Posts Tagged ‘Doctors Without Borders’

Letter From New York 10 08 15 From Minneapolis…

October 8, 2015

Speaker of the House. Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders. Russia. Iran. Obama. Putin. Rupert Murdoch and “real blackness.” Paul Prudhomme. Spencer Stone. Sepp Blatter. Svetlana Alexievich.

Letter From New York originates in Minneapolis today, where the sun burst through the sky and it was charming this morning, warm after a light rain last night. But, alas, now the sun has slipped behind dark clouds and rain is threatening.

Tonight I will be having dinner with Jean Cronin Olson, who once, very long ago was a student of mine and in the intervening years, for the most part, we have kept in touch and often when I am in Minneapolis we gather for coffee and a long chat. Tonight it’s dinner at her home with her husband Jon and whatever of her four children will be about.

The idea that my students have adult children is very sobering to me.

Sobering to the Republican Party was the unexpected announcement that Kevin McCarthy, widely thought to be the man who would replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House, was withdrawing his name from consideration. Apparently, he, like Boehner, doesn’t want to content with the forty or so hard to the right, Tea Party Republicans who think they should be running the show.

By all accounts, it’s all rather mad and according to the Washington Post, very much like Neflix’s political drama, “House of Cards.” Now who will be playing Francis Underwood in this real life drama?

President Obama phoned Dr. Joanne Liu, the head of Doctors Without Borders and offered an apology for the bombing of their hospital in Kunduz. At least thirty-three workers are dead. She has acknowledged she “received” the apology but there is no indication that she has accepted it. She wants an independent investigation of the incident.

Russia has been firing missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria. Four of them fell short and landed in rural Iran. I wonder what the Ayatollah thinks about that?

Putin turned 63 and celebrated with a lot of hockey themed events. He and his staff played against a team of professional Russian players. Not so shockingly in today’s Russia, Putin’s team won! Imagine that! And Putin got a gold medal for the most successful shots. Amazing! Is there nothing this man can’t do brilliantly?

He is, in fact, if not in title, Tsar Vladimir of Russia. But let us not forget the brutal end of the last real Tsar. Nicholas II and his family ended in front of a firing squad.

Rupert Murdoch is one of the “Tsars” of global media. He has become infatuated with Ben Carson and tweeted that he wondered what it would be like to have a “real” black President. Rupert has since apologized. As he should.

In the 1990’s the great television gathering called NATPE [National Association of Television Programming Executives] met one year in Las Vegas and the following year in New Orleans. On one of the New Orleans’ excursions I met Paul Prudhomme, the Cajun chef, who passed away today after at short illness at 75. He shot around his restaurant on an electric scooter. He was near his heaviest at the time, weighing well over 550 pounds. It was a good meal.

Spencer Stone, who helped stop a massacre on a French train a few weeks ago, was stabbed in Sacramento early this morning after leaving a nightclub. Seriously wounded, he is expected to survive.

Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, has been suspended. So have a few other senior officials. One wonders who is running the place though one has wondered that even when they were there.

And finally, Svetlana Alexeivich, a writer from Belarus, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. She tells history through the voices of people who lived it. Hats off.

Soon it is time for me to go and get ready for dinner. May yours be good.

Letter From New York 10 04 15 Short, sweet and on the road…

October 4, 2015

Flooding in Cannes. MIPCOM. SNL. Doctors Without Borders. Indianapolis. Making Christianity relevant. Lilly Endowment.

Not much more than an hour ago, I arrived in Indianapolis for the Lilly Website Consultation.  It is designed to help various Lilly Grantees to be more aware of trends happening out there on the wild internet, in an effort them to help him use technology to spread the Christian word.

My client, Odyssey, is one of the grant recipients and so they have asked me to be here along with their CEO, Nick Stuart, who over the last seven years has become a best friend.

There is not much time in the schedule to do much so I am working to get out a brief letter before I need to go to the first of the conference events.

There has been massive flooding in south of France; two months worth of rain fell in a single night.  Sixteen people perished and the beautiful city on the sea is a mess.  It is also the opening of MIPCOM, the huge fall television market.  Opening ceremonies have been cancelled, not out of respect for the dead but because it is logistically impossible.

