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International New York Times - 12 May 2018

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ASTRONOMERS ARE
GOING PLACES WITH A
3-D MAP OF THE GALAXY
LIZ PHAIR
REVISITS
‘GUYVILLE’
AND HER
EVOLUTION
AS AN
ARTIST
Weekend
NOTORIOUS RBG:
TRAILBLAZING JUSTICE
AND, NOW, MOVIE STAR
ALABAMA
SERVES UP
MEALS TO
SOOTHE
AND
SITES TO
PROVOKE
PAGE 17 | FILM
THE E.U. REGULATOR
WHO’S STANDING UP
TO TECH GIANTS
PAGE 18 |
MUSIC
PAGE 23 |
TRAVEL
PAGE 7 | SCIENCE LAB
PAGE 8 | BUSINESS
..
INTERNATIONAL EDITION | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018
When pulpit
denies abuse
in the home
U.S. takes
risk of trying
to turn foes
into allies
Julia Baird
Contributing Writer
MOSUL, IRAQ
OPINION
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA One Sunday last
year, Isabelle’s husband, Max, came
home from his Anglican church in
Sydney brandishing sermon notes. The
minister had preached that day on the
need for wives to accept their husband’s authority.
Max, a parish leader, yelled: “You
don’t get it, do you? The wife has to
submit.” Then, as he often did on weekends, he took Isabelle into their bedroom and raped her.
The words he had heard in church,
she told me, gave him “fuel for his
cruelty.” Isabelle, which is not her real
name, had been crippled with shame
and fear, but she
eventually left him
Church
after he threatened
communities
to kill her.
believing they
For more than a
are immune
year, Hayley Gleefrom domestic
son, a colleague of
mine at the Australviolence leads
to a dangerous ian Broadcasting
Corporation, and I
ignorance.
have been investigating how religion
intersects with
domestic violence in Australia. We’ve
studied how church culture affects the
behavior of perpetrators and victims,
what teachings can be exploited by
abusers, and how faith leaders respond
to accusations of domestic violence.
We spoke to more than 250 counselors, church workers, psychologists,
clergy members, theologians, social
workers, sociologists and survivors.
We discovered aspects of the culture
that allow abuse to occur and continue: the teaching of male “headship”
and the domination of women, a dearth
of female leadership, the church’s
emphasis on forgiveness, stigma surrounding divorce, the lack of understanding of domestic abuse, and a
covering-up of women’s experiences.
We found that many local pastors
did not believe women who came
forward with stories of abuse. Church
leaders often told women to submit to
their husbands, to endure and stay.
The stories we heard were brutal:
BAIRD, PAGE 13
The New York Times publishes opinion
from a wide range of perspectives in
hopes of promoting constructive debate
about consequential questions.
Military in Iraq trains
former members of
Iran-backed militias
BY MARGARET COKER
IVOR PRICKETT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Members of the Badr Organization, a Shiite movement with deep ties to Iran, praying in Hilla, Iraq. One of Badr’s leaders said of the Americans: “Now, we need their help.”
Picking up the pieces
Former detainees recall
hard readjustments after
prison in North Korea
BY AMY HARMON
For Euna Lee, certain moments of her
return from months of confinement in
North Korea in the summer of 2009 were
marked by what she recalls as “utter
joy.” The tearful reunion with her husband and 4-year-old daughter; savoring
a meal at a favorite local restaurant in
Los Angeles.
But as time went on, Ms. Lee said, she
found herself overwhelmed by sadness
and anxiety. Guilt-ridden over the time
she had missed, she volunteered at her
daughter’s elementary school as she resumed working as a journalist. Gratitude she felt for the work done to free
her, she said, morphed into a sense of ob-
ligation to suppress any ill will toward
others — even in minor interactions, as
when someone cut in front of her in line
at the grocery store.
“For a long time,” said Ms. Lee, who
now works in Washington as an executive producer at Voice of America, “I felt
like I was living someone else’s life.”
As the three American prisoners released by North Korea in the past week
savored their freedom after many
months in captivity, they joined a group
of Americans, 16 in total, who have been
detained and released by the regime
since 1990, according to the State Department. Many — including Ms. Lee,
who had been accused of illegally crossing into North Korea — had followed every development in the negotiations for
the three hostages, and rejoiced at the
news. Two of the newly released Americans, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, were
accused by the regime of “hostile acts,”
and the third, Kim Dong-chul, was ac-
cused of spying and had been sentenced
to hard labor.
But Ms. Lee and others who have
been detained also know that after the
initial euphoria wears off, coming home
from brutal internment is not without its
own struggles. In interviews, some of
them, and their loved ones, recalled the
challenges of resuming their lives — including family tensions, financial troubles, pangs of anxiety and a sense of disorientation.
“I know what they’ve just gone
through, that loneliness, the isolation,
the big black question mark on the horizon,” said Jeffrey Fowle, who was imprisoned in North Korea for four months
in 2014. “It can be rough to pick up the
CAPTIVES, PAGE 5
MADDIE MCGARVEY FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
PATH TO PROSPERITY FOR NORTH KOREA
South Korea’s president gave the
North’s leader a USB drive that laid a
plan for new infrastructure. PAGE 5
A radical painter turns toward love
AMSTERDAM
Marlene Dumas, known
for political art, gets
inspired by Shakespeare
BY NINA SIEGAL
TOM JAMIESON FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Marlene Dumas in her studio in Amsterdam. “These works are really about the human
condition,” she said of “Myths & Mortals,” her newest collection of paintings.
Y(1J85IC*KKNPKP( +]!z!$!#!;
A painting by Marlene Dumas of her
pregnant daughter Helena — her belly
wide and full, her hands raised at the elbow, her feet splayed — stood nearly 10
feet tall in the South African artist’s studio here in Amsterdam two weeks ago.
It was the night before a few dozen of
Ms. Dumas’s new paintings would be
shipped to New York for her first solo exhibition there in eight years, and the artist was drinking white wine and still contemplating which works would end up in
the show.
Several other monumental nudes,
both male and female, were propped
against the walls in two light-filled studio spaces, representing what she calls
“strange, mixed-up figures, not quite
human.” Interspersed among them
were smaller oil paintings of bodily fragments: a lipstick-smeared mouth, a single breast and several renditions of two
faces entwined in a kiss.
Ms. Dumas, 64, walked through the
space, its floor littered with halfsqueezed paint tubes and its tables
topped with art history books, museum
postcards and photocopied images.
“They are, in a sense, individual works,”
she said of the paintings, but they all
have something to do with “attraction,
sensuality and desires.”
This is Ms. Dumas’s newest body of
work, “Myths & Mortals,” which just
opened at David Zwirner’s West 20th
Street gallery in Manhattan and is on
view through June 30. Half of the 61
works were painted in the last three
months, she said, while others were
from 2016 and 2017. They start with a series of ink wash illustrations Ms. Dumas
made to accompany a narrative Shakespeare poem, “Venus and Adonis,”
which inspired her to explore issues of
DUMAS, PAGE 2
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Issue Number
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Jeffrey Fowle, who was imprisoned in
North Korea for four months in 2014,
found life tough back in the United States.
“It can be rough to pick up the pieces.”
Iraq’s interior minister, Qassim al-Araji,
has a troubled history with the United
States. He was detained twice by the
Americans at the notorious Camp Bucca
prison during the Iraq war and held for
23 months, accused of smuggling Iranian-made bombs that had become effective killers of American troops.
As a former commander of an Iranian-backed militia, his loyalties are open
to question. But when he met with the
United States ambassador last year, he
had a surprising message: He and other
former Shiite militants wanted the
Americans to stay. Iraq needed their
help, he said, to stabilize the country and
combat the threat of the Islamic State.
He even jokingly praised the superiority of American jails over Iraqi ones.
“You have some things to teach us,” he
told the American ambassador, Douglas
J. Silliman.
The request represented a monumental switch for some of Iraq’s most influential Shiite leaders and an opportunity
for the United States to achieve its elusive security goals in the region, albeit
with some unlikely partners.
But the evolving alliance means that
the United States military is taking a
risk: training, sharing intelligence and
planning missions with former members of Iranian-backed militias that once
fought and killed Americans.
Several former militia commanders
have risen to high-level political positions. Now, a coalition of them was expected to be among the biggest winners
in parliamentary elections on Saturday,
giving them even more prominent roles
in the new government and possibly determining the future of the American
presence in Iraq.
The United States has expanded secretive military ventures and counterterrorism missions in remote corners of
the world, but in Iraq it is taking a different tack. Here, the United States is reducing its troop presence and gambling
that common interests with former adversaries will help prevent a resurgence
of the Islamic State. The bet seemed to
pay off with the announcement Wednesday that a joint Iraqi-American intelliIRAQ, PAGE 6
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018 | 3
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
World
Despite Kremlin, a deeply personal day
MOSCOW JOURNAL
MOSCOW
Government inserts itself
into memorial for family
members who died in war
New York University
has not done enough for
Abu Dhabi workers, it says
BY ANDREW E. KRAMER
In a schoolyard in Moscow shaded by
birch trees, a group of children held in
their hands portraits of their ancestors
who had died in World War II. They
were waiting to join one of this year’s
Immortal Regiment marches — held
across Russia to honor the war dead.
“The idea is that we walk with pictures of our relatives,” said Pavel
Mramornov, 11, holding a portrait of his
great-great-grandfather, who died in
1944. “We carry our relatives in our
hearts.”
The students’ relatives were among
the 27 million Soviet soldiers and citizens estimated to have died in the war,
which touched nearly every family in
the country and which is still treated as
a sacred era in Russia’s history.
The celebration of the end of the war,
Victory Day, every May 9, has long been
an important holiday in Russia. But as
the number of living veterans dwindled
in the new millennium, President
Vladimir V. Putin reinvented Victory
Day as a political holiday, to replace the
Soviet-era Revolution Day celebrated in
November to mark the Bolshevik
seizure of power.
And so he moved the pageantry of a
grand Red Square parade to May 9.
The rumbling parade of tanks and
stomping soldiers underpinned an
ideology of military strength and patriotism. But the personal element, of
thanking family members, seemed to
fall by the wayside.
The practice of marching with portraits of dead family members began as
a grass-roots movement in the Siberian
city of Tomsk. Three friends who wanted
to restore the familial tradition of the
holiday and keep the memory of individual veterans alive came up with the idea
in 2011; the first Immortal Regiment
march with the portraits was the next
year.
With those who fought and died in the
war so widely revered, the idea appealed to Russians across the political
spectrum. And in recent years, the
marches have become more popular.
In this year’s Immortal Regiment
events, 10 million Russians marched
while carrying images of their war dead
in parades across the country, including
a million in a single parade in Moscow,
according to a police estimate.
When most veterans were still alive,
Victory Day was loved as a time for family visits. Russians stopped by the
homes of their grandfathers and grandmothers, to drink tea or have lunch and
let the wartime generation know they
were appreciated.
Respect for the sacrifices of World
War II “is probably the only social glue
to form a single society” in Russia, said
Ivan I. Kurilla, a professor at the European University of St. Petersburg.
By 2015, the Immortal Regiment
marches were drawing about five million people to the street, city squares
and schoolyards — and the Kremlin took
notice.
BY DAVID W. CHEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMES HILL FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Immortal Regiment marchers in Moscow on Wednesday carrying pictures of relatives who died in World War II. What began solely as a memorial event now includes tanks.
The opportunity to honor a
relative has remained popular,
even among people discouraged
by the official pomp.
Pavel Mramornov with his father, Aleksandr, and a portrait of his great-great-grandfather Andrei A. Fofanov, next to a memorial to veterans outside Moscow.
The movement has since been largely
co-opted by the government, with the
Kremlin recasting the World War II victory as a cornerstone of its argument
that Russia deserves to be a world
power. President Putin led the march in
Moscow on Wednesday, for example,
carrying a portrait of his father who
fought in the war.
The marchers in Moscow, gripping
their portraits and walking slowly, sang
“Katyusha,” or the Little Katya, a
wartime song about a truck-mounted
rocket launcher that was instrumental
in victory.
The crowd of a million people became
a river of pictures of the dead, a stark reminder of the cost of World War II for
Russia, flowing down Tverskaya Street,
one of the capital’s main roads, and
through Red Square.
Aleksandr I. Verigin, 62, who carried a
picture of his father, said the official
backing for the Immortal Regiment parade didn’t bother him. “How can you
separate yourself from your country?”
he said. “The war touched everybody.”
But Sergei V. Lapenkov, 49, a journalist and one of the movement’s three
founders, said he disagreed with the
government’s involvement. The idea
had been to encourage “family memory” of the war, he said.
Mr. Lapenkov emphasized that both
the men in the army, and the women
who held families together during the
war and later supported amputees and
those traumatized by combat, deserved
recognition.
The movement was to be an “inoculation” against the state’s imposing a
version of history on the nation. “Every
government tries to rewrite history, but
family histories cannot be rewritten,”
Mr. Lapenkov said.
He recalled seeing his own grandfather, who lost both legs in the war, put on
his prosthetics in the morning, and said
this personal experience shaped his
view of war. At the marches now, “this
side of war is not described to children,”
he said.
As they gained official support, the
Immortal Regiment marches have
tended to include symbols unrelated to
family history, like Soviet flags and portraits of Stalin.
But given the searing memories of
loss and suffering in so many families,
the opportunity to honor a relative has
remained popular, even among people
discouraged by the official pomp. The
Immortal Regiment marches have
grown bigger every year.
Pavel’s
father,
Aleksandr
I.
Mramornov, said he appreciated the
march but wished Russians would also
remember the victims of political repression.
“This action is helping families remember,” he said. “But why do we
choose which victims to remember?”
At the schoolyard march, Pavel carried the portrait of his great-greatgrandfather, Andrei A. Fofanov, a sternlooking man in a military cap who might
have faded from family memory but for
the annual ceremony.
Mr. Fofanov was a schoolteacher before the war.
He died at 40. The family does not
know how.
“I don’t know a lot about him,” Pavel
said. “He was a very educated person.
He worked at a school. He died in the
war. He is in my heart.”
Sophia Kishkovsky and Oleg Matsnev
contributed reporting.
Potholes and noise — and the bus may catch fire
ROME
BY GAIA PIANIGIANI
Running late for a news conference a
few days ago, I decided not to wait for
the No. 63 bus, which I usually take to
work in the center of Rome, and called a
cab instead. As the taxi driver told me
that he couldn’t wait to retire because of
all the traffic and potholes and as we approached the area around Parliament, a
tremendous boom shook the street. The
driver slammed on the brakes, and I
ducked behind the seat.
“Is that an attack?” he asked nervously as we watched a plume of black
smoke rise a couple hundred yards in
front of us.
No, it was not an attack, to be attributed to saboteurs, terrorists or anarchists.
It was ATAC, the city’s transportation
company, which has a record of buses’
short-circuiting and catching fire on the
streets. Romans, long used to waiting
for buses that never come, have now
gotten used to ones that burst into
flames.
ATAC does not give estimates of the
number of its vehicles that have caught
fire, probably with good reason. The
news media reported more than 20 such
cases in Rome last year. Later on the
same day as the bus ignition near Parliament, a probable technical failure
caused a second bus to catch fire on the
outskirts of Rome. That brought this
year’s total to 10, according to media estimates. And it is only May.
No deaths or serious injuries have
been reported from the bus fires so far
this year. One shopkeeper, who was in
her store in front of the burning bus I
witnessed, was lightly injured. “Breaking News: ATAC claims responsibility
Report
disputes
university’s
labor claims
for the attack in Rome,” read a meme
that spread around the internet, showing the bus engulfed in flames.
“Rome Burns,” read a headline on the
front page of one of the city’s papers, Il
Messaggero. The Italian web filled with
images of the city’s embattled mayor,
Virginia Raggi of the anti-establishment
Five Star Movement, playing like Nero
on a harp as the city, or its buses,
burned.
Another paper, Il Foglio, noted that
while tourists had panicked about terrorism, Romans had reassured them.
The headline was “ATAC Akbar!”
“Rome is the only capital in the world
where you see a bus in flames in the city
center,” the paper’s editorial read. Amid
the billowing smoke, “people running
away, explosion, police and firefighters’
sirens, and nobody thinks of ISIS, but
ATAC.”
It was no accident that my first inquiry after the bus fire I saw was to ATAC,
rather than the police.
“ATAC immediately opened an internal investigation to ascertain the cause
of the fire that developed on board,” a
company statement said, repeating
much of the conversation I had with a
spokesman.
“The fire didn’t cause any consequences to the passengers,” it added.
“The vehicle was completely destroyed.”
The city offered no explanation, and
officials could not be reached for comment.
The cause, however, was self-evident:
The buses are too old and almost certainly inadequately serviced. The two
buses that burst into flames on that recent day were built in 2003 and in 2004.
On average, public buses should be in
service for six to seven years, not 15,
transportation experts say.
CLAUDIO PERI/EPA, VIA SHUTTERSTOCK
One of two buses to catch fire in Rome on a recent day. The city has had 10 bus fires so
far this year, according to local news media estimates.
Romans, long used to waiting for
buses that never come, have
become used to riding in old,
poorly maintained ones that
sometimes burst into flames.
“Old buses simply break more easily,
and even finding components to replace
becomes a challenge,” said Gabriele
Grea, a professor of economics and
management of local public transportation at Bocconi University in Milan.
“These kinds of fires are rare but generally depend on the poor maintenance of
antiquated vehicles.”
After years of little money and scarce
attention, the center-left national gov-
ernment introduced last year an ambitious plan to renovate the public transportation fleet across the country. But
the process takes time, and the city of
Rome finds itself in an especially awkward position.
ATAC, the company that provides bus
and rail transportation in the city, has a
national reputation for passengers’ failing to buy tickets who jump off as soon
as ticket collectors come on board. Drivers, many of whom can be seen multitasking on their cellphones, are not
asked to check tickets. The company’s
employee absence rate is well beyond
the national average.
The buses are often packed. Functioning air conditioning in the summer is
rare. Older women throw elbows to get
seats. Pregnant women often have to
stand. Bumping over the city’s potholes
can make everyone nauseated, and the
ride is noisy, too. Speaking on the cellphone on an ATAC bus is difficult. And
then there are the pickpockets and the
groping . . .
But fire is an entirely different level of
discomfort.
The company was still trying to determine the cause of the accident I witnessed, but local news reports said that
the driver had seen smoke coming out of
the engine and evacuated all passengers just in time.
Hailed as a hero, he told a paper that
he had just been doing his job. And there
the explanations stopped, both from
ATAC and from the city of Rome, which
controls the company.
Ms. Raggi, the mayor, and her cabinet
have been working to avoid bankruptcy
for ATAC, a move that has long been
stalled, and have prevented its sale to
private investors. The company’s debt
exceeds 1 billion euros, or about $1.2 billion.
“Rome is a dire and particularly visible case, as it is the capital,” said Mr.
Grea, the professor. “There is no immediate solution, unfortunately, but they
need to urgently address the ravaging
debt and to provide a full service.”
He added that ATAC had canceled 20
percent of its bus routes in the second
half of 2017.
At the end of the day, I considered my
commuting options. I’d already given up
on my bike because of the potholes and
the lack of bike lanes that make for a
perilous zigzag through traffic. The 63
was running on a diverted route back toward my apartment, and I could still
catch the next bus if I hurried.
Instead, I decided to play it safe,
opened an app for a car-sharing service
and reserved a car.
When investigators reported in 2015
that 10,000 migrant construction workers employed at New York University’s
campus in Abu Dhabi had not been paid
money they were owed and were subject
to substandard working conditions, the
university vowed to reimburse the
workers and provide regular updates on
its compliance with labor standards.
Three years later, thousands of workers may still be owed millions of dollars.
And until the past week, the university
had not released a compliance report.
Or so contends a report released
Thursday by the Coalition for Fair Labor, a group of N.Y.U. faculty members
and students that has long been critical
of the Abu Dhabi project and its labor
practices.
“We think that an institution that aims
to be a Global Network University
should be able to support a 21st century
global architecture of compliance,” the
group said in the report, which was written primarily by Sahiba Gill, an N.Y.U.
law student who is graduating in the
coming week.
But N.Y.U. strongly challenged the report, saying that it was “neither right
nor fair” and that its title — “Forced Labor at N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi” — was “both
incorrect and inflammatory. More
broadly, we disagree with the report’s
findings, which are not based on primary evidence.”
The 129-page report revisits a highly
contentious chapter in the recent history of N.Y.U. and its ambitious agenda
for academic globalization, featuring degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi
and Shanghai, and 11 academic centers
on five continents.
In 2014, The New York Times published an investigation into the plight of
construction workers at the Abu Dhabi
campus, documenting how many had
been charged steep recruitment fees to
get their jobs, how few were being paid
what they had been promised, and how
The report resurrects a highly
contentious issue.
some lived in miserable conditions, all in
contravention of standards N.Y.U. had
set for the project. Those standards had
been established because of concerns
over the region’s reputation for mistreatment of its imported work force,
with many coming from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines.
The university, together with an Abu
Dhabi government agency, then commissioned an international investigative firm, Nardello & Company, to review allegations of labor and compliance issues. After the firm found that
about one-third of migrant construction
workers had been excluded from the
protections of N.Y.U.’s labor guidelines,
the university took “full responsibility”
for shortchanging some workers, and
promised to repay them.
In its new report, the labor coalition
noted that N.Y.U. had paid 6,600 of the
10,000 workers subject to wage theft,
but had not been able to locate the others. Still, the coalition contended that
N.Y.U. had not done enough to reimburse workers for the recruitment fees
they had to pay, even though multinational companies like Apple, and the
general contractors preparing for the
2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, have paid
workers millions of dollars for “comparable recruitment costs and fees.”
The report also said that the university had dragged its feet in releasing an
annual compliance report. “My sense is
that as public pressure moved away, this
issue was put on the back burner,” said
Paula Chakravartty, an associate professor at N.Y.U. in culture and communication, who reviewed the “Forced Labor”
report before publication.
When asked about the coalition’s findings, N.Y.U. immediately released its
long-awaited compliance report, which
it said had been scheduled for release in
June.
That report, prepared by Impactt
Limited, an ethical-trade consulting
firm based in London, was based on interviews with more than 500 workers in
Abu Dhabi. And overall, the Impactt
Limited report found “a good level of
compliance among contractors and a
high level of satisfaction among workers.” Workers were most satisfied with
their schedules and least satisfied with
their pay.
N.Y.U. has sought over the past two
years to reimburse workers who had
been hired within the previous 12
months for fees related to their recruitment and had so far made payments to
50 of them, though the university did not
say how much each worker got, or how
much has been paid in total.
In a statement, N.Y.U. said it was confident that the compliance monitoring
system was robust in Abu Dhabi.
..
4 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
world
Trump breaks loose
in foreign relations
WHITE HOUSE MEMO
WASHINGTON
After a cautious year,
president firmly adopts
his ‘America First’ plan
BY PETER BAKER
The relative caution that constrained
President Trump for much of his first
year in office has been cast aside, and an
emboldened commander in chief is finally reshaping foreign policy to reflect
the “America First” philosophy he
promised during his campaign.
Having shed or sidelined some of the
top advisers who held him back in the
past, Mr. Trump gives the appearance of
a leader liberated at last to follow the
china-breaking instincts that have long
animated his approach to the world
even as they troubled diplomats and national security veterans.
The president’s decision to pull out of
the Iran nuclear deal in the past week
may be only the start of a period of several weeks in which he repositions the
United States in the world in a way that
could last for years. After breaking with
European allies over the Iran agreement, Mr. Trump will break with Arab
allies on Monday with the formal opening of an American Embassy in Jerusalem.
He has until the end of the month to
decide whether to impose punishing
steel tariffs on key American trading
partners. He has said he hopes to forge a
new trade deal with Mexico and Canada
within weeks or blow up the North
American Free Trade Agreement. Then
he will test his theory that he can force
the mercurial North Korea to surrender
its nuclear arsenal through “maximum
pressure” coupled with threats of military action followed by high-stakes oneon-one diplomacy.
The quick succession of deadlines and
tests come as Mr. Trump steps out on the
international stage more than he has in
months.
In addition to meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump
plans to huddle with leaders of the
Group of 7 powers in Quebec and NATO
Mr. Trump has grown impatient
and more confident in his own
judgment with a new team that
reinforces his instincts.
allies in Brussels, then make his first
visit to Britain as president amid the
prospect of mass protests. He is also
talking about organizing a White House
meeting with President Vladimir V.
Putin of Russia.
“I think we’re now entering ‘the full
Trump’ period of the administration’s
foreign policy — it’s high decibel, high
tempo and high risk,” said Amy Zegart,
a director of the Center for International
Security and Cooperation at Stanford
University and an author, with former
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, of
“Political Risk,” a new book on global insecurity.
Until recently, Mr. Trump had talked
loudly about some of these goals while
allowing himself to be talked out of following through on them by a coterie of
advisers that included Secretary of
State Rex W. Tillerson; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis; Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, his national security adviser; Gary
D. Cohn, his chief economics adviser;
and John F. Kelly, his White House chief
of staff.
The president has since fired Mr.
Tillerson and pushed out General McMaster. Mr. Cohn quit after losing a fight
over tariffs. Mr. Trump has a strained relationship with Mr. Kelly, while Mr. Mattis has lost key allies. In their place have
risen John R. Bolton, the president’s
new national security adviser, and Mike
Pompeo, his new secretary of state, both
of whom take a harder-line approach to
Iran and some other issues than their
predecessors.
“Year 1 of the Trump administration
was a series of tough tweets and statements, but very little or restrained action,” said Heather A. Conley, a senior
vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and a former State Department
official under President George W.
Bush.
“Year 2,” she added, “is a significant
transition to action as the president not
only feels more comfortable in taking
unilateral decisions but grows confident
that the more the so-called experts tell
him it is the wrong thing to do, the more
he is encouraged to take that exact
step.”
That is not to say that Mr. Trump did
not take actions in his first year that upended convention. Most prominently, he
announced that he would withdraw the
United States from two major international agreements negotiated by his
predecessor President Barack Obama:
the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact
and the Paris climate change accord.
Those moves sent a strong early signal of Mr. Trump’s rejection of multilateral diplomacy but neither had an immediate tangible effect. The trade pact
had yet to be approved by Congress and
the climate accord had yet to go into
force.
Mr. Tillerson and other advisers were
more concerned about the consequences of initiatives like moving the
American Embassy in Israel from Tel
Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem,
which would alienate the Palestinians
and undercut prospects for peace; ripping up Nafta, which has governed trade
in North America for a quarter-century;
or starting tariff wars, which could provoke retaliation and damage certain industries.
In many cases, Mr. Trump grudgingly
acceded to their caution, delaying decisions while insisting he would not do so
forever and demanding better options.
But now he has grown impatient and
more confident in his own judgment
with a new team that reinforces his instincts.
“Bolton and Pompeo joining the team
left Mattis isolated in arguing the Iran
deal was working,” said James M.
Goldgeier, a professor and former dean
of international relations at American
University.
Pulling out of the Iran agreement is
not a political winner for Mr. Trump beyond his base.
Sixty-three percent of Americans surveyed by CNN said the United States
should not scrap the deal, while only 29
percent said it should.
But Mr. Trump’s decision has strong
support among select constituencies,
particularly national security hawks
and advocates of Israel. And it fits Mr.
Trump’s worldview that the United
States has been rolled by allies and adversaries alike in essentially every international agreement reached in recent decades.
Some veteran diplomats said Mr.
Trump may yet find moments where he
will scale back his more radical impulses at the urging of advisers. They
point to his decision last year to send
more troops to Afghanistan rather than
pull out, as he had previously proposed.
And he may yet avoid tearing up Nafta
or imposing tariffs on European allies
by the June 1 deadline he has set.
“I believe his foreign policy will continue to be a mix of the two,” said Zalmay
Khalilzad, who served as ambassador to
the United Nations under Mr. Bush. “His
instinct and values are what he committed to during his campaign but will continue to selectively adapt to circumstances and transact based on both.”
That tension will be especially acute
in coming weeks even as Mr. Bolton and
Mr. Pompeo are still putting together
their teams and settling into their roles.
