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International New York Times - 19 May 2018

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BUS TOURS,
MUGS AND
A CHICKEN
SANDWICH:
BUYING
INTO A
ROYAL
WEDDING
A SWEDISH PORT CITY
THAT TURNED ITS
FORTUNES AROUND
Weekend
GUITAR HERO FROM
THE SAHARA AIMS TO
‘MAKE PEOPLE MOVE’
LUXURY
HOMES
BUILT TO
STAY DRY
WHEN
WATER
RISES
PAGE 18 | WEEKEND
CADILLAC FALTERS
AS AMERICAN BUYERS
ABANDON SEDANS
PAGE 3 | WORLD
PAGE 22 |
REAL ESTATE
PAGE 23 | TRAVEL
PAGE 8 | BUSINESS
..
INTERNATIONAL EDITION | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018
Moral rot
threatens
America
Venezuelan
defies odds
in opposing
a dictator
CARACAS, VENEZUELA
Roger Cohen
With opposition sidelined,
former governor runs on
pledge to fix the economy
OPINION
I asked a senior German diplomat the
other day what issues the United States
and Germany are cooperating on. He
looked blank. Not Iran, obviously. Not
trade, evidently. Not climate change,
blatantly. Not Russia, plainly. Not migration, pointedly. With alliances like
these, who needs enemies?
From a French diplomat, I received a
worried letter. President Trump’s scuttling of the Iran nuclear deal was “the
best illustration of the Jacksonian moment the United
States is going
There is only
through, a mix of
one core task
unilateralism and
for everyone
isolationism” that
in Trump’s
contribute to “a new
United
world disorder”
where there is “no
States:
more American
Keeping the
power willing or able
Republic,
— or both — to be the
despite him.
last-resort enforcer.”
In the vacuum, he
could discern “no
minimum level of convergence between
the key players.”
Trump to Europe: Get lost. As the
French president, Emmanuel Macron,
observed of Trump last month, “He is
very predictable.” Boringly so, I’d add.
His contempt for the Atlantic Alliance
was evident during the campaign; he
follows through. That’s his form of
“honesty” amid a torrent of lies. Tens of
millions of Americans love him for it.
They see him as the most “honest”
president ever. Why? Because he tells it
like it is.
Europe is beginning to digest the
severity of the schism. Federica
Mogherini, the European Union’s senior
foreign policy official, heaped scorn on
Trump recently, saying that “screaming, shouting, insulting and bullying,
systematically destroying and dismantling everything that is already in place,
is the mood of our times.” Without namCOHEN, PAGE 13
The New York Times publishes opinion
from a wide range of perspectives in
hopes of promoting constructive debate
about consequential questions.
BY NICHOLAS CASEY
AND ANA VANESSA HERRERO
MERIDITH KOHUT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Venezuela’s economy has collapsed. Thousands waited more than 12 hours on Tuesday to buy subsidized food at a Caracas supermarket.
Bombers’ jarring normality
SURABAYA, INDONESIA
Families wove their lives
into the fabric of their
multicultural communities
BY HANNAH BEECH
AND MUKTITA SUHARTONO
Famela, 9, excelled at math and martial
arts. Her sister, Fadhila, 12, was good at
drawing. Firman, 16, was on the student
council at the liberal Muslim experimental school they attended, and he had
a soft spot for Taylor Swift. The eldest
brother, Yusuf, 18, liked to make videos
and take care of his little sisters.
All four children were seen as being
astonishingly well-behaved and accom-
plished by their neighbors and friends in
their multiethnic residential enclave in
Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest
city. They all wondered how the parents,
Dita Oepriarto and Puji Kuswati, did it.
But by last Sunday morning they
wondered if they had really known the
family at all, after back-to-back bombings at three Christian churches.
Famela, Fadhila, Firman and Yusuf
blew themselves up in the attacks, as did
their parents, killing 12 bystanders and
wounding at least 40 others.
To the end, the children were dutiful.
Mr. Oepriarto set off a bomb in their
family Toyota at the Surabaya Center
Pentecostal Church. Around the same
time, the teenage boys rode together on
a motorcycle to the Roman Catholic
Santa Maria Church, where they set off
their explosives. The father massacred
seven people; his boys killed five others.
Famela and Fadhila detonated their
explosives at the Indonesia Christian
Church, one by one, before Ms. Kuswati
triggered her own bomb. Their strike resulted only in their own deaths.
Adding to the horror, by Monday two
other families had set off bombs and the
police had found links to a sprawling terrorism plot centered on Mr. Oepriarto,
47.
In the aftermath was the haunting
question, sounded again and again by
officials and residents trying to come to
grips with the details of the attacks:
How could the conspirators have done
this to their own children?
“All of us are shocked, not only the police but also the whole country, because
this goes against the social ethos that we
should love our children,” said Frans
Barung Mangera, the police spokesman
for East Java Province, where Surabaya
A star turn after decades of waiting patiently
Lesley Manville is taking
her unlimited energy on
‘Long Day’s Journey’
BY AMANDA HESS
ANNIE TRITT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Lesley Manville, fresh off her Oscar nomination for “Phantom Thread,” plays the morphine-addicted mother in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.’’
Y(1J85IC*KKNPKP( +]!"!$!?!"
Mary Tyrone casts a long shadow over
“Long Day’s Journey Into Night” while
she’s onstage, and while she’s not. For
much of the second act, this morphineaddicted mother haunts her husband
and sons with her absence. They know
that once she disappears up the stairs of
their ramshackle summerhouse, she is
finding a vein, getting a fix and slipping
away. Meanwhile, as soon as Mary steps
offstage, the actress Lesley Manville
has shaken off the character and started
taking care of business. She spends her
long break, before returning for Mary’s
final dope-fueled monologue, getting
her own life in order: taking a shower,
doing a bit of sewing, answering emails.
“I hope that doesn’t destroy the illusion,” Ms. Manville told me the morning
after her American debut in the Eugene
O’Neill play, which has arrived in New
York after runs in London and Bristol,
England. (It will be at the Brooklyn
Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater
through May 27.)
Onstage the night before, Ms.
Manville’s hands were instruments of
Mary’s pain, fiddling restlessly, wringing each other red, scratching at her
neck and plinking madly at the piano.
Now they were sheathed in a kind of delicate armor — a collection of intricate
metallic rings, a gold watch, a slim
Tiffany bracelet inscribed with her initials — and cupped around a mug of hot
water with lemon. The idea of that character managing to consume this woman
was suddenly ludicrous. “You’re imagining I’m sitting in my dressing room,” she
said with a laugh, “pretending to shoot
up!”
No, Lesley Manville doesn’t waste
time sitting around in the dark. She’s
been acting since she was 16. She has
things to do, lines to learn, lemon water
to drink. Even her Mary Tyrone is sped
up, the energy of her performance help-
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BOMBERS, PAGE 2
VENEZUELA, PAGE 2
JUGGLING ACT BY WASHINGTON
The United States faces complex geopolitics as it tries to impose sanctions
on Iran and Venezuela. PAGE 7
Democracy
in Danger:
Solutions for a
Changing World
September 16-18, 2018
MANVILLE, PAGE 20
NEWSSTAND PRICES
Andorra € 3.70
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is. “We condemn the family, especially
the father who planted his deviant ideology in his children.”
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assaults through its Amaq
News Agency, describing them as a
“martyrdom operation.”
Hours after the bloodshed, the Indonesian authorities identified Mr. Oepriarto as the head of the Surabaya chapter
of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian militant organization that has
pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The police are also investigating
whether Mr. Oepriarto had any contact
with the Islamic State’s remote terrorism planners in the Middle East.
While Indonesia, the world’s most
populous Muslim-majority nation, is
hailed for its embrace of religious pluralism, the country also has a painful his-
If there is one thing that particularly
irks Henri Falcón, it’s the suggestion
that you can’t beat a dictatorship.
Mr. Falcón, a former governor, promises to defeat President Nicolás Maduro
when Venezuela goes to the polls on
Sunday. Few elections have been such a
crossroads for democracy in South
America in recent years — and for the
fate of one of its countries.
The daily hunger across Venezuela
mounts, claiming the lives of infants and
sending hundreds of thousands fleeing
across the border. Inflation is mind-boggling, whittling the nation’s minimum
wage to the equivalent of $3 a month.
The International Monetary Fund
predicts that Venezuela’s inflation — already considered the highest in the
world — will hit 13,000 percent this year,
destroying the livelihoods of the poor
and professional classes alike. The nation’s currency, the bolívar, now trades
at more than 700,000 to the dollar on the
streets of Venezuela and is worth less
with each passing day.
Amid the collapse stands Mr. Maduro,
the country’s president since 2013, who
now rules with an authoritarian fist.
Street protests against him have been
met with deadly force. The legislature
was effectively dissolved, replaced by a
body of Mr. Maduro’s loyalists called the
Constituent Assembly in a vote that the
government’s own election software
contractor denounced as tainted by manipulation.
Now the president has agreed to go up
for re-election. But it comes with a
catch: The most popular candidates
among the opposition have either been
barred from running or are jailed as political prisoners. After some opposition
parties boycotted a previous election,
the Constituent Assembly ruled that
they would not be allowed to run in this
one, either.
Enter Mr. Falcón, a former member of
Serbia Din 280
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United States $ 4.00
United States Military
(Europe) $ 2.00
Issue Number
No. 42,045
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SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018 | 5
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
world
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILLY H. C. KWOK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Left, some working-class residents in Hong Kong live in cramped rooftop apartments for years as they wait for public housing. The Hong Kong Golf Club, right, has become the focal point of a citywide debate about how to use an increasingly scarce resource: land.
A clash over fairways and fairness
HONG KONG
BY MARY HUI
The Hong Kong Golf Club is a 129-yearold enclave of privilege whose quiet fairways once catered to the city’s British
colonial rulers, but whose parking lot is
now filled with the Teslas and Porsches
of its wealthy Chinese elite.
More recently, this sprawling golf
club, with 54 holes, has become something else: the focal point of a raging,
citywide debate about how to use Hong
Kong’s scarcest and most valuable resource, land.
“Golf is a plaything of the Brits,” said
Ng Cheuk-hang, 23, a spokesman for the
Land Justice League, an activist group
that wants the golf course redeveloped
into low-rent public housing.
“It’s not a grass-roots sport,” he said.
“It’s not a sport for the people, and it creates a lot of social injustices.”
Yoshihiro Nishi, 51, the president of
the Hong Kong Golf Association, a group
representing four private golf clubs in
Hong Kong, says the activists are unnecessarily politicizing the issue.
“All the members of the Hong Kong
Golf Club understand the housing needs
in Hong Kong,” said Mr. Nishi, who
works as a private banker by day. “We
just want to make sure that we get to say
what we want to say. Don’t turn it into a
little bit of fight between the haves and
don’t-haves.”
The problem is that property prices in
Hong Kong have soared to the highest
levels in the world; blue-collar and middle-class families are priced out of the
market. And so the city is searching everywhere for places to build — the edges
of public parks, a few remaining farms,
land reclaimed from the sea and socalled brownfield sites, like former shipping-container yards.
It’s an affordable-housing crisis
whose effects have rippled across the
broader economy and inflamed political
tensions in a society already divided
over Beijing’s refusal to allow free elections.
Much of this mountainous, densely
populated territory of more than seven
million has already been filled with
high-rises, shopping centers and concrete sprawl. Hong Kong’s golf courses
and other private recreation clubs —
long given special treatment as the city
strove to be an attractive hub for global
bankers and executives — are increasingly seen as one of the quickest solutions to the land shortage.
But as the golf courses and clubs face
growing calls to be redeveloped into
public housing, they also are facing angry protests linking the crisis over land
use to the city’s broader problems of
economic inequality and declining social mobility.
In late March, protesters stormed the
Hong Kong Golf Club, in the far-flung
suburb of Fanling just two train stops
from the border with mainland China.
