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The Christian Science Monitor Weekly - April 16, 2018

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APRIL 16, 2018
A group of teens in
rural India take dramatic
steps to improve their
village, demonstrating how
to foster progress in the
developing world.
Story map
Covered in this issue:
Cape Town and Johannesburg, South
Africa; Ciudad Arce, El Salvador;
Fuzhou, China; Leiria, Portugal; Moscow;
Naguabo, Puerto Rico; Réunion Island;
Viluppuram, India; and the US
The girls who took over a town
A group of teens in rural India, tired of do-nothing
men, take dramatic steps to improve their village,
demonstrating how to foster progress in the developing world. BY HOWARD LAFRANCHI
Changes are coming to identification
requirements for residents of the
United States.
China is using some carrots so it’s easier for Taiwanese
to invest, study, and work on the mainland.
APRIL 16, 2018
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APRIL 16, 2018
‘Caravans are heading here.
Must pass tough laws and build the WALL.
Democrats allow open borders, drugs and crime!’
– President Trump, in a tweet April 2, one in a series about US immigration policy and
border security he fired off beginning Easter Sunday. The tweets included threats to
scuttle foreign aid and negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement with
Mexico if it did not halt a group of around 1,200 immigrants, mostly Hondurans fleeing
political violence, that was headed toward the US border. Mr. Trump announced a day
later that he would send the National Guard to the border.
‘He’s trying to paint this as if we are trying
to go ... storm the border.’
– Irineo Mujica, Mexico director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), which organized the refugee caravan and
others in recent years. The caravans, which have taken place around Easter for the past five years, have a dual purpose: to provide safety in numbers and to draw attention to the treacherous journey many migrants face. While the most recent caravan
is larger than previous ones, Mr. Mujica told the BBC that fewer than 100 of the group would try to get to the United States.
By April 3, Mexico had repatriated several hundred back to Central America and were offering refugee status to others who
‘Today, our planet faces increasing
challenges, [including] climate change
and all its implications.’
– Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford (pictured) and president and chief executive officer Jim Hackett in a blog post March 27, explaining why they do not welcome the blanket
rollback of auto emissions standards proposed by Environmental Protection Agency head Scott
Pruitt. Mr. Ford and Mr. Hackett said they instead favor more flexibility in the rules so they could
offer less-costly options. The Obama-era standards aim to have all cars and light trucks sold in the
United States get 50-plus miles per gallon by 2025. California, which has authority to set its own
emissions standards under the Clean Air Act, threatened to sue the EPA over the planned repeal.
‘Let me tell you something: There’s no bigger country
than China, and they just changed the constitution
to give the president an open term, up to life.’
– Imad Eddin Adib, an Egyptian television host, echoing the sentiment among many allies of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi, whose reelection in a landslide victory (97 percent of the vote) was confirmed April 2. The election was widely seen by
outside observers as a sham in which the only other candidate was one of Mr. Sisi’s supporters. Serious challengers had been
jailed or dropped out. Sisi’s backers have been pushing to alter the Constitution to allow Sisi to stay in power beyond his twoterm limit.
‘All the issues that he raised toward the end of his
life are as contemporary now as they were then.’
– Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who has written several books about Martin
Luther King Jr. (pictured), speaking to The New York Times about King’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination on April 4, 1968. Mr. Branch pointed out that Americans generally
focus on King’s earlier efforts, such as his crusade against the segregationist Jim Crow laws in the
US South. Branch points to the deeper – and still current – issues King was tackling just before his
death: income inequality, structural racism and segregation, and wars that drain funds that could
otherwise be spent on a progressive domestic agenda.
APRIL 16, 2018
To improve the world, enlist girls, too
pression of opportunity, possibility, and free will, then those
she most needs is for people to get out of her way.
virtues will be sown more deeply into society, kindling in
Like other girls in her south Indian village, Kousalya was the virtuous cycles that undergird progress.
told to stay at home, marry young, and have lots of babies,
Both of my children were born in India when I was a
staff writer Howard LaFranchi notes in this week’s cover sto- Monitor correspondent there. When my wife was pregnant
ry. If she and a number of her teenage friends had listened, with our daughter, the physician never told us if she was a
her village would have worse sanitation,
boy or a girl because Indian law prohibitfewer library books, and no streetlights.
ed it. In some areas, many female fetuses
Instead, they made a pact: They were going
are aborted.
to make their village better, even if they had
Yet when my wife became pregnant
to do it alone. So they did.
with our son, the attendant couldn’t help
Howard’s story is about women’s rights,
himself. It’s a boy! he blurted out. The
but not in the way that issue is so often portrayed – as a impression was that he thought there was no chance of us
power struggle.
harming a boy, so why not share the good news?
Yes, it is true that women’s rights crucially address a
Female feticide in India can be a coldly economic calhistorical imbalance of power. But perhaps more import- culation. Boys bring wealth. Girls are just mouths to feed
ant, they address an imbalance of opportunity. Expanding and, in some communities, require a dowry (though India
opportunity is the fuel for greater wealth, better health, has officially banned that practice, too). Girls can be seen
and more happiness for all. But how often do we talk about as economic ruin.
women’s rights – or the rights of any group, for that matBut what of Kousalya, who is studying physics and wants
ter – in those terms? With static or shrinking opportunity, to be a college professor? In this case, it seems relatively
societies stagnate. With growing opportunity, they thrum easy to point an accusatory finger at India. But the fact is,
with energy.
opposition to women’s rights worldwide is simply the same
Think about it. By what logic should a society present mistaken premise in other insidious forms. As opportunity,
opportunity to only half its people? With mathematical cer- possibility, and free will are truly shared by all, the world
tainty, that society will be half of what it could be. Without takes quantum leaps forward. As Kousalya says, “We’re
the efforts of a handful of teenage girls, Thennamadevi, making things better not just for girls, but for everybody
India, would be less than it is now.
in our village.”
Surely, at some point, marriage and child-bearing will
come for most of these girls. But when that, too, is an ex- r You can reach me at
APRIL 16, 2018
APRIL 16, 2018
Reacquired Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars sit in a desert near Victorville, Calif., last month. VW has paid more than $7.4 billion to buy
back some 350,000 vehicles, now stored across the United States, which can’t be sold until they are fixed to meet air-quality standards.
In 2015 it was discovered that the cars had illegal software allowing them to cheat on emissions tests. LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS
Teachers challenge GOP austerity
Demands for spending hikes for education on rise in red states
FRANKFORT, KY: Thousands of teachers throng Kentucky’s Capitol building April 2 to rally for increased
funding and to protest changes to their state-funded pension system. Schools were closed.
mass walkout was the catalyst for lawmakers to pass a major revenue bill – the first in
28 years – to raise teacher salaries, which
were among the nation’s lowest. At press
time, teachers were asking for $75 million
more for education before they go back to
Arizona is watching closely: Thousands
of teachers rallied late last month in Phoenix to demand a pay increase. In Kentucky,
schools were shut for two days recently after
a walkout prompted by last-minute changes
to pensions for new teachers.
Teacher activism in red states is challenging the tenets of Republican governance
in which austerity for public employees is
bracketed with tax breaks for businesses.
For Republicans who took statehouses
during the Great Recession, the drive to balance the books doubled as a political assault
on public-sector unions. Gov. Scott Walker,
who swept away collective-bargaining rights
in Wisconsin, said in 2011 that “we can no
A wave of teacher walkouts in Republican-run states from West Virginia to Kentucky to Oklahoma has cast a national spotlight on the states’ tax-and-spend priorities
amid growing public disquiet over funding
for education and other public services.
Teachers have forcefully pressed their
case, at times going further than union
leaders by refusing to settle for less from
– Matt Deen, a schoolteacher in Oklahoma
state lawmakers. In West Virginia, a nineday walkout by 35,000 school employees
led to a March 6 deal that raised salaries
by 5 percent for all state workers and put a
freeze on rising health-insurance premiums.
In Oklahoma, teachers brought their
protest into the Capitol building earlier this
month, closing schools across the state. The
APRIL 16, 2018
longer live in a society where the public
employees are the haves and taxpayers who
foot the bills are the have-nots.”
At the time, many private-sector workers
were feeling the pinch, says Jake Rosenfeld,
a sociologist at Washington University in
St. Louis. “The message was that the public sector had too many perks. That was a
message that found a receptive audience
for some time but seems to be less effective
now,” he says, noting that economically secure voters are more apt to sympathize with
low-paid teachers.
When Matt Deen moved back to Oklahoma from Oregon in 2013 to teach science
at an elementary school in Norman, he and
his wife, also a teacher, took a collective
$15,000 pay cut. That was bad enough, he
says. But the lack of basic materials and the
crowded classrooms – his fifth-grade history
and social studies class has 45 students –
have driven home the challenge of teaching
there. “I have never lived in a state where
I had to buy paper and pens for my class
because the funding wasn’t there,” he says.
Until last month, teachers in Oklahoma
hadn’t seen a raise in a decade. Over that period, enrollment grew by some 50,000, while
inflation-adjusted funding fell 28 percent.
West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky are all right-to-work states that ban
collective bargaining. So when teachers
walk out it is tricky for opponents to say
that sweetheart union contracts are draining state coffers, says Joseph Slater, a law
professor at the University of Toledo. “With
these workers, it’s hard to use that kind of
rhetoric. They aren’t highly paid and don’t
have collective bargaining rights,” he says.
– Simon Montlake and Story Hinckley
Staff writers
To Russians, Putin
has new mantle
A ‘vozhd’ is an ancient, mythic
term for a transcendent leader
MOSCOW – A recent Time magazine cover
features Vladimir Putin with an insouciant
smirk on his face and a tiny imperial crown
on his head. The headline: “Rising Tsar.”
That represents a pretty typical Western
view of the Kremlin leader’s huge reelection
victory last month. Mr. Putin has labored
long and hard to portray himself as a normal, modern president who wins elections
and abides by constitutional rules. Few in
the West are inclined to see him that way.
But Russians, too, seem to increasingly
view their longtime leader as something
much more than a standard politician,
though the image some reach for is not that
of a czar. The word is vozhd, an ancient term
imbued with mythic connotations that signifies a chieftain who stands above history
and embodies the enduring will of a nation.
The term was embraced by Joseph Stalin as the core of his adulatory “personality
cult” but was eschewed by his successors.
The term’s reemergence may be due to
the sense of ongoing crisis brought about by
the confrontation with the West, which began in earnest four years ago with Russia’s
annexation of Crimea. It has escalated ever
SIX MORE YEARS: Russian President Vladimir
Putin speaks to supporters in Moscow just prior to
his reelection by a landslide last month.
since. Even as Putin was being reelected
by his biggest margin ever, a war of words
was raging between Moscow and London
over the attempted murder of former double
agent Sergei Skripal with suspected Russian-made nerve gas.
“Before, he was simply our president,
and it was possible to change him,” tweeted Margarita Simonyan, head of the English-language RT television network, following the election. “Now he is our vozhd.
And we will not let that be changed.”
A similar thought was voiced earlier by
the Kremlin’s then-deputy chief of staff,
Vyacheslav Volodin, as the current EastWest crisis was heating up. “Today there
is no Russia if there is no Putin,” he told an
assembly of Western scholars and journalists in late 2014. “Any attack on Putin is an
attack on Russia.” There is even a current
popular song by the rock group Rabfak
titled “Putin is Our Vozhd.”
As Putin looks to place Russia on a stable
long-term basis when his fourth and likely
final term ends – perhaps by changing the
Constitution to reinvent his political role
– the fact that some of his strongest supporters are adopting the vozhd label must
be a distraction or perhaps a temptation.
Vozhd has benign usages, signifying a
preeminent leader in a field, such as a vozhd
of science or literature. But in the modern
political sense it is inextricably linked with
the mass “personality cult” of Stalin in the
20th century, and its echoes bring back tortured and still very controversial memories
of those times. The Stalinist notion of vozhd
implied an infallible leader, one who navigates the shoals of history on behalf of his
people and who is to be trusted and obeyed.
Though Russians understandably bristle at the comparison, the word is similar
in its meaning, usage, and historical baggage to the German “Führer,” and its return
to political discourse sets off alarm bells.
Ominously, recent opinion polls show that,
for the first time in many decades, Stalin is
viewed positively by a majority of Russians.
“Putin has two dimensions for Russians,”
says Andrei Kolesnikov, an analyst with the
Carnegie Moscow Center. “In one, he is living flesh. He is a politician who manages
the executive branch....
“But the second dimension is as a national symbol. He is the portrait on the wall that
can never be removed. He is an instrument
of self-identification for all Russians. Since
this is essentially an authoritarian regime,
the tendency will always be to view the first
person as vozhd,” he says.
– Fred Weir / Correspondent
Why White House
chafes at the FBI
As past presidents have found,
US top cop goes its own way
The chief of staff was blunt. “The FBI is
not under control,” he said.
The president agreed. They would need
to pressure the bureau to stop its ongoing
investigation. Otherwise the White House
might be implicated. “Play it tough,” the
president said. “That’s the way they play it,
Chinese products (worth as much as $50
billion) on which the Trump administration proposed 25 percent tariffs April 4. China responded with similar duties on major US imports.
Average pay raise (in dollars) Oklahoma
legislators granted to teachers, far short of
the $10,000 they had requested, resulting in
a walkout April 2. More educators have been
demanding higher pay since West Virginia
teachers won a 5 percent raise in March. (See
story, facing page.)
People evacuated from the Damascus suburb
of eastern Ghouta where the Syrian government declared victory over rebels April 1. The
offensive by Syrian and Russian forces, which
killed at least 1,644 people, began Feb. 18.
Recovery funds for Syria put on hold by
President Trump March 30. The money was
earmarked for rebuilding key infrastructure.
Dollars per share that the world’s largest music streaming service, Spotify, began trading at
on the New York Stock Exchange April 3, giving
the company a valuation of $29.5 billion.
Length (in meters) of Chinese space station
Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace 1), which burned
up upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere over the
South Pacific April 2.
Buzzer beaters Notre Dame women’s basketball guard Arike Ogunbowale hit to win
the final two games of March Madness – the
semifinal and the championship game.
Number of colleges that offered full scholarships to Texas senior Micheal Brown of Lamar
High School in Houston, including Harvard,
Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Georgetown.
Sources: Reuters, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The
Associated Press, The Verge, The Guardian, NPR, ABC News
APRIL 16, 2018
and that’s the way we are going to play it.”
