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Week of August 5, 2003

Program 0331


Iraqi War Trials | Transcript | MP3

South African Activist | Transcript | MP3

South African Diaspora | Transcript | MP3

Bond Street Theatre | Transcript | MP3

Indonesia’s Oceans | Transcript< | MP3

US-Philippines Relations | Transcript | MP3

Turkish Cyprus Settlers | Transcript | MP3

British Museum Anniversary | Transcript | MP3

This text has been professionally transcribed. However, for timely distribution, it has not been edited or proofread against the tape.

RORY MANGOVAN: We are going to need a justice process, to prosecute and try on criminal charges those most responsible for the terrible crimes that we’ve seen.

KRISTIN MCHUGH: This week on Common Ground, prosecuting war crimes in Iraq.

KEITH PORTER: Plus, a look at the new South Africa.

YUSUF DINATH: There are pockets of absolute conservatism in the community. And there are also areas where it is breaking wide open. I mean, kids are getting married across the color line, kids are getting married across the religious line. A lot of the young people are going to integrated schools.

PORTER: And a New York theater troupe takes its act to post-war countries.

JOANNA SHERMAN: We really just wanted to bring joy and happiness and anything that was uplifting, that could make people laugh and really give them a break. Because the refugee camp situation is so sad.

MCHUGH: These stories—coming up next.

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Iraqi War Trials

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PORTER: Common Ground is radio’s weekly program on world affairs. I’m Keith Porter.

MCHUGH: And I’m Kristin McHugh. Now that the regime of Saddam Hussein has been removed from power in Iraq the full extent of the regime’s brutality is being revealed. Mass graves are being uncovered, individual stories of torture, rape, and murder are being relayed around the world and the true scale of human rights abuses are being documented for the first time.

PORTER: Last month, Iraq’s new governing council voted to establish a war crimes court. This is intensifying the debate over just how and who should bring the perpetrators of Iraq’s crimes to justice. And many are calling for the United Nations to take a central role. Nathan King reports from the United Nations in New York.

[Sounds of the post-World War II Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, with Justice Jackson the lead US prosecutor speaking]

JUSTICE JACKSON: Opening the first trial of history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility.

NATHAN KING: Nearly 60 years ago Justice Jackson led the prosecution of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. Since then we have witnessed trials against those who waged genocide in Rwanda; former President of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic is facing international justice at the Hague; a new court has been established in Sierra Leone; and in a bid to draw a line under it’s apartheid past—South Africa gave the world the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Righting the humanitarian wrongs of the past half century have taken on many different forms and now human rights groups are focusing their attention on Iraq. Estimates put the number of people who were killed or disappeared under Saddam Hussein’s rule at over a quarter of a million. Since the end of the American-led war, mass graves have been found across the country.

RORY MANGOVAN: Obviously the discovery of these graves proves that what happened under Saddam Hussein really constituted genocide; crimes against humanity; crimes against all of us. That requires an international response. This is not just a question for Iraq—it’s an affront to humanity.

KING: Rory Mangovan, the Global Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, is one of the many who are pushing for a war crimes tribunal for Iraq. But what form that will take has yet to be decided. Complicating the matter is how the war in Iraq was conducted. The US, and to a lesser extent Britain, are occupying powers. As such they have the biggest say over how any human rights courts are set up. And so far both the US and Britain have been pretty vague on the issue. Many human rights groups want the United Nations to handle the prosecution of abuses using the lessons learned in Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda to create a court that enables Iraq to prosecute former Ba’ath party officials with the help of the international community. However, worrying many is talk in the United States of the further use of military tribunals, as envisaged for the Taliban and members of Al-Qaeda. And suggestions of an amnesty for some officials that cooperate in the hunt for weapons of mass destruction is worrying human rights advocates.

MANGOVAN: We have seen very mixed messages from the United States as the occupying power on this important issue. Obviously they used human rights and Saddam’s abuses as part of the justification for the military intervention. But they are being conspicuously silent on this issue of justice and accountability for the past. Originally they kicked off the idea of military tribunals, a kind of victor’s justice, that I think would really exacerbate the situation, that wouldn’t have the integrity, the independence, the legitimacy, that is required for these crimes.

KING: Others agree. Paul Vyn Zyl was the registrar of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is now with the International Center for Transitional Justice and says the US has a real opportunity to make sure there is justice for the Iraqi people.

PAUL VYN ZYL: Part of the responsibility of having invaded Iraq and removed Saddam Hussein, as everybody said this wasn’t going to be a short-term, easy enterprise, and with that historic decision comes a set of historic responsibilities. And I don’t think what we are proposing is so disproportionately costly that it isn’t feasible in a practical way.

KING: What many are calling for is a two-tier approach—a court with international legitimacy and backing to try the most serious human rights abuse cases and then a sort of truth commission that could help ordinary Iraqis find out what happened to their loved ones and act as an evidence gathering institution. Human rights groups are also worried about the temptation the United States and Britain may have in trying to dispense wholesale justice—that is mass justice to all Ba’ath party members, excluding former party members from a role in the new Iraq.

