Susie Linfield reviews Conor Foley's The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War in a substantial article in the New Humanist. The review compares Foley's book to two other recent books on humanitarian aid (Linda Polman's War Games and Irene Khan's The Unheard Truth).
The Irish Times has published a feature on Roger Casement which quotes Jordan Goodman, author of The Devil and Mr Casement: One Man's Struggle for Human Rights in South America's Heart of Darkness (just published in paperback). Mario Vargas Llosa's new novel, to be published in Spanish this November, is based on Casement's life, so expect a flurry of interest in this fascinating and important figure.
"Cocaine is funding wars, and these wars are killing Indians and pushing Indians aside. It would be nice to make people aware in rich societies that, to get this white powder, many things happen and many people are hurt and have their rights violated," says Juan Alvaro Echeverri, an anthropologist at the University of Colombia, who has recorded tribes' attempts to come to terms with the Putumayo genocide.
Such ongoing abuses make Casement's legacy as a campaigner for human rights and for an end to the evils of colonialism as relevant today as a century ago - unlike the question of whether the "Black Diaries" were forged by British intelligence, says Jordan Goodman, author of The Devil and Mr Casement, a history of his involvement in the Amazon.
Visit the Irish Times to read the article in full.
Avi Shlaim, author of Israel and Palestine, comments on the Middle East peace summit in Washington for the Guardian:
The pope, according to a no doubt apocryphal story, maintains that there are two possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict—the realistic and the miraculous. The realistic solution involves divine intervention; the miraculous solution involves a voluntary agreement between the parties themselves. The American-sponsored peace talks that got under way in Washington last week may be viewed in this light. It will take nothing less than a miracle to produce a peaceful settlement of the century-old conflict between Jews and Arabs over the Holy Land ...
Yet the possibility of a change of heart cannot be entirely ruled out. Maybe Netanyahu will surprise us all by moving on from the relentless rejectionism of the past to become a peacemaker. And maybe the pope will start smoking pot.
Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.