Ms. Zegart noted that Mr. Trump is now
engaged in complicated and dangerous
nuclear standoffs with both Iran and
North Korea, as well as a burgeoning
trade war with China, the trade disputes
with allies and a confrontation with Syria, all at the same time.
“With a list that long and a policy
process that undisciplined, the odds of a
policy breakdown are higher than a
breakthrough,” she said.
Process, of course, has never been Mr.
Trump’s top priority. And he may find
himself on the opposite side even of his
new empowering advisers. Mr. Bolton,
for instance, has for years been a skeptic
of the sort of diplomatic initiative that
Mr. Trump is embarking on with North
Korea and will most likely make the case
that it is not a fruitful venture if it does
not seem to be working.
Mr. Trump may then once again have
to choose between his advisers and his
instincts. “Trump is making unilateral
decisions with long-term consequences
for U.S. foreign policy with little grasp of
the issues,” Mr. Goldgeier said. “But he’s
delivering on his campaign promises
and undoing Obama’s legacy, both of
which are important to him.”
ARASH KHAMOOSHI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
A Tehran bazaar. A 33-year-old tech student’s first reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran accord was, “Prices will go up again — more misery.”
Another blind turn for Iran
TEHRAN
In Tehran, people vent
frustration with Trump
and with their own leaders
BY THOMAS ERDBRINK
It was a day like any other. The evening
rush hour heralded the weekend, which
in Iran starts on Thursday. People
crowded the sidewalks of a West Tehran
square, making their way home or to
restaurants.
A young street musician wearing a
baseball cap and sitting in a wheelchair
sang “Someone Like You” by Adele. His
sister played keyboard.
“I don’t understand the words, but it’s
beautiful,” one passer-by told a friend. A
man walked past with fresh bread. Two
teenagers sitting beneath an underpass
smoked and giggled.
It was easy to forget that the lives of
those making their way home here had
been changed with the stroke of a pen
thousands of miles away in the past
week, when President Trump formally
withdrew from the nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers.
Life can be like a roller coaster in Iran.
Ordinary people can do little more than
hang on through the twists and turns as
their own leaders, and sometimes foreign ones, chart a course. Rarely are
they in control.
“No one ever listens to us,” said Ali
Akbari, a 33-year-old tech student with
a hipster beard. “That’s just the way it is.
We have to go with the flow.”
Iranians were thrown into another
corkscrew turn when Mr. Trump pulled
out of the agreement, which many here
had hoped would give them peace of
mind and prosperity. Now they face new
rounds of sanctions, along with an economy already riddled with corruption
and mismanagement.
Normal people tried to go on with
their lives. Those who had taken hope
from the more open atmosphere the nuclear agreement brought — at least for a
time — were licking their wounds. Iranians who took part in the recent protests
Moving the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem is a sign of an emboldened president.
“This deal was crippled by
hard-liners in the U.S. and in
Iran. Now we are witnessing its
last breaths.”
seemed to be on the horizon. Iran’s leaders promised a bonanza with the arrival
of foreign investors.
“I thought there would be more
money around, and people would buy
more perfume,” Mr. Faraji said.
He sat in his store for many fruitless
afternoons, giving large discounts to the
few customers who came. Then this
month he closed up shop to prevent further losses.
“This deal was crippled by hard-liners
in the U.S. and in Iran,” Mr. Faraji said.
“Now we are witnessing its last
breaths.”
Still, life went on in Tehran, as it did
during the 1979 Islamic revolution, the
eight years of war with Iraq, the recent
antigovernment protests and the years
of sanctions.
Mr. Akbari, the university student,
had not bothered to watch the news
when Mr. Trump made his announcement.
He woke up Wednesday, made his
way to school and sat down in class. An-
other student told him that the American president had given a big speech
and that sanctions would return.
“My first reaction,” he said, was
“prices will go up again — more misery.”
White earbuds dangled on his shoulders, blasting hip-hop. “I love hip-hop,”
Mr. Akbari said. “It’s the voice of the
frustrated.”
In Tehran, the metro station filled up
and drained empty of passengers. The
pink bus driving up from Shahid Beheshti Street stopped at Sadeghiyeh
Square. Elderly women got out. The bus
driver turned around for another round.
Daily routines, but something felt off.
A doctor carrying two shopping bags
asked me if I had a job for her daughter.
“She studied industrial management
and is really smart,” said the doctor,
Marzieh Mirzaei. “But the only offer she
got was to work in a pharmacy for one
million tomans a month. Do you know
how much that is in dollars?”
“Around $150,” I answered.
“Well, would you work for that?” she
asked.
No, I said.
Another man, who gave his name only
as Amir, did not want to talk about Mr.
Trump’s decision at first. A 36-year-old
father of two boys, he was sitting in a
tiny booth in the Golriz shopping center,
selling water pipes and Zippo lighters.
“How miserable have we become that
this Trump should play a role in our
lives,” Amir said. “How miserable are
we that our leaders constantly want to
pick fights with everybody.”
He insisted that I write down the following: “I want to live a normal life.
Amir from Iran wants a normal life.”
Few people in Tehran took part during
the nationwide protests in over 80 cities
in December and January. Most middleclass urbanites thought the protests
were more an outpouring of frustration
and anger than a movement with a clear
goal.
After the United States withdrew
from the nuclear accord, one Tehran resident who did participate in the protests
said she hated Mr. Trump. But she also
said she would still take to the streets at
the earliest opportunity.
“Right now, people fear instability
and they prefer to hang on to the little
things they have and not risk anything,”
said Shadi, a 28-year-old piano teacher.
“But I am prepared to go out again to
protest.” She did not want to give her
family name out of fear of retribution.
Shadi said some might call her a
traitor if she were to protest again, but
said she did not care.
“My slogan is still the same: ‘Bread,
jobs, freedom,’” she said. “I don’t think
that has anything to do with Trump or
national unity.”
On the streets, many blamed both Mr.
Trump and their own leaders for their
misery, although it was clear who ultimately had pulled the plug on the deal.
“Trump made us miserable,” said
Fatemeh, 22, who works at a store that
sells veils. She did not want to give her
family name.
A woman with two teenage daughters
walked in and overheard the conversation. Soon, she got into a debate with a
man.
“Everybody is destroying us,” she
said.
“We have seen the war — this is nothing,” he replied.
“Maybe for you, but I want progress,”
the woman said. “Should war be the
standard?”
Some saw only one solution, however
improbable it seemed at the moment.
Mohammad Amiri, 27, stood on the
pavement, selling cactuses. He had listened to the car radio while coming to
Tehran from Karaj and had heard the
news.
Mr. Amiri said there was blame
enough to go around. “No one is oppressed in this story,” he said.
One woman inquired about the price
of a very tiny cactus, which Mr. Amiri
had grown himself. “It took me a year,”
he said.
Mr. Amiri told her the plant was just
over a dollar. “7,000 toman — or take it
for free,” he said.
The woman walked on.
Mr. Amiri wore a yellow Pink Floyd
shirt. He has been listening to the band
since he was 5, and said his favorite song
was “High Hopes.”
“This is such a beautiful song,” he
said.
I asked if he had high hopes himself.
“No,” he said. “Not a lot.”
Why Iran and Israel are clashing in Syria
BY SEWELL CHAN
A simmering conflict between Israel
and Iran has escalated after Israeli jets
struck dozens of Iranian targets in
neighboring Syria. The strikes followed
what the Israeli military described as an
Iranian rocket attack against its forces
in the Golan Heights.
The Israelis said it was Iran’s first direct rocket attack against Israeli targets.
The Israeli Air Force destroyed
“nearly all” of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria, according to Israel’s defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
WHY IS IRAN IN SYRIA?
THOMAS COEX/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES
that swept the country and businessmen alike struggled to adjust to the new
reality.
In the desert town of Kashan, a lawyer
and human rights activist, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was in court defending a woman
who had protested against the compulsory Islamic head scarf. Ms. Sotoudeh,
who herself has been in jail numerous
times, said the nuclear agreement had
provided breathing space for those critical of the government.
“This move by Trump has empowered hard-liners, and they will start
cracking down internally,” she said over
the phone. “We can anticipate bad days
for civil and human rights activists.”
In Tehran, Hamidreza Faraji, a businessman, also pointed a finger at hardliners.
Mr. Faraji, 35, opened a perfume shop
after the nuclear agreement was
reached in 2015. Business growth
Iran is one of the most powerful backers
of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. It
first intervened in the war to help defend Mr. Assad against Syrian rebels
and later helped Syrian government
forces against the Islamic State group.
Iran has taken advantage of the chaos
of Syria’s war to build a substantial military infrastructure there. It has built
and trained large Shiite militias with
thousands of fighters and sent advisers
from its powerful Revolutionary Guards
Corps to Syrian military bases.
Even though the Syrian rebels have
steadily lost ground and no clear threats
to Mr. Assad’s rule remain, Iran and its
allies have stayed in Syria, shifting their
focus to creating a military infrastructure that Israel sees as a threat. Iran
continues to train and equip fighters
while strengthening ties with its Shiite
allies in Iraq and the Shiite militant
group Hezbollah in Lebanon to build a
united front in the event of a new war.
“The strategy is to make Syria into a
viable front, like southern Lebanon, for
both offensive and defense purposes,
should another major war break out between Hezbollah and Israel,” said Amir
Toumaj, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies,
which takes a hawkish stance on Iran.
HOW HAS ISRAEL RESPONDED?
Israel has launched scores of airstrikes
on Syria to try to prevent the transfer of
advanced weapons from Iran to Hezbollah, according to Natan Sachs, director
of the Center for Middle East Policy at
the Brookings Institution.
“Now, with the victory of the AssadIran side, Iran’s main spoils is a longterm military presence in Syria, entrenching it in the country and linking it
to Lebanon,” Mr. Sachs said. “This is
something Israel will not accept.”
weaponry.
Iran also installed air-defense systems that can reach into Israel.
“Israel and Iran have been in a cold
war for maybe 20 years now,” Mr. Indyk
said, “but now it’s out in the open: direct,
kinetic engagement between the forces,
with Iranian casualties mounting.”
WAS TRUMP A FACTOR?
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The conflict between Israel and Iran escalated days after President Trump announced the withdrawal of the United
States from the 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Tehran. Israel had railed
against the agreement since before its
inception, and Mr. Trump had campaigned on the promise of withdrawing
from it.
Mr. Trump’s announcement might not
have helped, but the stage for the conflict was set earlier this year, said Martin
S. Indyk, a former United States ambassador to Israel.
Iran pushed allied militias toward the
Golan Heights and moved rockets and
rocket production into Syria to better
supply Hezbollah with more accurate
Mr. Sachs, of the Brookings Institution,
said fighting between Iran and Israel in
Syria is likely to continue.
“Both sides will test each other’s limits — and Israel’s strict limits were visibly clear in this strike, he said. “Iran will
now feel the need to react, and push
back. Iran is not likely to give up on its
goals in Syria after expending so much
effort in the civil war there. They may
even try to bring Lebanon’s Hezbollah
into the fray at some point. And Israel is
certainly not going to back down from
stopping the Iranian entrenchment.”
Mr. Indyk called the tensions “a car
with an accelerator and no brake.”
Asked where the situation goes from
here, he replied: “Only to a bad place.”
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018 | 5
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
world
South Korea hands Kim a path to prosperity
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
North’s leader was given
USB drive that laid out
vision for infrastructure
BY CHOE SANG-HUN
For years, Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s
leader, has been cracking down on USB
flash drives that activists smuggle into
his isolated country to poison his people’s minds with outside influences, like
South Korean K-pop music.
But last month, when he met with the
South’s president, Moon Jae-in, Mr.
Moon handed him a USB drive that contained quite a different message.
In charts and video clips, Mr. Moon’s
memory stick laid out a “new economic
map for the Korean Peninsula,” including new railways and power plants for
the impoverished North, should Mr. Kim
abandon his nuclear weapons, according to South Korean officials.
Mr. Moon based his sales pitch on the
belief that Mr. Kim wants to become the
North Korean equivalent of Deng Xiaoping, who oversaw the economic liberalization of China. In this view, Mr. Kim
may be willing to transform his pariah
state by trading in his nuclear arsenal
for diplomatic and economic incentives
he needs to achieve prosperity.
It is a premise that will be tested when
President Trump meets with Mr. Kim in
Singapore on June 12.
“Kim Jong-un’s desire to develop his
country’s economy is as strong as, and
even stronger than, his desire for nuclear weapons,” said Lee Jong-seok, a former unification minister of South Korea.
“But he knows he cannot achieve the
kind of rapid economic growth in China
that he envisions for his country while
keeping his nuclear weapons — because
of the sanctions.”
Skeptics doubt Mr. Kim’s xenophobic
regime will ever surrender its nuclear
deterrent.
But since the inter-Korean summit
meeting, many South Koreans have
started to believe that Mr. Kim is a
“trustworthy” reformer, according to recent surveys. A growing number of
South Korean analysts have also begun
arguing that Mr. Kim wants to follow the
model of the South’s own past military
dictators who focused on economic
POOL PHOTO
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, left, with the South’s president, Moon Jae-in. The “new economic map” for the Koreas depends upon the North’s giving up its nuclear weapons.
prosperity, or that Mr. Kim has convinced himself from China’s experience
that he can pursue economic growth
while maintaining one-party rule.
Such a theory was much harder to sell
just months ago, when the 34-year-old
North Korean leader was more often depicted as a bloodthirsty dictator and nuclear provocateur.
Since taking power in 2011, Mr. Kim
has executed scores of top officials, including his own uncle. He has also
tested a hydrogen bomb and long-range
missiles, claiming that he could hit the
mainland United States with nuclear
warheads.
Vilified as he was, however, Mr. Kim
has also shown signs of being a reformer, granting farms and factories
more autonomy, allowing more markets
to open, and setting off a building boom
in his showcase capital, Pyongyang. He
exhorts his country to follow “international development trends” and “global
standards” and even admits failing to
deliver on his promise that his long-suffering people would “no longer have to
tighten their belts.”
“My desires were burning all the time,
but I spent the past year feeling anxious
and remorseful for the lack of my ability,” Mr. Kim said in a nationally broadcast speech last year, a startling admission for a member of the family that has
ruled North Korea with the help of a personality cult since its founding in 1948.
