From “The leader of al-Qaeda is dead,” by R.M.
The key sentence is the first.
From “Who Would Dare?” by Roberto Bolaño.
Never has postwar Japan needed strong, assertive leadership more — and never has its weak, rudderless system of governing been so clearly exposed or mattered so much.
Japan faces its biggest challenge since World War II, after an earthquake, a tsunami and a deepening nuclear crisis struck in rapid, bewildering succession. The disasters require nationwide mobilization for search, rescue and resettlement, and a scramble for jury-rigged solutions in uncharted nuclear territory, with crises at multiple reactors posing a daunting array of problems. Japan’s leaders need to draw on skills they are woefully untrained for: improvisation; clear, timely and reassuring public communication; and cooperation with multiple powerful bureaucracies."
From “Flaws in Japan’s Leadership Deepen Sense of Crisis,” by Ken Belson and Normitsu Onishi.
The Strokes return…
‘You build an army of women,’ (Eve Ensler) said. ‘And when you have enough women in power, they take over the government and they make different decisions. You’ll see. They’ll say “Uh-uh, we’re not taking this any longer,” and they’ll put an end to this rape problem fast.’
Over the weekend, Ms. Ensler took the first step toward building this army: the opening of a base here in Bukavu called City of Joy.
The gleaming new compound of brick homes, big classrooms, courtyards and verandas will be a campus where small groups of Congolese women, most of them rape victims, will be groomed to become leaders in their communities so they can eventually rise up and, Ms. Ensler hopes, change the sclerotic politics of this country. They will take courses in self-defense, computers and human rights; learn trades and farming; try to exorcise their traumas with therapy sessions and dance; and then return to their home villages to empower others."
From “Fighting Congo’s Ills With Education and an Army of Women,” by Jeffrey Gettleman.
Perhaps the most revealing window into America’s media-fed isolation from this crisis — small an example as it may seem — is the default assumption that the Egyptian uprising, like every other paroxysm in the region since the Green Revolution in Iran 18 months ago, must be powered by the twin American-born phenomena of Twitter and Facebook. Television news — at once threatened by the power of the Internet and fearful of appearing unhip — can’t get enough of this cliché.
Three days after riot police first used tear gas and water hoses to chase away crowds in Tahrir Square, CNN’s new prime-time headliner, Piers Morgan, declared that ‘the use of social media’ was ‘the most fascinating aspect of this whole revolution.’ On MSNBC that same night, Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed a teacher who had spent a year at the American school in Cairo. ‘They are all on Facebook,’ she said of her former fifth-grade students. The fact that a sampling of fifth graders in the American school might be unrepresentative of, and wholly irrelevant to, the events unfolding in the streets of Cairo never entered the equation.
The social networking hype eventually had to subside for a simple reason: The Egyptian government pulled the plug on its four main Internet providers and yet the revolution only got stronger. ‘Let’s get a reality check here,’ said Jim Clancy, a CNN International anchor, who broke through the bloviation on Jan. 29 by noting that the biggest demonstrations to date occurred on a day when the Internet was down. ‘There wasn’t any Twitter. There wasn’t any Facebook,’ he said. No less exasperated was another knowledgeable on-the-scene journalist, Richard Engel, who set the record straight on MSNBC in a satellite hook-up with Rachel Maddow. ‘This didn’t have anything to do with Twitter and Facebook,’ he said. ‘This had to do with people’s dignity, people’s pride. People are not able to feed their families.’"
From Frank Rich’s column, “Wallflowers at the Revolution.”
From “Tangled Web,” Torie Bosch’s review of Morozov’s new book.
From Blake Bailey’s entertaining review of Kenneth Slawenski’s “J.D. Salinger: A Life.”
“Chinatown” by Destroyer, who play Lee’s Palace in March. High expectations for the new album out tomorrow.
From “Topsy-Turvy Weather: U.S. Is Frigid, Arctic Balmy,” by Justin Gillis.
From John Cheever’s “The Wapshot Scandal.”