Ending War Crimes, Chasing the War Criminals

 

Ending War Crimes, Chasing the War Criminals is one of the most creative and brilliant books on international criminal law that I have read lately. After devouring it with passionate fascination, I can say that this book will grasp your attention. It will enchant your soul, essentially because this book is not about law, but it is. It is not a book on transitional justice, although it is. It is not a book of history, and nevertheless it is.

 

It is not a literary masterpiece, however it utterly is. Jonathan Power, page after page, introduces us to the horrors and evilness of the world of war crimes, but more interestingly to the demos, corruption and hypocrisy of international criminal law with all its geopolitical and economic interests tarnishing the sacred and ethic principle of the independence of justice. Jonathan Power leads the reader, as a modern Theseus, through a terrible labyrinth showing us, in a magisterial fashion, the modern Minotaurs: human monsters devouring millions of human lives for the sustenance of their horrific minds, or their ambition, greed and hatred of their dreadful souls, all disguised under the bloodstained reasons of defending “democracy and freedom”. All of them “protecting” the very same people they were killing. Jonathan Power walks us through the seven circles of Dante’s Inferno where we will face the crimes of Eichmann, Himmler, Sharon, Lucas-García, Karadzic, Pol Pot, Pinochet, Yahya Khan, the CIA, the UN forces themselves, passing by McNamara, Nixon, Kissinger, Bush and Blair.

 

The whole world is tainted with the innocent blood of thousands of humans being guilty only of standing for a different or opposed position to the supreme will, the politics, ideas and doctrines produced by the modern ferocious Minotaurs resembling a contemporary labyrinth where the majority of humanity is now struggling to survive. But Power does not stop there. Following Theseus’ deeds, he returns us to hope. A brave and courageous hope that starts by denouncing and recounting the evilness of an outrageous system.

 

Power, as Theseus, is able to come back to the light. He navigates back through the labyrinth following the thread of human rights and peace sustained and protected by equally courageous civil society organisations, advocates and fighters for the truth. Essentially, he returns to the light of hope for humanity because, as Julius Fučík wrote in his unforgettable Notes from the Gallows: “There is hope. There is always hope for Humanity, even against all odds!” Jonathan Power’s book is, ultimately, a masterpiece of light and hope!

 

- Dr. Miriam Estrada, Professor and Director at United Nations University for Peace Costa Rica

Black Power, a one hour radio broadcast on the BBC’s Third Program (Radio 3), April 3rd 1968.

In “Black Power” a careful and unhysterical attempt was made to define and analyze the turn in the history of the American civil rights movement from the peaceful, passionate, insistence on equal rights by Martin Luther King to the new militant movement led by Stokely Carmichael. The construction of the program was brilliant, easily incorporating history, sociology, setting extracts from speeches against extracts from more reflective interviews, achieving a simultaneous balance between information and analysis.

- Gillian Reynolds, The Guardian

Conundrums of Humanity

When Jonathan Power told a friend that the book he was writing was meant to solve 11 of the most formidable contemporary threats to peace and human rights, the friend replied that Power must be bidding for the Nobel prize. George Bernard Shaw once said that all progress depends on the unreasonable man. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world as it is, but the unreasonable man is determined to change it. This book is filled with reason, good sense and optimism. His is a powerful statement of ways to make the world better. He is unreasonably good, as demonstrated by his commitment to the developing world, the fortunes of the poor, the defense of human rights, and his devotion to the society's progress. Is that worth the Nobel prize? I say, why not?"

 

- William Pfaff, long time columnist for the International Herald Tribune and widely considered as the pre-eminent observer on American foreign affairs.

Conundrums of Humanity

 

An account, in epic sweep, of humanity and its messy, uncertain trajectory....It is an ambitious and complex book....His text combines scientific attention to detail with impressionistic sensitivity to the wealth and nuances of human experience....The text is, in scholastic terms, rare. It brings together analytical rigour and human breadth of experience....an easy but exacting style....Power is justified in undertaking this ambitious task through his bringing to bear a unique integrity."

- Stephen Riley in Oxford University's Human Rights Law Review

The Black American Dream, a one hour TV documentary on BBC 2, June 2nd, 1971.

‘A remarkable, moving program which should dispel a lot of misconceptions.’

- The Observer

'This program, which in 65 minutes, tried to sum up one of the world’s greatest problems, made a very fair attempt without a trace of prejudice. When TV puts forward an important case in such fair terms one realizes how well, if the resources are properly used, it can do its job.’

-  James Thomas, Daily Express