At a makeshift theatre in the port of Tel Aviv, hundreds of young immigrants from Melbourne, the Five Towns, and other points in the Anglophone diaspora gathered recently to hear from the newest phenomenon in Israeli politics, Naftali Bennett. A forty-year-old settlement leader, software entrepreneur, and ex-Army commando, Bennett promises to build a sturdy electoral bridge between the religious and the secular, the hilltop outposts of the West Bank and the start-up suburbs of the coastal plain.
Entries in The New Yorker (7)
They’re bracing to be hit. And I think that they’re really worried, and I think they’re caught in a bind over how to spin the situation. When I was there, the policy was obfuscation. They hadn’t issued figures on household goods in over a year. About two weeks ago, the Central Bank started to release numbers. They seem to have made a decision. Is that to say, ‘We’re going to do something about it?’ Is it to blame the international community?
From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.
It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K.
“The Bush people have been let off. The telecom companies got immunity [over illegal surveillance]. The only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers.”
Libya First-Hand: A Scout Oath in Brega "Duty to God and to Your Country, and to Help Others” (Anderson)
“Before I left Libya, there was nothing left for me here,” Osama ben Sadik said. “Now, when I see the sea, I smell a different air. I can see the sky, blue; I have never seen it so beautiful.” He said that his friends in Martinsville, Virginia, had appealed to him not to go to Libya. “I reminded them that Henry County was named after Patrick Henry --- and remember what he said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death’? Well, that’s what we’re facing here. I’d like to see my country have some of the freedom that America has.” Osama’s eyes shone. “You know, my son Muhannad has showed me what it is to be a man. He woke me up.” On February 25th, a ship had evacuated American citizens to Malta. “I told him to go and join his mother in the States, but he said, ‘No, Dad, I must stay.’ He’s a great guy, a basketball player, you know. And a Boy Scout.”
Often called a suburb of Damascus, Douma is a mostly lower-middle-class town of about 112,000 people struggling with unemployment. There are some doctors, lawyers, and professionals, and students who commute to Damascus University, but most residents are workers and lower-ranking government employees. Those who don’t use the Internet have at least some friends or relations who do, and certainly have access to mobile phones. The younger generation is, of course, more technologically savvy; many know how to keep in touch with people in and outside Syria, and therefore have taken the lead in the protests. Demonstrations began early on in Douma, both in solidarity with the people of Daraa, and because its residents had similar grievances against the Syrian government’s political corruption and oppressive security state.
During weeks of reporting in Benghazi and along the chaotic, shifting front line, I’ve spent a great deal of time with these volunteers. The hard core of the fighters has been the shabab --- the young people whose protests in mid-February sparked the uprising. They range from street toughs to university students (many in computer science, engineering, or medicine), and have been joined by unemployed hipsters and middle-aged mechanics, merchants, and storekeepers. There is a contingent of workers for foreign companies: oil and maritime engineers, construction supervisors, translators. There are former soldiers, their gunstocks painted red, green, and black --- the suddenly ubiquitous colors of the pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag.