Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’

Letter From New York, via the Vineyard 07 02 2016 Lest the past be forgotten…

July 3, 2016

It is not quite the magic hour but it is coming, soon.  Jeffrey has just returned from a sail on his boat, Jinji. 


We’re all gathered now on the veranda, looking out over the harbor.  I’m off to the side, writing, while on the other side of the veranda are gathered Jeffrey and Joyce, her niece Julie and her husband, Mark, and Jim, who keeps his boat at their dock.

Their Bernese Mountain Dogs, are alternatively resting and playing.  At the house next door, the owner has rented it to a large group of twenty somethings, who are having a lovely, loud time.

Here I am ensconced with my evening martini, looking over to Chappaquiddick, most famous, of course, for being the place that ended Teddy Kennedy’s hope for the White House and the life of Mary Jo Koepkne.  One of the more popular books this year has been a book about that tragedy, claiming there was a third passenger.  Sells like hot cakes.

When I arrived, the moorings in the harbor were mostly empty; now they are mostly filled.  The sun is bright and the town has been filled with the young and old, mostly well to do or very rich. Cathy, who works at the bookstore, could not come in this evening.  She also works for the Baroness de Rothschild, who could not live without her this evening.

Edgartown is the place where there is no end of pastel.  Salmon colored pants could not be more in style.  It is heaven for preppies.  If one remembers Lisa Birnbach’s “The Preppy Handbook,” you know what I mean.

Of course, while this particularly well ordered world moves on, while the happy voices from next door punctuate the later afternoon, the world keeps moving on its very sad course.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, IS sent in people to an upscale bakery, taking hostages, twenty of whom died, thirteen of whom were rescued, spreading their terror to more places, not that Bangladesh has been unfree of troubles.  Several liberal writers have been hacked to death with machetes in the country in the last six months.

Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, died today at 87.  He was a “messenger to mankind.”  He would not, and for which we all should be grateful, let the past be passed. 

He said, and may it not be forgotten, “Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.”  It especially resonates now as right wing movements rise in so many countries.  He saw horror and his articulation of that horror made him into a spokesperson many.  He took on President Clinton over what was happening in what had been Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

He was the voice against all genocide.

And now we have an Austria that has ordered a new election which will give the right wing another shot at power.  Here in America, we have to listen to the xenophobic sputtering of The Donald.

It is frightening.  Something like eight European countries have far right movements gaining ground.

It is because we are frightened, terrified of the sweeping changes moving around us, much of it coming from the witnessing of the refugee crisis out the Mideast.

And now I am going to sleep, relatively early for a Saturday night.  Tomorrow I will work late at the bookstore, closing every night this week and then I leave, headed home for a week and then to Minneapolis to see my family.

The world is in a wretched place but we still have friends and family that we hold to deeply.  In the end, no matter what, that is what will keep us going, wherever we are.

Letter From New York 05 11 15 Of glittering sun and charming princes…

May 11, 2015

Today dawned gloriously, bright shiny sunlight came barreling down from the east, casting a disc of yellow/white onto the creek, glinting up at me as I stood on the deck for a moment before heading for the city.

The Hudson looked peaceful as I rolled south on the train, giving no evidence that there had been a fire at Indian Point, the nuclear reactor forty miles north of midtown Manhattan or that oil from there had seeped into the river, causing environmental concerns. Governor Cuomo was there over the weekend, being briefed on the happenings. It makes him and many others nervous about a nuclear plant that close to the city.

Anything nuclear makes me nervous.

For those who have a fond spot for Britain, it may be time to be nervous. While last week’s election has saved the political career of David Cameron it might just herald the beginning of the end for “Great Britain.” The SNP [Scottish National Party] won 56 of 59 seats that Scotland has in Britain’s Parliament. They also are very much in favor of holding another vote about Scotland going its own way from the rest of the United Kingdom [England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland]. Just doesn’t seem right but it could happen.

What does seem right is the idea of a truce in Yemen that is supposed to start tomorrow to allow aid to reach the Yemenis. Fuel resources are almost exhausted and food is scarce. Days ago it was estimated that 80% of Yemenis were going hungry. It’s only become worse since then.

As the time for the truce draws near, the Saudis are deploying a strike force near the Yemen/Saudi border. Trucks carrying tanks have been traveling through the night to take positions. The Houthis say they will honor the truce as long as the Saudis do but if there are infractions they will immediately respond.

One UN official felt five days would not be enough time to get aid to the Yemenis but it is all they have, if they manage to hold the truce for that amount of time.

Secretary of State John Kerry is off to Sochi, Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria, Ukraine and Iran. I wonder what that conversation is going to be like?

In more Washington news, writer Seymour Hersh has written a piece for the London Review of Books claiming that the story of Osama Bin Laden’s death was a lot of bunk and the truth is quite different. Seems he thinks that it was an American/Pakistani conspiracy and that OBL was actually a Pakistani prisoner at the time of the raid and the raid was a cover-up for Pakistan’s involvement.

