Iran’s clerical rulers are maneuvering to contain and suppress massive protests that continue to rock that country. This unprecedented mass uprising was sparked by outrage over the government’s rush to declare Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the absolute winner in the June 12 presidential elections, before votes could have been adequately counted, and despite every indication that his leading opponent, Mir-Hossain Mousavi, was headed either for outright victory or a runoff with Ahmadinejad.
The fact that Iran is not a democracy and that all candidates in the recent presidential election were “cleared” to run by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei should not blind us to the significance of the election outcome and the response of the people to it. As an exercise in mass engagement the 10th presidential election in Iran puts many in the West to shame. It has been clear from the nightly rallies in the major cities across the country that the Iranian population are desperate to make their voices for change heard.
Gunmen carried out two assassinations in the United States in 12 days proving that “home-grown” terrorists are ready to act out their hatred of women, African Americans, Latinos, immigrants and people of Jewish background.
The mess in the New York State Senate would make for a relatively enjoyable reality show—if the living standards of so many New Yorkers weren’t put at stake.
Once upon a time, when a company went bankrupt, everyone took a hit: workers lost wages, stockholders got killed and the creditors got only tiny bits of what was left. The law guaranteed that it would work this way.
Any health care legislation being drafted in Congress should meet the goal of covering all people in America, including immigrants who are not citizens and immigrants who are undocumented. People in these categories make up a significant portion of the nation’s 50 million uninsured.
Right-wing commentators and politicians have been railing against racism. Have they finally seen the folly of their ways? Are they criticizing their fellow right-wingers for spreading racist pollution via talk shows and corporate suites? Sadly, no. Instead, they are attacking Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
If a Romare Bearden painting, a Pablo Neruda poem and a Billie Holiday blues song were by means of an arcane alchemy combined to form some rare and breathtaking thing, it might be called “Wandering Star,” a stunning novel by the 2008 Noble Prize-winning French author J. M.G. Le Clezio, reprinted for the second time in English last year by Curbstone Press.
President Obama is back from his trip abroad. It was a remarkable tour, during which he spoke of peace, democracy and progress, and then, in Germany, he confronted some of the greatest crimes against humanity ever perpetrated, crimes that were the direct result of fascism and war.
“Americans have been constantly redefining their national identity from the moment of first contact on the Virginia shore,” historian Ronald Takaki wrote. When our first African American president addressed the Arab and Muslim peoples of the world in Cairo, I think the Japanese American historian would have been deeply moved by the president’s compelling “redefinition” of America’s identity.