No, this isn’t Chief of Staff John Kelly
and President Trump talking about special
counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into
Russian election hacking. It’s Chief of Staff
H.R. Haldeman and President Richard Nixon in 1972, trying to shut down the FBI’s
Watergate investigation.
This is not to compare the two probes.
There’s no public evidence that Mr. Trump
is connected to any collusion with Russia
to influence the 2016 vote.
The point is that presidents have long
wanted to put the nation’s top cop “under control.” Nixon was far from the first.
Trump is not likely to be the last.
The modern FBI is maddeningly independent. On paper, the president may be
its boss. In reality, cabinet secretaries, congressional committees, and the permanent
bureaucracy have a big say in its actions.
Bureau directors have become much more
guarded against political interference.
FBI independence may not have been
what Trump expected. At a dinner shortly
after his inauguration, Trump asked thenFBI Director James Comey for “loyalty,” Mr.
Comey told a June 2017 Senate hearing.
Trump later asked the FBI to go easy on
Michael Flynn after his dismissal as national
security adviser, Comey says.
Trump disputes Comey’s description of
these conversations, saying they are “lies.”
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.
PEOPLE IN MEMPHIS, TENN., HOLD SIGNS similar to those carried by striking sanitation workers there 50 years ago to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr. April 4. King was in Memphis to support the strike when he was shot.
bad faith. The top Democrat on the Intelligence panel, Rep. Adam Schiff of California,
drew up his own lengthy paper meant to
rebut the chairman’s charges.
For FBI agents this situation can’t be
comfortable. The president is charging
that they’re the heart of some kind of “deep
state” conspiracy to control US politics.
Given the type of people who work at
the FBI and what they do, though, the impact here can be overstated, says one 16year veteran of federal law enforcement.
Agents are mostly interested in spending
their 10-hour workday trying to solve their
own cases, he says.
“They don’t worry that much about the
drama that is going on in D.C.... They’re all
big boys and girls,” says Michael German,
who specialized in domestic terrorism and
covert operations at the FBI.
“They realize they are involved in important matters that are newsworthy and can
be used by politicians to either raise them
up or lower them down,” Mr. German says.
What about the broader voting public?
That’s likely the real target for the president
and his allies, after all. By denigrating Mr.
Mueller and the FBI and Justice Department, experts say Trump is likely attempting to soften the impact of eventual Russia
probe findings while pushing to cut the
probe short. Continued assertions that the
investigation is a “witch hunt” might even
prepare the way for firing Mueller himself.
– Peter Grier / Staff writer
– Michael German, former FBI terrorism expert
Since then the president has continued to
publicly attack the FBI. Comey, fired as FBI
chief on May 9 last year, is now “lying James
Comey” on Trump’s Twitter feed. The recent
dismissal of deputy FBI Director Andrew
McCabe for alleged lack of candor in an
inspector general investigation was “a great
day for Democracy,” said a Trump tweet.
A cabal of corrupt FBI officials concocted
the investigation into Russian meddling in
the US electoral process as a way to keep
Donald Trump out of the White House,
claim the president and some congressional
allies. That was the theme underlying much
of the so-called Nunes memo, produced by
Rep. Devin Nunes (R) of California, chairman of the House Select Committee on
Intelligence, earlier this year.
The FBI has said it has “grave concerns”
about the accuracy of the Nunes memo and
its bias charges. House Democrats have
claimed that the memo cherry-picks bits
of evidence and is misleading to the point of
APRIL 16, 2018
For many, she was
the true leader
In South Africa, Ms. Mandela
leaves a controversial legacy
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – As South African universities erupted in protests over the
rising cost of tuition in late 2015, it was hard
not to see the echoes of the country’s past
in the young demonstrators’ raised fists and
fearless clashes with authority. And the students themselves took that history to heart,
conjuring up the names of the liberation
heroes who inspired their fight.
It was people like Mandela, they said,
who taught them that the world doesn’t always bend toward justice; sometimes you
have to twist it that way yourself.
But the students’ Mandela wasn’t Nelson,
the peacemaker and father of their “Rainbow nation.” It was Winnie, the unapologetically angry activist to whom he was once
married, who bluntly told South Africans
that she believed their beloved story of racial
reconciliation was a fiction.
“To me, it was a myth from the beginning,” she told a reporter last year. “The
rainbow color does not have black.... So it
was really a facade that we were totally free.
We are not.”
Among young South Africans, who had
grown up in an increasingly unequal society,
statements like that held deep resonance.
At Wits University in Johannesburg, student protesters waved signs proclaiming
themselves “Children of Winnie,” and at
Stellenbosch University near Cape Town,
– Sithembile Mbete, University of Pretoria
activists renamed the campus administration building “Winnie Mandela House.”
For those students and many others,
Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe MadikizelaMandela, who died April 2 in Johannesburg,
embodied both the rage of being a black
South African under apartheid and the biting disappointment, for many, of being a
black South African after it.
Unlike Nelson Mandela, from whom she
was divorced in 1996, Madikizela-Mandela
remained publicly bitter about South Africa’s dark history and the shadow it cast
over the country’s present. Meanwhile, she
openly and repeatedly refused the roles that
same history tried to cast her in – as the
mother of a nation, as the moral compass
of a liberation struggle, and, finally, as an
aging hero quietly fading into the past.
“She was independent. She spoke her
mind. She wasn’t scared of anything or
anyone,” says Sithembile Mbete, a political scientist at the University of Pretoria.
“In a South Africa where black women are
the lowest rung on the hierarchy, she defied
white supremacy and white patriarchy, but
also black patriarchy, too.”
Mr. Mandela’s shadow she was not. She
was already an activist when, in 1957, she
met a young lawyer with kind eyes and fiery politics at a bus stop. Their whirlwind
romance was built on a shared passion
for revolution. But in 1964, Mandela was
sentenced to life in jail for conspiring to
overthrow the apartheid government, leaving Madikizela-Mandela alone to carry on
their fight.
LEADER: Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (r.) arrives
at a conference for South Africa’s ruling African
National Congress in Johannesburg, Dec. 16, 2017.
Mandela faded into an anti-apartheid
symbol. “Ma Winnie” was its living embodiment. She was broadcast again and again
into the world’s living rooms, giving impassioned speeches and tussling with police.
In May 1969, she was dragged from
the home she shared with her two young
daughters and spent 491 days in solitary
confinement. That was “what changed me,
what brutalized me so much that I knew
what it is to hate,” she wrote in a memoir.
Later, she spent nearly a decade confined
in a distant rural township.
When she returned to Johannesburg in
1985, her frustration was palpable. Three
years later, a group of violent vigilantes
who served as her informal bodyguards
murdered a 14-year-old activist named
Stompie Moeketsi, who they claimed was
an informer. She denied responsibility, but
was convicted of kidnapping. Her sentence
was later reduced to a fine.
When her husband finally emerged from
prison in 1990, they clasped hands as they
marched, fists raised. But the chasm between the lives they had led over the preceding 27 years quickly became evident.
As he preached the need for reconciliation and dialogue, she told a US talk show
host she was ready to “go back to the bush
and take up arms” if government talks
soured. The two split two years later.
– Ryan Lenora Brown / Staff writer
DC DECODER u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u u
Why Trump’s nuclear negotiations raise concerns
With two nuclear-proliferation standoffs
looming with North Korea and Iran, a reality
check is timely. Career policy experts – the
often unheralded men and women who
practice old-fashioned, nuts-and-bolts
diplomacy, whether in the State Department or Defense Department, the National
Security Council or the CIA – have been
denigrated of late by some of President
Trump’s most vocal cheerleaders, referred
to as “deep state,” and depicted as somehow
plotting to frustrate Mr. Trump.
Many policy experts spend years studying the countries in which they specialize.
They rely on a core assumption: that every
major decision by the United States or other
countries is likely to cause counteractions
and carry consequences.
That explains why many are worried
about the next two months. They agree
with Trump’s policy aim: to rein in the
dangers posed by an oppressive, aggressive
dictatorship in Pyongyang and by an increasingly well-armed, expansionist regime
in Tehran. What unsettles them is the lack of
attention they feel is being paid to potential
implications and complications.
If all goes according to plan, Trump will
soon become the first US president to meet
with a North Korean leader. Trump seems
confident that his success in tightening
international sanctions and his hints at
US military action, along with his own
negotiating experience as a businessman,
will deliver a summit deal leading to North
Korea’s nuclear disarmament.
That would be a truly historic accomplishment. The concern among the policy
experts is that there has been so little of the
kind of diplomatic spadework that has led
to past breakthroughs on similarly complex
issues, for instance, President Richard
Nixon’s 1972 opening to China. Only two
leaders will be at the upcoming summit. But
the interests and influence of South Korea,
Japan, and China must also be considered.
The concerns over Iran involve ripples
and repercussions of a different sort. Trump
has indicated that the 2015 agreement to
put Iran’s nuclear program on hold will have
to be hugely strengthened by May 12 or
the US will pull out. Yet Russia and China
are signatories. So are Britain, Germany, and
France – and the European Union. They’ve
all signaled opposition to withdrawing.
Add to that this concern: Is US credibility
in negotiating denuclearization with Kim
Jong-un hurt by the threats to undo the Iran
– Ned Temko / Correspondent
APRIL 16, 2018
A COMPLICATED HISTORY: Willa Boezak, a Khoi San scholar and activist, speaks in his home in Cape
Town, South Africa, about the Afrikaans language, which he argues is worth preserving.
A more complex
view of Afrikaans
Supporters argue the language
was born of a blend of cultures
When a wave of
student protests began crashing over South
Africa’s universities in mid-2015, it didn’t
take long to reach the doors of Stellenbosch
University. A stately campus nestled in the
mountains near Cape Town, with a student
body that was 60 percent white in a country
where 9 in 10 people are not, “Stellies” was
an obvious target for students angry with
the educational status quo.
And its protesters had one grievance in
particular: language.
“Being taught in Afrikaans, going to
class and not understanding – these have all
been part of how Stellenbosch has excluded me as a black student,” a PhD student
named Mwabisa Makaluza explained to a
South African paper at the time, referring
to the local language that was heavily used
by the apartheid government.
The implication was clear: Afrikaans
was for white people. But Willa Boezak
didn’t see it that way. It’s crazy what apartheid did to us, Dr. Boezak, a minister and
activist for South Africa’s Khoikhoi indigenous community, says he remembers
thinking. It made us believe that white
people invented Afrikaans and that it’s
their language. The Dutch-based creole,
he knew, wasn’t simply made up by white
people. It emerged in the collision between
Europeans, slaves, and indigenous people
in Southern Africa beginning in the 17th
Though most of Afrikaans’s vocabulary
still came from the Netherlands, that wasn’t
true of the people using it. In the mid-19th
century, Muslim communities in the region
became the first to write down the new language, using Arabic script and teaching it
in their madrassas, or religious schools.
Of course, Afrikaans was the language
of white power in South Africa for a long
time. But it was never just that, say the
language’s supporters. It has a history as
vast – not to mention as diverse, as violent,
– Janine Van Rooy-Overmeyer, singer and poet
and as brazenly creative – as South Africa
itself. And reclaiming that history isn’t just
about making good on the blind spots of
the past. It’s also about giving millions of
South Africans reason to take pride in how
they talk today.
“I wanted to feel proud to speak my
mother tongue – the language I dream in,
the language I heard in the womb,” says
Janine Van Rooy-Overmeyer, better known
as the singer, poet, and cultural activist
Blaq Pearl. “Once I embraced where the
language came from, I started to feel liberated speaking it.”
APRIL 16, 2018
When Ms. Van Rooy-Overmeyer began
her career as Blaq Pearl, she often sang
and performed in English “because we
were taught to see our own language as
inferior.” But that began to change in 2010,
when she was invited to perform in a stage
production called “Afrikaaps” – the name of
the dialect of Afrikaans spoken in so-called
coloured communities in the Western Cape.
The reaction to “Afrikaaps” was electric,
Van Rooy-Overmeyer says. For many in her
audiences, it was the first time they had
heard Cape Afrikaans used so reverently.
And for her, “it sparked a shift inside of
Like the majority of the 7 million South
Africans whose first language is Afrikaans,
Van Rooy-Overmeyer comes from a group
of South Africans classified under apartheid as “coloured” – still a commonly used
term today. Though she says she does not
personally relate to the category, the term
has long been a blanket description here
for people of mixed race descended from
indigenous Khoikhoi and San communities, Southeast Asian slaves, Europeans,
and other African communities.
Reclaiming history in contemporary
South Africa is no simple task. In recent
years, Afrikaans has become the flashpoint
for conflict at schools and universities
across the country, largely used as shorthand for South Africa’s lingering remnants
of apartheid. (On average, white South Africans still earn nearly five times as much as
black South Africans and more than twice
as much as coloured South Africans.)
Julius Malema, leader of the leftist
opposition party the Economic Freedom
Fighters, asserted last year that he “strongly
believe[s] Afrikaans is being used to perpetuate white supremacy in South Africa.”
Others argue that it is simply a minority
language – taught in fewer schools, and to
fewer students, than English – and doesn’t
deserve the prominence it’s historically
been afforded in South African society.
The view that Afrikaans is the language of white power in South Africa has
left many coloured and other black Afrikaans-speakers feeling marginalized, they
say, even if they understand the roots of the
complaint. “This was the stupidity of apartheid – forcing Afrikaans on people” and
making the language feel like their enemy,
Boezak says. But for him and many others,
it’s still a language worth preserving.
“When I perform in Afrikaans it really
captures the essence of what I want to say
– my culture, my identity,” says Van RooyOvermeyer. “It captures my pride in who I
am, which is something I want to share.”
– Ryan Lenora Brown / Staff writer
(Very) slow gains
in the war on bias
Despite bright spots, equity
still eludes women scientists
BOULDER, COLO. – Once, when Alison Coil
was on a grant review panel, two applications came in from people at similar
points in their career on similar topics.
One was from a white male, the other
from a woman of color.
Dr. Coil, an astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, says that
while the women on the panel generally
liked the female applicant’s proposal, one
man called it “too ambitious.” The woman
didn’t get the funding.
