This week I felt like Adele with the keeping up of the turning tables. The twerk video everyone shared turned out to be a HOAX and then an off-the-cuff, pie-in-the-sky, somewhat sarcastic diplomatic suggestion turned out to CHANGE THE WORLD. John Kerry (our post-Hillary Secretary of State) accidentally or “accidentally” (no one’s quite sure how brilliant these guys are) publicly suggested a kooky solution to cool the hotter & hotter talk of US air strikes on Syria: hey, if the bad guy hands over the chemical weapons within a week, no harm no foul. And the bad guy bit! Next thing we knew, Obama was giving a big speech to the American people on the state of Syrian stuff, and amidst laying out his argument for why he wants to police chemical weapons even if he doesn’t want to be “the world’s policeman,” he also gave a shout-out to the fact that thanks to John Kerry’s “gaffe,” we might actually avoid having to get all violent up in that shiz.
Yup, THEN everyone’s favorite Russian leader (with the help of this creepy PR firm) dropped a love/hate letter at the doorstep of The New York Times that we didn’t know quite what to do with. Here and here were two responses. Plus, of course, pondering the complicated concept of “American exceptionalism.”
And a more personal response from a Syrian-American friend of mine in LA, with family in Damascus. He asked to remain anonymous but shared that even staunchly anti-war Syrians living in the US are championing American intervention — “this might sound very simple, but I think it’s personal: because of this dictator’s family they had to leave their homeland.” He tells me that he’s in touch with one family member back in Damascus pretty regularly via Facebook, but that he can’t prompt him to talk about what’s happening because everything is monitored. The economy is shot, though. Tomatoes cost six times what they used to. “The rich have become poor; the poor have become refugees.” Family he doesn’t even know that well are asking for money to flee, and his one message to the rest of us? “People have this perception of the Middle East that it’s all radicals & extremists. Yes, there are idiots like there are idiots everywhere. But most people are genuine and incredibly nice. People are people. Just have compassion for these people.”
Talking about which… my friend Meena “plays” the Egyptian in this video, that went viral this week:
2. You guys, read this essential, epic Esquire article about September 11th, that’s really about the Falling Man — the search to identify who might be in the picture, and the larger search to identify our mass writhings over whether or not to look away.
“A life spent making mistakes in not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
— George Bernard Shaw
- Operation Accidental Diplomacy (dailykos.com)