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  • The Only Way Out

    The war launched by Yasir Arafat against Israel has taken the life of the peace process. Both the discourse and the mechanisms of peacemaking went up in the fire of the bloodiest confrontation ever between Israelis and Palestinians. The assumption of Ariel Sharon that the Islamic and nationalist aspirations unleashed by this Palestinian War of Independence can be quelled through one more interim agreement, where Israel will give away a slice of land in exchange for security--a security that Arafat can provide only by cracking down on his allies from Hamas and Islamic Jihad--is not sustainable.Continuing the negotiations from the point they were left cannot be seriously contemplated either. Throughout the negotiations we found that this is not a process of "land for peace." Behind the mantle of Oslo, Arafat embarked on a mythological campaign aimed at undermining the legitimacy of a two-state solution to the conflict. The Palestinians have the only national movement that strives to...
  • An Idea Whose Time Has Come...

    In 1854 my great-grandfather, Morris Marable, was sold on an auction block in Georgia for $500. For his white slave master, the sale was just "business as usual." But to Morris Marable and his heirs, slavery was a crime against our humanity. This pattern of human-rights violations against enslaved African-Americans continued under Jim Crow segregation for nearly another century.The fundamental problem of American democracy in the 21st century is the problem of "structural racism": the deep patterns of socioeconomic inequality and accumulated disadvantage that are coded by race, and constantly justified in public discourse by both racist stereotypes and white indifference. Do Americans have the capacity and vision to dismantle these structural barriers that deny democratic rights and opportunities to millions of their fellow citizens?This country has previously witnessed two great struggles to achieve a truly multicultural democracy.The First Reconstruction (1865-1877) ended slavery...
  • Hello From The U.S. Of Type A

    George W. Bush and I have been on vacation at the same time, both of us in small towns shimmering in the heat, full of corn fields and, at least in my case, lumbering rodents with powerful suicidal impulses stiffening on the road shoulder. It's a working vacation, and if you don't believe that, just take a look at the bottom of the cellar stairs and that pile of dirty clothes that came home from camp in the duffel bags.The president's vacation is a working vacation, too. He bloodied his finger putting in an hour for Habitat for Humanity, went to New Mexico for the first day of school and gave a nationally televised speech on stem-cell research while the world's biggest flies divebombed the window behind him, distracting the American people. He also had a cheeseburger and onion rings at the Coffee Station, a place near his Texas ranch, with a group of preselected local corn growers. "I'm not sharing with any of you," he told them.This is what the president of the United States is...
  • The Growing Risks Of Fringe Lending

    Flip on the TV at 3 a.m. and you'll see how much banking has changed in the last decade. Slick announcers shouting "Bad credit? No problem!" entice once ignored, debt-laden consumers with the offer of easy credit and quick cash. Since 1995 there has been an explosion in loans to low-income consumers who have spotty credit histories. Banks hail these so-called subprime loans as the "democratization of debt," but it comes at a high cost to borrowers. Subprime loans charge between 10 percent and 24 percent interest rates and carry high fees. Those high interest rates make for fat profits, which is why the $300 billion subprime business has nearly quadrupled since 1995 and attracted the nation's biggest banks, including Citibank, Wells Fargo and, until last week, Bank of America. But critics accuse subprime lenders of preying on financially unsophisticated consumers, who now are struggling with their new debts as the economy slows. "I definitely worry about money more than ever," says...
  • Books: Recollecting World War Ii

    Of the witnesses who are still alive, almost all remember the cherry trees in the French provincial capital of Tulle on June 9, 1944, the day of the hangings. They recall "the SS men, in their dark uniforms, gorging themselves amid the bright red fruit and green leaves," writes Adam Nossiter in "The Algeria Hotel: France, Memory and the Second World War" (Houghton Mifflin. 302 pages). And the way the Nazi soldiers "carried off the cherries, laughing and yelling," even as they executed, with cool efficiency, 99 young Frenchmen. The victims were selected at random, then hanged from lampposts and balconies. Some witnesses remember sounds more than images: the bodies being cut down afterward, or the accordion music that was played, gleeful and incongruous, throughout the horror.How does a society live with memories such as these? How do the experiences of atrocities endure among those who witnessed them, were victimized by them or collaborated in them? And how do those memories persist...
  • Meeting Robert Tools

    I did not know the patient's name or anything about his life. We were, in fact, complete strangers. Yet from the moment I heard about the groundbreaking surgery in which he became the first recipient of the AbioCor artificial heart, I felt a connection to the anonymous man. ...
  • The New Green Game

