Letter From New York 10 28 15 Cheery in the middle of swampy mess…

South Sudan. Dinka. Nuer.Cannibalism. Zanzibar. Boko Haram. Obama. Cameroon.  IS.  Caucasus. Iran. Syria. Russia. US. Turkey. Putin.

Outside the day is grey, gloomy, down right dark and definitely chill. My own spirits are quite the opposite. Despite the exterior my interior is quite bright, for no particular reason but I am delighted and grateful for the quiet joy of this dark day. I’m at my friend Todd’s office, doing some work for him and some for myself.

I had a couple of personal errands to do this morning and then I arrived here, an island of warmth and cheer on a dark and rainy day.

Reading about the conflict in South Sudan trumped my cheeriness. There has been violence ranging there for months and the two sides have been brutal. There are tales of the Dinka killing Nuer ruthlessly; sometimes making them jump into bonfires and then forcing people to eat the burnt flesh. There have been rapes, pillaging, burning of churches, all the things that happen when men get fire in their killing bellies.

Further south elections in Zanzibar may explode into violence and across the continent Nigeria has freed approximately 300 women from the Boko Haram.

Obama has sent three hundred soldiers to Cameroon to train soldiers. Africa and the Middle East are riven with Islamic terrorists. Some, like Boko Haram, have sworn allegiance to IS. And everywhere I look it seems we have a muddied response to it.

Iran has now joined the Syrian conversation at the same table with the US, Syria, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, its longtime regional rival. Iranian troops are on the ground in Syria. The Russians are there. The Turks seem to be chasing the Kurds there more than IS. It is a political, ideological swamp and in that swamp millions are displaced and dying.

Putin, who is playing around in Syria, has his own IS problem. There is a ragtag group of rebels in Russia who have declared the Caucasus Emirate and sworn allegiance to IS. Muslim Russians are being recruited by IS, going to fight and are returning. Mostly they are locked up or under police surveillance but the social unrest and economic hardships in that part of Putin’s Empire is making it easier for IS to recruit.

It is a cycle that may be coming around to bite Putin in the back. It’s why he says he is in Syria. Now some of the 7,000 Russians and former citizens of the Soviet Union who are there are trying to slip back into Russia to wreck havoc in retaliation.

Thinking I would get some relief by seeing what was happening in the world of entertainment, I quickly backed off when I kept finding stories about the ubiquitous Kardashians.

Goodness, looking at the world’s stories has tempered the day’s good natured-ness. I will have to get it back.

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