also called for a stop to any expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and demanded greater access to Gaza, especially for humanitarian convoys, saying such moves would help relaunch the peace process. [...]"

"Hamas to Examine Alleged War Crimes"
By Michael Jansen
Irish Times, 16 October 2009
"The Hamas government in Gaza yesterday pledged to carry out investigations into alleged war crimes by the Palestinian side identified in the Goldstone report on Israel's war on Gaza. 'Although we do not agree with certain aspects of this report, we intend to act on [Mr Justice Richard Goldstone's] recommendation and carry out our own investigation into any alleged crimes committed by the resistance movements in Gaza,' the foreign ministry said. It welcomed debate in the UN Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report, and reiterated its view that 'Judge Goldstone undertook his mission without bias and in a genuine attempt to establish the facts of what happened in Gaza. We will report our findings to Judge Goldstone in due course.' Hamas co-operated with the Goldstone mission when it visited Gaza. The Israeli government, which did not allow the mission to enter Israel, rejects the report and refuses to conduct an investigation of war crimes allegations. Retired Irish colonel Desmond Travers, a member of the mission, told al-Jazeera that Palestinian fighters committed war crimes by firing missiles indiscriminately at Israeli civilians while Israel used battlefield weapons and massive force in densely populated Gaza. The death toll was three Israeli civilians and 10 soldiers and 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom were civilians. [...]"

"Abbas Faces More Anger over UN War Crimes Report"
AP dispatch on Yahoo! News, 7 October 2009
"In five turbulent years in office, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has never faced as much outrage as over his decision to suspend efforts to get Israeli officials put on trial for war crimes in Gaza. On Wednesday, Gaza professors threw shoes at his defaced image and West Bank commentators called for his resignation, the latest signs Abbas may have miscalculated in bowing to what Palestinian officials say was intense U.S. pressure. Abbas is unlikely to be forced out of office because he enjoys strong Western support and has ruled the West Bank without challenge since his Islamic militant Hamas rivals drove him out of Gaza in 2007. However, the scandal could cause lasting harm to the 74-year-old Palestinian leader's standing with voters and his ability to negotiate with Israel. In the short term, the U.S. is pushing for a quick resumption of Mideast peace talks, but gaps remain wide on what it takes to get back to the table. A weakened Abbas may not be in a position to make concessions when President Barack Obama's special Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, returns to the region this week. 'This is the worst position that Abbas has found himself in since he was elected president,' said Hani al-Masri, a West Bank commentator. At the center of the uproar is a 575-page U.N. report about Israel's three-week war in Gaza last winter, which alleges that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes, something both sides deny. Last week, Abbas withdrew Palestinian support for a vote in the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to have the report sent to the U.N. General Assembly for possible action -- the first of many steps toward possibly establishing war crimes tribunals. With the Palestinians out of the picture, the council set the report aside for six months. Abbas made the decision under heavy U.S. pressure, Palestinian and Israeli officials have said. U.S. officials told Palestinian leaders that a war crimes debate would complicate efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, according to participants in the meetings. The anger over Abbas' decision was intense because many Palestinians felt he chose not to pursue a rare opportunity to win justice for Gaza's war victims, said Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian legislator. 'Finally, there was a moment, in front of the international community, to hold Israel accountable,' Barghouti said. 'What he (Abbas) did, or his government did, it's now perceived that they gave Israel the leeway to escape from that.' Nearly 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the war, including hundreds of civilians, along with 13 Israelis. Israel launched the war to end years of Hamas rocket fire on Israeli border towns.... Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Abbas adviser, said Wednesday that the Palestinian leadership had erred, the first such acknowledgment after six days of escalating protests. 'What happened is a mistake, but (it) can be repaired,' Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told the Voice of Palestine radio in a taped statement. 'We have the courage to admit there was a mistake.' [...]"

