The French consulate is sponsoring the visit this week of cartoonists including the famed French cartoonist Jean Plantureux, whose front-page cartoons in the daily Le Monde under his pen name, Plantu, help set the French political agenda.
Plantu is here with other prominent members of the group Cartooning for Peace, which he launched in 2006 to use the power of cartooning to get people to think more creatively about world conflicts and how to stop them. Participants in the forums this week include Palestinian cartoonist Khalil Abu Al Arafeh, Israeli Uri Fink, and Americans Daryl Cagle, Jeff Danziger and the Globe's own Dan Wasserman.
An exhibition of cartoons opens Tuesday evening at Northeastern University in Gallery 360, and runs through May 12. The visiting cartoonists also are taking part in discussions on Wednesday morning at Northeastern and at Harvard in the afternoon. Details at the French consulate web site.
Today at 5 p.m., the consulate says:
"all the cartoonists will be in the Boston Common in presence of Michael P. Ross, President of the Boston City Council and Chair of the Special Committee on Boston Common for a brief ceremony. The artists would each offer an original cartoon made especially for the occasion. The cartoonists will underline the importance of the Boston Common in American History and of its place as a forum for so many eloquent speakers and defenders of freedom.Organized by French Consul General Christophe Guilhou, the Cartooning for Peace exhibition and forums give the cartoonists a chance to discuss the use of political satire to change minds and provoke debate. It also will shed light on the risks for cartoonists who use their artistry to challenge conventional thinking.
Plantu has been making waves with Cartooning for Peace since 2006, shortly after the publication of political cartoons by a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed, considered offensive by many Muslims, set off protests that claimed more than 200 lives.
Coincidentally, another event on Tuesday evening at Harvard also will take up the theme of the Danish cartoons. As part of the Boston Muslim Film Festival being organized by the American Islamic Congress, a documentary called "Bloody Cartoons" is being screened at 6 p.m. in Boylston Hall in Harvard Yard, along with a short but provocative animated video by Daniyal Noorani, called "Find Heaven."
After the screenings, I will moderate a panel discussion with Noorani, who lives in Boston, and Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen, author of the 2009 book, "The Cartoons that Shook the World." Klausen's book became controversial when publisher Yale University Press decided to omit the reproduction of the Danish cartoons in Klausen's scholarly work.
The story prompted a member of the Greatest Generation, 85-year-old Irving Smolens, to write to me with his own recollections of serving in the Fourth Infantry Division during the Allied Invasion of Europe on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Smolens offered a first-hand lesson about hatred and forgiving:
I live in Melrose and we had a Yom Hashoa service at our temple last night. After the service we viewed a documentary, "The Holocaust. Memory and Legacy." The film featured Holocaust survivors and some of the soldiers who had helped to liberate the camps as well as sons and daughters of the survivors.
When the film ended I arose from my seat. My temple members all know that I am a D-day veteran but there were many in the film audience who did not know that. I told them what I have told gatherings in Luxembourg and Belgium who celebrate the date on which their countries were liberated from the Nazis. Their liberation began on D-day. Had we failed in that invasion it would have been many months and perhaps as much as a year before we could make another attempt to liberate western Europe. All of those survivors were close to death when the camps were liberated and probably would not have survived much longer had they not been liberated when they were and their progeny who appeared in the film never would have been born.
After I sat down many of those present came up and thanked me for my service in WW II and for having reminded them of the importance of D-day. One young woman came up to me and told me her father had been a D-day veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division. She thanked me for telling all those present of the importance of D-day because the D-day date June 6 is not noted on calendars and its importance is not recognized by most Americans.
As a WW II veteran I have witnessed the horror of war and I have come to realize that "Hate" is the engine that moves governments to war. I have resolved to eliminate that word from my vocabulary. It falls too easily and glibly from the lips. Last year at a Memorial Day observance at our Middle School in Melrose I told the students the following: During the bloodletting of the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest in Germany a wounded American soldier of our 22nd Regiment was screaming in agony and our soldiers could not emerge from their foxholes to attempt a rescue because the Germans would have killed them. German Lieutenant Lengfeld decided that he would try to rescue the wounded American because he knew that his own troops would not try to stop him and that the Americans would realize what he was attempting and would not shoot at him. Lieutenant Lengfeld retrieved the body of the wounded American but he was so badly wounded that he could not be saved. In attempting to return to his own place of concealment the lieutenant stepped on one of his own mines and blew himself up.
Some years ago our 22nd Regiment veterans decided to dedicate a memorial plaque for Lieutenant Lengfeld in the Hurtgen. When I visited the forest my guide took me to the site of the memorial. With our guide was a German veteran who had survived the Hurtgen battle by concealing himself in a knocked out American tank and living on the rations and cigarettes in the tank. When it came time to take pictures I put my arm around the German veteran. I did that because their is an affinity that exists among combat soldiers that civilians who have never been in combat can ever realize. I did what I did even though I had two families of uncles that had been destroyed in the Holocaust. When I came home I told my Rabbi what I had done and he told me he was proud of me because in our religion there is a tradition of forgiveness.