After meeting him, Mr. Moon called
Mr. Kim “open-minded and practical.”
Nowhere is Mr. Kim’s dilemma better
seen than in his policy of byungjin, or
parallel advance, which seeks a nuclear
arsenal and economic development simultaneously. Under that policy, Mr.
Kim has rapidly developed his country’s
nuclear weapons and ballistic missile
programs, arguing that a nuclear deterrent would make his country feel secure
enough to focus on rebuilding the economy. But the world has responded by imposing crippling sanctions.
“Kim Jong-un is at a crossroads,” said
Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst
at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, South
Korea’s capital. “He could advance his
nuclear weapons program further and
face a deeper isolation and possible economic ruin. Or he could use it as a bargaining card to win normalized ties and
a peace treaty with the United States
and economic recovery.”
If Mr. Kim pursues the route of economic reform, energy and transport are
the two areas where he most needs outside help. In his meeting with Mr. Moon,
Mr. Kim admitted to the “embarrassing”
condition of his roads and railways,
South Korean officials said.
Trains running on electricity remain
North Korea’s main means of transport,
carrying 90 percent of its cargo and 60
percent of its passenger traffic, according to Ahn Byung-min, a senior analyst
at the South’s government-funded Korea Transport Institute. But its rail systems are so decrepit that its fastest
train, which runs to the Chinese border
from Pyongyang, travels at 28 miles an
hour. Other trains run at less than half
that speed, Mr. Ahn said.
Lacking cash for oil imports, North
Korea produces all its electricity from
hydroelectric dams and coal-burning
power plants. But the country’s power
industry is trapped in a vicious cycle, energy experts say. Chronic electricity
shortages make it difficult to produce
coal and transport it to power plants.
People in search of firewood for heat and
cooking have denuded the hills, causing
floods and droughts and making silt pile
up at dams. That cuts down hydroelectric generation.
North Korea’s electricity generation
amounts to only 4.4 percent of South Korea’s, according to Park Eun-jeong, an
analyst at the South’s Korea Development Bank. The country prioritizes supplying electricity to lighting statues of
Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who
had ruled before him, while passengers
wait for hours in trains unable to move
because of power shortages, according
to defectors from the country.
“Electricity is the Achilles’ heel for
North Korea,” said Lee Jong-heon, an
energy analyst in Seoul.
Mr. Moon’s proposal to modernize the
North’s roads and railways and link
them to the South’s is not just meant to
help North Korea.
South Korean policymakers say that
the two Koreas must first integrate their
economies to make the eventual reunification less chaotic. They also envision
building trans-Korean railways to find
faster and cheaper routes to export
South Korean goods to China, Russia
and Europe.
In 2007, the two Koreas temporarily
connected two short stretches of railway across their border, but further efforts to reconnect the two systems have
been suspended amid rising tensions
over the North’s nuclear program.
Now, with Mr. Kim reportedly willing
to discuss denuclearization, there are
renewed hopes in the South.
“Reunification can start with reconnecting energy and transport lines of
the two Koreas,” said Mr. Lee.
A tough time after detention
CAPTIVES, FROM PAGE 1
pieces.” A devoted Christian who was
arrested after intentionally leaving a
Korean-English Bible in a bar, Mr. Fowle
found that his sister was torn between
feeling relieved and angry with him,
once he was back home in Miamisburg,
Ohio. It was not so much that he had taken an unacceptable risk, but that he had
not confided in her about his plan to do
so.
“She felt she was deceived,” he recalled.
He also found himself grappling with
the cumulative effects of small reality
distortions imposed by his captors.
Since he had been allowed to write letters to his family, he thought his sister
had ignored his request to send him puzzles from the local paper to keep his
mind occupied in the 23 hours a day he
spent alone. It turned out several of his
letters had never reached his family.
For Mr. Fowle and his family, life
seemed to fall back into place fairly
quickly, he said, but knowing that has
not been the case for others has weighed
on him. His release came weeks before
that of two other American prisoners in
North Korea, Kenneth Bae and Matthew
Todd Miller, who he knew had been imprisoned for longer and in worse conditions. Mr. Fowle had spent part of his
confinement writing long pages of answers to questions that he was told
would be used at his trial.
“I still wonder why I never had that
trial,” he said, “and the others did.”
Aijalon M. Gomes, an American
teacher arrested in the spring of 2010 after crossing into North Korea from
China, was forced to perform difficult labor and wore bands around his wrists to
try to alleviate the pain, according to a
memoir recounting his ordeal. He was
“I continued to feel like a victim,
and I often got angry or felt
condemnation attached to other
people’s actions.”
freed that summer after intervention by
former President Jimmy Carter, but last
year he was found burned to death in
San Diego. The county medical examiner ruled Mr. Gomes’s death a suicide. In
a 2015 interview with a British news outlet, Mr. Gomes said that anxiety issues
had made him “mostly a recluse.”
“I have had more occasions of hopelessness in my return than I ever had in
the DPRK,” Mr. Gomes wrote in his
book, using the abbreviation for the official name of North Korea.
Eddie Jun Yong-su, a Christian missionary who was imprisoned in the fall
of 2010, was released as his health was
failing in the spring of the next year.
Having lost perhaps 50 pounds while in
prison, it was painful for him to sit for
even short periods of time, his daughter
Christina Jun recalled. In the end, the
family purchased a blowup cushion for
the house.
But Mr. Jun, who now lives in Seoul,
South Korea, said other aspects of his
adjustment were harder.
“In my case, I had intense anger toward the NK authorities for their unjust
actions,” he wrote in a message on the
social media app KakaoTalk. “I continued to feel like a victim, and I often got
angry or felt condemnation attached to
other people’s actions. It became very
difficult in my daily life.”
He also felt guilty, he said, because a
family business had gone south while he
was away, leaving him and his wife, Sara
Jun, without the money for retirement.
It did not help that Mr. Jun was also
reluctant to ask for help. Ms. Jun said
her husband was so different that she
wanted to leave him.
“I had been waiting for him to come
home safely and it didn’t matter
whether we lost everything,” she wrote
in a KakaoTalk message. But all he could
think about “was what he had lost.”
As the prisoners freed in the past
week undergo medical care and make
their way back into the world, they may
notice, as did Laura Ling, an American
journalist who was detained with Ms.
Lee in 2009, that their speech is slower.
“I think that’s because I hadn’t spoken
in such a long time,” said Ms. Ling, who
now lives in California where she continues to work as a journalist. “I had spoken to my interrogator, but I hadn’t really used the English language to any
regular extent.”
But they may also find unexpected
means of support. Ms. Lee, for one, said
she had taken heart in helping to start a
letter-writing campaign for Mr. Bae,
who was imprisoned after she was released. After nearly a decade, she said,
“I think I can say that I am very stabilized.”
It also took several years, the Juns
said, for Mr. Jun to largely recover. He
credits his faith, and counseling.
But another aspect helped, too, his
daughter Janet Jun said.
Mr. Jun was moved by learning that
other Americans knew of and cared
about his plight.
“When people I had just met would
find out who my dad was and say, ‘We’ve
been following that story,’ I think that
comforted my dad greatly,” Ms. Jun
said. “It’s not that he wants to be famous, it’s just like ‘Wow, someone was
thinking about me when I was in that
place and feeling the most abandoned.’”
KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/SHANGRI-LA INDUSTRIES, VIA REUTERS
Euna Lee, left, and Laura Ling, center, were greeted by their families after being released by North Korea in 2009.
Mitch Smith and Susan C. Beachy contributed reporting.
Kalpa Hebdomadaire
If there had to be only one
Manufactured entirely
in Switzerland
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..
6 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
world
PHOTOGRAPHS BY IVOR PRICKETT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
A SWAT member searching for a militant near Mosul, Iraq. The SWAT team was funded by the United States.
SWAT members in Mosul detaining a man suspected of being a member of Islamic State while his children huddle inside the house.
U.S. takes risk of trying to turn foes into allies
IRAQ, FROM PAGE 1
gence sting had captured five senior Islamic State leaders.
And as President Trump pursues a
confrontational approach with Iran, the
American military hopes to use its
evolving Iraqi partnerships to peel
away Shiite factions from Iran’s orbit
and chip away at Tehran’s influence in
Iraq and the region.
“This is a time when Iraqi patriots can
build their nation,” said Lt. General Paul
E. Funk II, the commander of the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria. “There is an opportunity here. We will do all we can to
give them all the help they need and
want.”
Last year, Congress appropriated $3.6
billion to train and equip Iraqi security
forces, with a priority on units under Mr.
Araji’s Interior Ministry. They include
border guards monitoring the long Syrian-Iraqi frontier, a place where American and Iraqi commanders fear that Islamic State remnants could regroup,
and which Iran sees as part of its corridor to move fighters and weapons to
Syria and Lebanon.
The funds also equip the Iraqi SWAT
teams responsible for arresting and detaining terrorism suspects, and train a
national police force in charge of daily
security.
It was the Islamic State’s conquest of
a third of Iraqi territory in 2014 that first
brought together once-rival Iraqi militias and security forces with an American-led military coalition in a united effort to defeat a common enemy. The
United States wanted to prevent the Islamic State from building a caliphate in
Iraq and Syria, and the Shiite militias
saw the Sunni extremist group as a sectarian threat.
After Iraq’s regular armed forces
crumbled in the face of the Islamic State
blitz, a coalition of Iranian-financed Shiite militias took up front-line positions
against the extremists. The militias
never worked directly with the Americans, but a joint command helped co-
ordinate their efforts to defeat the Islamic State.
Now, some of the most influential militia leaders are working directly with the
Americans and pressing for a continued
American military presence.
For some of these former militants,
America’s display of superior equipment and skills side by side with them in
battle brought a newfound respect. Others say they had an ideological reckoning, a realization that years of sectarianism and interference from Iraq’s
neighbors had made their nation vulnerable to invasion. Partnering with the
world’s superpower, they said, was the
best way to bring Iraq back up from its
knees.
“We all made mistakes in the past, the
Americans, as well as us,” said Hadi alAmeri, the leader of the Badr Organization, the largest of the Shiite militias that
helped battle the Islamic State and the
leader of the electoral alliance of former
militia members, known as Fatah. “Now,
we need their help. We can’t let our
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country become a playground for other
powers and their agendas.”
The vote on Saturday could determine whether the United States military
stays in Iraq or leaves.
Most polls showed that the front-runners were the current prime minister,
Haider al-Abadi, Washington’s closest
ally in Iraq, and Mr. Ameri, whose electoral list includes the interior minister,
Mr. Araji. If either of them lead the new
government, the military partnership is
likely to continue.
However, Iraqi political analysts say
that the previous prime minister, Nouri
al-Maliki, who demanded the withdrawal of American forces in 2011 and still has
close ties to Iran, could play spoiler.
They believe he has a good chance of being included in a new coalition government, giving Iran a way to foil America’s
growing influence.
So far this year, the American-led coalition has trained six brigades of Iraqi
border units, about a quarter of the estimated force required to seal the largely
barren, desert frontier with Syria, as
well as six brigades of federal police and
a special Baghdad-based police force.
The tight-knit nature of the partnership is already on display in several of
Iraq’s security hot spots.
On the streets of Mosul, once the largest city in the Islamic State’s so-called
caliphate, Iraqi counterterrorism police
receive intelligence from American Special Forces deployed at the regional
Iraqi command headquarters there and
allow the Americans access to Islamic
State detainees. On the dusty Syrian
border, American and coalition forces
provide air surveillance for the border
guards newly equipped with American
communications and tactical gear. And
on Iraqi bases outside Baghdad, coalition teams from Italy, Canada, Denmark
and France are training law enforcement units.
But the partnership means that the
United States is working with some
Iraqis who previously received financing, training and arms from the Iranian
Revolutionary Guards Corps, considered a terrorist organization by the
American government.
Critics say it’s giving the fox the keys
to the henhouse.
“It’s crazy,” said Michael Pregent, a
retired military intelligence officer in
Iraq who now works at the Hudson Institute, a policy research organization.
“Americans are sitting with a lieutenant
of Qassim Suleimani,” the leader of the
Revolutionary Guards, “giving him direct access to American intelligence,
weapons and equipment.”
Indeed, Mr. Ameri, the leader of the
political alliance of former militia members and a possible next Iraqi prime
minister, has a long history of ties to
Iran. When Gen. David Petraeus commanded American forces in Iraq during
the so-called surge of 2007, and Iranianarmed Shiite militias were killing American forces, he used Mr. Ameri as a liaison to Mr. Suleimani.
But many current and retired American officials who served in Iraq acknowledge that while there is a risk, you
work with the partners you have.
“It’s like trying to do business or build
relationships in Vietnam without dealing with the former Viet Cong,” said
Douglas Ollivant, a retired Army officer
and National Security Council adviser
for Iraq under two White House administrations. “At some point, America
needs to work with men who previously
were on the other side.”
Iran, a Shiite theocracy, still wields
great power over Iraq, which has a Shiite majority. Iran has extended its influence into Iraq’s political, economic and
cultural spheres, and the Shiite militias
it bolstered in Iraq give it a low-cost
paramilitary force to protect its interests there.
Mr. Ameri led the coalition of Iranianbacked militias, known as the Popular
Mobilization Forces, to defend against
the Islamic State’s advances toward
Baghdad in 2014. Those militias were
credited with helping to turn the tide
against the extremist group, but some
units were also accused of grave human
rights abuses, including illegal detentions and extrajudicial killings.
Several other members of Mr. Ameri’s
electoral coalition lead prominent Iranian-backed factions that have antagonistic histories with the Americans.
One of them, Sheikh Qais al-Khazali,
led the militia that ambushed and killed
five American soldiers in the Shiite holy
city of Karbala in 2007. He spent three
years as an American detainee. More recently, his men fought on behalf of the
government in Syria and he has been
filmed in Lebanon with Hezbollah commanders touring the Israeli border.
But a regional campaign manager for
Mr. Khazali’s group, Habib al-Hillawi,
publicly apologized for the American
deaths this month. “Times are different
now,” he said on the sideline of a campaign rally.
And in a recent interview in his office
in Baghdad, Mr. Khazali said that he
supported a continued — albeit limited
— American presence in Iraq. “Limited
and specific training missions would be
acceptable to us, as well as an American
force proportional to that mission,” he
said.
