Just Atonement

Statement on March 15, 2019 killings in Christchurch, NZ

We at Just Atonement Inc. share the sadness and shock of those mourning the victims of the terrorist incident in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We condemn as outrageous any acts of terrorism committed against any targeted group. In this case, a declared “white-ethno-eco-nationalist” committed international crimes against innocent people, for the avowed purpose of inciting a global race war and destroying democratic freedoms.

Just Atonement Inc. extends its condolences to all those affected by the trauma of this terrorist attack.

Just Atonement Inc. also calls for the fullest prosecution under law, with due process, for the accused.

Finally, Just Atonement Inc. urges all governments to act, immediately, to prevent terrorist attacks like this from taking place in the future — which includes taking measures to defend our democratic freedoms, respect for the rule of law, extending equal opportunity to all, and mitigating the global environmental breakdown now taking place. Democracy can no longer be equated with war corporatism and eco-annihilation. We must return to the roots of democracy as a people, as a species: defending fundamental rights, providing resources for all, sustaining global peace, and living in harmony with Nature.

Until and unless the underlying causes of terrorism are addressed, our world will continue to see heinous acts of violence — by both lone gunmen and governments — for the foreseeable future.

We pray for all those affected.

On behalf of Just Atonement Inc.,

/s/ Inder Comar

Executive Director

Interning for JA: Facing the Unexpected and Predicting the Unpredictable

We’re always looking for ways to expand Just Atonement’s professional network, which usually means reaching out to law firms interested in international cases, individual lawyers looking to expand their foothold in human rights issues, and think tanks and research groups that can help us access the information necessary to support our work on complex and unprecedented cases. But we’re also looking for interns, and in some ways, our interns hold the most difficult job in our office. There’s one simple reason for this: We can’t tell you exactly what the job is, because we don’t know.

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 The structure and parameters of our cases are by nature unpredictable, and the boundaries of international law are mutable and constantly evolving. The tasks and learning opportunities available in our office may change from day to day, and any expectations we provide at the beginning of your internship period may change completely by the end. But your expectations of us will probably change as well, and as you shift shape and direction to stay a step ahead of our shared challenges, we will too.

Those who abuse positions of power and push the boundaries of international law and basic human rights can and will eventually face justice, and with each new charge and each new resolution, precedents will be set that will shape the outcomes of future cases. Before the fact, we can’t always predict how these violations will occur and how the international community will respond, and for the same reason, we can’t predict exactly what we’ll need from our interns at any given moment and how their support might move our efforts forward. But if you join us as an intern, we’ll bring you into the loop and you’ll witness the process and contribute in real time. Grow along with us and allow the experience to inform your own evolving career! Contact our office to learn more.

Practicing Leadership: Found are Those Who Lose Themselves in the Problems of Others

As we move forward with the establishment of Just Atonement and the drafting of our step-by-step road map to a more just world, a globally shared idea of law, community, and responsible governance, we’re thinking a lot about leadership. We refer to leadership in the larger sense—separate nations and systems of governance that answer to their citizens—but also in the smaller sense: How we ourselves can build our organization and how we can encourage meaningful acts of leadership among those who share our goals.

Since most of us have needed (or will someday need) to apply our leadership skills to the circumstances around us, we’d love to know what works for you. When you need to lead others-- to rally, direct, or inspire—what approach do you choose? Do you use your own behavior to set an example? Do you focus on providing clear instructions? Do you start by giving your audience a reason or motivation to act? Do you listen first or talk first? What works for you?

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We’ve love to hear your story, so if you have a minute, please send us a message or comment below. Our already diverse culture continues to wildly divide and reconnect along unpredictable fault lines that split and merge in a web that covers our national landscape from shore to shore. We’d like to know how you typically reach across these shifting divisions to get things done or to help others understand your point of view. Share your best moves with us!

Preparing for a New Normal

Thirty-eight million people live in the metropolitan region of Tokyo, and even while the city (and surrounding area) have struggled over the past few years with the challenges that face any dense population (resource distribution, crime management, etc), they’ve managed to dedicate over two billion dollars and an extraordinary amount of human capital to a project that might once have been impossible to believe: a vast underground network of concrete tanks that protect the city from the existential threat of a warming planet.

