I was born and brought up in Britain, as a British citizen. I am not blind to its faults, nor do I deny its many virtues. But ask me how I identify myself and I will reply with a long list: I’m British, I’m European, I’m a Londoner, I’m a male, I’m a journalist, I’m a father and a husband. Less than two weeks before I acquired my German citizenship, a gunman in Pittsburgh murdered 11 Jews in a synagogue. The following day I received an email from a woman I met four years ago on a visit to Germany with my father. She wrote from Magdeburg, an ancient university town where some of my father’s family had lived, and from where three of his cousins were deported to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. This is what she said: “It is 80 years since the synagogues were attacked here, and we all know that it was the prelude to millions of murders. Since 1945, and every year since then, when we remember what happened, we realise how important it is to fight back from the beginning.”
I went to see it with another veteran journalist, who knew Colvin and had worked in several of the places she reported from. He went in braced for cliches, but emerged shaking.While Colvin might have been bemused to see herself celebrated on such an incredible scale, she would almost certainly have been glad to see the terrible suffering in Syria brought to wider attention again. She was killed there because she cared and wanted others to as well. “Part of me thinks Marie is looking down saying, ‘Hey, what’s all the fuss, this is what we do,’” said Hilsum. “But I also think she would be glad that people were talking about Homs again, and hope that maybe some of the attention would be focused on Yemen and other under-reported conflicts and the people suffering in them.”
I learned about Pittsburgh’s unique connection to modern Judaism and civil rights. Reform Jewish leaders developed and adopted the Pittsburgh Platform, which states, “We deem it our duty to participate in the great task of modern times, to solve, on the basis of justice and righteousness, the problems presented by the contrasts and evils of the present organization of society.” As an athlete I competed against Jewish boys from another integrated school, Taylor Allderdice in Squirrel Hill. Sometimes after track meets, we got pizza at Mineo’s. Squirrel Hill’s vibrancy didn’t come by chance. We learned how to live together. There was a deliberate investment in inclusion and peace.
After Pittsburgh, Americans need to ask more of their leaders, and of each other.
Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general and former commander of United States Southern Command, which oversees military operations in Central and South America, has made the case that American aid is vital to helping the region cope with its drug and economic problems, thus preventing an even larger flood of migration to the United States.
Here’s a speech which the headlines largely neglected yesterday, but J.K. Rowling didn’t! This morning, Rowling tweeted:
The UAE-based writer Huzama Habayeb has won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, for a work that highlights the plight of refugees
About her writing: ““I think it blossomed somewhat unconsciously,” Habayeb says. Writing was a way to get at her feelings of “deprivation, uneasiness, entrenched pain, the shakiness of the land beneath my feet, the vulnerability of the self, my self indeed. And the persistent sense of defeat – especially since I grew up fully aware that I belonged to a homeland that was bequeathed to me in the form of an open wound, bleeding everlastingly.””