MANGOVAN: In Communist Eastern Europe, as in Ba’ath party Iraq, people joined parties not necessarily because they were evil people; they did it because they needed to get education for their children or housing or food allocations. And so we should be very careful by too broadly condemning a category of people who didn’t necessarily do anything that we would find to be morally contemptible.

KING: One option that is not on the table for trying human rights abuse cases in Iraq is the newly formed International Criminal Court. For one, the United States is against the Court and has refused to ratify its statues. The Court also does not have jurisdiction over crimes committed prior to July 2002. Human Rights groups are pushing for an ambitious system of justice, one that combines many elements. Again, Human Rights Watch’s Rory Mangovan.

MANGOVAN: We are going to need a mixture of approaches given the comprehensive scale of abuses. We’ll need a truth commission to reckon with the past. We’ll need some kind of screening and vetting process that will remove abusive officials from their positions so that they can’t do any further damage or obstruct reforms. But we are going to need a justice process to prosecute and try on criminal charges those most responsible for the terrible crimes that we’ve seen.

KING: All this will take time and money. Some estimates say it will take a decade or more to right the wrongs of Iraq’s past, just as former Yugoslav leaders are still being tried today. But many advocates say it will prove invaluable for a new Iraq and could help establish the rule of law while helping heal the wounds of Saddam Hussein’s bloody rule. For Common Ground, I’m Nathan King in New York.

MCHUGH: We’d like to know what you think. Should the United Nations be involved in prosecuting Iraqi human rights abuses, or should the United States help set up a war tribunal? And should there be a two-tiered approach as some have suggested, with a court to try the most serious crimes, and then a truth commission to help ordinary Iraqis. E-mail us your comments at [email protected] We may use some or all of your comments on the air. Again, our e-mail address is [email protected]

[Musical interlude]

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South African Activist

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PORTER: In 1989 Reese Erlich met three anti-apartheid activists while reporting in South Africa. He recently returned to Johannesburg to find them. The changes in their lives reveal a great deal about the freedoms and harsh realities of the new South Africa. Reese Erlich begins the third of his four part series on South Africa in Soweto, circa 1989.

[The sound of a large choir of protestors singing at a rally.]

ERLICH: The anti-apartheid rally began simply enough. A church choir welcomed religious leaders, ordinary people, and foreign diplomats for a peaceful indoor rally in Soweto. Soon, however, police fired tear gas grenades. Choking and gasping, we ran out of the hall to be confronted by hundreds of baton-wielding police. I had attended the event with two young black activists. One was Audrey Brown, a 20-year-old reporter intern with The Weekly Mail newspaper.

AUDREY BROWN: I was always going to be a journalist, from the age of about seven.

ERLICH: Brown made no claims to be objective in her reporting. She became a journalist in order to fight apartheid.

BROWN: I came from a community that was politically aware, conscience, and active. So The Weekly Mail was the very obvious place for me to go, given the fact that I was going to be a journalist. And the only kind of journalism that made any sense in South Africa at that time was what was called advocacy journalism. But I think it was the journalism of conscience, and the journalism of soul, and the journalism of spirit.

ERLICH: Audrey has gone far in her journalistic career in the past 14 years, but hasn’t lost her passion.

[The sound of Audrey Brown introducing her morning show in South Africa Broadcasting Radio.]

ERLICH: Audrey is a successful radio journalist and was, until recently, co-host of South African Broadcasting Radio’s morning drive time program in Johannesburg.

[The sound of Ms. Brown reading the news.]

ERLICH: Audrey says that black people have made a lot of progress under the African National Congress government. But she notes the struggle for equality is far from over, particularly for black women.

BROWN: It’s one thing that does surprise me, is the backlash that I feel from men sometimes. This kind of resentment, like nobody told them. [laughing] You know, like they thought we were joking when we said that there will be women’s liberation and we will be equal partners.

ERLICH: And she remains critical of the black politicians and corporate executives who enrich themselves without regard to the continuing poverty of black workers. The gap between the rich and poor has actually widened in recent years as a small number of politically connected black South Africans have become quite wealthy.

BROWN: I don’t belong to a consortium that is going to buy out, you know, 75 percent of a gold mine, you know, and make a whole lot of paper money and drive a fancy car or anything like that. Yeah, I’m surprised at, at the rapidity with which passionate activists buy into arguments that seem counter to the principled positions that they held then. I’m surprised at the way in which we wholeheartedly embraced the ethic of sort of unequal reward for unequal work. We believe in a CEO of a company earning more money—a whole lot more money—than a policeman or a teacher or a nurse.

ERLICH: William Smith doesn’t see the world that way anymore. When we ran from the Soweto police attack in 1989, he was a dedicated organizer with a church-based anti-apartheid group. So I was surprised to find that William had joined the private sector.

