Pipe bombs sent from Florida, the killings in Pittsburgh and Trump

They are related.

The culprits acted alone but the president’s rhetoric stirred them.

And yet Mr Trump is unable to acknowledge it.

He has denounced the violence but not owned up to his role.

He knows that there are unstable people that don’t need much to be tipped over

Into ghastly acts.

He knows that.

And yet, he keeps broadcasting his message of hatred and rancor.

That a president is elected to govern all Americans doesn’t sink in

And we’re already two years into his tenure.

The experience of being in the Oval office,

Of being the president of the United States,

Not the president of his base,

Does not sink in.

And so he is the burden that we must carry as a nation,

Until we have another chance to go to the polls.

I had hoped that he would have evolved,

That from his lofty position,

Seeing the entirety of our country,

He would have relinquished his extremist views,

But he has not done so.

I fear now,

That he’s incapable of it.

Jamal Khashoggi – Contributing in Life and in Death.


Recep Erdogan, Turkey’s president, moved boldly to expose details of the murder that took place on October 2nd in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Whatever his motivation, whether to regain favor with America, block Saudi Arabia’s ascendancy in the region, avoid a fine for Iran related sanctions, repair Turkey’s international image in the face of its own abuses against journalists and dissidents or all of the above – the information Erdogan provided has been crucial.

The Saudi prince has yet to answer for it.

Innocent until proven guilty? Agreed.

But so far, the kingdom’s account of the events – the delay and contradictions – points strongly in the direction of culpability. That killing a high profile person like Khashoggi would be carried out without the prince’s consent, as Saudi officials have claimed, is absurd.

The prince may have had a modernist streak – allowing women to drive and its citizens to go to the cinema – but all the while he’s jailed journalists and a prominent woman dissident.

A modernist streak does not make a modern leader.

One can surmise that the prince’s upbringing did not prepare him for the task of an enlightened statesman, that he grew up in a gilded cage even as he travelled the world and met with foreign leaders and dignitaries. Despite all of those interactions, some basic attitudes were not modified. In the clash between the old and the new, the old prevailed.

The long history of despotism and oppression that is at the center of Saudi history remained intact.

Turkey’s president has now indicated that in the next day or two he will have even more information about the details of the crime.

Were the evidence conclusive to prove that the prince masterminded the operation, should the US do a dance with him and let him get away with it?

Mr Khashoggi had chosen to come to our land because he felt safe here to continue to speak against the ruthless leaders in his native Saudi Arabia.
He must be defended and spoken for.

Are we worried that Saudi Arabia will seek other alliances if we put pressure on them?

Go right ahead and see where you can find a new partner. Try Russia or China.

If you want to be on this side there are standards to live by and that means transparency.

For America to give the prince a pass is a disservice to the people of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. Emerging nations pulling from under the chains of tyrants need help.

Whereas we have limits on what we can do with Putin and his gross disregard for human life, we can and should put pressure on the Saudis to put the prince on trial or levy sanctions accordingly.

There will be calls from some quarters to excuse the prince for fear of hindering their continued purchase of American weapons.

But this is a defining moment and standing by Mr Khashoggi will be standing by the people of Saudi Arabia.

To not do so diminishes and corrupts us.

Excuse the prince now and we will do so again later.

The Saudi people are watching.

Tunisia was the only country left embracing democracy after the Arab spring in 2011, but new movements are afoot, even if we’ve not yet heard of them. How can they not?

Man and woman will be muzzled and killed, but the yearning for freedom will never be stopped.

When the time comes the Saudi people will emerge to form a fairer government.

Sometime in the future, repression or no repression, the monarchy will be deposed.

And Jamal Khashoggi will be there at the heart of such movement, along with so many others whose lives have been trampled and cut short, but whose spirits will never die.

Let America be by his side till that day.


What’s happened in our land?


What’s happened in our land

That we have stopped talking to each other

Choosing not to listen,

And quick to judge and blame?


What’s happened in our land

That we allow others to sow

Seeds of distrust and hatred,

So a group comes to think

It owns the truth and the rest are blind to it?


What’s happened in our land

That we seem unable to pause and ponder,

Look inside ourselves

Reach out and parley

Without cursing

Without threatening.


Truth is neither yours nor mine

No one owns it

It owns us.

It doesn’t lie within you or me

But between us

Revealing itself when there’s a will

To bridge the gap,

A will to listen

And be listened to

So we both are counted.