“All it takes, when funding is scarce,
is one person raising one concern to
knock someone out of first place,” says
Coil, who was particularly disturbed
at the fraught stereotypes involved in
dismissing a woman of color for being
With movements like #MeToo and
#EqualPay putting fresh attention on how
women fare in US workplaces, gender equity is getting renewed attention in a wide
WOMAN’S WORK: Scientists analyze DNA
at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
range of fields. In the sciences, in which
women hold between 10 and 20 percent
of jobs in some disciplines, there’s been a
growing recognition – backed by numerous studies – of the biases and barriers
that can hinder women’s advancement.
As awareness and attention have increased, so, too, have efforts to address
not just sexual harassment, but also the
subtle but deeply entrenched ways in
which women – and minorities – find
their work devalued.
“The gender biases that pervade all of
society can be especially extreme in all
fields of endeavor where brilliance is the
main idea,” says Risa Wechsler, a cosmologist at Stanford University. Dr. Wechsler
cites a 2015 study in which practitioners
in different fields were asked whether intrinsic ability or hard work was required
for success. “The more brilliant you think
you have to be, the more the field is populated by white guys,” she says.
A big frustration, say many women
scientists who have been involved in efforts to fight biases, is the unwillingness
on the part of many men to acknowledge
the problem. And almost every woman
scientist has had to contend with the
widespread notion that she must have
been hired mostly because of her gender.
But as awareness increases, things are
– Jane Zelikova, ecologist
also starting to change, some women say
– maybe not broadly, but in pockets and
bright spots at a range of institutions.
At the University of Michigan, many
faculty are now required to take workshops on unconscious bias. Among other
things, search committees there now try
to set out a specific list of what they’re
looking for and what they want to prioritize before looking at applications.
More science departments around the
country are taking a hard look at how
they evaluate applications and grants and
making sure they don’t just solicit a token
woman or minority applicant but have a
significant number.
The Hubble Space Telescope has started randomizing its application review
process for people to use the telescope,
changing the order of names so that it’s
not clear who the principal investigator is
and using initials rather than first names.
After the 2016 election, a number
of women came together to form “500
Women Scientists” – a grass-roots group
whose initial goal was to get 500 signatures to an open letter reaffirming their
commitment to speaking up for science
as well as underrepresented groups. They
passed that goal within hours, after more
than 20,000 women signed.
“Change that is sustainable and sticks
takes a long time,” says Jane Zelikova,
one of the co-founders of “500 Women
Scientists,” who says she oscillates between being angry and being optimistic.
“It’s a slow process.”
– Amanda Paulson / Staff writer
meanwhile in ...
RÉUNION ISLAND, on a beach where sea
turtles were once hunted and then bred commercially, there is now a turtle sanctuary.
Kélonia was founded in 1994 to care for and
protect the giant creatures (they can weigh as
much as 1,500 pounds), which are among the
most ancient on earth. Until fairly recently,
sea turtles were hunted for their meat and
perceived medicinal properties. Today it is
illegal in many countries to hunt sea turtles,
but they remain at risk because of the rapid
shrinking of their native habitats and natural
breeding grounds. Réunion Island, a French
territory off the eastern coast of Southern
Africa, lies in the Mozambique Channel,
home to five of the remaining seven species
of sea turtles.
of League Collegiate Outfitters have to go to
school if they want to keep their jobs. The
T-shirt-making company, which employs exgang members, people with disabilities, and
others who have struggled to find jobs, offers
mandatory high school courses to any of its
550 employees who haven’t graduated. The
company’s factory also houses a two-year
college so employees can easily move on to
college once they get their high school diploma. General manager Rodrigo Bolaños
told PBS, “If you don’t study, this is not the
place for you.”
LEIRIA, PORTUGAL, more than 3,000 volunteers came together one day last month to
plant approximately 67,000 trees in central
Portugal where last year wildfires destroyed
more than 1.2 million acres of forest. Organizers of the planting project say the efforts
were just the first step toward planting the
30 million new trees that would be needed to
restore the area. “We are from this region,”
one of the organizers of the project told
Euronews. “We ... all used this forest, we all
have good memories of this forest.... [I]t was
the forest itself that cried out [to us] for help.”
– Staff
APRIL 16, 2018
Disabilities less of
a jobs barrier
People with disabilities in the
workplace quadrupled in 2016
For years, Donald Minor says, he blamed
a disability – a lack of muscle control in his
arms and legs – for his unemployment. Five
years ago, he almost didn’t go to an interview
for a job with duties that included lifting boxes.
But he went, and landed his first internship.
From there he found a job in customer service
with Rails to Trails Conservancy
in Washington, D.C., where he’s CHANGES IN
been for 2-1/2 years.
“Employers need to give LEADERSHIP
people with disabilities an op- SPURRED RISE
portunity,” says Mr. Minor. “And OF JOBS FOR
people with disabilities need to DISABLED
put themselves out there, learn, PEOPLE.
and grow.”
People with disabilities are entering the
workforce in unprecedented numbers. According to data from the Institute on Disability at
the University of New Hampshire and RespectAbility, a nonprofit that advances opportunities
for people with disabilities, 343,483 disabled
people joined the workforce in 2016, four times
as many as the previous year.
“It is fantastic to see the fourfold improvement in one year,” says Jennifer Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility. Changes in legislation,
leadership, and media “are starting to have a
positive impact.”
That jump suggests a shift in the way the
United States thinks about people with disabilities, the largest minority group in the country. One in 5 Americans, or 56 million people,
is classified as disabled, according to the US
Census Bureau. “At the macro level, we are
absolutely seeing a shift in societal attitudes
towards people with disabilities,” says Philip
Kahn-Pauli, director of policy and practices at
Experts attribute the dramatic rise in employment of this group to a host of factors: a
recovering economy and tight labor market,
government incentives and regulations around
Microsoft says it has struck the biggest
corporate solar deal in US history. The tech
giant announced March 21 that it is buying
315 megawatts (drawn from 750,000 solar
panels) from two massive new solar projects in
Virginia. Microsoft currently powers 50 percent
of its global data centers with renewables.
With the new deal, it is aiming for 60 percent.
A historic initiative is seeking to improve
animal welfare in the Caribbean nation.
The Humane Society of the United States
announced March 28 that, over an 18-month
period, it would work with Puerto Rican
partners, including the government, to
spay 20,000 cats and dogs in underserved
communities to reduce the number of strays
on the island.
A pilot program to trace the world’s first ethically sourced
cobalt is under way. The program, headed by British-based
supply chain auditor RCS Global, plans to electronically
track cobalt from small-scale mines in Congo all the way
to consumers’ smartphones and electric car batteries. If
successful, the new system may allow companies such as Apple
to allay growing concerns among customers that the metal in
their devices involved environmental or human rights abuses,
including child labor.
A small hare species,
long thought to be
extinct, has been
spotted. The hispid
hare was sighted for
the first (and what
was thought to be the
last) time in Chitwan
National Park in 1984,
but a conservationist
recently caught one on
camera. Scientists were
encouraged because
it is a baby, meaning
there are male and
female parents.
The Southern African nation
took a big step away from use
of the death penalty. President
Emmerson Mnangagwa in
March commuted the death
sentences of inmates who had
been on death row for more
than 10 years to life in prison.
Amnesty International lauded
the move, saying it was another example of how subSaharan Africa and much of the world are moving away
from the death penalty. Zimbabwe has not executed
anyone since 2005.
points of progress
dy Deardurff, dean of career development
at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
“Getting hired with a disability ... can be
incredibly challenging.” Statistics confirm
this. Some 36 percent of adults with disabilities had a job, compared with 77 percent of
people without disabilities, according to the
2017 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. Part of the problem is educational attainment. RespectAbility says 65 percent of
students with disabilities finish high school
and less than 7 percent complete college.
The good news is that certain states and
corporations offer lessons. North Dakota,
for example, leads the nation with 54 percent of its people with disabilities employed,
followed by South Dakota (52 percent),
Minnesota, and Alaska (both 48 percent).
Kahn-Pauli attributes their success to strong
state leadership, a recovering economy and
legislation including tax incentives for hiring or making adaptations for such people,
state goals for contracting with businesses
owned by people with disabilities, and mandates for accessible transportation.
The private sector star: Walgreens. In
2007, the company launched bold goals for
hiring people with disabilities. In 2016, more
than 900 Walgreens employees identified
hiring people with disabilities, more people
identifying themselves as such, and more
accessible technology.
And on a cultural level, media is reshaping how we think of this group, says Mr.
Kahn-Pauli. “Television reflects and shapes
how we think about each other,” he says,
pointing to shows like “Born This Way” and
“Speechless.” Research shows authentic
portrayals of minority characters can positively influence people’s attitudes, he says.
In 1990, Congress enacted the landmark
Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibited employment discrimination on the
– Jennifer Mizrahi, RespectAbility
basis of disability. In 2014, President Barack
Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which promotes work for disabled people that is fully
integrated with colleagues who don’t have
disabilities and makes sure they receive
comparable wages and benefits.
“However, policy change doesn’t necessarily equate to culture change,” says Min-
APRIL 16, 2018
ON THE JOB: Justin Bainbridge works at the
Prairie Life Fitness Center in Omaha, Neb.
themselves as such, while 1,300 people with
disabilities completed retail training.
What Walgreens and other corporate
leaders like Starbucks, Pepsi, and IBM
know is that hiring people with disabilities
isn’t an act of charity. Data show this group
has higher productivity, lower turnover, and
a better safety record than people without
disabilities. “At the end of the day, our nation
was founded on the principle that anyone
who works hard should be able to get ahead
in life,” Ms. Mizrahi says. “People with disabilities deserve the opportunity to earn an
income and achieve independence just like
anyone else.”
– Husna Haq / Contributor
Real ID: what Americans should expect
Preparations are under way for broad enforcement beginning in 2020
Changes are coming to identification requirements for residents of the United States. In response to a 2005 federal law,
states are ramping up security measures involved in issuing driver’s licenses and other identification cards.
Real ID status of states and territories
In compliance
Not compliant
Q: Why was legislation passed?
Puerto Rico
Q: What’s happening now?
US Virgin
Vt. Maine
Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 in response to 9/11:
Some of the hijackers aboard the four flights that crashed that
day used fraudulent IDs. The Real ID Act strives to make securing
fake IDs more difficult.
“Securing our identity documents is a crucial component to
keeping the commonwealth, and the country, safe,” said Pennsylvania state Rep. Ed Neilson, a Democrat, when the state passed the
Pennsylvania Real ID Compliance Act in May 2017.
Received extension
Ill. Ind.
A Real ID can be either an identification card or a driver’s
license that meets stepped-up federal standards. It will be
needed to access federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants,
and board federally regulated commercial aircraft.
Q: What are Real IDs?
Miss. Ala.
Guam American Northern
The beginning of this year included several deadlines as the
Real ID process moves along. Jan. 22 was a key date for domesIslands
tic air travel: As of that day, any driver’s licenses used for identification at airports have to be issued by states that are either SOURCE: US Department of Homeland Security
in compliance with Real ID requirements or have been granted
circumstances but is likely to include a Social Security card or tax form;
an extension. Also, on Feb. 5, Real ID enforcement began for states or
a birth certificate, passport, or immigration form; and two proofs of
territories that are not compliant and do not have an extension.
state residency, such as a current utility bill.
American Samoa is the only US region that is not compliant and
doesn’t have an extension (see map). Thirty states are compliant, and
20 have been granted extensions. The latter states are thus in the midst Q: Will Real ID be required anytime people need proof of
of taking steps to meet Real ID requirements. Massachusetts, for examNot necessarily. The Real ID Act does not apply to voting or regisple, recently closed its Registry of Motor Vehicles offices for a weekend
tering to vote, attending court proceedings, accessing health services
so it could upgrade its computer system as part of the Real ID rollout.
(at hospitals, for example), entering public areas, or even driving per se.
Also, the law does not prohibit an agency from accepting other forms
of identification such as a US passport.
Q: How does this law apply to unauthorized immigrants?
NEW LOOK: Real ID cards will look
similar to current driver’s licenses,
except they’ll have a gold star in
the upper right corner.
Q: When will Real ID be enforced?
It depends on the state. For those that have been granted extensions, Oct. 1, 2020, is the hard deadline. After that date, a Real ID will be
required to fly, access restricted and semi-restricted federal facilities,
and enter nuclear power plants.
Q: What do people need to apply for a Real ID card?
Applications for a Real ID can be made at a local department of
motor vehicles. The required documentation depends on personal
The federal measures allow compliant states to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards to unauthorized immigrants. The cards are
required to state on their face and in the machine-readable zone that
they can’t be used for official federal purposes. Also, their design must
differentiate them from cards that meet Real ID standards.
However, several states issue noncompliant cards for various
reasons, so the Department of Homeland Security cautions against
assuming that holders of such cards are unauthorized immigrants.
Q: How will this affect beneficiaries of the Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program?
The law allows states to issue Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses
and identification cards to those who provide valid evidence of having
approved deferred-action status. They must also have employment
authorization documents and Social Security numbers. These DACA individuals are allowed to hold temporary Real IDs until their expiration.
– Asia London Palomba / Staff writer
APRIL 16, 2018
China is using some carrots so it’s easier for Taiwanese to invest,
study, and work on the mainland. BY MICHAEL HOLTZ / STAFF WRITER
Beijing’s bid to win over young Taiwanese
ENTREPRENEUR: Wen Liwei moved to Fuzhou, China, after graduating from one of Taiwan’s top universities, eager to start his own company.
with the people’s condemnation and the
punishment of history.”
It was a stern warning at a fraught time
for Taiwan. Relations with China have been
tense since 2016, when Tsai Ing-wen from
the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party was elected president. Yet they’ve
become especially hostile in recent weeks
because of a new law passed in Washington that encourages official, high-level visits between the United States and Taiwan.
China has never renounced the use of force
to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, and
on March 21, the Global Times, a state-run
nationalist newspaper, went as far as to urge
Beijing to “prepare itself for a direct military
clash in the Taiwan Straits.”
Wen, who’s in his late 20s, prefers not to
think about the rising tensions. He’s more
concerned with sales plans than geopoli-
n a recent Tuesday morning, as
President Xi Jinping delivered a
speech at the closing of China’s
annual legislative session in Beijing, Wen Liwei was at work in this coastal city 1,000 miles away. He was too busy
meeting with business partners, discussing
market strategies for his health food company, to pay any attention to it. Besides, his
office doesn’t have a television.
