We are truly living in historic times. Since most Wash. U. students, including me, were but infants—perhaps not even born—in 1989, we were not privy to the revolutionary convulsions that shook Eastern Europe. People who had been subject to oppression, brutality and massive violations of basic human rights rose up against the Communist regimes and threw them off.
“The march of freedom and democracy,” President Ronald Reagan asserted in 1982, “will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 a New York jury acquitted an accused Al Qaeda operative of all but one of 285 counts primarily related to his alleged involvement with the terrorist organization. Ahmed Ghailani faced charges of conspiracy and murder stemming from the 1998 terrorist attacks on the American Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.
When we typically think of Jewish response to the Holocaust, we envision the Jews, to use the traditional metaphor, as sheep being led to the slaughter. In many if not most cases, Jews did not actively, violently resist the systematic mass murder of their relatives, friends, and ultimately themselves. But resistance took many forms during the Holocaust.
It may have been somewhat obvious to some that burning the Koran, however stupid, offensive and despicable it might be, falls within the realm of protected freedom of speech. However, Europe has taken a quite different, and much more, restrictive view on freedom of speech.
To protect freedom of religion, we need not stifle freedom of speech. A few weeks before the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Terry Jones, a relatively obscure but controversial pastor, shot to worldwide infamy over his pledge to burn the Quran.
On Thursday, April 8, 2010, Thomas Buergenthal, the American judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), gave a lecture entitled “The International Judicial System: Its Growing Influence,” at the Washington University School of Law. As a person interested in the law, the judicial process and international affairs, I attended this Tyrrell Williams Lecture of 2009-10.
Since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey by Kemal Atatürk on Oct. 29, 1923, the country has been fully entrenched in the Kemalist legacy. In 1928, the Turkish Constitution was amended to remove the phrase, “The religion of the State is Islam,” thereby making secularism the de jure replacement within the country.
In Germany, every author is guaranteed a copyright on any works they publish for 70 years after their death. Thus, the copyright of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf,” is due to expire in 2015, 70 years after the Nazi leader committed suicide in Berlin at the end of World War II.
In a stunning reversal of fortune, the Democratic supermajority in the United States Senate has now been shattered with the election of Republican Scott Brown to succeed the late Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Brown received 52 percent to his Democratic challenger Martha Coakley’s 47 percent, an astonishing demonstration of widespread apathy and even anger at President Obama’s health care reform proposal.