Century Marks

Century Marks

Peace efforts

Former President Jimmy Carter thinks it was a mistake for the U.S. to veto the bid in the United Nations for Palestinian statehood. He argued that President Obama could make good on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize by backing the move for Palestinian statehood (Haaretz, October 6).

Old immigration story

Benjamin Franklin's freethinking ways didn't include tolerance for other ethnic groups, especially German immigrants. He wondered why "Palatine Boors [that is, Germans] be suffered to swarm into our settlements, and be herding together [to] establish their languages and manners to exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of us Anglifying them, and will never adopt our language [or] customs, any more than they can acquire our complexion" (John Fea, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? Westminster John Knox).

Selfless prayer

Gabrielle Apollon, whose mother emigrated from Haiti to Canada as a child, was in Haiti when the earthquake struck in January 2010. She quickly became involved in treating the wounded. With few supplies and no medical training, Apollon couldn't do much. Instead, she tried to comfort the wounded by holding their hands, singing to them and praying for them. When she asked 14-year-old Emmanuella if she would like to pray, Emmanuella volunteered to pray first for Apollon. Barely mentioning her own pain, Emmanuella prayed that God would be able to use Apollon and herself too. "God sent you here to be with me," she told Apollon (Dissent, Summer).

Cardinal prophecy

In March 2003, Pope John Paul II sent a letter to President George W. Bush trying to discourage him from invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The letter was delivered in person by Cardinal Pio Laghi, a Bush family friend. President Bush, without opening the letter, set it on a table and launched into a defense of war against Iraq, saying he believed it was God's will. The cardinal told the president three things would happen if Iraq were invaded: it would cause many deaths and injuries on both sides; a civil war would ensue; and the U.S. would have difficulty extricating itself from the war (Vatican Insider, September 30).

Immigrant entrepreneur

Here is a headline you may not have seen: "Steve Jobs Dies: He Was the Most Famous Arab in the World." The father of the innovative head of Apple was from Syria. Jobs's parents, who weren't married, gave him up for adoption. Despite the political unrest plaguing Syria, many Syrians celebrated Jobs's accomplishments when he died. One Syrian admitted: "I think that if he had lived in Syria, he would not have been able to achieve any of this, or else he would have chosen to leave Syria" (The Lede, New York Times, October 6).