I closed my message to the students by telling them that they could learn two important thing from what they had just heard, Not all Germans were murderous Nazis and as the bumper sticker says, "Hate is not a family value."
Thank you for the article you write.
Details are here.
The principal speaker is Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, an executive board member of Verbundnetz Gas in Germany, which handles natural gas storage and transmission in Germany, Russia and Norway. He has been closely involved in energy and climate change issues in Europe for many years.
The moderator is Arpad von Lazar, professor emeritus of international affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has written frequently about business, energy, and environmental policy.
On Wednesday morning, Prince Michael will be at the British School of Boston, announcing a Duke of Edinburgh international award program, according to the British Consulate in Boston.
The school, located in Jamaica Plain, was founded in 2000 and has 320 students from 20 countries, most from Britain and the United States. It is one of five British schools in the United States that make up the British Schools of America, following the British curriculum and preparing students for entry to British universities.
On Thursday, the prince will attend the formal opening of the consulate general's new offices at 1 Broadway in Cambridge, across the street from the former premises in 1 Memorial Drive. One Broadway is owned by MIT and is also home to the Cambridge Innovation Center. MIT President Susan Hockfield is also scheduled to attend.
The main event Thursday afternoon is a forum at the consulate with the prince and community and education leaders to discuss ways to "bridge the gap between innovative entrepreneurs in Boston and the next generation of students," the consulate says. One goal is to find ways to keep kids from dropping out of school, and to make sure they know what opportunities are available to them.
A delegation of faculty and graduate students from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University is in Copenhagen, monitoring the conference and blogging on developments in Considering Copenhagen. And some of the Fletcher students are lobbying for effective action as part of a group of young Americans called SustainUS.
Graduate student Odette Mucha wrote that she was in a group of American activists taking grassroots action, including crashing a meeting of what she called "the climate denier group, Americans for Prosperity," that was "claiming that climate change is turning out to be the biggest hoax in American history, and that a cap and trade system would “suppress American productivity and prosperity.”
"We couldn’t sit around and listen to that, so we jumped up and took over the event," Mucha added. "The group of 30-40 youth from around the US gave the real American opinion, and chanted “Americans for prosperity are Americans for Clean Energy!” and “Clean energy makes jobs.” To see a quick clip, check out a great climate blog: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/ and my group’s blog: http://sustainus.org/ ."In another more technical entry, Fletcher post-doctoral researcher Hengwei Liu explains China's stance at the summit, including its core view that the summit needs to nail down specific, measurable emissions reductions by developed nations given their historic role in generating industrial pollutants for many generations, while developing countries need to make sure their economic growth policies mitigate climate change. The blog notes that "Liu’s current research focuses on advanced coal and Carbon Capture and Storage technology policy in China. He has been involved in a wide range of national and international initiatives and projects, including Carbon Mitigation Initiative."
Also, the head of the environment project at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Professor Robert N. Stavins, is heading to Copenhagen to take part in events at the climate summit. Stavins is co-author of a recent research paper that suggests a framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, with a long-term, comprehensive approach to reducing emissions.
That paper is co-authored with Yale Associate Professor Sheila M. Olmstead and Professor Stavins is director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements. The co-author is Yale Associate Professor Sheila M. Olmstead, who was a graduate fellow at the Harvard Environmental Economics Program before joining the Yale faculty.
The paper is ambitious -- entitled "An expanded three-part architecture for post-2012 international climate policy." It suggests ways for industrialized and developing nations to attack climate change "in differentiated but meaningful ways"; it suggests an extended time path for targets rather than another five-year Kyoto-style approach; and it suggests "flexible market-based policy instruments to keep costs down and facilitate international equity."
A court case launched by Massachusetts and other states against the Environmental Protection Agency back in 2003 can claim a cameo role in the Copenhagen summit on climate change.
That lawsuit called on the US government to recognize that global warming from man-made greeenhouse gases endangers Americans' health -- and that the federal government and the states therefore have the right to impose limits on that pollution.
The Bush Administration had resisted making such a declaration. But this week the Environmental Protection Agency did so, and said that if Congress doesn't enact legislation to reduce this carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels, then the federal government will do so through the EPA.
The EPA's declaration was clearly timed to show US resolve to deal firmly with climate change as President Obama prepares to travel to Copenhagen for the conclusion of the summit next week.
The case was brought in 2003 by the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. Here's a link to a summary of the original complaint. Bay State Attorney General Tom Reilly said at the time that the federal government was dragging its heels on taking action despite its own findings that global warming poses risks to health, the environment and the economy.
Current Attorney General Martha Coakley -- who running in today's Democratic primary for the US Senate -- also pressed the case after Reilly left office. The US Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had to make a decision on whether to regulate gas emissions from vehicles under the federal Clean Air Act. But Coakley and her colleagues argued in April 2008 that the Bush Administration was flouting that ruling, and they demanded federal action.