    Giant multinational corporations aren't often seen as saviors of the rain forest. But this past May an American environmental nonprofit called The Nature Conservancy persuaded General Motors to part with $10 million for rebuilding a Brazilian rain forest devastated by water-buffalo ranching. GM's money will ensure that trees are replanted, and that what remains of the forest is preserved. While GM says its main motivation for this project was to "restore and preserve" the rain forest, the company also had one eye on the fast-developing global market in tradable pollution allowances. If the market develops as both economists and business executives expect, the automaker could eventually receive credits for the carbon dioxide that the new forest will absorb over the next 40 years. GM might then be able to use those credits to offset some of its own CO2 emissions, allowing it to meet targets for reducing the greenhouse gases that most environmental scientists say are responsible for...
  • Don't Lose It: Seven Tips

    You've got credit-card bloat, a monster mortgage and an expensive auto lease. You're saving for retirement but not nearly enough. If you have kids, you haven't a clue how they'll get through school. And then there are the little things, like food.Time to dial back, spend less, save more. But you can't fix everything at once--especially when you're trying to dig out of a hole. What should you do first, and which are the next steps along the road? For some answers, I turned to the experts at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, who get people out of jams like these. Not every adviser takes the same approach. But after weighing all the opinions, I worked out a list that I think should help almost everyone: ...
  • Africa's Ringing Revolution

    Rooting for coins, Trevor Meintjes tugs a cellular phone from the pocket of his grubby shorts. It is late afternoon in a crime-ridden, run-down suburb of Johannesburg, where the 14-year-old street kid does a brisk trade guarding parked cars. In the hands of a homeless teenager, the chunky Nokia seems a strange affectation, a token from a far-off world of wealth and influence. But for Trevor--and millions of Africans--it's much more. Mobile phones are fulfilling ordinary Africans' aspirations for a voice, as well as a continent's desire to bridge the technology gap that's stranded it at the margins of the Information Age.In the process, mobile phones have transformed everything from Africans' sense of empowerment to the way their countries work. Fierce competition among multinationals and prepaid phone cards have placed the devices within reach of people without bank accounts or credit records. Modern digital networks have given citizens unprecedented power to scrutinize--and...
  • What Did The Cia Know

    At a secluded military base on Croatia's Adriatic coast, an unpiloted CIA plane rolled down the runway, then climbed slowly over tall pine trees and headed into hostile airspace. It was July 1995, and a new conflict was brewing. Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic had conquered Croatia's Krajina border zone with Bosnia in 1991, and now Croatia was preparing a lightning assault to get it back. Americans in military uniform, operating from a cream-colored trailer near the runway, directed the GNAT-750 drone to photograph Serb troop positions and weapons emplacements. The images were transmitted back to base, analyzed and then passed on to the Pentagon. According to top Croat intelligence officials, copies were also sent to the headquarters of the Croatian general in command of "Operation Storm."The classified reconnaissance missions continued for months, until long after Croat forces had pushed the Serbs into neighboring Bosnia. And the information proved vital to the success of...
  • ... Or A Childish Illusion Of Justice?

    My father was born in the last year of the 19th century. His father was very likely born into slavery, though there are no official records to confirm this. Still, from family accounts, I can plausibly argue that my grandfather was born a slave.When I tell people this, I worry that I may seem conceited, like someone claiming a connection to royalty. The extreme experience of slavery--its commitment to broken-willed servitude--was so intense a crucible that it must have taken a kind of genius to survive it. In the jaws of slavery and segregation, blacks created a life-sustaining form of worship, rituals for every human initiation from childbirth to death, a rich folk mythology, a world-famous written literature, a complete cuisine, a truth-telling comic sensibility and, of course, some of the most glorious music the world has ever known.Like the scion of an aristocratic family, I mention my grandfather to stand a little in the light of the black American genius. So my first objection...
  • South Korea: Breaking Some News

    Kim Dae Jung knows what it's like to be tossed in jail by a vengeful government: he spent three years in prison under South Korea's military dictatorship. So the dissident-turned-president should surely empathize with the country's newest high-profile prisoners.On Friday, as part of a tax probe initiated by Kim's administration, a panel of judges ordered the arrest and detention of three of the most powerful media magnates in the country--Bang Sang Hoon, president of the Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's biggest newspaper; Kim Byung Kwan, joint owner of the Dong-A Ilbo, and Cho Hee Joon, who controls the Kukmin Daily. (All three deny the charges, which include embezzlement and tax evasion.) Several other newspaper executives may be indicted shortly. The arrests cap a four-and-a-half-month tax audit of nearly two dozen media companies, a probe the government claims is necessary to root out corruption in the country's free-wheeling press. Given the targets, though, the actions can't help but...
  • Off To The Funny Farm

    Josh Harris Web-cast his life for 100 days at welive-inpublic.com. That cost him his company, his girlfriend--and $10 million of personal cash when the Net bottomed out. (A $3 million Manhattan loft, a $700,000 Millennium party, live sex shows, helicopters and a machine-gun-shooting range didn't help cut costs.) He's since retreated to an upstate New York apple farm. Next project: "We Farm in Public." PERI spoke to this e-gricultural adventurer: ...
  • Germany: The East--Still Sinking

    Commies love concrete. P. J. O'Rourke, the American humorist, wrote that about the old East bloc in the dying days of communism. But he could have been talking about Complex No. 7 in the city of Eisenhuttenstadt, a battered steel town in eastern Germany. It's a vast block of six-story prefabs, begrimed in the brownish-gray hues of slag and coal dust, hemmed in by a highway overpass and an overgrown railway. To one side a boarded-up supermarket offers a blank face to graffitists who seem to have long gone. On another, the inaptly named Pizzeria Paradieso caters to a clientele, at 8 p.m., of precisely zero. As for Complex No. 7, a third of its flats are empty, their windows dark and bare. Someday, "the forest will be growing here again," says Paul Bortel, one of the elderly residents who call these grim precincts home. "Anyone who's good at anything moves away," he says, waving vaguely westward toward the setting sun.Chancellor Gerhard Schroder visited last week, a stop in his annual...
  • The Best Health Care Goes Only So Far

    Modern lore has it that in England death is imminent, in Canada inevitable and in California optional. Small wonder. Americans' life expectancy has nearly doubled over the past century. Failing hips can be replaced, clinical depression controlled, cataracts removed in a 30-minute surgical procedure. Such advances offer the aging population a quality of life that was unimaginable when I entered medicine 50 years ago. But not even a great health-care system can cure death--and our failure to confront that reality now threatens this greatness of ours.Death is normal; we are genetically programmed to disintegrate and perish, even under optimal conditions. We all understand that at some level, yet as medical consumers we treat death as a problem to be solved. Shielded by third-party payers from the cost of our care, we demand everything that can possibly be done for us, even if it's futile. The most obvious example is late-stage cancer care. A vast industry pushes for aggressive and...
  • 'We Have To Sacrifice'

    When Gina Garro and Brian Duplisea adopted 4-month-old Andres from Colombia last month, they were determined to take time off from work to care for him. Six years ago, after their daughter, Melina, was born, the family scraped by on Duplisea's $36,000 salary as a construction worker so Garro, a special-education teacher, could stay home. Now, since Garro's job furnishes the family health insurance, she'll head back to work this fall while Duplisea juggles diapers and baby bottles. His boss agreed to the time off--but he will have to forgo his $18-an-hour pay. It won't be easy. Though Garro's $40,000 salary will cover their mortgage, the couple will have to freeze their retirement accounts, scale back on Melina's after-school activities--and pray that nothing goes wrong with the car. "It takes away from your cushion and your security," says Garro. "Things will be tight."The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act was supposed to help families like Garro's, offering a safety net to...
  • Debating The Wages Of Slavery

    How many of you have heard of reparations?" activist-attorney Adjoa A. Aiyetoro asks a crowd of 200 African-Americans gathered at Agape Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago on a recent Saturday afternoon. About 10 hands go up. Undeterred, she explains the concept: in recent years, Holocaust victims, World War II-era Japanese-Americans and Aboriginal groups in Australia and New Zealand have all been successful in extracting compensation from governments and corporations for the legal and moral wrongs committed against them. Are the descendants of America's slaves any less deserving of restitution? The crowd erupts with shouts of approval and applause. "In order to solve a problem, you've got to admit you've got a problem," says Aiyetoro, who for the past 14 years as cofounder and legal consultant for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) has been on a grass-roots campaign to make America do just that. "We need you to embrace our strategy."From churches...
  • Wait Gain

    The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is infamous for its queues. People stand in line for everything--hospitals, trains and banks, often trailing around far too many corners. But the waiting may be over. For as little as 60 cents, so-called standing-in-line professionals will take your place. Profitable? Line-standers are some of the best paid of the 10 million migrant workers in the region. Wu, a stand-in from Sichuan who teams up with his wife, says, "We make more than the county chief."
  • Butcher Of Baghdad Or Broadway Buff?