WILLIAM SMITH: I really felt that I had made a contribution. I felt consciously that I needed to move on. I also have to look at my future in that sense and the main thought is that I really felt that I’d actually sort of made the contribution working for over 20 years in the NGO sector. So we’ve managed to overcome and defeat apartheid. All of us are of the opinion that we have to accept new challenges, new scopes, and so on.

ERLICH: William has replaced his T-shirt and jeans with a conservative sport coat and slacks. Today, he uses his political contacts to win contracts for a white-owned company providing vehicle maintenance to city governments.

SMITH: The government quite clearly has embarked upon a new policy in terms of black economic empowerment, especially in terms of government contracts. White companies cannot go ahead without involvement of PDIs, which is Previously Disadvantaged Individuals. They will not be, you know, awarded contracts if they do not have a black empowerment wing to it.

ERLICH: His company makes money by privatizing government services. In the case of one city, William estimates 50 percent of the drivers and mechanics will be laid off, something that doesn’t make the municipal unions very happy.

SMITH: I have been grilled by the unions already. And that’s, yeah, it is a bit of a different thing coming from my background, basically being told that, “You, oh you, you’re sort of working for the capitalist sort of side” and so on. So it is a bit strange, but I think we’ve played our cards very openly and honestly with the unions and said to them what our intentions are.

ERLICH: [now interviewing Mr. Smith directly] Could you imagine back then that you’d be doing what you are now?

SMITH: Absolutely not. It’s not, not in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this, this, you know, I was going to go in this direction. I really thought that I was going to, yeah, I was going to work for NGOs for the rest of my life. And that’s, I’m cut out for that. So….

ERLICH: What would you have said about your new job back then?

SMITH: Very difficult question. I mean, there was this whole debate at that stage of capitalism and socialism and that sort of thing. So I wouldn’t have been very charmed 10 years ago. [laughing] There’s no doubt about that.

[The sound of a stylist cutting hair.]

ERLICH: Across town, Yusuf Dinath prepares to get his hair cut in a one-chair, open-air barbershop. Yusuf has been seeing the same barber since he was 12.

YUSUF DINATH: When we were in Johannesburg, he cut my hair for the princely sum of 1 shilling, 13 cents. Now when I’ve got a lot less hair, he’s charging more. [laughter]

YUSUF DINATH: Yusuf was a third opponent of apartheid I met in 1989. He was the head administrator for a major hospital. Today he heads a foundation awarding medical scholarships to underprivileged youth. Perhaps because he is older, he has changed the least. He still lives in the same house in Linasia, the predominantly Indian township near Johannesburg, and still shops at the same green grocer.

[The sound of a beeping scale as Mr. Dinath makes a purchase.]

ERLICH: Yusuf could move to a wealthy white suburb but prefers to stay connected with his community. However, he and his children face new challenges. How do they promote racial equality while maintaining their identity as Indian Muslims? Yusuf wants his daughters to marry good Muslims. I asked if that would include marrying a black African Muslim.

YUSUF DINATH: As open minded as I am, I think I’d ask the same questions—What are the value systems, what is the level of compatibility, and certainly, whether the Islamic tradition as we practice it, going to be practiced in that home. But it’s a difficult one. We’re probably more open than most Indian homes. A very difficult decision.

ERLICH: Yusuf admits that his attitudes may be generational. Today’s youngsters attend integrated schools and work in integrated offices.

YUSUF DINATH: There are pockets of absolute conservatism in the community. And there are also areas where it is breaking wide open. I mean, kids are getting married across the color line, kids are getting married across the religious line. A lot of the young people are going to integrated schools. Every once in a while we’re surprised. I mean, there was a wedding yesterday between somebody who was Muslim and somebody who was Roman Catholic. Now that’s as far a mix as you’re going to get. [laughter]

ERLICH: And that, perhaps, is the best news coming from my old friends. The apartheid era views about race, religion, and gender haven’t disappeared. But they’re undergoing significant change in the new South Africa.

[Sounds of a choir singing.]

ERLICH: For Common Ground, I’m Reese Erlich in Johannesburg.

[Sounds of a choir singing.]

MCHUGH: South African expatriates helping their homeland, next on Common Ground.

[Musical interlude]

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South African Diaspora

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PORTER: One of the problems facing developing countries is the loss of sorely-needed, qualified professionals, lured away by better prospects overseas, in a process often referred to as a “brain drain.” It’s a big issue in a country like South Africa, which loses thousands of skilled workers every year, including managers, scientists, doctors, and teachers. But, as India has demonstrated, it is possible to harness the power of a widely spread Diaspora to help improve conditions back home. Other nations have noted the role of overseas professionals, especially in the growth of India’s high-technology sector, and are looking to do something similar. Malcolm Brown reports.