The Democrat-dominated Congress has taken up the issue, but the legislation is languishing in the Senate.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the author of the climate bill in the Senate, said the EPA's decision in the Massachusetts case "is a clear message to Copenhagen of the Obama Administration's commitments to address global climate change."
I wrote in the Sunday Globe about a television crew from Belgrade, in Serbia, that is filming a documentary series about the four American towns named Belgrade. Here's a link to the article.
A couple of readers asked, appropriately, why we only ran a locator map showing Belgrade Avenue, in the Roslindale section of Boston where the crew filmed their final shots -- without a locator map of the actual Belgrade. As one reader noted, the story quoted director Miodrag Kolaric as saying that only 10 percent of Americans knew anything about Belgrade. So why miss this opportunity to help?
So, thanks to Google maps, here's where the original Belgrade sits, at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, built on one of the earliest sites of European civilization, dating to thousands of years before Christ, and founded in the third century BC. As reader Olga Rakich said, Belgrade is "medieval, dramatic, romantic, and tragic all at once. Very cool."
And you can pan in and out to see Serbia in a larger map of Europe -- and in relation to the United States. Hey, and why not, here's a map showing the four American Belgrades as well as the Boston avenue of that name. But Google refuses to give driving directions from the American Belgrades to the Serbian capital.....
Finally, there's always Google Earth for a snapshot of Belgrade from the sky -- and you can fly from one Belgrade to another in an instant.
The Cold War on the eve of the building of the Berlin Wall may seem an unlikely subject for uproarious comedy, but Billy Wilder found a way to make it brutally funny in the 1961 movie, "One, Two, Three."
It helped to have James Cagney starring in one of his most successful comic roles -- as the harried Coca Cola executive in West Berlin, trying to get his product into the Communist bloc. Capitalists and Communists alike take a ribbing in this satirical look at divided Europe.
MIT's Center for International Studies will screen the film on Wednesday to launch its lecture series on Cold War Cinema, along with an expert's perspective. Journalist Christian Caryl, who covered the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, will discuss the film and its impact. Caryl is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy and at Newsweek, and is also a visiting fellow at CIS.
The free screening is at 6:30 p.m. in room 6-120 of MIT's Eastman Laboratories, street address, 182 Memorial Drive.
Making the movie was so demanding for Cagney that he quit Hollywood and didn't make another film for 20 years, until Ragtime in 1981. The film tells the yarn of Coke exec MacNamara's attempts to protect the boss's 17-year-old daughter during her visit to Berlin -- when she meets and secretly marries a young East German communist (Horst Buchholz). Multiple hijinks follow as MacNamara tries to pry them apart, then stitch them back together, much like East and West Germany in more recent years.
Douglas Foy, the longtime environmental campaigner and former Massachusetts cabinet secretary, is being awarded an honorary “Officer of the Order of the British Empire.”
UPDATE: The British consulate in Boston said today that Britain’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, will confer the honor on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, but the date and location are still being worked out. The event had been scheduled for this Wednesday, but the consulate says it had to be postponed for logistical reasons.
The award recognizes Foy’s “achievements as an advocate and entrepreneur in the practice of environmentally sustainable enterprises” as well as his years of volunteer work helping select winners of the British Marshall scholarships.
For 25 years, Foy was president of the Conservation Law Foundation, a New England-wide organization of scientists and lawyers who work to protect the environment. He served under Governor Mitt Romney for three years as a “supersecretary” in charge of development, coordinating the work of several agencies including environment, transportation and housing. He resigned in 2006, and now works with Serrafix, a Boston-based energy-efficiency firm.
The British government said Foy was being honored in part for his many years as chairman of the regional selection committee for the Marshall Scholarship. That prestigious program, funded by the British government, awards 40 scholarships a year to American students to study in the United Kingdom for two years. The scholarship was created after World War II to honor American contributions to rebuilding Europe, not least through the Marshall Plan.
The rank of officer of the Order of the British Empire is one of five levels of honorary awards to foreign nationals. The rank is just below the level of honorary knighthood, which was awarded earlier this year to Senator Edward Kennedy, a few months before his death.
Foy, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School and a former Olympic rower, has received a number of honors for his environmental work, including the President’s Environmental and Conservation Challenge Award in 1992 and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2006.
If you've wondered how the 192 members of the United Nations ever reach consensus on anything, you have a chance to learn from an insider.
The United Nations Association of Greater Boston is hosting a lecture on that theme on Thursday, September 24, at 6:30 pm at Milton Academy's Straus Library, 170 Centre Street.
The speaker for the 2009 Kimball Memorial Lecture is Sophie Belfrage Becker, first secretary for political affairs at the Swedish Mission to the United Nations. She was previously posted in the Swedish Embassy in India.
The lecture is free, but RSVP's requested, to firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-482-4587.
The announcement says: "Sophie Belfrage Becker will give us an insider's view of how negotiations at the UN are conducted, providing examples from important UN summits, including those focused on HIV/AIDS, Financing for Development, and the Millennium Summit which created the MDGs. This talk is particularly timely, given that the world's Heads of States and Government will convene in late September for the opening of the UN General Assembly and the start of a myriad of different negotiations on hundreds of resolutions to be concluded before the end of December."
The late Senator Edward M. Kennedy has won a United Nations award for his decades of work on behalf of the world's refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced today that Kennedy, who died last month, was posthumously awarded the 2009 Nansen Refugee Prize "for his achievements as an unparalleled champion of refugee protection and assistance for more than 45 years."
The prize comes with $100,000 to be donated to any cause the winner chooses. Kennedy's communication chief, Anthony Coley, said no decision has been made on how to distribute the money.
The UNHCR said Kennedy was informed of the award in June, although it was not disclosed publicly until today.
The UN agency said Kennedy's work "in establishing US refugee admissions, resettlement, and asylum programs directly helped millions of persecuted individuals to find protection and start new lives in the United States. He was the chief sponsor of more than 70 refugee related measures and was instrumental in codifying international refugee obligations into US law."
In making the announcement, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said: “Senator Kennedy stood out as a forceful advocate for those who suddenly found themselves with no voice and no rights. Year after year, conflict after conflict, he put the plight of refugees on the agenda and drove through policies that saved and shaped countless lives.”
The UN agency noted that Kennedy played a major role in recent years in drawing attention to the needs of Iraqi refugees after the US invasion there.
The prize was created in 1954 to honor Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian polar explorer and scientis who was the first UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922.
Summer is clearly over. The calendar is once again overflowing with international events in Boston.
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government already has a full array of events and speakers in coming days and weeks, some of them related to the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly this week. These events are public, but some need RSVPs and have space limitations, so check in with the organizations directly.
I'll try to post more such events in bulletin-board fashion as I learn of them, so email me with any announcements of upcoming talks.
--Today at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy School's Forum, sponsored by the Institute of Politics, a discussion on Iran, with Elliot Abrams, former senior foreign policy adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, and Karim, Sadjadpour, a Middle East specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The moderator is Kennedy School Professor R. Nicholas Burns, who was deputy secretary of state and a former US ambassador to NATO who knows US Iran policy better than just about anyone. (And sorry for the last-minute notice).
-- Thursday at 6 p.m., at the Harvard Divinity School, European Union international policy representative Javier Solana will speak on Europe's role in the world. The event, which runs until 8:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Kokkalis Foundation at the Kennedy School; the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard; the Karamanlis Chair, Fletcher School, Tufts University; and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard,. This is part of the “Challenges of the 21st Century: European and American Perspectives Series.”
One of Europe's most senior diplomats and political leaders, Solana was a player in Spain's transition to democracy after the Franco era, and was a Spanish cabinet member for 13 years. He was secretary general of NATO from 1995 to 1999, when he took up a senior role in the EU leadership. He is due to conclude his term as Europe's de facto foreign minister next month.
--On Friday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy School, Colombia's president, Alvaro Uribe, will speak at the Forum. First elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006, Uribe has taken a hard-line stance against the country's leftist guerrillas, and has achieved dramatic military gains, although he also has faced criticism on human rights issues.
--On Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 5:30 p.m., Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will speak at the Kennedy School's IOP forum. Yudhoyono became Indonesia's first directly elected president in 2004, after a military career. He has won applause at home for taking on corruption, ending the Aceh insurgency with a peace deal, and effectively handling of the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami. He won re-election in the first round in July.
Holocaust expert Deborah Dwork, a professor at Clark University, has co-authored a new book telling the story of the Jewish refugees who took to the road to escape the Holocaust during World War II -- and the millions of Jews who were left homeless after the war.
Dwork, who is director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark, will offer a public lecture on her new book, "Flight from the Reich," on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Tilton Hall on the Clark campus in Worcester. This is Dwork's third book written jointly with Professor Robert Jan van Pelt of the University of Waterloo in Canada.
The Strassler Center offers the nation's only doctoral program in Holocaust and genocide studies. The center focuses on the Armenian genocide and other genocides as well as the Holocaust.
The book traces the history of Jewish flight from the emerging Nazi regime in Germany from 1933 through the war years and into 1946, the year after the war ended. The authors recount the obstacles Jews faced in fleeing Nazi Germany, not least because of the barriers to entry erected by countries including Britain and the United States. But while many people believe that few Jews were able to escape, the authors write that one million Jews sought safety elsewhere. And two million were left homeless in the devastation of the Holocaust.
Many people are pondering whether Yale University Press was right to remove the Danish cartoons and other images of the Prophet Mohammed from Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen's forthcoming book. A story I wrote on the issue in the Globe on Saturday, quoting experts on both sides of the fence, has elicited many comments -- as divided as the experts.
Here are some links to additional resources for those wanting to delve deeper, including excerpts from my interview with Klausen at Brandeis in her office last week.
