A Newtown woman reacts with horror, disbelief and anguish In this iconic photo
The news of the Newton horror struck me dumb. I’m a writer, but words failed me. The enormity of the crime, the acute pain, the loss of little children, the parents’ loss, the futures lost, the unspeakable suffering— so many thoughts flooded my mind. I’m haunted by my imagination, a nightmare of the harrowing scene of terror, blood, screaming and dying of those little innocents. I envy the people who were able to write their reactions and opinions.
Garry Wills wrote about the idolization of firearms in this country: we keep offering human sacrifices to the god; we dare not offend him. “That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god [the gun].” Continue reading
Paul Lorem's African journeys
With all the distressing news swirling round today — the senseless death of Trayvon Martin, the potential dismantling of universal health care, the growing possibility of a nuclear showdown in the Middle East — it’s hard to be optimistic about the future. But Nick Kristof’s column about a South Sudanese orphan who made his way from a dirt-poor African village to a premier American university restores hope and inspires faith in the human capacity to overcome staggering adversities.
Any freshman at Yale has to make many adjustments, but Paul Lorem is overcoming a great many more, including learning English. Nevertheless, he has a great deal to teach his new colleagues.
Update: Be sure to read Kristof’s column!
Graffiti on Egyptian armored personnel carrier: "Down with Mubarak", "No Mubarak", "Mubarak the tyrant has fallen" and "30 years stealing and unfairness.. enough is enough.. leave.. NOW"
It’s hard to concentrate on anything but Egypt and the horrendous turn of events. Mubarak has sent thugs armed with machetes, straight-razors and clubs to provoke and attack his citizens, reports Nick Kristof. Al Jazeera shows the attackers mounted on camels and horses charging into the peaceful crowd. Egyptians are tweeting that Mubarak is deliberately instigating violence to provide the pretext for a brutal suppression of the yearning for democracy. Continue reading
What will it take to wrench America back to the principles and ideals that seemed immutable in the mid-twentieth century? We believed in America the Beautiful because it really was, before the oil spilled, the great forests fell to loggers’ saws and strip miners decapitated the mountains. We believed in Justice and Freedom even as the South lived under the rule of Jim Crow, much of the North had de facto segregation and the Greatest Generation fought World War II in segregated units. Fifty years ago we were bloodied by the struggle for civil rights. In the following decade women fought for the privileges men had always enjoyed.
Was there ever a time when the rich were considerate of the poor and politicians weren’t corrupt? Were we ever less venal than other countries? Were we ever justified in feeling morally superior to the rest of the world? Despite the self-deception (or lack of self-awareness) that blinded us to the inequities all around us, we believed that American democracy would save us and show the way to the rest of the world. We strived to form a more perfect Union.