[The sound of a busy meeting of the South African Business Club.]

MALCOLM BROWN: A few dozen people gather in a private room above a restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s a pretty humble start for an organization with lofty ambitions. Some of those assembled here are South Africans who live and work in the area. Others represent US organizations which have dealings with the country. They’re all here to launch the local branch of something called the South African Business Club, which aims to become the main body representing the South African Diaspora.

MAMPHELA RAMPHELE: It’s an idea whose time has come.

BROWN: Mamphela Ramphele, is well known in South Africa for her role in the anti-apartheid movement and later as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town. Now, from her managing director’s office at the World Bank, she’s ideally placed to assess global trends as well as development models and apply the lessons to her native country. Addressing the gathering, she said that South Africans working abroad can play a vital role in economic development back home, by promoting entrepreneurship and encouraging the spread of small businesses.

RAMPHELE: [speaking at the meeting] So we in the Diaspora, I believe we have an opportunity to act as a bridge between the local and the global. We have the good fortune of having been exposed to what works and why.

BROWN: Dr. Ramphele cites India as an example of a nation which has benefited greatly from the activities of its far-flung citizens, as well as people of Indian origin living around the globe. She points to the prominent role played by Indian-Americans in Silicon Valley. A report commissioned by the Indian government, presented last year, found that the Diaspora helps in a range of ways. They include; contributing to worthy causes in India and promoting the country as a place to invest as well as visit.

[The sound of a busy meeting of the South African Business Club.]

BROWN: In fact, promoting tourism was one of the issues discussed by members of the South African Business Club. It’s already a major industry in South Africa, but some at this Washington event believe they have a special role to play.

NOMVIMBI MERIWETHER: You won’t believe how much South Africa has to teach Americans!

BROWN: Nomvimbi Meriwether was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa. She now runs a travel firm in Potomac, Maryland which organizes customized group tours of South Africa. She says that she and others like her can help counter Afro-pessimism.

MERIWETHER: Every time I talk to people to go to South Africa, you have to do so much educating because they have this wrong impression of Africa especially, and South Africa. And when they go back there, they come back with a very different view of what South Africa is.

BROWN: Allowing networks like this to play a representative role. If it succeeds, the business club will do far more than help the bottom line of its members. They’re looking to build a valuable resource, with the ultimate goal of a prosperous South Africa. For Common Ground, I’m Malcolm Brown in Washington.

[Musical interlude]

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Bond Street Theatre

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PORTER: Refugee camps in post-conflict areas are generally not pleasant places. Families often live in tents, or worse, and have few worldly possessions. Food and medical care are usually in short supply. These are not locations you’d expect to find a New York theater group performing. But, the Bond Street Theatre is not a typical ensemble of actors and performers. Common Ground‘s Cliff Brockman profiles this unique company and the woman who is its driving force.

[The sound of children laughing and applauding during a Bond Street Theatre performance.]

CLIFF BROCKMAN: It’s as though the circus has come to town. Joanna Sherman and her dance partner perform a routine on stilts.

[The sound of children laughing and applauding during a Bond Street Theatre performance.]

BROCKMAN: To add to the fun, the two are dressed as clowns and blow on kazoos.

[The sound of children laughing and applauding during a Bond Street Theatre performance.]

BROCKMAN: Joanna Sherman is the founder of the Bond Street Theatre, which visited Kosovo refugee camps in 1999.

JOANNA SHERMAN: We really just wanted to bring joy and happiness, and anything that was uplifting, that could make people laugh and really give them a break. Because the refugee camp situation is so sad. And that was a particularly very sad situation. Because this all happened so quickly, the people had to really run for their lives and bundle their kids up and just head for the hills and watch their villages being burned behind them and watch, maybe they saw their whole family slaughtered or their neighbors or whatever. I mean, it was so, so horrendous. The amount of trauma was so profound, and the amount of children that were traumatized that we were really given the task to just making them happy, just give them joy to them, and just bring them out of their shell and make them laugh.

[The sound of laughter.]

BROCKMAN: Laughter is a universal language. And Sherman says kids love to laugh at the same things no matter what language they speak.

SHERMAN: We drew on our skills that would be uplifting and funny and, you know, our comic skills. And we did acrobatic things, and you know, things that I know that work with kids around the world to make ’em laugh. You know, silly bits, that, you know, when you trip and fall, or you’re pulling a chair out from under someone, or squirting water out of your mouth, or any of the slapstick stuff that we all know and love from our own childhood, this works with kids around the world.

BROCKMAN: Entertaining kids is only part of what the Bond Street Theatre does. They also bring a special brand of culture to adults in war-torn areas.

[The sound of music from a performance of Romeo and Juliet.]

BROCKMAN: Sounds from a performance of Romeo and Juliet. But it’s unlike other performances of the classic Shakespearean play. Sherman says both actors and puppets are in the play. And none of them speak a word.

