May 2007: The Politics of Naming

Introduction to the Month's Focal PieceAnnotation of

“The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency” by Mahmood Mamdani. London Review of Books. 8 March 2007.


~ The Editors


Rhoda Howard-HassmannPolitics of Naming and Politics of Responsibility
by Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann

“The politics of responsibility supersede the politics of naming: the decisions African leaders take have real, often horrific, consequences, regardless of the labels that outsiders give to those consequences.”


The Return of Moral Equivalence
by J. Peter Pham

“...the argument artfully directs attention away from an obvious evil—the catastrophic humanitarian disaster in Darfur...—in order to refocus it on a series of less obvious supposed evils which the author views as a greater threat to his world view...”


The Moral Vocabulary of Violence
by David L. G. Rice

“We need a moral vocabulary of violence that enables us to mourn Sudanese, Guatemalan, and Iraqi children just like we mourn Anne Frank.”


Missing the Point
by Colin Thomas-Jensen

“...the appropriate policy response to mass atrocities must focus not on the intent behind the crimes being committed, but on how to most effectively protect civilians, promote peace, and punish perpetrators.”

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