Letter From New York 05 06 15 One hundred years later…

It was a day in which rain was predicted in New York but with the exception of a few sprinkles this morning, the day was dry – cloudy but dry. I had an early morning meeting and then went to have lunch with a business friend. We worked out that we had both been on a panel at Silver Docs down in Maryland back in the early 2000’s. He had wondered where we had met each other.

I had a good catch-up call in the afternoon with a friend, Bill Graff, who has just been chosen to head up the American end of a Chinese Documentary Festival. I was able to give him some leads for speakers.

Then I went to have dinner with Kevin J Malone, whom I refer to as my nephew. He is not. He is the only child of my oldest friend, Sarah, whom I have known since I was about three. He grew up thinking I was another of Sarah’s siblings and went through a small existential crisis at nine or ten when he realized I was not actually a brother of his mother.

We have had an extraordinary relationship. When I first met him, he was nine months old and was lying on the floor next to another baby, cooing for all the world was worth. He was born happy and has remained happy.

For two and a half years he served in the Peace Corps in Zambia where he met the woman who is now his wife, Michelle. I attended their small but wonderful wedding fifteen months ago in DC, where, right now, Kevin is a cog in the wheels of the American Empire. He works at the intersection of Medicare and Medicaid, striving to make the two systems work together. I can only imagine the difficulties.

Tonight, more than ever, I realized he had grown up. It was marvelous to have witnessed his progression from child to adult, an adult that is intellectual, engaged, striving to do good, with good humor and great grace. He is one of the most remarkable human beings I have had the privilege to encounter.

Returning to the little apartment, I sorted the laundry that had returned and sat down to write today’s Letter From New York.

The world is in its usual shambles. To no great surprise.

Netanyahu has managed to form a coalition at the last possible moment and now must present his plan to the Knesset. It is a fragile coalition and is not expected to last for long but who knows what miracles “Bibi” might pull off.

Britain, too, has elections tomorrow and from all accounts the very active betting markets in Britain are flummoxed by this one. No one has an idea on how it is going to turn out. As my friend Caroline Ely pointed out to me, David Cameron should have had this one in the bag but that’s not what happened. His Conservative Party will probably get the most seats but not enough to form a government on its own.

Horse trading will be happening in the UK as it did in Israel today.

In what is not good news for any of us, the numbers of refugees and internally displaced people has risen to the highest number in a generation. Combined, there are over fifty million people who have had to flee their homes because of violence. The ongoing tragedy of these people is unlike anything seen since the end of World War II.

IS is responsible for many of the displaced persons in the world. In Iraq, over two million have fled them as nearly a million have in Nigeria. Count in the numbers who are displaced in Syria, well that’s at least ten percent of the count. But IS has reopened a five star hotel in Mosul for its commanders so they can relax and recuperate. It is being called the “Hotel Caliphornia or the Shariaton.” Seems out of context with the kind of state the Caliphate seems to be working to form.

Tomorrow is May 7th. One hundred years ago tomorrow the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine. It did not immediately pull the US into World War I but was a contributing factor to the decision to enter the war two years later. Over one hundred Americans perished in the catastrophe out of a total of 1198. “Remember the Lusitania” became a rallying cry in the run up of our involvement in WWI.

Now it is the end of the day and I am headed off to sleep. It’s been a good day if a little disjointed. But aren’t many days like that? Good night.

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