SHERMAN: We selected that play specifically because we looked for a piece that would address issues of conflict but at the same time not have good guys and bad guys. Romeo and Juliet is rather perfect in a way in that both sides are right, both sides wrong. All of the unnecessary deaths in Romeo and Juliet very much had a deep and emotional impact on the audiences that saw this production. The fact that it was nonverbal actually managed to really touch a chord that might have been missing if it had been verbal. Because they could add so much of their own story really directly to this play that was more abstracted. We changed the ending to a certain degree. And the kind of puppet spirits rise up out of their bodies and make a beautiful kind of black light puppet dance. And then they disappear in a kind of magical way. And it’s a very beautiful ending, very beautiful. And I think that that made a very deep impression as well because it just had that little message of hope, that things don’t have to be this way, that we do have our choices. But we do, we do make a choice to fight or not to fight.

BROCKMAN: Sherman says she formed Bond Street Theatre 25 years ago to reach a broad range of people. She says she wants the theater to bring work that’s socially relevant to diverse areas around the world. All the actors are American. Sherman says they’re drawn to work with the Bond Street Theatre because it gives them a chance to, as she puts it, “bring joy to places in the world where people don’t normally see theater.”

SHERMAN: I think that everyone that joined Bond Street is not only interested in especially very meaningful theater, but they also are drawn to the idea of traveling to places that they may not ordinarily go. And going to these places where they’re especially needed. Everyone likes to feel needed. And the more we go to these places we see it’s so rewarding to do this kind of work. I mean it is so rewarding it’s addictive. I mean, you just want to go back and feel that love. I mean, you’re giving so much love to the audience and you get that much love back. I mean, who could ask for more? And all of the actors that have experienced this, they get so drawn into it. And they just want to go back for more. Theatre is very useful to a certain degree. And I think we forget that element about theater. That besides being something that’s entertaining, or something that’s attractive or something that’s profound and meaningful here, when you bring it into other environments it has a completely different message in another community. And you can really work with that message so that you’re making a maybe a really profound difference in different communities.

[The sound of children laughing and applauding during a Bond Street Theatre performance.]

BROCKMAN: Joanna Sherman and the Bond Street Theatre are currently touring schools in Afghanistan. This fall, Bond Street is joining with the Bulgarian Theater Company to perform Romeo and Juliet for schools and civic groups in the United States.

[The sound of children laughing and applauding during a Bond Street Theatre performance.]

BROCKMAN: For Common Ground, I’m Cliff Brockman.

MCHUGH: This is Common Ground, radio’s weekly program on world affairs.

[Musical interlude]

KRISTIN MCHUGH: I’m Kristin McHugh.

KEITH PORTER: And I’m Keith Porter. Coming up this half hour on Common Ground, restoring Indonesia’s oceans.

PROFESSOR CALLUM ROBERTS: Without having areas that are off-limits to fishing, I think we’ll see fisheries collapse throughout the whole region.

PORTER: Plus, rolling out the presidential red carpet for the Philippines leader. And unifying Cyprus.

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Indonesia’s Oceans

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MCHUGH: After years of neglect under the regime of strongman President Suharto, Indonesia has committed itself to an ambitious program of marine conservation to try to reclaim its oceans. The Southeast Asian nation, the fourth most populous country in the world, is an archipelago consisting of 17,000 islands straddling the equator. The country is set to double the number of marine protected areas around its coasts, in a bid to halt what experts are calling an alarming decline in the health and biodiversity of its seas.

PORTER: Over-fishing, destructive fishing practices, and pollution bedevil the oceans worldwide, but experts say the oceans of southeast Asia are particularly vulnerable and valuable, as the coral reefs in the region are home to many thousands of species of fish, turtles, crustaceans, and other forms of marine life. The agreement to increase the Marine Protected Areas came at a meeting of international oceanographers in Mexico, from where Catherine Drew filed the second in her three-part series.

[The sound of ocean waves lapping against a boat.]

DREW: These subsistence fishermen pulling in a netted catch in the Java sea are among the 10 percent of Indonesians who rely on the oceans around them to make a living. The country lies at the heart of the coral reef triangle, home to a third of the world’s coral reefs and the richest marine biodiversity in the world. Economic benefits from the reefs in fishing and tourism is estimated at $1.6 billion dollars a year, a crucial resource for a developing country. Oceanographers say the coral reefs are under grave threat from over-fishing, harmful fishing practices like using dynamite and poisons to capture fish, as well as from pollution and global climate change. Under the three decades of the regime of President Suharto, which ended in 1998, the ocean was treated as a waste receptacle and a free-for-all fishing ground, according to the present Indonesian government. Now the authorities are trying to reclaim its seas. At a recent oceanographers conference, Indonesia singed a pledge to work to double the size of its Marine Protected Areas over three years, to cover 10 million hectares of sea. Marine Protected Areas are reserves that are put off limits to fishermen. Conservationists believe MPAs are the best way to protect fish stocks and other marine life. Dr. Rohkmin Dahuri is Indonesia’s Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

DR. ROHKMIN DAHURI: Based on experiences in other countries, like in the Philippines, in the Pacific as well as in African countries and also in Latin America, when we increase Marine Protected Areas and we implement the mission plan as it is, normally the catch per unit of effort for fisherman is increasing. So as corollary, the income of fishermen also will be increasing.