Had Mr. Wen watched the address, he
would have heard Mr. Xi issue a thinly veiled
threat against his homeland, Taiwan, the
democratically governed island that Beijing views as a breakaway province. “Any
actions and tricks to split China are doomed
to failure,” Xi said before the nearly 3,000
members of the National People’s Congress,
adding that any such attempts “will meet
APRIL 16, 2018
Beijing’s military might is a key tool
in its quest to reunite Taiwan with the
mainland. But Taiwanese views of the
mainland matter, too, and young people’s attitudes about China may matter
most of all.
tics. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t affected
by the decisions made in Beijing. Chinese
officials consider young Taiwanese a key demographic to win over as they seek to bring
the island under the mainland’s control, a
mission for which attitudes and income may
be as powerful as intimidating fighter jets
and naval drills.
With Xi having recently tightened his
grip on power, some experts warn that he
Wen isn’t entirely new to Fuzhou. He
lived here as a child, when his
parents owned a textile factory
in the city. But when he returned
in 2016, after being away 24 years,
he barely recognized it. China’s
economic boom had transformed
Fuzhou into a modern city of more
than 7 million people, complete
with gleaming skyscrapers, a
subway line, and rush-hour traffic jams. “When I was young, the
streets were full of tricycles and
rickshaws,” Wen says. “It now
feels like a different city.”
Wen arrived after graduating
from Tamkang University, one
of Taiwan’s top schools, with a
degree in public administration.
Having grown up in a business
family, he was eager to start his
own e-commerce company, but
not in Taiwan. The island’s economy was stagnant, and its online
shopping industry far less developed than China’s. Then there
were the financial incentives on
the mainland: about $1,500 for
business supplies and two years
of free office rent.
It didn’t take long for Wen to
find an office. Over the past three
years, more than 50 start-up bases
have opened across China to serve
Taiwanese entrepreneurs. There
are at least 17 in Fuzhou alone.
The incubators are also open to
‘There is more space for
development on the
mainland. There are just
more opportunities here.’
Mainland appeal
Taiwanese native who has lived in Fuzhou
for 25 years. She is a strong advocate for
young people like Wen who move to the
mainland. “Living in Taiwan is waiting for
death,” she says. “Going to the mainland is
looking for a chance to live.”
Ms. Chen’s grim assessment is based on
the fact that China’s economy is growing
– Luo Yujie, who moved from Taiwan to
more than twice as quickly as Taiwan’s.
Fuzhou, China, last year
Also, starting salaries for graduates in Taiwan have remained stagnant since the late
1990s. Rather than waiting for Ms. Tsai to
mainland companies, but they offer the most fulfill her promise of creating more opportuincentives to those from Taiwan. In addition nities for young people on the island, many
to free office space, many provide housing have chosen to leave. More than 420,000
Taiwanese now work on the mainland,
subsidies and tax breaks.
Wen ultimately settled on the Fuzhou Tai- where they can earn much more than they
wan Youth Startup Base. Located in a non- would in Taiwan.
Many of the 31 new measures revealed
descript office building in one of Fuzhou’s
many industrial zones, the Startup Base in February by China’s Taiwan Affairs Ofis home to 83 Taiwanese companies that fice are meant to make it easier for entresell everything from cosmetics to car parts. preneurs by lowering costs and allowing
Chen Xiurong, the incubator’s founder, is a greater access to the mainland market.
An Fengshan, a spokesman for
the office, told reporters that the
measures would provide “targeted
solutions for the benefit of Taiwan
Wen says he would have come
to China regardless of the incentives, but he admits that they do
make life easier for him. Not that
he has found it that difficult to
adjust to the mainland. In many
ways, Wen prefers living here.
There are the small things, like
having the ability to pay for alSea
most anything with a smartphone
app. Then there are the big things,
like the mainland’s fast-paced
When Wen’s friends back
home tell him they’re considering
moving to China, he tells them to
come see for themselves before
Hong Kong
they decide. One of his closest
friends, Luo Yujie, moved to Fuzhou in July after doing exactly
that. “There is more space for development on the mainland,” Mr.
Luo says. “There are just more
opportunities here.”
could press harder for the return of the island. Others predict that he will play the
long game. With the help of lawmakers voting overwhelmingly last month to abolish
presidential term limits, Xi can rule for as
long as he wants, and his government can
try to shift the young Taiwanese generation’s view of their next-door neighbor.
To that end, Beijing has introduced a
growing number of policies aimed at making it easier for Taiwanese to invest, study,
and work on the mainland. It announced
the latest ones – 31 altogether – on Feb. 28.
Wen, who has already qualified for tens of
thousands of dollars in government subsidies, is sure to benefit from some of them.
But whether they’re enough to buy his political loyalty appears to be a long shot. “I’m
Taiwanese,” Wen says. “I think my identity
is hard to change.”
Brain drain
While Beijing has long targeted
business interests in Taiwan as a
way to shore up support, it didn’t
appear to give much thought to the
APRIL 16, 2018
‘One could argue that the
direction [President] Xi
Jinping has taken China
will make Taiwanese
much more loyal to their
own democratic system,
for all its problems.’
island’s young people until 2014. That year,
a group of protesters broke into Taiwan’s
Legislature and occupied it for 23 days to
block the passage of a new trade pact with
the mainland. The youth-led protest became
known as the Sunflower Movement, and
it made Chinese officials sit up and take
notice. If unification were still to happen
peacefully, then they needed to get young
people on board.
“The mainland government started to
care more about Taiwanese youth in 2014,”
says Zheng Zhenqing, an associate professor of Taiwan studies at Tsinghua University
in Beijing. “It was a turning point.”
With Taiwan struggling to jump-start its
sluggish economy, Beijing has resorted to
one of its most common tactics: trying to use
its economic clout to buy influence. And it’s
not only going after budding entrepreneurs.
Last year, China’s Education Ministry said it
would relax entrance rules for Taiwanese at
mainland universities, and Fujian province,
where Fuzhou is located, announced plans
to recruit 1,000 Taiwanese academics to
teach at its universities by 2020.
The mainland’s campaign has started to
raise alarms in Taipei. Nearly 60 percent of
Taiwanese working overseas were employed
in China in 2015, according to statistics released by the Taiwanese government last
year. Desperate to stem the flow of talent,
– Richard Bush,
senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
Tsai’s administration is pushing back.
“Some council members said that young
people in Taiwan set great store on democracy and freedom, which is exactly what the
environment in mainland Chinese society
cannot provide,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs
Council said in a statement released March
23. “The government can strengthen and
show off Taiwan’s advantages, and help
young people understand the possible risks.”
On top of the brain drain, Taipei has
struggled to compete with an increasingly powerful China in diplomacy. Only 20
countries still formally recognize Taiwan,
which is officially known as the Republic
of China. Panama ended its relationship
with Taiwan last year. The Vatican could
be next, as the Holy See and Beijing move
closer to a historic deal on the appointment
of bishops in China.
Since separating from the mainland at
the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949,
Taiwan has become a vibrant democracy.
The island is functionally independent, and
many of its 23 million people want to keep it
that way. Opinion polls conducted last year
show that 70 to 80 percent of Taiwanese
prefer autonomy over unification. Tsai has
said that she wants to maintain the status
quo, despite her party’s long history of favoring formal independence.
Yet Chinese leaders remain suspicious
of Tsai, who has refused to endorse the
“one China” principle under which Taiwan is considered a part of China. As relations between the two continue to sour,
some experts warn that Beijing’s economic
campaign and growing hostility could backfire. Richard Bush, a senior fellow at the
Brookings Institution and former head of
the American Institute in Taiwan, says Xi’s
authoritarian tendencies have disheartened
young Taiwanese.
“The general social and political environment in China is bound to affect the way
they think about any sort of political union
between Taiwan and the mainland,” Mr.
Bush says. “One could argue that the direction Xi Jinping has taken China will make
Taiwanese much more loyal to their own
democratic system, for all its problems.”
Liu Zongxin, a Taiwanese golf instructor
in Fuzhou who’s in his late
20s, doesn’t consider himself
to be very political. When
asked about China-Taiwan relations, he says he just wants
the status quo to stay in place.
He sees no other option.
Mr. Liu moved to the
mainland in 2016 to open
a golf school with his older
brother. He says adjusting to
life here hasn’t been too difficult. His biggest complaint
is when locals try talking to
him about unifying Taiwan
with China. Unfortunately for
him, such conversations are
happening more and more
frequently. It’s the same every time.
“First they talk about our
president, then ask about
my position, and then they
talk about unifying Taiwan
by force,” Liu says. “When
I hear that, I want to leave.”
IN FUZHOU, CHINA: Liu Zongxin, a Taiwanese golf instructor, takes a swing at the training center he opened
with his older brother. Mr. Liu moved to the mainland in 2016.
APRIL 16, 2018
r Xie Yujuan contributed to
this report.
In San Francisco, hotels find beekeeping to be good for business –
Hotels host bees as honored guests
t the Fairmont San
Francisco, the wellheeled visitors arriving through the lobby
aren’t the five-star hotel’s only
guests. On the hotel’s rooftop
terrace, above the rush and bustle of San Francisco’s city streets,
a fainter hum can be heard – the
buzz of bees.
Beekeeper Spencer Marshall
pries open a white, wooden box
that houses thousands of bees and
pulls out a frame that vibrates with
life. The hive sits nestled among
garden boxes overflowing with
lavender and rosemary, a delicate
contrast to the jagged skyscrapers
that loom in the distance.
Bees have become
more commonplace
residents at hotels,
especially in San
Francisco, where 10
hotels maintain terrace or rooftop hives.
Urban beekeeping
allows hotels to
market sustainability, harvest honey,
and raise awareness
about the challenges
bees face. Rooftop
apiaries have been
popping up across
the United States in the past decade, from mysterious phenomenon known as colony
San Francisco to Chicago to New York.
collapse disorder, in which bees were seen
“When companies have honeybees, it leaving hives in devastating numbers.
helps in a few different ways ... by bringing
Bees are an essential element of agriawareness to the fact that our bees need cultural economies, especially in Califorflowers that are clean and free
nia, which produces one-third
of pesticides in order to feed and
of the vegetables in the US and
that our bees need habitat,” says
two-thirds of its fruits and nuts,
Becky Masterman, extension eduaccording to the California Decator and program director of the University partment of Food and Agriculture. At
of Minnesota Bee Squad in St. Paul.
pollination time, commercial beekeepers
Urban beekeeping has been on the rise provide truckloads of European honeybees,
for the past decade, says Dr. Masterman. Apis mellifera, which are not native to North
“The popularity has been growing ever since America. Wild bee species play a significant
the news started reporting high numbers role in this process, but the US agricultural
of bee losses in 2006,” she says. That year, industry has come to rely on commercial
commercial honeybee losses increased bees for much of its pollination needs. Perdramatically, as much as 30 to 90 percent sistent losses of these commercial hives
of each hive, because of mite infestations, could eventually be felt at the grocery store.
harmful pesticides, declining habitat, and a
Mr. Marshall has served as the Fair-
PENTHOUSE SUITE: Beekeeper Spencer Marshall
(above) checks the health of the Fairmont San
Francisco’s hives. San Francisco’s Clift hotel (left)
introduced bees to its 16-story-high roof in 2016.
mont’s bee whisperer since 2010. Initially
doubtful that the urban location would offer
enough resources to sustain the bees, he
says he has been pleasantly surprised. Each
year he harvests 1,000 pounds of honey at
the Fairmont, which currently hosts nine
hives and as many as half a million bees.
The bees offer hotels more than honey.
A growing number of guests actively seek
out hotels that are committed to sustainability and locally sourced menu options,
says Melissa Farrar, director of marketing
communications for the Fairmont. The hotel
chain plays host to 40 honeybee apiaries
and wild bee hotels around the world. At the
Fairmont San Francisco, harvested honey
adds flavor to salad dressings, ice cream,
and honey madeleines at the hotel.
Beekeeping also offers hotels a chance to
work together. The Clift, another San Francisco hotel, is part of a partnership of nine
hotels that share beekeeping resources, best
practices, and a beekeeper. “On the street
level, all the hotels are competing with each
other,” says Clift manager Michael Pace.
“But then on the rooftop we’re all sharing
resources ... and we help each other out.”
r Questions? Comments? Email the science
team at
APRIL 16, 2018
1 SHOCKING At Boston’s Logan Airport on Sept. 11, 2001, Erica Ferencik
learns that American Airlines Flight
11 to Los Angeles was hijacked and
crashed into the World Trade Center.
She and her husband would have
been on Flight 11 had she not decided to sleep in and take a later flight.
Meeting drama in airports
I have always been fascinated by airports.
You can stand in one and watch as a whole
array of stories plays out. People sleep, run,
eat, get massages, get mad, fall in love, buy
things, and eventually board planes. Emotional
goodbyes, happy reunions, and human drama of every kind are all on display. Monitor
photographers have touched down in airports
all around the world. Most of the time, waiting
in an airport is simply a dreaded hurdle to be
cleared. But on occasion the airport itself is
the venue for the story. These photos from our
archives depict those moments in which an
airport became something more than a waiting
room for the next adventure.
– Alfredo Sosa / Director of photography
2 TOUCHING Kay Lebowitz, with Maine Troop Greeters, hugs a US
APRIL 16, 2018
Army soldier as he leaves Bangor Airport on his way home from Iraq
3 AFTERMATH Workers begin to clean the
passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport
in Bangkok, Thailand, on Dec. 3, 2008. The
People’s Alliance for Democracy left the
airport after a Thai court ruled against Prime
Minister Somchai Wongsawat, forcing him
4 ADIOS Juan Miguel González and his
son, Elián González, wave to a throng of
reporters as they board a plane for the trip
back to Cuba from the United States on June
28, 2000. Elián spent several months in the
US after his mother drowned in an attempted escape from Cuba. After a protracted legal battle, Elián was returned to the custody
of his father. ANDY NELSON/TCSM/FILE
stuck for days inside Cairo International Airport rest wherever they can on
Jan. 30, 2011. In the early stages of the
Arab Spring – when large numbers
of people were trying to leave the
country – many flights were grounded
and a curfew was imposed, virtually
trapping people in the airport.
for their bags to go through a security
check at the small airport in Gode,
Ethiopia, on May 19, 2017.
APRIL 16, 2018
Girls club president Kousalya Radakrishnan (l.)
and club secretary Malarvizhi Pandurangan (r.)
lead members on a march through the Indian
village of Thennamadevi.
