Rejecting “Us versus Them” in the Aftermath of Paris
The day after the attacks on Paris, I had a spaghetti dinner in Prenzlauerberg (a neighborhood in the former East Berlin) with a German man I am just getting to know. We talked about our concerns that these deaths would lead to more escalation in political violence, especially actions by the U.S. and member states of the EU that could lead to more deaths. But we are an unusual pair of people to be having this conversation. He is a former member of the Red Army Faction (RAF), and I am an American whose only brother was killed by the Red Army Faction in 1985 as part of an attack on the US airbase on Rhein-Main (my dinner partner was already serving time in prison for other deaths at the time). For the two of us, the pain of families in Paris, Beirut, Syria, and many other places in the world torn by political violence is not abstract.
Later, you’ll be glad you didn’t kill your children
In the final few years of my mother’s life (she died in 2008) I was living across the country, but visited her three times a year. Inevitably, at some point in these visits, we would go out to dinner, or be waiting for a bus, and my mother would end a lull in the conversation by saying, “I saw that story on the news about that woman who killed her children… it reminds me of when you were little.” Yeah, that’s as uncomfortable to hear as it sounds (especially the first time). And it was also the kind of thing that I couldn’t help but ask her more about.
Pleading for a father’s life after a mother’s murder
I felt such a sense of horror when I read about a 14-year old girl who petitioned the state of Missouri asking them not to execute her father for the gruesome murder of her mother and sister. Her petition was turned down, and the state executed Richard Strong this week. The state willfully orphaned her, saying that this is what “justice” looked like, with the vocal support of some of her relatives. It’s like a scene from some movie about a king or queen executing a peasant to show how powerful he is, and a child begging for mercy to no avail. Except that this is real.
“Criminals,” “Illegals,” “Terrorists” and #AllLivesMatter
My heart broke just a little bit more every time I saw the reactionary #AllLivesMatter hashtag. Because mostly, white people were using it as a rude rebuke to undermine the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. That’s sad on so many levels. And of course, all lives do matter, so I think we should take over the #AllLivesMatter hashtag, […]
I think I’m a resident of the Capitol
The first time I saw an ad in the subway for the movie Mockingjay, my first thought was, “oooh… should I put that date in my calendar?” It’s an unusual thought for me about a movie opening. I don’t make it to the movie theater that often, but I LOVED the Hunger Games books. The movies based […]
Yes, go somewhere and read the names of people killed in Gaza
On Tuesday, I went with my wife Dana to one of the actions calling for an end to the violence in Gaza organized by “If Not Now,” a Jewish group here in NYC. I wanted to thank them, and also encourage everyone I know, Jews and non-Jews alike, to participate in their events if you’re in […]