Arlene Getz

Stories by Arlene Getz

  • The Real Story of 'Invictus'

    So how true is Invictus? A reporter who covered apartheid South Africa examines fact and hype in Clint Eastwood's latest movie.
  • Beyond the Ghetto: A New Polish Portal Rebuilds Shtetls With Wiki Power. And Lots and Lots of Photos.

    Mention Polish Jews and you'll likely think of death camps and ghettoes. The four-month-old Virtual Shtetl Web site tells much, much more about the 1,000 years of Jewish history in Poland—a country that once offered the community religious refuge in medieval times and later became home to the world's biggest Jewish community. Like so many others in Europe, that community was almost obliterated during World War II. Virtual Shtetl creator Albert Stankowski knows it will never come back, but he hopes the site will at least resurrect some of it online. Stankowski likes to call the site a museum without walls—a multimedia precursor to the 2012 completion of Warsaw's long-anticipated Museum of the History of Polish Jews. But the shtetl site is more treasure trove than institutional preview. Its key feature: wiki technology enabling registered users to contribute memories, documents, and photos to the bilingual (English and Polish) site. The result is a portal where both ...
  • Surviving Darfur: An African Doctor's Memoir

    Few Darfuri women are willing to talk about being raped. One survivor explains why she has gone public—and how she hopes it will help her ravaged people.
  • Luis Moreno-Ocampo: The Global Lawman

    Midway through his nine-year term as prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo is ebullient about the prospects—and progress—of the tribunal. As bureaucracies go, he says, the court has moved faster than expected against those accused of war crimes. In New York last week to testify to the United Nations Security Council on Sudan, Moreno-Ocampo, 55, spoke to NEWSWEEK's Arlene Getz and Jonathan Tepperman about the work of the court and its evolving relationship with the United States. ...
  • A ‘New Model’ to Fight War Crimes

    The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court discusses the progress—and problems—in his battle to bring war criminals to justice.
  • Do-Gooders Gone Bad

    Activists have brought issues like Darfur into living rooms. But they may be doing more harm than good.
  • Darfur: Packaging a Tragedy

    What the Save Darfur movement did right, where it went wrong—and what its strategy can teach us about the future of political advocacy.
  • Q&A: ‘Darfur Now’ Director Braun

    Director Ted Braun discusses why he made 'Darfur Now' and the sometimes dangerous experience of shooting the documentary in Sudan.
  • I Had a Home in Africa

    The wall around the ha- rare cemetery is gone. Corn grows among the graves. From the soiled clumps of paper and the fetid smell, it's clear the burial ground in Zimbabwe is being used as an open-air toilet. The garden of remembrance is still shaded by wild musasa trees, but the brass plaques inscribed with the names of the cremated are missing—every single one. Thieves melted them down, explains a cemetery worker, "to make brass handles for coffins for the people who died of this AIDS."Peter Godwin's account of this 2002 visit to his sister's tomb comes midway through "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun," his memoir about his family in southern Africa. It is one of many poignant moments in a book that serves as both a stark chronicle of the devastation wreaked by President Robert Mugabe and the pain of a son trying to care for his aging parents. Godwin, 49, shuttles between New York and Harare as his father's health deteriorates and his mother's hip collapses. Each visit is complicated...
  • Books: A Haunting Zimbabwe Memoir

    The wall around the Harare cemetery is gone. Corn grows among the graves. From the soiled clumps of paper and the fetid smell, it's clear the burial ground in Zimbabwe is being used as an open-air toilet. The garden of remembrance is still shaded by wild musasa trees, but the brass plaques inscribed with the names of the cremated are missing—every single one. Thieves melted them down, explains a cemetery worker, "to make brass handles for coffins for the people who died of this AIDS."Peter Godwin's account of this 2002 visit to his sister's tomb comes midway through "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun," his memoir about his family in southern Africa. It is one of many poignant moments in a book that serves as both a stark chronicle of the devastation wreaked by President Robert Mugabe and the pain of a son trying to care for his aging parents. Godwin, 49, shuttles between New York and Harare as his father's health deteriorates and his mother's hip collapses. Each visit is complicated by...
  • In Search of an Online Utopia