APRIL 16, 2018
A group of teens in rural India, tired of do-nothing men,
take dramatic steps to improve their village,
demonstrating how to foster progress in the developing world.
APRIL 16, 2018
in our village.”
And maybe, she might have said, for the
world’s largest democracy.
irl power is blooming
across India. Clubs intended to boost adolescent girls’ sense of worth
are sprouting in remote
villages. Women feeling
empowered in local politics are acting as mentors and making a
priority of improving the future for one of
India’s most long-neglected populations.
But there’s girl power, and then there’s
In Thennamadevi, a village sheltered by
banana trees and nestled amid rice paddies
and sugar cane fields in India’s southern
Tamil Nadu state, girls have moved beyond
discussions of the challenges they face in
India. They’re taking action. Bold action.
Frustrated by the many do-nothing
men who seemed more interested in turning sugar cane into moonshine than in improving village life, the teenage girls have
organized around their professed goal of
making Thennamadevi the best community
in their district.
The result is that in less than two years
the girls have done everything from creating
a 150-book library to successfully lobbying
local authorities for a bus stop. The objective
there: to cut down on the time girls (and
boys) have to spend walking through dark
and sometimes dangerous fields to get to
and from school.
“After going to our club, I know my rights
as a child and as a girl, but it seems what’s
different about our village is that we didn’t
stop there,” says Kousalya Radakrishnan,
the Thennamadevi girls club president. “We
now understand our role in our community,
and we are acting on that.”
Young Kousalya, even though still in high
school, already sounds like a seasoned politician. She sums up her role in the local
girls’ movement with clarity and simplicity:
to figure out how to deliver on the hopes and
dreams that bubble up from the two dozen
14- to 18-year-olds in the club.
All of which has also helped make her
into a minor celebrity and role model here.
As she steps out of a cramped community
center and onto a dirt street to lead one of
the club’s signature rallies, dramatically
standing out in a sea-green dress, she is
swarmed by young girls with pigtails and
wide grins. “We’re making things better not
just for girls,” she says, “but for everybody
Around the world, development experts are
increasingly focusing on girls as the key to
fostering progress in developing countries.
For more than two decades, aid groups and
international nongovernmental organizations have centered their efforts on trying
‘When girls
learn to replace
limitations with
“I can be
whatever I want to
be,” it opens new
paths forward....’
– Geeta Rao Gupta,
United Nations Foundation
to reduce poverty and improve global health
for women. The rationale has been that by
unlocking a rural woman’s entrepreneurial
spirit – helping her, for example, to not just
tend her field but to sell her own produce
– the woman’s entire family will receive a
boost. Similarly, improving maternal health
and helping a woman space out her pregnancies will enhance prosperity.
Numerous African and South Asian
countries have seen extreme poverty rates
fall and national health standards improve
as a result of a focus on women. But more
recently development experts have honed
their efforts even further, zeroing in on girls
as the linchpin of sustained economic and
APRIL 16, 2018
social progress in developing countries.
“We know that if girls stay in school,
if they don’t marry and have babies early, and if they are empowered to pursue
dreams their mothers never could have
imagined, they improve not just their own
lives but are a force for growth and progress in their communities and more broadly
in their countries,” says Geeta Rao Gupta, a senior fellow at the United Nations
Foundation and an international expert in
women’s empowerment. “When girls learn
to replace time-honored limitations with ‘I
can be whatever I want to be,’ it opens new
paths forward for the girls and for everyone
around them.”
In many developing countries, girls face
two starkly divergent paths: one fettered
by gender inequality and cut short by early
childbearing and the other offering personal
fulfillment and economic improvement that
benefit families and nations. If the second
path is closed off, experts say, that’s a large
chunk of a country’s economic growth potential that will never be tapped.
“Countries cannot end poverty if girls are
unable to make a safe and healthy transition
from adolescence to adulthood and become
productive members of their communities
and nations,” the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in its 2016 “State
of World Population” report.
The UNFPA report focused on the
world’s 60 million 10-year-old girls, noting
that the educational and other opportunities available to pre-adolescent girls and the
“flurry of life-changing events” on their horizon will go a long way in determining many
developing countries’ prospects.
“We’ve seen that intervening with girls
around 10 years old makes a great deal of
sense, because they still have many options
before them and they aren’t yet facing the
pressures that come in many cultures with
adolescence,” says Dr. Gupta. “Reversing a
girl’s trajectory after 13 is often very difficult, especially if she’s had little education
and she’s married early and will soon be
expected to have babies.”
Pointing out that worldwide 32 million
girls of primary-school age are not in school,
the report noted that “without quality education the 10-year-old girl will not acquire
skills to earn a better income and find decent work.” The ability of countries to ensure access to a primary and secondary eduVCONTINUES ON PAGE 28
Girls make their way
to school through
a vegetable field in
New Delhi.
Schoolgirls practice martial arts during an event in Ahmedabad, India, to mark an anniversary
of the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in 2012 that made international headlines.
APRIL 16, 2018
cation and to tackle stubborn problems such
as gender discrimination, it concluded, “will
shape the degree to which this generation
[of girls] is able to maximize its potential
and become drivers of positive change at
the local and global levels.”
Some countries are embracing the
girl-power movement – at least on paper.
Count India among them. Under Prime
Minister Narendra Modi, the country has
launched a visible public awareness campaign under the slogan “Beti Bachao, Beti
Padhao” – “Save the Girl, Educate the Girl.”
Around New Delhi and in cities across
the country, billboards feature girls wearing
school uniforms or playing carefree games
outdoors, with slogans such as “Every girl is
precious” or to educate a girl is to “strengthen the nation.” The campaign is part of national efforts to end female infanticide and
child marriage and to stress the importance
of keeping girls in school. Yet slogans are
one thing; changing a culture is another.
“All of this activity and national communication around the girl child is pretty
robust, and that’s certainly positive,” says
Gupta. “But implementation of the programs behind the slogan remains a challenge, and then there’s the underlying issue
that is more important than any of the rest
of it: that girls are just valued less, largely
because they carry less economic value.”
Not in Thennamadevi, though. Not for a
handful of idealistic and indomitable teens.
Students perform a play explaining the consequences of child marriage at a meeting of a girls club in
Lamba Kalan, a remote village in a conservative state in northern India.
Kousalya was like many of the young girls in
the village. She was headed down a path
with tightly prescribed expectations and
Her father, a fruit seller who like many
other fathers in the village was prone to
drinking, didn’t want her to go to school after
age 12. A daughter should be at home, he
said, not going off to a new school that would
to convince parents that it was a good idea to
let their daughters come out in the evenings
to meet with other girls,” says Kousalya,
standing before rows of purple-draped tables in Thennamadevi’s activity center. “Experiencing that progress has shown all the
girls that they can do a lot with their lives.”
Others confirm that the can-do spirit of
‘We’re making things better not just for
girls, but for everybody in our village.’
– Kousalya Radakrishnan, president of the local girls club
be “mixed,” where she’d be around boys.
But her father died an alcoholic, and
Kousalya insisted on going to school, enlisting the support of a women’s nongovernmental organization in nearby Viluppuram, the district capital. Now she’s studying
physics, wants to go to college, and plans
to eventually become a college professor.
“We’ve come a long way from the first
days of the club when we went door to door
the club has taught them that the future
is boundless. Bharati Murugan grew up
hearing “You are a female. You are not for
studying and working,” she says. But that
made her all the more determined to avoid
her mother’s fate as a child bride. When the
club was formed, she was one of the first to
join and is now the treasurer.
Standing alongside the bicycle she cherishes because it gives her an exhilarating
APRIL 16, 2018
sense of independence, Bharati says that
working to improve life in the village has
taught her that girls really can accomplish
a lot, especially when they collaborate. Her
involvement with the club has also strengthened her determination to one day join India’s civil service, the Indian Administrative
Service (IAS).
“I made a sign for my house that says
‘Bharati IAS!,’ and every morning I proclaim
those words aloud. My family laughs at me,
but I don’t care,” she says, pulling on one of
her two long braids. “I’m going to make it
come true, just as the girls of Thennamadevi
are making true our dream of building a
model village!”
Indeed, the girls have been bringing
about civic improvements with a speed that
would make any government bureaucrat
envious. They badgered district leaders with
letters and meetings until lighting was provided for the village’s two unpaved streets.
Tired of confronting village men loitering
and drinking around the community toilet
when they needed to use it, the girls started
a campaign to install commodes in individual homes. That effort aims to address two
issues at once: the village’s chronic problem
of drunken and sometimes harassing men
and the broader national health challenge
of ending “open defecation.”
They’ve also targeted issues specific to
them as adolescent girls. They persuaded
district health officials to stock modern
sanitary napkins in the nearest clinic as a
replacement for traditional cloth rags. In
a country where child marriage remains a
national scourge (despite a law prohibiting
the marriage of girls under age 18), club
members have publicly pledged not just to
renounce the practice for themselves but
to come to the rescue of anyone they know
being pushed into an early union.
Through all the activism, the girls are
developing vital leadership skills. Malarvizhi
Pandurangan says the girls club’s successes
have taught her that organizing and speaking up works, so she’s taken her advocacy
to her technical secondary school, where
she’s deepening her math skills and learning
about electrical circuitry.
“I tell the girls in my class about all the
services our club has brought to my village, and I say we can improve our school
in the same way if we work together,” says
Malarvizhi, standing in one of the spare
classrooms of the Thiruvalluvar Technical
Outside, separate classes of girls
and boys assemble on the dusty
ground under the shade of thin-leaved
trees to study for upcoming exams.
Inside, girls whisper and giggle as
Malarvizhi shares with a visitor how
she’s organizing her classmates to
lobby local businesses to provide the
school with better equipment.
Thiruvalluvar’s principal, Vazha
Jayachandran, attests to Malarvizhi’s
leadership, and adds that all 40 girls
at the institute are helping to infuse
the school with more energy and academic rigor.
“Five years ago we didn’t even have
girls here,” he notes, “and now they
are almost always the strongest in our
subjects and produce the best results.”
What’s remarkable about the girls of
Thennamadevi isn’t just what they’ve
accomplished. It’s what they’ve accomplished given where they’re from.
The Viluppuram district, with its
‘I’m going to make
[my career goal]
come true, just
as the girls of
are making true
our dream of
building a model
– Bharati Murugan,
treasurer of the local girls club
web of rail connections, is a hub of child
trafficking and sex trafficking. The district
records some of India’s highest levels of child
abuse, according to local officials and NGOs.
“People don’t easily talk about these
problems, making addressing them all the
more difficult,” says Sathiya Babu, managing trustee of Viluppuram’s office of Scope
India, which shelters runaway and trafficked
kids and works with local communities to
improve children’s living conditions.
“But we’re finding that the kids, and the
girls especially, are determined to build better lives and are no longer accepting the
traditional limitations their communities,
even their own parents, are putting on
them,” he says.
In many ways, Thennamadevi is a typical
village for the area, Dr. Babu says, but in
others – both good and bad – it stands out.
“Most of the men there are alcoholics –
that’s not so unusual – but one result is that
90 families in the village are run by widows.
That’s a situation that aggravates existing
challenges in the area,” he adds, “from child
abuse and runaways to child marriage. A
mother who can’t support all her children
may see the girls as either a financial burden
or even as a source of income” – for example
through a dowry, even though dowries are
outlawed in India, he says.
Still, Babu notes, Thennamadevi’s girls
are unusual because in less than two years
they have taken their club from a venue
for discussing problems to one for taking
“Last year the girls there requested that
the club organize a meeting where they
could learn how to petition the government,”
Bharati Murugan, treasurer of the Thennamadevi girls club, stands next to her coveted bicycle,
which she cherishes because it gives her a sense of independence. She says she wants to join
India’s civil service, an unheard-of dream for a girl from a poor rural village.
APRIL 16, 2018
he says. “These are girls who want change.”
Yet for all the national focus on girls and
the district’s efforts to improve their lives,
there’s evidence that the long-held prejudices against girls remain strong.
S.K. Lalitha, Viluppuram’s social welfare
director, notes that the district’s female-tomale birth ratio actually declined over the
past decade, despite sustained national and
state campaigns against sex selection and
female infanticide. The 2016 family health
survey showed that in the previous year 819
girls were born for every 1,000 boys – 777
girls for every 1,000 boys in rural areas.
“Those numbers are alarming, but they
back up what I hear so many mothers say,
that there is no security today for girls and
that life for girls is getting harder,” Ms. Lalitha says. “That’s one reason the positive
example of girls like those in Thennamadevi
is so important.”
ill and the family needed money. Both girls
pledge to “never allow my daughter to marry
as a child!”
Then several girls put on a play whose
story line in their area remains more fact
than fiction: It’s about an impending child
‘Five years ago
we didn’t even
have girls here,
and now they are
almost always
the strongest in
our subjects and
produce the best
– Vazha Jayachandran,
principal of Thiruvalluvar Technical Institute
Other clubs are being set up, too. Across the
country in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, UNFPA and UNICEF have teamed
up with local NGOs to create a network of
hundreds of “kishoris,” or adolescent girls
clubs, in some of the conservative state’s
most remote areas.
On a sunbaked day in the village of Lamba Kalan, girls from 10 to 19 years old hear
from one of the older members of her marriage at age 5. Another tells of being married
off when she was 9 because her father was
marriage. After the teacher in the play tells
a mother that marrying off her daughter before she’s 18 is illegal, the mother confronts
her husband: “I want our daughter to be a
teacher or a doctor, not to get married and
have babies so young as I did!”
The father’s retort is one many of Lamba Kalan’s girls say rings familiar: “If our
daughter gets too much education, we will
have trouble later finding her a suitable hus|
APRIL 16, 2018
Malarvizhi Pandurangan (c.), secretary of the
Thennamadevi girls club, stands with other members of the group after a meeting in their village.
band,” he says. “A girl’s place is at home,
and then marrying and going to live in her
husband’s home.”
Then comes the closing line from the
mother, a line that draws enthusiastic applause from the girls club members: “No,
that’s no longer true. Life for our daughters
is changing!”
The enthusiasm of mothers for their
daughters’ accomplishments is in fact no
longer just theater, at least in places like
Standing on the stoop of her home on a
village side street, Maragatham Radakrishnan hugs her daughter Kousalya and marvels at her confidence and determination.
“I never could have imagined a daughter
of mine accomplishing even half of what
Kousalya has done,” she says, beaming.
Having never been to school herself, Ms.
