Showing posts from August, 2011

UNsung Heroes

In 2008, when Samantha Powers’s biography of Sergio De Mello, “Chasing the Flame: One Man’s fight to Save the World,” was published it was a bit of an oddity.Jon Stewart’s interview with Rachel Weiz prior to the release of her new film “The Whistleblower” last month was more run of the mill.
“I am going to lose faith in our institutions,” Stewart quipped, “to hear that the UN mismanaged military contractors in a war-torn nation.”
I cringed.As an American “International Civil Servant” you get used to a certain degree of reflexive anti-UNism in our political discourse.But, when it comes from the left, from a pundit you actually respect, it is unexpected and stings.
I happened to be in New York when Powers’s book came out and I excitedly bought it in hardback.Powers painted a picture of Sergio De Mello as a very cool and deeply flawed guy who, while accomplishing incredible things at some of the defining UN missions of his era, was also (for most of his life) a hard-drinking womanizer.I cou…

Straight Liberal Guilt

“The struggle for marriage equality is about more than the definition of marriage; it is about the definition of justice.” David Remnick
Recently, during a conversation about marriage equality a colleague asked, "how can you be in favor of gay marriage, but against affirmative action?" It struck me as an odd question that convoluted two unrelated issues.Isn’t that kind of like asking how can you be in favor of federal funding for stem cell research and still support a two state solution for Israel and Palestine? “Not at all,” he replied coolly, “for me both affirmative action and gay marriage are clear-cut issues of social equality.”
Back in 2008 a friend of mine got married in Santa Barbara, California.As one would expect from a wedding in Santa Barbara, it was a beautiful ceremony.Another friend was one of the bridegrooms.There are things about being a bridegroom that suck – the requirement for a witty toast alone is a lot of pressure.At this particular wedding, my b…