PP AA SS SS PP OO R T Duke University’s International Magazine
THE THREE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN KOLKATA AND IN HEAVEN CHINA’S NEWEST LITTLE RED BOOK
SUPERSTITIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE
MAKING YOUR MOUTH WATER
ARE YOU CARRYING
Volume 4 Fall 2006
EDITOR’S NOTE No matter how much we deny it, we live in a world that is growing smaller each day. Sushi is a staple of the North Carolinian diet, the golden arches are recognized all across the world and visitors to Mongolia can find the nubile figure of Britney Spears plastered on a yurt wall. Ironically, we are still ignorant about the world we live in. I grew up in Hong Kong—a city as multicultural as any city can get—yet every day here at Duke I’m constantly reminded that there are things I don’t know. The other day at Grace’s, my friends were horrified to learn that I thought Polish was a Romance language (too bad it’s Slavic). I will also admit, though reluctantly, that I once thought that Venice was in Venezuela—and that Venezuela was in Europe. We’ve all had similar experiences. There are many such gaps in our knowledge of the world that we could easily fill. So let’s go forth and stuff our heads choc-o-bloc full. Turn the page and go find out what volunteering in Kolkata is like. Find out what it’s like fishing on the high seas in the Bahamas and learn what superstitions pervade this world. Bon voyage, mes amis. Christy Choi
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Christy Choi PRODUCER Alex Shum MANAGING EDITORS Gretchen Doores Nile Ledbetter SENIOR EDITORS Holley Horrell Leland McNabb Caitlin Monjeau EDITORS Michelle Fang Melanie Wright GRAPHICS Nayantara Atal Christy Choi Andrew Cheesman Jordan Hosmer-Henner Leland McNabb Caitlin Monjeau Rebecca Mutesi COPY EDITORS Andrew Cheesman Ashley Dean Jordan Hosmer-Henner WRITERS Andrew Cheesman Doug Clark Andy Cuningham Gretchen Doores Michelle Fang Holley Horrell Megan McCrea Leland McNabb Caitlin Monjeau Jeff Stern Melanie Wright
Passport Magazine is a Status C Independent Publication under the Undergraduate Publications Board. The views expressed in this publication are the authors’ own and do not reflect the opinions of the magazine. 1
CONTENTS In the Spotlight: The Toronto Isles
by gretchen doores
Ma Vie Bohème
by megan mccrea
China’s Newest Little Red Book
by andy cunningham
AIDS: The Population Connection
by doug clark
Dim Sum: Choose Your Own Adventure
by michelle fang
The Young Man and the Sea
by leland mcnabb
The Three People You Meet in Kolkata and in Heaven
by andy cunningham
Digging Through the Rubble
by jeff stern
International and Irrational?
by andrew cheesman
by caitlin monjeau
A Not-So-Misspent Youth
by melanie wright
Argentina’s Revolt by jeff stern
by holley horrell Fall 2006
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
THE TORONTO ISLANDS
by Gretchen Doores The Toronto Islands are composed of three main islands: Ward’s Island, Centre Island and Hanlan’s Point. The islands measure a total area of 230 hectares and boast an impressive array of entertainment options for singles and families alike. But far and away the best part of these destinations is their incredible view of Toronto’s harbor and the fact that they are easily accessible by ferry. Getting There Ferries run to and from the islands throughout the year, and their summer schedule makes a quick trip to the islands a breeze. Ferries can be accessed every fifteen minutes from 8AM-11:30PM, and at $3.50 CAD student fares are a steal. Once aboard, visitors have a perfect view of the city from the ship’s main deck—you can see Toronto unfold before your eyes. Each island offers a wide range of activities, but each individual may find certain locations more appealing than others. Each Torontonian has his favorite spot, of course, and there are options for everyone. Ward Island Ward Island offers a variety of outdoor activities. Hiking trails encircle the island, giving way to a host of rental areas, restaurants and boardwalks. These paths make it easy to walk around the island, but visitors should be mindful of the speeding cyclists and roller
bladers that dominate these trails. If visitors choose to explore Ward on foot, it is best to keep a look out and listen for the faint dings of bicycle bells. If walking seems a little risky, the island has several bike rental shops, which charge roughly $10 CAD per cycle and offer a wide range of top-notch equipment. If you prefer more aquatic ventures, a number of rental facilities have good deals on paddleboats, kayaks and canoes. Most rentals range from $10-12 CAD per person and allow you to spend a couple of hours exploring all three of the islands. The view from the canals is well worth the effort. Centre Island Centre Island is located between Hanlan’s Point and Ward Island. Though smaller than its neighbors, it offers a unique blend of activities, which are mainly family-oriented. Directly across from the ferry dock, visitors will find a series of picnic areas, shaded by large willow trees and dotted with benches perfect for family luncheons. The island has a laundry list of activities to take part in, and it connects directly to the other islands in case the family crowd is a bit overwhelming. The Centreville Amusement park is also a popular attraction. This small park offers a collection of old-fashioned water rides that make even the adults scream out loud.
M Bordering the amusement park is a petting zoo, aptly named “Far Enough Farm.” The zoo is right on the water and close to the Carousel Café, giving parents a much needed escape while their children frolic with livestock. A fair distance from the family-oriented fun is the Alan A. Lamport Regatta Course, where Canada’s top crewmen practice for upcoming events and compete throughout the summer months. This course is open to the public, except during competitions, giving less-experienced boaters a chance to man the course themselves. Though the main bike and boat rental areas are located on Ward Island, Centre Island can also be explored through intricate canals and pathways. Hanlan’s Point Hanlan’s Point was named after the Hanlan family, who were the first year-round inhabitants of the island, but only a few sections remain as private property. The public parks house wading pools, baseball diamonds and illuminated tennis courts. The most popular attraction, however, is the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, which pays tribute to the Hanlan family’s original homestead and gives visitors a fantastic view of the harbor. The Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts backs onto the lighthouse and provides artists with access to the Centre’s many resources, including kilns, recording studios and theater spaces. This space caters exclusively to artists, but more creative individuals can stay at the site to gain a truly inspirational experience. One of Hanlan’s most unique offerings, however, can be found at the “Clothing Optional Beach,” just a stone’s throw from the Centre. This free-flying shoreline is not for the faint-of-heart, but thousands flock to it each year for a chance to wear nothing but a smile. Toronto’s Best Relaxation Spot Time moves slowly on the islands, and it is easy to lose yourself in their quiet calm. Even though over a million visitors come to the islands each year, these Canadian isles offer a refreshing feeling of serenity and solitude. After a long day, the best option is to watch the sunset, which can be enjoyed from several lookout points throughout the islands. Visitors do not want to miss Toronto’s sunset, which paints the skyline in crimson and violet hues. No visitors to Toronto can truly appreciate this northern metropolis until they’ve seen the sunset view from across the harbor.
Ma Vie Bohème
by Megan McCrea
e marche. I wind gingerly down the worn wooden steps of my ancient Paris apartment house (always careful as I swing around those treacherous corners), humming « Bohemian Rhapsody » and contemplating the day to come. I push open the heavy front door, pull down my sunglasses, begin the trek to the Metro. Ah, regardes! A little boy wobbles down the sidewalk, tentatively taking his first fumbling, immensely exciting steps. In my mind’s eye, I imagine his mother writing: 13 mai 2006. Rue Joseph de Maistre. Les premiers pas. I feel the intense focus behind the steps just looking at him. Tiny hand locked in his mother’s, eager eyes locked on the horizon, he forges ahead. Il marche. I slacken my pace, watch his progress a few moments and finally reluctantly hurry on to the Metro and my day. However, the picture of the smiling, faltering little boy lives on in the outer reaches of my memory, and the image swims again and again to the surface of my consciousness each time I turn my back upon it. Almost subliminally, other unrelated memories begin to surface, intermingling with the crystalline image of the little toddler on my sunny Montmartre street. Memory #1 Me, De Gaulle Airport, January 16. Haven’t slept in twenty hours. I’m walking down the sidewalk , schlepping the two largest suitcases ever made. I need to find a taxi, I’ve utterly forgotten the entire French language…all I know is that I need a taxi more deeply than any other schmuck in this town. If I don’t get that—and, subsequently, a bed—I just might scream (little known fact: a scream is, believe it or not, every bit as universal as a smile). Memory #2 Me, a small Vietnamese hair salon in the 12eme arrondissement, some time in February. I walk into the salon, asking (I think) to buy “shampoo that takes care of color, to-go.” The women inside begin touching my hair and nails, chattering rapidly in French about blow-dries and manicures. Finally, by some sort of miracle, one of them grasps my meaning: “Ah,” she exclaims, “vous voulez acheter le produit!” She explains that, in fact, they do not sell le produit itself, though they would be happy to shampoo my hair for me. I politely decline and rush shamefacedly outside, breathing
a sigh of relief at my narrow escape from a (mystery) designer French haircut. As the day continues, memories of another hue emerge. Memory #3 Me, our apartment, one muggy March evening. Deeply entrenched in paper-writing, I reluctantly pick up the phone to call down the street for pizza delivery. The short European phone rings bode ominously that I will not, in fact, be conducting the conversation in ma langue maternale. Sadly, though I’ve lived here for two full months now, I still haven’t even managed to pick up the finesse vocabulary necessary to order pizza. Phrases like “extra cheese” and “thick crust” have been conspicuously absent from my class discussions of Picasso’s evolution as an artist or Claude Levi-Strauss’ influence on le structuralisme. To be honest, now that I think about it, I don’t even know the word for “crust.” An employee answers: “Allô?” After that first awkward “euh,” I somehow magically, amazingly, complete a semi-comprehensible order and give passable directions to my apartment—and in a mere fifteen minutes! (And all of this only to be told that, in fact, my order doesn’t meet the credit card minimum anyway and that I will have to walk down to the store to pick up my pizza. Ah, sweet irony.) Despite the setback, though, I can’t help but feel the swell of pride at having ordered a complete meal sans gestes. I practically strut my way down to the pizza shop. Memory #4 Me, the EDUCO neighborhood boulangerie, early afternoon, early April. The woman behind the counter asks me which kind of meringue I’d like: dark chocolate or milk chocolate. I make a corny joke that dark chocolate is, as matter of fact, the only kind of chocolate (note: this is the sort of joke that you can only pull off if you are foreign
4 and the party with whom you are speaking pities you for your pathetic inability to really speak French). She laughs. Though I know not whether she’s laughing at my quick wit or my broken French, I smile. A real smile. It’s funny, after years of drilling verb conjugates in some sterile high school classroom, my French has finally served its greater purpose, achieved something. I have connected with a human being. By this time, in my mind, the boulangerie, the boy, DeGaulle, the pizza have blended into each other like those watercolor paints you had as a kid that seep slowly from chaos into pattern on a piece of wet canvas. I look at the watercolor, shake my head, refocus—and then bam! The shape of it all hits me. The boy and I each struggle singlemindedly ahead, eyes on the horizon, daring the crazyexcitingscarywonderfulnew world around us to throw more challenges Continued on page 5
our way, even as we fight our own fumbling feet. We share that same utter fixation and need, a willingness to buck all obstacles that lie ahead. Every traveler knows this feeling. As we travel, learn new languages, try on new customs, we so often fixate upon those few painful moments when we don’t get it right: lose composure, stumble, falter. At the same time, without these mistakes, we could never truly appreciate the sweetness of accomplishment. We would never feel that rushing sense of pride which accompanies the completion of even the simplest task—hailing a cab, ordering food, making a joke. Like the boy, our steps may not be pure, yet they’re beautiful. I suppose, on peut dire, that in order to travel or, rather, to live abroad, the sole absolute requisite is a willingness to embrace this childlike state of innocence and ignorance—to become the boy in the road. Once you accept this role, your life abroad teems with emotion: one moment intense frustration, the next unbridled joy. It’s also full of discovery; everything is new, amazing, different, fun, frightening… the return to innocence and ignorance. Oddly, when you look up from the base the summit of the fluency mountain seems utterly unattainable. And yes, each individual attacks that peak a bit differently than his fellows. However, regardless of which mountain you are climbing and regardless of how you attack the piste, each successful journey begins with those first stumblesteps. Je marche. Gleeful steps out of the basement French classroom in Durham, North Carolina. Tu marches. Anxious steps onto the shiny 757 on a cold, sunny Colorado day. Il marche. Tired steps through the long, winding customs line at DeGaulle airport. Nous marchons. Heavy steps up the six flights of winding worn wooden steps to my new half-year home. Vous marchez. Wistful steps toward the taxi, Gare du Nord, the States. Ils marchent. Bittersweet steps from the new, shiny plane to home through the black, rainy Denver night. Je marche. At the tender age of 21, I have learned to walk.