An expensive, enormous underground water management system completed in 2006 will soon be tested by the changing weather and rising sea levels that surround the island nation of Japan. And these vast tanks and reservoirs—deep enough to hold the Statue of Liberty—push the boundaries of our imagination and help us accept a new reality; a major city that can survive, thrive, and continue to serve as an economic powerhouse and the wellspring of a flourishing culture while resting several feet below sea level. As the city sinks and the water rises, Tokyo has demonstrated a concrete determination (literally) to adapt to this new normal and continue to exist. Instead of yielding to a set of problems that occupy a bewildering overlay of physics, financial management and city planning, this city simply said: We can do this. The result: not a miracle, but a very human solution. Will it work? We don’t really know. We can’t predict every economic, environmental and culture event that might contribute to an answer. But the underground reservoirs exist. They have traveled the entire path from incomplete plan to real material change, and they are extraordinary to behold.

There’s a lesson in this for us as we work to lay the foundations of Just Atonement amid a flood of challenging news and shifting global events that require our full attention. As we read through bills presented to Congress and examine procedural details and committee rules, once stable global economies are rumbling beneath our feet and once quiet populations are shaking off the status quo and drafting their own destinies. Shared resources are running short, cultural shifts are happening overnight, and meanwhile, a changing climate is bringing new forces to bear on what were already complex ecosystems. How can Tokyo’s reservoirs help us make sense of these things? They can remind us that change happens a single step at a time, and if each step leads consistently to the next, vast new objects and lifesaving enterprises can appear in the world that weren’t there before. Action matters.

As we assemble our team and select specific cases from the disputes arising around us, we’d like to enlist your help! Each day, help us illuminate connections and find order in a disordered world with one small action, and then another, and so on. We’ll try to share an action with each blog post (we’re aiming for at least one or two each week) and our actions will become more involved over time. Here’s our action for today:

Read the list of ingredients on everything you eat today. If you don’t understand or recognize a certain ingredient, spend just five minutes looking it up. Learn at least one new thing about the food that sustains you and gets you through the day. An easy start! Later we’ll talk about food distribution, a topic that’s laced with intersections—links between disciplines, populations and economic drivers that constantly surprise us.

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Teaming up to Make a Difference

Most of us don’t have the power to change the world simply by exercising our will. We know what we want to see, more or less: justice for ourselves and others, environmental sustainability, equal access to resources, and a general sense of civil peace. We want to see all populations provided with opportunity and education. We want to see wars diverted through the use of diplomacy. We’d like to see our elected leaders making decisions based on sound judgement, empathy and common sense. And we’d like to look forward into a future where the next generation, and then the next, move closer and closer to this ideal, not further away.

But in our current age, some of these possibilities seem to be receding out of reach. Instead of coming closer, a more just and peaceful world seems to be drifting away, and most of us can’t close the gap or make sense of a growing host of global problems by wishing and hoping.

Even those with vast skills or wide reach in one area don’t necessarily hold influence in others. Legal expertise, political connections, scientific knowledge and the wisdom of experience are all somewhat common, but they aren’t to be found in the same person; to bring about real change on a global scale, multiple people need to group together to share information and resources. Systems, disciplines and events are all connected, and once we accept that no one accomplishes anything alone, we can start looking for others who complement and build out our abilities. Then we can start working together as a team to move mountains.  

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This is one of the first and primary goals of Just Atonement. We’re looking for experts who can complement and build out our current resources, and as we build a network of diverse disciplines, we can each leverage the knowledge and strengths of the others. We’re looking for individuals and organizations with a deep understanding of climate policy, energy development, food distribution and ecology who can help us understand the challenges we face as the temperature of the planet rises. As a legal team, we need the support of scientists and political experts to help us put our plans into action. And of course, our deep background in climate statutes and international law can ideally turn the concerns of the science community into legal actions that can protect our planet from future harm.

Please consider reaching out to Just Atonement if these categories describe your area of influence. By breaking down the barriers that separate us as individuals, we can work together and strengthen our ability to get things done. To connect, send us a message and let us know your area of expertise! We’re always happy to accept financial donations, but our primary interest lies in information, contact and human capital.