Mr. Araji, the interior minister, says
his views have evolved to match Iraq’s
political realities.
A secret cable from the United States
Embassy in Baghdad in 2007 said the
Americans had “good information” that
he had been involved in smuggling the
Iranian-engineered bombs to Iraq, leading to his imprisonment.
But Mr. Araji denied any wrongdoing,
and was ultimately released without
charges. In an interview, he said that
“At some point,
America needs to work
with men who previously
were on the other side.”
American intelligence officials had concluded he had been “in the wrong place
at the wrong time.”
When he took over the Interior Ministry — which controls the nation’s intelligence agencies, elite counterterrorism
forces, border guards, civil defense
forces and regular traffic cops — he and
like-minded colleagues in the army and
government sought to broker new relationships with the coalition.
That agency, too, has a deeply checkered past. While Washington had previously allocated billions of dollars to help
Iraq’s domestic law enforcement, the Interior Ministry had been considered too
dysfunctional, sectarian and corrupt to
build durable partnerships.
A decade ago, rival Shiite militias controlled the Baghdad police, a division of
the Interior Ministry, and they were often implicated in kidnappings, killings
and even ethnic cleansing of Sunni
neighborhoods.
Mr. Araji set a new tone when, as minister, he tried to clean house. He started
internal investigations and ousted about
30,000 people who had broken the law,
abused their power or “didn’t display
the type of behavior conducive to a professional security force,” he said.
He also promoted several long-serving Sunnis to key positions in an effort to
integrate the mostly Shiite ministry.
“There have been steps to stamp out
favoritism,” said Gen. Ammar alKubaisi, a Sunni who heads the Border
Guards 2nd Division, responsible for the
Syrian frontier. “We still need to work on
this, but sectarianism is going away.”
As a safeguard, Iraqi officials have accepted a key requirement for the coalition training: American vetting of each
training candidate. Military commanders say this security check, which can
take up to two months, is meant to root
out former Shiite militia members involved in violence against American
forces, or suspected of human rights
abuses and other crimes.
Mr. Araji said he did not consider this
vetting an infringement on Iraq’s
sovereignty, but part of the process of
building a stronger nation. People rejected for training know it is a black
mark that will sideline their careers, he
said in an interview this month at his
Baghdad office. “We have zero tolerance for people who have the wrong attitudes.”
Mr. Ameri and Mr. Araji have cooperated with Iraqi army commanders and
Prime Minister Abadi to formulate a
multiyear training schedule with the international coalition.
So far, training has been approved
through 2018. American and Iraqi commanders agree that it is vital for the missions to continue through at least 2020,
but further plans have been frozen until
after the election. American commanders, worrying that anti-American political factions could make the coalition
training a wedge issue, halted news media access to training operations during
Iraq’s election campaign.
In the past week, they announced the
closing of America’s ground forces command in Iraq, which had been active
since 2014. This move is expected to decrease the number of American troops
deployed here, currently about 5,000,
which was already a fraction of the
170,000 troops serving in Iraq at the
peak of American involvement in 2007.
Whoever leads the new Iraqi government will have to tackle the thorny question of what to do with the now-institutionalized militias, either by trying to integrate them into the army’s command
structure or leaving them quasi-independent and a potential tool of Iran’s.
Mr. Ameri, as a political and military
leader with credibility in the pro-American and pro-Iranian camps, may be best
positioned to bring the militias into the
fold of the American-trained domestic
security forces.
If he wants to.
Mr. Ameri, who is introduced at his
campaign events as the “sheikh of the
holy warriors,” is vague on the question.
In a recent interview, he said only that
he believed the state should control the
monopoly of force.
For now, the Americans are gambling
on his Iraqi patriotism, says Michael
Knights, the senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
and an expert on Iraqi security forces.
“Who is Hadi al-Ameri?” Mr. Knights
said. “That is the fundamental question.
Is he more loyal to Iran than Iraq? We
will only know it when it’s too late.”
Falih Hassan contributed reporting from
Baghdad.
Hadi al-Ameri, center, the head of the Badr Organization, campaigning in Hillah. “We
all made mistakes in the past, the Americans, as well as us,” he said.
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018 | 15
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
living
weekend
Alexa? Disregard
my husband, please
Sometimes spouses stop listening
to each other. Enter the virtual assistant.
Modern Love
BY CAREN CHESLER
They say never threaten divorce unless you mean it. Well, I meant it. An
hour later, though, I didn’t mean it
anymore.
My husband and I were in Wabash,
Ind., visiting my mother-in-law’s
hometown, when we had an argument.
It was our second day there, and I’d
like to attribute the fight to the stress
of travel, but Bruce and I can argue in
a box, with a fox, on a stair or anywhere.
The fight, as usual, was about how
he doesn’t listen to me. I don’t remember the specifics, but what typically
happens is he’ll ask me about something I told him minutes earlier, revealing that he wasn’t listening. Or he’ll
start talking about a completely different topic while I’m still speaking. Or
I’ll ask him a question — “Do you want
dessert?” or “Are the Knicks playing
tonight?” — and he won’t answer.
At least once a day, I find myself
saying, “I just told you that.”
If it happened occasionally, O.K., but
this is chronic. The passage of time
tends to dissolve the discord like running warm water over a bucket of
dried plaster, but sometimes the conflict feels insurmountable and I start to
think I can’t possibly spend the rest of
my life with someone who doesn’t hear
me.
That’s how I felt that morning when
I said, “Well, I want to make this clear,
for the record. I hate that you don’t
listen to me. It’s not right, it’s not fair,
and if I one day leave you because of it,
don’t say I never warned you.”
As soon as I said it, I knew I shouldn’t have. My saving grace? He probably didn’t hear me.
My husband and I have argued for
so long it has become part of the fabric
of our relationship, like a bunion —
though our squabbles don’t stop us
from having a relatively normal relationship. People can walk on bunions
for years. We have family dinners,
weekly dates, watch TV together,
exchange Christmas gifts. In fact, this
past Christmas he bought me Alexa,
which I have just started using.
“Alexa, play holiday jazz music,” I’ll
say. And she does.
“Alexa, what is the temperature
outside?” And she’ll tell me.
After a few days, I realized that
Alexa hears everything I say and
responds each time — something I
have failed to get from my husband
over the last 20 years.
“Ask her anything,” my husband
said. “Like this. Alexa, what’s 14,300
divided by 25?”
Alexa said nothing.
So I said, “Alexa, what’s 14,300 divided by 25?”
“14,300 divided by 25 is 572,” she
said.
I looked at my husband. “Well, you
didn’t say it very nicely.”
Alexa not only listened to me, but
she provided an added bonus: She
didn’t seem to listen to my husband.
He got to feel how I have felt for most
of our relationship.
Recently I mentioned the issue of
Bruce’s selective hearing to some
girlfriends over breakfast at a local
diner, and they cackled in agreement.
It seems many men have an auditory
impairment that disrupts their ability
to hear certain tones, like the sound of
their wife’s voice. It’s like the way dogs
can hear certain tones that we can’t —
except the opposite.
Even the cashier at the diner sympathized. “I tell my husband a thousand
times to do something, and he doesn’t
hear me,” she said. “I don’t know why I
bother. I wind up doing it myself.”
That evening I was sitting in the
living room listening to the jazz holiday
music Alexa had put on for me, when I
said, “Alexa?”
The music stopped. I paused. “Just
wanted to see if you were listening,” I
said.
The light on the top of the machine
turned bluish green and the speaker
made a clunky sound, as if to say,
“Indeed.”
The other day, as I sat in the dining
room working, I could hear my husband in the kitchen sniffing as he made
my son’s lunch.
“Sounds like you’re getting sick,” I
said.
“I can’t hear you,” he said, his voice
trailing off as he moved to the far side
of the kitchen.
One might think there’s nothing
wrong with that. You can’t fault someone for being too far away. But what’s
revealing to me is the matter-of-fact
way he says it, the way he shows no
curiosity to find out what I said. If real
life had subtitles, his line from that
exchange would read: “I can’t hear
you, and I’m absolutely fine with that.”
My husband’s inability to hear me
takes all forms. The other day I wanted
to tell him I would not be going to my
son’s soccer practice as I had said I
would, and I tried calling him, texting
him and leaving him a voice mail message, to no avail.
At times like that, it’s as if he’s a
fortress and no mode of communication — not swimming the moat, flying
overhead, dropping a note or sending a
fiery missive over the fortress wall —
will reach him.
Sometimes when Bruce doesn’t hear
me these days, I look over at Alexa to
see if her blue and green light will go
on, an indication that she is listening —
though in situations like that morning,
I don’t want her to be. I’m embarrassed by my anger.
A few months ago, Bruce and I went
out to breakfast and began talking
about where to take our 6-year-old son
for spring break.
“How about Disney?” I said.
“I’m not sure that’s the right week
for it,” he said, and then he picked up
his phone and began reading a text.
“You’re probably right,” I said.
“Maybe we should go in September.”
BRIAN REA
It seems many
men are
unable to hear
certain tones,
like the sound
of their wife’s
voice.
He continued to read his phone as I
spoke.
“Or maybe we should bring a dead
dog to Disney,” I said, to see if he was
listening. Some people can multitask.
My husband is not among them. He
didn’t even look up.
“And if the dog isn’t dead, you can
always kill one so you have a dead dog
to bring. To Disney.”
Nothing.
Finally, without looking up, he said,
“My father’s in the hospital.”
“Oh my god,” I said. “What happened?”
“My sister says he may have had a
stroke.”
I felt like a self-centered heel. But
that’s the thing about relationships. If a
partner does something chronically,
like being a bad listener, we always
think they are doing that annoying
thing even when they’re not. We’re not
seeing them. We’re seeing who we
think they are — which means that in
those moments we’re just seeing an
extension of ourselves.
When I was in analysis, I would
sometimes say something to my thera-
What can I do to make
my colleague stop stealing?
The Ethicist
B Y K WA M E A N T H O N Y A P P I A H
I work at a small college and have a
tenured colleague who routinely misuses college funds. He charges the
department for expenses that are
clearly personal. I’ve heard he buys his
kids’ school supplies through the office
Staples account, bought two computers
for personal use, brings his family to
conferences and charges the college for
a condo, and so on. Recently, he rang up
food charges (supposedly for his students) totaling more than $1,000 in a
single semester, when the college puts a
limit on such spending of a few hundred
dollars a year.
I told two deans of his behavior; both
said it should be addressed by the
department chairman. It has been
addressed at two meetings. He does not
change.
Am I obliged to raise this issue with
other college administrators — the
president? The police chief? It has no
impact on my paycheck or ability to do
my job if he steals. But it is wrong, and
I’m starting to wonder, particularly
when college professors are supposed to
model behavior for students, if I’ve
done all I can by bringing this to the
attention of administrators, all of whom
admit it’s a problem but don’t seem
willing to do what it would take to make
it stop. Name Withheld
seem deficient
in the capacity for shame. He must
know that his pilferings have been
discussed in departmental meetings,
and he remains undeterred. This suggests some measure of sociopathy.
Your feelings, on the other hand, display a feature common in people who
uphold ethical norms: a desire to see
the guilty punished. (I’m putting aside
your concern about leading students
by example, because this presupposes
that they know what’s going on — and
you don’t suggest that they do.) What
rankles, clearly, is that a serious norm
has been violated with impunity.
This moral sentiment shows up in a
family of studies in experimental economics in which people play “ultimatum games.” In a typical game,
someone is allowed to propose a split
of a pot of money with someone she’ll
never encounter again. If you accept
the proposed split, that’s what you get.
If you reject it, both of you get nothing.
So it’s never economically rational to
reject a split, however lopsided: You’re
turning down money. Yet across many
societies, people will reject a split they
consider unfair. What this shows,
researchers suggest, is that people will
pay a cost to punish antisocial behavior. It’s said to be a form of “altruistic
punishment.”
All of which raises the question of
how much effort you’re willing to expend to see rule-breaking punished. If
you told the president, you’d probably
have to be willing to reveal to your
colleague that you’d done so and to
give evidence against him. Your chair-
YOUR COLLEAGUE WOULD
TOMI UM
man would most likely also be displeased to learn that you’ve exposed
the department’s failure to act. If you
went to the campus police chief, your
college administrators would learn of
your action, and, given the norms of
institutional autonomy, they would
take a dim view of it.
Is the wrongdoer still getting away
with it? If so, you could, in theory,
continue to escalate. The money he’s
stealing doesn’t come out of your
pocket, but it belongs to your nonprofit
institution, and misusing that money
entails a violation of the public trust.
That should interest the trustees of
your college. And if they did nothing,
then, in principle, the attorney general
of your state ought to take an interest.
How far would you be willing to go?
At a certain point, the pursuit becomes
pist, ponder it and then say, “I think
you think I’m stupid” — when in fact
she had said nothing. If she were my
husband, I would probably say, “I think
you think I’m boring.”
It turns out my father-in-law had
suffered a stroke that day — two,
actually, in a short period of time — but
he has almost fully recovered and is as
chipper as ever. My husband now calls
him nearly every morning on his way
to work, and if the conversations go as
they always have, my father-in-law will
listen intently for a couple of minutes
and then move on to another topic,
despite my husband’s being in midsentence.
While this pattern should have made
my husband more empathetic to my
plight — what Bruce’s father does to
him, he does to me — it has had the
opposite effect, confirming for him that
everyone gets interrupted, no one gets
to be heard all the time — except
bratty women who demand it.
Which brings me back to Alexa. She
listens better than any partner I have
ever had, but that’s not hard, because I
thought all of them were poor listeners
fanatical. Although your sense of indignation is commendable, it’s not your
duty to enforce these rules, merely to
report violations to the appropriate
authorities, and you have. I’d say
you’ve already done enough.
Let me add that there’s something
about this situation that puzzles me.
Unless your colleague is hugely valued
(for success in raising large grants,
say), he’s putting his tenure at risk by
this behavior. And the grants would be
at risk if he were found to be indifferent to the distinction between mine
and thine in his use of them. Furthermore, your chairman has plenty of
ways to put pressure on him, like asking for refunds for unwarranted travel
expenses, denying him raises and
placing these facts in his personnel file
so that there’s a paper trail to justify
later termination. My puzzlement is
not about why you feel that something
needs to be done about the problem
but about why it isn’t being done by
the people whose responsibility it is.
