Apareció en El País Semanal del domingo pasado, día 13, pero no la había visto hasta esta mañana. Llevaba un tiempo medio incómodo. Hacía ya tres semanas que no dejaba nada escrito en este humilde blog. Y, de pronto, me desayuno con esta fotografía.
La estampa es tan difícil de creer que perfectamente podría no ser real. Pero, aunque no lo fuera, lo es. Podría ser la viva imagen de aquel que ha visto, sin ver, que la crisis le ha adelantado por la derecha, sin intermitente ni advertencia alguna. La realidad le ha pillado a contrapié, con el cojín bajo las nalgas, la mochila Nike del gimnasio a un lado y la caligrafía impoluta entre las piernas. Continue reading
In a recent article in Slate, the Chicago University Law professor Eric Posner argues that the US should not ratify the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because international human rights treaties “are little more than a collective back-scratching exercise involving many of the world’s most unsavory nations”.
Posner identifies several risks in the event the US entered human rights treaties like the aforementioned: “The views of other parts of the world could come into play” in the interpretation of domestic disability rights legislation; the Convention would prevent the US from repealing or narrowing its legislation, in the unlikely scenario this may even be intended; “US failures to ratify other human rights treaties have not stopped nearly all other countries from doing so”; and “then there’s the question of whether it makes sense to impose Western-style standards for disability rights on other countries”. Posner finishes his article with this emphatic conclusion:
The human rights regime is a vast international Potemkin village, a kind of communal effort among states to deceive one another and mainly their citizens, or an excrescence of the bureaucratic imperative to deny error and bad intentions, using whatever legal forms happen to be available. Think of it as the modern version of the brass band and fancy bunting that surround the dictator while he harangues the crowd. Fine if other countries want to do that, but why should we be complicit?
Since Posner doesn´t seem capable of identifying any compelling reason for which the US should ratify international human rights treaties, I hereby offer him three: Continue reading
If I have learned one thing out of this crisis, it is that the economy is far too important to be granted to economists and democracy is far too precious to be bestowed to politicians.
We must reclaim democracy by reinventing it. Legitimacy in public policy making cannot depend solely on the process by which the authority becomes such. That is not enough anymore. Democracy must be attached to active participation. Post-crisis democratic societies will need transparent processes, open consultations and frank discussions. Different tools will be necessary depending on the level of power: local, national, regional or global. A new approach to governance is required. In other words, apart from making different decisions, we must definitely change the way in which we make decisions. Continue reading
En El País Semanal de ayer domingo publicaron un bello e ilustrativo reportaje fotográfico titulado “Las fronteras que derribamos”. En él aparecen bucólicos paisajes, calles anodinas y terrazas en calma. Un mojón a medio caer, una fina línea ya prácticamente invisible en el suelo o una pequeña cabaña abandonada reflejan las fronteras que hubo y ya no hay dentro de Europa. Son, como dice el reportaje, “espacios irreales”. En estos momentos en que el proyecto europeo está tan cuestionado, unos reporteros han recorrido 16.500 kilómetros de fronteras hoy desaparecidas. Es, como dicen ellos, “un viaje por el gran sueño de un continente en paz”. Continue reading
The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who “disappeared”. That’s what the candle is for.
Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International
Thank you, Mr Cohen, for choosing Amnesty for your weekly article on The Observer. You really seemed deeply concerned with the current situation and the future of this organisation. I joined Amnesty when I was 15 and I am still a (proud) member of this movement. Therefore, I should say, before anything else, that I am at least as worried as you are with the lack of confidence between Amnesty staff and the leadership team in London and elsewhere. Like thousands of other AI activists all over the world, I was also very upset with the mismanagement of the Irene Khan scandal a couple of years ago. It was definitely the worst crisis of Amnesty in many years, one of the worst ones in the whole history of this organisation.
If you don´t mind me saying, I think you put too many things in your mixer: Continue reading