Radakrishnan says her biggest dream had
always been that her daughter would be
able to get some education. And now here’s
Kousalya getting that education – and leading a movement.
“I see her doing things for the village and
helping the younger girls, and it makes me
so proud,” she says. “That she can speak
up like she does, it’s amazing to me. She’s
becoming a leader.”
Time for an international tax overhaul for digital multinationals
“As the recent scandal over Facebook and the company Cambridge Analytica has shown, many companies operating in the new ‘digital economy’ are, essentially, extractive industries,” write Eva Joly and Sorley
McCaughey. “They mine and sell data on an immense scale. The ephemeral nature of this digital activity
makes it hard to pin down where activity is actually taking place and where ‘value’ is being created.... It is
increasingly clear that digitalisation has exacerbated the unsuitability of current international tax rules....
[T]he EU is moving towards the ‘unitary’ taxation of multinationals (treating them as a single global body
with a single set of global profits).... These moves could be a game-changer in tackling tax-avoidance....”
Facebook data: Why China and the West diverge sharply on privacy
“The privacy debate has again gained momentum with the latest Facebook row that exposed the social
media giant as mishandling personal data of up to 50 million users,” writes Luisa Tam. “In this ultraconnected era, many people have unknowingly become used to surrendering their individual details....
People in the West place considerable emphasis on privacy and often go to great lengths to defend it.... But
when you talk about privacy to Chinese, a common reaction you get is: ‘What privacy?’ In my traditional
Taiwanese Chinese family, privacy was an alien concept.... Chinese are bent on dismissing privacy as a bad
thing.... In Chinese, ‘si yen’ means seclusion and implies secrecy.”
We need a more nuanced understanding of Pakistan’s anti-Malala sentiment
“Malala [Yousafzai] ... returned [March 30-April 2] to Pakistan for the first time after she was shot almost
six years ago,” writes Shenila Khoja Moolji. “While many, including state officials, have welcomed her,
there are also some who remain suspicious, even celebrating ‘anti-Malala day’. It seems she has as many
detractors as she does fans.... In Western contexts, such anti-Malala sentiments are read as representing the
pre-modern sensibilities of Pakistanis.... We, therefore, find articles ... in Western media outlets, that traffic
in ideas about Pakistanis being conspiracy theorists, jealous, and/or inhospitable toward women/girls. What
is needed, instead, is a nuanced engagement with anti-Malala sentiment.... Significantly, understanding
anti-Malala sentiment provides opportunities for us to become more astute about the politics of her representation in Anglophone media cultures, which I believe drives much of this sentiment in Pakistan.”
The US and Britain have struggled to deal decisively with Russia
“[Australia’s] Coalition government and the Labor opposition are in close agreement in clearly seeing
and naming Russian outrages and resisting them...,” writes Peter Hartcher. “Compared to the countries that
it has looked to for leadership traditionally, Australia stands out as robust and cohesive. The political systems of the US and Britain are staggering under the pressure of Russia’s roguery.... The Russians meddled
with the American political system yet the US President refuses to confront the problem.... British Prime
Minister Theresa May has firmly named Russia as the culprit in the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal....
[E]xpelling Russian diplomats ... is a ‘message’ to Moscow.... But it is not a deterrent....”
Winnie Mandela was Africa’s Rosa Parks or Joan of Arc
“America had Amelia Earhart and Rosa Parks, Europe had Joan of Arc and in Africa it was Winnie
Mandela, the controversial but equally inspiring iconic figure of the apartheid era,” states an editorial. “She
passed away [April 2].... Those were women who helped prove wrong the old myth that women were the
weaker sex, clueless and hopeless in the absence of males. Winnie was the epitome of strength and defiance
despite her questionable moral issues that haunted her and nearly ruined her liberation posterity.... A true
feminist fights on the side of every gender, the same kind of fight Winnie Madikizela-Mandela fought.”
APRIL 16, 2018
Founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy
The Arab nation that
embraces liberty of conscience
EDITOR: Mark Sappenfield
ny hope of the Arab world embracing democracy has long focused on
its most populous country, Egypt.
Yet despite a burst of freedom after the 2011
Arab Spring, Egypt has again dashed those
hopes in a sham election designed to keep
military strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in
power. The one opposition figure allowed
to run in the March 26-28 election barely
campaigned. Only about 40 percent of voters, who were largely ordered to go to the
polls, cast a ballot. The mirage of democracy
was easy to see through.
To be sure, Mr. Sisi remains popular for
ousting the other extreme on the political
spectrum from his own secular authoritarianism. In 2013, he led a coup against the
Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi,
who was duly elected but quickly started
coercing democratic opponents.
The Middle East can’t seem to shake its
three governing models: nationalist dictators, radical Islamists, and reigning monarchs. But notice this. All three have something in common, the denial of the liberty
of conscience. All three believe it is their
sole right to determine which, if any, of its
opponents can participate in governance.
To really track progress in Arab politics, it is far better to focus on Tunisia. For
three years after ousting a dictator in the
Arab Spring, Tunisians held a debate while
crafting a constitution. The most difficult
part was defining liberty of conscience. No
Arab constitution until then included such
a phrase.
Many Islamists in Tunisia as well as the
elite remnants of the former dictatorship
opposed the notion of individual freedom in
faith, speech, and other areas of life. None-
“First the blade, then the ear,
then the full grain in the ear.”
and towns. By law, political parties must
include candidates from three groups: women, youth, and people with disabilities. As a
result, nearly 50 percent of those running
are women, while more than 50 percent are
under the age of 35. One in 10 has a disabil-
Unliking Facebook
ne way to get the attention of a company is to knock $90 billion off its
market value. That’s what investors
did to Facebook after news broke in March
that the social network had allowed the misuse of personal data from millions of users.
Many investors dumped their Facebook
stock on prospects the company might soon
be regulated and lose much of its business.
At the same time, however, many equity
firms that specialize in ethical investing,
such as BetaShares, also dropped the stock.
As the giant of “surveillance capitalism,”
Facebook had met its match with another
force: social capitalism.
Facebook is under scrutiny on many
fronts for its breaches of privacy. From Congress to the European Union to the Federal
Trade Commission, Facebook must answer
for breaking the trust of its more than 2 billion consumers. And millions of Facebook
users have weighed whether to delete or
deactivate their accounts.
theless, the idea was enshrined in the 2014
Constitution. And it has begun to sink into
the thinking of this North African nation.
On May 6, Tunisia will hold its first municipal elections since the Arab Spring. The
campaign has yet to officially start. Yet the
enthusiasm is hard to miss. In the one Arab
country that most firmly embraces individual rights, more than 57,000 people have
signed up to run for offices in 350 cities
ity. But what really surprised observers was
the high number of independents. That is
viewed as a sign of disgust among youth
toward traditional parties as well as frustration over a stagnant economy.
Such a breadth of representation speaks
to Tunisians’ understanding of the liberty
of conscience. “Religion should not divide
the society,” says Rachid Ghannouchi, head
of the moderate Islamist party.
After the local elections, the central government is expected to take up a bill that
would grant more powers to municipalities.
Tunisia could be about to see a new flourishing of its democracy, which would serve
even more as an example for the region. r
Putting money where one’s conscience is
But regulation of big data collectors such
as Facebook may be far off. And consumer boycotts can be fleeting. That is not the
case with many of today’s investors who put
their money where their conscience is. They
APRIL 16, 2018
expect long-term profits based on whether
a company is operating under select social
and environmental criteria, such as privacy
standards, a reduced carbon footprint, and
gender fairness on corporate boards.
In fact, meeting such criteria is considered a “sustainable” way to do business. The
market pressure on Facebook from “sustainability funds” probably helped in pushing
chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg
to speed up plans to simplify privacy controls and better safeguard the governance of
personal data. Facebook users will be able
to more easily choose not to reveal certain
traits that can mark them for advertisers,
foreign hackers, or political campaigns.
Not all investors agree on the criteria for
sustainability, often called “environmental,
social, and governance,” or ESG. Should
a company, for example, be punished for
creating a genetically modified crop seed
that can prevent famine but might alter
natural crops?
Still, ethical investing is now a looming
presence over companies. And many “impact investors” are beating the market in
profits. They are also challenging the idea
that companies must be predatory and exploitative to earn money. Facebook may be
learning that lesson very fast.
Author Steve Coll’s work
The Feb. 7 book review of
Steve Coll’s “Directorate S” was excellent. A
previous book written by Coll, “Ghost Wars,” was
one of the finest ever written. He is thorough and
Burr Ridge, Ill.
US and world relations
Regarding the Jan. 19 Monitor Daily article
“ ‘America First’ at one year: what the rest of the
world thinks now”: I understood and appreciated
the article. I’d like more insight on and support
for how future administrations might restore
respect for the United States and its role in world
relations. I agree that regaining lost ground will
not be easy but is possible.
Mountain Home, Ark.
Connections across cultures
When reading the Jan. 22 cover story “My
return to China,” I was brought to tears by the
connection writer Ann Scott Tyson made with the
Chinese journalist in Ritan Park. Encounters with
others, especially from other countries and cultures, bring some of the most memorable times in
one’s life. The Monitor Weekly and the Daily offer
moments of joy and humanity in what can otherwise be troubling times. Keep up your mission!
Port Angeles, Wash.
The comfort of books
The Feb. 19 Mix column, “In bookstores,
volumes of refuge – and resistance,” was a very
good article concerning the revival of reading.
Although I have my Kindle, the touch and nature
of the hardcover or paperback provide one with a
sense of gratification and comfort. The accumulative feeling as people glance at their books piling
up on the shelves, however, can have questionable
adverse side effects.
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Terms on for more details). For verification,
your comments must include the article’s headline, and
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telephone number. Also find us on Twitter and Facebook!
APRIL 16, 2018
M O V I E S . M U S I C . T V . B O O K S . C U LT U R E . T R E N D S
‘Lean on Pete’ is a tale
of a boy and his horse
By Peter Rainer / Film critic
Haigh initially appears to be priming us
for a generic fable about a lonely boy who
befriends a gruff but kindly father figure,
discovers his equine soul mate, and wins the
racing sweepstakes. Thankfully, it doesn’t
quite work out that way. Del may harbor
a grudging sympathy for the boy, but he’s
also a cheater who, with his accomplice and
jockey, Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny), juices his
horses with “vitamins.” When the horses
stop winning, they get unceremoniously
transported to Mexico – i.e., they get sold
for horse meat.
This is the predicament that Charley and
Pete find themselves in. When a violent turn
of events renders Charley essentially homeless, he attempts to rescue both Pete and
himself by taking to the road. He hopes to
find his way to Wyoming, where a fondly
remembered aunt lives whom he has not
been in touch with for years.
Haigh is British, and his outsider’s eye
probably accounts in part for the film’s lyrically askew vision of working-class fringes
– the trailer homes, run-down fairgrounds,
and homeless encampments. Once Charley
At its simplest, “Lean on Pete” is about a
boy and his horse. Writer-director Andrew
Haigh, adapting a novel by Willy Vlautin,
has a principled reticence that serves the
story well. I was afraid at first that I would
be watching a sobfest. I needn’t have worried. Nothing very grand is being attempted
here, but there’s a core of feeling to what we
are witnessing that keeps the sentimentality
in check.
Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson
(Charlie Plummer) has recently relocated
with his itinerant single father, Ray (Travis Fimmel), to Portland, Ore. It’s summer
break from high school, and Charley, wanting to do more than mope about, begins to
frequent the local quarter horse track. A
scruffy trainer and owner, Del Montgomery
(Steve Buscemi), gives the boy part-time
work cleaning the stable and transport
trailer where Del houses his horses, and
pretty soon Charley has bonded with Lean
on Pete, a 5-year-old quarter horse who has
seen better days (and even those days were
none too good).
APRIL 16, 2018
and Pete hit the road, the vistas open up,
and yet the effect is more stifling than expansive. In the vast countryside, the pair
seem closed in by their aloneness, and their
serial misadventures only emphasize their
vulnerability. Charley continually seeks to
reassure Pete by saying to him, “Don’t worry; it will be OK,” but he could just as well
be talking to himself.
Pete is rather knobby and distracted-looking, and Haigh doesn’t attempt to
frame him in a heroic light. In classics like
“The Black Stallion” or “National Velvet,”
horse and rider are spiritually aligned.
“Lean on Pete” is far more modest. The
movie is really about Charley and his attempt to hold on to his youth even as it is
being rudely wrested from him by the rough
circumstances of his life. His road trip is a
series of comeuppances, starting with his
disillusionment with Del and extending to
an interlude with some knockabout war veterans and then with a homeless man (Steve
Zahn), who is as kindly when sober as he
is enraged when drunk.
Plummer made a sharp impression last
year as John Paul Getty III in the misbegotten “All the Money in the World,” and, in a
very different vein, he impresses here again.
He’s playing a kid who at first seems gangly
and awkward, but he has a wariness that
allows him to persevere. He’s deceptively
Buscemi’s performance is likewise marvelous. In his scenes with Charley, there’s a
lifetime of scrounging and connivance reflected in Del’s gimlet eyes. (Buscemi can
also be seen, as Nikita Khrushchev, no less,
in the recent terrific political satire “The
Death of Stalin.” What a versatile actor he
Haigh, whose previous films include the
touching gay romance “Weekend” and the
resonant marital drama “45 Years,” works
in the same intuitive, humanist tradition as
Kelly Reichardt, the director of such films
as “Certain Women” and “Night Moves.”
“Wendy and Lucy,” her 2008 movie about
a young woman and her dog, set partially
in the outskirts of Oregon, probably influenced “Lean on Pete.” Like Reichardt’s
films, Haigh’s sometimes drift off into a
desultory nothingness, but he has a real
feeling for people – not to mention horses.
At his best, he can strike more emotional
notes from silence than most directors can
with a full chorus of sound.
r Rated R for language and brief violence.
Protest art is preserved
in libraries, museums
Amanda Charles (l.) and her mother, Beatrice, look at political
posters at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s ‘Get with
the Action’ exhibition.
WHEN THE 2017 WOMEN’S MARCH concluded, what
remained behind, stuck on fences and piled on
sidewalks, were the thousands of posters that
served as the visual expression of the marchers’
Museums, universities, and libraries across the
United States collected signs from the march sites
and put out a call on social media. Now these artifacts are being placed in archives and displayed
in exhibitions.