China’s Newes Red Book by Andy Cunningham
Teaching about HIV/AIDS in China is very difficult. When a girl volunteers to be a peer educator, her friends will tell her, “you are no longer pure, no longer a nice girl. You are now becoming the bad master of sex.” And if you are a boy, well, boys who talk about HIV/AIDS or sex are considered hooligans. One guy’s girlfriend actually broke up with him, and he was too much of a risk…As you can see even their closest friends will not understand what they are doing. Tracey Cui, Director of Marie Stopes International Peer Education Program, China ‘05
Stop. Rewind. Play. I listen to Tracey’s recording again as I sit on the overnight train traveling from Qingdao to Zhongzhou. While in Qingdao, we had been invited by the program officers to observe one of Marie Stopes’ HIV/ AIDS awareness road-shows organized and performed by Chinese youth. As I listen to Tracey’s final words—“even their closest friends will not understand what they are doing”—I have a hard time grasping how a road-show will make any difference in a country that continues to deny that AIDS is a serious issue for its people. The train pulls into the station. After crawling over three elderly Chinese woman, I stand up to get my bags from the overhead bin. Chinese trains are not made for six-foot-five Americans. Stiff and uncomfortable, I walk with the rest of the documentary team through the crowded sidewalks of Zhongzhou, trying to find the roadshow to which we had been invited the day before. On the road, rickshaws mix with eighteenwheelers, both carrying the daily produce. Tiny cardboard shacks stand below towering skyscrapers. Tradition and modernity collide repeatedly every day. I look up at a billboard that catches my attention. Bill Clinton is shaking hands with a Chinese diplomat. Below,
Chinese shoppers scurry in and out of one of China’s largest shopping malls, carrying everything from chickens to a life-size statue of Yao Ming. I can just imagine Mao turning in his grave at such a sight. While quietly chuckling to myself, I realize that Bill marks the spot. Below the billboard stands a large, red-carpeted stage with a blinding, white backdrop bearing the famous red ribbon symbolizing the fight against AIDS. This was it. The “You and Me” Marie Stopes HIV/AIDS roadshow. Placing my audio equipment on a bench, I look around and take it all in. It feels more like a sold-out pop concert than a sex education program. Kids pack the front lines of the standing crowd, while teenagers, middle-aged business men, elderly peasants and uniformed workers make up the rear, all peering forward to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. As I make my way through the crowd, I listen to conversations. With the help of our Chinese translator, I learn that most of the audience knows little to nothing about HIV/AIDS, its history, scandal and projected future in China. The crowd is curious, excited and anxious to see the show. Opening with a breakdance routine, the roadshow begins right on time at 10:00 AM. For the next five hours, peer educators put on plays, dances, standup comedy routines, live music concerts, interactive games, solo performances and more. When I interview each of the performers, a common thread connects their reasons for contributing their talents to the show. Jiu Zhong, 19, says it best, “As college students we know more than most. It is our responsibility to Zhongzhou, China, the world to teach what we know. Together, we can make China better and stronger.” Modern techno music marks the end of each performance, serving as an interlude during which a student representative comes to the foot of the stage and begins speaking about AIDS, which in Chinese sounds like “Ai Zi Bing.” I could feel the crowd collectively lean forward, listening to the student: “You cannot get HIV/AIDS from hugging or kissing and you cannot get it from buying produce from a farmer of any village.” Her last line resonates with me. In
a meeting with UNAID representative Ray Yip in Beijing, we learned that, in 1994, government-sponsored bloodsellers approached rural farmers asking them to sell their blood plasma for a year’s salary. To a local farmer, this was a no-brainer—a year of food in exchange for one day of blood donation? The family would be fed. To save time and cut costs, however, the blood-sellers collected plasma from an average of ten farmers at one time and centrifuged all they collected in one large container. When the red blood cells were re-inserted into each of the farmers, as necessary for blood plasma collections, each farmer received the red blood cells of all of the other farmers in the group. HIV, therefore, spread like wildfire. Today, many of these villages remain quarantined or restricted to the public. They are deemed “AIDS villages.” Diplomats, journalists and most NGOs are refused access to them. As I listen to the announcer make her comments in the street, I find it difficult to grasp that this entire scandal began only twelve years ago. The student announcer interrupts my reflection. She reaches into a bucket and pulls out small booklets with red ribbon illustrations on their covers, most likely sex education pamphlets. Brushing it off as a free item, I look down at my microphone to make sure it is working correctly when, suddenly, kids and adults literally lunge forward to lay hands on one of the booklets. As I watch grandmothers and teenagers take their booklets back into the large crowd, I begin to listen—a stillness, a brief calm amid the high energy and excitement of the show. The audience, young and old, was reading China’s newest little red book. At the next interlude between performances, I ask for a booklet too. Our Chinese translator reads a portion of it to me. In place of Mao’s wisdom, there is a diagram showing how to use a condom and why doing so is important. Birth control options are listed below a statement written in bold Chinese script: an abortion is not a safe way of birth control. The next few pages are filled with stories about farmers, sex workers and average couples throughout China. On the back, ironically, is a train schedule. Reflecting on this interesting
addition, I remember a conversation we had back in Beijing with a representative from China’s Family Planning Association. This representative told us that in China, millions of peasants constitute what is known as the “floating population.” Arriving by train, these peasants from the countryside hope to find better lives in the bustling cities, but most often they do not. As a result, men, women and children live with their savings and possessions strapped to their backs. They travel the sidewalks trying to find work. Many of these same peasants are attending the roadshow. Clutching the new little red book, not only do they hold a complete listing of arrival and departure times for trains, but they grasp information about how HIV/AIDS affects their lives and their country. After I look through the rest of the free materials, my stomach demands that I eat. I commit a mortal travel sin by walking into the shopping mall marked by the portrait of Bill Clinton, ascending four flights of stairs and waiting in line for a McDonald’s Big Mac. Paying only eight yuan (the equivalent of one America dollar), I take my burger to a window overlooking the roadshow. As I glance out over the sea of people below, I begin to realize the power of the Chinese youth, the next generation of AIDS activists. Before our arrival, many members of our documentary team had believed that we would be coming to help teach Chinese peer educators how to develop prevention programs for HIV/AIDS. We found, however, that they were teaching us. Biting into my Big Mac, I start listening to a tape that I recorded during the day. It begins with the voice of Ko Siu Lan, project officer for the Koorie Charitable Foundation. While watching the roadshow, I listen to her comments about the student activists: “This is who China needs to listen to, the youth. Zhongzhou itself is located in Henan province, where the local media cannot even mention the words HIV or AIDS, and yet these students find a way around it. If there is a will, there is always a way. And these students are discovering a new and exciting way to change China, themselves and the world with their passion and commitment.”