"UN to Teach Children about Holocaust in Gaza Schools"
By Donald Macintyre
The Independent, 5 October 2009
"The United Nations' refugee agency is planning to include the Holocaust in a new human-rights curriculum for pupils in its Gaza secondary schools despite strident opposition to the idea from within Hamas. John Ging, the UN Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) director of operations in Gaza, told The Independent that he was 'confident and determined' that the Holocaust would feature for the first time in a wide-ranging curriculum that is being drafted. Mr. Ging, a passionate advocate for Palestinian civilians in Gaza who has recently faced increasingly personal criticism and even threats by elements in the Islamic faction, added: 'No human-rights curriculum is complete without the inclusion of the facts of the Holocaust, and its lessons.' The draft, to be completed within weeks and then put out for consultation with parents and the public, is built on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was agreed by the UN General Assembly in 1948 in the shadow of what it called the 'barbarous acts' committed by the Nazis during the Second World War. The one-time Irish Army officer has long been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy towards Gaza, including the conduct of last winter's lethal military offensive and what he described more than once in his interview as the 'illegal siege.'Mr. Ging said the curriculum would explain the genesis, and 'inculcate the values' of the Universal Declaration which stipulates that 'everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.' He pointed out that the UN General Assembly in 2005 unanimously urged 'all countries to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to children so that we learn from history, so that we don't repeat history.' Although the UNRWA director strongly emphasised that the de facto Hamas government had not sought to interfere with the agency – which is responsible for the welfare of some 1 million Gaza refugees -- other figures in the movement have angrily condemned the idea of including the Holocaust in any part of the curriculum. Yunis al Astal, a religious leader and a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said last month that it would be 'marketing a lie' and a 'war crime' to do so. Mr. Ging said the new curriculum would also include 'tangible examples' of other 'blights and stains in human history.' ... The last event on his list was the Palestinians' "day of catastrophe", the flight or forced expulsion of some 700,000 refugees in the 1948 war which saw the foundation of Israel. He continued: 'This is also part of the frustration here. There are so many global tragedies and travesties that are learned worldwide. Who learns about the Nakba? Again [that is] a very reasonable and legitimate demand but it's not 'either/or'; it's both.' [...]"


"Peru Indian Tribes Join Forces to Fight Off Amazon Sale to Oil Companies"
By Ramita Navai
The Times, 9 October 2009
"They emerged from the thick, green jungle clenching their spears: a long file of barefoot chiefs and elders, their faces painted with their tribal markings and crowns of red, blue and yellow parrot feathers. They had been summoned by the chief of Washintsa village for a meeting to discuss an oil company’s efforts to buy the rights to their land. Most had travelled for hours, padding silently through the dark undergrowth. They came from Achuar Indian communities scattered along the Pastaza River, one of the most remote parts of the Peruvian Amazon near the border with Ecuador. These men are part of a growing resistance movement crystallising deep in the jungles of Peru. For the first time isolated indigenous groups are uniting to fight the Government's plans to auction off 75 per cent of the Amazon -- which accounts for nearly two thirds of the country's territory -- to oil, gas and mining companies. They oppose 11 decrees issued by President García, under special legislative powers granted to him by the Peruvian Congress, to enact a free trade agreement with the US. These would allow companies to bypass indigenous communities to obtain permits for exploration and extraction of natural resources, logging and the building of hydroelectric dams. Indigenous leaders say that the laws will affect more than 50 Amazonian nations representing hundreds of thousands of Indians. One by one the men step forward and deliver angry, defiant messages. 'If an oil company tries to come here, we will block its path and block the rivers. We will not let them in and we will take strong action,' Jempe Wasum Kukush, a local leader, said. Another, Tayajin Shuwi Peas, warns: 'We are not scared and we will fight to the death over this.' Some groups have already begun the battle. Protests have turned deadly, with scores of clashes and rallies erupting across the country this year. Oil operations and airports were besieged and shut down, culminating in a mass demonstration of more than 3,000 Indians, mainly from the Awajun tribe, blockading a road in the sweltering jungle town of Bagua in June. More than 30 people were killed, including 20 policemen, after special forces, airlifted to the scene, opened fire on the protesters. Fearing more violence and faced with public outrage, the Government was forced to revoke two of the most contentious decrees. The Prime Minster resigned and President García also admitted to a series of errors in the handling of the incident. [...]"