Chanting “Land for all!” and “We want
public housing! Take back the golf
course!” they marched down the neatly
manicured lawns before occupying a
putting green.
When protesters reappeared a month
later, they scuffled with security guards
who barred them from entering. A golfer
who was not a member of the club was
seen grabbing a protester by the neck
and throwing him to the ground.
The dispute has been exacerbated by
Hong Kong’s political paralysis.
Bitter infighting between its unelected, Beijing-backed leadership and the
pro-democracy opposition has left the
city’s government unable to tackle
tough problems, chief among them the
lack of affordable housing. The prohibitive property prices, while a boon for the
elite, have hurt the rest of the economy
by raising costs for small businesses
and start-ups.
The activists seemed to get support
from a recent government report
proposing that the 425-acre golf course
be partly or fully redeveloped for housing and other public uses. According to
the report’s estimates, the course is big
enough to hold 13,200 apartment units,
housing 37,000 people.
The club is one of six golf courses and
24 private sports clubs on special government leases. Some of the others, including the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
and the Hong Kong Cricket Club, also
date to the 19th century and used to
serve a mostly white, colonial clientele.
Together, the clubs occupy 828 acres
of land — about the size of Central Park
in New York City — and serve about
56,000 members. They rent their land
from the government through the special leases, so-called private recreational leases, that often offer below-market rates, drawing accusations that the
government is subsidizing the rich.
The private recreational lease policy
is a holdover from Hong Kong’s colonial
days, when recreational facilities were
few and far between. A policy document
from 1979 said the private clubs “provide an important outlet for the upper
middle class and business circles.”
“We are lacking in golf facilities severely,” said Arnold Wong, 44, the previ-
ous captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club,
an elected position in which he represented its members. Mr. Wong, the cofounder of a restaurant company,
pointed out that Hong Kong has fewer
18-hole courses than Singapore, which
has a smaller population.
“In terms of golf facilities, we are already lagging way behind as a major financial city,” he said.
As the debate has grown, the government’s Home Affairs Bureau has proposed changes to the leasing policy, like
charging the golf clubs higher rent.
Last year, the Hong Kong Golf Club
paid 2.5 million Hong Kong dollars, or
about $320,000, to the government in
rent, a mere 3 percent of actual market
rental value. Even so, the club had a
deficit of $1.27 million in 2016, according
to its annual report, suggesting that substantial increases in rent would pose a
financial challenge.
As the largest of Hong Kong’s private
clubs, the Hong Kong Golf Club represents the upper-class elite of the city. A
corporate membership can be bought
for some $2 million. Individual memberships have an entrance fee of around
$64,000, and monthly dues of several
hundred dollars, but require personal
connections and the patience for a waiting list that is years long.
For most of its history, the club had
the word “Royal” in its name and members were predominantly British expatriates. Today, most of the 2,660 members are Hong Kong Chinese, many of
whom got rich in real estate or finance
after the economy took off in the 1970s.
Recently, wealthy Chinese mainlanders
have joined in growing numbers.
Some experts say that while the dispute has exposed deeper anxieties
caused by Hong Kong’s economic rise,
the golf course is not big enough to solve
the housing issue.
“The golf course problem is just pure
political populism,” said Richard Wong,
professor of economics at the University
of Hong Kong. “The golf course is peripheral, completely peripheral, to the
solution to this problem,” he added. “It’s
symbolic.”
Still, symbols can be important, and
some argue that getting rid of the golf
course would hurt Hong Kong’s competitiveness.
“As an international financial city you
do need to balance housing needs with
sporting needs,” said Mr. Wong, the club
captain. “You can’t have a walled city of
just concrete, with no facilities, no attractions to other investors, foreigners,
expats, people of different backgrounds.”
South Korean euphoria fades
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
President put on the spot
by snags in the effort to
end the regional standoff
BY CHOE SANG-HUN
A short while ago, things could not have
been going better for President Moon
Jae-in of South Korea. He was successfully arranging a meeting between
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and
President Trump. His approval ratings
at home were soaring. The tone had
changed so much that Mr. Trump had
even called Mr. Kim “very honorable.”
Now, the matchmaking role that has
defined Mr. Moon’s presidency is in
doubt.
After months of unusual bonhomie,
North Korea withdrew in the past week
from talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel the planned June 12 summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr.
Trump.
For Mr. Moon, the North’s reversal
brought home the difficulties in playing
matchmaker between his country’s
most fearsome foe and its most important ally, two countries run by impulsive
and often unpredictable leaders.
Mr. Moon faces skepticism from both
Pyongyang and Washington that he can
be an honest broker. North Korea still
considers South Korea an American
stooge. In the United States, conservatives who have the president’s ear
worry that progressive South Korean
leaders like Mr. Moon will ease sanctions, breaking ranks with Washington
in their eagerness to reconcile with the
North.
“A matchmaker can succeed when
boy and girl like each other,” said Moon
Seong-mook, a senior analyst at the Ko-
rea Research Institute for National
Strategy in Seoul, South Korea. “But the
United States and North Korea have
very different ideas on how to achieve
denuclearization.”
It remains unclear whether the
North’s sudden shift in attitude signals a
return to brinkmanship or mere posturing before the summit meeting, which is
slated to take place in Singapore.
On Thursday, Pyongyang dug in its
heels, calling Mr. Moon’s government
“impudent” and “shameless” for asking
for inter-Korean talks while it continued
joint military exercises with the United
States.
“It won’t be easy to sit down again
with the current government of the
South until it resolves the grave situation,” Ri Son-gwon, a senior North Korean negotiator, told the North’s official
Korean Central News Agency.
While most South Koreans support
Mr. Moon’s role as an intermediary,
North Korea’s actions on Wednesday
give political ammunition to his conservative enemies, who call him a naïve
amateur who has fallen for Pyongyang’s
trap of “false peace.” They fear that Mr.
Moon will not denuclearize the North,
and will weaken Seoul’s alliance with
Washington.
North Korea’s reversal has already
dampened the optimism that pervaded
South Korea after Mr. Moon’s dramatic
meeting with Mr. Kim on their shared
border on April 27. His party had been
hoping to benefit politically from the
Singapore meeting, which would take
place a day before elections of mayors
and provincial governors in South Korea. Mr. Moon’s North Korea diplomacy
has loomed large over the contests.
His government vowed on Thursday
to “step up a mediator’s role,” urging
North Korea and the United States to
“respect each other” and “think in the
other’s shoes,” despite occasional setbacks. “The situation we have is part of
KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, left, and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on
April 27. The optimism surrounding their meeting has faded.
the long and hard process of creating the
same painting,” said Mr. Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan.
On Friday, South Korea said that
when Mr. Moon meets with Mr. Trump in
Washington on Tuesday, the two will discuss plans to provide security assurances and economic incentives for a denuclearizing North Korea.
The Trump administration, particularly the national security adviser, John
R. Bolton, wants North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program as soon as possible. Only when denuclearization has become irreversible, it says, will the
United States ease sanctions and reward the North economically.
But North Korea says it will not bargain away its nuclear weapons for the
sake of its economic future. Mr. Kim insists that he will take only “phased”
steps toward denuclearization, and that
Washington must match each with “synchronized” measures to satisfy North
Korean demands for security guarantees. These include normalized ties and
a peace treaty with the United States, as
well as the lifting of sanctions.
“There is a huge gap between the
North and the United States over denuclearization,” said Lee Seong-hyon, a research fellow at the Sejong Institute in
South Korea. “There should be a lot of
soul-searching going on in Seoul over
whether it has been a mediator and communicator trusted by both sides.”
Mr. Moon has repeatedly argued that
Mr. Kim would be willing to trade away
his nuclear weapons for the right incentives. He called Mr. Kim “open-minded,”
“frank” and “courteous.”
When China’s premier, Li Keqiang,
met the South Korean leader in Tokyo
this month, he warned that North Korea
thought it was doing its part to show its
intention to denuclearize — by unilaterally announcing a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests and by inviting outsiders to monitor the shutdown of its nuclear test site.
Pyongyang was “waiting for a corresponding feedback from the United
States,” Mr. Li was quoted by South Korean officials as saying. Instead, North
Korea saw the United States and South
Korea pressing ahead with their annual
military exercises.
Mr. Bolton also called for the removal
not only of nuclear arms but also of
chemical and biological weapons from
North Korea.
North Korea pushed back, threatening to cancel the summit meeting with
Mr. Trump.
If Mr. Kim does not cooperate, Mr.
Bolton has warned, it could be a “pretty
short meeting” in Singapore.
“Then we will see the crisis rapidly
rising on the Korean Peninsula,” said
Lee Byong-chul, a senior fellow at the
Institute for Peace and Cooperation in
Seoul. “The mediating role by South Korea and China has become more urgent
than ever.”
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6 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
world
Battered island braces for hurricane season
LAS PIEDRAS, P.R.
Many are still in the dark
because of the last storm
that struck Puerto Rico
BY PATRICIA MAZZEI
Nearly eight months after Hurricane
Maria tore across Puerto Rico and ravaged its frail power grid, the United
States Army Corps of Engineers, which
was charged with restoring the island’s
electricity, is ending its mission and departing. Thousands of Puerto Ricans
are still in the dark.
On June 1, a new hurricane season
will begin. And in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, the people are still struggling to recover from
Maria and fear they will not be ready.
“What if another one comes? We’re
very worried,” Migdalia Díaz, 64, said
from her home here in Las Piedras, a
town of about 38,000 in eastern Puerto
Rico where about a quarter of residents
are without power.
A blue tarp covers her leaky roof. Ms.
Díaz lives with her son, Kevin Cabrera,
22, who has Down syndrome and is sensitive to the heat. She has been relying
on two generators, a solar-powered battery charger and a hot plate. Once the
Corps of Engineers leaves, restoring
power will be up to the local power
agency, and many residents are skeptical.
“Emotionally, we are not well. I’ve
spent the seven months since the hurricane taking sleeping pills,” Ms. Díaz
said. “We look like we’re from that show
‘The Walking Dead.’”
The crucial question is whether
Puerto Rico’s power grid can withstand
even a minor storm. The answer is probably not: A fallen tree recently knocked
out power to the San Juan metropolitan
area. A week later, an excavator got too
close to a high-voltage line, and the entire island was plunged into darkness.
The local utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, is “not ready for a
new hurricane season,” Representative
Jenniffer González-Colón, the commonwealth’s nonvoting member of the
United States Congress, told a local radio station.
Officials insist they are better positioned to respond to a hurricane — if
nothing else, because the memory of
Maria is still fresh.
“We do learn,” said Mike Byrne, who
oversees relief work in Puerto Rico for
the United States Federal Emergency
Management Agency, or FEMA. “We
take our lumps, and we learn from
them.”
There is reason for skepticism: Local
emergency managers are still meeting
with key members of the private sector,
like fuel distributors, to hash out hurricane plans. The worst of the Atlantic
hurricane season does not usually hit
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIKA P. RODRIGUEZ FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Migdalia Díaz and her son, Kevin Cabrera, in Las Piedras, P.R., have relied on generators and a solar-powered battery charger for months. Many homes are covered with tarps, right, and need repairs from last year’s storms.
the Caribbean until August and September; officials insist they will finish their
preparations by then.
For the first time, Puerto Rican residents will be asked to be prepared to
fend for themselves for 10 days after a
storm, up from three. Even that might
not be enough, officials acknowledge;
meals are still being delivered to residents of remote mountain towns.
Puerto Rico does have more emergency supplies on hand than it did before Maria, which hit just two weeks after Hurricane Irma. Though Irma only
brushed Puerto Rico, it ripped through
the United States Virgin Islands —
prompting FEMA officials to send the
bulk of the hurricane relief supplies in
the agency’s Puerto Rico warehouse to
the island’s stricken neighbors.