Saturday Night Live had its 41st season opener last night with Miley Cyrus and Hillary Clinton.  Didn’t see it but the reviews were pretty good.

It was damp and chill when I left New York City this morning.  Here in Indianapolis, the sun is bright and cheery and the war in Syria seems a long way away, which it is physically but it shouldn’t be emotionally distant.  I stop, quickly, and say a prayer for everyone in Syria.

Russian airstrikes are increasing in intensity and in the amount of chaos they are sowing in that ravaged country.

In Kunduz, Afghanistan, Doctors Without Borders, are removing themselves after 19 people were killed in an airstrike at their hospital in the town.

And so it goes…

I’m off to the first conference event, this has been fast and short.

Have good Sunday afternoons and evenings.

Letter From New York 04 08 15 From the heat of Delhi to wearing a winter coat…

April 8, 2015

Outside, it is still grey and chill; I have taken to wearing my winter jacket again, worse luck. It’s also been raining today with my mantra being: April showers bring Mayflowers.

Though, for all the grey, it’s been a very pleasant day. I am not quite so time zone loopy as I was yesterday or the day before. I am a little more centered and not quite so forgetful. I feel good and am looking forward to dinner tonight at the Red Dot, with a group of friends, for whom I have souvenirs of India.

I still almost expect to look out my window and see the vivid amber colors of Jaipur or the greens of Delhi but, instead, am greeted by the muted colors of the Northeast, struggling to come alive in the early days of spring.

There is a glorious freshness to the air I breathe here, clean and sweet with the smell of damp earth. The air in Delhi always has an acrid undertow, not so pungent as my first trips but still residing.

Out in the wide world, from which I feel sheltered here at the cottage, the news is much about the guilty verdicts given to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the Boston bombings of over two years ago. Certainly not unexpected given that his defense admitted guilt in their opening statements; it has, for some, brought some closure, some finality, to the wounds, physical and emotional, that were inflicted that day. Now we will see if he is sentenced to death or if his defense team can save his life.

One of the necessities of life is coffee, so I ran down into Hudson to get some good espresso roast from Olde Hudson. As I went, the radio played an interview with Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of Energy, who ended up playing a big role in the Iranian Nuclear talks. I couldn’t tell from the interview if he was defending the outlined deal or simply reporting on his role. He seemed guileless in the little bit I heard him, very much the scientist and not very much the diplomat.

Last night, as I devoured my fajitas at Coyote Flaco, I saw the video of the South Carolinian shot in the back by a police officer, not quite able to assimilate what I was seeing. The officer has been dismissed and is charged with murder as a result of the video. And tension runs high.

Rand Paul is finishing his first full day of campaigning for President, promising “shocking” revelations about the Clinton Foundation [and Hillary]. In the meantime, it seems many people are looking at him and his candidacy and asking: is this for real?

Certainly for real is the chaos in Yemen. Doctors Without Borders announced that a ship had arrived in Aden with 2.5 tons of medical supplies though no one was sure how they would be unloaded given the situation there. Iran has sent two naval vessels toward Yemen while the Saudis continue bombing. The US is underscoring its support for Saudi Arabia. 100,000 people have fled their homes, seeking refuge from the fighting.

A Pakistani plane has arrived in New Delhi, carrying refugees from Yemen, a gesture that will help the usually frayed relations between those two countries.

The Iraqis are hoping to build on the victory at Tikrit by advancing into Anbar province, the Sunni heartland now mostly under the control of IS. At least that’s what the Anbar province regional council has said. Seems to be a bit of a surprise to the central government.

What is also a surprise but not in debate, is that IS has released more Yazidis. What is unclear is why they’re doing this.

Fighting for cyber security, the US is attempting to deflect attacks on White House and State Department computers, which seem to be coming from Russia. The Russians deny this.

In the UK, the election is “hotting up” as the May election draws closer, with Scotland appearing, quite extraordinarily, to end up playing a pivotal role in what shape the new UK government takes.

I do know the shape of my evening. That dinner out with friends and then gathering together the things that need to go with me to the city in the morning, an early rise and off on the 7:20 train in the morning for a 10:30 meeting.

It feels good to have my body and my mind in the same time zone, almost.