In 1962, my Harvard social science teacher, Michael Walzer, mentioned in passing, in the run-up to a classroom discussion about the preconditions of the Nazi ascendancy, that one reason the 1918–1919 German revolution—a short-lived sequel to the collapse of the Kaiser’s regime—was doomed was that it did not have a song. Though he recently told me that he doesn’t remember uttering these words, they have stayed with me. I take him to have been referring not to a specifically musical deficiency, but to a more sweeping cultural one—the absence of an animating spirit that crosses boundaries with panache. Such a spirit may be the Holy Grail that idealists seek.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de diciembre de 2007. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
This is part of a series of occasional pieces reflecting on the tumultuous political events of 1968 and their legacy fifty years on.
Commemorations are the greeting cards that a sensation-soaked culture sends out to acknowledge that we, the living, were not born yesterday. So it is with this year’s media reassembly of 1968. What is hard to convey is the texture of shock and panic that seized the world a half-century ago. What is even harder to grasp is that the chief political victor of 1968 was the counter-revolution.
When we fight over the meaning of the past, we are fighting over what, today, we choose to care about.… Seguir leyendo »
When Raqqa fell in 2017, after a long siege by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), it was generally thought that ISIS was defeated, save for some mopping up. But in January of this year, Turkey invaded Afrin—one of three cantons in Rojava, also called the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. This meant that scores of SDF fighters had to leave the battle against ISIS in order to defend their homes, families, and neighbors in Afrin. After extensive air strikes, the city of Afrin fell on March 18—confronting the already troubled region with yet another humanitarian crisis, as thousands fled to escape the Turkish army and its Syrian National Army allies (which include jihadist rebel groups and some fighters who are either openly aligned with al-Qaeda or even recent members of ISIS).… Seguir leyendo »