Interview with Ted Itani

Key Excerpts on the Red Cross and Mines

3:19: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)’s 1992 medical conference. Conclusion by doctors in attendance was that anti-personnel mines as a weapon of war victimizes civilians more than military, and therefore should be banned.

3:59: The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), a civil society movement, led by Jody Williams (1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate). Campaigners pushed the United Nations (UN) to establish a treaty to ban landmines. The ICRC fed its findings into the campaign and maintained a presence.

4:39: The ICRC joined the campaign despite criticism that they were being political, violating their principle of neutrality. To that, Ted said “the ICRC has always advocated on behalf of the victims of armed conflict, whether they are combatants or noncombatants”

13:22: Ted stated that being military, some of his fellow soldiers called him a traitor. Ted’s response was “look at the evidence, be on the right side of history.”

17:53: There are a growing number of non-state actors that actively use landmines because of the easy accessibility of them through the International Arms Bazaar. Non-state armed actors do not have to be politically correct. The benefit of doing so through Geneva Call is that compliance with international law means legitimacy.

20:35: The Ottawa treaty has had long term effects, for example the UN got involved in a significant way, most of their missions in conflict zones have a UN mine accident service where they endeavour to keep the civilian population safe and contract non-governmental organizations like Halo Trust to do humanitarian demining.

Reflections on Humanitarianism in General

28:55: “If human ingenuity can create such diabolical weapons of war, can we not harness some of that ingenuity to deal with the pressing issues the human condition? We should be able to, so who’s going to start the ball rolling?”

29:30: “One of the issues that we really need to move forward with is humanitarian assistance and development leading to peace building, they need to be more closely connected and once they are the funding for that needs to go beyond the 4 year electoral cycle, if it stays with the electoral cycle, that is aid being politicized.”

30:42: “Humans are not good students of history. You can be the exception.”

30:35: Ted asked us, “Do you think you can change the world?” We responded, “as a generation I think we could.” Ted agreed, “absolutely, no question about that.”

A full transcript of Ted’s interview is available here.

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