"Tories' EU Ally: Poland Should Not Apologise for Killing Jews"
By Michael Savage
The Independent, 9 October 2009
"The [UK] Conservatives have faced renewed criticism over their decision to join a right-wing alliance in Europe after its Polish leader said his country should not have apologised for a massacre of hundreds of Jews. Michal Kaminski, the leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR), said he remained opposed to the 2001 apology his country's then president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, made for the killings, which were carried out by Polish inhabitants of the town of Jedwabne in July 1941. He said it was unfair to put the massacre 'on the same level as the Nazi policy.' His comments will reignite the row over David Cameron's decision to leave the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), which included the parties of Nicloas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, and join a new, fiercely anti-federalist group, led by Mr. Kaminski. Mr. Cameron made the commitment to win the votes of Tory Eurosceptics during his 2005 leadership campaign. Commenting on the Jedwabne massacre in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Mr. Kaminski said: 'I think that it's unfair comparing it with a Nazi crime and putting it on the same level as the Nazi policy.' He also likened the atrocity to Jewish collaboration with the Soviet Union. 'If you are asking the Polish nation to apologise for the crime ... in Jedwabne, you would require the whole Jewish nation to apologise for what some Jewish Communists did in eastern Poland,' he said. However, he strongly denied allegations of having a neo-Nazi past and anti-Semitic beliefs. 'Being an anti-Semite is something which is contradictory to all my beliefs, starting with my religious beliefs as a Christian and ending with my political conservative views,' he said. Denis McShane, the Labour MP and former Europe Minister, demanded that Mr. Cameron rethink his alliance with Mr. Kaminski immediately. "Kaminski's defence of his outrageous position on the mass slaughter of Jews in Jedwabne in July 1941 is a disgrace,' he said. 'It is beyond belief that David Cameron is seeking to associate the Conservative Party with a man who sees no reason to say sorry for the mass killing of hundreds of Jews in wartime Poland, whether by Nazis or Polish anti-Semites. Kaminski stands condemned by his own mouth.' A senior Labour source added: 'It calls into question David Cameron's judgement when he moves away from the likes of Merkel and Sarkozy and closer to the likes of Kaminski.' [...]"


"Russia's Punishment of Historians a Symptom of 'Creeping Re-Stalinisation'"
By Alexander Osipovich
The Telegraph, 16 October 2009
"When the police stopped Mikhail Suprun's car last month, he did not expect to be questioned about his research into mass deportations that took place in Russia more than six decades ago. But Suprun, a history professor in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk, discovered that his research into the 1940s deportations had drawn the interest of the FSB, the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB. Briefly detained by the FSB, Suprun was told he was suspected of illegally publishing private information -- a charge he calls 'absurd.' Agents also searched his apartment and seized his computer and personal archive, which held a trove of information about victims of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his brutal Gulag prison system. 'Everything was taken away. All the things I've been working on for the past 10 years were on my computer and hard drives,' Suprun said from Arkhangelsk, where he is an expert on local Stalin-era history. Some Russian historians fear that probing too far into the Stalin era may incur the wrath of today's authorities, who have made the positive portrayal of Soviet history part of their political agenda. Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for nearly three decades until his death in 1953, is deeply controversial and even his defenders admit he sent millions of people to the Gulag, where many of them died. But he also oversaw the Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany, which cost the lives of millions of Soviet citizens, and to many Russians he is overwhelmingly associated with their country's victory in World War II. The Kremlin has made reverence of the Soviet victory a major part of efforts to boost patriotism among Russians in recent years. Critics say the government has gone too far by taking steps to polish Stalin's image, such as a 2007 decision approving the use of a school textbook that praised his management style as 'efficient.' The public seems increasingly sympathetic: last year Stalin took third place in a televised competition in which viewers voted for the greatest Russian in history. 'This is all part of a creeping re-Stalinisation, the return of his persona as a figure who is depicted not just in dark colours,' said Irina Shcherbakova, a historian who researches the Gulag for the Memorial human rights group. [...]"