    Jimmy Wales describes himself as a pathological optimist. He’d have to be. The 40-year-old former options trader is the founder of Wikipedia , the free online encyclopedia that allows anyone to edit any entry—a by-the-people-for-the-people approach that Wales describes as a bid to give everyone free access to the sum of all human knowledge.The Wikipedia phenom currently has more than 5 million entries in multiple languages and draws an estimated 7 billion page views a month. Now Wales—known to Wikipedians worldwide as the “God King”—is embarking on a new venture: a new wiki-inspired search engine than plans to rely on human intelligence “to do what algorithms cannot.” Wales spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Arlene Getz about his work, his Bono connection, the money he hasn’t made from Wikipedia and what Microsoft’s Bill Gates said to him when they met at last week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos . Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: How did you come up with Wikipedia?Jimmy Wales: I had the...
  • This Week Online

    F.W. de Klerk, Former president, South Africa: Since there's no allegation that Iran actually has nuclear weapons, the debate is about Iran enriching uranium, and the suspicion that it is moving toward a nuclear capability. This differs from the situation in South Africa when I became president in 1989. We had six nuclear bombs on the shelf and the seventh was near completion. It was not my decision to build the bomb; I did not have the power to stop it. I was never enthusiastic about it. But it was built never to be used ... to have as a deterrent. It was built in the face of a definite threat by the U.S.S.R. to directly or indirectly gain control of the whole of southern Africa. For Arlene Getz's full interview go to NEWSWEEK.com on MSNBC.com.On Tuesday, read Health for Life M.D. Robert Stern 's answers to the skin-care questions you submitted. Read The Oval, our column on the White House by Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey. Published Wednesday. Join Barbara Kantrowitz for a Live...
  • Water, War and Politics

    The fly just wouldn't quit. First it perched on Laura Bush's nose, then her upper lip. The First Lady did her best to ignore it, smoothly continuing with her message about the need for women's rights to Middle Eastern leaders gathered in Jordan last Saturday. "Freedom, especially freedom for women, is more than the absence of oppression," she said. "It's the right to speak and vote and worship freely." Her speech, however, soon was punctuated by abrupt little hand waves--puzzling her audience until they spotted a close-up of the insect on the giant video screens around the hall.Flies are hardly scarce on the shores of the Dead Sea. But those so inclined could view the fly that penetrated the air-conditioned sanctuary as a metaphor for nature and the intrusiveness of the environment. Mrs. Bush's speech was delivered at a World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting that has become known as "Davos in the desert"--a reference to the better-known WEF gathering held every year in the Swiss ski...
  • 'Extremism is a Challenge'

    When Laura Bush addressed Middle Eastern leaders in Jordan on Saturday, she praised Afghanistan's new government for its progress in extending rights to women after the toppling of the Taliban. But the government faces increased internal and external pressures from Taliban remnants and radical fundamentalism. Afghanistan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah talked to Newsweek's Arlene Getz at the World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan.What are Afghanistan's greatest priorities right now?That is difficult to say. We have security challenges to deal with, we have the issues of human rights and women's rights as a top priority, we have the issue of narcotics as one of the big challenges, we have institution building, capacity building, so it's not just one aspect. In a country which was ruined for years and years in all these fields, every area becomes a priority.Are Taliban supporters gaining ground in Afghanistan?The Taliban and their ideology were rejected by the people of Afghanistan...
  • 'Religion is Morally Neutral'

    During the harshest years of apartheid, Desmond Tutu was always an outspoken voice of conscience. The 73-year-old Anglican archbishop faced down dirty tricks, arrests and assassination threats to lead protest marches and highlight racial injustice in his native South Africa. And when his country finally became a democracy in 1994, Tutu went on to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission--a widely-admired panel that granted amnesty to human rights violators and set a global model for other countries trying to come to terms with legacies of political violence.Now Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, wants to move out of the public eye. "I'm striving to cut down and have a much more contemplative lifestyle," he told NEWSWEEK. That, however, may be easier said than done. The winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize is continuing to have his say, describing the U.S. invasion of Iraq as "immoral" and criticizing South African President Thabo Mbeki--successor to Nelson Mandela--for...
  • 'A Long Road Ahead'