Pretty far fetched and, like most conspiracy theories, pretty hard to prove.

From The Moscow Times, an English language newspaper in Russia not known for partisanship to Putin, claims that Russian soldiers have, in small numbers, quit the army after being forced to serve in Ukraine.

According to Vladimir Putin, no Russian soldiers are in Ukraine, only volunteers.

While the migrant focus has been on the thousands attempting to cross from Libya to Italy, another migrant drama has been playing out. Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshi immigrants have been rescued at sea attempting to reach Malaysia since Thailand has been cracking down on human trafficking. The Rohingya are not allowed citizenship in Myanmar and as Muslims are a minority in that mostly Buddhist country and have been singled out for ethnic violence. Because of the Thai crackdown, aid workers are concerned that many have been abandoned at sea by their smugglers.

George Zimmerman, he of the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, is back in the news today, having been himself slightly wounded in a road rage incident.

And Tom Brady, Quarterback of the Patriots, has been suspended by the NFL for four games while the Patriots were fined a million dollars and two draft picks in coming years. Seems a slight slap on the wrist though it is almost assured that Brady will appeal his suspension. Ah, Deflategate!

Prince Harry, now fifth in line for the British throne after the birth of his niece, Charlotte, is in New Zealand, learning about the aftereffects of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. By all accounts he is charming the New Zealanders to no end.

And that brings me to the end of today’s Letter From New York. I am about to do a conference call and then see about some dinner. That sounds charming.

Letter From New York 02 31 15 A Day in Delhi…

March 31, 2015

It is relatively mild in Delhi today; rain last night broke the heat. In the morning I am off to Jaipur. If I can swing it, I will go to Goa for a day but so far the flight schedules aren’t accommodating. A friend surfaced there and I’d like to see him before I head back to the States on Sunday.

My friend Raja and I were supposed to go together to his wife’s shop in Delhi but he got caught up in an unexpected shoot and so I hired a car and driver and set off on my own. In the long ago and far away when I first was in Delhi, I would sometimes walk around Connaught Place and so I did again today.

It is largely filled today with international brands. Spread out in three concentric circles, it must have at least three or four McDonald’s. I passed at least three Van Heusen stores, Tommy Hilfiger, Levis, etc.

There were a couple of folks eager to direct me but I didn’t take their suggestions; instead I continued on my walk.

I also went to Diili Haat [I think that’s how it’s spelled], an open market where I got into the spirit of the bazaar and haggled over things I was bringing back as gifts and souvenirs. I also went to one of the Cottage Industries locations and vaguely remembered having been at one before and feeling like it was a bit overpriced. Wonderful rugs but I wasn’t feeling like $8,000 on a rug.

It was a good time, by myself, with Soni, my driver always at the ready. If I don’t get to Goa, I will ask for him again on Friday to take me around to places. In the morning, I am off to Jaipur with my other Delhi friend, Sanjay, and Andy, one of his friends. They have business there and while they do their business, I will sightsee.

I won’t be sightseeing in Bangladesh anytime soon. Another blogger was hacked to death there, in broad daylight, with meat cutting machetes. He was young and anti-Islamist. Three young men cut him down; two are in custody.

Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings pilot who apparently crashed his plane into the Alps, had been treated in the past for suicidal tendencies.

Denmark has agreed to join NATO’s missile defense system with at least one frigate. They agreed to do this last August. This week the Russian Ambassador to Denmark wrote an op-ed piece in a Danish newspaper warning Denmark they risk nuclear attack by Russia for doing so.

That’s the second time in a few weeks that Russia has rattled the nuclear sword.

Still rattled is the State of Indiana. Many of its Republicans simply don’t understand the firestorm that has arrived over their Religious Freedom Act. They are attempting to clarify it and stoutly claim it is not a cover for LGBT discrimination. Utah, that most religious of states, passed a Religious Freedom Act and it specifically provided protection for LGBT individuals.
More to come on this.

It will be interesting to see if there is going to be more tomorrow on the Iranian Nuclear deal. There is a self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight and it appears there are still hurdles to jump, not to mention i’s dotted and t’s crossed. It is mid-afternoon in Lausanne and they will keep talking until midnight, I’m sure. We’ll know tomorrow if the talking produced any kind of deal.

In Nigeria the election for President is coming to a close. It appears current President Jonathan Goodluck is losing. Mostly, the elections were peaceful. Hopefully, peace will be maintained as the results are announced.

Saudi Arabia continues to pound Yemen and says it will continue to do so until the rebels are finished. Iran seems to be sending some help to the rebels, who are Shia, as is Iran.

We now know that Trevor Noah is going to replace Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”

And I know that I am going to go to dinner tonight and then off to Jaipur in the morning. More to come from there…