“Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?” asks Ronald S. Lauder. The World Jewish Congress president frames the question in a larger paint-by-numbers argument defending Israel’s assault on Gaza and criticizing the moral instincts of “beautiful celebrities,” reporters, and the U.N. who have not responded adequately to the brutality of Boko Haram and ISIS.
An argument like Lauder's is liable to predictable demands for greater American military involvement in the region. But the silence he names is real.
Memphis is known for blues, barbecue, and kings. Elvis Presley, the "king of rock 'n' roll," shook, rattled, and rolled his way to stardom by drawing from the art of African Americans. He was, arguably, bigger than Jesus before John Lennon made that controversial claim for the Beatles in the 1960s. In that decade, Memphis became infamous for what happened to the preacher King. There to support the sanitation workers strike of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and the legacy of bloodshed continues to haunt the city.
Elvis and Martin are not the only kings of Memphis. There's also the king of kings.
President Obama's speech last night was a strange one. The administration's strategy of speaking out of both sides of its mouth on Syria continues. (This is a narrow, punitive mission...motivated by broad, humanitarian concerns such a mission won't really address.)
Stranger still was the fact that Obama gave the speech at all.
The streets of Damascus are empty. No horns blare, no cars crawl through the narrow streets or crowd the intersections. I’m not darting between cars for a change, and there’s hardly anyone on the street. What’s going on? Where is everybody in this bustling, chaotic city of nearly 6 million? Then I remember: it’s Friday, the Muslim holy day.
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