: S ation
l D u I A Pop ion t e c h e T n n o C
by Doug Clark
Every morning hundreds of refugees on the outskirts of Mai Sot wake before dawn and queue up along the edge of some of the largest opium fields in the world to receive their daily “packages.” By the time the sun has risen the refugees have swam across the river into Mai Sot, brought their “packages” to appointed drop-off centers, shared a few needles and the contents of a few “packages” among themselves, and then left for their legitimate employment bearing away a new burden, HIV. As the day progresses, the refugees share their HIV on the communal fish knives at the cannery, bear their HIV away to foreign climes on one of Mai Sot’s numerous ships or trucks, or watch cultural censors tear down HIV/AIDS education posters, while in the buildings above them government officials uncertainly debate how to deal with the burgeoning epidemic. On their lunch break or their way home, the refugees refuse one of the newly introduced novelty condoms while sharing the prostitutes with other residents of Mai Sot. When the refugees return, they dream about leaving for a better life, have unprotected sex with their wives, maybe share another needle and then, when it is still dark, get up and do it again. Today, HIV is estimated to infect over forty percent of some of Mai Sot’s high-risk populations, such as commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users, while over one and a half percent of Mai Sot’s total population harbors the virus. Efforts to combat the virus, while well-intentioned, have not always been successful. Attempts at education have often been rebuffed by Mai Sot’s conservative culture, and governmental intervention has only recently gotten off the ground. Condoms are only beginning to become available, and some of the world’s largest opium fields, scattered through the jungle around Mai Sot, fuel intravenous drug use. Opium smugglers, along with commercial transportation workers and refugees, flow through Mai Sot constantly, creating a hard-to-track transient population that both spreads HIV and brings in new strains. The refugee camps bordering Mai Sot are largely lawless, and the unprotected and unpoliced refugee population, desperate for money, often turns to dangerous activities likely to spread HIV—like commercial sex work—to stay alive. Mai Sot’s final, and perhaps largest, problem is that its troubles are ignored by the world. From any description of Mai Sot one could easily imagine it lying in Africa, but Mai Sot is in Southeast Asia, straddling the Thailand-Myanmar border. If Mai Sot were in Africa, it could expect publicity and some foreign aid, or at least the assistance of foreign expertise. However, it was only in 2003 that UNAIDS declared the Thailand-Myanmar border as one of the fault lines in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, asserting that the future of the battle against HIV/AIDS lies in keeping Mai Sot from traveling down Africa’s path.
% 0 4
ighh s ’ t i So lation a M of popu o be t risk ought h HIV t is th ted wi c infe
Indeed, it is the resemblance of Mai Sot, and on a larger scale, of Thailand and Myanmar, to Africa that make them so potentially dangerous. Both Thai and Burmese histories follow the African pattern: colonization by a Western power, economic dependency following the power’s withdrawal and then the inevitable internal strife out of which Thailand emerged a democracy and Burma a dictatorship. Mai Sot itself resembles many African towns in its structure and dynamics, and, most importantly, in its rate of infection. Mai Sot’s rate is almost a mirror image of many African towns in the early 1980s, just before the HIV/AIDS epidemic exploded. Thousands of workers leave Mai Sot every day, trafficking the river, riding the highway, piloting planes and distributing their goods and services, along with their HIV. Mai Sot is not alone in this; a thousand Mai Sots dot Southeast Asia, each infecting other population centers, creating reservoirs of infection that threaten to burst the fragile walls of Southeast Asian civilization. Most of the communities in Southeast Asia are no more prepared to deal with the impending crisis than Mai Sot. China, India, and Indonesia—the world’s first-, second- and fourth-largest populations respectively—are all experiencing the beginnings of an AIDS crisis. Each country, while capable of fighting this plague, faces great challenges to its success. If, for example, China’s and India’s populations were to become infected, the size of the populations, which
have been such a boon economically, would become a devastating weight. India and China with their modern, but underdeveloped healthcare systems are not capable of managing large portions of their populations infected with HIV. The stress of so many dependent people could potentially destabilize their burgeoning economies and bring their growth to a sharp halt. A reversal of fortune for these two giants could spell doom for the continent as a whole and devastate the world’s economy. If Southeast Asia follows in Africa’s footsteps, then we would be faced with a chilling scenario. Africa’s population— 840 million strong—currently composes 12% of the world population. Eleven percent of that 840 million are infected with AIDS. China and India represent 20% and 16% of the world’s population
rst- rds, fi y B a and of t s ld ty wor majori e the ians ar As itute. t des with 1.3 billion and 1.2 billion people respectively, while Asia contains over 3.9 billion people—over 60% of the world’s population. If China and India alone were to experience an infection rate similar to Africa’s, 2.8 million people would be infected. If all of Asia were to experience an infection rate similar to that of Africa, 4.3 million people would be HIV positive, increasing the number of AIDS cases by over 900%—or, assuming that HIV infection in all other parts of the world remained stable, 4.5 million people would be infected with AIDS. The consequences of such a rate of infection would be disastrous. Fortunately, there is hope. Asia and the world are much more prepared for the onslaught of AIDS than Africa was twenty-five years ago. Where there was no treatment for the emerging virus, there is now a slew of antiretroviral drugs. Where AIDS was a complete mystery,
AIDS is now the most exhaustively researched disease in human history. But the fight against AIDS in Asia will be difficult. The desperate African men and women pleading for help, the crowds of emaciated orphans, the endless fields of graves are all a testament to the fact that efforts to control AIDS in Africa have largely failed. To fight AIDS effectively in Asia three things must happen. First, the world must empower the women of Asia. Stephen Lewis, in his admirable Massey Lecture Series, “Race Against Time,” suggests that the UN create an independent UN department designed to deal with the problems women face in the world today, including AIDS. Women are the pillars of most communities, and the fact that women are the group most likely to contract HIV is especially pernicious to hard-hit communities. Second, the UN and the Global Fund must assist Asia in the creation of appropriate structures of microfinance. While much of Asia is not as desperately poor as some African countries, by first-world standards the majority of Asians are destitute. Microfinance programs that provide small loans will give Asians the tools they need to fight proactively against the greatest risk factor for HIV/AIDS, poverty. Third, the UN and the global community must make a concerted effort to stop the spread of AIDS in Asia now, before the problem becomes too big to handle. That means both delivering aid to Asia that is comparable, if not equal, to aid received in Africa and working closely with Asian governments to educate them against the problem. It is the battle against AIDS in Asia that will ultimately determine the success of the battle against AIDS across the world.
d lope s are e v g erde tem Und re sys anagin hca e of m their t l a he apabl ns of ed t c io not e port s infec larg ulation IV. pop with H
M: U S IM
by Michelle Fang Chances are this title elicited from you one of two reactions: profuse salivation or a very puzzled look. If you experienced the latter, youâ€™ve been missing out on a major taste bud sensation. So come, turn the page and choose your own adventure.
Dim sum is a Cantonese culinary tradition involving eating a variety of light snacks and sipping tea. In Cantonese, Dim means “a little bit” and Sum means “love and care” and is interchangeable with Yam Cha, which literally means to drink tea in Cantonese. Though a Cantonese custom originally, it soon spread to China where it was also called Dian Xin. The practice of dim sum first originated hundreds of years ago when weary travelers on the Silk Road would stop at teahouses along the way for rest. Rural villagers also began frequenting these teahouses, using them as places for relaxation and conversation. Originally, teahouses did not serve food, since it was considered inappropriate to combine food and tea. However, after the discovery of tea’s ability to aid in digestion, teahouses began serving small snacks along with the tea to encourage customers to linger longer and enjoy their time and socialize more. Today, most people go to dim sum restaurants not for the tea so much as the food. If you have ever been to a Spanish restaurant and ordered tapas, then the process of ordering dim sum should be familiar. Waiters and waitresses push around carts of steaming food. When you see something that appeals to you, you gesture to the server and request what you want. The server then marks a menu to indicate what you ordered before bustling off with the carts. Usually there is an order involved with how dim sum is served: steamed dishes come first, followed by exotic dishes, fried dishes, and, finally, dessert. Most people go to dim sum restaurants in large groups so that everyone can try a little of each dish.
Ask people what their favorite dim sum dish is and chances are you will hear a different reply each time. There is a plethora of dim sum dishes out there and each restaurant has its own specialties. Entering a dim sum restaurant is like entering a world of chaos. Carts full of enigmatic tins hiding various dumplings or plates of fried delicacies bustle by, enticing the senses. The key to eating dim sum is to take your time and enjoy. Dim sum is not meant to fill you up the way a hearty country meal might. It is simply supposed to tempt your palate and give you a small taste of everything while you relax and talk with friends. In the rushed, fast-food world of America, dim sum is a brief gustatory respite. If Dim Sum has one weakness it is that it is not exactly vegetarian friendly since most dishes consist of some sort of meat wrapped in dough. Still, there are some delicious choices offered that are vegetarian. At Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant, for instance, dishes such as the Taro Crescent, Almond Tofu and Mixed Fruit, Vegetarian’s Bamboo Roll, and Sweet Rice are offered. Some restaurants also use vegetable fillings so that their War Teep and other dumpling-like dishes can be enjoyed by vegetarians. Although I have been to some tastier dim sum restaurants, Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant is quite satisfying considering the lack of dim sum restaurants in the Durham area. The atmosphere was friendly and the dishes were familiar. Amid the frenzy of rattling carts and exotic foods lies a chance to try new foods and enjoy time with friends.
Char Siu Bao
Lo Bak Go
Char Siu Bao, or steamed barbeque pork buns, is one of the most ordered dishes in most Dim Sum restaurants. Yeasted wheat dough is wrapped around barbequed pork and steamed, producing a bun with a fluffy white exterior and a sweet meat filling.
Lo Bak Go, or turnip cakes, are made by first boiling shredded radishes which is then mixed with oil and flour to create a dough. The dough is then cut into squares and fried in oil until both sides of the cake are browned. Often dried shrimp, mushrooms, or pork are mixed into the dough as well. The result is a cake that is slightly crispy on the outside and full of turnip puree on the inside.
Zha Ha Yun
For those who are less open minded, there are the fried shrimp balls. More American in taste, the shrimp balls simply consist of minced shrimp dipped in dough and fried.
Though Cheon Gyun, or spring rolls, can be found in many conventional Chinese eateries, they are still quite popular at dim sum restaurants. A mixture of vegetables (such as cabbage and carrots) and sometimes meat (usually pork) is stirfried and wrapped up in dough to form a log shape. The rolls are then deep fried to achieve the crunchy, flaky texture of the exterior.
