Saturday, March 5, 2011

State Obligations?

This chilling video posted on caught my attention, because it brought up many of the same questions that we discussed in class. Tuesday, we talked about whether states should be held to the same moral obligations or moral code as individuals. If it is true that states do maintain a moral entity, what is the obligation of other countries and the strategy for intervening when those moral codes are being violated. Watching this video brings about many emotions that I think can be overlooked in converstaion and in our attempt to be logical when assessing our role as moral states. Watching this drastically sad violation of human rights, I feel that one cannot help but want to intervene.

As you can see in the video, women, children and men from the Ivory Coast are participating in what looks like a non-violent rally. They are smiling, laughing, chanting, and joining together to relay their opinion through a community protest. As the camera becomes blurry, the person holding it captures three giant army trucks with police on the side drive into the protest. Without any warning or any knowledge they would be arriving, they fired machine guns from the tanks. People start to run and a part is cut out due to the gory violence that is occuring. Six women were brutally murdered amongst family, friends and their children.

As the video continues he speaks that the “French Consulate has condemned these actions and asked the UN to investigate.” There have been over 300 deaths in the Ivory Coast since December. Often times, I feel our converstaions in class are hypothetical “if this.. then we should…” I pointed this out in class during our discussion of the shooter. In a moment of despair or shock you can think you would act a certain way, but you’d never know till you were in that situation. In response, Professor Johnson made a good point stating that hopefully since you had thought through the scenario before, you were more likely to act according to your better judgement rather than instinct at that moment. Having seen these videos and many others around the world, haven’t we found a way to handle this situation without causing global turmoil? Do you think there could be a way in which the UN reacts to brutal killing and their reaction make a big enough impact to make a change? Would it help to look towards the dominating countries for guidance or should they act in almost a peer pressuring way that we as the dominating countries of the world will not stand for murder of the innocent?


  1. Courtney, I am with you 100%. I think that these acts are so horrible that they NEED intervention. The question then becomes how much is necessary though, because if one does too much then the good done by the intervener can be swallowed by the bad caused through repercussions. I wish there was an obvious answer to this!

  2. I agree. I believe states do have a moral obligations. Sadly, history is replete with horrendous and heinous violations by sovereign states. It is even somewhat more sad that interventions from outside are often driven by self-serving purposes of other nations. Examples include the US involvement in Iraq or the noninvolvement of the US in Burundi. The lack of humanism in the motives of "good" states can make one question their "goodness." I agree with Colin, no easy answers to this one, except we should more readily identify when wrong is wrong.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.