The Shot Heard Round The World
July 18, 1988
"Here once the embattled farmers stood And fired the shot heard round the world." —Hymn sung at the completion of the Battle Monument, Concord, July 4, 1837 The claim in Emerson's line is expansive. Can it be true that the shot was heard round the world—when there were no satellites, no television, no radio, no telephone? Let us see. It then took from five to six weeks for news to cross the Atlantic.
May 30, 1988
Chernobyl – The workers here called it the Red forest, an ironic political joke and an accurate description. In the months after the explosion at Chernobyl hundreds of acres of pine trees surrounding the power plant reacted to the intense radiation that had showered the area by turning red and slowly dying. All of the trees have been removed now except for one surrounded by red flags. The Nazis to hang Soviet partisans during the war, so it is a shrine and scientists have tried to keep it alive. Nearby that tree workers in huge machines continue to cart away radioactive topsoil.
Who’s Killing Haiti?
February 01, 1988
Andrew Sullivan: A democracy expires.
The Barricades and Beyond
November 09, 1987
Octavio Paz on the Spanish Civil War.
Going to Extremes
September 07, 1987
TODAY CHILE IS careening, quietly and in a carefully planned way, toward the greatest political catastrophe of its history. Within the next year or so, its people will be permitted to decide by plebiscite whether or not to accept a president proposed to them by their ruling military junta.
July 22, 1987
Seoul There's no question that something wonderful happened here on June 29. South Korea's authoritarian government had been expected to concoct the narrowest set of concessions necessary to placate its opposition, stop the rioting, and avoid martial law.
March 09, 1987
The Palace File by Nguyen Tien Hung and Jerrold L. Schecter (Harper & Row, 542 pp., $22.95) The literature on Vietnam, so scant in the 1960s, when it was most needed, is now swelling toward flood tide. Much of what is being produced is either redundant or merely memoiristic; but one can now add The Palace File to the relatively short list of important books on this grim and complicated subject.
Pop Goes Elie Wiesel
November 10, 1986
"I was of course very stunned and grateful, and melancholy," Elie Wiesel told the The New York Times about his initial reaction to winning the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. "I fell back into the mood of Yom Kippur, serious reflection about my parents and grandparents. It me half an hour to get out of it." But when Wiesel finally came to, he told a press conference in New York, "There are no coincidences. If it [winning the prize] happens after Yom Kippur here, then some of my friends and myself have prayed well." Actually, they did a little more than pray.
The Response to Terror
May 05, 1986
In the Middle East, as in much of the world, if a ruler can ward off the assassin’s hand, he need not govern effectively or justly to remain in power. But the career of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi demonstrates that the key to power in a place like Libya is not just brute force. It is the ability to mesmerize the mob. The mob is fickle, easily roused and easily disenchanted. With minimum expectations of what life might otherwise offer in a rationally organized economy and free polity, it feeds on slogans and fantasies.