    The hottest theater ticket in New York may be for "The Producers," but if you're willing to go off Broadway, way off Broadway, to Baghdad, the hottest ticket may soon be for "Zabibah and the King," a torrid love story that some members of the Iraqi press claim was written by none other than Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi National Theater plans to adapt the 160-page novel, released earlier this year by an anonymous author, into the country's largest musical production. The story tells of a tormented king who falls in love with an unhappily married woman named Zabibah. CIA analysts, who pored over a copy of the book found in an Arabic-language bookshop in London, say she symbolizes the Iraqi people. She is eventually raped and killed. PERI's advice to Saddam? Less rape and murder, more soft-shoe.
  • At War With History

    Only the guys who cut off their fingers were new. Otherwise the drama played out in North Asia last week followed a familiar script: Japanese prime minister visits controversial war shrine, while refusing to alter a new junior-high-school history book that allegedly whitewashes Japan's record in World War II. Neighboring capitals protest loudly; some Japanese protest more quietly. (And in South Korea, 20 young men lop off the tips of their pinkie fingers in a morbid gesture of fury.) The lingering impression is an all-too-common one--that Japan still refuses to come to grips with its warmongering past.What is less familiar is the fact that nearly every Asian country betrays a similarly slipshod memory. The finger-chopping protesters probably don't realize that their own high-school history books contain only one sentence on the Korean "comfort women" abused by Japanese soldiers. Indonesian textbooks don't even mention the estimated 500,000 people massacred in 1965 after Suharto came...
  • In The Eye Of The Beholder

    Perhaps the most striking thing about history textbooks around the region is what details they choose to leave out. But even so, a close reading reveals some striking passages that have made their way into the curriculum: ...
  • Middle East: The Making Of A Martyr

    In the dusty alleys of Qabatiya Village just outside Jenin, Mohammed Nasser was known as the neighborhood kid who made good. A rising star in the Palestinian Authority's military police, the 28-year-old cop had one of the force's most sensitive jobs: guarding a nest of Islamic radicals who were held in protective custody in a three-story prison on Jenin's outskirts. But Nasser's proximity to the extremists apparently had unintended consequences. Last week Nasser slung a black bag loaded with explosives over his shoulder and walked into the Wall Street cafe in Haifa, where he blew himself up and injured 21 Israelis. "He was so affected by the killings of Palestinians, by the oppression," says a close friend and fellow cop. "He came to identify with the men he jailed."Last week's suicide bombing marked a new stage in the Middle East's cycle of violence: evidence of the power of radical Islamic groups to convert even Palestinian police--often their jailers--to their cause. Nowhere do...
  • Busted By The Copyright Cops

    When FBI agents arrested him in the parking lot of a Las Vegas hotel on July 16, Dmitry Sklyarov thought it must have been some mistake. These men would ask him who he was, and he would tell them: a benign 26-year-old computer programmer who'd come from his native Russia to give a technical talk, a graduate student of his nation's top engineering school, a family man about to return to his wife and two small children. And then they would realize their error and let him go. But he was indeed their intended target. For the next three weeks this slim, soft-spoken programmer was sucked into an American gulag. Eleven days in a Las Vegas jail, unable to contact his family. Then moved, in handcuffs and shackles, to an Oklahoma federal prison. Finally transported to San Jose, California, where he was given an opportunity to post $50,000 bail.His alleged crime? Writing Advanced eBook Processor, a computer program sold by his Russian employer, ElcomSoft, that allows purchasers of Adobe e...
  • Platitudes Or Prophecy?

    Sociologists tell us that the United States is experiencing a religious revival--a third "great awakening" echoing those of the 18th and 19th centuries. But if the best-seller lists are any guide, the revival looks more like a collective leaving of the senses. The hottest books among evangelical Christians, for example, is a religious sci-fi series, "Left Behind," in which fundamentalist evangelist Tim LaHaye and co-author Jerry Jenkins dramatize in pulpy prose what happens to the unconverted who fail to get "raptured" by Christ at the beginning of the endtimes. Then there is the Dalai Lama, whose serious books on Buddhist teachings failed to sell two decades ago. Today His Holiness has been repackaged as the new millennium's Norman Vincent Peale in a flood of popular commentaries--ghost-written--on how to achieve happiness and peace of mind. These market mainstays are now under challenge by a fresh crop of books that demonstrate how easily wispy spirituality passes these days as...
  • Correction

    In "Where the Girls Are," A sidebar accompanying our Aug. 6 cover story on the Boy Scouts, we used an incorrect abbreviation for the Girl Scouts' national organization. It should have been GSUSA.
  • What Might Have Been

    In August 1991 communist hard-liners moved to overthrow Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. They chose his vice president, Gennady Yanayev, to replace him. In the first hours of the coup everything went as planned: Gorbachev was arrested at his vacation home, tank divisions poured into Moscow and the media parroted the coup makers' declarations. Then things began to unravel. Boris Yeltsin--recently elected to the presidency of the Russian Federation--marshaled resistance, and a growing number of Russians defied the plotters. But it was when Yanayev and his colleagues went on TV that the jig was up. Ten years later Russians still recall Yanayev's hands, trembling. He was right to be nervous: in a matter of days Yeltsin was triumphant, Gorbachev returned to Moscow and the plotters were under arrest. From the cell where he spent the next year and a half, Yanayev witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Still a devout communist, he spoke last week with NEWSWEEK's Eve Conant. Excerpts: ...