Advocacy networks are a “communicative structure” that play the role of building a link between all states as well as international politics. Several different types of theories were offered in the 1900s to portray the different kinds of advocacy networks between a state and an international organization and each theory came with a different approach. Ultimately, Sikkink and Keck utilized what is known to be “ground theory” to test all those theories, related to the advocacy networks, that had already been established, as mentioned in their book, “Activists beyond borders: Advocacy Networks in international politics.”
Similarly, the boomerang pattern is one of the many approaches that grants “individual and domestic groups” permission to receive help from their “international connections” if their government refuses to either listen or help them (Keck & Sikkink, 12). The theory of boomerang pattern definitely played some role, whether major or minimal, in several movements back in the days, especially in the Anti-Apartheid movement, as well as in the Timerman case, but it was of no help in the revolutions of 1989 that took place in Europe. Thus, the Boomerang pattern played a role in causing positive human rights change in that it allowed activists to reach out to their international allies for help when the government refuses to help them, which was especially the case in the human rights campaign.
To begin with, the Timerman case is the case of Jacobo Timerman, who was a soviet born and lived his life as the argentine publisher. Timerman was mostly well known for informing the citizens of the hidden atrocities that the Argentine junta conducted during the time of dirty war, “when teachers, lawyers, labor leaders, and others were being seized by the country’s ruling junta held without charges and in some cases executed as part of a so-called antiterrorism campaign” (Vitello, 2). Timerman was one of the victims of the dirty war who was arrested for reporting against the junta and “served at least six months of solitary confinement” and after an intense session of questioning him everything regarding his life, the council ordered to release him as there were no legitimate charges against him.
However, the junta still kept him in captivity for few years and made attempts to keep him imprisoned. Ultimately, he was released with the condition that he will be stripped of his argentine citizenship and property. Timerman was further saved from extreme executions with the help of Patricia Derian, who was “a civil rights veteran who tangled with repressive dictators as President Jimmy Carter’s chief advocate on behalf of human rights abroad” (Vitello, 1). Timerman’s case in a way does portray the boomerang pattern as it was a crime that took place in Argentina, yet he received international help from the United states, when Derian “brushed aside the denials of involvement in the abductions and murders of civilians” by showing them a government building floor plan and stating “you and I both know as we speak, people are being tortured in the next floors” (Vitello, 2).
In this case, Timerman was arrested, like many others, by his own country’s junta and although the government did rule a decision to release him, their ruling could not go above the Junta’s decision. Thus, the argentine government was limited to help to a certain extent and when they were no longer heard, then a civil rights veteran from the United states, thus an international ally, had to interfere to stop the junta. Thus, the boomerang pattern was applicable and extremely useful in the Timerman case, because without the international help, the dirty was would have be an ongoing crime with several citizens becoming new victims.
Moreover, the revolution of 1989 that took place in Europe became an international issue and although attempts from other officials outside of Europe were made to reunite Europe, an end result of a demolished Berlin Wall to reunite Europe was the result of the angry citizens who could not tolerate the suffocation of being captive. The revolution of 1989 took place in Europe when the people of Germany worked together to break the wall of Berlin, which was initially built to divide Europe. The demolishment of the Berlin wall symbolized the unification of Germany, the end of communism as well as the end of the cold war. As a result, many East Germans emigrated to West Germany and the amount of people emigrating had exceeded and thus the remaining people began to receive denial. As a result of those left in East Germany, demanded that their government be changed and reforms be made. However, that did not occur until Honecker was overthrown under the pressure of the civil unrest.
The revolution of 1989 does not necessarily depict the Boomerang pattern, because although it became an international issue, the citizens of Germany did not receive any help from any international allies. Ultimately, the unity of the people of Germany became the reason of their freedom. The pressure to lead a life that was more realistic that their life already was under the rule of socialism and communism as well as the desire to freedom led to the courage of actually performing a task so risky, such as demolishing the Berlin wall, despite being aware of the fact that such an action can cost many lives. Furthermore, upon listening to the music of West Germany, especially in a concert by Bruce Springsteen, the citizens of east were a lot more driven to be connected to the culture of the West.
Lastly, The Anti-Apartheid movement depicts the injustice that was taking place especially with the people of African American descent. The Anti-Apartheid was basically a boycott to end separation amongst people of different race or color. It started in Britain when people of white descent were given more priority and were welcomed everywhere they went, whereas African Americans were shunned. This Apartheid gained international attention and “To the Conservative government, it was a sovereign state in whose internal affairs Britain could not interfere” whereas “To the British business community it was a trading and investment partner whose stability was important to the British economy” (Gurney, 7).
Ultimately, many other anti-apartheid movements, some even included boycotting, were formed to form a fair and equal environment. This movement portrays partial usage of the Boomerang pattern as the issue received international attention along with opinions but no specific efforts or help was received from international allies. However, the issue did portray “Symbolic politics” since once it was handled by a network of organizations, different opinions were expressed, and “Africa had become a central issue in British politics” (Gurney, 7). Thus it had become an issue of cultural differences that received much more attention especially because of the involvement of network organizations.
Overall, the boomerang pattern definitely expanded the options for people to be heard, and resulted in positive human rights change as it allowed activists fighting for human rights to be heard. If they were not heard by their government then they had the choice of being heard internationally. The boomerang pattern played a role in the Timerman case, in that Derian from United states played the role of an international ally for Timerman who helped decrease his execution. Whereas, the Revolution of 1989, received no international help, and the citizens ultimately took situations in their own hand. Lastly, the anti-apartheid movement received international attention but eventually the weapon of boycotting came handy. Therefore, there is always a solution to every problem and often time its unity, whether its unity amongst citizens, states, or countries and that unity is also the reason why human rights are much more effective today than they ever were.