DREW: Working alongside Indonesia will be the environmental group Conservation International, which is making an initial donation of $1 million to a trust fund to help manage the Marine Protected Areas. It’s hoped other NGOs will also contribute. Russ Mittermeier is President of Conservation International.

RUSS MITTERMEIER: We are extremely impressed with the commitment that the Minister has just announced, to increase to ten million hectares the coverage of Marine Protected Areas in the next three years. Given the fact that Indonesia is the richest country on earth for marine bio-diversity, it’s just a phenomenal commitment.

[The sound of Indonesian fisherman hauling in their catch.]

DREW: But it is a commitment which comes with a price. While setting aside Marine Protected areas will help conserve and replenish fish stocks for the future, many coastal communities will suffer in the short term, a situation for which Indonesia’s fisheries minister has much sympathy.

DR. ROHKMIN DAHURI: If we forbid them from fishing, then it will be scary for them, so we have to again emphasis that Marine Protected Areas doesn’t mean to forbid all the economic activities, but the marriage between conservation needs and economic development.

DREW: Minister Dahuri says conservation efforts will have to go hand in hand with environmentally sound initiatives to create other sources of employment—for example developing the eco-tourism sector. For this the minister says his country will need help in the form of investment and loans from developed nations. Many oceanographers have praised Indonesia’s goal of setting aside 20 percent of the sea area under its control in marine reserves off-limits to fishermen. However there is concern that Indonesia’s neighbors are not making the same sort of efforts. Professor Callum Roberts, an oceanographer from the University of York in England, has studied coral reefs and the effectiveness of Marine Protected areas for many years.

PROFESSOR CALLUM ROBERTS: You’re creating this production unit in the oceans which is going to supply fisheries, sustain fisheries over the long term. Without having areas that are off-limits to fishing, I think we’ll see fisheries collapse throughout the whole region.

DREW: This is a warning the Indonesians say they’re taking seriously. They hope to persuade their Southeast Asian neighbors, both fish consuming and fish producing nations, to do their part for marine conservation. In particular, the Indonesian fisheries minister says he will be trying to persuade his counterparts to establish or increase their own marine protected areas, in a bid to halt the decline of the region’s rich ocean life. For Common Ground, I’m Catherine Drew in Los Cabos, Mexico.

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US-Philippines Relations

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MCHUGH: Earlier this year, President Bush hosted the President of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo, for a state visit full of pomp and circumstance. She is only the third head of state to be honored with such a formal reception, and the move was widely seen as a reward for her country’s steadfast support for the US-led war on terror. Another, more substantial reward came in the form of $95 million worth of military aid and a new batch of US soldiers to help in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf militant group. But as Judith Smelser reports, the warm-up in the two countries’ military relationship has not been without controversy.

[The sound of ceremonial band music.]

JUDITH SMELSER: Philippines President Gloria Arroyo got a star-spangled welcome to the White House.

[The sound of ceremonial band music.]

SMELSER: The Bush administration doesn’t often go in for state visits, and the US President made no secret of how rare this particular one was.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: This is the first state visit by the leader of an Asian country during my administration.

SMELSER: So, why the red carpet treatment for President Arroyo?

DANA DILLON: We don’t have very many strong allies in the region that have backed us all the way on the war on terrorism, and the Philippines is one of them.

SMELSER: Dana Dillon is a Southeast Asia specialist at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.

DILLON: They have been, other than Australia, they have been one of our strongest—and Singapore—they have been one of our strongest allies in the region. And the president, Bush, wanted to make a clear demonstration that that was important to him.

SMELSER: Especially important was the Philippines’ strong support of the US-led war in Iraq, a venture which caused many traditional American allies to turn their backs on Washington.

[The sound of ceremonial fife-and-drum music.]

SMELSER: But as the two leaders watched a smartly dressed fife-and-drum corps march across the White House lawn, they knew they had to watch their step. Back in February, the US had to step back from a military initiative in the Philippines to help the country battle the Muslim militant group, Abu Sayyaf, which the US believes has ties to Al Qaeda. The problem was that Washington was calling the cooperative venture a “combat operation.” The Philippines constitution forbids foreign forces from participating in combat on the country’s soil. Dana Dillon, who’s also a former US Army officer, says those two words raised red flags in the Philippines.

DILLON: The Philippines wanted them to use the word “exercise,” and the American military, because of budget reasons, wanted to call it a “combat operation.” I know that sounds kinda funny, but apparently, the money comes out of different pots. And, of course, the newspapers in the Philippines noticed the difference in wording, brought it all out, and caused quite a stir.