Cheung Fun, or rice noodle rolls, is made by rolling long, flat strips of rice noodles around shrimp or meat and then steaming the rolls. Soy sauce is usually drizzled on top, adding flavor to the dish.
For dessert, Jian Dui (Sesame Seed Balls) and Daan Tart (Custard Tarts) are two dishes that are often offered in dim sum restaurants. Jian Dui is a dish made from rice dough filled with red bean paste, rolled in sesame seeds, and deep-fried. These sesame seed balls are considered good luck in Chinese culture and are usually a special part of Chinese New Year. Daan Tart is a pastry consisting of egg custard in a flaky crust. It looks almost like a mini pie, filled with a yellow, custard filling.
by Leland McNabb
Fishing never really seemed like the thing for me. Granted, I could be biased by the You Might Be a Redneck… illustration of the overweight, flannel-clad, Elmer Fudd-esque caricature passed out on the dock. Bias or no bias, fishing just never seemed active enough to hold my attention. Sitting about waiting for a nibble, in my mind, lands near watching slugs cross the road. But this was deep-sea fishing. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, this was the fishing of champions. Deep sea fishermen are the guys that bring home trophies and fish as big as the boats that regular fishermen sail. On second thought, though, that’s really not my place either. As I walked down the dock, I saw middleaged businessmen on a weekend jaunt for some r&r, and southern women with syrupy, molasses accents. The sportfishing culture of the South pervades North American waters, and it wasn’t ever inculcated in me. Fighting the urge to chicken out, I decided to tag along and meandered off to find the day’s tender, inappropriate fishing attire and all. We found her: the Tigress. The name seemed a little
hokey, but it fit perfectly with the uncertainty of the day; this was going to be fun. We also found our captain and guide, Julian. He was jovial, credible, and, if given the chance, could’ve sold me a popsicle on a February morning in Norway. Things just kept getting better. Fishing and everything that goes with it relate linearly to the depth of water; the deeper it gets, the bigger everything gets: equipment, stories, and all. Even though Tigress paled in comparison to her bigger siblings in the harbor, she was plenty of boat for me. The “tower” rose at least 25 feet from the surface. Being afraid of heights, I decided that was the first thing to conquer. Besides, the breeze and the sea air up there would combat my imminent seasickness more effectively. Julian expertly maneuvered the tender out of the slip, narrowly missing everything with the nonchalance that comes only from experience. From my perch, I finally understood why deep-sea fishermen wanted towers. I could see everything. I felt like I controlled everything. And though I hadn’t even touched a rod, I knew I would catch the most fish. That was mistake #1. My confidence ebbed when Tigress hit open water. The tower, reaching high above the boat itself, amplified any pitch and roll that the people below felt. Before long it felt like Busch Gardens up there. By that point
the pitching was so extreme that I was too nervous to climb down. I had to muster up even more courage for the descent than I had needed to climb up. It turned out that climbing down was a great idea, not just because I could escape the extreme pitching, but also because I could hear Julian’s tall tales from the deep sea. As he deftly set the five fishing lines, he prattled on about his start in fishing, other guided trips, big fish, and inane chicanery. “One guy,” Julian guffawed, “he passed out up front, and his buddies wanted to get him good. So we tied one of those gallon-buckets to a line and threw it off the back. Once it was out and dragging, we all yelled like we had hooked a huge fish, and he jumped up and ran for the seat. That sucker fought that bucket for 2 hours…” Julian had enthralled us. He was master and we were in his domain. We’d been trawling lazily for a while without so much as a nibble, when the smallest rod on board doubled over and almost tore loose from the stern. Julian’s eyes widened like a child’s, and we knew something was up. He shrewdly fought and played with the rod, and all of a sudden, it breached. A blue marlin! Out for barely 30 minutes, and our first strike was a fish that wins trophies! It was, quite literally, picture-perfect. I had never seen a live marlin, but the jump melded exactly with expectations bred from movies and photos. No wonder Julian was so excited. One of our group members strapped into the chair and prepared for battle. Line was stripping out too fast; we were running out, and the marlin was going to get away. As the guides frantically readied additional line, the rod snapped straight, and the line went slack in the water. When we realized what had happened, our spirits went as slack as the line. Our trophy had gotten away. Once the guides reeled in the line, it was clear why we had lost: the marlin’s serrated bill had sawed clean through the line. His thrashing had paid off and set him free. Even Julian was downcast. “Man, he hit the lightest line we have in the water. Any other one, and we still would’a had him.” We were like a crowd waiting for a bar fight that didn’t happen, unsure of how to react or what to do next. I thought the shock would never wear off, and then another rod bent. We had another strike! Not me, I thought. If it’s a marlin, I’m not fighting it today. Another member of the group, Phil, grabbed a belt from the tower
and hooked on the rod. Julian said it was a dolphin-fish, but how he knew I could only guess. The line was set to drag at least 30 yards off the stern, and I couldn’t see 5 feet deep a yard away. As Phil labored to pull him in, Julian said, “Oh, he’s pissed. You see his fin? That blue means he’s angry. He’s goin’ to fight you.” I couldn’t believe it. The guy even knows what the fish are thinking? The dolphin couldn’t escape our will to catch dinner, though, and we finally yanked him on board. Apparently dolphin don’t give up—in or out of water. Julian dropped the catch in the cooler and hollered for someone to sit on it, quick. I cannonballed onto the top of the coffin-sized bin and rode out the thrashing. Everyone was exhausted, and we had only one fish in the hole. As Phil paced the boat, sweaty and winded, we all tried to regain composure and let our heart rates drop. The rest of us hadn’t even been fighting the fish, but we all felt directly involved. We snapped out of our daze instantly when one of the crew dashed to the stern and snatched up another rod. Another dolphin! Before we could even recover, we had another fight on our hands. Julian said this one didn’t look as big, but for us it was no less exciting. Steve grabbed a belt and took the reel this time. We were a little worried about his high center of gravity and ill-chosen flip flops, so we made a human chain to hold him on board. Fish are terribly creative and tricky, and this dolphin did not disappoint. She would dive out of view, come up tantalizingly close to the surface, a fin would break the water, and then she would disappear again. Unbelievably, she would turn her body perpendicular to the line, multiplying her drag to wear Steve out more. Watching Steve fight made me glad I was holding just his belt and not the reel. When we pulled her aboard she was swinging wildly, but we threw her into the cooler and repeated step two. This time, though, I had company to help hold down the coffin’s two doors. From then on I decided to hang back and let the rest of the group do the heavy lifting. I would just guard the cooler and prevent the prisoners from escaping. The water was beautiful. As the sun lowered in the sky, the golden glare made it even more difficult to spot fish, but we didn’t care. We had two in the hole, and the weather was great. We lazed about, shifting with the boat as it trolled around. We must have covered miles by that point; come to think of it, it was surprising that we hadn’t hit more fish than we did. Julian talked about the birds flying near the boat, and how they were the most reliable fishermen around. It seemed logical enough, since they had a much better vantage point than we did. Julian shot a glance over his shoulder. One of the starboard rod lines was stripping out fast. How had he noticed that? He was chatting away, cutting the boat
across waves, and he had heard the whirr of the line as it went out? Unbelievable. We forced Kyle to take this one, since the rest of us wanted nothing but to sit still. Kyle’s slightness didn’t lend him much leverage, but he fought well. It seemed like the battles just kept getting shorter, and in no time we had our third fresh catch on board. As one of the crew helped Kyle net and haul the fish over the stern, he inadvertently swung the fish around too widely. As we all danced to avoid it, Julian deftly grabbed it, popped the hook and line off, and pitched him into the cooler. But the slippery scales made his throw inaccurate. As I slammed the cooler lid down, the fish met me at the ledge and began to slide out. Before I could force the cover down, the thrashing and sliding had pushed him above the edge, and he had escaped onto the deck. We scrambled to avoid the sharp tail, and as we backed up Julian stepped in. Before we could even get our bearings, he had already tried to grab it and taken a shot to the groin. Unfazed, he pinned the fish down and threw it back in the cooler. This time, he didn’t miss. The action ended, we all breathed deeply, and relaxed for the trip back into port. When we had docked in the slip, Julian opened the cooler and grabbed our three fish. The beautiful, vivid blues, greens and yellows that shimmered during our battles had faded to a dull puce. No one on the dock would see what we had seen. Only those who had been out there, who had caught fish like the ones we caught, could know what we were actually bringing home. Our landlubber companions asked about the trip, but we couldn’t really explain it. We could grin reminiscently at each other, but you just had to be there. Simply telling someone what you did out on the water makes the whole ordeal seem, well, uneventful—but something tells me that’s what fishing is about.
Meet Kolkata in
Andy Cunningham, Trinity Class of 2008, blogs from Kolkata, India, where he worked with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity at Prem Dan, a men’s shelter and school for street children. The following piece is a portion of his blog. May 29, 2006 A few days ago, I had the chance to read Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven while laying in bed here in Kolkata, thoroughly exhausted. As I read about the Blue Man, Eddie’s captain and the others, I could not help but think about the people I was meeting at Prem Dan and the advice I have received. What kind of conversations would we have in heaven? And would they be different from the ones we were having today? Anish is twenty and paralyzed from the waist down. We met just a few days ago when he asked to be fed. He is one of the few “boys” at the men’s shelter and speaks English fairly well. “Brother,” he called to me. “Yes, what do you need?” I answered carrying three tin cups of water in my left hand and a plate of food in my right. My apron was almost falling off and one of my plastic gloves had a hole in it. “You. Help me eat.” “You can do it! I know you can.” I had been told by one of the long-term volunteers that many at the shelter can function on their own, but would try to take advantage of the new volunteers by pretending they could not. When I looked at this boy, all I saw was a wide, white, healthy smile. He seemed to be enjoying life rather than fighting for it. He seemed healthy enough to feed himself. “I won’t let you cheat me,” I said, only half joking. I passed a plate of food to one of the men sitting on the cement floor. Someone said he had lice. Be careful. “No, Brother. I no cheat you. Never cheat my brother. Sit, Brother, sit.” I turned around to look at him again. “Do you need a spoon?” I asked.