“So when Maria hit Puerto Rico, tarps
and plastic sheeting, we had none,” said
Reinaldo Colón, supervisor of FEMA’s
distribution center for the Caribbean, a
large warehouse on the outskirts of San
Juan. Forty-eight generators had been
shipped to St. Thomas, leaving 25 available.
Now, the warehouse, rehabilitated after taking on water during Maria, is
brimming with boxes encased in plastic.
Shelves are stocked with 100,000 tarps,
according to FEMA, more than the
13,000 available at the start of the 2017
hurricane season. There are 3.6 million
meals ready to eat, compared with
500,000 last year; 5.4 million liters of
water compared with 800,000; nearly
twice as many blankets — 10,000, compared with 6,000 — and 130 high-capacity generators.
FEMA has also rented four warehouses on the island and plans to keep
67 recovery centers open throughout
hurricane season. More than 2,800
FEMA employees remain in Puerto
Rico, ready to help if another disaster
strikes.
“We take our lumps, and
we learn from them.”
“Because the infrastructure is so fragile, we’re being overly cautious,” Mr.
Byrne said.
For the first time, Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency has also secured its own regional warehouses, the
agency’s interim commissioner, Carlos
Acevedo, said.
This month, the federal and local
agencies plan a series of exercises to
test their emergency response plans.
One exercise will simulate a mass-casualty catastrophe at hospitals. After Maria, major health centers did not have
working generators or fuel to power
them.
Federal and local officials say all hospitals now have adequate generators
and, in some cases, solar power and energy storage batteries to kick in during a
power loss. The 800 high-capacity generators that FEMA distributed after Maria, many of which went to hospitals, will
remain during hurricane season, said
Alejandro De La Campa, director of FEMA’s Caribbean area division.
“That’s unheard-of,” he said. “In some
cases, like hospitals, they are backup to
the backup.”
Another exercise, in mid-June, will
simulate a full-scale disaster: Federal
and local teams will practice setting up
an emergency operations center at the
San Juan convention center. Crews will
load supplies from the FEMA warehouse onto trucks and deliver them to
municipalities.
Typically, at the end of dry runs, the
supplies return to the warehouse. This
time, FEMA will leave some commodities with local mayors, to provide a
modicum of early support, Mr. Byrne
said.
By the end of May, Puerto Rico plans
to equip all hospitals, urgent care centers, fire stations and police stations
with radio systems, Mr. Acevedo said.
By June or July, all municipalities
should have satellite phones. A communications blackout after Maria delayed
aid because officials did not know the
extent of the devastation. About 15 percent of private telecommunications
providers continue to operate on generators, said Sandra Torres, president of
Puerto Rico’s telecommunications regulator.
But, she added, more fiber-optic cable
has been installed underground since
Maria — including, for the first time,
near Puerto Rico’s hard-hit central
mountain town of Utuado — and
providers have invested in more generators to keep cellphone towers running.
Storm debris is still being hauled
away from 26 municipalities but should
be completed by mid-June, FEMA officials said. Local officials are also receiving training to better handle emergencies.
Still, the governor acknowledged that
saving money to pay for a catastrophe
remains a challenge for his strapped
government, whose bankrupt finances
have been overseen by a federal control
board since 2016.
“The limitation we had with Maria is
we had no cash to burn,” said the governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló.
Emergency managers and business
leaders also are concerned about the logistics of getting aid into Puerto Rico.
Maria created a bottleneck at the Port of
San Juan, which slowed everything
from food to electrical poles.
Manuel Reyes Alfonso, executive vice
president of MIDA, the island’s food industry association, said wholesale and
retail businesses continued to experience delays in receiving cargo. “We are
not where we’d like to be, or where we
should be,” he said.
He worries about a trucker shortage
and about slow fuel delivery for generators. Puerto Rico had fuel after Maria
but no easy way to get it to people, leading to endless lines at gas stations and a
black market for diesel sales. FEMA had
to bring in a fuel barge for its operations.
In Las Piedras, which sits on the hills
south of El Yunque National Forest, people who have electricity say it goes out
often. “If a little bit of wind blows
through, we will lose power,” said Roberto Rosado, 53, who still has metal shutters on his sliding doors. “We just lost
power now. This is an everyday occurrence.”
Mayor Miguel López, who is known as
Micky, recently blocked two of the three
power crews from leaving his town.
“There was no other option,” said Mr.
López, whose unorthodox strategy succeeded in keeping the linemen at work.
His director of emergency management, Xavier Muñoz, said the one upside
of Maria was that it had scared residents
into taking hurricane plans seriously.
“Shelters are going to get full,” he predicted. “I have 220 cots right now, and I
think that’s not going to be enough.”
Apartments ready, toys donated. But where are the refugees?
BY LIZ ROBBINS
AND MIRIAM JORDAN
In Fayetteville, Ark., this March, volunteers were on their way to set up an
apartment, cars loaded with linens,
lamps, crockery and canned food, when
they were abruptly told to turn around.
The refugee family from the Democratic
Republic of Congo would not be coming.
In Columbus, Ohio, a 14-passenger
white van that would take refugees to
medical appointments sits unused. In
the rare instance a newcomer or two
needs transport, they travel in a fuel-efficient economy car.
And in Houston, a 1,500-square-foot
storage room is loaded to the ceiling
with furniture, toys, bedding and other
items donated for refugee families, all
collecting dust.
The flow of refugees to the United
States has slowed nearly to a halt, demonstrating that what President Trump’s
administration could not achieve by executive order, it is accomplishing by bureaucracy.
The administration has cut the staff
that conducts clearance interviews
overseas, intensified the screening
process for refugees and, for those people it characterizes as high-risk, doubled
the number who need to be screened. As
a result, if the trickle of refugees admitted continues at its current pace, just
20,000 are projected to enter the United
States by the end of this year, the lowest
figure since the resettlement program
was created with passage of the Refugee
Act in 1980.
The machinery of refugee resettlement has ground down accordingly.
“Every stage in the process works like
the assembly line in a factory — each
station knows exactly what to do and
how to do the handoff to the next step,”
said Barbara Strack, who retired in January as the chief of the Refugee Affairs
Division at United States Citizenship
and Immigration Services. “This fiscal
year,” she added, “the administration essentially ‘broke’ the assembly line in
multiple places at the same time.”
The steepest decline has been in the
number of Muslims who have been resettled. In fiscal 2016, 38,900 Muslim refugees came to the United States, according to statistics from the State Department. The following year, that number
fell to 22,861. This fiscal year, just 2,107
THE NEW YORK TIMES
SCOTT DALTON FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Ali Al Sudani of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston in a room of supplies, unused because bureaucratic hurdles have slowed the refugee flow to a trickle.
have arrived. A total of 13,051 refugees of
all backgrounds have been admitted,
making it unlikely that the administration’s originally planned cap of 45,000 —
about half the number that came during
the last year of the Obama administration — will be met.
“It’s death by a thousand paper cuts,”
said Jennifer Sime, senior vice president at the International Rescue Committee, one of the nine national resettlement agencies contracted by the State
Department. “Little by little — until you
get to the point where nobody is coming.”
A State Department representative
did not dispute that there was a slowdown and said that processing times
may be slower as the government implements new screening procedures.
And refugee resettlement, the department insisted, was not the only way to
help displaced people.
“The United States will also continue
to lead the world in humanitarian assistance and support displaced people close
to their homes in order to help meet
their needs until they can safely and voluntarily return home,” Carol T. O’Connell, principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau
of Population, Refugees, and Migration,
said in a statement.
Even before Mr. Trump took office, resettlement of refugees was a protracted,
interagency process, with vetting often
taking two years.
Soon after Mr. Trump became president, he moved to shut down the flow of
refugees to the United States through a
series of executive orders, an effort that
was initially stymied by the federal
courts. Still, in June 2017, the Supreme
Court allowed the administration to
pause admissions for 120 days. In October, the administration then put into
place another 90-day pause for refugees
from countries the administration identified as “high risk” of terrorism, including the mainly Muslim nations of Iraq,
Iran, Somalia, Syria and Sudan. That
hold ended in January, at least on paper.
In recent months, the immigration
agency diverted 100 of its 215 refugee officers to conduct asylum interviews, for
prospective immigrants who have filed
applications for protection from persecution in their homelands. That, said
Jennifer Higgins, associate director of
Refugee, Asylum and International Operations, part of the Department of
Homeland Security, is part of “an effort
to address the massive asylum workload.”
Refugees interviewed overseas undergo extensive background checks by
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The administration has
now required refugees to list phone
numbers and addresses going back 10
years, instead of five, as well as social
media and email accounts. And it has ordered an additional layer of vetting for
refugees from 11 high-risk countries,
meaning that many in the pipeline already approved had to be rescreened.
“It’s death by a thousand paper
cuts. Little by little — until you
get to the point where nobody
is coming.”
Previously only male refugees were
subject to such vetting, but now it includes women ages 14 to 50, which has
exacerbated the backlog.
Scaling down of the program comes at
a time when there are approximately
22.5 million refugees in the world, according to the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, which designates people for refugee resettlement.
The slowdown has thrown the partnership between the government and
refugee resettlement agencies into disarray. The State Department contracts
with nine nonprofit organizations whose
affiliates receive refugees in cities
across the country.
In Texas, Interfaith Ministries for
Greater Houston is funded to resettle
about 600 refugees per year. The $2,125
it receives per refugee covers initial expenses for the arrivals, such as rent,
food and referrals to health and job services. This year, said Ali Al Sudani, the director of refugee programs at the organization, just 110 have arrived.
“If I don’t get the refugees, eventually
I won’t be able to sustain the staffing capacity and the operations,” Mr. Sudani
said. For the moment, he is deploying
staff to run other programs.
The State Department, which oversees the agencies, announced in December that affiliates might be eliminated if
they resettled fewer than 100 refugees
annually. Already, nearly 50 of the 350
affiliates nationwide have closed, according to the State Department.
Canopy Northwest Arkansas opened
in Fayetteville at the height of the Syrian
refugee crisis in 2016 with great enthusiasm from volunteers. It is the only refugee resettlement organization in Arkansas.
Canopy works with the nearby Bentonville Church of the Nazarene, which
was assigned a family in late 2016 that
was expected to arrive in early 2017. The
wave of travel bans delayed the refugees’ departure and then their medical
exams expired; then their security
checks had to be repeated, according to
Canopy, whose volunteers are still hoping they will come in the next few
months. The church’s basement is
stuffed with donations for the family,
and the pastor is considering holding a
tag sale if they do not arrive soon.
Canopy received 55 refugees in 2017
and was told to prepare for 75 this year.
But between July 30 and March 20, the
group did not receive a single refugee.
Volunteers were upset. “People direct
that frustration at us,” said Canopy’s executive director, Emily Linn Crane.
Before Easter, about 20 church members, students and teachers channeled
their frustration by marching into lawmakers’ offices in Washington, demanding action. In the ensuing weeks, the
community received two refugee families.
The fallout of the slowdown extends
beyond volunteers, refugee agencies
say: In Idaho, employers who rely on a
steady stream of newcomers from
Congo, Myanmar and Iraq, among other
countries, are having trouble filling jobs
they normally tap refugees to do in the
lodging, retail and dairy industries.
Across the country, resettled refugees
who fled war zones are so anxious about
their loved ones still stranded overseas,
they can’t acclimate to their new lives.
“It has re-traumatized a lot of people,”
said Rama Deen, the executive director
of Tidwell Social Services in Boise,
which provides mental health counseling. “Your children you have been working so hard to bring here are stuck.”
The State Department said it expected to fund a smaller number of
agencies next year, corresponding to the
fewer refugees to be resettled, and the
survival of even some of the most-established organizations, like the global Jewish nonprofit resettlement group HIAS,
which was founded in New York in 1881,
is in doubt.
“The refugee program reflects the
priorities of every administration,” said
Melanie Nezer, senior vice president at
HIAS. But what’s happening is unlike
anything she has seen before, she said.
“We’ve had extreme vetting for years,
but refugees have cleared the process.
