The Nativity Story’s Christmas card tableau evokes every nativity performance we have ever seen. But there is no triteness, sentimentality or forced piety in it because we have met this couple in the grimy reality of their village, in the crowded streets of Jerusalem and on the rocky paths to Bethlehem. We know that they are carrying out a difficult assignment, and that their hardest work is still ahead: they have to raise this infant to adulthood. Along with the familiar, The Nativity Story delivers unexpected moments that inform and inspire.
In his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter declares that “one of the major goals of my life, while in political office and since I was retired from the White House by the 1980 election, has been to help ensure a lasting peace for Israelis and others in the Middle East.” His book describes the quest of an inquisitive president, one who wants to know what we can do about the Isr
Election season 2006 is over, and we can say goodbye to the negative media ads and stories. Opposing sides fought one another with reckless abandon. Yet they never once thought of turning their struggle into a civil war. So why is the Bush administration claiming that it’s pushing for democracy in the Middle East while it is taking steps that encourage a civil war between Hamas and Fatah?
Dinner would have to wait. Eddie Schmidt and Kirby Dick wanted to interview me in connection with a documentary they were making for the Independent Film Channel (IFC), and Schmidt wanted to discuss the church’s relationship to the film industry. It looked like a promising interview. I should have known better.
During this year’s Montreal World Film Festival, I spoke with Suayip Adlig, a producer of the Iraqi Kurdish film Narcissus Blossom. I liked the picture; it’s one of those little gems that turn up at Montreal in small, out-of-the-way screening rooms in the late afternoon. The film is a gritty, realistic portrait of the U.S.
On July 12, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border separating Israel from Lebanon. They killed several Israeli soldiers and captured two others, spiriting them across the border into Lebanon. Those who want to believe the best about Israel will say that this single action started this summer’s war between Hezbollah and Israel.
"Pay attention: These are our values." That’s what we’re saying when we make decisions about spending money or ask others to spend money on our behalf. For an engaged couple, it all starts with the wedding. Brides magazine reports that the average cost of a wedding today exceeds $19,000.
On the night of June 10, two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen fashioned makeshift ropes from knotted bed sheets, then hanged themselves in their Guantánamo Bay prison cells. Rear Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the prison, reported the deaths and commented: “They are smart, they are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert traveled to Washington in late May to tell President Bush about his plans for Israel’s future. There is no indication that those plans offer a viable solution to the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories caused by the cutoff of funds to the Hamas government. Olmert blames Hamas for the crisis. Former president Jimmy Carter disagrees.
Republican member of Congress Henry J. Hyde opened a budget hearing of the House International Relations Committee on February 16 with a speech he called “Perils of the Golden Theory.” A reporter for National Public Radio called it flowery. I found it to be eloquent and nuanced, with a profundity one rarely encounters at a congressional budget hearing.
John Mearsheimer, an expert in international relations at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, academic dean of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, have issued what United Press International calls “a searing attack on the role and power of Washington’s pro-Israel lobby.” Their study, “The Israel Lobby and U.S.
Congressional leaders from both parties responded quickly to White House approval of a deal that allows Dubai Ports World company, owned by the United Arab Emirates, to control shipping operations in New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, New Jersey, Baltimore and Miami. A few days later, Congress woke up to the reality that corporate takeovers are commonplace in our global economy.
Hamas was formed in 1987 as an Islamist movement in opposition to Israel. It was linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. In spite of its resistance rhetoric, the organization received early covert backing and financial support from Israel.
In Oscar nominee Crash, writer-director Paul Haggis examines the U.S. racial divide in a series of interconnected short dramas that reach a powerful conclusion. It is a painful film to watch because Haggis offers no comfortable side with which the viewer can identify—until, that is, a conclusion provides a note of grace-filled hope. The racial bias of both black and white characters is exposed, leaving everyone culpable. As in many Krzysztof Kieslowski films, there are moments that suggest a transcendent hand is at work.
Newsweek magazine’s cover story “Bush in the Bubble” (December 10) features an image of the president trapped inside a bubble. It’s an insightful story that does not go far enough. It is not just the president who is in a bubble: a substantial number of Americans are floating in a bubble too. For that we can thank the establishment media, including Newsweek.
Signs of hope from Israel and Palestinian are so rare that when two such signs emerge only 48 hours apart, it is time to rejoice. The first sign of hope was well reported. When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stopped in Jerusalem on her way to the Asia-Pacific summit meeting, she was handed a memorandum that prompted her to delay her trip.
Movies shape perceptions. We can read about bombings in London, hostage taking in Amsterdam or moral crises facing a community, but the film artist can create a work that changes how we think about the events that the mass media have presented.
Despite a growing protest movement against the Iraq war, President Bush remains determined to “stay the course.” He offers sympathy to grieving parents, but his attention seems to be elsewhere. So he seemed not to notice the people gathered along the roadside when, on a recent hot August day, his limousine drove past a crowd of Gold Star Mothers and their supporters.
Among the messages of sympathy that poured into London following the July 7 bombings were condolences from the governments of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iran, Turkey—all nations with majority Muslim populations—and at least two Muslim nongovernmental groups: Hamas and Hezbollah.