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Human Rights, Izmir, Fessenheim and Royal Wedding

April 29, 2011

Bonjour /.Hello.

The end of another week — a short one given our Easter Monday holiday.  This week I was able to catch up with various administrative duties as we did not have any official visitors.  My colleagues and I were delighted to help set up some meetings for the U.S. Legal Adviser, Harold Koh, in Izmir, Turkey, where he participated in a Council of Europe conference on the future of the European Court of Human Rights.  From what I heard, Mr. Koh and his interlocutors were pleased with the conference and the meetings.

How many of you watched a part of the “royal wedding” this morning?  I admit that I had CNN on the television in my office and watched a bit of the “show” in between my appointments.  For me, I was reminded of the Roman emperors and their advisers, talking about the need to offer the public “bread and circuses,” even if I found the ceremony this morning dignified.  I am of two minds regarding the British monarchy.  As a firm believer in democracy and meritocracy, I find it difficult to understand the enduring support for the institution.  Still, I understand some of the monarchy’s emotional appeal and Bagehot’s notion of the important symbolism of national unity.    

Turning to French matters, I certainly noted the “manifestations” by French, German, Swiss (and I expect other nationalities) on bridges crossing the Rhine River Monday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster as well as to call for the closure of the Fessenheim Nuclear Plant.  Personally, I recognize the benefits of relatively “clean” nuclear energy but as a realist, I also acknowledge that nuclear plants, as a creation of human beings, are imperfect, and therefore obviously subject to human error.  And error is not a term I like to associate with nuclear energy. 

On that perhaps less than optimistic note, I still wish everyone a pleasant weekend.  Let’s hear from you on  your views (and please, do not worry about language errors — this is all about communication, not replicating perfection!).


Vin Carver


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