Embassies in crisis
DOI link for Embassies in crisis
Embassies in crisis book
On 27 July 1915 protestors overran the French Legation in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. They were searching for a fugitive. And they wanted revenge. The country’s president, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, had ordered the killing of 167 jailed oppositionists days earlier. Sam’s decision to seek sanctuary in a diplomatic building proved unwise. Found crouched behind a bathroom dresser, the hapless president was dragged from the compound and literally cut to pieces by his assailants. Embassies, legations and other diplomatic centres, as this gruesome account indicates, are often at the cutting edge of political violence and revolutionary changes of regime. Embassies are integral to international diplomacy, their staff instrumental to intergovernmental dialogue, strategic partnerships and cultural exchange. Often, an embassy’s existence makes one feel more secure. Indeed, the familiar idea of embassy as a fixed location, an in situ diplomatic bureaucracy with recognised address, is phenomenon whose global dissemination was synonymous with the proliferation of nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.