“No, Brother. I need you.” And he laughed, almost embarrassed. “But your arms move, why can’t you eat my man?” I asked. “My hands do not, Brother.” He motioned by not moving them. He looked down and then back up at me. He smiled. And I began feeding him lunch. I watched as his eyes focused on the food in the bowl, watching me mix the rice with the vegetable and the curry. Moving it around the silver dish, playing with food that was not mine to eat. He then opened his mouth and took it in, chewing. And watching me. “Brother, what is your name?” “Andrew. What is yours?” “Anish.” “Where are you from?” “The US. And where are you from?” “India.” He smiled. And we continued to chat until we began talking about the residents. Some had been here for awhile, others had just arrived. I told Anish that I really enjoyed working with them. He then said to me, “We really enjoy working with you.” Those are words of wisdom that I will never forget. It’s true, the residents work with us as we learn how to shave their faces or to get water from the drinking bin rather than the tap. They work with us as we become tired and frustrated. When we want to go home to escape, they wait patiently for our return. And when we give a plate to a boy who cannot eat, they work with us. I think Anish and I would have a similar conversation in heaven. He said he would wait for me.
by Andy Cunningham
Sister Immaculata is in charge of the entire complex at Prem Dan, and she looks like she just graduated from high school. Her skin is white. Her eyebrows are dark. And her smile is blinding. She had been on leave, according to one of the patients, and has just returned. The patients were thrilled. I met her when I took a man to use the bathroom. While waiting for him, I noticed a small adjoining room that I had never been in. Sister Immaculata was there. She smiled and walked around to each of the patients. On her way out, she saw me and asked for my name. I told her. “Fine. That’s fine. Nice to meet you, Andrew. Thank you for coming to help us.” As she turned to leave, I asked, “Sister, is that other room for special patients?” “Yes, those who have TB,” she said. “Oh, so you keep them away from others?” “Yes.” “Do any of the other patients have TB?” “Yes.” “In the main room where we work?” “Yes, in the main room. By the windows.” “So should we wear a mask?” “Yes, you can wear a mask, if you like.” “But you don’t.” “No, I don’t. But you can.” But I can. What was that supposed to mean? I went to the cupboard and put on a surgical mask, one that you tie around your head twice. It was green. Now I was safe. I walked around the men and gave them their mangos for the day. It was their dessert. They smiled at me. I smiled at them, but none
of them saw me smile. I looked around at the volunteers. No one else wore a mask. I turned around and saw another Sister talking with a man while redressing his wounds without gloves. I looked at my gloved hands. I saw Sister Immaculata smile to a patient. He smiled in return. Sister Immaculata’s words echoed in my mind: “No, I don’t. But you can.” I had the choice to wear my mask and remain healthy. I had the choice to cover my smile. Ultimately, everyone has a choice, and Sister Immaculata’s was clear: when she chose to give, she chose to give all. I took off my mask. When I arrived at Prem Dan earlier that morning, I thought it would be the usual—some toilet runs, dishes, shaves, meals, feeding, cleaning and helping a few men exercise. Instead, since most of the volunteers did not show, I was asked to do dressings. I told Sister I was not a medical student nor was I going into medicine. She then asked if I knew first aid. I said, “I did boy scouts.” She smiled. “Follow me.” Donning a green face mask, a denim apron and a pair of latex gloves, I walked through the large, cement room with the men and boys I had been helping for the past two weeks. Sister Immaculata motioned to a man with his leg in the bucket of milky liquid. His eyes were closed. His face was in his palms and he looked exhausted. One of the working boys said he had arrived last night. They found him on the streets. He was eerily still. This man’s shin, about one inch from the knee cap down to the top of his ankle, was completely torn open. The skin was folded back, as if something had blasted it from the inside, folded over like the pages of a book. His bone was visible. It was decomposing and broken. The bone looked like a piece of plastic pipe snapped in half. The flesh looked like pictures of the brain you see in textbooks. It was mushy, bloody and very pink.
Maggots crawled everywhere. They were as long as the “tab” key on a computer keyboard and as thick as a pen. They swam throughout the man’s exposed flesh. The smell was terrible. I had never smelled rotten flesh before. I had never seen maggots in a human. I had never seen a wound like this. I had never been to war. Sister Immaculata asked me to get some drinking water, a red and orange pill from the medicine cupboard, some tweezers, a pan and some gauze from the drawer. We were preparing for surgery. I walked out of the room. The same men who had asked me for bedpans and pee bottles, razor blades and toe clippers, were now silent. They knew I was dressing. And they just nodded their heads and clasped their hands in a manner that said, “Peace, brother.” I gave the tools and medicine to Sister Immaculata. I could tell she smiled through her cloth face mask. She had gotten two more tweezers, another pan full of the milky liquid, a bottle of alcohol and a syringe. She poured one cup of water into the empty pan along with the alcohol. Mixing it together, she put the syringe in the mix and laid it aside. She then motioned for me to pick up the syringe. I picked it up and pointed it toward the leg. She motioned to squeeze it along the wound. She had the gauze in her tweezers and as I squeezed out the alcohol and water, she started soaking up the blood. We went through all twenty pieces of gauze. I went to grab more, and we continued. Then she handed me another pair of tweezers. She had a pair of scissors that looked similar to the ones I used the other day cutting a man’s hair, and we began pulling maggots from the leg. The man started to moan. I saw his hands clenched to the arms of the chair. His grip was strong. I did the only thing I could. I reached out and grabbed his hand. And there I was, squatting next to Sister, picking out maggots with my right hand, and holding the man’s hand with my left. I would pick out the maggots I saw moving along the wound. Sister would literally take her instrument, jab it into the flesh and then magically come out with a squirming worm. I asked her, “How do you know they’re there?” She said coolly, “They’re everywhere.” And so I began doing the same: blindly putting my tweezers into a piece of the open flesh, squeezing, and dropping the maggot in the pan with the milky substance. I saw his muscle start twitching again, and he hardened his grip on my left hand. An hour and half passed. Nothing looked better. I asked Sister, “Will you take him to the hospital?” She said, “Yes. But we need to clean him first. If the wound is dirty, they will throw him out.” “Why?” “Because they can. They do not serve the street men. They do not have time.” “But this wound is not clean, Sister. There are still the little maggots that are too small for our tweezers.” “Yes, brother. These will grow to be big tomorrow. And we will do the same. It takes about four days. And we can take him to the hospital.” I looked at the leg again. And I just could not see this wound mending itself together. How could a wound the length of a sneaker, the width of an outstretched hand, and as deep as a thumb recover? When we rip open our grocery bags, we never try to glue back the bag. We just throw it out. This leg was going to have to be removed.
Today, though, we wrapped it with five layers of gauze. You could still see the crimson seeping through. It was if he was wearing shin-guards, as the wound’s width extended his skin farther than his normal leg-width. Someone had pulled open his skin and just let it decay on its own. His leg was now white with gauze and Sister told me to lift him and bring him to his bed. She said, “No need for wheel-chair.You just lift.” And I lifted him, in the same way you see newly-wed husbands lift their new wife over the threshold. He grabbed onto my neck and I carried him out of the dressing room. The men who I had gotten to know over the two weeks looked up and knew. They knew I was tired. They knew I was over my head. They just knew. One man pushed aside a chair in my way. Another picked up the hose between the beds to keep me from tripping. I made it to his bed. A worker boy helped me lay him down on a rubber sheet. He laid back. I watched him lay back and close his eyes. I sat on his bed, placed the pillow beneath his head, a couple of blankets under his shin to elevate it, and my hand back in his. He gripped it again, but it was different. The grip did not say “Get me the hell out of here.” It said “Stay with me.” And I did. After awhile, he finally dozed off to sleep and his hand softened. I softly removed my latex-gloved hand and started walking to the sink. Anish then said to my right, “Andrew, come. Come and sit.” I said, “One second, hold on.” “No, brother. Now, sit.” I needed a breather. I needed a break. I needed to think over what had just happened. I needed time. I needed more practice. But I went to Anish and sat on his bed. “What do you need Anish? Water? Food?” “No, brother. You rest. You need rest. You dress man. Rest with me. Rest here.” And I began to cry, in my head. No tears came out. It was too hot for that. But I cry when something hits me as too kind, too generous, too filled with love. Anish, who cannot move from the waist down, asked me to sit down and rest with him. He cared for me. He knew I was tired. And he consoled me. He was real. And the man’s leg was real. I began massaging Anish’s legs. Although they did not work, they were complete and the skin was clean and whole. I kept massaging his legs. Anish just looked at me. And said, “Thank you, Brother.” Anish, with nothing to give, gave me all that I needed. A whole leg. A healthy leg. A leg of a twenty-year old. A leg of someone my age. A leg without worms. A leg that could be massaged. This is where you must be willing to go if you care. We must be there for each other in the best of times and in the worst of times. But most of all, we must be there. The complete version of this and other entries can be read at www. andycunningham.blogspot.com
Rubble by Jeff Stern
At 9:43AM on July 18th, 1994, a white Renault commercial vehicle drove through the front gates of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association at thirty kilometers per hour, packed with 400 pounds of highly explosive ammonium nitrate. Paola Sara Czyzewski had never been to the building before; her mother brought her in that day to help with some extra paper work. It was a frenetic Monday morning; preparations were being made for an upcoming celebration, and the lobby was abuzz with talk of the previous day’s World Cup final. Around 9:30, Paola called in an order at a nearby café, and when the delivery man arrived, she went down to meet him. It was a chilly morning in Buenos Aires, so he stepped inside the lobby to chat with Paola. Back upstairs, Anita Weinstein realized with a flurry of frustration that there was a single misspelled word in a letter that had already been printed out and copied. Because of the error, Anita had to go to the systems department at the back of the building, which took her through the confusing newsroom-style office that had just been finished as part of the renovation. She figured she could handle the task herself, and she let her secretary, Mirta Strier, stay behind. Anita reached the systems department and began explaining her problem to Miguel Salem, while one floor below Paola chatted with the deliveryman, right next to the building’s entrance. The bomb detonated and sent a wave of expanding gas through the structure powerful enough to tear the seven-story building in half, damage twenty-one adjacent buildings, and leave a crater five feet deep in the scorched concrete. At the rear of the building, Anita didn’t hear an explosion, only the deafening roar of a building collapsing. First someone yelled that the scaffolding on the front of the building had fallen, then as pieces of concrete fell and the space filled with black ashen dust, it became clear that it was much worse than that. File cabinets trembled and shook, and spewed folders over the heads of scrambling workers as all light was sucked from space. As debris poured down