SMELSER: But while some like Dana Dillon think this was merely a question of semantics, it was also, no doubt, a question of history. The Philippines spent nearly 50 years as an American colony, gaining its independence only after World War II. Derrick Mitchell, an Asian analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says Philippinos are still wary of anything that smacks of neo-colonialism.

DERRICK MITCHELL: They are still committed to that constitutional provision and still sensitive about that line, that the United States does not cross. They are worried about the old colonial and arrogant, invasive America. But aside from that they are very much willing to engage America—the population is overwhelmingly favorable towards the new re-engagement of American forces in training.

SMELSER: Mitchell says the US should be careful not to cross any red lines if it wants to preserve that favorable sentiment. And it looks like the Bush administration has learned its lesson. At his most recent meeting with President Arroyo, George Bush used very precise language when he referred to the US-Philippines military cooperation.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: President Arroyo has welcomed American troops to train and advise their Philippine counterparts in Philippine-led anti-terror operations.

SMELSER: For her part, President Arroyo once again affirmed her loyalty to US leadership in the war on terror. And she urged others in her region to follow suit.

PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT GLORIA ARROYO: While Asia must take greater responsibility for its own political and economic security, it must also recognize that strong relations with the US will contribute greatly to regional peace and prosperity, stability and security, especially from terrorism.

[The sound of ceremonial fife-and-drum music.]

SMELSER: In return for statements like that one, and the actions to back them up, President Arroyo got a splashy version of a diplomatic pat on the back from the US—and the military and economic aid to back it up. For Common Ground, I’m Judith Smelser in Washington.

[The sound of ceremonial fife-and-drum music.]

PORTER: Coming up next, working out the details of a unified Cyprus. You’re listening to Common Ground, radio’s weekly program on world affairs.

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Turkish Cyprus Settlers

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PORTER: After three decades of a divided Cyprus, the two greatest obstacles to a solution are who belongs on the island and who owns what land. The United Nations believes a solution is really within grasp and has a plan to solve the problem by compensating all sides. The Greek-Cypriot government has a painful question to ask: who, exactly, is going to pay for all this? Nina-Maria Potts reports from Washington, DC.

NINA-MARIE POTTS: For 30 years, since a Greek coup triggered the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the world’s great powers have argued over international treaties, politics, finances, and land on the island. But with a solution now possibly closer than ever before and a new, peaceful Cyprus beckoning, all this boils down to the most human issue of all—who can call themselves a citizen of the new Cyprus, and where will they live? There are conflicting views on how the three-decade tragedy began, but a few basic facts cannot be ignored. There are over 100,000 Turkish settlers living in the northern part of Cyprus, brought over by Turkey after it’s 1974 invasion. Before that, Turkish Cypriots represented just 18 per cent of the island’s total population. When it invaded, Turkey expelled the Greek Cypriot population from the northern part of the island and imposed a demographic separation of the two communities, gradually bolstering its own population with Turkish settlers from the mainland. The Turkish mainland settlers today outnumber the indigenous Turkish Cypriots by about 40,000. The problem is, they are living in Greek-Cypriot property, abandoned when the Greek population was forced to flee south. The United Nations, which has put forward a settlement plan, proposes an exchange of properties, or compensation. The UN plan is designed to be self-financing and says the international community will make up the difference. But the Greek Cypriot government says if all the settlers were to stay, the cost of compensation would total at least $12 billion, money neither it, nor the Turkish settlers have. Achilleas Antoniades is Cyprus’ Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States.

ACHILLEAS ANTONIADES: We need the contributions of the international community and as we know from experience in other cases, the international community is not so forthcoming. They make a lot of promises, but we have to ensure that the money is there to actually implement a very, very important aspect of the plan.

POTTS: The Greek Cypriot government argues that in order to avoid bankruptcy, 80,000 Turkish settlers have to go. The US does not share this view. Ambassador Thomas Weston is Special Coordinator for Cyprus at the State Department.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS WESTON: Despite the fact that there are all kinds of demands on the island of Cyprus among Greek Cypriots for the absolute return of anyone who they consider a Turkish settler, I think is just unrealistic in this day and age. I mean we are past the point in time where we have governments endorsing forced mass movements of people.

POTTS: Just who is and who isn’t a Turkish settler is a moot point. The UN plan deals with the problem in a complex way and makes a number of provisions. For example, it says Turkish settlers who married locals should stay. It also says those who have achieved Turkish Cypriot citizenship, as recognized by the Turkish side, will become citizens of the new Cyprus. But Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister, George Iacovou, in Washington recently for talks, believes there are more imaginative ways to deal with the problem. He says the number of settlers allowed to stay shouldn’t exceed 30,000, and should have tangible links to the island. He suggests the US take 20,000 more, offering 4,000 green cards over the next five years. He also thinks the EU could offer work permits to another 20,000. The rest should go back to Turkey. Again, Achilleas Antoniades.

