June 7, 2007
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
I’d meant to focus this column on a Chinese woman whose battle for justice has led the police to arrest her more than 30 times, lock her in an insane asylum, humiliate her sexually, shock her with cattle prods, beat her until she is crippled and, worst of all, take away her young daughter. (more…)
May 30, 2007
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Man, was I wrong about Iran.
I thought this regime was powerful and self-confident, and actually felt strengthened since we destroyed its two main enemies — the Taliban and Saddam. That could not be further from the truth. This Iranian regime is afraid of its shadow. How do I know? It recently arrested a 67-year-old grandmother, whom it accused of trying to bring down the regime by organizing academic conferences! (more…)
Good evening, America. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine: the security, the familiar, the tranquility, repetition. I enjoy them as much as anyone. But in the spirit of mourning over the death of Habeas Corpus, I thought we could mark this occasion by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance, crusades and torture. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They promised you order, they promised you peace, and all they demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Tonight I seek to end that silence to remind this country of what it has forgotten: that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives.
There have been those who have sought to end that silence, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. Let us try to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives.
So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you continue in your slumber. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to wake up and stand beside me for the perspectives that this country was founded upon…
[With thanks to Nanovirus who made some brilliant changes to this speech from V for Vendetta and shared the reasons why this speech applies to US. I made some minor changes to the last two paragraphs]
“Americans United extends its condolences to members of Dr. Falwell’s family, the congregants of Thomas Road Baptist Church and the students and staff of Liberty University.”
Allow me to second that.
The Pentagon will from today ban soldiers serving overseas from using popular video-sharing and social networking websites, claiming they are a security risk.
April 27, 2007
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
I’ve been thinking about China as I read Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Albert Einstein. China isn’t even mentioned in the book — “Einstein: His Life and Universe” — but Mr. Isaacson’s stimulating and provocative retelling of Einstein’s career plays into two very hot debates about China.
First, what does Einstein’s life tell us about the relationship between freedom and creativity? Or to put it bluntly: Can China become as innovative as America, can it dominate the 21st century, as many predict, when China censors Google and maintains tight political controls while establishing its market economy? (more…)
The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom.
December 19, 2006
By ORLANDO PATTERSON
One of the more disquieting aspects of the Iraqi occupation is that the president’s final rationale for it is a cherished, though groundless, liberal belief about freedom. As we now know, the war was motivated less by any real evidence of Iraqi involvement with terrorism than by the neoconservatives’ belief that they could stabilize the Middle East by spreading freedom there. Their erroneous assumption was a relic from the liberal past: the doctrine that freedom is a natural part of the human condition.