At the Sutro Library, located on the campus of
San Francisco State University, professors also
use posters from the march as teaching tools.
For many students, the preservation of artifacts
from the Women’s March signals a shift toward
preserving women’s history. “To me, it means that
the voices of women are no longer going to be
silenced,” says Scarlett Arreola-Reyes, a junior at
the university. “It means that future generations
can see the efforts of women throughout history.”
The New-York Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York also sent out a call
for posters, which are now on display in current
exhibitions. Faculty from Northeastern University
in Boston collected thousands of signs from the
local march and added them to an online display
titled “Art of the March.”
At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,
the “Get with the Action” exhibition explores “the
medium of the political poster as a way to communicate pressing ideas and organize and inform a
wide audience,” writes Joseph Becker, associate
curator of architecture and design for SFMOMA,
in an email. “Get with the Action” displays political
posters from the 1960s to the present.
For exhibition visitor Beatrice Charles, placing
a Women’s March poster alongside posters from
previous decades gives the march a historical context, she says, and shows that “we’ve learned so
much, and we’re still fighting some of the same
things we all were fighting a long time ago.”
– Bailey Bischoff / Staff writer
In this time of the ubiquitous
auto-tuned vocal, what a pleasure it
is to hear a truly gifted vocalist at the
pinnacle of her art. Melody Gardot
Live in Europe finds the pop/
jazz chanteuse from Philadelphia
thrilling her rapturous audiences
from London to Vienna, backed by a
soloist-rich band stretching the very
boundaries of jazz. Listen to Gardot’s
elastic alto effortlessly channel the
best elements of Barbra Streisand, Edith Piaf, and Nina Simone,
and you’ll wonder why she isn’t a household name.
The WeatherBug app can be a good go-to whether you’re
still trying to keep track of snow in the forecast, wondering
whether lightning will strike in your area, or wanting to see
the Doppler radar map. WeatherBug is available free of charge
for iOS and Android.
Some of the works at the
Uffizi Gallery, a museum
in Florence, Italy, known for
its pieces from the Italian
Renaissance, can now be
viewed from your couch
via the gallery’s virtual tour.
Check it out at
The Post, the story of how The Washington Post fought to
release the Pentagon Papers during the 1970s, stars Meryl
Streep and Tom Hanks and is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Monitor film critic Peter Rainer praised Streep’s performance
as Post publisher Katharine Graham, writing, “In inexorable increments, she transforms what might have been just another
feminist standard-bearer into something far more complex.
Her hesitations, rue, and ultimate valor are soul-deep.”
Dan Bransfield’s Pizzapedia is a lovely
celebration of pizza’s creation, ingredients, and variations explored through
80 playful watercolor illustrations. The
book details pizza’s origins in the Persian
Empire during the 5th century BC as well
as the various cheeses, toppings, and
crusts of pizzas from Rome to New York to
Chicago. Fun and wacky trivia about ambitious inventions, failed pranks, and world records peppers
the pages and is sure to put a smile on your face.
APRIL 16, 2018
So many ways to say ‘thank you’
By Danny Heitman
with your one wild and precious
Don’t judge Poems of Gratitude by its cover. The dust jacket of Everyman’s Library’s
anthology of poetry about thankfulness
In Oliver’s vision, gratitude becomes
has a distinctly autumnal theme, with lots something more than a passive piety. The
of earth tones and a sumptuous feast on poem’s reference to death underscores the
the front and a snowbound scene featuring sense of loss that makes life itself such a
turkeys on the back. Despite its nod toward wonder worthy of thanks. “The Summer
November and Thanksgiving, though, the Day” ends with a call to action, too, suggestcollection’s abiding message is that
ing that gratitude involves a sense
gratitude isn’t merely about bowing
of obligation.
one’s head over a holiday table. The poems
That kind of emotional complexity is a
here honor gratitude throughout the year, hallmark of the collection. Despite its theme
and their themes extend into every season. of thankfulness, “Poems of Gratitude” isn’t
The book includes “The Summer Day,” all sweetness and light. One of its recurring
for example, an iconic poem by Mary Oliver. themes is the struggle to see goodness in
Instructively, the poem doesn’t include the spite of, rather than because of, existing cirwords “thanks” or “gratitude.” Oliver reflects cumstances. In “Those Winter Sundays,”
on the subject more circumspectly:
Robert Hayden recalls a less-than-perfect
childhood in which he would “rise and dress,
I don’t know exactly what a
fearing the chronic angers of that house.”
In retrospect, despite the tensions of those
prayer is.
years, the adult poet comes to understand
I do know how to pay attention,
that his father, though flawed, nevertheless
how to fall down
rose early on Sundays and started a fire to
into the grass, how to kneel down
warm the house, then polished his son’s
in the grass,
best shoes:
how to be idle and blessed, how to
stroll through
the fields,
which is what I’ve been doing all
Tell me, what else should I have
Doesn’t everything die at last, and
too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely
A number of the poems here involve a
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the
– Jalal al-Din Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne
APRIL 16, 2018
we are saying thank you faster
and faster
with nobody listening we are
saying thank you
thank you we are saying and
dark though it is
– W.S. Merwin, from ‘Thanks’
backward glance, underscoring the degree
to which gratitude often doesn’t come into
focus until the object of our affection is gone.
In other words, as the popular observation
goes, we don’t fully appreciate something
until we lose it.
But what of those souls who savor grace
in its actual moment? In “Wild Gratitude,”
the collection’s opening poem, Edward
Hirsch hints that such visionaries are often
dismissed as daft. He writes of the 18thcentury English poet Christopher Smart,
arguing that Smart’s passion for gratitude
was misread as manic obsession, getting
him locked in an asylum:
With his sad religious mania, and
his wild gratitude,
And with his grave prayers for the
other lunatics,
And his great love for his speckled
cat, Jeoffry.
All day today – August 13, 1983 –
I remembered how
Christopher Smart blessed this
same day in August, 1759,
For its calm bravery and ordinary
good conscience.
Hirsch concludes that gratitude isn’t just
an exercise in bland serenity, but also indulges abandon, the risk of getting carried away.
True to that reality, many of the selections in “Poems of Gratitude” embrace ecstasy, as in Anne Sexton’s “Welcome Morning”:
There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry, “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.
Sexton’s poem artfully outlines the tension between daily routine and the sense of
intention required to notice what’s good while
harnessed to habit.
In this way, true gratitude becomes an act
of imagination, an enterprise particularly suited to poets. “Gratitude is a cherishing of what
is, contrasted with what has been or could be,”
the book’s editor, Emily Fragos, tells readers.
“It is both an emotion and a practice, and it
necessarily includes keen awareness of the
sorrow and pain that give pleasure its value.”
“Poems of Gratitude” is a tonic for the times
– a reminder that the present, so fraught with
the complications and conflicts of the human
condition, just might be the best moment of all.
r Danny Heitman, a columnist for The
Advocate newspaper in Louisiana, is the
author of “A Summer of Birds: John James
Audubon at Oakley House.”
By Jenny Xie
Chinese-born, US-raised Jenny Xie was awarded
the 2017 Walt Whitman Award by the Academy of
American Poets for her verse straddling two worlds.
In Eye Level, she writes of the Lunar New Year (“Make
what you will out of ritual/ the relative with the steadiest hands cuts the hair of her cousins”) soon to be
interrupted by a call to other lands (“Envelopes arrive
from a university overseas,/ a new life activated”). Xie uses language that is
powerful and precise not only to explore the pains of cultural assimilation
(“The new country is ill fitting/ lined with cheap polyester, soiled at the
sleeves”) but also other frustrations of the human experience (“If only the
journey between two people/ didn’t take a lifetime.”)
– Marjorie Kehe
By Galway Kinnell
Galway Kinnell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
who died in 2014 at 87, had many ostensible subjects,
but his preoccupation was mortality. His poems often
bear a reminder that any moment, however grand,
is also bittersweet since nothing lasts. In “A Walk
in the Country,” where his companion sees lovely
grass, Kinnell remembers that at some point, most
of us will rest underneath it. Like the elegiac Thomas
Hardy, he’s a beautifully lucid poet best sampled in
small doses. Collected Poems is a book to dip into, with
wistful pleasure, again and again. – Danny Heitman
By Noor Unnahar
Bless the laborers whose faces
we do not see – like the girl my
grandmother was,
walking in the rails home; bless
us that we remember.
– Natasha Trethewey,
from ‘Invocation, 1926’
Pakistani blogger Noor Unnahar has won hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide as an Instagram
poet. Yesterday I Was the Moon, her first book, hums
with youthful energy and bemused attempts to make
sense of the world around her. Unnahar mixes simple
sketches with pithy verse as she ponders ways to
communicate (“my homeland gifted me/ a language
with soft corners”), miracles (“this world isn’t as/
generous as it appears”), and reasons for joy (“last
night I whispered/ a thank you note to the universe/
for it made oceans and stars/ equally beautiful and
accessible/ for all of us”). To read Unnahar is to love
– Marjorie Kehe
APRIL 16, 2018
Poems that blend culture and nature
One isn’t quite sure what engages
Phillips more, the real woods or the
idea of them. The question arises again
in “Musculature,” which begins with a
discussion of his dog and then digressIn “Coin of the Realm,” a collection of es into a discussion of language and
critical essays that he published in 2004, mortality, the canine itself never quite
Carl Phillips outlined a literary sensibil- coming into focus.
ity that’s helpful to keep in mind while
That’s an abiding challenge with
reading his poems. “For me, to write is Phillips’s poems, which can become so
a form of prayer, however secular the immersed in intellectual disquisition
subject of the writing at hand,” he told that they sound aridly abstract.
readers. “Writing is as private as
At his best, though, Phillips
prayer – it contains, as prayer
has a keen eye for what’s trandoes, an implicit faith in there being sitory – for those things made all the
somewhere a listener and at the same more beautiful because they can’t last.
time a sober realization that prayer is In “Swimming,” he artfully compares
wind-swept trees to a kind of star that
finally one-directional.”
That vision rests at the heart of Wild a helmsman might steer by, then wistIs the Wind, Phillips’s new collection of fully asks, “Do people, anymore, even
poems. His verse often seems like an in- say helmsman?”
What results is a poignant moment
terior monologue on which the reader is
– the poet using language to preserve
casually eavesdropping.
The title “Wild Is the Wind” refers to a memory, then wondering if language
an old jazz standard, but it also neatly itself, a cherished instrument for passchimes with Phillips’s interest in nature. ing what’s precious from one age to
The double meaning of the title under- another, is also vulnerable to time.
scores his equal fascination with both
It’s a problem perhaps only a poet
culture and the outdoors.
would be anguished by, though anothHis poems casually quote Lucretius er poem, “Brothers in Arms,” shows
or Marcus Aurelius while touching on Phillips coming to terms with the ocwind and water, woods and bonfires, cupational hazards of his vocation:
coyotes and storms. In the title poem, “I’ve always thought gratitude’s the
Phillips recalls a time when he lived “at one correct response to having been
the forest’s edge – metaphorically, so it made, however painfully, to see this life
can sometimes seem now, though the for- more up close.”
est was real, as my life beside it was....”
– Danny Heitmen
Here, before these shadows that,
in their disappearance, returning,
then falling as softly again
elsewhere, have sometimes
seemed the first and last lesson
left on the nature of power, though
they are not that, I bow my head,
I bend my knee. I hardly care,
I think, anymore, who goes there,
only let me pass – however
flawed – among them, my fears
not stripped from me, but kept
hidden as, more often than not,
just beneath stamina, somewhere
grace, too, lies hidden. Nobody
speaks to me as you do. Nowhere
water-lit do the leaves pale faster.
– From ‘Wild is the Wind,’ by Carl Phillips
To lift, without ever asking what animal exactly it once belonged to,
the socketed helmet that what’s left of the skull equals
up to your face, to hold it there, mask-like, to look through it until
looking through means looking back, back through the skull,
into the self that is partly the animal you’ve always wanted to be,
that – depending – fear has prevented or rescued you from becoming,
to know utterly what you’ll never be, to understand in doing so
what you are, and say no to it, not to who you are, to say no to despair.
From ‘Wild Is the Wind,’ by Carl Phillips
APRIL 16, 2018
Hurricane Maria upended Puerto Rico – and its fishing industry.
Raimundo Espinoza Chirinos is helping in an innovative way.
By Whitney Eulich / Correspondent
aimundo Espinoza Chirinos
leans over the side of a fishing
boat and points at a dark blur
rising up slowly beneath the
choppy water. “Here he comes. He’s got
something,” Mr. Espinoza says, as fisherman Julio Ortiz breaks the surface of the
water. Mr. Ortiz, wearing a short-sleeved
wet suit and small circular mask, treads
water as he heaves up a contraption made
of red plastic milk crates fastened together
with rope.
It’s a fish trap – an illegal one given
that it’s made of plastic – that was lost
when hurricane Maria tore across Puerto
Rico last year. The estimated hundreds of
traps that were swept out to sea in September are not only capturing and killing
lobster and fish but also potentially seeping chemicals into water and the seafood
people eat.
“There are no markings on the surface
[for these lost traps], which means only
someone under the water every day is likely to find them,” says Espinoza, founder
of Conservación ConCiencia, a nonprofit
supported by The Ocean Foundation that
works on sustainable fisheries and climate
resilience here.
When hurricane Maria crashed into
Puerto Rico the morning of Sept. 20, 2017,
the entire population suffered. Six months
later, tens of thousands of families are still
without electricity, and evidence of the
homes and livelihoods swept away by the
rain and ferocious winds litters communities – and the ocean floor.
Espinoza launched Conservación
ConCiencia in 2016, first leading a trip to
Cuba for Puerto Rican fishermen to focus
on conservation and fishing practices, and
later starting Puerto Rico’s first shark research and conservation program. But in
the aftermath of the storm, he realized he
needed to change gears.
“Everyone kept asking, ‘How’s the
ocean? What’s the damage?’ ” Espinoza
recalls. “And it became clear that no one
knew. Everything was in crisis [on the
island], and no one was looking” at the
He received funding from a Puerto
Rican organization to help replace lost
fishing gear, although only items that are
considered sustainable and safe for local fisheries. He also teamed up with the
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to
CLEANUP MISSION: Raimundo Espinoza Chirinos, founder of the nonprofit Conservación
ConCiencia, stands on a boat as fishermen dive to retrieve lost traps off the coast of Puerto Rico.
launch an emergency relief project. That’s
what he is doing out on the water today
with Ortiz, the fisherman.