over them, an Israeli army veteran screamed for everyone to get under desks, but Anita couldn’t stay for more than a few seconds because her lungs filled with dust so thick she could hardly breathe. Everything felt surreal. Anita was there experiencing the fury and the chaos but not there at the same time. Shock had set in and whatever rational self-perception she had was replaced by a moving image of her own body getting up from under the desk in slow motion, time dilated, running toward the front of the building to find Mirta. The veteran caught her by the arm before she fell. “What are you doing? Don’t you see there’s nothing there? There’s nothing there anymore!” A beam of light shot through the darkness— somebody had found an emergency exit. But when they filed out onto the wroughtiron support, they found the stairs down to ground level hadn’t been installed yet. They were bunched together, trapped on a catwalk attached to a building that was dissolving around them. Time was running out. Some of the men jumped from the guardrails to the roof of a neighboring building and, from there, were able to pull people up, one by one, while the small corps of survivors yelled and stomped to call the police, the firemen, shouting that something had gone wrong, that people had been hurt. A woman next to Anita screamed for her husband, a security worker who wasn’t supposed to arrive until 10:00 AM—fully 17 minutes after the bomb detonated—but whose habit it was to get to work early. They didn’t at first hear the helicopters. They were unaware of the magnitude of the force they had just borne witness to, unaware that the sound of the blast was enough to draw hundreds of people from all sides crowding the streets shoulder-to-shoulder. Close behind them came the Federal Police, the Explosives Brigade, Civil Defense Forces and the Superintendent of Metropolitan Security, but hampered by people scrambling over rubble and a complete lack of inter-agency communication, they served only to aggravate the chaos. Throngs of people continued to pour in to see for themselves the most effective act of terrorism in Latin American history and the worst assault on the Jewish people since World War II. Without a chain of command, no one knew where to turn for orders, and rescuing people from the rubble became a free-for-all. It took nearly a day before anyone thought to close the airport, but in an instant, enough force had been generated to injure 240 people, and when the smoke wafted away and the debris was cleared, 85 had died. At the twilight of the Second World War, it was Argentina that had provided safe haven for
Nazi Germany’s most notorious war criminals, under a beloved Juan Domingo Perón who would, 20 years later, make clear his distaste for the Nuremberg trials. Perón fits nicely within Argentina’s pantheon of morally ambivalent leaders—dictators too proud to align their political and economic interests with the panAmerican mentality of the United States. Argentina is the angry stepchild of the Americas, strong-willed and distinct, following its own course of socio-political experimentation. This dynamic allowed Argentina to remain neutral in World War II until it no longer mattered, a month before Hitler was to kill himself in a Berlin bunker. And even then, it was a calculated move that allowed Perón to extend a welcoming hand to the Nazis because, as he explained later in his private tapes, “if Argentina became a belligerent country, it would have the right to enter Germany when the end of the war came. That means that our planes and ships would be in a position to render a great service.” On the surface, Argentina is not markedly different from any Western democracy. Since the 1980s a stringent anti-discrimination law has been in effect, and as Sergio Kiernan, the Sunday editor of Pagina/12 who has covered present-day Nazi activity, explained, “no one has ever made political capital on a racist platform, there’s never been a race lynching, never the Klan, politicians that are overtly racist have never won votes.” But what this all means is that in a state with a casual approach to justice, where Kiernan says “lots of people die and our legal system is faulty still,” the Nazi legacy, with its attendant anti-Semitism, and the effective abandonment of a Jewish population still licking its wounds from an attack it suffered more than a decade ago, has gone underground. Now there are youth groups, Neo-Nazis beating kids and defaming Jewish property. A few years ago, an appellate judge acquitted a group of teenagers who beat and kicked a boy, screaming “fucking Jew” on the basis that what they were screaming was a “grito de guerra”—a war cry—and not an act of discrimination. Sergio Widder, the director of Argentina’s office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, remembers the case, allowing himself a kind of tragic smile. “As crazy as you’re thinking it is, that was the position of the appellate court.” With this kind of climate, it’s perhaps not surprising what kind of things still happen here. Last year a Jewish boy was beaten in a neighborhood called Belgrano. “I know that area,” says Widder, his tone rising. “A lot of people go by. From my point of view, there must be a feeling of impunity or they wouldn’t do it there.” And whether the scale of the anti-Semitism is a few fanatical kids, a government permeated by institutionalized prejudice or a catastrophic
truck bomb, “impunity gives strength to those who are ready to participate in violent action.” Ramón Norberto Diaz provided the first grizzly hint that the AMIA bomb may have been delivered by automobile. When his body was pulled from the rubble, investigators found a shock absorber lodged in his neck. The Mossad agents Israel had flown in to conduct their own investigation began to work under that premise and soon found fragments of the door panels to corroborate it. The working theory was that Hezbollah had skirted Argentina’s security apparatus and carried out a suicide car-bombing alone, which seemed to make sense, because, at that time, the Arab community was particularly hostile towards Argentina. Syria had recently given Argentina a SCUD missile that Argentina had been pressured into handing over to America, and then to put salt on the wound, Argentina sent warships to the first Gulf War. But beneath the surface, there was much more to it. Agents found the car’s motor with an intact serial number: 2831467. They then crossreferenced the number with ownership records, and tied the car to a man named Carlos Alberto Telleldin. Pulling the thread some more, investigators were able to identify a network of 20 Argentineans tied to Telleldin and therefore implicit in the attack. Fifteen of them were police. The apparent mastermind was Chief Juan José Ribelli, the Buenos Aires Police Department’s second-in-command. Ribelli had received $2.5 million the day after the attack, and when asked to explain, he said it was
20 own voice played back to her, a chilling message that she’s being watched. And underneath a ready smile and a thick veneer of makeup, her appearance betrays the emotional withering one in her situation endures, suffering personally and professionally through a decade of fruitless work—work which most people who care prefer she failed. “I look like an old woman. I’m very young—that’s all the case’s fault.” In Argentina, when someone is directly affected by a crime, they can assume the role of prosecutor and serve the same functions that a district attorney would in the states. So Nercellas and her modest legal team—another lawyer and one technical assistant—began working tirelessly while the police, the intelligence service and the president worked directly against them. “It’s as if they first came to the conclusion that everyone was going to be absolved, and then they looked for ways to absolve them.”
inheritance from his father, a retired railway worker who earned $300 a month to pay for his living expenses and support his other children. “For money,” Ribelli’s chief and mentor would later say, “he was capable of anything.” The conspiracy went higher still. A small legal team got a tip from a cultural attaché in Iran named Carlos Lelli, who claimed to have coordinated a payment of $10 million from Tehran to President Carlos Menem. It was an unbelievable break in the investigation, but when the legal team began to mention Lelli’s name to the Secretariat of Intelligence, he was killed in a mysterious car accident, before ever being able to testify against President Menem. To Marta Nercellas, who is still prosecuting the AMIA bombing, the death of her star witness proved only the first in a steady onslaught of obstacles that have stonewalled the investigation. “Proof disappeared, proof was invented, witnesses were threatened, all the crimes that you could imagine happened within our own Secretariat of Intelligence.” Nercellas has suffered for her conviction to deliver justice. She talks to me across a mahogany table, the centerpiece in a conference room that is a testament to the accolades she could still be collecting, had she not taken on this Sisyphean task. The room is wallpapered with plaques bearing her name and offering praise for various endeavors—a wall-to-wall tribute to her former life that only ceases to allow sunlight through full-length windows looking out on a plaza below. Since she took this case, the steady stream of awards and recognition has dwindled. She’s been personally threatened—she often picks up the phone to hear a recording of her
It’s hard to understand—a country’s security apparatus is supposed to protect it from terrorists, certainly not abet them. But Argentina’s forces have held a subtle but influential Nazi streak since the influx of Nazi military types seeking safe haven after World War II. The majority of the new Nazi element was the rank and file: Croatian sergeants and privates who made the seamless adjustment into Argentine society and became unremarkable citizens. They farmed, they were drivers, some were even white collar employees. But for the most part they kept to themselves. The war, with all its vitriolic ideology, was a passing business. But there were some who didn’t change their ways. There were Nazi officers—French German, Belgian—who picked up Spanish, became teaching cadets in the military and began leaving their legacy. The Air Force was started just as the new Nazi element was beginning to influence the armed services, and it showed particularly savage anti-Semitism. When the Argentinean military dictatorship started in 1976, the nastiest concentration camps were run by the Air Force. Today in the training manuals even for metropolitan police, if you look hard enough, you can find traces of the Nazi streak. Today in Argentina a thinly veiled Nazi party runs for election under a euphemistic “Christian and nationalist” masthead. Swastikas and antiSemitic graffiti are not uncommon sights, skinheads and Neo-Nazis make the papers every few weeks and the worst attack against the Jewish community since the Holocaust has gone unpunished. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has helped find and extradite for trial some of the worst Nazi war criminals who immigrated to Argentina at the twilight of World War II—Adolph Eichmann, who coordinated
the transportation of Jews to Auschwitz; Josef Mengele, the doctor who used Jews as test subjects for medical experiments performed without anesthetics; Erich Priebke, who oversaw the slaughter of 335 Italian citizens in an abandoned quarry on the outskirts of Rome— but still, in this country one comes across institutionalized anti-Semitism almost daily. AMIA has since rebuilt its headquarters, 15 meters back from the street. When I go to the AMIA center 11 years later, a security guard and a uniformed police officer are standing sentry at a nondescript door cut into a nondescript wall that seems more than anything like a barricade. The guard takes my identification and reads my name to me a few times, looking up at me between each syllable with quizzical, mistrusting eyes. He speaks Spanish into his radio, holds a hand to my chest, gets a reply in his earpiece. I enter into a dimly lit foyer where another guard asks me to empty my pockets and my bag and walk through a metal detector twice, even though I go through the first time without incident. The guard disappears with my passport for a moment, returns without it, and escorts me to a two way mirror behind which, presumably, another guard peruses my identification and scrutinizes my features. The guard places his hands on my shoulders, and physically turns me toward a tiny video camera lens while, behind the smoked glass, some video analysis is conducted. Once past the first check point, I am told to walk across a courtyard to the main lobby, where my passport number, name, and personal information have been radioed ahead. Again, I am quizzed. Finally, I am allowed to enter. Eleven years later, there is still an air of overzealous caution and palpable anxiety. The wound from the bombing is still fresh, and inside there is an air of forced and transparent gaiety in the new building, an artificial lightheadedness in a place where no one would be all that surprised if somebody set off a bomb tomorrow. “The demonization of Jews which led to the Holocaust,” explains Sergio Widder, “did not end with the defeat of the Third Reich. We are confronting other, new forms of antiSemitism, but the spirit which inspired the Nazis is still alive.” Sometimes the evidence of an ideology that hasn’t yet flickered out is minute—a tiny swastika painted on a subway wall tile. Other times it’s hard to miss: a rabbi’s son attacked by a group of skinheads who stabbed him 13 times and left him blind in one eye. “There is fear not having a solution to the terrorist cases,” Widder says, “as long as there is impunity, there is a threat pending.”