Now they don’t. It’s not extreme vetting
any more, it’s a closed door.”
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018 | 15
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
style
weekend
Shocking?
Not when
it’s Karl
Vanessa Friedman
UNBUT TONED
This is a moment of speaking out and
freaking out. Today’s off-the-cuff comment is tomorrow’s outrage, and in a
world where everyone is a brand, one
of the weapons of choice has become
the consumer boycott.
Recently Kanye West spurred calls
for a boycott of Adidas, his sneaker
partner, when he announced in an
interview that 400 years of slavery
“sounds like a choice.” When Donna
Karan put her foot in it on the red
carpet after the Weinstein sexual
harassment revelations by wondering
if women were “asking” for trouble
because of the way they dressed, a
petition was circulated on the social
networking site Care2 that called for
Nordstrom and Macy’s to drop DKNY
(even though Ms. Karan had not been
associated with the brand since 2015).
Calls to boycott the Ivanka Trump
brand by the group #GrabYourWallet
began after Donald Trump’s leaked
comments about grabbing women in a
sexually aggressive manner and continued after Mr. Trump became president (even though Ms. Trump had also
stepped away from her brand, after the
election).
Dolce & Gabbana even made it an
official meta-trend by creating #BoycottDolce&Gabbana T-shirts after a
movement had begun to — yes, boycott
the brand, thanks to its relationship
A literary master
has another legacy
BY GUY TREBAY
In the end, it may have been Tom Wolfe’s
own chic that was most radical. Leave it
to others to unpack the extravagant and
often provocative literary legacy of the
author, who died on Monday at 88. Of almost equal fascination are the contents
of his closet and the cut of his clothes.
It is hard now to remember that there
was ever a time — in the ancient days
before visual branding became a requisite for figures both public and private
— when writers took it as an emblem of
seriousness to dress like proles. When
Mr. Wolfe first blazed onto the literary
scene, many, if not most, male writers
persisted in dressing like hardscrabble
characters from a Clifford Odets play or
possibly denizens of the cartoonist Al
Capp’s mythical Outer Slobovia.
Mr. Wolfe started out as a journalist
and often talked about the sartorial
standards of those early days. While
jackets and neckties may have been elements of a newsman’s uniform in the
1960s, dress codes in the profession
have lapsed in the intervening years.
Coming across a group of working
journalists today, as Mr. Wolfe impiously
remarked at a 2003 lecture to patrons of
the Mark Twain House and Museum in
Hartford, Conn., was like encountering
“the shape-up line for the homeless’’
waiting for a free food giveaway.
Arriving in New York in June 1959,
from Richmond, Va., to take his first bigtime journalism job at The New York
Herald Tribune, Mr. Wolfe brought
along his best set of clothes. It also happened to be his only one. The suit was
green cheviot tweed so well worn that it
was shiny as a tuxedo lapel. He also had
a beat-up sports jacket and a pair of
black flannel pants.
Back home in the South, it was customary for men to wear summer suits of
seersucker or white linen, and with his
first paycheck Mr. Wolfe bought one. It
was a cleaner cut than the one his father
favored, which had a back belt and oldfashioned bellows at the side. Mr.
Wolfe’s was also a silk tweed that, as he
soon discovered, was too bulky for a stifling summer in Manhattan.
Whether thrift or canniness inspired
Mr. Wolfe to persist in wearing the suit
into the following season, the effect was
instantaneous, as he once said, “annoying people enormously.’’ Just by wearing white after Labor Day, he became
the talk of any room he entered, and getting dressed each morning evolved for
him into “a harmless form of assault.’’
Unexpectedly, this became a boon for
Mr. Wolfe’s reporting, according to Lynn
Nesbit, the writer’s longtime literary
agent. “It was counterintuitive, but he
sort of knew that if he dressed like that,
his subjects would learn to trust him,’’
she said.
Karl Lagerfeld,
shown in March in
Monaco, often says
outrageous things.
POOL PHOTO BY VALERY HACHE/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
with Melania Trump, the first lady.
And yet there is an exception to the
rule.
Karl Lagerfeld, the longtime creative
director of Chanel and Fendi and
founder of a namesake brand, is known
to be “the greatest talker in Paris since
Oscar Wilde,” or so said Godfrey
Deeny, the global editor in chief of the
Fashion Network. But while the designer can be terrifically quotable and
entertaining, he also has a tendency to
utter outrageous things. And lately,
that type of comment seems to be
escalating.
Last week, Mr. Lagerfeld gave an
interview to the French newspaper Le
Point in which he said he was considering renouncing his German citizenship
because of the one million Muslim
immigrants that Angela Merkel, the
chancellor, had accepted into Germany,
a decision that he linked to the rise of
neo-Nazism in the country.
The comment made the German
newspapers and followed similar statements Mr. Lagerfeld made last year on
a French television talk show in which
he said, “One cannot — even if there
are decades between them — kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions
of their worst enemies in their place.”
That declaration came just after Mr.
Lagerfeld, an accomplished cartoonist,
had drawn a sketch for the German
paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
of Adolf Hitler thanking Chancellor
Merkel for inadvertently allowing the
far-right party into Parliament. Which
itself came before another interview,
with the French magazine Numéro, in
which Mr. Lagerfeld dismissed the
#MeToo movement and asserted, “If
you don’t want your pants pulled
about, don’t become a model.”
It’s as if he’s sticking his finger in the
light socket to see what will happen.
But here’s what does: not much.
Every time Mr. Lagerfeld makes an
incendiary statement, there’s a flurry
of upset online, but it is contained,
focused on him and not the brands that
employ and enable him. There is no
call for a boycott of Chanel, Fendi or
Dressing as he did also gave Mr. Wolfe
the advantage of being easy to single out
from the journalistic pack. And so what
began as a temporary sartorial solution
became the proverbial permanent condition. Like Ed Roth (known as “Big
Daddy”), the mercurial and brilliant car
customizer Mr. Wolfe immortalized in
his essay collection “The KandyKolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline
Baby,’’ the writer himself may have been
among the earliest punks.
Consider the outlandish figure he cut
in bespoke suits worn at the height of the
free-love 1960s. Imagine him entering a
room with Norman Mailer — dressed as
a boxer’s cornerman or some old salt in
a fisherman’s cap — and you get the
idea. Picture how surprising it must
have seemed in the determinedly drab
settings of Manhattan literary gatherings when Mr. Wolfe strutted in, peacock
resplendent, in immaculately tailored
clothes in a palette of ice cream hues like
French vanilla and butter pecan.
“He’s in a class of his own stylistically,’’ said Sean Crowley, a vintage
clothes expert whose store, Crowley
Vintage & Antiques, in Brooklyn is a
Companies
everywhere are
at risk for
missteps, but
the designer
seems immune.
even his namesake label. The companies themselves don’t even bother to
issue the now seemingly de rigueur
“We don’t agree, but he is his own
person and has a right to his views.”
They just tuck their heads in and have
no comment, or don’t respond. How
come?
There is no doubt that Mr. Lagerfeld
occupies a singular space in the style
universe. He is someone who has
shaped the fashion industry as we
know it (and our wardrobes as we
know them), alongside names like
Giorgio Armani and Rei Kawakubo,
and is probably about as close to a
living legend as exists in fashion.
A certain tolerance of idiosyncrasy
goes along with that — a certain “Oh,
it’s just old Uncle Fester doing his
thing” — as well as fear when it comes
to criticizing the power player in the
room. Especially when that power
player works for a brand, like Chanel,
that is enshrined on a power pedestal.
Indeed, a friend who privately expressed outrage over Mr. Lagerfeld
Werner Büttner
Plenty of Room
for all Sorts
of Happiness
Tom Wolfe in his
Cadillac in 2006.
“He’s in a class of
his own stylistically,’’ a vintage
clothes expert
said.
25 May —
23 June 2018
FRED CONRAD/THE NEW YORK TIMES
magnet for many in the men’s wear
trade. “It’s really completely his own
and out of nowhere. You don’t necessarily look at him and say, ‘I want to look
like that,’ yet I give him enormous credit
for never looking like he just came in
from mowing the lawn.’’
Though the uniform seemed unvarying, the components of the Tom Wolfe
style evolved. The waists became more
tightly nipped. The notched lapels grew.
With confidence in his own expertise, he
experimented with buttoned waistcoats, extravagant homburg hats,
shockingly bright colored shirts worn
with polka-dot ties and shirts with collars so exaggeratedly Edwardian that
the effect was that of putting his Roman
senatorial head on display.
“Handled incorrectly or by a lesser
talent, the effect could be shambolic,’’
Mr. Crowley said of the high-wire bravura of Mr. Wolfe’s style, which in many
ways resembled that of his prose. “Regardless of whether you liked it or
loathed it, you have to concede it was executed perfectly.’’
also said: “Don’t quote me, please. I
don’t want to lose my fifth row seat at
Chanel.” When Sara Ziff, the founder of
the Model Alliance, spoke out against
Mr. Lagerfeld’s comments on models,
she said she received a lot of support
via direct messaging from contacts —
who then said they could not make
their feelings public.
Still, no brand is untouchable. Last
May, Chanel came under fire in Australia for cultural appropriation after it
created a $1,325 Chanel boomerang,
and was forced to make a quasi apology, announcing “it was not our intention to disrespect the Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander community.”
And just because the fashion world
quivers in its stilettos at the idea of
calling time, that doesn’t mean the
consuming public should. Which suggests that there is something else
going on, and it may have as much to
do with the current cultural and political reality as the boycotts do.
Yes, I am talking about Mr. Trump.
As with the president and his tweets,
Mr. Lagerfeld has been saying outrageous things so regularly for so long
and with such gumption, everyone is
numb to the substance. It’s almost
expected — he has positioned himself
as a provocateur; it’s part of his brand.
And before you can really digest one
statement, he is on to the next, all of it
said with enough volume and certainty
to clear a way through the excess
chatter in its path. (Mr. West does this,
too, but doesn’t get away with it quite
so often.)
We seem to be living in a weird dual
reality. Just as we have become more
sensitized to the experience of different social groups, we are also more
inured to the growth of uncivil discourse, wherever it may originate, on
Fox or in fashion.
Still, when it comes to fashion, Mr.
Deeny thinks there are at least signs of
change. “It was striking that after
Chanel’s most recent cruise show, staff
informed journalists at the after-party
inside the massive cruise liner in the
Grand Palais that they could ‘seulement saluer,’ or only greet, Karl and
not ask him any questions,” he said,
noting that this had the result of minimizing the risk of what Mr. Lagerfeld
might say.
“After 25 years of meeting Karl
before and after shows for WWD,
Vogue Hommes, Le Figaro and now
Fashion Network, I cannot remember
the last time that ever happened.”
Marlborough Fine Art
6 Albemarle Street
London W1S 4BY
+44 (0)20 7629 5161
mfa@marlboroughfineart.com
www.marlboroughlondon.com
A fully illustrated catalogue is available.
..
16 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
weekend
living
Motherless,
but growing
to be nearer
to the light
A woman finds an unlikely candidate
to fill the hole left by an absent parent
Modern Love
BY COLTER JACKSON
Here is some gardening advice from
my mother-in-law: Plant daffodils in
September, tulips in October. Put jade
plants in direct sunlight and let them
get thirsty before you water them;
they like hardship.
Marriage connects two families,
each with its own language, customs
and way of chopping onions. Uniting
the differences can be like trying to
piece Pangea back together. Further
complication: I have a mother-shaped
hole in my heart.
The story of my childhood in rural
Missouri is not a tidy one. My mother
basically abandoned me as a young
child, sending me from the constant
chaos of her domestic situations to live
with others again and again. My father
wasn’t around at all.
The burden of raising me fell upon
my wonderful extended family; grandparents, aunts, uncles and older siblings all took turns. But no one can
take the place of a mother. The
mother-daughter relationship is one of
the most fundamental, informative and
complex relationships of a woman’s
life. I longed for it as a child and expressed my frustration as a child
would — by being needy, annoying,
attention seeking.
