Hi all,

Unfortunately WordPress won’t let allow me to post comments individually to each of your blog posts. If anyone has any suggestions  on how to fix this issue I would be very grateful. I’ll go ahead and post my responses as blog posts, maybe doing 2 or 3 responses at a time starting with the ones below.


Léa Carresse (Stable Seas Project):

The important difference that you identified between the concept of terrorism in the West and the piracy that is the subject of your research at the OEF is that piracy is financially motivated rather than exclusively based on religious extremism (or radical left wing ideology like in your example from Germany). Those involved in piracy are not sacrificing their lives or murdering civilians for a greater cause. Rather, pirates are involved in a criminal business enterprise. The issues of recruitment to piracy and the way that it financially supports groups like ISIS do highlight its similarities to or connections with our traditional understanding of terrorism.

The connections between piracy and terrorist groups complicate maritime governance. International assistance in policing the seas is not sufficient to counterbalance the recruitment efforts that take place online. Further, international law can go only so far since it must first be incorporated into national law to be enforceable and the decisions of international courts also depend on nation states to implement them. I wonder if your research on the Stable Seas Project has given you any insight on the relative effectiveness of international law versus supporting an individual nation (like Somalia) to improve its own capacity to police its waters.


Alix Genier (Aswat Nissa):

First, I apologize for replying in English rather than French – my written French is terrible!

Your post about immersing yourself in an entirely new culture made me think back to a course I took on international human rights law during my JD at the University of Toronto. The course was “Can There Be Universal Human Rights?” and it was taught by a brilliant professor Jennifer Nedelsky. We took the course with two other law schools outside of North America and we would use blog posts (similar to the one we are using now) to have discussions with each other. The course challenged some of the assumptions I had about the inherent “goodness” of human rights. Further, I developed a more nuanced understanding of the way some institutions that form part of the international order, like the WTO or the World Bank, work to undermine international human rights by perpetuating poverty (see “Recognized and Violated by International Law: The Human Rights of the Global Poor” by Thomas Pogge).

I’m looking forward to hearing more from you about your work with Aswat Nissa. My understanding is that it is a women’s rights organization. I thought you might be interested in one of the articles we read in Nedelsky’s course, “Arrogant Perception, World Travelling and Multicultural Feminism: The Case of Female Genital Surgeries” by Isabelle R. Gunning (1991 (23) Columbia Human Rights Law Review 189). Gunning does an excellent job of trying to work through the interaction between (Western) law and cultural practices.