International and Irrational?
Superstitions invade the very fabric of our lives. Across the world, actions, ideas and remarks ranging from the harmless to the mildly troublesome are deemed “unlucky.” Consider, if you will, these peculiarities of modern thought.
by Andrew Cheesman
The common “Lucky Rabbit’s Foot” idea comes from West African Voodoo tradition. Though it has spawned the production of perhaps millions of small, furry, neon-colored imitations, few realize that a truly lucky rabbit’s foot can’t be bought for a few dollars or even won at the state fair. The real tradition is a bit more complex: the rabbit must be shot in a cemetery under a full moon on a rainy Friday the 13th by a cross-eyed marksman with a silver bullet.
In the Middle East, the hand-like Khamsa is a common good luck charm, and is related to the number 5. Although the source of this association is unclear, some attribute it to the five books of the Torah, the Five Pillars of Islam, or even the five fingers of the human hand. In Hebrew, it literally means “5.” Saying “Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa” or using the number 5 in common speech can bring good luck and ward off evil, especially from the evil eye.
In many European countries, the practice of clinking glasses during a toast is said to ward off evil spirits. Toastmakers in Germany, Spain and France observe a rite that takes this old idea one step further: there, failure to make eye contact with a fellow toaster is such bad luck that it carries the penalty of bad sex for seven years.
Rome’s Fontana di Trevi may have an aristocratic past, but today it has powers that will work for anyone who can spare a coin or two (or three). Perhaps one of Rome’s greatest works of sculpture, it is named for its placement at the intersection of three roads (tre vie), and was used to supply water to the royal Roman baths during the early years of the first millennium. Nowadays, tradition postulates that if you throw one coin into the famous fountain, you will return to Rome someday; if you throw two, you will fall in love with a beautiful (or handsome) Roman; and if you throw three, you will marry that Roman in Rome itself.
In Italy, the number 17 is considered so unlucky that major airliner Alitalia removed its planes’ 17th row of seats, and some Italian buildings simply have no 17th floor. Spelled in Roman numerals, the number 17 Lat(XVII) can be re-arranged to spell VIXI, which in Lat in means, “I have lived”—implying, “My life is over.”
In some African bartering traditions, the buyer must agree that the seller can have back a part of the good exchanged. These arrangements are made to guarantee future luck for the seller: by keeping a small part of the goods he sells, a seller ensures that he will continue to be fruitful and productive. Because of this superstition, for example, it is a great disrespect to deny a plantain vendor his right to retain one of the fruit from a bunch.
In China, Japan and Korea, the number 4 is considered very unlucky. Because number pronunciation in these places evolved from one source, they share a pronunciation of the number 4 that, except for a small change in tone, mimics exactly the pronunciation for the word “death.” In these places, fear of the number 4 is so strong that some East Asian buildings altogether omit rooms and floors that contain the number 4, and telephone numbers that contain this digit are sold at a discounted price throughout China and Korea.
Koreans, Japanese and Israelis believe that leaving a fan on overnight is tempting fate. Some say that the draft will give you a cold. Some say it will freeze your face. Some venture to say that it will blow your soul right out of your body. Others say it will just kill you, but the point is that leaving a fan on while you’re sleeping is a horrible idea. Fans in Japan and Korea are sold with a sleep timer, so that if it’s absolutely necessary to leave a fan on during the night, its user would only have to subject himself to its dangers for perhaps an hour or two.
West African folklore protects animals from human aggression and misuse by surrounding them with strong notions of fear and respect. Accordingly, violating the life of a leopard is strictly forbidden, and one is not to be touched even when dead. Should a man kill a leopard, law requires that he undergo three weeks’ worth of expensive ceremonies performed by local religious and tribal leaders in order to cleanse the man of his misdeed. In some cases, fears are so strong that villages will allow a leopard to consume their livestock population slowly, simply in order to avoid having to kill the beast.
In Yiddish, it’s called aynore; in Hebrew, ayin hara; Hungarian, szemmel verés; Turkish, nazar; Persian, nazar-e-shaitaan; Tagalog, mata ng diablo; Polish, oko proraka; Sicilian, jettatura; Spanish, mal de ojo; Brazilian Portuguese, olho gordo; Greek, Matiasi; in English, the evil eye. No matter how you say it, the evil eye is a curse, given by an envious person observing another’s good fortune. According to folklore from across the world, children are unusually susceptible to the evil eye’s effects and, if cursed, can develop a fever and go into convulsions, while afflicted adults will typically suffer only from uncontrollable vomiting. Most cases of the evil eye’s curse are considered accidental, though some believe that in Sicily, witches called jettatore can actually cast the evil eye at will.
Lihi is the Filipino idea that anything that a woman takes in through any of her five senses during a pregnancy will affect the character characteristics of the child she is carrying. For example, if a newborn child resembles a manatee, some Filipinos might say that this happened because her mother enjoyed looking at, eating, listening to, touch touching or smelling manatees while she was pregnant. Italians observe a somewhat related fear: if a pregnant woman touches some part of her body in the midst of a food craving, it is said that her child will be born with a birthmark in the shape of that craving wherever the mother touched her own body. For this reason, some Italians suggest that pregnant women touch their bottoms during cravings so as to direct the potentially disfiguring birthmark there instead of to, say, the face.
Southern Italians have adopted a special protection against the jettatore: the symbol of a bull’s horns. For them, a bull’s-horns hand-gesture (similar to the American “rockon” sign) when held at the side and flexed upward is a common, effective way to avoid accepting the evil eye’s curse.
EXCESS BAGGAGE 23
Do you know that empty feeling that fills your room when all of your friends have left? Or the doleful taste of the last bits of Thanksgiving turkey from the fridge? Better yet, the moment on Christmas morning when there are no more gifts to unwrap? Multiply them together, my friend, and you have an idea of what the post-abroad mourning period feels like. When I left Edinburgh after my semester abroad, I was glad to be going home. No more living with freshmen, no more scraping coins together to get a decent meal, no more of the same clothes I’d been wearing for months. And it was Christmas—I had weeks of shopping and merriment to which I was looking forward. People would ask how I felt about my semester drawing to a close, and I’d reply that I was sad to be leaving but glad to be returning. Twelve hours or so later, my feelings had changed. Somewhere over the Atlantic I realized that I had left everything I had enjoyed so much over the past few months behind me. There would be a new visiting student to fill my room in Ewing House, and I would be back at Duke before I knew it. In many ways, it was as if I were never there; I was temporary there. I was petrified that my memories would be as far away as the place I had just left. The next few weeks were full of the requisite encounters with old friends who would ask the perfunctory questions—including the everunanswerable “how was abroad?” As I satisfied each query (my responses becoming more rote with repetition), it became clear to me that I wouldn’t forget my trip. To the contrary, it seemed that my memories sharpened. I remembered the uneven squares in the pavement where the puddles tended to gather, and the homeless lady who sat outside of the post office. The heady, wooden smell of the pubs and the delightful brogue cacophony that emanated from their doors lingered in my nose and ears. The damp smell of the stairs that I’d climb to get to my lecture hall wafted back into my life each time I remove snow-soaked clothing. I hoarded the little everyday things that I had purchased during my stay, hoping each cup of tea would restore the sense of independence and extraordinary good fortune I’d felt each time I glanced out my window in Scotland. Some mornings I would awaken and think I was still there—my subconscious stayed on a few weeks after I left. Slowly the magic wore off. Tesco tea can’t reverse the march of time, after all. I made my way through the close of junior year, perhaps self-isolating in some ways, aware that I dearly missed my fall semester there, but also that I had missed the fall semester here. So many of the minor things had changed—I couldn’t pronounce Bostock if I tried. I didn’t particularly care that I had been out of the Gothic loop, however, because I was busy plotting my return to Scotland. I would not be that girl who talked about the semester she spent in Europe while she was in
college, all the while mentally tabulating the years it had been since she got away. I looked at one-way tickets to the United Kingdom and tried to figure out how I could make the best use of the credit limit that Citibank had so graciously provided me. I looked at calendars and tried to structure my still-nebulous year off to make a return trip viable. I slyly suggested to friends that we ought to meet up in Europe after graduation. The mania to return, too, subsided with time. I stopped thinking about logistics and internalized my eastward yearning. Now and again, I would take satisfaction in imagining myself trotting down the streets that I remembered almost exactly, eating at the restaurants I loved last November and visiting with now-old friends as they prepared to graduate. I could picture it all so perfectly—I will return, it must happen, I’d tell myself. But how? I have no desire to enhance international understanding, and I plan to serve only myself when I return. No funds-granting organization in its right state would be foolish enough to finance my trip. I was in exile—I had no way to return, only a burning desire. How would I live my life knowing that halfa-million others were enjoying the best city I had ever been in while I was stuck at home? The mourning period had, by now, run its course. Five Kubler-Rossian-stages-of-grief later, it was time to accept that I had returned. My friends were also back from their studies abroad, many dealing with similar emotional hangovers, some still physically hung-over. I am but one of a horde of existentially-taxed undergraduates longing to use their passports once more. There is comfort in that universality. If nothing else, it is obvious that traveling and studying abroad is an important experience for any undergraduate—so we grieve for our trips when they are over. How does one deal with the grief? And what does one do with it? Freud suggested that we must consume our grief by chewing it up and swallowing it; we must make the thing that we lost part of ourselves. Not just through tattoos, new slang or exotic wardrobes—to succeed in this grieving process, we must internalize something larger about what was physically lost. I value the camaraderie of those noisy pubs and I try to recreate it whenever I socialize. I never forget to give the homeless my change. Whatever it was that studying in Edinburgh did for me is part of me now. It may be some time before I manage to get back, but it is comforting to know that I have gained something through mourning. And that is permanent.