Those wanting to understand how Klausen approached the issue will have to wait until the book is published in November. It went to the printer last week, without the images. But anyone curious about the author's thinking would do well to read Klausen's perceptive column in the Boston Globe in February 2006.
It's clear that she knows her own country, and understands that Muslims in Europe include moderate clerics who want to become part of their new countries as well as radicals who don't. She said in the interview that her Globe column, written at the height of the deadly turmoil over the publication of the cartoons, and a Salon piece she wrote at the time got her thinking about a book that would go deeper.
Yale issued two statements that convey its reasoning for omitting the pictures. One is a statement from Yale University Press, dated August 14. Download file That statement notes that among the security experts consulted who recommended against publishing the cartoons was John Negroponte, the former Director of National Intelligence and former US ambassador to the United Nations. He and others were quoted as saying the chance of violence was high if the cartoons were reprinted in the book.
The other is a statement from Linda Koch Lorimer, Download file the Yale vice president and secretary of the Yale Corporation, who became involved at the request of Yale University Press Director John Donatich.
Lorimer and Donatich met with Klausen in Boston on July 23 at the Palm bistro in the Westin Hotel. That's where they informed the author of their decision to cut from the book a copy of the Danish newspaper page from Sept. 30, 2005, showing the 12 cartoons.
Yale also produced a chronology of events surrounding the publication of the cartoons and the violent incidents that followed, as evidence to back up Yale's belief that the threat has not yet passed.Download file
Many academics and bloggers have spoken out on the matter. Among them is Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, who said that omitting the cartoons was a violation of academic freedom.
Several bloggers were less restrained. Conservative commentator Roger Kimball, in his blog Roger's Rules, suggested that Yale change its motto Lux et Veritas (”Light and Truth”) to Timiditas and Deditio (”Cowardice and Surrender”).
Among those consulted by Yale who advised against publishing the cartoons was Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek international edition editor, who is a member of the Yale Corporation. Zakaria told me in an interview that "to revisit the same issue, to pick at the same wounds, it struck me as a fairly strong likelihood that it would be pounced upon by demagogues, phony religious leaders, who are perverting the religion. They would use it to draw battle lines. I think the university made the decision that better to weather a little controversy about whether it drew the line right than to deal with the consequences of their actions leading to 20, 40, 60 or more dead in an international political incident."
See below for excerpts from my interview with Jytte Klausen:
Doctors with first-hand experience treating victims of terrorist attacks around the world are sharing their expertise today with several hundred medical and emergency officials from greater Boston.
The title of the conference, being held at the John F. Kennedy Library, is explicit: "Tales of Our Cities: Planning for Interdisciplinary Response to Terrorist Use of Explosives."
Doctors from India, Spain, Britain, Israel and Pakistan are explaining in often grim detail about the nature of the blast wounds they treated, the triage systems they use and other issues that could save lives and improve preparedness in the event of an attack.
The conference was organized by the DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness, which was set up Boston's Emergency Medical Service and the Public Health Commission. I wrote a story in the Globe today explaining the six-year-old institute's work in training emergency personnel in greater Boston for potential terror attacks.
The head of Boston's EMS system, Chief Richard Serino, pulled together the conference to learn from medical professionals who have gone through recent terror attacks. Top officials from the disaster preparedness section of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also attending. After today's open session with doctors, police and emergency medical responders from around the region, the CDC officials will meet with the international visitors to update the American emergency response plans.
Among those speaking today was Dr. Aparna Deshpande, a professor of surgery at the huge King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, which was the principal hospital treating victims of the horrific train bombings in Mumbai in 2006 that killed more than 200 people.
She said that attack was just one in a series of terror bombings in Mumbai, dating back to 1993. In 2006, there were seven serial blasts within 11 minutes. She noted that victims will flood to the nearest hospital, on foot or in vehicles, and the casualty unit at her hospital was flooded with victims within 15 minutes.
"The surge is the critical phase in a bomb blast," Deshpande said. Constantly reviewing the patients arriving in an ongoing triage process is also important, she said, because injuries evolve over time. For example, "blast lung" trauma can worsen over a couple of hours and needs careful monitoring.
Surprisingly, she noted, "you do not need extensive surgical support right away to save lives." She said the immediate surgery needs are vital but fairly straightforward. A major priority is good crowd control at a hospital flooded with blast victims to keep relatives and media and volunteers from flooding in.
Among the gems of Boston's architectural heritage are the three adjacent Beacon Hill townhouses known as the "Swan Houses" on Chestnut Street, designed by Charles Bulfinch.
These townhouses are 200 years old this year. Two of them are private residences, but the third has been the official residence of the British consul general in Boston for the past 40 years.
The current consul general, Phil Budden, hosted a reception this week to mark the bicentennial (accompanied by some fine British ales). The residence has been through a major refurbishing, starting in 2007 and overseen by the residence manager, Kurt Steele. The results are subtly splendid, and are viewable in an on-line pamphlet at the consulate's web site.
|Photo by Christian Kozowyk, courtesy British Consulate, Boston|
The land was owned during the American Revolution by the artist John Singleton Copley, who left Boston for England in 1774 and never returned. He later sold the land to developers including Hepzibah Swan, who had Bulfinch design the townhouses for her three daughters.
The Swan daughters moved into their new homes in 1809. The Federalist houses have sweeping spiral staircases, high ceilings and tall windows. The British residence is featured in more detail in the summer homes issue of Boston Magazine.
Phil Budden and his Boston-bred wife, Deborah, and their two daughters have been in Boston since 2007. Budden has also had postings at the British Embassy in Washington and in Vienna. The consulate general is across the Charles River in the Kendall Square section of Cambridge, firmly amid the very modern high-tech greater Boston of the 21st century.
Global foodies take note: Boston University is hosting an all-day conference on Saturday with an array of notable speakers from Europe and the United States on how we grow our food and what we can do to make sure it's sustainable. The forum is free and open to the public (except for lunch). Details here.
The organizers of the "Future of Food" conference frame the goal this way:
"The conference takes the growing global food crisis as a starting point and asks key stakeholders to imagine a different future. Our working hypothesis is that the current food crisis is systemic in nature and solutions from the past (more market, more regulation, etc.) will not allow the global food system to evolve in a sustainable way. The situation calls for innovations in infrastructure and re-thinking how food is grown, shipped, and distributed locally, regionally, and globally. How can we foster a global food system that safeguards cultural and biodiversity while providing safe and nourishing food for all citizens?"
Here are just a few of the participants:
Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC)
Henrik Selin, Professor of International Relations, Boston University
Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
Benedikt Haerlin, Foundation on Future Farming, Save Our Seeds
Helen Holder, GM Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director, Center for Food Safety
What if they invited delegates from around the world to attend a conference -- and didn't hand out an agenda?
That's what Padraig O'Malley, professor of peace and reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, is doing this week. He is bringing together leaders from several of the most bitterly divided cities around the world -- Kirkuk, Iraq; Mitrovica in Serbia and Mitrovica in Kosovo; Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland; and Nicosia, Cyprus. Those are cities literally split down the middle by dividing lines and security walls.
O'Malley, who has participated in innovative reconciliation efforts in South Africa, Ireland and Iraq, says his experience has taught him that it's best to let the parties themselves share ideas and figure out how to attack their problems because no one can do it for them.
“If they say, ‘Where’s the agenda?,’ my response will be ‘There is no agenda, because this conference is yours,” O’Malley says in announcing the conference. “And you, as people from divided cities, have a far better idea of what you should be talking about to each other, than I do. This conference is yours, not ours. We are here to serve you, not to impose on you.”
Among the co-sponsors is the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, which also has an impressive record of high-profile conflict mediation.
Most of the conference sessions, taking place on the UMass-Boston campus from Tuesday through Thursday, are closed to the public. But a final forum on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at UMass-Boston is open to the public. For details see the McCormack school web site.
The campaign on behalf of Irish immigrants in the United States is back on the trail, after a presidential election season that derailed hopes for comprehensive immigration reform in the last couple of years.
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform kicked off its renewed campaign with a gathering of a couple hundred people last night in Canton, south of Boston, at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England.
ILIR President Ciaran Staunton says on the lobby's website: "ILIR wants to make sure that this is the last generation of Irish in America that has to listen to a family member's funeral on the telephone. It is our goal that this is the last generation of Irish to be undocumented in America."
Former Congressman Bruce Morrison, who now consults to the Irish lobby, explained one option that Irish immigrants hope could provide an avenue to legal residence and citizenship. That is the proposed E-3 visa, which Congress has created for 10,500 Australians each year. The E-3 program took effect last year, and the visa is valid for two years. It would be harder to duplicate such a program for the Irish living illegally in America because Ireland is part of the European Union, and could not negotiate a separate treaty as Australia did. But it's not inconceivable, given the strong and deep Irish roots in the United States.
The lobby acknowledges that the election season generated so much emotion over immigration that there was little chance of a constructive conversation last year. The omnibus bill sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy and John McCain collapsed in late 2007.
Now, with a new administration in place, the ILIR is knocking on doors again. Staunton, who cofounded the ILIR in 2005 and is a longtime fighter for the Irish community in the United States, headed from Boston to Washington today to meet with legislators there.
A prominent Turkish scholar says President Obama today gave a tactful but powerful push to the Turkish government to confront the question of whether the killings of Armenians in 1915 were the first genocide of the 20th century.
Taner Akcam is a longtime advocate for human rights for minorities in his native Turkey, as well as an academic authority on Turkey's handling of the genocide issue. He is a professor in genocide studies at Clark University in Worcester, and author of the 2006 book, "Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and The Question of Turkish Responsibility."
Akcam said of Obama's speech to the Turkish Parliament in Ankara: "I think he really pushed the borders, in a very positive and very smart way."
Obama stopped short of using the word genocide, but applauded the Turkish government for its willingness to improve relations with neighboring Armenia, which necessarily requires dealing with the sensitive genocide issue.
