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The Divided World

The Divided World: Human Rights and Its Violence

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Divided World
    Book Description:

    Taking a critical view of a venerated international principle, Randall Williams shows how the concept of human rights—often taken for granted as a force for good in the world—corresponds directly with U.S. imperialist aims. The Divided World examines how a human rights–based international policy is ultimately mobilized to manage violence—by limiting the access of its victims to justice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7350-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction: The International Division of Humanity
    (pp. xiii-xxxii)

    In October 1944, amid a flurry of intense lobbying efforts leading to the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois received a letter from Judge Joseph Proskauer of the American Jewish Committee asking the distinguished scholar to sign on to the committee’s draft of a “Declaration of Human Rights.” “On the eve of liberation,” Proskauer wrote, “we feel a particular urgency for all men of peace and goodwill to emphasize and reaffirm the godly concept of the dignity of the individual man.” The judge ended the letter by writing that “we trust...

  6. 1 Conscience Denied: Amnesty International and the Antirevolution of the 1960s
    (pp. 1-23)

    On May 28, 1961, a small group of British lawyers, writers, and publishers, headed by Peter Benenson, launched a public campaign for the release of eight prisoners from around the world. The campaign began with the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” published in theObserver(England) and picked up the following day byLe Monde(France), theNew York Herald Tribune(United States),Die Welt(Germany),Journal de Genève(Switzerland),Berlingske Tidende(Denmark), andPolitiken(Sweden). In the notice, the authors announced the establishment of “an office in London to collect information about the names, numbers, and conditions of what we...

  7. 2 Who Claims Modernity? The International Frame of Sexual Recognition
    (pp. 24-42)

    The year 1978 saw the establishment of the first “international” gay organization at a conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in Coventry, England. An activist group, the International Gay Association (IGA), was formed when conference participants called on Amnesty International to take up the issue of the persecution of lesbians and gays.¹ The IGA, later renamed the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA, 1986), became the first gay rights organization to gain consultative status as an NGO at the United Nations in 1993.² In this effort to have sexual orientation rights acknowledged under international law, the ILGA was joined...

  8. 3 A Duty to Intervene: On the Cinematic Constitution of Subjects for Empire in Hotel Rwanda and Caché
    (pp. 43-68)

    In his classic workThe Wretched of the Earth, anticolonial theorist Frantz Fanon argued that the international recognition of repression and brutality in the colonies was largely determined by the presence or absence of imperialist competition in a given area at a particular time. Where these geopolitical turf wars were minimal or absent, mass slaughters remained on “the other side” of the international division of visibility:

    In 1945 the 45,000 dead at Sétif [Algeria] could go unnoticed; in 1947 the 90,000 dead in Madagascar were written off in a few lines in the papers; in 1952 the 200,000 victims of...

  9. 4 Expiation for the Dispossessed: Truth Commissions, Testimonios, and Tyrannicide
    (pp. 69-93)

    In his 1996 Wellek Lectures at the University of California at Irvine, French philosopher Étienne Balibar argued that “history is the means by which violence is converted into nonviolence and is transferred into political institutions.”¹ One of the benefits of this formulation is to foreground the importance of representation as a critical mechanism by which violence is preserved and reproduced in the structure of state institutions.² History is more than simply a supplement to the explicitly repressive state apparatuses (the army, the police, prisons, and the judicial system); it is part and parcel of “the code of organized public violence”...

  10. 5 Combat Theory: Anti-imperialist Analytics since Fanon
    (pp. 94-110)

    In a pivotal scene from Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 anticolonial epicThe Battle of Algiers, Ali La Pointe, petty criminal-cum-revolutionary, ascends the stairs of one of the many safe houses of the Algerian quarter with Ben M’Hidi, a leader of the ALN forces (the armed wing of the FLN) in Algiers. It is the eve of a seven-day general strike organized by the Algerian National Liberation Front.

    LA POINTE: We can’t do anything for a week.

    M’HIDI: What do you think of the Strike?

    LA POINTE: I think it’ll succeed.

    M’HIDI: I think so, too. It’s been well organized. What will...

  11. Coda: The Transition from Dumb to Smart Power
    (pp. 111-116)

    At the January 2009 U.S. Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out her ideas for how to advance U.S. interests in the post-Bush era. At the center of her proposal was what she called “smart power”: “We must see what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool or combination of tools, for each situation.”¹ According to Clinton, smart power recognizes that “international law and international institutions are tools that help us to promote and advance our interests and values, not...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 117-150)
  13. Index
    (pp. 151-158)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 159-159)