The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History By Samuel Moyn (Belknap Press, 337 pp., $27.95) In 1807, in Yorkshire, activists hit the campaign trail for William Wilberforce, whose eloquent parliamentary fight against Britain’s slave trade had won surprising success. “O we’ve heard of his Cants in Humanity’s Cause/While the Senate was hush’d, and the land wept applause,” they sang.
In Brown's Wake: Legacies of America's Educational LandmarkBy Martha Minow (Oxford University Press, 304 pp., $24.95) Martha Minow was born in 1954, the same year that the Supreme Court issued its historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and, she tells us, has been trying to understand the implications of that decision “since I can remember.” She is well-qualified for the task of interpreting the legacy of that momentous decision.
Alex Massie marvels at a State Department funding cutoff for a U.S. group that has investigated human rights abuses in Iran since 2004, and has been preparing an inquiry into the post-election crackdown there. This is not some fringe group--it has received more than $3 million from State and its board includes Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow. Alex: There are excellent reasons for not being seen to fund opposition groups inside Iran since American funding can only prejudice their cause. But this seems a rather different matter.
You don't often find in the Boston Globe an article that puts forth Israel as a model for the legal treatment of terrorist detainee rights--or, for that matter, as an exemplar of anything good. Except insofar as it puts the United States in a terrible light. I don't think that was the intent of the authors of yesterday morning's op-ed, "The Israeli model for detainee rights," by Professor Martha Minow and Assistant Professor Gabriella Blum, both of the Harvard Law School and formidable legal scholars. I don't know Blum. But I do know Minow, and she is a very exacting civil libertarian.