The desire is no less strong now that
I am an adult woman, longing for the
voice at the end of a late night phone
call or an authority on how to thicken
soup or remove a stain. People are not
handing out mothers on the street. I
have not yet managed to achieve,
please or bargain my way into having
one. And I still sometimes express this
lack by being needy, annoying and
attention seeking. My poor, long-suffering husband.
Though I have cobbled together
some answers from experience,
Google and good friends, my mother
wound remains. I cry at movies about
mothers. I cry at the trailers of movies
about mothers. I cry if someone I
know has a fight with her mother. I cry
if I even think about becoming a
mother. How would I know how without having had a model? Meanwhile,
my own fecund uterine years are
slipping by.
Then comes along my mother-inlaw.
When I first met my partner’s par-
BRIAN REA
ents 12 years ago, I spent three hours
deciding on the most capable and
love-deserving outfit in my closet,
settling on a baby-pink sweater under
a black blazer. We decided to meet in
Manhattan for Italian food since they
would be taking the train in from Connecticut.
I had so many questions for them.
Did my husband always love to read?
When did you know he had a gift for
music? What was he like as a little
boy?
I wanted to understand the years I
had missed in his life, the years that
shaped him into the wonderful human
being he had become.
They shifted in their seats and answered each question with short replies: “He did.” “Around 5.” “He was
like a little boy.”
No questions seemed to be forthcoming from them about me, so when the
evening ended we parted ways without
me knowing them or them knowing me
and I walked away feeling completely
crushed. They obviously hated me.
Then my husband put his arm
around me and said, “That went great.”
He wasn’t being sarcastic.
When he flew home with me for the
first time, my two sisters grilled him
with questions about his family and
past. “How many siblings do you
have?” “What are your parents like?”
“What’s your favorite kind of pie?” I
kept thinking smugly: “Now this is
how you welcome someone into your
family.”
Minutes later, however, I found him
hiding on the back patio. “What’s
wrong?” I said.
“Nothing,” he said. “Just taking a
break from the interrogation.”
There’s more
than one way
to love in this
world, and no
one family
owns the
correct way.
My husband and I come from families that are so culturally different that
in the beginning, we did not know how
to be in each other’s families. Mine is
huge and Southern and gregarious, full
of drama and closeness. His is reserved, East Coast Catholics of Irish
descent.
I thought they were cold and vowed
to wear them down. Every year for the
last 12, I have written his parents a
thank-you note on his birthday, expressing my gratitude for the person
they raised. Not once have they acknowledged these notes.
Every time I saw them, I hugged
them close and said, “I love you, guys.”
And they never said it back. Not for a
decade.
I tried hard not to take this personally. Demonstrative, verbalized love
was simply not their thing. Fine. Even
so, I wanted them to know how much I
loved them and appreciated their son.
So I chose to tell them. Over and over.
And somewhere along the way, we
started to meet in the middle. I began
to understand that his family did show
love but in a different way. They do
table arrangements. They move furniture. They support the goals of those
they care about. They show love by
showing up, and I came to respect that.
Slowly, after many years, they also
started to say it, responding to my
stubborn affection with “I love you,
too.” I nearly did a victory dance the
first time they said it.
I suppose it’s possible they didn’t say
it for so many years because they
didn’t love me, but that’s not the conclusion I came to. I think it’s more that
outward displays of affection were
uncomfortable for them. After a while,
Can I make my company
take a stand on guns?
The Ethicist
B Y K WA M E A N T H O N Y A P P I A H
I live in Europe and work for a company based in the United States. I’m
increasingly uncomfortable with the
rate of gun violence and mass shootings
in the United States, and I would like
my company to take a public position.
I travel to the United States a few
times a year for trainings and meetings.
I also travel extensively in Europe.
Because of gun violence, the United
States is by far the most dangerous
country I travel to.
The company sponsors charity events
but has never taken a position on guns.
Most managers are American, and
tweets from the human-resources manager indicate he’s not in favor of gun
control.
How can I raise this topic within my
company? I don’t want to sound like the
European telling Americans how to deal
with their own country. Name Withheld
struggle to grasp
the scope of the challenge here. Estimates put the number of guns in circulation in the United States at 300 million, but there’s no official government
count. Although high-profile mass
shootings like the one in Parkland,
Fla., in February typically involve
“assault weapons,” those account for
just over 2 percent of gun homicides.
(Most homicides are committed with
EUROPEANS SOMETIMES
handguns.)
Despite the magnitude of the problem, better policies would help. A
recent study published by the National
Academy of Sciences found that if all
states had waiting periods, gun homicides would be reduced by 910 a year.
(That’s from a baseline of about
11,000.) There’s some evidence that
restricting large-capacity magazines
can reduce mass shootings. Yet there
are formidable political and judicial
obstacles to the more aggressive measures that might have the biggest effects.
Like Europeans, Americans are
tribal. Positions on issues like gun
control are shibboleths of some of our
tribes. As a result, it’s hard to get
rational discussion on the issues that
divide those tribes. Outsiders are, in
these circumstances, indeed likely to
be regarded as meddlesome. Some
people will think you simply want your
company to take sides with your tribe.
(The sensible Europeans?)
It sounds as if you want your company to take a stand that isn’t where
the company stands. (It isn’t a good
sign that not even the human-resources manager is on board.) You’d
have to persuade the bosses about the
merits of alienating some employees
and customers and risking a boycott
by the gun-rights crowd. But I don’t
know what your company does. So I
don’t know why you think they should
take a stand at all.
Bear in mind, however, that not all
efforts to reduce gun violence are
polarizing. Over any two-week period
in Baltimore or St. Louis, you can
though, they understood that hearing
“I love you” was something I needed.
Now they throw the phrase around
with the ease of people who have been
saying it their entire lives — at arrivals
and departures and sometimes
dropped into the middle of conversations.
My mother-in-law is a gardener. She
knows the name of every plant and
flower, both the common and scientific
names. She has fully outfitted me with
gardening clothes and tools that I don’t
know how to use with the hope of
instilling this enthusiasm in me. I find
this endearing, and I confess that I
feign interest so we have more reasons
to talk.
In person, she is stoic, intelligent
and polite. But in her emails, she is
effusive, warm, enthusiastic and expansive. I’m not sure why there’s a
difference. Maybe because this avenue
of communication is private and makes
her feel safe. But I choose this version
of her as the real one.
We regularly exchange lengthy,
unabashedly loving emails, full of the
mundane and the profound: “Did you
get the tulip catalog I sent you?” “I
looked at that mural and I just knew
centuries haven’t changed humans.
We’re still the same.”
In person, we discuss books and
writing and art because these are safe
and distant topics. But I tune my heart
to hers and deliver secret messages
that I love her and I hope she loves me,
too. Because excessive displays of
emotion are still not natural to her, I
try my best to play it cool.
Often, I have failed. I cry easily. I
laugh easily. I say things without calculating their effect. She has a long fuse
tion (where the shooter is in the building) and choose one of the following:
run, hide or fight. If the shooter is on
the opposite side of the school, we were
told to run and go to specific places in
the community. If the shooter is near,
we were told to hide. And if it’s lifethreatening, we were told we should
fight — throw anything we can. But
some students are glorifying the idea of
fighting the shooter and saving the day.
My teacher told us she would protect
us, and a student stood up and said,
melodramatically: “No. I will disarm
him in five seconds. I can’t wait to
fight.” Some even say they won’t run or
hide; they’ll go where the shooter is. Is
this a normal reaction? And is it ethical
for the school to tell them not to? Sydney McGaha
your contemporaries displays two features of high school
bravado. One is a belief (which tends to
fade with age) in your invulnerability.
Another is a tendency (which often
persists into adulthood) to boast about
the great things you’d do in difficult
circumstances.
The real question is what you ought
to do. The advice your school provided
is based on advice from people in law
enforcement. Unless you have an
authoritative argument that these
experts are wrong, it’s foolish to ignore
this guidance. It’s also unhelpful. Your
impetuous classmates could complicate the task of first responders. When
you put yourself in harm’s way, you
make it someone else’s job to try to
rescue you.
THE RESPONSE FROM
TOMI UM
expect to see something close to the
Parkland death toll. Yet such slowmotion massacres — concentrated in
poor, minority neighborhoods — receive little national attention. If we’re
serious about addressing gun violence,
we should support neighborhood programs that have been shown to reduce
gun assaults substantially. Those programs are chronically underfunded
because they excite neither tribe in the
gun debates. Study up on group-violence intervention and the G.V.I. programs that have had real success.
Supporting them could be the most
effective contribution to reducing gun
violence that your company could
make.
In my high school, we were recently
taught new procedures on school shootings. We were told to assess the situa-
My 14-year-old son has achieved precocious success in his profession of choice.
He’s been offered a summer job — a
dream job — in another city. Family
friends already planned a visit for the
time he’d be gone. The family friends
have a son about the same age as my
for me, and this quality — her endless
patience — is also a form of love.
She has given me support, encouragement and gentle reprimands to let
go, to resist pettiness, to forgive. She
explains which plants need what in
order to survive, and she has, at times,
applied an annoying amount of pressure on me to do what she believes is
best for my life. I have come to realize
this is what having a mother may be
like.
If there were an intelligence quotient
that measured empathy, I’m certain
she would test in the highest percentile. On the city streets, she gives
her dollars to every homeless person
who asks. She sees everyone as someone’s child. Even my mother is someone’s child. I am, too.
For my entire life, motherhood has
felt like a vast, impossible terrain I
dare not tread upon. But after more
than a decade of watching my motherin-law gracefully traverse this ground,
I feel as if for the first time I have what
I needed all along. There’s more than
one way to love in this world, and no
one family owns the correct way.
A few months ago, my entire in-law
clan celebrated my mother-in-law’s
70th birthday with her at a restaurant
over osso buco and tiramisù. I cried
myself to sleep that night, afraid of
when I will lose her. After all this time,
I had finally found her.
She emailed me the other day to
check on the daffodils.
I wrote back to say they have indeed
bloomed and are growing toward the
light.
Colter Jackson, a writer and illustrator
in New York City, is at work on a novel.
son, and they chose their travel dates
based largely on my son’s availability. In
my son’s absence, the other boy will
probably be lonely. I assume, however,
that their tickets have already been
purchased. Does my son have an obligation to stay home for the planned visit
with the family friends? Susan Manning
years training for a
prestigious, career-making piano competition and also arranged to have
drinks with a friend after your turn at
the keyboard. But the competition is
running late, and you’d agreed to meet
your friend at 6 p.m. It’s wrong to
break promises, you know, so you give
up your chance to win the competition
and keep the date instead. Are you
being hyperethical? I don’t think so.
I’m afraid, in fact, your seeming scrupulousness misses the point of what
ethics, properly understood, requires.
Too many people have a cod-liver-oil
idea of ethics: It has to taste bad to be
good. They think it’s always about
what you’ll sacrifice to help others. But
you are one of the people whose interests you should, as an ethical matter,
bear in mind. As the philosopher
Thomas Nagel has observed, one genuine source of value is “commitment to
one’s own projects or undertakings.”
Now to your son, with his dream job
related to his profession of choice. All
things being equal, it would be better
not to change things up with the visiting family friends (even though it
involves only an expectation, not a
promise). But all things aren’t equal.
You and your son owe serious consideration to his well-established hopes
and dreams.
SUPPOSE YOU SPENT
Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at N.Y.U. He is the author of “Cosmopolitanism” and “The Honor Code:
How Moral Revolutions Happen.”
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018 | 17
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
books
weekend
A worldview:
Call it Sedarian
BOOK REVIEW
Calypso
By David Sedaris. 272 pp. Little, Brown
& Company. $28.
some nerdy netherworld where real
life becomes weirder and funnier and
darker and bleaker than, well, real life.
