WTF Friday, 7/16/2010

  • I would have to imagine that many people’s perception of child soldiers will change after this NYT article. It reports on the U.S.-funded Somali government’s use of child soldiers. This is telling: “When asked how the American government could guarantee that American money was not being used to arm children, one of the officials said, ‘I don’t have a good answer for that.'” Also I have to give a wtf to Obama for his response to questioning regarding America’s place alongside Somalia as the only countries not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child: “It is embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land.” That’s just rude, really.
  • Following the World Cup, there have been rumors of the possibility of a return of xenophobic violence in South Africa. And even if there hadn’t been, Jacob Zuma would scare everyone about it anyway: “Let us isolate all elements who may have sinister agendas, who may want to create havoc and sow pain and destruction in communities.” What a wordsmith, right?
  • Bashir’s finally got the trifecta! The ICC earlier this week added a warrant for genocide to go along with a previous warrant of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Hope he thanks his mom in his acceptance speech. This is also the ICC’s first warrant for genocide, so congrats to them, too. According to Elise Keppler, senior counsel with the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, “President al-Bashir’s stonewalling on the initial ICC warrant against him appears only more outrageous now that he’s also being sought for genocide” Really? That’s what appears outrageous? Not the fact that a second warrant was issued after the first one was followed only by Bashir “kicking out nearly half of Darfur’s humanitarian aid providers?” Ok whatever you say…

  • And finally, FP reports on Beijing’s lock-down policy for migrants. A banner reads, “Closing up the village benefits everyone.” Really? Everyone? Guess I’ll just have to continue with this trusting mood today…

Chris Maggio


  1. I'm slightly bemused by your suggestion the the judges of the ICC should not have allowed the addition of the charge of genocide to the warrant for President Bashir's arrest because of the way Bashir reacted to the first arrest warrant (kicking humanitarian workers out of Darfur). If we all agree that accountability for mass criminals is a good thing, it would seem outrageous for judges to reward someone suspected of rather massive crimes by holding back from finding there's reasonable basis to ask them to come to court to face an additional charge. And wouldn't it be outrageous for judges to even take such a thing into consideration in the first place? I liked that bullet point of WTF better when I thought the target was President Bashir and not the ICC, but maybe I'm just too attached to some old fashioned idea about good guys and bad guys.

  2. Why was it rude for Obama to say the same thing US ex-pats have been saying for the past two decades about the CRC? It is embarrassing that we're one of only two states not to ratify and the other is Somalia, which hasn't had a functioning government since 1993 (and isn't the definition of lawlessness a state without a functioning government?).

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