O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

quinta-feira, novembro 20, 2003

Why the antiwar left must confront terrorismI

Entrevista com William Schulz, director executivo da Amnesty International USA na Salon.com (nota este serviço é só para assinantes).

War protesters of various stripes, alongside anti-globalization and human rights activists, have staged several large rallies nationwide this year, channeling their anger at the Bush administration through slogans like "No blood for oil," "End the imperialist occupation" and "Regime change begins at home." But in an interview with Salon, Schulz said that the political left has thus far botched a key mission. "There's been a failure to give the necessary attention, analysis and strategizing to the effort to counter terrorism and protect our fundamental right to security," he said. "It's a serious problem."

In his new book, "Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights," Schulz argues that rising global terrorism requires the left "to rethink some of our most sacred assumptions." A vigorous defense of human and civil liberties, while essential to spreading democracy worldwide, is not enough to stop terrorists from blowing up airplanes or shopping malls, he says. And that presents the left with a problem, because some of the tools needed to fight terror, such as stricter border controls or beefed up intelligence work -- and, perhaps, war against states that support terrorists -- chafe against traditional leftist values


Q - Why has the political left failed to articulate an adequate strategy for fighting terrorism since 9/11?

A - Because of an abhorrence -- a quite understandable one -- for the Bush administration's policies, there has been a tendency for the American political left and the greater human rights community to downplay the genuine, serious threat of terrorism around the globe. Presumably the human rights community is committed to protecting Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, namely the guarantee of security of person -- the right to life. But there's been a failure to give the necessary attention, analysis and strategizing to the effort to counter terrorism and protect this right to security. Far more energy has gone toward offsetting the very real, damaging human rights violations committed not just by the United States, but by many governments, in the name of fighting the war on terror.

Q - But why else do you think that is? In the book you point out that human rights advocates, as much as anyone, should despise terrorism, and be willing to act against it. Is the human rights community simply too disorganized to combat terror, or is there a deeper ideological problem?

A - Human rights organizations are basically set up to put pressure on governments, not on more amorphous entities like terrorist groups. The traditional tools we use are generally not going to be effective with terrorists. I doubt Osama Bin Laden is going to be moved by 50,000 members of Amnesty International writing him a letter asking him to refrain from terrorist acts. In the face of a new kind of force in the world that is detrimental to human rights, the human rights community has been slow to adapt to that new reality, in both its understanding and its tactics. There's a cultural lag at work here.

It's a serious problem. It means that human rights advocates are seen solely as harping critics. We certainly need to be that; it's a very important role. But if we fail to engage with the very real, hard decisions that governments have to make about protecting the safety of their citizens, then we'll be dismissed as charlatans, or ideologues who are out of step with reality

posted by Miguel Noronha 2:15 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

mail: migueln@gmail.com