Akcam said Obama went as far as any president could go in addressing a foreign country's legislature. During the presidential campaign in 2008, Obama said that the killings of the Armenians amounted to genocide. Before addressing the Turkish Parliament, Obama said that he had not changed his views, which were "on the record."
In today's address, he did not address the issue directly, but encouraged Turkey to to resolve its dispute and reopen the border with Armenia, adding: "Reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future."
Obama went on to say: "I know there are strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive."
Akcam said that Obama had in effect said, "'it is not important what I think -- which is a clever way of saying I believe it was genocide -- but I encourage you to talk to your neighbors, and am happy that you are developing your relationship with Armenia.' More than that, one could not expect."
Akcam said it was especially effective for Obama to note that the United States had also worked through contentious and vexing issues including slavery. "It was very clever because he put the United States in the center. He said, 'look, I am coming from a country where even people like myself couldn’t vote. And we have our history of mistreatment of native Americans. But now I am speaking as a president."
But Akcam said that words alone from the new US president won't be enough to overcome years of mistrust of American administrations. He said Obama would need to take specific actions to encourage Turkey to treat its minorities with greater respect, including the Kurds -- whose alphabet still cannot be used in Turkey. Akcam also said Turkey needs to repeal the law making it crime to insult "Turkishness."
Akcam himself was investigated in 2007 under that provision of the Turkish penal code when he aligned himself with the late Hrant Dink, the assassinated Turkish activist who had recognized the Armenian genocide. No charges were filed then. But Akcam had been jailed in several times in the 1970s. He escaped from prison in 1977 after serving one year of a nine-year sentence, and received asylum in Germany. He taught in Minnesota before moving to Clark.
CAMBRIDGE - As the world's 20 most influential leaders prepare for a crucial summit tomorrow in London, they can chew on some expert advice from professors and students at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
On the official summit website, climate-change policy specialists Robert N. Stavins and Robert C. Stowe sketch three potential successors to the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012. Economics professor Dani Rodrik suggests ways to give developing countries a bigger role in global financial structures. And Kennedy School students offer a strategy for an integrated, long-haul approach to Afghanistan.
They are among the Kennedy School contributors to an innovative online forum hosted by the British government to generate ideas to tackle the thorniest global issues on the summit agenda, not least restructuring the world's financial system. It's a social-networking approach to participatory summitry that extends the debate to players far beyond the inner circles of power.
|Protester at G-20 summit in London today|
The Kennedy School's input appears in one of 11 forums posted on the British government's official summit website for delegates. The debate forums include one featuring "Grumpy Old Bankers," and another for 50 invited bloggers. The forums are one of several mechanisms developed by the host government to invite public input; there's also a YouTube page as well as Facebook and Twitter links.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown set the stage for the Kennedy School role when he visited the campus a year ago, fresh from delivering a foreign policy address at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston that set out central challenges facing the world - and, seemingly presciently, called for tighter financial regulation.
The Kennedy School's involvement grew out of an initiative by the British Consulate in Boston last year, in which Kennedy School students produced a detailed study for the British Foreign Office on how to change the diplomatic language of counterterrorism. Three Kennedy School students coauthored that research for their master's degree thesis, with substantial British government support.
This year, two pairs of students produced summit papers as their master's theses, known at the Kennedy School as policy analysis exercises. The exercises are modeled on consulting projects for clients - and they benefit from heavyweight faculty advisers, including Graham Allison, director of the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a former assistant secretary of defense; and Eric Rosenbach, the Belfer executive director who previously was a leading staff member on intelligence issues on Capitol Hill.
Rosenbach said the British government flew the student investigators to Europe and Washington and set up briefings with senior officials, much as they would for a highly paid consultant. "The winning formula is when you have groups of highly motivated students working on topics that are getting serious attention, and a client like the UK government that is willing to offer serious resources," he said.
Phil Budden, the British consul general for New England, said the Harvard content on the website "is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the collaboration." He said, for example, that British officials had traveled to Harvard several times to brainstorm with faculty members, including economist Lawrence Summers before he joined the Obama administration.
In one study, the student authors argue for an end to the piecemeal approach of Western countries in Afghanistan, and set out detailed suggestions on ways to integrate the military and development challenges there in a long-term approach. In the other student paper, the students assess the potential changes in global human rights policy under the "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine, adopted at a 2005 global summit. It gives international organizations a duty to intercede and impose sanctions if countries fail to protect their citizens.
Monica Duffy Toft, a Kennedy School public policy professor on the faculty of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, helped guide one of the student projects and offered her own input on the impact of armed conflicts on global financial security. She said in a website note that the Harvard assessments "underscore the interconnectedness of the global financial crisis, conflict, and insecurity."
Word of an honorary knighthood for Senator Edward M. Kennedy set off a torrent of comments from readers, some of them questioning the constitutionality of such an accolade for a member of Congress.
