Not the time to apologize for the Balfour blunder, Burundi’s departure from the ICC might have a ripple effect, It is time to cut off aid to Burundi, The Mueller investigation sends a ‘sour signal’ to the world, Why I’ll no longer watch ‘House of Cards’

A roundup of global commentary for the Nov. 13, 2017 weekly magazine.

Berthier Mugiraneza/AP/File
President Pierre Nkurunziza (c.) arrives by bicycle, accompanied by first lady Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, right, to cast his vote for the presidential election, in Ngozi, Burundi. An International Criminal Court spokesman confirmed, Oct. 27, 2017 that Burundi is becoming the first country to withdraw from the court with effect Friday, a year after the East African nation notified the United Nations secretary-general of its intention to leave the court that prosecutes the world's worst atrocities.

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

Not the time to apologize for the Balfour blunder

“[The] Balfour Declaration ... reached its first centennial anniversary this week,” writes Hasan Abu Nimah. “The Israelis, along with many of their Western supporters, are celebrating the British foreign minister’s ‘promise’ of a Jewish national home in Palestine as a document that amounts to the birth certificate of the state of Israel.... The Palestinians remember it as an illegal ominous ‘promise’ by a colonial power to the Jewish people to establish for themselves a national home in a land that belonged neither to them nor to those who offered them the land.... There are voices calling for a British apology. I find it difficult to comprehend.... Apologies make sense when the committed wrong is corrected, not while [still] in progress.”

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Burundi’s departure from the ICC might have a ripple effect

“Burundi’s decision to quit the International Criminal Court is likely to resonate in other African states whose leaders have long complained that they are targeted for investigation by the UN institution...,” states an editorial. “Burundi is the first member-country to leave the ICC.... [T]he evidence collected by fact-
finding missions [revealed] ... incidents [under President Pierre Nkurunziza] of sexual abuse, torture, forced disappearances, and ... executions of over 500 people.... Burundi’s example may well be emulated by other countries.... Mr. Nkurunziza’s regime may not be able to evade the international court; the UN Security Council is empowered, under the Rome Statute, to refer complaints against non-member nations.”

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Why it is time to cut off aid to Burundi after its ICC opt-out

“Why did Burundi decide to call it quits? It boils down to one word: impunity,” writes Fred Muvunyi. “Africa has two very different sides. It has leaders who have understood that their power comes from the citizens. This group is mostly based in western and southern Africa.... But the continent also has rebel leaders. These people have ascended to power by the barrel of a gun.... What pains me as an African is that the international community is aiding and abetting all these crimes by pouring out aid money to countries like Burundi.... Despite the harsh criticism by some African leaders: the [International Criminal Court] is not targeting Africa, it’s fighting for justice in Africa....”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto

The Mueller investigation sends a ‘sour signal’ to the world

“If you thought that things were already going badly for the Trump administration ... the initial indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller might prove to be the thin edge of the wedge against an increasingly beleaguered Donald Trump...,” write Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson. “The scope and nature of the charges brought against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his colleague, Rick Gates, cover a blistering array of offences.... More ominously, perhaps, a third adviser during the campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty separately to making false statements to the FBI.... Most troubling is the sour signal it sends to the world about governance in America.... Far from being ‘exceptional,’ as some would still like to think, the U.S. is descending shabbily into dysfunction and embarrassment.”

The Guardian / London

Why I’ll no longer be watching ‘House of Cards’

“News that the political TV drama House of Cards has been axed has come in the wake of sexual abuse allegations against Kevin Spacey – which raises the question of whether you can make a distinction between the artist and the art,” writes Dreda Say Mitchell. “I’ve been a big fan of the show ... and one of the great attractions has been the complex protagonist, Frank Underwood, played by Spacey.... As an examination of the dark side of power ... in the pursuit of political gain, it has had few equals. However, with Hollywood ... and ... Spacey himself, consumed by allegations, that subject matter takes on a grim resonance.... I’ll be giving any future episodes a miss. But I will still want to know how things turn out for Frank.”

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