"Stalin's Grandson Loses Defamation Suit"
By Robert Mackey
The New York Times, 13 October 2009
"On Tuesday in Moscow, a court ruled against Joseph Stalin's grandson, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, who had demanded $340,000 in damages from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, for supposedly besmirching his family’s reputation by calling his grandfather a 'bloodthirsty cannibal.' The independent Russian newspaper, which published the work of Anna Politkovskaya until her murder in 2006, characterized the Soviet dictator that way in an article about recently declassified documents he had signed and handed to Lavrenti Beria, his secret police chief. According to Memorial, a Russian human rights group, Stalin ordered the deaths of at least 724,000 people during a series of purges, although the overall death toll during his reign is believed to have been in the millions. In court on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that a lawyer for the dictator's grandson argued that 'a document incriminating the Soviet Union and Stalin himself for the 1940 massacre of some 22,000 Polish officers, intellectuals and priests at the Katyn forest in western Russia was a fake.' As the news agency noted, 'After blaming the Nazis for decades, the Soviet Union acknowledged in 1990 that Stalin's secret police carried out the killings.' Mr. Dzhugashvili's lawyer, Yuri Mukhin, also said that Novaya Gazeta and Memorial, 'are working against Russia to make it weaker.' Despite an overwhelming amount of documentary evidence linking Stalin to the deaths of so many Soviet citizens, his great-grandson, Jacob Dzhugashvili, told the BBC last week that the dictator 'never broke any Soviet law' and was 'greatly misunderstood.' Last year, Stalin finished third in a Russian television station’s popular contest to name the 'greatest Russian' in the country's history. Despite his crimes, and despite having been an ethnic Georgian, the BBC reported that Stalin was actually leading the contest -- in which more than 50 million people voted online or by phone -- for months, 'until the show's producer appealed to viewers to vote for someone else.' [...]"


"Tamil Boat People Fleeing 'Genocide'"
By Tom Allard
The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 2009
"Distraught Sri Lankan asylum seekers said they were fleeing 'genocide' against ethnic Tamils in their country, and expressed shock that the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, had personally intervened to interrupt their journey to Australian shores. Their barely seaworthy boat is moored next to an Indonesian navy vessel in Merak, and more than 250 people are in a stand-off with Indonesian authorities, refusing to disembark despite the pleading of local navy personnel and a visit from officials from the International Organisation for Migration. The boat was intercepted in the early hours of Sunday, prompting some of the asylum seekers to threaten to blow up the boat with gas canisters used for cooking, while others jumped overboard to avoid being detained. The threat to blow up the boat has been defused, but those on board the boat remain distressed and agitated, waiting for news of their future under a makeshift sign saying 'We are Sri Lankan civilians. Plz Save our Life.' 'We may as well die here. We cannot go back to Sri Lanka,' said a spokesman for the asylum seekers who gave his name as Alex. 'We are very shocked, so shocked to hear that your Prime Minister wanted to stop us, that he had something to do with this. We are not a boat full of tourists, or people looking for a job. We are people who are running from genocide.' While much has been made of Mr. Rudd's phone call on Saturday reportedly urging Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to intercept the vessel, Indonesian navy officers said yesterday they already had the boat in their sights. In an interview by telephone from the boat, Alex said most were from the city of Jaffna where, he said, the Sinhalese-backed Government was abducting Tamils, putting them in camps, then torturing and killing them. 'There's not a person on this boat who has not seen someone they know killed or tortured,' he said. 'There are kids here who have seen the legs of their fathers cut off in front of them. They are taking people out at night, stripping them and shooting them. Five people every day, sometimes 10. Women are being tortured and raped.' [...]"