I followed up with the senator’s office, the British government and independent sources. The bottom line is that Kennedy appears to be taking the necessary steps to get the required congressional approval for the foreign decoration.
Here’s what the Constitution says:
"Article 1, Section 9: No title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”
With the first sentence, the Framers expressed their objection to Americans developing their own nobility ranks within the United States, as some colonies had toyed with. With the second sentence, they barred any officials from taking gifts or titles from foreign governments.
As Thomas James Norton put it in a book on the sources of the Constitution in 1922, “Of course, a republic born of misrule of a monarchy should not grant titles of nobility.” Norton said a gift from the king of France during the revolution to the US ambassador, Benjamin Franklin, prompted the provision against gifts or emoluments.
Antipathy to foreign influence-peddling runs deep. In 1810, Congress proposed a constitutional amendment barring any citizen, not just office holders, from accepting “any title of nobility or honor,” or any gift from any foreign power – at penalty of loss of citizenship. Despite some historical controversy, the amendment fell one state short of ratification.
In any case, there’s also a federal law that governs the handling of foreign gifts or decorations, whether of value or not, to employees of the US government. That includes members of Congress, and it’s the relevant law in the senator's case. The US Code, Title V, Section 7342, spells it out:
“(d) The Congress consents to the accepting, retaining, and wearing by an employee of a decoration tendered in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or awarded for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance, subject to the approval of the employing agency of such employee.”
The employing agency is the US Senate, and the body that approves gifts or decorations is the Senate Ethics Committee. It operates with strict rules of confidentiality, and committee officials don’t comment on individual cases.
Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Kennedy, said the senator has indeed taken the necessary steps with the Ethics Committee to receive approval for the honorary knighthood.
Here’s Coley's emailed response to my query: “We raised this with the Ethics Committee beforehand and are working with them to meet any and all legal requirements.”
And so, while Kennedy won’t be called Sir Ted because only British subjects may use that title, it appears he’ll have no obstacle to using the initials KBE after his name, signifying Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
UPDATE: Joseph Pickerell, vice consul for political, press and public affairs at the British Consulate General in Boston, said the British government had checked with ethical and legal advisers in the United States before going forward with the announcement to make sure there were no obstacles. He said the key is the honorary nature of the knighthood, comparing it to an honorary university degree for a lifetime of service. Pickerell said the senator would not have to swear fealty and bow before Queen Elizabeth II, as a knighted British subject would have to do.
Pickerell added that the accolade would probably be bestowed in Washington at a low-key event, and not in a formal ceremony at Buckingham Palace, as is customary. "It shouldn’t break any rules on this side because it is just a gesture," Pickerell said.
Not so many years ago, the idea of Queen Elizabeth II granting Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy an honorary knighthood would have been hard for Irish-Americans and Britons alike to imagine -- and hard for some to swallow.
Today, when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a joint session of Congress that Kennedy was being so honored, there was nothing but applause in the chamber, and only minimal grumbling elsewhere over the British accolade for the icon of Irish-Catholic politics in America.
That’s a sign of how far Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States have come in the nearly 11 years since the Good Friday agreement in April 1998 brought centuries of hostilities to an end. Sure, the American architect of that accord, former Maine Senator George Mitchell -- whose father was of Irish ancestry -- received an honorary knighthood a year later for his peace work. But Kennedy was an especially vocal spokesman for Irish nationalists and their grievances, demanding justice as well as peace.
Not everyone was thrilled. The Evening Standard newspaper quoted Conservative Member of Parliament Michael Ancram as saying: “I have to question the appropriateness of the award. I was surprised because those who really helped in Northern Ireland, like George Mitchell, made it clear they worked for both parts of the community whereas Ted Kennedy visibly supported one part, the Republican movement.”
Kennedy himself wasn’t in the chamber when Brown spoke; the 77-year-old Democrat was resting and receiving treatment for the brain cancer that struck him last May. But Kennedy was warmly appreciative in his public statement accepting the honor, recalling the deep ties between the Kennedy family and Great Britain.
It was noteworthy that neither Brown nor Kennedy felt the need to dwell on Northern Ireland.
Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, a longtime campaigner for the nationalist cause in Northern Ireland, was among those who escorted Brown into the joint session. Neal later told the Globe’s Susan Milligan it was remarkable that Brown could make such a speech without having to talk about violence in the North.
New York Congressman Peter King, who joined Neal as an escort for Brown, marveled that his Irish ancestors would be rolling in their graves if they could see him lauding a British prime minister.
Sister Lena Deevy, executive director of the Irish Immigration Center in Boston, said the honorary knighthood was about more than Ireland. “I think it’s a reflection of the phenomenal work that Senator Kennedy has done over the years to bring about peace. Kennedy is someone who has reached across the aisle, in Washington and worldwide. He brought people together and built bridges. His life has been about finding common ground, even with people he disagreed with.”
Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the Senator’s son, told Milligan that his father had joked to him, “I hope the Irish don’t get angry with me for accepting it.” Pretty recently, that wouldn't have been cause for laughter.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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