A female friend says she is planning to
sell her late husband’s vintage collection of Playboy magazines, which she
says are in excellent shape and worth a
lot of money. Normally, this woman is a
progressive feminist. Selling this “literature” would seem to run counter to
ethical values in our “#MeToo” world.
Am I off base here? Name Withheld
is what one
scholar has called a “maddeningly
deadlocked debate” concerning sexual
imagery and sexual subordination;
you see this in the arguments over
“Fifty Shades of Grey,” which some
find to be liberatory and empowering
of women and others find to be oppressive and glamorizing of abuse (and still
others find to be just plain dull). According to Catharine A. MacKinnon,
WITHIN FEMINISM, THERE
— especially the one who was hearingimpaired. He didn’t hear a thing I said.
It made me wonder: Do I seek out
partners who don’t hear me so I can
keep having to deal with my problematic territory in order to fix it, the way
you might practice a skateboard jump
over and over again until you mastered
it? Or were all my partners perfect,
more or less, but because of my wound,
I wind up not feeling heard? That is, I
could be with the best listener on earth
and I would still feel unheard.
I decided to ask my electronic friend.
“Alexa? Do we look for partners who
do that thing we hate so we can try to
fix it, or do we — ”
She interrupted me in midsentence
and said, “Sorry, I don’t know that
one.”
Sorry, I don’t know that one? As if I
were asking her to identify a song? If
she had let me get my whole thought
out, she may have understood what I
was talking about.
I knew it was too good to last.
Caren Chesler is a writer in Ocean
Grove, N.J.
pornography “makes the world a
pornographic place”; according to
Judith Butler, pornography’s “phantasmatic power” lies precisely in its distance from social reality. But Playboy
is nobody’s Exhibit A in this arena.
Playboy, though it has published
significant journalism and fiction, has
no doubt expressed disrespect for
women, as has much of our popular
culture. Still, thinking about the sexual
body of a female stranger in a photograph doesn’t entail having any particular attitude to other women. Indeed,
thinking about the sexual body of a
co-worker, as people of both sexes
surely often do, is harmful only if it
leads to doing something offensive.
Privately consuming pornography of
this sort, or engaging in sexual fantasy,
is not tantamount to harassment or
assault or the creation of a hostile
workplace. Nor can we assume that
people will be made more likely to do
these things by opening Playboy’s
pages. Old magazines, like old movies,
are prone to display the casual sexism
of their day. That’s not an argument for
consigning them to the dump.
In the age of the internet, what’s
more, the disappearance of every copy
of the magazine from the face of the
earth would hardly reduce the availability of pornography. And — who
knows? — maybe some of those who
look through vintage issues of Playboy
will encounter some fine short stories,
by the likes of Margaret Atwood, Joyce
Carol Oates and Ursula K. Le Guin. So
your feminist friend can profit from her
husband’s magazine collection, while
remaining faithful to the ideas that
drive the #MeToo movement.
Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. He is the author of “Cosmopolitanism” and “The Honor Code:
How Moral Revolutions Happen.”
..
16 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
weekend
books
Last but
not least
and out of fiction), it is not the wayward men but the two women in combination — the original and her replacement — who are the levers of
events and their meanings. In a third
abandoned marriage, the determined
wife flees, the mourning husband is
shattered. All loss is akin to other loss;
loss begets loss, and loss leads to desolation. The briefest story in this panoply of blows, “The Piano Teacher’s
Pupil,” concerns absence of a different
nature. In her solitary 50s, after years
of enduring indifferent pupils, Miss
Nightingale is blissfully charged with a
child who strikes her as a prodigy:
“Within this small boy, so modest in his
manner, there were symphonies unwritten, suites and concertos and
oratorios. She could tell; she didn’t
even have to think.” He was the boy
who “sat down at her piano and took
her with him into paradise.” Her house,
inherited from her father, with its
crowded legacies of toy soldiers and
photographs and watercolors and
china swans and chocolate molds and
painted vases, is thrillingly transfigured when her silent pupil arrives on
Friday afternoons. But when Miss
Nightingale discovers that the boy is a
furtive thief, light-fingered and deft,
making away each week with another
small treasure, the whole of her history, and its loyalties and loves, flies
apart. Everything she trusted before,
she no longer believes in — except the
boy himself, even when he has become
a man. Does genius absolve treachery?
In this miniature Faustian bargain,
Trevor takes us not so much by surprise as by . . . well, call it horror.
And so they suffer and breathe, this
procession of living women and men,
alive by virtue of their longings and
their defeats and their schemes and
their truncated hopes. Many look for
purpose in the world, even as the
winds of contingency lash: the picturerestorer whose memory is broken, the
cartographer drawn to the Yorkshire
moors, Miss Nightingale’s father,
chocolatier and collector, a pair of
vagabond house painters, the crippled
man who hires them, the nearly forgotten young woman who cleans houses
and knows more than is imagined, a
schoolgirl and the enraptured visitors
who claim her, the eagerly respectable
widow found dead on a pile of rubbish
in an alley. And somehow in all these
crooked lives, there runs a tangled
thread of right measure, of keeping
faith — but with what? In the very last
paragraph (I almost want to call it a
stanza) of “Last Stories,” Trevor sums
up “this flimsy exercise in assumption
and surmise. . . . Shakily challenging
the apparent, the almost certain, its
suppositions were vague, inchoate.”
Then he has his character, whose
redolent name is Cecilia, reach out “for
their whisper of consoling doubt.” This
truthfulness of fragility is William
Trevor’s credo. It is why we honor him
as the supreme master of his honest
art.
BOOK REVIEW
Last Stories
By William Trevor. 213 pp. Viking. $26.
BY CYNTHIA OZICK
William Trevor writes both long and
short. Though acclaimed for each, it is
for the briefer art that he is especially
valued. The novel in its spaciousness
allows world enough and time for
epochs to evolve, but the short story
must seize in its thimble, all at once,
crisis and its crux. And while the novel
weakens under too much embroidery,
the short story is a virtuoso’s arena —
exemplified, say, by those two radically
disparate suicides, Stefan Zweig and
David Foster Wallace, the one sickened
by Hitler’s Europe (“The Royal
Game”), the other fevered by corporate America (“Mr. Squishy”). Virtuosity’s sentence-making is thickened,
intricate, imbricated, often dazzling.
And eventually, because of the nihilist
pressure of the unstoppable gush of
language itself, cynical to the point of
despair.
All the foregoing is recognizably
trite lit-crit sagacity. Trevor stands
apart from all that. His stories are
uncontaminated by principles of composition, or even by respectable generalities touching on how sentences
ought to be made. His sentences are
frequently in the passive voice; his
verbs eschew the pursuit of energy.
Overall, his prose is serviceable and
ready to hand. He will supply an entire
menu, including its every ingredient. If
there are flowers in pots on a windowsill or in someone’s small garden,
he will patiently identify each one. He
records the names of streets and
neighborhoods, of restaurants and
pubs. He tells minutely how women
and men are dressed, the color, the
cloth, the fit.
Most notably, his stories open with
comments so blandly informational, so
plain and unnoticeable, that they
arouse no expectation and appear to
promise little. What might come of “On
a stretch of pavement between Truman’s Corner and Boswell’s Hotel a
man asked a child if she knew where
St. Ardo’s was”? What magnetic draw
may lurk in “‘Yes?’ Olivia says on the
answering system when the doorbell
rings in the middle of ‘The Return of
the Thin Man’”? Yet such flat and
unhurried beginnings are subversions
concealing a powerful slyness. Trevor’s
stories traffic in plots, fated or willed,
and hurtful. They may be coiled in pity,
but they are never benign; their pity is
William Trevor
in 1982. He died
in 2016 at 88.
MARK GERSON
unregenerative. Nor do they carry
broad social vistas or axes to grind or
hidden symbols: no Golden Bowls or
Hawthornean birthmarks. Here you
will experience no flashes of culminating revelation, none of those so-called
epiphanies that decorate the endings of
so many workshop products. Of the 10
collected in “Last Stories,” six spiral
out of the minds of women. Their
names are Anita, Rosanne, Claire,
Harriet, Olivia, Mary Bella, and more:
how ordinary they are, how usual for
their place and time. Irish names;
English names.
“Last Stories”? The title itself merits
an observation, and not only as an
aside. Trevor, born and educated in
Ireland, died in England in 2016 at 88,
in a halo of fame. According to Martin
Amis, who worries at this bone repeatedly, a writer in old age will naturally
grow slack, and Philip Roth, in choosing retirement (a business term that
hangs awkwardly on the shoulders of
writers), offers personal testimony to
the same supposition. Still, in this
small, final, seemingly quiet but ulti-
For Trevor —
and this could
be his secret
engine — plot
is feeling: one
and the same.
Love at First Site
Edited by Will Shortz
The comedian and blogger Samantha
Irby, whose collection “Meaty” has just
been reissued, would love to see celebrities’ grocery lists: “I’m so curious about
other people’s daily needs. What’s in
your bathroom cabinet right now?”
sai. That dude is so bent out of shape
about so many things and so am I,
because everything is horrible and
embarrassing. I’m almost sure we are
the same person. It was like reading
my diary.
What books are on your nightstand?
The last book that made you furious?
“Children of Blood and Bone,” by Tomi
Adeyemi; “Call Me Zebra,” by Azareen
Van der Vliet Oloomi; “Mean,” by
Myriam Gurba; “The Book of Essie,”
by Meghan MacLean Weir; and “The
Talented Ribkins,” by Ladee Hubbard.
IT’S A BIG NIGHTSTAND, O.K.
“The Girl on the Train.” I read it because everybody else read and loved it,
plus I’m really into Emily Blunt, and
halfway through the book I was like
“WHAT.” Homegirl was infuriating!
Literally why did she keep going back
to that house?! Is this the kind of thing
where Americans say we like something even though it’s terrible because
we don’t want to look dumb because
British people made it? I was rooting
for her to die the entire time.
I loved, like beyond all measure, Hanif
Abdurraqib’s “They Can’t Kill Us Until
They Kill Us.” It’s a collection of essays
about music and culture that are written with such insight and tenderness
that I read it in a day and immediately
read the whole thing again because it
cracked my heart all the way open and
had me crying over Fall Out Boy and I
was like “Hold up, did that really happen?” It’s spectacular.
What’s your favorite thing to read?
And what do you avoid reading?
My favorite books, hands down, are
thrillers. But only the fancy ones, the
$16 paperback ones. I’m the perfect
simpleton: I never see the twist coming! The killer pretty much has to
climb out of the pages and punch me in
the face! I also love a gripping family
drama, and I read lots and lots of Y.A. I
tend to avoid fantasy because I’m not
very good at seeing imaginary worlds
in my mind. I get caught up in whether
or not I’ve mentally constructed it
correctly and it ruins the book.
What do you read when you travel?
I always have an ambitiously packed
carry-on when I travel even though I
know that as soon as the announcements are over I’m going to plug in my
headphones and watch a movie with
John Cena in it. The last book I read on
a flight to Los Angeles was “Eat Only
When You’re Hungry,” by Lindsay
Cynthia Ozick is currently working on a
collection of short stories.
the sunday crossword
By the Book
Samantha Irby
What was the last truly great book
you read?
woman who captivates him. They had
met on the street when Olivia tripped
and fell, grateful for his care; but afterward he was in a fever to pursue her.
Impatient with his insistence, she
warned him to keep away. Another
time, to appease him, she went with
him to a restaurant, and that was all.
And now here in her living room sits
the weeping Mrs. Vinnicombe, mother
of two adolescent sons, newly deserted
by her husband, devastated by jealousy. Olivia remembers a jealous
seizure of her own, long ago in her
teens — how she was besotted with her
sister’s bridegroom and dared to touch
his cap, the part of it that warmed his
hair and made her wish she could die.
This old and fleeting fragment slips in
from nowhere, to drip its poison; such
subtle intrusions are Trevor’s way. In
the end we are left with a web of unhealed inferences, the lava of guilt and
grief slowly covering both women.
Husbands abruptly departing from
wives out of a desire for other women
appear in two more stories, and here
again, undermining expectation (in
mately volcanic book of stories, Trevor
denies and defies — maybe spites —
the promise of decline. As for volcanic:
his people, at the finish of each turning
of circumstance, are stunned and
stilled, like the molds lava once made
of the victims of Pompeii. And it is as if
he will never run out of plots; plots are
everywhere, in the shops, in the
streets, in the cafes, at the teller’s
counter in the bank, in the city, on the
farm; in every human breast.
For Trevor — and this could be his
secret engine — plot is feeling: one
and the same. Most often his women
are the plot, because it is the women
who act from feeling, while the men act
from impulse. (Don’t fashionably surmise that this is an expression of gender ideology. Trevor has no ideology.)
When, in “Making Conversation,”
Olivia reluctantly answers the doorbell
and lets in a distraught Mrs. Vinnicombe, she is instantly accused: “Is
my husband there?” He is not, though
he has been there, only once, to install
one of the kitchen gadgets he invents
and sells — a subterfuge to be near the
JILLIAN TAMAKI
Hunter, and it messed me right up. I
couldn’t even look at those tiny bags of
airplane chips.
Who’s your favorite comedian-turnedwriter?
W. Kamau Bell. “The Awkward
Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell” was so
smart and funny.
If you could require the president to
read one book, what would it be?
What are your favorite movies or
shows based on books?
The President’s Daily Brief, by the
Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Is “The Real Housewives of New York
City” based on a book? Haha just
kidding. I want to say something like
“Atonement,” by Ian McEwan, so that I
can trick you into thinking that I am a
serious person, but the truth is I never
read the book OR saw the movie. I
read “Misery,” by Stephen King, and
that movie was amazing. I can’t wait
for some overzealous fan to kidnap me
and make me write about diarrhea at
gunpoint!
And what book would you most like
to see turned into a movie or TV
show?
“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican
Daughter,” by Erika L. Sánchez, would
be such a good movie. It’s about a very
real girl dealing with real girl problems, craving independence and coping with anger and depression while
grappling with boys and her parents
and the death of her sister and all that.