"Darfur: A Deadly New Chapter"
By Daniel Howden
The Independent, 17 October 2009
"The Lord's Resistance Army, one of the most feared guerrilla groups in Africa, has moved into Darfur, one of the continent's most troubled regions, intelligence sources in Sudan say. The unexpected move by the LRA comes just as the war-weary west of Sudan recedes from world headlines and after the UN mission there had tentatively declared the fighting to be over. The possible arrival of a messianic cult notorious for rape, civilian massacres and the enslavement of child soldiers threatens that fragile peace. The LRA has been terrorising the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo for 18 months but the bulk of its forces have now crossed into southern Darfur, a senior official in the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) told The Independent. 'We have confirmed that the LRA are there and they have clashed with the local population,' said Major-General Kuol Deim Kuol. He said the LRA had moved into the area to stock up on weapons and supplies and accused the Sudanese government in Khartoum of sponsoring the group. The south has long accused Khartoum of funding militias to destabilise the region but the UN and Sudan experts are both taking the latest reports seriously. The rebels, led by the self-styled prophet Joseph Kony, have waged a campaign of terror in central Africa for two decades. When The Independent visited the dense jungle on the border area between DRC and Sudan last year, refugees who had fled from LRA attacks spoke of bodies strewn over the forest floor, people burned to death in their huts, women raped and children marched into the bush in gangs. The group's arrival in Darfur comes at a critical juncture and threatens to undermine efforts to build on an end to major clashes in the region. [...]"

"Why Aid for Darfur's Rape Survivors Has All But Disappeared"
By Rebecca Hamilton
The New Republic, 14 October 2009
"When Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March, he responded by expelling 13 international aid agencies from Darfur and disbanding three other domestic relief groups. Khartoum claims the organizations were sharing information with the ICC, which both the groups and the court deny. With the void left by the ousted organizations, the United Nations has instituted emergency measures to help provide food, water, and other vital aid. But one service remains virtually decimated: support for rape survivors. Many of the expelled agencies and disbanded groups worked together to provide comprehensive humanitarian services, including support for rape victims. And, in their absence, no one has been either willing or able to rebuild Darfur's delicate patchwork of medical, psycho-social, and legal services for survivors of what, in United Nations-speak, is called 'GBV' (gender-based violence). 'Since the expulsions, our main concern is for the women,' one Darfuri leader in a sprawling camp for internally displaced persons, or IDPs, told me, as we took cover from the harsh desert sun under tattered plastic sheeting. Rape has been prevalent throughout the crisis in Darfur. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported treating nearly 500 rape survivors from October 2004 to early February 2005. In late 2006, the International Rescue Committee recorded more than 200 sexual assaults within a five-week period around just one IDP camp. 'Rape here is systematic,' one of the staffers responsible for documenting incidents of sexual violence for the joint African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) told me. 'I get new reports every day.' [...]"


"In Turkey, Diplomacy on the Soccer Field"
By Delphine Strauss
Financial Times in The Washington Post
14 October 2009
"World Cup soccer fans in the old Ottoman capital of Bursa were under orders to display the best of 'Turkish hospitality' to signal a willingness to end a century of animosity, as Armenia's president arrived to watch Wednesday's match between the two national sides. Ticket sales have been tightly controlled, brandishing of provocative symbols has been banned, and one group of notoriously unruly local fans even received a visit from Turkey's president to urge that they be on their best behavior at a game where, for many, diplomacy matters more than the score. Serzh Sargsyan's visit, the first by an Armenian president in a decade, echoes the ice-breaking gesture of his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, welcomed at a game in Yerevan a year ago. It also marks a diplomatic breakthrough after a landmark agreement was reached Saturday to restore bilateral ties, reopen the shared border, and let historians discuss the massacres and deportations that took place in the last years of the Ottoman empire. Mutual animosity is rooted in the 1915 killings by Ottoman Turks of up to 1.5 million Armenians. Turkey also closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support ally Azerbaijan in a war with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. 'The Armenian president and the Armenian national team will see what Turkish hospitality is,' Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday. 'I believe our country and the citizens of Bursa will not bow their heads to politics and to the aims of those who want to use the game to achieve something else.' Giving the Armenian visitors a good welcome for the qualifier for next year's World Cup is not just about national pride. Both countries must ratify their agreement in the teeth of fierce public opposition, and Turkey, keen to play a bigger role in regional diplomacy, is anxious to show the world that Turks are not obstructing peace. [...]"