I have come to the conclusion that
David Sedaris is not just some geeky
Samuel Pepys, as I had assumed all
these years. True, he may shed a revelatory light on the more extreme facets
of our societal spectrum through his
bizarre and pithy prism. Yes, his worldview — a fascinating hybrid of the
curious, cranky and kooky — does
indeed hold a mirror up to nature and
show us as others see us. But make no
mistake: He is not the Fool, he is Lear.
West Sussex in England and Emerald Isle in North Carolina are his kingdoms. Amy, Gretchen, Lisa, Paul and
the tragic Tiffany are his royal siblings,
sister Tiffany. Her death is mentioned
early and referred to throughout, each
heartbreaking detail adding a piece to
this jigsaw of suburban family pain
and confusion.
Sedaris’s description of his last
encounter with Tiffany — beautifully
lobbed at the reader from left field —
describes her waiting for him at the
stage door after one of his rock-starlike literary entertainments. That
evening Sedaris feels empowered
enough to deny his unpredictable and
flailing sibling access to him. He feels
content enough to think of his own
well-being above her toxic needs. He
revels, for a tragic, misplaced moment,
in the power of being a star, and at his
behest the door closes on Tiffany’s
face. They never see each other again,
and she later kills herself in a manner
as determined and cold as her brother’s rejection that night.
Of course such a tragedy sends
reverberations throughout the family.
Realignment is inexorable. He did not
seek the position, and has somewhat
reluctantly assumed the role, but there
is no doubt that David Sedaris has
become the daddy of his family. The
geeks really do inherit the earth.
One day recently when walking
home across town in Lower Manhattan, I bumped into Amy Sedaris, another of the author’s sisters. We had
worked together on “The Good Wife”
when she came into the show to be my
character’s professional rival and love
interest. One scene had her squirt
whipped cream on my fingers and lick
it off, and she actually bit me. Quite
hard. I am nuts about her.
We stopped to say hello. I noticed
she had been shopping and was carrying several packages and bags. My
mind flashed to the chapter in this
book where she, her brother and their
sister Gretchen travel to Japan to go
shopping. But not just shopping. They
become cavemen, shopping beasts,
consumer omnivores. And now here
was one of them, today’s catch in hand,
beaming shyly at me in the middle of
Broadway. It felt as if a character from
a book had tumbled down from the sky
into my life, and of course she had. If I
now viewed my life in glorious
Sedariscope, it felt completely logical
that one of his sisters should be enacting a story from the book in front of
me. And also logical that seconds later,
mid-pleasantry, we should both realize
that the lights had changed to green
and we were about to be mowed down
and become New York City roadkill.
Death and family are what this book
is all about. Maybe what all David
Sedaris’s work is about? Maybe what
all good writing has to be about for
they are really the only constants in all
our lives? We can avoid neither, and
the existence of both reminds us that
we are no different from one another.
As Sedaris says: “They’ve always
done that for me, my family. It’s what
keeps me coming back.”
tion and the creation of a new literary
genre: tumor humor.
Initially at least, these plans are
foiled by his surgeon. “It’s against
federal law for me to give you anything
I’ve removed from your body,” he tells
the author, who promptly flees the
scene, tumor intact. A less staunch
man might have abandoned his plan
there and then, but Sedaris perseveres
and eventually finds a lovely Mexican
lesbian who offers to perform the
surgical deed after he tells the story of
his first, failed attempt to feed the
turtle his lump during a book reading
in El Paso. The woman — her pseudonym is Ada — sends the tumor to his
sister Lisa, who keeps it in her freezer
until the next time the Sedaris clan
laughing was both her mantra and
catchphrase, yet none of those truly
loving children could ever bring themselves to challenge her about it, let
alone help her. And, alas, their silence
did not protect her.
This failure, this regret and, actually,
this neglect are haunting to the point of
being unbearable, yet Sedaris’s brash
and raw eloquence allows us to never
linger too long in the darkness. He
doesn’t just bring gallows humor, he
brings gallows rimshot.
This book allows us to observe not
just the nimble-mouthed elf of his
previous work, but a man in his seventh decade expunging his darker
secrets and contemplating mortality.
“Calypso” chronicles his latest at-
BY ALAN CUMMING
Straightaway, I think it is in the common interests of transparency and full
disclosure to tell you that over the last
few weeks since I — and I fear this is
no coincidence! — began reading the
book that is the subject of this review,
there has been a gradual, yet very
distinct, change in my outlook, demeanor and even my worldview. My life has
assumed an overreaching hue that can
be described only, and I do mean be
described only as, well, Sedarian.
It first came to my attention in the
Aspire Lounge of the Edinburgh airport, which, I assume, is so named
because there is a relatively short
window between when you have entered it and when you aspire to leave.
“Porridge is available on request”
declared a sign next to the sausages.
My U.S./U.K. power adapter was one of
those annoying ones that have a protruding ridge, so the only way my
computer charger would remain in the
socket was to wedge my copy of “Calypso” between my chair and said
socket, ensuring my laptop didn’t die
but forcing me to restrict my movements to all but the most legato typing.
My husband had fallen asleep next to
me, and I worried that if his head lolled
even a few centimeters he might scupper the entire perilous system — yet
waking him to warn him might result in
the exact same outcome.
What would David Sedaris do? I
thought.
I was trapped, I realized, on the
inside of a mask once worn by the man
himself. I felt his potency. It was palpable. He seriously could start a cult. It
would be a total hoot. Not for everyone,
true — but I’m in.
It’s not like there weren’t warning
signs: That morning as I drove to the
airport I listened to BBC Radio Scotland and nearly drove off the road
laughing at a new campaign to encourage people to learn CPR by using the
Proclaimers song “I’m Gonna Be (500
Miles).” “And I will press 500
times / And I will press 500 more / Just
to be the one to save you / Till the
ambulance comes to your door,” declared Carol Smillie, a TV host long
beloved by my people.
It seemed that this entrancing collection of essays, and my fascination
with its author, had sucked me into
CHRIS BUZELLI
“I have come
to the
conclusion that
David Sedaris
is not just
some geeky
Samuel Pepys,
as I had
assumed all
these years.”
ever shifting in their allegiances and
presence in one another’s lives. Lou is
his father, once so distant and scornful
of his fragile son, now softer and benign, proffering unwanted gifts that
Sedaris has learned are easier for all
concerned to accept with grace.
The family home in Raleigh was
once presided over with gusto by
Sharon, the Sedaris matriarch. Her
death from cancer hangs over these
pages like a long-ago exhaled puff of a
Winston. As in the plot of nearly every
decent Disney movie, the young
Sedaris princes and princesses were
sent out into the scary grown-up world
motherless and rudderless but buoyed
by her magnificent spirit.
Sharon had developed slowly into a
messy alcoholic. It took her kids many
years to realize this about the woman
they all adored, who nightly would
clutch the kitchen counter to steady
herself as she launched into one of her
hilarious and biting rants. I got them
Rhymes, Schmymes
Edited by Will Shortz
The historical novelist, author most
recently of “Jane Seymour, the Haunted
Queen,” has some reading advice for
Meghan Markle.
world into which she is marrying.
What books are on your nightstand?
“Romeo and Juliet.” I gave out the
texts to my class of adolescents and
announced we would be reading
Shakespeare, only to be greeted by
groans of “Boring” and “Nooo!” But,
by the end of that lesson, they were
gripped and begging to stage the play.
We studied it for a term, during which
the school’s inspector came around and
was treated to the duel scene where
Mercutio is killed. In the end, we did
not have enough people for a staged
performance, so we enlisted some
pupils from my daughter’s school and
made a 90-minute audio recording,
after I had spent a whole weekend
abridging the play. It makes me smile
now to hear those passionate young
voices, and my 11-year-old daughter
crying, “O happy dagger!”
When and where do you like to be
when reading?
In bed, at breakfast and traveling on
trains. These, sadly, are the only opportunities I get for reading nowadays.
What was the last truly great book
you read?
Ken Follett’s “The Pillars of the Earth,”
which I reread recently after watching
the DVD of the mini-series episodes.
At about 1,000 pages, it’s a tour de
force that brilliantly evokes the spirit
of an age — and a vibrant, page-turning read. The research underpinning it
is impressive.
As a writer, you’ve moved from writing history to writing fiction. How
about as a reader? Do you read more
fiction or nonfiction, and what’s your
favorite genre?
I always keep two books on the go at
once. At breakfast, I read nonfiction —
recent titles have been “Shakespeare’s
Wife,” by Germaine Greer; “The Last
Great Edwardian Lady,” by Ingrid
Seward; and “Executed at Dawn:
British Firing Squads on the Western
Front, 1914-1918,” by David Johnson. At
other times, I read fiction, but rarely of
the historical variety. I love domestic
noirs and psychological thrillers. And,
of course, I am dipping in and out of
history books all the time in the course
of my work.
Alan Cumming is an actor and author
of four books, most recently “The Adventures of Honey and Leon.”
the sunday crossword
By the Book
Alison Weir
A book of general knowledge crosswords, and an advance copy of Elizabeth Fremantle’s novel “The Poison
Bed.” It’s about a famous Jacobean
murder, the poisoning of Sir Thomas
Overbury in the Tower of London, at
the hands of the bewitching Frances
Howard, wife of King James I’s favorite, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset. This
is a subject I’ve long wanted to tackle,
and Fremantle gives it her elegant and
engaging best.
gathers at Emerald Isle.
The brilliance of David Sedaris’s
writing is that his very essence, his
aura, seeps through the pages of his
books like an intoxicating cloud, mesmerizing us so that his logic becomes
ours: I found myself rooting for him to
be able to keep his tumor and longing
for the beautiful, climactic reunion
scene when the sick turtle eats it.
And it soon becomes clear why
Sedaris finds it so important to be the
master of his tumor: He sees himself
in that turtle — weird, slightly damaged, set in his ways — so feeding it a
part of him is also replenishing himself.
King Lear gave away his lands, David
Sedaris gives away his fatty lump.
Health matters, aging and death
itself are omnipresent in this book, like
tentacles pulling a collection of stories
together into a whole. Nowhere is the
pain and mundanity of loss more
hauntingly evoked than in the revelations about the suicide of the writer’s
tempts to come to terms with the
slings and arrows of truly outrageous
fortune that life has flung at him.
For Lear, the storm is the central
metaphor: the elemental storm, the
societal storm he has engendered and
the internal storm as he struggles with
pride, age and looming madness. For
Sedaris, a snapping turtle with a partly
missing foot and a tumor on its head
becomes an unlikely leitmotif. He
encounters the turtle in a canal on
Emerald Isle, and a friendship begins.
Well, perhaps not a friendship, but
certainly a one-sided appreciation. Not
only does the author visit the turtle to
feed it scraps like some novice apostle
leaving sacrifices for his deity, but
when he himself finds a tumor on his
tummy, one of the harmless fatty ones
that nonetheless grow to the size and
consistency of a hard-boiled egg, he
decides to have it removed and take it
back to the island to feed it to his turtle
friend —both the ultimate act of devo-
You ran a school for a while. What
was your favorite book to assign and
discuss with your students?
JILLIAN TAMAKI
If you had to name one book that
made you who you are today, what
would it be?
“Mary Queen of Scots,” the biography
by Antonia Fraser. This was the book
that, above all others, inspired me to
write history.
Your own work excluded, what books
would you recommend about the
royals?
On the modern royal family, anything
by the wonderfully knowledgeable
Christopher Warwick (“Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts,” for example), Sarah Bradford’s “Diana” or “In
Royal Fashion,” by Kay Staniland, a
fascinating study of the surviving
clothes of Queen Victoria and Princess
Charlotte. One of the best history
books I have ever read is Helen Rappaport’s “A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That
Changed the Monarchy.”
If you could require the prime minister of Britain to read one book,
what would it be? And Meghan
Markle?
