In September 2009, US Ambassador to Japan John Roos reported to the Obama administration that the Japanese government did not think it was a good idea for President Obama to visit Hiroshima to apologize for the US having dropped an atomic bomb on that city, a secret cable published by Wikileaks revealed.
The irony is, most of the Japanese people I met when I lived there felt they were not only victims of World War II (as opposed to perpetrators) but its primary victims. I'm surprised, therefore, that they were so sensible on this matter. And glad Barack listened -- for I don't think the U.S. owes an apology for Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
Of course, this won't stop him from apologizing for D-Day...
An assault Sunday night on Christians protesting over a church attack set off riots that drew in Muslims, Christians and the police. Among the 26 people left killed in the melee, most were Copts...
Copts shared in the euphoria of the 18-day revolution that ousted Mubarak and like so many other Egyptians their hopes for change were high. Mainly, they wanted to be on equal footing with Muslims.
At Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution against Mubarak, there were glimpses of a fleeting utopia where coexistence and mutual respect between Muslims and Christians was the rule. The iconic image of Christians forming a human shield around Muslim worshippers during Friday prayers to protect them from thugs and pro-Mubarak loyalists spoke volumes to the dream.
But shortly after Mubarak's ouster, a series of assaults on Christians brought home a stark reality: The fading of authoritarian rule empowered Islamist fundamentalists, known here as Salafis, who have special resentment for Christians.
There was no stopping the "spring," of course. And in the long run (the very long run) it could lead to something positive. But the short run is that with which the living must deal. The coverage was euphoric and I admit to shedding tears at people's courage in January and February. But some reporters -- I think of Doug Saunders in the Globe, for example -- are hopelessly naive about the Middle East. It is sad to think of my Egyptian friends struggling with the reality of what is happening, but maybe I'm too dark (what with my inner Scandinavian, and all). Here is my friend Mood's take on Sunday's events. It certainly represents a different view and it is worth considering -- pulling some hope out of the hat. He is in the thick of it, and he's a highly reasonable sort.
Yesterday was my ex-boyfriend's birthday (I had to break up with him when he started poisoning people). But his birthday got me to thinking about this great song, which contains -- among other gems -- this line: "No offence to all you mullahs, but the Cold War it was cooler."