"Israel Vents Fury at Ally Turkey over 'Barbaric' TV Drama"
By Donald Macintyre
The Independent, 16 October 2009
"Israel's increasingly troubled relations with its main ally in the Muslim world took a turn yesterday when it formally protested to Turkey over the 'incitement' generated by a television series featuring fictional scenes of barbaric acts by Israeli soldiers. The airing of the series, on Turkish state television, coincides with tensions triggered by a decision last week by Ankara to exclude Israel -- which it has severely criticised over last winter's war in Gaza -- from a planned Nato air exercise. The acting Turkish ambassador, Ceylan Ozen, was summoned yesterday to the Israeli foreign ministry in protest at the drama series Ayrilik which shows soldiers brutalising Palestinians. In one abbreviated sequence shown on YouTube, a soldier is seen gratuitously shooting a girl at close range, killing her. In another, Palestinians are apparently about to be executed by a firing squad. Mr. Lieberman said this week that the broadcast was 'incitement of the most severe kind ... under government sponsorship,' and added: 'Such a drama series, which doesn't even have the slightest link to reality and which presents Israeli soldiers as murderers of innocent children, isn't worthy of being broadcast even by enemy states and certainly not in a state which has full diplomatic relations with Israel.' Relations between the two countries have been severely strained by Turkish criticism of the military offensive against Hamas in Gaza. [...]"


"Iraq Relative in 'Genocide' Call"
BBC Online, 16 October 2009
"A dead soldier's father who refused to shake Tony Blair's hand has called for British ministers to face charges of war crimes and genocide. Peter Brierley, whose son died in Iraq in 2003, was one of several relatives critical of ministers in a preliminary hearing of the Iraq war inquiry. He said: 'If someone has done something wrong they should pay.' At an Iraq memorial service last week he told Mr. Blair he would not shake his hand 'because it had blood on it.' Speaking at an inquiry session on Friday, Mr. Brierley, 59, of Batley, West Yorkshire said: 'Members of the government that are proved to be involved in a decision to go to war should face a court charge of crimes against humanity and genocide. Saddam Hussein was tried for the deaths of 280 people in a village and he was hung for it. I think Tony Blair is responsible for a hell of a lot more than 280 people. If someone has done something wrong they should pay. If you do the crime you've got to do the time.' Mr. Brierley and other relatives were responding to an appeal by inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot for the views of 'those most affected by the conflict.' Another relative, Eddie Hancock, whose son Jamie died in Basra in 2006, said there was 'a bitterness that borders on hatred' among relatives at Mr. Blair's decision to take the UK to war in Iraq. The families are angry with the former prime minister for using the threat of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction as a justification for Britain's support of the US-led invasion in 2003. No evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was found. [...]"


"We Celebrate Genocide on Columbus Day"
By Gerard R. Bourassa, 15 October 2009
"Let me sign my obscure name in huge letters to any petition that aims to do away with the anachronistic holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus. I just can't fathom why in 2009 we still encourage kids to honor somebody whose endeavors included the exploitation, torture, enslavement and murder of the natives of the Caribbean. If I suggested a day honoring Saddam Hussein, you would swiftly deduce that I had taken leave of my senses and probably suggest that I procure the services of a reputable psychiatrist. Certainly, this murderer of the Kurdish people deserves to be vilified for all time. Indeed no one applauded more vigorously than I did when this cowardly bully of Baghdad was brought to justice. Yet we need to ask ourselves, is the life of an Arawak (or Taino) less valuable than that of a Kurd? Is enslaving, torturing, raping and murdering innocent natives of the Caribbean islands less egregious than using mustard gas to kill innocent Kurdish civilians just because the former acts occurred 500 years ago? The mere passage of time should neither erase our memory nor erode our disgust for any acts of genocide. For example, I want the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by Adolph Hitler and his henchmen treated with the utmost reverence, not only now or in the immediate future but for all time. I am nauseated at the dangerous buffoonery of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust took place. Justice dictates that we vow to forever honor the Arawak mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons kidnapped, sold into slavery, exploited, tortured and murdered by Columbus and his associates. It mitigates nothing that Columbus claimed a desire to spread Christianity. What would we say about an Islamic fanatic who used the same tactics to spread his religion? To quote Indian advocate Roger Williams, 'Forced religion stinks in God's nostrils.' ... The preposterous yet often-repeated statement, "Columbus discovered America," indoctrinated in the minds of schoolchildren for generations, is the ultimate example of adding insult to injury."

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