The project taps into the skill sets of
fishermen here and offers added benefits
such as economic support and the building of relationships between fishermen,
scientists, and government officials. Its
premise is simple: When fishermen go out
diving for lobster and conch, a common
practice here, and see a trap on the ocean
floor or in a coral reef, they take note of
the GPS location and send it to Espinoza.
He then returns with them, documents the
removal, and pays them for their time.
A potential example for future disasters
Atlantic Ocean
San Juan
It’s a unique project and could set
an example for future coastal disasters
around the world.
Ortiz and his two sons, Jonathan and
Orlando Ortiz Pobon, are all working together on today’s cleanup mission.
They were skeptical when they first
heard that someone was offering money
to help remove lost traps after the storm.
Maybe they’d drive a scientist or official
around, but surely they wouldn’t be paid,
Ortiz recalls thinking.
Soon after Maria, Espinoza started
showing up in fishing ports like Naguabo,
bringing food and water from San Juan,
the island’s capital. “This was some of the
first aid we saw,” says Ortiz, referring to
the weeks following the storm. His home
in nearby Punta Santiago flooded. The top
floor of a neighbor’s home was washed
away. The storage lockers on the dock in
APRIL 16, 2018
How to take action
important for the future of our work and for
the health of our fish,” Ortiz says.
“I found 60 lobsters in a [lost] trap,” Jonathan adds. “They were all basically dead.
Wasted,” he says.
Earlier that morning, he had surfaced
from the water to ask Espinoza to pass him
a hammer. He dived back down to whack on
a trap wedged in the rocks below.
Naguabo, like those in other fishing towns
across Puerto Rico, were washed out to sea,
taking with them the fishing gear – and work
– of many families here.
Espinoza began meeting fishermen and
telling them about his project. Today he’s
working with about 25 individuals in five
“We need to change the system that’s always asking favors of fishermen but doesn’t
treat them as a valuable resource,” Espinoza
says as he adjusts an action camera on Jonathan’s wrist. Jonathan tips backward into
the water to look for traps with his father.
The camera is a small but key step in
the project. It documents the ocean floor,
creating a record of sea-grass growth, coral reefs, and other aspects of the fisheries’
health post-Maria. It also records the process the fishermen use to remove the traps
and can be used as a teaching tool for other
fishermen joining the project.
Hailing from a landlocked city
The water is choppy, and Espinoza mentions he’s feeling a little queasy. Despite his
dedication to the sea, this wasn’t the environment he grew up in. Born and raised in
the landlocked Andean city of Quito, Ecuador, he became fascinated with marine
life following a family trip to the Galápagos
Islands when he was in fifth grade.
He went on to earn degrees in environmental studies and sustainable development
and conservation biology in the United
States, eventually moving to Puerto Rico,
where his father had moved for work.
It was during a semester
researching sea turtles in Baja
California, Mexico, when he
realized the importance of
social connections in conservation efforts. Outside of
his fieldwork, he tutored local
children in English with a focus on vocabulary about the
environment. After he talked
about protecting endangered
sea turtles one day, one of his
students told him excitedly
that his uncle had given him
one for his birthday. EspiALFREDO SOSA/STAFF
noza thought the child was
confused: Sea turtles are proNEW WORK: Puerto Rican fisherman Julio Ortiz brings an illegal
tected. He probably meant a
lobster trap to the surface. Hurricane Maria swept many traps out
to sea last year.
snapping turtle.
But sure enough, several
Espinoza reports that he and his collab- weeks later the student came in with his sea
orators removed 155 lost traps from the turtle – and his extended family.
ocean floor between Jan. 29 and March
“Just the connections we made talking
13. The fishermen are paid $100 per trap, about sea turtles and their importance in a
which comes out to roughly $500 per trip. basic English class led to its release,” EsToday, Ortiz and his sons recovered 10 traps pinoza says.
from a small underwater cave about 55 feet
“It made me realize the strong ties bebeneath the water’s surface.
tween our ecosystem and community inIt’s a vital economic boost at a moment volvement,” he says. “It can’t just be scienwhen gear is damaged and the ecosystem is tists talking about conservation; locals need
in flux. Ortiz says he earned between $150 to be invested, too.”
and $180 per day fishing before Maria, and
His project working with fishermen after
that since the storm, key species like conch Maria is true to that philosophy. And it’s
aren’t where they used to be.
gone beyond fishing communities helping
But it’s more than money that motivates him efficiently clean polluting debris from
the men to participate. “A clean ocean is the ocean. They’ve also opened a window
APRIL 16, 2018
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into the realities of fishing in Puerto Rico,
realities that even government agencies
tasked with overseeing the practice weren’t
aware of.
Espinoza estimates that some 95 percent
of the traps they’ve uncovered are illegal.
“We knew people used illegal traps, but
we didn’t know the extent of it, and it’s
quite big,” says Ricardo López, director of
commercial fisheries at Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental
Resources. “I think this project ... will not
only help clean the waters but better integrate fishermen” into formal environmental
protection efforts, he says. It could inform
future oversight efforts as well.
After about an hour of diving, the back
half of the boat is packed with rectangular
plastic traps in red, yellow, black, and white.
“We need to work directly with the fishermen to transition into legal gear,” Espinoza
says. “They have a vast knowledge of the
water here. Together, I’m confident we’ll
see change.”
r For more information, visit And for a
Monitor video about the cleanup of fish
traps, go to
Making peace with my magnolia
All that, and our magnolia blooms
In the front yard of my
grandmother’s house in
LEAVES. IT BLOOMS ONCE. AND YET ... only once a year.
I have created a monster, I thought,
Hattiesburg, Miss., there was a giant
as I looked up at this icon of the American South, distant cousin
tree. My cousin Judy and I played beneath it as children. We
to that old giant in Mississippi, and wondered if I could bear
couldn’t have been more than 3 and 4 years old, respectively. It
to cut it down. I wondered what my grandmother would think
was the first tree we ever climbed.
about that.
In my memory it is a magnolia, with a massive trunk and
smooth, thick branches low enough for us to sit on and dangle
And then I saw it – the first blossom of the season, close and
our legs under a canopy of leaves that inspired the beginnings of low, huge by flowering-tree standards, just opening, as if to
infinite possibilities. It was as if the big green leaves were tenour world of make-believe.
When my husband and I retired and built our cottage by the sea tatively holding out a peace offering, a most precious treasure,
pure and white and perfectly formed, hinting at a beauty of the
after 30 years of living in a dry western climate filled with scrub
spirit untouched by age or time.
oak and ponderosa pines, I had to have a magnolia. The landscapI thought about how the magnolia provided the shade that
er asked where I wanted it placed, and I naively replied, “Where I
cooled our porch and kept the sun out of our eyes in the aftercan see it.” They planted it about five feet from our back porch, in
noon, how its branches housed the birds that sang in the suma bed of azaleas. It was just a stick then. But in the past 15 years it
mer night. There was safety in those branches for the mockinghas grown to almost four stories high and 20 feet across.
bird and the whippoorwill. I could hear the rustle of those leaves
We had to prune the lower limbs because they were invadin the wind, which, by their constant falling, signal constant
ing the house. It has big, shiny dark-green leaves that fall off
renewal. They were leaves like the ones that had once sheltered
in great numbers during every month of the year. They fall on
little girls sitting on the precipice of a lifelong sisterhood.
the grass and the walks and the flower beds. They are thick and
As the scent of that perfect blossom filled the air, I realized that
pointed, and they get stuck in the azaleas (which don’t bloom
anymore because the magnolia shades them) and must be
anything that brings such beauty into this world deserves to live
clawed out by hand.
in it. A pearl of wisdom revealed itself to me: Some things in life
One time last spring we decided to just let the leaves build
are messy, but sometimes, they are worth it. So I stood there and
made my peace with that magnolia. I knew that I would go on
up, hoping they would eventually disintegrate, but when they
raking its leaves – without complaint, and perhaps even joyfully.
got knee-deep after a couple of weeks we relented and raked
I believe my grandmother would be pleased.
them into a pile the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. They filled nine
trash bags, which we hauled to the curb.
– Joy Thompson Dingee
I have created a monster,
I thought, as I looked at the tree.
But could I bear to cut it down?
Words in the news
Bolded clues are linked to current events. What
former French president faces a corruption trial?
By Owen Thomas
7. Also known as mare’s-tail
1. The way one used to call
8. Hosts
3. His internet access was cut
off recently by his hosts at
their embassy in London
9. NASA craft will get seven
times closer to this object
than any previous probe
10. Last month’s “moon” won’t
occur again until 2020
11. Arab market
2. Damon, to Pythias
4. Checked with
5. President Trump took it to
task for its tax payments
6. Mexican state on Gulf Coast
12. Mozart, for one
10. Clobber
14. Eat quickly (slang)
16. Topic for debate
18. Former French president has
been ordered to stand trial
for corruption
22. Story, in song
13. Star of this revival of an
eponymous TV show got
a congratulatory call from
15. New head of the Department
of Veterans Affairs
17. Release
23. Chanel of fashion
25. Conditions
19. Extra-point expert
26. United Nations agency for
21. Enlighten
20. With “hoo”
24. “Deputy first dog” for Gov.
Jerry Brown in California
(give yourself extra credit if
you know this one)
27. Too
How to do sudoku
Difficulty:    
A monthly feature. Questions? Comments?
Contact us at
Fill in the grid so the numbers 1 through 9 appear just once
in each column, row, and three-by-three block.
APRIL 16, 2018
When plump was a pleasing word
narrative holds that in the past, fatness
Recently, I finished a route in the
was culturally appreciated. It was a
rock climbing gym and someone
sign that you were healthy and wealthy
said to me, “That’s pretty stout!” I was
enough to eat three meals a day. It was
confused and maybe a little insulted. Was
only at the turn of the 20th century that
he, out of the blue, calling me fat?
a high enough proportion
My reaction had a lot to do
of Westerners had so much
with how fraught the issue of
“fat” is in American society
food that thinness resulting
from self-denial became the
today. On one hand, we have
standard of beauty.
very negative attitudes about
Do the terms we used
it. Obesity is considered a
in the past to talk about “fatgrave health concern, and
By Melissa Mohr
ness” support this story?
standards of beauty skew very
In the 19th century, doctors advocatmuch toward the thin. But on the other,
ed “plumpness.” Dr. T.C. Duncan’s 1878
there is a growing “body positive” moveguide, “How to Be Plump,” describes this
ment that encourages people of all sizes
state as beneficial both to one’s health
to see their bodies as beautiful.
and to one’s looks and is filled with adThe word thick, which we looked at
vice about how to “get fleshy.”
last week, goes along with this movePlumpness, though, was a state of
ment; it is a wholly positive term that celmoderation. If you got too fleshy, you beebrates “bigger” bodies. Fat, in contrast,
came corpulent, and this was considered
is a word that is inherently stigmatizing.
A commonly accepted historical
to be unhealthy and unattractive.
It was my first time traveling in a particular country where sexual harassment
of foreign women was not uncommon.
Our group wanted to respect the customs
of modesty for women in this country, so
even though it was quite hot during that
season, we wore clothing that completely
covered our arms and legs. Nevertheless,
the harassment occurred.
I have always found prayer to be reliable in addressing challenges, so I turned
to God. I wanted to understand more fully
the purity of all women and men – a quality that’s within everyone’s real identity as
God’s spiritual idea, or child. In the Bible’s
book of Genesis, we read, “Male and female
created he them” (1:27).
This helped me see that all of God’s
children include all the masculine and feminine qualities of our Father-Mother God by
virtue of being God’s complete reflection
or expression. There’s no conflict between
these qualities. In “Science and Health with
Key to the Scriptures,” Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy describes man (a
generic term for all of God’s children) in part
as “the compound idea of God, including
The word fat itself combined these
dual senses from its very first uses. A
13th-century historian praised King Henry I, describing him as a “fair man ... and
fat also,” while the ideal early medieval
woman was “fat, tender, and beautiful.”
Yet fatness was also moralized, associated with the sin of gluttony.
As these words show, we have always
been of two minds about fatness. In the
20th century, though, its positive aspects largely dropped out of the picture.
The body positive activists who fight
“fat-shaming” are in a way restoring the
balance we have lost.
As for stout, I had forgotten that it
isn’t just a negative term for “short and
fat.” It also means “brave,” “determined,”
“strong,” and “vigorous,” as in “a stout
defense.” King Henry I could have been
stout as well as fat. Among climbers, a
stout route is a tough one. It was a compliment.
all right ideas;... that which has not a single Love and Truth, we are all inherently receptive to truth and love.
quality underived from Deity” (p. 475).
When we entered the shop, at first I hesI was so reassured by this view that
God’s pure and perfect creation includes itated to say anything, but then quietly and
everyone. Since we reflect Him, our real firmly I told the man that what he had said
identity is Godlike, as holy as God is holy to my friend had upset her greatly. Then I
and as valued by each other as completely said: “We are here visiting your country beas God values all His, Her, sons and daugh- cause we love your people and the beauty
ters. This gave me a conviction that even if of your culture, and we want to understand
someone isn’t being reyou better. But we also
spectful or appropriate,
hope you will learn to unA CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
derstand us better, and
there is a solid basis for
we want you to know that
a change in course and
we are good women who
hope for progress.
Within a day, my prayers were put to deserve your respect and honor as much as
the test. A young woman in our group had your wives and daughters do.”
The man looked right at my friend
gone to purchase a blouse, but while the
shop owner was measuring her, he had and apologized for what he had said. He
made some sexual comments that so up- thanked her for coming back to pay for the
set her she left shaking in fear. The next day blouse. And we left on good terms.
she told me what had happened and asked
While I don’t know what broader impact
if I would go with her to pick up the blouse. this experience may have had on the man,
Part of me wanted to simply tag along to me it illustrates how each individual can
to help her feel safe, but as I held to my be a part of forwarding progress in how we
prayers from earlier, something in me knew think of both women and men. We can all
that I needed to speak up to challenge take a mental stand for the expression of
the man’s misconception of womanhood. universal womanhood and manhood in all
I needed to have the courage of my spiri- of us – the right of everyone everywhere to
tual convictions that the correct message express strength, goodness, and purity. Bewould be heard in a way that would bless, cause that is how we are made!
because as the children of God, infinite
– Susan Booth Mack Snipes
APRIL 16, 2018
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