Issue

On War and Peace

Nearly thirty years after the Rwandan genocide, thousands of maimed amputees remind us of the war that took 500,000 lives in 100 days. War leaves marks that cannot be erased—not only in Rwanda, but on every continent.

Reporting from On War and Peace examines the roots of conflict, whether it be religious hatred, sectarian rivalry, a security vacuum, the struggle for natural resources, or the desperation that results from poverty.

Pulitzer Center journalists also cover war’s aftermath: the transitional governments that result in chaos, diplomacy that goes awry, peace talks that never end, and the people who suffer the consequences, young and old. We see the children who go hungry, lose their homes, leave school, become combatants, or join the jihad.

Often the end to conflict leaves turmoil in its wake while the road to peace seems circuitous: In South Sudan, rebel-commanders-turned politicians plunge the country into civil war. In the U.S., troops return home from one war only to be re-deployed to another. But everywhere, in every conflict, there are also voices crying out for peace, determined to heal the divide.

On War and Peace

A Land in Limbo

During colonial times, Somalia was divided between British Somaliland (in the north) and Italian Somaliland (in the south, Mogadishu area). After WWII Britain joined British Somaliland with Italian Somaliland, though because of the different colonial legacies, deep social differences existed between the two sides. In 1960 a united Somalia became independent. Following the 1970s war with Ethiopia, the Somali military dictator, Said Barre (a southern Somali), became more and more repressive, pushing people from Somaliland to press for independence.

Somaliland's Mental Hospital: Stretched to the Limit

Somaliland has only one mental hospital in the entire country. Many patients in the hospital suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome from the civil war with southern Somalia, which eventually led to secession and, still after 18 years, de-facto independence. Overuse of khat, a narcotic leaf that is normally chewed throughout the day, has been said to lead to more cases schizophrenia. However, given Somaliland's unrecognized status, the state's coffers are stretched thin, with little available resources for social services such as health care.

Petraeus affirms Taliban targeted, killed in air raids

KABUL, Afghanistan | Video footage of a bombing raid by U.S. forces earlier this month on a village in western Afghanistan "very clearly" shows that Taliban militants were targeted and it accounts for most of those killed, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East and South Asia said Friday.

"What the video will prove is that the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban," Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of Central Command, told National Public Radio.

U.S.: Taliban 'very clearly' target of raid

KABUL, Afghanistan | Video footage of a bombing raid by U.S. forces earlier this month on a village in western Afghanistan "very clearly" shows that Taliban militants were targeted and it accounts for most of those killed, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East and South Asia said Friday.

"What the video will prove is that the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban," Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of Central Command, told National Public Radio.

Afghanistan: After an Airstrike

Jason Motlagh has been reporting from Afghanistan for several months, first embedding with U.S. troops and more recently looking at the other side of the conflict -- the growing numbers of civilian casualties. Over webcam from Kabul, Motlagh tells iWitness what happened when a recent U.S. airstrike hit a village in the province of Herat, killing scores of civilians. Sharing dramatic footage and images in the wake of the bombings and interviewing victims and U.S. military, Motlagh reports conflicting accounts of what took place.

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