We make snap judgments about others on a day-to-day basis whether we realize it or not. We do this partially because of our wiring for survival reasons, but our habit of presumptions based on what little we know of someone is a human folly. Forcing ourselves to reckon with another person’s multidimensionality is something that takes honest effort.
When the United States first ratified the Geneva Conventions in 1955, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations categorized the agreements as ‘‘a landmark in the struggle to obtain for military and civilian victims of war, a humane treatment in accordance with the most approved international usage. The United States has a proud tradition of support for individual rights, human freedom, and the welfare and dignity of man.
Lassana Bathily, the grocery clerk who hid shoppers in a freezer when gunmen entered the store where he worked, received French citizenship on Tuesday, January 20th in a ceremony presided over by Minister of Interior Bernard Cazeneuve and attended by Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
As a war correspondent, I’ve grown accustomed to vicious acts of terrorism taking the lives of innocent civilians, but this usually happens very far from my country, in some “exotic” place where a regular army is combatting jihadists or other extremists. I’m referring to nearly all the bloody conflicts I have covered over the last 15 years, from Chechnya to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
In the wake of the atrocity committed in the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo this month, an ongoing discussion has taken place about the character of Charlie Hebdo. What sort of sense of humor it relies upon, what it means to rally around it or not, and whether its cartoons are racist.
“Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty.”
-James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King!January 15, 2015
Martin Luther King would have been 86 years old today. Here is a video of his iconic speech delivered on the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.
Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun once wrote that in Morocco, “it’s possible to see the Atlantic and the Mediterranean at the same time.” In some ways Ben Jelloun’s quote alludes to the unique positioning of Morocco as a country bordering two oceans, and one which in many ways has come to represent a constructed meeting point of east and west.