I would give the prime minister Martin
Gilbert’s “The Will of the People:
Churchill and Parliamentary Democracy,” because she could benefit from its
example. In authorizing airstrikes in
Syria without a parliamentary mandate, she has aroused a lot of anger in
Britain. I’d give Meghan Markle
“Burke’s Guide to the Royal Family,”
because I think it would give her a
sound cultural context for the rarefied
What kind of reader were you as a
child? Did you have a favorite character or hero?
A diligent reader. I loved strong narratives — and still do. My parents chose
a wonderful range of titles for me, and
I was brought up to know that a new
book was a special treat. My favorite
character was Cinderella; I was obsessed with the story, and still love it.
Disappointing, overrated, just not
good: What book did you feel you
were supposed to like, and didn’t?
George Eliot’s “Middlemarch.” I was
losing the will to live.
What three writers, dead or alive,
would you invite to dinner?
Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare and Clive James. What an
amazing combination! Imagine the
conversation — and the wit.
What do you plan to read next?
I have six shelves of unread books to
choose from! Probably Ken Follett’s “A
Column of Fire.” I know I’ll be in for a
treat.
Across
1Picnic
annoyance
8Cold quarters
13Racetrack
informant
20Like okapis and
giraffes
21Sit pensively
22Cry from a
survivor
23Conversation
over a few
whiskeys?
25Wear
26Pose
27Mario Vargas
Llosa’s country
28Strummed
instrument, for
short
29Where butter
and cheese are
produced
30____ buddies
31Moreover
32Org. for drivers
33Return to base
362015 Verizon
purchase
38Filth covering
pecans and
such?
45Borodin opera
prince
46Fasten, in a way,
with “in”
48Asian holiday
49Tush
50Venison spread?
53Relics, to Brits
55“You betcha!”
56Very beginning?
58Give a leg up …
or a hand
59Lose one’s coat
60Casting need
61Notwithstanding
63Brings on
64Sprayed in the
face
67Hardly a dolt?
68Powerful scents
69Made-up
70Virus fighters
71Director
Wenders
72Unnamed
character in
Camus’s “The
Stranger”
73Ground cover?
74Connections
75Buds come in
them
80Office’s
counterpart
83Avoid a jerk?
85Mozart’s Don
Alfonso and
Leporello
86Shout with an
accent
88Gathered
intelligence (on)
89It has lots on the
internet
90Break up with an
“unbreakable”
Ellie Kemper
character?
93“Black-ish”
network
94Part of a kit
95It may be found
next to a spade
96Sashimi option
98Ready for battle
100DNA building
block
105Restroom sign
106“What’s Going
On” singer, 1971
107Tampa Bay
N.F.L.’er
110Beats in the race
111Puts a stop to
sentimentality?
114Term for a word
that isn’t the
dictionary, but
maybe should be
115Subject of una
serenata
116Subject of
the 2006
documentary
“When the
Levees Broke”
117Promenades
118Rehab program
119Plug
Down
1Cake with rum
2Hovering craft
3Understand
4Industry, for
short
5Treat on a stick
6Stuns, in a way
7Intruded (on)
8Watson’s
company
9Cavity filler
10Be a witness
Solution to puzzle of May 12-13
N B A
J
A M
P S A S
S W A M
S A T
I
R E
R U N T
I
F R E N C H C O N N E C T
W R A P S
E
E
L
I
O C T A
L O N
A D E
T U D F
S
B E S
N
T
A W E D
T
A C T
I
O N
I
C H E E S E
T R
I
I
E
I
N
S
I
O P E R A S
H Y D R A
D R E A M
N D E R
T A
T
E R A
H O M E E C
L
T R
I
N A S
T
S H
R N S
M A S O N
E M S
F
O P E N F
M
N E R S
I
E A T
O N
R U B B E R M A T C H
N
I
I
M E
L
P A C T
I
T O O T
S
I
M E
T
M O N D A V
I
E N
N
E S
O R G A N
I
R O U T
C A L
C C H E M
S O N
T O Y S
K N E E
E
E S
P O N
A K
I
T
E
L
P A
I
G E
I
T R Y
H E N S
S P O T
I
B O G S
L A M E S
D A D
N A N A S
A Z U R E
A P
I
O R S O
B E R Y
T C A R
M
E
S E A N B E A N
P A S
F A S
E E R
S O L
B O O Y A H
I
P E
A G O
O N R E P E A T
P E N G U
B A T
S
O N E S
I
E
B A T O N S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
20
23
10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
22
24
26
25
27
30
33 34 35
36
45
28
29
31
32
37
46
50
38
47
51
39
56
60
49
53
57
61
64 65 66
40 41 42 43 44
48
52
55
54
58
59
62
63
67
69
68
70
72
80
9
21
71
73
74
81
82
85
86
90
75
83
87
91
88
92
95
96
100 101 102 103 104
76 77 78 79
84
89
93
97
94
98
105
99
106
107 108 109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
PUZZLE BY WILL NEDIGER / EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ
11Exude
12Loving verse?
13Some pageant
wear
14Brought charges
against
15Daddy
16Criticize severely
17Part of a
makeshift swing
18____ after
19Depend
24“Just pretend I’m
right”
29Singer of high
notes
30Scottish accents
33Dusted off, say
34James who won
a posthumous
Pulitzer
35Says, informally
37“When the
Levees Broke”
director
39High ____
40Publisher in a
robe, familiarly
41Algonquian
Indians
42Open, as a bottle
43Prince and
others
44Some drink
garnishes
46Fish whose
name sounds
like the past
tense of
46-Across?
47Greets silently
51Begets
52Take back
543-3, e.g.
57Site of one
of the Seven
Wonders of the
Ancient World
61Professional
fixer, for short
62Uses Gchat, e.g.
63Scornful sound
64H. G. Wells
villain
65Four-time
Australian Open
winner
THE NEW YORK TIMES
66Picasso, e.g.
67Recent arrival
68Personalized
music gift
69Backyard
shindig,
informally
70Perfect score, or
half of a score
71Smart remarks
73Zooey of Fox’s
“New Girl”
75Long, narrow
pieces of
luggage
76Modify
77Where
Hemingway
wrote “The Old
Man and the
Sea”
78Old Chrysler
79____ terrier
81Parties
82Pastor role in
“There Will Be
Blood”
84Keeper of the
books, for short
87Japanese
appetizer
91Lifts
92Everything
94Appear that way
97101 course
99“… I’ll eat ____!”
100Order (around)
101May or Bee
102Prevent from
clumping, say
103In conclusion
104Sway
107Random data
point
108____ Reader
109Powerful politico
111 & 112 Coupled
113“Collage
With Squares
Arranged
According to the
Laws of Chance”
artist
..
18 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
weekend
music
Bombino,
axeman of
the sands
The guitarist from Niger — known
for opening ears and minds with his
virtuosic desert blues — returned to
Africa to record his sixth album
BY MIKE RUBIN
On a recent night, an ecstatic crowd
jammed the dance floor of the New York
club Brooklyn Bowl to see one of the
world’s greatest living blues guitarists.
He doesn’t hail from the Mississippi
Delta or Chicago’s South Side, but from
the dusty outpost of Agadez, Niger, in
the Sahara. Oumara Moctar, better
known as Bombino, is already a star
among the Tuareg — the nomadic
Berbers who traverse the countries
along the desert — and as he releases
his sixth album, “Deran,” he’s on the
verge of becoming one internationally.
North African desert blues (or tichumaren in Tamasheq, the Tuareg language) has become arguably the most
successful world music genre to break
through since reggae, and few have
wielded the guitar with such mastery
and majesty as Bombino. His spellbinding virtuosity and urgently dynamic live
shows have made fans of fellow musicians from Keith Richards and Robert
Plant to Josh Homme and Win Butler,
and built him a following that’s crossed
over from the world music community
to the jam-band circuit.
“My objective is to get people moving,” he said in French through his manager, Eric Herman, who also serves as a
translator, a few days before the concert,
at his record label’s nearby offices in
Brooklyn. “It’s really context dependent, whether I feel the pull to play on the
softer romantic side or the high-energy
side, but I want to make people move.”
After making his previous three albums primarily in Boston, Nashville
and Woodstock, N.Y., with producers including the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach
and Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth,
Bombino recorded in Africa for the first
time in nearly a decade, since the field
recordings that introduced him to world
music audiences on the 2009 compilation “Guitars From Agadez Vol. 2.”
Recorded in Casablanca at a studio
owned by the king of Morocco, “Deran”
was produced by Mr. Herman and presents what Bombino considers to be his
true voice, without its being filtered
through the sheen of a famous producer.
“Deran” displays the breadth of Bombino’s stylistic approaches: the electrifying “Imajghane” is a rollicking bluesrock anthem, while “Midiwan” sounds
like an acoustic desert campfire singalong and “Tehigren” features a lilting
bounce that the band has called “Tuareggae.”
At the Brooklyn concert in honor of
“Deran,” the guitarist was dressed in a
plum-colored knee-length waxed-cotton
bazin robe and matching pants. Sporting a white tagelmust — the traditional
Tuareg head wrap — worn around his
neck as a scarf and dangling precariously close to the tops of his leather
loafers, he resembled what “Purple
Rain”-era Prince might have looked like
if Minneapolis were closer to North Africa than North Dakota. His guitar playing was nearly as incendiary as the Purple One’s, too: When his backing band
leavened their hypnotically funky
desert blues with an amiable reggae
beat, Bombino kicked up his knees in a
high-stepping skank, his spindly fingers
a dizzying blur on the strings.
Bombino’s age is around 38. (“Maybe
more, maybe less,” he said. “In any case,
that’s what’s written on my papers.”)
But his music has a timeless quality, borrowing from Tuareg traditional forms
and infusing them with an infectious exuberance and considerable improvisation. The nickname Bombino derives
from his teens, when he was the youngest kid hanging out with older musicians. Bombino first cradled a guitar at
11 or 12 while a refugee in Algeria, where
his family fled during the Tuareg rebellion of the early 1990s. “There were older cousins around that had one,” he said,
“so I would pretend to go to school and
then hide, wait for everybody to be gone,
and then go and take the guitar and
play.”
Upon his return to Niger, Bombino
visited an uncle with a home full of musical instruments, who offered him an accordion. Bombino accepted it, not wanting to be rude, but after two days he
mustered the courage to trade it in for a
guitar. He taught himself how to play by
listening to pirated cassettes of Ali
Farka Touré, Dire Straits and Jimi Hendrix, although he often didn’t know what
he was hearing. “By the time a cassette
makes it to the desert of Agadez,”
Bombino said, “the writing is all rubbed
off, and we would just get a tape and
have no idea what it is.”
Bombino sings in Tamasheq, and
many of his lyrics highlight the Tuaregs’
profound connection with the desert,
their ancestral home. The music itself
mirrors the desert: The guitar pyrotech-
“I never saw
the need to
take up arms
for the rebel
cause. I always
believed that
there was a
path out
through
music.”
ANDRE D. WAGNER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Bombino in New
York, above, and
while recording,
right. He became
known as “the
Hendrix of the
Sahel” in Agadez,
Niger.
RON WYMAN
nics of his live show pay tribute to the
Sahara’s powerful storms, and the loping rhythm of many of his songs echoes
the odd meter of a camel’s gait. “An important thing to know is the desert is a
very vast open space,” Bombino said.
“Sound and music there carries a power
with it, so you get the feeling when
you’re holding an instrument in your
hand and playing it, you’re completing a
picture that was otherwise incomplete.”
In the mid-1990s, Bombino found
work in Libya as a shepherd, spending
long periods of solitude with just the
sheep and his guitar. Hanging out with
friends, he honed his technique by
watching DVDs of two of his most fervent inspirations. He was mesmerized
by the interplay of Dire Straits: “The
kind of familial sort of exchanges they
would have musically, it touched me in a
profound way,” he said. And he was
moved by the emotional playing of Hendrix. “Watching Jimi with his guitar is
like watching a mother with her baby,”
he said. “When the guitar is crying, he’ll
calm it down. The sentimentality between him and his guitar is very powerful for me.”
