Monday, October 17, 2005

Goldstone and Arbour Hit Pay Dirt

Sometimes being virtuous pays off. The Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights has been awarded jointly to Justice Richard Goldstone and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour. The two well-known figures from the human rights community will share the prize of $75,000. Thomas Dodd, the father of current U.S. Senator from Connecticut Chris Dodd, served as an executive trial counsel at Nuremberg.

The prize has only been awarded twice, so it doesn't quite have the pedigree of the Nobel Prize. Still, if the trend continues, it could be a nice bonus for those folks who make a living promoting or advocating for international human rights. Perhaps like the Nobel Peace Prize, politics is unavoidable. This year's prize winners are openly critical of the U.S. policies toward the war on terrorism, and I am somehow guessing that taking this line against the U.S. is going to be de rigeur for future winners. Which means, I suppose, I'm never going to win this prize. Not that anyone was planning on nominating me, but it would be nice to have a little extra cash.


Blogger AbsurdumSunt said...

I believe that one can be critical of certain U.S. policies at a certain point in time and, simultaneously, not be critical of the U.S. as a whole and/or as a general principle. Actually, I think it’s highly recommendable, from both a civic and intellectual perspective, that one can dissociate specific actions of a certain government (not just of the U.S., but of any state in the world) and the citizens and institutions (past and present) of the nation represented by such government.

After reading Prof. Ku’s post, and the contents of his limited selection of links, I would like to ask some questions:

1. Does Prof. Ku think that such dissociation is possible? This phrase seems to imply the contrary: “(…) This year's prize winners are openly critical of the U.S. policies toward the war on terrorism, and I am somehow guessing that taking this line against the U.S. is going to be de rigeur for future winners. (…)”

2. Does Prof. Ku think that such dissociation is recommendable? This phrase seems to imply the contrary (at least in his particular case, with regard to the U.S., as a U.S. citizen): “(…) Which means, I suppose, I'm never going to win this prize. (…)”

3. Considering the lack of any express mention (or any external link) to them, does Prof. Ku believe that this year’s Dodd prize winners have any merits, other than their professional titles and the fact that (according to Prof. Ku) they’re critical of the U.S. policies/ against the U.S.?

The questions are rhetorical (I’m sure the answer to all three is yes), but I believe they’re justified nevertheless. Prof. Ku’s posts are all worth reading – for they’re all thought-provoking – but quite often they’re also a bit too political, which makes them somewhat less interesting.

10/18/2005 12:38 PM  
Blogger Ben Davis said...

Goldstone and Arbour actually have been supportive of some US leadership positions (see Goldstone's work in Yugoslavia and Arbour's refusal to pursue the claims raised about NATO actions in the former Yugoslavia). That they might have some difficulties with aggressive war in Iraq and torture and that those difficulties would be seen as somehow bad suggests the kind of topsy-turvy world in which we now live where enabling depravity by democratic states is seen as good.

Increasingly I feel I am living in a hallucination.

10/21/2005 11:11 AM  
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