Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Desmond Tutu and the ICC

All I can say is WOW after reading this Op-Ed piece by Desmond Tutu in the NYT.

Seriously. Take a moment to read this. It only took the man 500 words to silence critics by reminding everyone of the real point of the ICC - to bring justice for the people that are the "victims of the crimes." Who, in this case, happen to be African.


Desmond Tutu shook my hand a few years back at a benefit gala thrown by my organization. I turned around, and looking up at me beaming with a great big smile and reaching to shake my hand with both of his was none other than the Nobel Peace Prize winner. By the way, he was looking up at me because the man is 5'3" and with my 4 inch heels (they were fantastic, y'all!) I was about 5'9".

I was in the midst of assisting seating guests of this sparkling black tie event - people like Dave Matthews, Richard Branson (he winked at me, I swear!) and various members of the US Congress. Who cares about all of them, I almost started hyperventilating when I met Desmond Tutu! I felt silly in my black sparkly dress and wanted to be far away from that place, somewhere where I could meet him on my own terms. Oh well, that was still the best handshake I have ever received :)


Still, the article takes an idealistic view, and if I were a smidge less cynical I'd wholeheartedly agree. Don't get me wrong, I want to believe that people do the right thing. But leaders have skewed visions of "reason" and "justice" - that's why the reaction to the ICC's announcement on whether Bashir will be indicted is so uncertian.

1 comment:

PlumFace said...

While I completely echo your admiration for Tutu, I do think the idea of the ICC being the only recourse to justice for Sudanese victims of Bashir is a little too stark. Wasn't it South Africa that after apartheid opted for the TRC rather than "justice" through an official court system? In that system, the opposite of "justice" wasn't something was truth. Clearly, I realize that Sudan couldn't be much farther away from the conditions that were in place for South Africa at that time, but it's worth pointing out that the ICC isn't the only way.

In addition, the critics of the ICC's actions are not just African supporters of Bashir who believe this is all some Western scheme. Those critics are also Westerners who believe (perhaps incorrectly) that the ICC arrest warrant will only aggravate the situation more by pushing Bashir farther away from any willingness to compromise. That it allows him and his supporters to accuse the West of interfering in sovereign affairs and further "clench the fist", as it were.