News & Publishing, Politics & Public Policy

Thank you, Jason Rezaian

Will you read Jason Rezaian’s new book, Prisoner?

I really enjoyed this presentation — the chat with Ignatius, but also the beautifully produced documentary that introduced the Q&A. It is a must-watch if you’re at all interested in journalism, yes, but also diplomacy, negotiation, culture, international chess play.

The graphic showing all the moving parts of a three-hour window of opportunity perfectly illustrates a diplomatic nail biter.

To see again the photo of Jason kissing the tarmac, free after 544 of “detention,” is like a gut punch we all need — a reminder of how special our nation is, and how precious and fundamentally critical the First Amendment is. It’s both law and moral guidepost.

Watching the backstory told in the intro, you’ll see the remarkable cooperation between State and 4th Estate. It’s not just an example of logistical coordination; it demonstrated a resolve at the highest Office that our nation wouldn’t “leave one of its own behind.” The Administration and State Department fought for its son, while also waging a cultural (internationally watched) battle against the oppression of free speech in Iran.

This is in stark contrast to the current Administration’s reaction to and abject dismissal of Saudi Arabia’s assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Anyway, check it out.

 

News & Publishing, Politics & Public Policy

U.S. Immigration: Hell is for Children

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Here I sit, finally still, settled — fat and happy over Thanksgiving and family and friends and reconnections and relative good health … and then my wire alerts blow up, and this photo scrolls to my screen.

Photo by Reuters.

This is a child who came to the border from who knows where. She is barely clothed. She may lack shoes; it’s a little difficult to say for sure. She clings to a toy ball, perhaps a thing of comfort, perhaps a small reminder of normalcy during the arduous journey. What must she have seen and endured during that trek?

She is shrieking.

She is held by an adult, presumably. A mother? A guardian? An auntie? A stranger? The woman wears a too-small shirt, her stomach spilling out, the arm holes taught. It depicts a Disney tale she likely hasn’t seen. Where is her own shirt, the one that would fit her? Who is she?

What has she seen during her travels? What has she endured? What has been done to her? Who has she become?

What daily hell did they flea?

They likely embarked on the journey because they were told to. Not by any Soros-esque bogeyman, but perhaps by other local activists or news anchors or through the exportation of our national pride. We tell the world: This is the place to be. We are the shit, man. You want to be here, because we do all things the best. Look at our liberties. Look at our freedom. Look at our diversity. Look at our might. Look at our opportunities. Look at our Kardashians.

Perhaps someone told them along the way that it is within their Right to plead for asylum once they reach the border — that our laws entitle them to that appeal, though it may be a long-shot and especially given the current Administration. Perhaps they carried some of that hope with them along the way, as they bartered away materials things or worse.

And so they walked the miles and endured the exploitation just to get to that border. And our government orders armed troops to pelt and poison them with teargas.

She is shrieking.