Sierra Leone

Yesterday’s Heroes

Photojournalists are yesterday’s heroes. True, there are still some big names out there, among them Gilles Peress and Sabastiao Salgado. But the significance of their work is unclear. Do they shape political or social opinion through their images? Or are they mostly regarded as imaginative artists who just happen to be drawn to tough, newsworthy subjects? Few photographers are any longer seen as providing definitive information about some national or international trouble spot, at least very few who are what used to be called professionals.

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First, Do No Harm

This is the most recent item in a debate about humanitarian intervention.

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Wedding season has been upon us for a couple of months, thus making it a good time to examine the latest news in conflict diamonds. This is an issue that received an enormous amount of publicity at the end of the 1990s, and again in 2006 with the release of Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond. Unfortunately, while there are nowhere near as many conflict diamonds on the market as there were a decade ago, the problems that outraged many human rights activists and discriminating consumers over the past 15 years still persist. In 2003, a U.N.

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More atrocious details from the Guinean junta's recent crackdown on protesters—of women knifed, whipped, and raped repeatedly by soldiers—surfaced in the Times yesterday. Until recently, the former French colony of approximately 10 million had a reputation for being among the most stable of its West African neighbors. Stable yes, but democratic no: until December 2008, two strongman military figures had dominated the country since independence in 1958.

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Living in Rwanda After the Genocide By Jean Hatzfeld (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 242 pp., $25) The Antelope’s Strategy: Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda By Lee Ann Fujii (Cornell University Press, 212 pp., $29.95) After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post- Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond Edited by Phil Clark and Zachary D.

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Doubt

A professor, a genocide, and NBC's quest for a prime-time hit.

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Heroes and People

Defiance Paramount Of Time and the City Strand Releasing EDWARD ZWICK’S FILM Defiance is based on Nechama Tec’s book of the same title. Tec told a wondrous factual story of World War II, a history so close to incredible that it is awesome. In Belarus in 1941, two young Jewish brothers named Bielski organized a life-saving mission for Jews that, after much hazard and suffering, rescued twelve hundred lives from the Holocaust. The principal means of salvation was the immense forests of the region.

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Air America

Editor’s Note: Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was convicted last November of four counts of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and provide material support to terrorists. Last week, Bout’s lawyer filed papers requesting that the judge dismiss the indictment—and cited this January 2006 TNR article as a reason. “As a result of the embarrassing New Republic disclosure of the incompetence—or worse—of the Departments of Defense and State in their dealings with Bout, someone in the government decided it was time to ‘get’ Viktor Bout,” the lawyer wrote.

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They the People

A few days after the September 11 attacks, I received a note from a former student in Tehran. "[Y]ou won't believe it," she wrote, "but the whole country is in mourning. You should have been here for the demonstrations and candlelight vigils for America, it's all true: the tears, the long-stemmed roses, the candles, ... and then of course the hoodlums attacked and started beating us, especially the young kids, and arresting them. ... The funny thing about it is that those bastards felt betrayed by the love we showed `the imperialist Zionist enemy.' ...

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The Hero Worshipper

Fire By Sebastian Junger (W.W. Norton, 224 pp., $24.95) There is a point in Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon where the old lady turns on the writer and asks: "How is it, young man, that you talk so much and write so long about these bullfights and yet are not a bullfighter yourself?" The writer admits that he did try it once or twice—on bulls with blunted horns.

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