To hate is to fear


Fearful minds cannot build bridges

To help us see that we are and have always been

In our brothers and sisters,

As they are and have always been

In us.


But face our fear and we will find the strength

To reach across,

Face it not

And we will see enemies where there are none

And the promise that was our country

Will be lost.


So let us take heart and dare to reflect

And ask,

Am I not in my brother and sister as they are in me?


Let us take heart and seek to understand,

And when we do

Truth will reveal itself

In the embrace

Of our brother and our sister,

No matter what they have done,

where they have been,

what color their skin.


And if our brother and sister can be more than they are now

Then, in the embrace,

They will be more,

And if they cannot be more

Then they will be more as they are,

For in the embrace there will be peace,

For you and for me

And a better chance to be all we can be.


Will it happen in our land?





Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford


It comes down to this: should a premeditated sexual assault by a 17 year old boy on a 15 year old girl be held against him as he aspires to be a supreme court justice?

Mr Kavanaugh tells us he was first in his class, which should translate into an awareness of the consequences of behavior.

On the other hand we can say, by way of mitigation, that at 17 he was still developing.

But regardless, to plan and carry out such an assault, with the aid of an accomplice, is a criminal act.

Dr Ford has had to live with the consequences of the assault while her attacker went on his merry way.

And yet, never, in all the intervening years, did the man make an effort to reach out to his victim.

Never, did he reach out to apologize to her.

Never, did he write a note to her saying, ‘May you allow me to speak to you, to discuss that incident, for it may help you heal’.

Why didn’t that occur to a man entrusted with deciding the fate of others?

Judge Kavanaugh has had years and years to ponder the matter.

Years and years of knowing that his victim’s suffering would be the price of his crime.

But he did nothing.

He could have chosen to make amends but did not.

I suppose he thought he could be excused, for Dr Ford was just a girl.

What kind of judge does that thinking make?

On Friday, September 28th, in front of the whole nation, he dared carry on, with the support and incitement of the Republican – male – political establishment, as when he spoke of having told his daughter to ‘pray for the woman’, as if Dr Ford were a liar, a deranged woman putting herself on the spot and baring out her personal pain, as part of a scheming ploy by the democrats to block the nomination of such an exemplar of fairness in America.

No. It won’t do.

That the simplicity of Dr Ford’s statements contrasts with the fake emotions of Mr Kavanaugh’s, is unequivocal.

That those choosing to believe the judge expose deep prejudices against women and thus devalue them, is undeniable.

What then?

Is it not the task of real leaders to confront themselves, and publicly acknowledge that they harbor such prejudices and how their holding them taint their judgments?

Should we not expect that of a judge, let alone a candidate for the supreme court of the land?

We didn’t see that on the floor of the Senate this Friday the 28th of September.

Instead, we saw angry denials by Mr Kavanaugh and over the top denunciations in his defense by Senator Graham.

Sadly, odds are that the Republican majority in a male dominated Senate will ignore the evidence and vote to confirm Mr Kavanaugh. But such action will not be forgotten.

American women, in their relentless march for acknowledgment and respect, will not be daunted. They have had to fight for the right to be educated, for the right to vote, the right to equal pay, the right for control of their bodies, and in every instance it has been men opposing them and wishing to suppress them.

But women will not be stopped.

Today they represent a mere 23 % of Senators and 19.3 % in the House of Representatives, but tomorrow will tell another story.

And when power parity is finally achieved, for it will and sooner than we think, women will then make possible the fullness of America’s potential. And our country will be healthier, more open, more thoughtful and more productive.

I cannot wait.






Surely a case can be made for restricted immigration, for the careful disbursement of benefits to the newcomer, for gradualism in the acceptance of those who are different. But a strong case can be made also, that the immigrant enriches the host, bringing new grey matter and strong backs to the mix, challenging the host’s perceptions and broadening his views.

From a culinary standpoint alone, would you rather sample from the world’s dishes, or stick to meat and potatoes? Why, even pizza is an import.

It is no accident that America’s leading position in the world coincides with an openness to the foreigner that is unmatched by other nations. And though this sentiment has fluctuated through the years, inclusivity has more than repaid its costs.

That the current occupant of the White House is closed to that truth, does not alter it. The man went into denial for electoral reasons. After all, he has married two immigrants, and I venture that if a Muslim beauty had crossed his path, he might have married her too.