Most of my Twitter feed is in Arabic. I don’t read Arabic. Sometimes I ask my niece to translate, but I try not to impose too often. The men and women I “follow” in the Middle East (and not all of them are Arabs, not all of them are Muslims–some are Copts and Syrian Orthodox–some Berbers, some Turks) captured my attention during the so-called Arab Spring because they know English and therefore were able to give witness via Twitter, for the benefit of the western world, to what was happening across North Africa almost two years ago.
I have kept these men and women at the heart of my Twittter feed as a reminder to myself that they–whatever the frustrations they feel now, whatever their dark impulses, and let me tell you, the anti-Copt sentiment in Egypt even among people we would call liberals runs deep–nevertheless, they are the future. Why? Because by mid-century over half the world population will be Muslim. Why? Because the arc of history for this century, unlike the last, is bending away from secularism and materialism and towards faith. Yes, the Islamic world–whatever that means, for the cultures and countries are various–is grappling with an inheritance of western values–both burdensome and wished-for. But it is they, and not us in the West, and specifically in the (still) remaining one world power the United States, who will define for this new century “liberty” and “human rights.” (more…)
The last time I saw Bill Clinton, in the flesh, I followed him through five campaign stops in one day across South Dakota. The event I often think about–well, I was swinging my legs from an elementary school desk, among a small group of maybe fifty others similarly perched, all of us gathered early in that small Dakota town, the name of which I forget. My takeaway from that morning in June 2008 is twofold: Clinton’s elegiac tone, for he knew this was the end of the road for his wife’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, and yet he did not understand, quite, why. I was the only reporter there. No national reporter of large reputation deigned to follow former President Clinton on the stump for Hillary in 2008. (Reminder: Hillary Clinton did win–too late to matter–the South Dakota primary.)
Bill Clinton’s marathon on behalf of Hillary Clinton–he sometimes made 7 to 9 small town speeches in one day–is lost to history. If I had to do it all over again, assuming the choice could have been mine, I would have concentrated exclusively on following Bill Clinton on his journey. And I would have photographed all those small town events, for that kind of American political campaigning–the front porch speech–historic–has almost passed away. (more…)
On the evening of May 2, 2008, I walked to the back of the press pen in the Cricket Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina, the better to take a phone call from my husband.
Here for the record, and in celebration of our national holiday, is a great piece of journalism from the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa. “Dispatches from the Republican National Convention: Entry 6,” by Dave Weigel, writing for Slate, on August 28.