ANTONIADES: If they want to go to another country to pursue their luck, in search of a better life, then that’s another possibility. It takes away the thorny problem. So it is not something that we can let go as simply, as some people suggested. “It’s a humanitarian issue, they’ve come, what are we going to do with them.” It is not as simple as that.

POTTS: The idea does not appeal to Ambassador Thomas Weston.

WESTON: I find it very interesting that the, that Mr. Iacovou is giving recommendations for how we run our immigration law. I think to view it in isolation, and to seek changes in that plan now is simply not the right way to go.

POTTS: Nonetheless, both the Bush administration and the Greek-Cypriot government remain optimistic that settlement can be reached before Cyprus becomes a full member of the EU in May next year. Their optimism stems from the mass movement of people across the recently opened “green line”—the heavily fortified border separating Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Again Ambassador Thomas Weston.

WESTON: These are very intense emotions that are involved here, and there has been literally almost no conflict. We have identified only two incidents, both of them relatively minor, which could be identified as inter-ethnic. And this is astonishing in any movement of people for any reason. It’s particularly astonishing given the history of the island.

POTTS: Achilleas Antoniades has his own story.

ANTONIADES: A Turkish Cypriot, who had a family of six children, and he was living in a home of a Greek Cypriot. The owner goes back and says, “You know here, you can come and take it back. I wanted to give it to my son, but my son refused to take it. He said, ‘I don’t want to take it—somebody else’s property. He’s going to come back and get it one day. I want to build my own house.'”

POTTS: That day for Antoniades and everyone else on the island could be just around the corner. For Common Ground, I’m Nina-Maria Potts in Washington, DC.

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British Museum Anniversary

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MCHUGH: A museum is made by its displays, and at seven million items the British Museum has a world-leading collection rivaled perhaps only by the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Many of the British Museum’s artifacts were collected early in its history when national borders were more porous than they are today. So it’s not surprising perhaps the ownership of some items is disputed today. Alastair Wanklyn reports.

ALASTAIR WANKLYN: It’s 250 years old this year. The British Museum claims to be the world’s first national public museum. Its collection reflects that great age—seven million items from around the world. It’s a portfolio revered by academics such as Professor David Philipson of Cambridge University.

PROFESSOR DAVID PHILIPSON: The British Museum is a truly international institution and its collections essentially reflect human culture and civilization from all parts of the world and at all periods.

WANKLYN: Inevitably perhaps this high-profile museum is charged with holding some items illegally, particularly some collected early in its history. One example is several dozen statues and fragments of friezes from the Parthenon in Athens, taken in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, a British ambassador to Greece. The Greek government wants the statues back, saying they were taken without proper national consent. But the Director of the British Museum Neil McGregor says there’s a stronger argument for keeping them in London.

BRITISH MUSEUM DIRECTOR NEIL MCGREGOR: The debate is always about where works of art or objects can be shown for greatest public benefit. And it’s perfectly clear that a work of art can be usefully and properly be shown in the place in which it was made or in the context of what the whole of the world has made. It can either be part of a local particular national story or part of the story of the world. And obviously, with almost every object you can perfectly, properly take either position. The view of the founding of the museum was of the importance of having the whole world together so that you would see what united people rather than what separated and distinguished.

WANKLYN: But Greece insists there may be a legal case for the statues return. So what is current thinking on judging art ownership disputes? Professor of Museum Science at Cambridge University, David Philipson, says claims have to be considered in the context of what was accepted principle at the time.

PHILIPSON: I think the nature of these requests does need to be considered fairly carefully. They are sometimes based upon legal or moral arguments which would reflect present-day legislation or present-day attitudes rather than those of the time when the objects were obtained, and of course laws are not in the majority of circumstances, retrospective. So something which might be illegal in terms of national or for that matter international law if it were done now in the 21st century may well have been accepted practice and perfectly legal at the beginning of the 19th century.

WANKLYN: The trustees of the British Museum say they’re not deaf to ownership claims and do try to resolve disputes. In the past they have quietly returned some items to the claimant. Artwork that reached the museum after theft by Nazi Germany was returned to its original owners. And several years ago an ancient text was returned to the government of Ethiopia, under pressure from the British monarch. That move was made without fanfare, for fear it would encourage other claims. So as the British Museum passes its 250th anniversary, the statues and friezes from the Parthenon in Athens look set to remain here for some little time longer, but the trustees haven’t ruled out eventual return, perhaps by some kind of lend arrangement, or a discreet but persistent return of items one by one. Alastair Wanklyn for Common Ground at the British Museum in London.

MCHUGH: That’s our show for this week.

Our theme music was created by B.J. Leiderman. Common Ground was produced and funded by the Stanley Foundation.

Copyright © Stanley Center for Peace and Security

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