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Giving genocide denial a platform: ISIS, the media and the Yazidis

When the Dutch journalist Judit Neurink and her friends heard of the takeover of northern Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from her base in Irbil (or Erbil), the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, they were surprised. Neurink, a Middle East specialist and editor of one of the leading Dutch daily papers, Trouw in…
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Remember us: recognising and rediscovering the Armenian Genocide

On 24 April 2021, the American President Joe Biden formally recognised the Armenian Genocide. It had only taken 106 years to the day. April really is the cruellest month, as TS Eliot wrote in The Waste Land. The Armenian Genocide is crucial in understanding other genocides that followed. Until the Nazis, it was the high watermark of…
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Peering into Hell: an interview with Ben Ferencz

Imagine being 27-years-old, having never stepped inside a courtroom and being appointed lead prosecutor in the largest murder trial in history. If this were a riddle, it would be easy for either human rights lawyers or World War Two experts to guess the correct answer. Ben Ferencz was that young man. He made his legal…
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Taliban 2.0: death by government

The world is panicking about Afghanistan. While we don’t know how the Taliban will rule, it’s difficult to believe it will be significantly less brutal than last time, despite the laptops and polished PR. They do want to portray themselves as more in touch with the population. Perhaps it’s not fair to panic a population…
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The Unbearable Sadness of Being: the plight of the Afghans

We are impotently watching Afghanistan sink into dark times, unable to save so many desperate people who are afraid for their lives. This week I witnessed heartbreaking scenes playing out in a Feltham community centre on the outskirts of London. The Afghanistan and Central Asian Association office was crowded with British Afghans, trying to rescue…
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Grief, loss and the ‘normalising’ of mental health

It’s good to talk, and it’s good that we are talking more about mental health, especially when loss is all around us. People have lost jobs, friends, freedom, experiences, and loved ones. Loss is inescapable but magnified by the prism of Covid-19. Loss, when and how it strikes, affects us all in different ways.  I…
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