It’s sad and funny and hopeful, and it
would be amazing on the big screen.
The last book that made you laugh?
“Everything Is Awful,” by Matt Bellas-
You’re hosting a literary dinner party.
Which three writers are invited?
Listen, isn’t it weird when people pretend they want to dig up F. Scott
Fitzgerald or whoever and eat catered
sandwiches with them? It’s not like
dude is going to know what good movies are out or who just got kicked off
“Survivor,” and I’m not enough of a
conversationalist to dream up something other than whatever E! News
alert popped up on my phone to talk
about. “Oh hello, Ernest Hemingway!
Help yourself to some grocery store
cubed cheese! Would you like to talk
about the latest episode of ‘Vanderpump Rules’?”
What’s the one book you wish someone else would write?
I would love to read a book of famous
people’s lists. Like, what does Drake
pack in his overnight bag? What are
Forest Whitaker’s grocery essentials?!
Honestly, I would read anyone’s lists of
anything. I’m so curious about other
people’s daily needs. What’s in your
bathroom cabinet right now?
Across
1Arcade hoops
game
7Some TV ads,
for short
11Went through
channels?
15Hitter’s hitter
18“The Simpsons”
or “Futurama”
19Litter’s littlest
20To whom
Brabantio says
“Thou art a
villain”
21Singular
22Good name for
a deep kissers’
dating site?
25Vittles
26A shroud
of secrecy,
idiomatically
27Endlessly
starting over
28Performances
at Paris’s Palais
Garnier
30Manning with
the secondlongest QB
starting streak in
N.F.L. history
31Numerical prefix
32“Ish”
34Monster slain by
Hercules
35North Carolina
university
36Victor’s shout
39It’s all in the
head
41Member of a
southern colony
43Actor whose first
and last names
look like they
rhyme, but don’t
47Slice of a
timeline
50Fruit drink
51Good name for a
dating site full of
hot dudes?
54Obsolescent
high school
course,
informally
56Number one pal
57Good name for
a dating site
of massage
therapists?
59In amazement
61Emerald or
aquamarine
63Revolting sorts
64Kitty-cat, e.g.
65Carbo-loading
dish
67Patty
alternative?
70IV checkers
711988 top 10
hit for Tracy
Chapman
73George ____
University
75Swamps
76Good name
for an extreme
sports dating
site?
79Be traitorous to
82Burger topper
83Good name for a
non-monogamist
dating site?
85Big Apple
cultural site,
with “the”
88Alway
89Southernmost
of the Lesser
Antilles
91Napa Valley
vintner Robert
93Grannies
95Previous name
for an athletic
conference
now with 12
members
98Comparable (to)
99Sky-blue
101Performer
in makeup,
typically
105Certain layers
106____ Aviv
107UTEP team
109First things to go
into jammies
112“Trading Spaces”
host Davis
114Neat as ____
115Good name for
a dating site for
lovers of natural
foods?
118Ad
119Big loss
120John of
the Velvet
Underground
121Tot’s wear
122Junior
123Lincoln Logs and
such
124Something taken
on a field?
125Ones passed on
a track
Down
1[Avoid watching
this in front of
the boss]
Solution to puzzle of May 5-6
A B E A M
I
B O X T O P
N A T A L
B A T
T
L
A T R A
E S H
T
I
R A E
A C Q U
S
P R
R E
L
I
O S H E A
S
T R O
T H E S
I
S
L
I
I
R S
T
D
L
I
C R A N
I
U M T W I
H A V E
S
V E
I
C K E
S
I
T
T O R
I
I
E
I
G H S
I
D O L
L
E
E
F
I
Y
S
I
D E
O M A N
E C O
E
R B S
Y A M
A S S
E R
S
I
A G O
N N E R
E A G L
A C U
E
G R O S S
F O U R C H E C K E R S
R O O
I
R A
A L M A
T A B O O O P E R A T
A T A S K E
Z
B A N T
E R
N
E R E
Y V E S
O
Y
S U N O C O
E R R A T A
T
I
W E R E
T
L
P L O M A C Y
S
G U S
T
T
L O
A D H O C
T O O
S
C O N N E C T
E S
L O N E
A W A R D S
M E M O R Y T R O U B L
I
I
I
P H O B O S
E
S K
O A T
N
F
I
S O R R Y D
D
I
I
M E
I
N
B L
I
B
B A M A
N E E
I
A S A
I
M A C H U
R O E
T
I
O N
T
O P E N T O
E R S
E D G E S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
18
8
9
10
11 12 13 14
19
22
23
26
27
30
42
50
51
32
44 45 46
54
57
64
47 48 49
52 53
61
34
39 40
43
56
63
67 68 69
72
70
73 74
76
77 78
82
83
89
75
79
80 81
84
85 86 87
90
91
93 94
95
99 100
101 102 103 104
109
92
96 97
98
105
106
107
108
114
115 116
118
119
120
121
110 111
112
122
123
124
125
113
117
PUZZLE BY NEVILLE FOGARTY AND ERIK AGARD / EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ
2Sped (along)
3Had a table for
one
4Chinese leader
Xi
5Rainbows, e.g.
6“That doesn’t
impress me
much”
7Immediately
8Natural light
beam
9One of the
Brontës
10Group dance
with stomps and
claps
11Instrument
plucked with a
mezrab
12Cools one’s
heels
13Back in time
14Like early Elvis
recordings
15Good name for a
carpentry dating
site?
16The rite place?
17Thompson of
“Selma”
55
58
62
65 66
88
33
37 38
59 60
71
25
28 29
36
41
21
24
31
35
15 16 17
20
21“Toodles!”
23Noggin
24Chairman and
____ (common
title)
29Ones to watch
31Back-of-newspaper section
33Poetic tribute
35Org. with a
flower logo
37“Just ____
suspected”
381940s vice
president
Wallace
40Enthusiastic
42Not new
44Chaperones,
usually
45Lincoln’s home:
Abbr.
46“I’ll return
shortly,” in a text
48Swing time?
49German
interjections
52“That’s mine!”
53‘
55Dignified lady
56Model Page
known as
“The Queen of
Pinups”
58Naval officer:
Abbr.
59Geronimo, for
one
60Good name for
a “High Noon”themed dating
site?
62Hit hard
65____ Bread (cafe
chain)
66NPR host
Shapiro
68“2 funny!!!”
69“To Live and Die
____”
71Visage
72Player of Robin
Hood in 1991
74Like child’s play
75Nautical title,
informally
77Whole lot
78Prefix with
center
80Ginormous
81Lowly workers
THE NEW YORK TIMES
84O.T.C. O.K.’er
85Command of
Captain JeanLuc Picard
86Satanic look
87Cookie holder
90Movement
92Statistician’s
grouping
94“____ you the
clever one!”
96Gum ingredient
97Titter
99Stockpile
100Nada
102Certain
computer whiz
103Deep defenses
104Long span
108Put in order
110Camping
menace
111Digitize, in a way
112____ colada
113Real lookers?
116Down Under
hopper
117Gather around,
as an idol
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018 | 19
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
theater
weekend
An American elegy
enthralls Londoners
LONDON
‘The Inheritance’ melds
E. M. Forster with anger
over the scourge of AIDS
BY MATT WOLF
SIMON ANNAND
Clockwise from top
left: Mark Bonnar
in “Instructions
for Correct Assembly” at the Royal
Court; Samuel H.
Levine (standing)
and Andrew Burnap in “The Inheritance” at the
Young Vic; and
Jonjo O’Neill and
Sophie Russell in
“The Prudes” at
the Royal Court.
JOHAN PERSSON
Instead, Mr. Lopez’s avowed inspiration is Britain’s own E. M. Forster,
whose novel “Howards End” is deliberately echoed in both the propulsive narrative (class tension, a forgotten umbrella) and in larger themes of human
connection and the primacy of home.
There’s a Republican billionaire named
Henry Wilcox — the same name as that
of Forster’s imposing lord of the manor;
the Tony-winning actor John Benjamin
Hickey brings a casual authority to the
role. And none other than Vanessa Redgrave, an Oscar nominee for “Howards
End,” arrives late in the second act to
embody Mr. Lopez’s emphasis on the
need to know, learn from and grieve for
the past.
Forster weaves his own onstage way
through “The Inheritance” in the person
of the shyly bespectacled Morgan (Paul
Hilton), who functions as narrator, literary sage and emblem of a more recessive era for gay men. It’s difficult to
imagine Forster writing with Mr. Lopez’s abandon: One character graphically describes a formative night in a
Czech bathhouse. And as the sorrowful
bequest of that evening becomes
MANUEL HARLAN
Not in some
time have I
heard such
sobbing in
the theater.
known, a play that borrows unashamedly — and sometimes even slavishly — from the past becomes blisteringly alive in the present.
The Royal Court’s smaller Theater
Upstairs is doing its bit for sexual candor, if less so for the act itself, via the
playfully named “The Prudes” (through
June 2). The latest from the Court regular Anthony Neilson, a writer-director
dior.com
“Heal or burn,” says the charismatic — if
damaged — Toby Darling (Andrew Burnap) well into the second half of “The Inheritance,” an openhearted American
theatrical epic that knows something
about both options. Capaciously moving, the play has become the breakout
hit of the London spring.
Running through next Saturday at the
Young Vic, with a late-summer transfer
to the West End a possibility, Matthew
Lopez’s two-part, six-and-a-half-hour
play burns with an abiding anger over a
generation of gay men felled by AIDS
and the heedlessness in certain quarters
toward their deaths. And yet the play
finds a curative potency in a breadth of
feeling that hits playgoers in the gut.
(Not in some time have I heard such
sobbing as greeted the end of Part One.)
Like Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” which finishes with an appeal for
“more life,” “The Inheritance” concludes with a simple suggestion: “You
live.”
That exhortation proves easier to
achieve for some of the play’s assemblage of young, ambitious gay men than
others, and the fast-rising writer Toby
faces an especially turbulent reckoning.
(Mr. Burnap, making his London stage
debut, is a revelation in a role that is part
Lucifer, part J. M. Barrie-style lost boy.)
But as directed with sweeping empathy
by Stephen Daldry on a rectangular set
deployed as if to evoke a perpetually unfolding college seminar (or, on occasion,
a mausoleum), the play owes its largest
literary debt not to Mr. Kushner. “Angels” has a structural audacity and historical reach that “The Inheritance”
does not try to match.
Archi Dior collection
White gold, pink gold and diamonds.
known for collaborating with his cast
throughout rehearsals and beyond, this
75-minute caprice (no intermission)
deals with a longtime couple trying to
kick-start their sex life. But do not be
fooled by the mattress positioned center
stage: Physical intimacy is limited to a
barely achieved touch.
Mr. Lopez opts for an amplitude of
feeling, but Mr. Neilson prefers to titil-
late, to tease and to flit among moods.
Jess (an open-faced Sophie Russell)
turns toward the audience to ask
whether anyone might have a condom
(no one does) only to shift gears later by
appearing dressed as Wonder Woman
(don’t ask). The garrulous Jimmy (the
ever-sparky Jonjo O’Neill, seen at the
Court two summers ago as the outsize
talking point of Mr. Neilson’s “Unreachable”) holds forth on onanism and
speaks with characteristic matter-offactness of his genitalia rotting “like a
time-lapsed fruit bowl.” (Might this also
be the first British play to refer to Kevin
Spacey’s fall from grace?)
The pair appear to enjoy goading each
other; virtually every remark is quickly
challenged. Jess, we discover, harbors a
painful memory involving her father,
though its specifics won’t surprise those
familiar with Edward Albee’s (more ambitious) “The Goat.” Her reminiscence
prompts a similarly disturbing riposte
from Jimmy, who further darkens the
mood by deciding that “life is terrifying.” If sex is off the menu for the couple
in “The Prudes,” the far scarier prospect
is that love might be, too.
What do you do with any of these human needs and impulses if you’ve been
assembled from a kit? That question,
among others, courses through the
Court’s concurrent main-stage offering,
“Instructions for Correct Assembly,” a
new play by Thomas Eccleshare that is
similar to “The Prudes” in expanding a
particular conceit rather than settling
for the niceties of plot. (Hamish Pirie’s
production, overly mannered at the
start but eventually engaging, ends next
Saturday.)
Hari (the likable Mark Bonnar) and
Max (Jane Horrocks) are excited to be
building — wait for it — a flat-pack child
whom they call “it” in the same breathless tones that might be brought to bear
on an Ikea Christmas sale. But scarcely
have we met the teenage Jan (Brian
Vernel) before he is found to have a specific reason for being that’s best left out
here, beyond the fact that Mr. Vernel
deftly juggles two roles that exist somewhere on an inevitable spectrum of imperfection.
The play occupies an alternative present that gives new meaning to having a
screw loose: What if you were to “buy” a
child only to discover that a part was
missing? The title notwithstanding, Mr.
Eccleshare reminds us that there is no
manual for mastering that Forsterian
precept: Connect as best you can so you
don’t call it quits.
..
20 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
weekend
music
JAMES MORGAN/GLOBAL CREATURES
Taking on
a tempest
KRAMER, FROM PAGE 14
“Five plays in,
I was doing
‘Angels in
America.’ I was
ambitious;
I was
American.”
laging 400 years of white male opera in
the canon, but we need stories about
people now, by people now.”
Mr. Kramer is intense and hyperbolic,
talking at top speed, with multiple
segues down paths of internal reverie,
self-scrutiny and political critique. “We
are not talking enough about the masculine, we are not discussing enough the
patriarchy, what a healthy masculine
could look like,” he said in impassioned
tones. “We’re going to talk about these
things — about nationalism, Brexit,
America now.”
English National Opera has lately
been scrutinized more than scrutinizing. The last few years have been probably the company’s worst since it began
in the late 19th century with performances organized by the philanthropist
Emma Cons and Lilian Baylis, her niece.
(The companies that Baylis ran would
eventually become English National
Opera, the National Theater and the
Royal Ballet.)
In 2014, Arts Council England, which
contributes over a third of the company’s budget, cut its subsidy to 12.38 million pounds, or $16.8 million, from £17.2
million and, citing low audience turnout,
placed the company in “special measures.” (This meant its position in the national portfolio of regularly funded arts
organizations was under review.)
The chairman of the board resigned,
as did its executive director, who was replaced by Cressida Pollock, a former
McKinsey & Company consultant with
no arts management experience. Soon
after, John Berry, the company’s longtime, critically lauded artistic director,
resigned.
Without an artistic director, and amid
threats of strikes and stormy accusations of mismanagement, a labor agreement in March 2016 saw the chorus accept pay cuts, layoffs and a move to
nine-month contracts from yearlong
ones. Mark Wigglesworth, the music director, who had been in the job for only
six months, immediately resigned, saying that “the company is evolving into
something I do not recognize.”
Any single appointment — first Ms.
Pollock, now Stuart Murphy, who replaced her after she resigned in the fall,
and Mr. Kramer — might have been fine,
John Allison, the editor of Opera magazine, said in an interview.
“But having so many people from outside the opera world means that there is
no one with the kind of experience you
need at a major company,” he added. “I
think they are all playing at running an
TRISTRAM KENTON
Top, the musical
“King Kong,”
directed by Daniel
Kramer, in Australia in 2013. He
withdrew from the
production about
nine months after
it opened in Melbourne. Above
right, Mr. Kramer
rehearsing “Tristan und Isolde” for
English National
Opera with the
tenor Stephen
Rooke in 2016.
Left, the director’s
“La Traviata” for
the company this
year.
CATHERINE ASHMORE
opera company. Martyn Brabbins is the
most solid, but even he hasn’t previously had an opera position.”
So the glaring question presents itself: Why on earth would Mr. Kramer
want to take on all this? “I could see they
needed a leader who had some of the
maps to come out of trauma into forward
motion,” he said. “It felt like the opportu-
nity of a lifetime, and it has been and still
is.”
Mr. Kramer grew up on a farm in
Wadsworth, Ohio, the son of the local
school’s principal. When he was 8, he
saw a play directed by his father at the
school.
“I don’t know what it was, but I was
obsessed with it,” he said. He became
“the actor guy” in high school, studied
theater at Northwestern University and
won a Drama League of New York scholarship, which led to work with the avantgarde director Richard Foreman. After
meeting and falling in love with the actor Simon Callow, he moved to London,
where he studied at the International
School of Corporal Mime for a year and
began to try his hand at directing.
“I don’t deny that coming to London, I
was laser-focused on climbing that ladder,” he said. “My first play went to the
West End, my second play went to St.
Ann’s Warehouse. I did a dance piece,
‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ at the Young
Vic. Five plays in, I was doing ‘Angels in
America.’ I was ambitious; I was American.”
David Lan, the former director of the
Young Vic, called Mr. Kramer’s work
“emotionally very direct. I think he sees
himself in the tradition of Russian experimental directors. There is often one
big overriding idea that controls everything else, and he brings his own background, his own symbolic imagery, his
sexuality into the work.”
His bold style won him a following. In
2010, he was hired to direct the musical
“King Kong,” destined for Broadway after an Australian opening. “It was a
wrong turn,” Mr. Kramer said. “The biggest learning curve of my life. I woke up
one day and thought: Wow, what hap-
pened to that guy who thought art can
change the world and is now basing
multimillion-dollar decisions on what
someone’s wife thinks?”
He withdrew from the production
about nine months after it opened in
Melbourne in 2013, spent time in Buddhist centers in New York and taught at
Brown University in Rhode Island. “I
quit everything,” he said. “I looked inside and I saw who I was. I was the ‘enfant terrible,’ the ‘wunderkind,’ and that
allows a form of behavior I don’t want to
do again.”
He returned to London, and John
Berry asked him to direct “Tristan und
Isolde” for English National Opera,
where he had already staged Harrison
Birtwistle’s “Punch and Judy” and Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle.” He applied to
direct the Manchester International
Festival and the Royal Lyceum Theater
in Edinburgh, and was turned down for
both before ending up in opera.
There were a number of well-known
British opera directors who would have
been well suited to the position at English National Opera, said Matthew Epstein, a former artistic director of Lyric
Opera of Chicago and Welsh National
Opera. “But of course they might have
said no,” Mr. Epstein added, “because
Cressida Pollock wanted to run the show
and make choices, and she is not an
opera professional.”
But the woes began well before Ms.
Pollock, said Peter Jonas, the general director of the company from 1985 to 1993.
“I think there has been a lot of skulduggery,” Mr. Jonas said in a telephone interview. “There has been a growing desire by the Arts Council to shift funding
onto politically correct agendas. John
Berry had a real nose for flair and innovation; he was a real European intendant type, which of course the English
hate.”
The Arts Council, Mr. Jonas added,
“flexed their muscle and gunned” for
Mr. Berry, while imposing “this special
measures nonsense. You either fund
companies or you don’t, and you have to
accept that sometimes they don’t do so
well.”
English National Opera is now out of
special measures, but its Arts Council
subsidy is frozen at £12.38 million until
2022.
“A lot of people who love E.N.O. are
upset about what’s happened, and I
agree,” Mr. Kramer said. “I didn’t want
the chorus cut. I didn’t want Mark Wigglesworth to go. I didn’t want to be reduced to nine operas a year and have
rentals.”
He added that he wanted to keep the
£17 million subsidy, “but if you don’t
move on, someone else will.”
So he is both an optimist and a pragmatist? “Yes,” he said. “Right now, I am
fighting to achieve a miracle in 2021. It’s
all music and singing, but thinking in a
bigger box about what is going to pack
audiences in to hear and love live music.
I’m beginning to think we have to reinvent from head to toe.”
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018 | 21
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
style
weekend
Completing
a designer’s
final work
LONDON
Azzedine Alaïa’s projects,
an exhibition and a store,
opening after his death
BY ELIZABETH PATON
When Azzedine Alaïa died suddenly in
Paris last November, he left behind not
just his brand but two major unfinished
projects: an exhibition at the Design
Museum and a new store in Mayfair.
Both of them have finally come to fruition, and the results are testaments to
the career of the Tunisian-born designer,
a kind of continuing conversation from
beyond the grave.
In April, a 6,000-square-foot threestory flagship store opened on New
Bond Street — the brand’s third store
and its first outside Paris. Designed by
Mr. Alaïa, the boutique is light, airy and
furnished with bespoke pieces from artists and designers like Naoto Fukasawa,
Piero Lissoni and Pierre Paulin, the better to showcase the ready-to-wear, accessories and cosmetics on display.
And earlier this week, at the Design
Museum, the doors opened on a major
new exhibition on Mr. Alaïa’s life, work
and design legacy, co-curated by him in
the months before his death.
“We were 90 percent of the way there
with our plans and knew exactly what
we still had to do,” said Mark Wilson, an
American who is chief curator of the
Groninger Museum in the Netherlands,
and Mr. Alaïa’s co-curator on the show.
The two men were good friends for more
than two decades, though neither could
speak the other’s first language.
“When he died, we were all adamant
that we shouldn’t change anything
about the way he had planned it and that
Out of the attic,
onto the catwalk
BY MAX BERLINGER
Calvin Klein features a red-and-white
quilt in its provocative ad starring the
Kardashian-Jenner sisters, who are languorously sprawled across the blanket
in nothing but their underwear.
The French label A.P.C. sells a range
of limited-edited quilts at its stores,
alongside its utilitarian jeans and chic
no-frills shirts.
And Loewe, under the direction of its
craft-happy designer, Jonathan Anderson, showcased a collection of artisanmade quilts at the Milan Furniture Fair
in April.
The fashion world’s love affair with
quilts — a humble item long associated
with Grandma’s attic and dowdy flea
markets — has reached a fever pitch.
Evoking traditional craftsmanship
and the comforts of home, quilts have
made their presence felt all over the
fashion landscape of late, especially in
high-end men’s wear. Prices reach into
the thousands.
“For me, this is how I relate to domestic life and how I relate to the emotions
of a consumer,” said Emily Bode, a designer at Bode, a men’s wear label based
in Manhattan that uses old fabrics for
new designs. “To me, you’d want to wear
it because of what is intrinsic to the fabric itself, it’s innateness.”
Ms. Bode says there is a physical and
emotional comfort from quilts that resonates with her customers, who pay
$1,500 for her one-of-a-kind boxy jackets
made from items no longer for sale or
found fabrics. “We had two customers
who, the day they bought their quilt
jackets, slept in them,” she said.
With the fashion tribe glued to their
Instagram feeds, there’s an understandable allure to the tactile quality and
homespun feeling of these blankets.
Quilts are also highly personal, said
Amelia Peck, a curator of American decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Quilts are interesting because people can put their own spin on
them,” she said.
While quilts have been documented
around the world, including in China,
Egypt and Europe, the form blossomed
in America as the cotton industry exploded in the mid-1800s (a period that
Ms. Peck thinks of as the “heyday” of
quilting).
Quilts enjoyed a comeback in the late
1960s. “It was very much linked to outsider hippie culture and going back to
the land, so it had a political message,”
Ms. Peck said.
Roderick Kiracofe, the author of “The
American Quilt: A History of Cloth and
Comfort,” recalls the popular exhibition
“Abstract Design in American Quilts” in
1971 at the Whitney Museum of American Art as a touchstone. “That really
turned people’s attentions to quilts as
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK BLOWER
the exhibit should go ahead on schedule,” Mr. Wilson said. “We all wanted to
keep going for Azzedine.”
On display in “Azzedine Alaïa: The
Couturier,” alongside black and white
photographs, short films, quotes and
timelines, are 60 of Mr. Alaïa’s most influential designs, largely grouped by
design technique.
These include the designer’s initial
explorations of structured volume in
the 1980s, a series of his signature bodyconscious densely knit tricot dresses,
and a trio of his famous flamenco
dresses from 2011, embroidered in
bright metallic layers.
A 2003 couture version of the long
black fitted dress around which twists a
seemingly endless zipper, memorably
first worn by Naomi Campbell in 1987, is
a true showstopper, as is a shimmering
purple hooded dress with a train that
spills across the mirrored floor, once
worn by Grace Jones.
The show begins and ends with several of Mr. Alaïa’s final works, including
a collared chain mail evening gown
with wafer-thin black chiffon pleats finished by his studio after his death.
“He absolutely loved doing exhibits
“Azzedine Alaïa:
The Couturier”
opened earlier this
week at the Design
Museum in London. More than 60
of the late designer’s creations are
on display.
like this; it wasn’t so much work to him
as a little bit of extra fun on top of his collections,” Mr. Wilson said, adding that, to
fit the plastic mannequins used for the
show, Mr. Alaïa remade each garment in
an elongated silhouette and then fit
them all to the displays.
Dividing the room and its installations are a series of five screens, each almost 33 feet tall, especially commissioned for the show to highlight the
sculptural quality and extraordinary
form of Mr. Alaïa’s garments. Friends of
the designer, including the industrial designer Marc Newson and the artist Kris
Ruhs, were asked to imagine the backdrops; indeed, during his lifetime, Mr.
Alaïa collected the works of all the contributors.
For Mr. Alaïa, as this show makes
clear, his work and his life (and his
stores and his exhibitions) were simply
different expressions of the same aesthetic approach to the world.
“The finished show is, I think, totally
in line with his vision for the exhibit,” Mr.
Wilson said, standing amid the result of
their labors. “It is a current artistic installation rather than just a retrospective of the past. ”
Indeed, on Wednesday night, at an
opening party at the museum attended
by Mr. Alaïa’s closest friends and collaborators, many spoke not so much sadly
or mournfully but rather fondly of a man
of ferocious curiosity and meticulous attention to detail, always determined to
do things his way, from cutting each of
his own designs to ignoring the traditional fashion calendar.
Carla Sozzani, the Italian editor, gallerist and retailer who was one of Mr.
Alaïa’s closest collaborators, laughed as
she looked at a simple strapless black
dress.
“Azzedine called it the Carla dress, because I was fired from Italian Elle when
I wanted to put that dress on a cover,”
she said. “He was so delighted and
proud, of me.”
Ms. Sozzani added that the designer
was always planning to safeguard the
future of his house.
“He really wanted his work to continue. He wanted his work to keep on going,
he became totally passionate about it towards the end of his life,” she said.
“Azzedine, the man, knew he would die.
But he was always determined that his
unique design legacy would live on.”
art,” Mr. Kiracofe said. Ms. Peck and Mr.
Kiracofe also mentioned the AIDS quilt
— a project in the 1990s that documented thousands of those who had
died — as bringing quilts, and all their
associations with community and
craftsmanship, to the American consciousness.
For Mr. Kiracofe, the fashion world’s
embrace of quilts is long overdue.
“Quilts have been ghettoized or boxed in
as women’s work or Americana,’” he
said. “To see them get a little more edgy,
it’s important.”
At the Calvin Klein store on Madison
Avenue, one-of-a-kind quilts dating from
the 19th and early-20th centuries have
been “hand-selected from across the
country,” according to its website, with
prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to $4,250.
Raf Simons
showed classic
quilt motifs in the
Calvin Klein fall
2018 collection.
GUILLAUME ROUJAS/NOWFASHION
A.P.C. designs its own quilts. “Quilts
to me are intrinsically linked to the
past,” Jean Touitou, a founder of A.P.C.,
said on its website. The quilts come in
muted herringbone and geometric patterns, and cost $370 to $955. “They are
made from yesterday’s fabrics, fabrics
that we used and had leftovers of. In a
way, quilts are to contemporary history
what pottery is to ancient history.”
Designers are also incorporating
quilts into clothing. Daniel Dugoff of
DDugoff, a men’s wear label in New
York, makes a $1,500 zip-up jacket of
textile scraps from previous seasons.
Craig Green, the British men’s wear
designer, sent male models down the
runway last year wearing tropicalthemed quilts that were fashioned like
ponchos, fringed cowboy shirts and
oversize tunics.
And Raf Simons, the creative director
at Calvin Klein, used classic American
quilt motifs throughout his fall 2018 collection, including in dresses, men’s
shirts and gloves. Some models even
looked like they were holding quilts on
the runway, like security blankets.
“The funny thing is that quilts just
keep on getting rediscovered,” Ms. Peck
said.
PRIVATE AUCTION | SUBASTA PRIVADA
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LA SUBASTA SE ABRE EL 29 DE MAYO
LA SUBASTA SE CIERRA EL 31 DE MAYO
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24 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 12-13, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
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