Back in Agadez in his later teenage
years, he began building a reputation as
“the Hendrix of the Sahel” while working as a tour guide. In 2006, he chaper-
oned Angelina Jolie on a six-day journey
through northern Niger, accompanied
by her camera crew. “We went out to the
desert,” Bombino said, “I would play,
and she would dance.”
The country’s tourism industry is
long gone now, a casualty of the second
Tuareg rebellion, in 2007. During the
first Tuareg uprising, rebels had used
concerts for recruitment, gathering
people and inciting dissent; when the
second revolt started, Tuareg music was
considered rebel propaganda. To be labeled one of “les guitaristes” was dangerous; two of Bombino’s band mates
disappeared and are assumed to have
been executed by the Nigerien Army.
Many of Bombino’s friends and colleagues were joining the rebellion, but
he made the difficult decision to flee Niger again, this time for Burkina Faso. “I
never saw the need to take up arms for
the rebel cause. I always believed that
there was a path out through music, so
that’s why I decided to take my guitar
and go,” he explained.
“Music is part of politics for the Tuareg historically, and even Bombino’s
whole idea of putting down your AK for
a guitar is a political statement,” said
Thomas K. Seligman, the co-author of
“Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in
a Modern World.” “In Niger, they’ve
been economically unsupported, and
they feel marginalized. They’ve struggled in a whole variety of ways over history to stay Tuareg, to stay proud and
pass that on to their children and keep
their land.”
Bombino returned to Niger in 2010 after the conflict ended, playing a triumphant concert in front of the Great
Mosque in Agadez. Footage of that
event was featured in Ron Wyman’s
2013 documentary, “Agadez, the Music
and the Rebellion,” and clips of Bombino’s performance posted online caught
the attention of Mr. Auerbach, who
produced Bombino’s 2013 album, “Nomad.” “He was jumping out of the screen
when I first saw him on my computer,”
Mr. Auerbach said. “He didn’t feel like
an antiquity, he was just going for it.
Where Ali Farka Touré was behind the
beat, Bombino was on it, pushing it forward. It’s almost like a punk rock energy. It took me by surprise.”
Bombino’s former status as a refugee
has a renewed significance in light of recent world events. For Africans hoping
to make it to Europe, Agadez marks the
northernmost outpost before they must
cross the expanse of the Sahara. The
population of Agadez has swelled to
over 118,000 (from about 35,000 in the
early 2000s) because of the many ref-
ugees from Libya’s civil war as well as
stranded Europe-bound migrants.
“Having experienced the pain of being a refugee myself twice in my life, this
issue is of great concern to me,”
Bombino said. “My heart bleeds for the
people I see on this ‘migrant route.’ I
was extremely lucky to survive my experiences with displacement. When I
see people in this situation coming
through Agadez, I feel a shudder in my
bones knowing this person will probably
not be so lucky.”
The status of Niger’s Tuaregs has improved somewhat since the end of the
second rebellion, at least in terms of social mobility. Yet many of the grievances
that led to the insurgency remain unresolved. Resolutely focused on his people, Bombino dreams of opening a musical community center that would provide access to instruments and recording equipment for Tuareg youth. “In the
areas where there are Tuareg people,
there’s been quite a lot of conflict, especially in the last 10 years or so,” he said,
“so my main wish would be for an enduring peace.”
That feeling was shared by the audience at Brooklyn Bowl. Amid the crowd,
a group of friends all originally from
southeastern Morocco unfurled a flag
that represents the Berber-speaking
peoples of North Africa, also known as
Amazigh or “free people.” After dancing
with it held over their heads, they threw
it onto the stage as a gift for Bombino,
who smiled and nodded his thanks. After the show, Aziz Eikadi, 24, listed the
reasons he liked the guitarist, including
“the way he expresses our culture to the
world, our history, our bravery, our
pride.”
While Berber-speaking members of
the audience may be a smaller demographic in the United States, that hasn’t
seemed to limit Bombino’s appeal; his
three most recent albums have all
topped the iTunes World Music Chart.
“For us, he transcends language,” Mr.
Seligman said. “The singing somehow
works in the West, where nobody understands the meaning of what he’s saying,
but it works with the music so well. That
to me is part of the magic.”
Bombino himself senses this rousing
reception from audiences. “What makes
an impression on me while I’m out touring is just how people are so open to my
music,” he said, “how they come out and
obviously don’t understand a word of
what I’m saying.”
“You can just feel that they’re really
enjoying the music and opening their
minds and their eyes to it,” he added.
“That’s the best feeling.”
..
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018 | 19
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
theater
weekend
France’s pale cast
of radical theater
PARIS
Looking back at 1968,
stage professionals have
been notably restrained
BY LAURA CAPPELLE
MARTIN ARGYROGLO
Clockwise from
above: “My Revolution Is Better
Than Yours” at the
Théâtre des
Amandiers in
Nanterre; “ReParadise,” also at
the Amandiers;
and “Our Innocence” at the
Théâtre de la
Colline in Paris.
SIMON GOSSELIN
Perhaps
reckoning with
those utopian
visions is an
impossible task
for today’s
artists.
Indeed, some scenes remain more
subversive than much of the work currently being made by self-styled radicals. “Re-Paradise” was staged in the
Amandiers’ workshops, with audience
members seated on portable chairs or
on the floor. Throughout, Mr. Morin’s 36
performers remained almost too close
for comfort — discussing social taboos,
from talking about money to drug use,
while looking us in the eye, or inviting
willing onlookers to get up and form revolutionary cells. “I’m not allowed to undress,” they whispered conspiratorially,
before proceeding to do just that.
“Re-Paradise” speaks of a time without trigger warnings. At one point, the
nearly naked performers invited audience members to join them in a huddle
on the floor; one cast member caressed
the legs and backs of the audience members around him, while others made out.
If a director pitched this surreal scene to
producers today, concerns about law-
dior.com
The Théâtre de l’Odéon here had
planned a decorous tribute to May 1968.
Half a century ago, the 18th-century
building in the heart of the city’s Latin
Quarter was occupied by students and
protesters for a month; under the slogan “Power to the imagination,” it became a people’s forum, open to all.
And briefly, on May 7, it looked as if all
hell might break loose again.
The current Odéon director, Stéphane
Braunschweig, had gone the safe, rather
than imaginative, road for his one-off
celebration, “The Spirit of May.” For an
hour or so, the evening plodded along,
with lectures about history and
speeches from guest artists and academics — until a young man walked up
to the stage, interrupting the proceedings. “While you’re doing your commemoration,” he admonished the crowd
angrily, “students are being tear-gassed
in front of the Odéon.” (A spokeswoman
for the theater later confirmed that she
had seen tear gas being used.)
About 70 students were staging a
symbolic protest outside and had been
denied entry; as in 1968, there has been
severe unrest this spring at universities
across France in reaction to President
Emmanuel Macron’s change agenda,
which includes more selective university admission rules. According to the
spokeswoman, a handful of masked protesters attempted to force their way to
the stage door, prompting the police to
intervene. Inside, a heated debate ensued, and some scheduled speakers
walked out.
The evening laid bare the uneasiness
that has so far surrounded the 50th anniversary of the events of 1968 in
France. That revolutionary spring,
which saw striking workers and students unite, is etched in the country’s
collective psyche, yet its legacy remains
disputed. After briefly floating the idea
of a national celebration, Mr. Macron retreated: Extolling 1968’s spirit of freedom and anticapitalism was a juggling
act too far for a liberal president facing
strikes of his own.
It was left to individual institutions to
decide whether to mark the anniversary, and while an onslaught of talks and
exhibitions has revived the images and
slogans of that era, the theater world’s
contribution has proved remarkably
subdued.
Have theater makers lost touch with
their revolutionary roots? Fifty years
ago, theater played an active role in
putting culture front and center amid
the clamor. Some companies, including
Ariane
Mnouchkine’s
egalitarian
Théâtre du Soleil, took their work to factories or to the streets; in addition to the
Odéon, a number of venues were occupied or repurposed.
The Théâtre des Amandiers in Nanterre did not open until 1969. Still, this
theater in a staunchly communist outer
suburb of Paris stayed true to itself this
spring with “Mondes Possibles” (“Possible Worlds”), a festival focused on the
utopian legacy of May ’68. Philippe
Quesne, the Amandiers’ director, chose
to revisit the production most identified
in France with the spirit of that year:
“Paradise Now,” created by the avantgarde American company the Living
Theater. The troupe faced a ban at the
1968 Avignon Festival in France after
the initial performances of the work
there prompted street demonstrations.
In “Re-Paradise,” the director Gwenaël Morin has recreated the original
“Paradise Now” with minimal changes.
Period reconstructions have never been
popular in France, but there is real value
in what Mr. Morin unearthed in the
process. In Nanterre, it provided an illuminating glimpse of the artistic mood in
1968 — and a reminder that some taboos
haven’t changed much in half a century.
Rose des vents collection
Yellow gold, diamonds and mother-of-pearl.
PIERRE GROSBOIS
suits would probably factor in.
Yet the result captured some of the
happy-go-lucky energy associated with
1968. Many of the text’s witty takedowns
of capitalism and consumerism still resonate. At the end, the performers simply
picked up the stage’s makeshift backdrop and gestured for the audience to
leave by passing underneath. Chanting
“Free theater” and “Change the world,”
they followed us into the parking lot,
where there were bemused faces — and
a noticeable spring in people’s step.
The Amandiers also presented a creation looking at 1968 around the world,
Sanja Mitrovic’s “My Revolution Is Better Than Yours.” It is a wistful, episodic
work featuring performers from France,
the former Yugoslavia, Russia and
Spain; each episode examines revolutions and the backlashes to them.
The performance was framed by the
presence onstage of Mohamed Nour
Wana, a poet born in Darfur, in western
Sudan, who fled war in Libya. With other
refugees, he joined students in occupying a university and protesting Mr.
Macron’s labor, immigration and higher
education measures this spring. “These
aren’t just images for me,” he said at the
work’s conclusion. “It’s my reality, and
the hope of a revolution I believe in.”
In the event, however, the most
trenchant reaction to the legacy of 1968
came and went before the actual anniversary. In March, Wajdi Mouawad, the
director of the Théâtre de la Colline in
Paris, unveiled “Notre Innocence”
(“Our Innocence”), a creation spun out
of a workshop with students from the
National Conservatory of Dramatic Art.
The play’s plot — which centered on the
death of a student — had its weaknesses, but one scene packed more of a
gut punch than anything seen recently
on the Paris stage.
In it, the 18 cast members, all in their
20s, formed a chorus and slowly recited
a text that read like the manifesto of a
despondent generation. At one point,
they spoke directly to the “soixantehuitards,” the crusaders who took part
in the events of 1968, “which you keep
crushing us with”: “You had the revolution, you knew how to share, you had camaraderie, you weren’t glued to your
phones like us,” they intoned derisively.
“We don’t know anything, haven’t done
anything, haven’t lived anything.”
It was an intensely confrontational
moment, and several older audience
members walked out. Yet it also captured one central difference between
1968 and 2018: the sense of hopelessness that pervades many of today’s protests against Mr. Macron’s proposed
measures. The film director Romain
Goupil, a leader of the student movement in 1968, expressed as much onstage at the Odéon evening: “We lived
through a Promethean illusion. Everything could change. Now, people are
looking to protect themselves.”
Perhaps reckoning with the sweeping
utopian visions of 1968 is an impossible
task for today’s artists. Another period
slogan, “Be realistic: Ask for the impossible,” now sounds like a piece of vintage, youthful idealism. Yet the sense of
disquiet doesn’t abate in France. The
few audience members who lasted until
the end of the Odéon’s derailed tribute,
well past midnight, were greeted by police officers standing guard outside the
theater. Celebrating a cultural revolution under police protection: Here is a
paradox for our times. If theater makers
don’t address it, who will?
..
24 | SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 19-20, 2018
THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION
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