Category Archives: Human Rights


Building Bridges in an Insane World – an interview

lchaim nir bom

By Sharon Rapoport

It was a cold November night and the Publisher for L’CHAIM and I met with Dr. Nir Boms at The French Gourmet in Pacific Beach. It had been a little under a month since the French terror attacks, and the after the non-stop media coverage the world seemed to have turned sour. Newscasters recommended that people watch out for stray packages in malls on Black Friday. Nations were reconsidering allowing entry of countless Syrian refugees, and social media was abuzz with satirical memes depicting every Muslim as a potential suicide bomber.

Yet here was this man, whom we knew little about, referencing metaphorical bridges building toward our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters. About tolerance, and assisting Syrian refugees … ideas which usually make sense, but in the wake of another radical Islamic terror attack, seemed awkward at best. Continue reading


First we take Khartoum, then we take Berlin

Sudan and Syria are waiting for an American Response


The tide of anti-American demonstrations continues to swell as fervent protests spread throughout countries in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. Last week, protesters in Egypt breached the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and in Libya protesters attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Two days later, hundreds of radical Islamists attacked the British embassy and set fire to the German embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.  Then in Bangladesh, thousands of protesters burned U.S. and Israeli flags, after police prevented them from approaching the U.S embassy. Outside Jalalabad, Afghanistan, hundreds of Afghans, some shouting “Death to America”, burned the U.S. flag and an effigy of President Obama. Even in the West on the streets of London, 150 protesters marched to the US embassy chanting, “burn burn USA” as an American flag went up in flames.

An American “response” came quickly. On September 15th, the U.S. State Department ordered the withdrawal of non-essential U.S. government personnel and family members from its embassies in Sudan and Tunisia and warned U.S. citizens against travel to those countries. U.S. President Barack Obama also contacted U.S. diplomats at a number of American missions in the Arab world in an effort to reassure, and has promised to send marines in to help secure embassies in the region. Continue reading


Bosnian toll looms in Syria if Annan falters

This month marks the 20-year anniversary of the start of the Bosnian War. As regime forces pound the city of Homs with artillery shells in advance of a UN observers team visit, I couldn’t escape an eerie feeling of history repeating itself. In the Bosnian War there were more than 100,000 deaths (200,000 some estimates say), mostly civilian, before NATO forces were able to bring it to an end. In Syria, the “modest” toll is “only” 11,000, but as we’ve learned from Bosnia, there is still time left for more.

Lessons learned from Bosnia are sadly relevant and ominous.

Lesson one: Russia. Most of the weapons in the Bosnian War were, not surprisingly, Russian. Russian volunteer forces also actively assisted the Serbs. While Russia was officially co-operating with the allies, the commander of the Russian contingent to the UN force, Major General Aleksandr Perelyakin, was actually helping to smuggle weapons to the Serbs. Perelyakin, who was eventually dismissed by the UN, became an adviser to the commander of a Serb division in the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska Krajina in Croatia. After the war, Russia gave refuge to several Bosnian Serbs wanted for war crimes and atrocities, including the massacre at Srebrenica. Continue reading