    When Bashar Assad became president of Syria four years ago, world leaders were optimistic he would reform the Baathist regime his authoritarian father, Hafiz Assad, ran for three decades. That optimism has since faded, and Washington's relations with Damascus have now declined to the point where President George W. Bush this week ordered sanctions against Syria.The White House says it has taken the step because of what it sees as Syria's support for militant Palestinian groups like Hamas, Syria's continued military presence in Lebanon, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and its failure to stop foreign fighters from crossing the border into Iraq. The sanctions--which include banning exports to Syria, prohibiting Syrian aircraft from landing in the United States and requiring American financial institutions to sever correspondent accounts with the Commercial Bank of Syria--are largely seen as symbolic. Syrian aircraft currently do not fly into the United States and American...
  • 'From Mistake To Mistake'

    Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah is one of the most senior religious authorities among Shiite Muslims. Based in Beirut, he won a wide public following for his role as the spiritual leader of Hizbullah, the militant group best known for its resistance to Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon. Fadlallah is no longer so closely associated with Hizbullah, but, in the hierarchical Shia world, his teachings still carry enormous weight.That status could have a significant impact in Iraq, where young Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is spearheading some of the violent resistance to the American occupation. Fadlallah, 69, was born and educated in the Iraqi city of Najaf, and his opinions could influence the direction of the country's majority-Shiite population--a group viciously oppressed by Saddam Hussein. "Fadlallah, for his followers, has a divine touch," says Nizar Hamzeh, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut.Fadlallah met with a delegation of...
  • 'I Cried'

    We drove in a tight convoy behind Archbishop Desmond Tutu, masking our nervousness behind lame jokes. It was April 27, 1994, and we were traveling to Guguletu, the racially fraught South African township where black youths had stoned and stabbed a white American to death just a few months earlier. This time, the neighborhood was making news for a different reason: the archbishop--a 62-year-old Nobel laureate--was finally going to be allowed to vote in the country of his birth. "The day has come," an ecstatic Tutu shouted, striding past other black first-time voters reaching out to touch his purple robes.A decade has passed since South Africans of all races took part in the election that ended apartheid. On April 14, the nation's 20.7 million voters will again go to the polls where, barring some stupendous upset, they will re-elect the ruling African National Congress (ANC), now led by President Thabo Mbeki. The only suspense will likely be whether the ANC will win control of all...
  • Until Next Year

    It's probably a stretch to use fashion as a metaphor for events in Davos. But what decision-makers and power-brokers wore-and didn't wear-might function as one indicator of the mood at a meeting that ended with ski races and funicular rides in the Swiss resort town yesterday.What organizers didn't want participants to wear this year were ties. The idea, they said, was to create a less formal, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work atmosphere A large TIES FORBIDDEN sign greeted participants at the entrance to the congress center; men who violated it were told they had to contribute five Swiss francs (a little more than $4) to UNICEF. Many, including WEF founder CEO Klaus Schwab, found it too hard to appear without their corporate armor-and paid some 10,000 francs (more than $8,000) as a result.Others tried to get into the spirit of things. Some self-consciously appeared in casual weekend gear; others just kept the suits but wore open-necked shirts. The result was a curious melange of...
  • Shooting Sacred Cows

    Jonathan Shapiro spends his days poking fun at the powerful and famous. Arguably South Africa's best-known syndicated political cartoonist, he has used satire to point out the horrors of his country's old apartheid regime and the flaws and foibles of its new government. It hasn't always been easy: back in the 1980s, the white government arrested and jailed him; today he agonizes over criticizing leaders he admires.Shapiro, who draws under the name of Zapiro, doesn't only direct his barbs at his home country. No fan of George W. Bush, he has drawn some bitter cartoons ridiculing the U.S. president. One of his drawings shows U.N. weapons inspectors carrying Bush out of the White House. The caption: "Tell Mr. Annan we found another empty warhead." Others have been even harsher, with scatological depictions of surgeons searching for the presidential brain. (Hint: they weren't examining his head.)Shapiro was one of several international cartoonists invited to the World Economic Forum in...
  • 'Tomorrow's Threat'

    Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism for almost three decades. In the early 1990s, he was one of the first analysts to predict that religiously motivated groups might start using weapons of mass destruction. At the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week, he played a key role in panels on the topic, moderating discussions on setting the agenda for the war on terror and the resilience of groups like Al Qaeda. "Terrorism is constantly evolving," he says. "Our responses have to be equally innovative."Hoffman, 49, is currently the director of the Washington office of the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research institution. The founding director of the well-known center on terrorism at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, he is also the editor in chief of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and the author of two books on the subject. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Arlene Getz in the Swiss ski resort about the challenges ahead in fighting terrorism-and what groups like Al Qaeda...
  • Philosopher President

    His speech was couched in erudite philosophical terms. But when Mohammed Khatami delivered his keynote address to the political and business elites gathered in Davos on Wednesday, there was no mistaking the Iranian president's political subtext. "Democratic norms are not identical packaged goods ready for export," Khatami said at the formal opening session of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting here. "True partnership calls for genuine dialogue."Khatami could have been expressing disapproval of Washington's plans for setting up Iraq's next government. Or he could have been referring to the turmoil in his own country, where several ministers resigned today to protest the exclusion of reformists from next month's parliamentary elections. His central message, however, was unambiguous: he wants governments to engage in dialogue because he believes it avoids resentment and promotes a culture of human rights. "The miracle of dialogue is necessary for global security," said Khatami. ...
  • A Complex Agenda

    Klaus Schwab has always been the public face of the high-profile meetings in Davos. The founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, he was the initiator more than 30 years ago of the idea of bringing together Europe's chief executives to discuss global business strategies in the Swiss resort town.Schwab established the WEF in 1971 as a nonprofit foundation, eventually expanding its annual gatherings into intense events attended by CEOs and political leaders from around the world. The deep-voiced, German-speaking professor sees the gatherings as catalysts for change, an opportunity for corporate leaders to examine ways in which big business can make the world a better place. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Arlene Getz about his hopes for the 2004 meeting--and what he expects to be his favorite event. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: What is the main message you would like participants to take home from this year's meeting?Klaus Schwab: The main message is firmly incorporated into the theme...
  • Q&Amp;A: On The Road Again

    The boom days certainly aren't back. But Americans are less leery of leaving home this summer than they were a year ago, when fears of another terror attack were sharper and war with Iraq was looming. According to a forecast by the Travel Industry Association (TIA), tourists across the nation will take 275.4 million leisure trips in June, July and August--an increase of 2.5 percent over last summer.Overall, a TIA survey found that 80 percent of Americans say they plan to make at least one vacation trip this summer. That will prompt a 1 percent increase in air travel and a more than 2 percent rise in auto travel. Yet while this may mean better business for the tourism industry--especially because so many vacationers plan to stay inside the United States--travel analysts remain cautious about predicting a better times for the $525 billion a year industry.One concern: the drop in revenue from international tourism. Foreign tourists to the United States have fallen by almost 20 percent...
  • Q&Amp;A: Gays And The Gop

    Gays have always been more likely to vote Democrat. But as the 2004 White House race shifts into gear--and the issue of same-sex marriage becomes a national talking point--a few Republicans are stepping up their efforts to attract homosexuals into the big tent. ...
  • Q&A: What Would Plato Have Done?

    Aristotle called it "phronesis," or practical wisdom. Lou Marinoff calls it therapy for the sane. A philosophy professor at the City College of New York, Marinoff believes that those struggling to cope with modern living should delve into the accumulated wisdom of the world's great thinkers and writers."You can't always change your circumstances," Marinoff writes in his newly released book, "The Big Questions: How Philosophy Can Change Your Life." (Bloomsbury 2003.) "[B]ut you can always change the way in which you interpret them." Aside from his teaching, Marinoff has been a philosophical counselor and consultant for the last 12 years. The founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA), he also presides over philosophy cafes in New York and at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.Marinoff spoke to NEWSWEEK's Arlene Getz about life, love and the battle of the sexes.NEWSWEEK: Your book is billed as answering the central...

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