A Not-So-Misspent Youth by Melanie Wright
M There was another attack on U.S. soldiers ay 14, 2006
in Iraq. A few Americans, a few Iraqi police, and some civilians were killed. What does our government think it’s doing? All we ever hear about is the disaster overseas. Glad I’m not in the army. At least in a few days I’ll be away from this country and its policies and mistakes. Israel should be a nice change of scenery. Tomorrow we head out of this country! I’m going on a Birthright trip with 40 kids from Duke. Ten days and we get to see all of the country, or at least a lot of it. The Golan Heights in the North, the Negev desert and Dead Sea farther south, and, of course Jerusalem. I’ve never been, but everyone says that for Jewish kids, and even for Christians, a trip to the Holy Land is eye-opening and life-changing. I hope they’re right. I’m sick of everything here… the politics especially. I don’t really know
what to expect over there. Suicide bombers? War breaking out? People say you actually don’t usually feel in danger there, but I find that hard to believe. I guess I’ll just have to see. May 15
As soon as we left the airport, we met our security guard/medic, Oded. He’s in his early twenties, straight out of the army, and can’t be taller than 5’4”. Wooden rifle slung over his shoulder, cell phone to his ear, I wasn’t sure if we were in World War One or modern society. He didn’t even seem to notice all of the Americans gawking at his gun. I’m also not entirely sure how that’s supposed to protect us, but apparently that’s just how the trip’s going to work.
times—two for the group, which they rotate among themselves. Amir sat down at the table, put his ammunition pack on the table in front of him and lay his M-16 at his side. Until he noticed the gawking around him, I don’t think he even noticed his weaponry. It’s just so ingrained in their daily life in Israel. May 20
Outside of flag ceremonies and ROTC, I don’t think I’ve ever really seen guns around in America. I mean, people just don’t carry them. I’m not talking about handguns, which I guess you
I’m not sure what I think about the U.S. Army as a means of social advancement. On one hand, great! I’m glad the opportunity exists to fund a college education, learn skills and discipline and such. On the other hand, I feel like we’re using the poor as pawns— even sacrificial lambs—for political goals. Sure, it’s voluntary, but it still seems morally questionable at best. Also, what sort of people do you meet? So much of the army seems homogenous and ignorant, often intolerant, of other cultures. Is it hardening themselves against enemies, just a false stereotype or something else in the culture? May 17
The other day we went through a Druze village. They’re a religious sect that split from Islam about 1100 years ago, but they’re loyal to whichever country they live in. In fact, their participation in the army is higher than the rate of participation among Jews. Oded said one of the things he learned from his army days is how unified the Druze, Jews, and others in Israel have to be in the Israeli Defense Forces. Universal conscription means “people from all over the social rainbow” live and work together, and he claims that it really diminishes racism. Since Israel’s such a mixed society—East Europeans, Ethiopians, Brazilians, Arabs, and more—I guess that’s fortunate for them. Duke’s been my first opportunity to work closely with people so different from me, and that can’t even compare to the military. May 18
Supporting the army even if you don’t agree with the politics is easy, the Israelis told me. It’s about wanting your country to exist. I can’t imagine feeling like that about our army. What must it be like knowing that you live on the brink of destruction? That any day when you wake up one of your neighbors who doesn’t believe you have a right to live might try to take that right? That your home might be exchanged in a treaty next week to try to stop the violence? Israelis don’t live in terror, though, and in fact are some of the most laid-back and down-to-earth people I’ve met. Instead, they appreciate what they have in a more constant sense than I have ever been able to. They realize they’re lucky to even have a country where they’re free. I wonder if I could ever be so aware of how fortunate I am…I wish I could.
see sometimes, but rifles or semi-automatic weapons. I can’t get over it. Do I feel safer, or does it just prevent me from forgetting the incredible tension surrounding me? Somehow at home I think I’d feel threatened, but here it all just seems so natural and casual that I can almost accept the guns everywhere. It unites the country, between civilians and the IDF. Israel equals the military. May 21
Today eight soldiers joined our tour group for a few days. Four guys, four girls, all our age, and all the intelligence forces. Even through they’re just here to hang out, they have to carry guns at all
According to Kevin Bacon, we’re all connected by six degrees of separation. The Israelis say that their society’s so small and interconnected, it’s more like 1.5 degrees. Within the IDF, they claim it’s more like zero. If you don’t know someone, you know
the kibbutz where they were raised, their parents and their high school. For each terrorist bombing, the whole country feels the pain, often directly. When even a single solider dies, it’s a friend or a friend of a friend. Everything is personal. You know how everyone knew or knew of someone in the World Trade Center on 9/11? What if events that affected us as immediately happened monthly—for years? What would that do for our national unity or for retaliation against our attackers? Would we feel differently about war if we could connect to every fatality?
in the military people probably are more accepting of a range of beliefs, but still the idea that someone in the service can directly oppose the government’s position so publicly is far from the American experience. But they do it all the time. Obviously you don’t question orders while in combat, so this is a way of challenging the system through politics. It makes sense. It’s just so different. May 23
Shira, one of the soldiers with our group, is an art student. High schools have majors like our colleges, so she’s been working on developing her skills and life trajectory for years. After the military, she’ll continue her education at a university. However, she’s been preparing for these years in uniform as much as for her future. Competition for elite branches for the military is intense, so the young Israelis are constantly building their physical strength and endurance while trying to excel academically. Especially the guys talk of making everything into a physical competition starting from around the age of 10, just to get in shape. No wonder Israel doesn’t have the obesity issues we have! Since military service is accepted as normal, they view it as a chance to explore, an opportunity to grow and a time to mature. It sort of makes me feel like I’ve missed something while growing up in America. May 24
They say Vietnam veterans still have nightmares. Napalm, brutality, constant danger—what you experienced there never leaves you. What must it do to have an entire country who has seen war from the front lines? People aren’t disillusioned about war—it’s not glorious, it’s terrible but essential. But how crushing is that sense of reality? I’m not suggesting that living in an illusion is good, but Israel’s a country without innocence. They all realize that many people out there would love to see them dead, because those people have fired rockets at them. They’ve had to face death daily. Apparently it’s become commonplace for kids straight out of the military to take some time off and travel so they can recuperate from risking death, losing friends or having to kill. At times I don’t mind living in my sheltered sphere. I feel sorry for them—the whole nation—living like this. May 25
How much are you able to pursue you own ideology in the U.S. military? There’s something in the “Army of One” that suggests that if you’re in the military, you believe what it believes. Obviously I’m sure that’s not true, but it comes back to the voluntary aspect of our service. People who participate are more likely to agree with military ideology. Besides, our country is so hard on veterans who criticize the army—think of Kerry during Vietnam! That’s one reason why I’d never join the army. I feel like my personal beliefs would interfere and that it wouldn’t be acceptable. In Israel, many soldiers go to peace rallies on their time off. It doesn’t seem to faze anyone except outsiders. Since everyone’s
Today’s our last day in Israel. Today I board a place back to New York and the life I’ve always known. Many images from my time here will stick with me—sprawling landscapes, Orthodox children in traditional dress and the holiest sites of Judaism. But I’ll also remember taking photographs atop the ancient fortress of Masada. To my side, one of the soldier, also with a camera… and an M-16. By age he could almost be my classmate at Duke, but his reality makes him seem years older and miles away. I’ll remember seeing the streets filled with the drab green of the IDF and the reverence with which they were treated by all the Israelis, who know that they owe their lives and country to these soldiers. But I’ll also remember smoking hookah and chatting with the same kids and realizing that we’re not so different, they’re just in a country where war and death are commonplace and you only live by recognizing that you’re part of a greater, everlasting whole. Maybe I’ll leave with a newfound respect for our military and definitely with increased appreciation for the security of my home and family and country. Sometimes it takes traveling across oceans to understand and be grateful for where you came from.
ARGENTINA’S REVOLT by Jeff Stern In November of last year, George W. Bush visited Mar Del Plata, Argentina, to participate in the Fourth Summit of the Americas. Bush is vehemently hated in Argentina. The capital city walls are mosaics of anti-Bush posters and graffiti. In Argentina, Bush is likened to Hitler for the war in Iraq, and to a pirate for his plundering foreign policies. When it was announced that Bush would be traveling to Argentina to attend the Summit, the anti-Bush fervor kicked up a notch as the people demanded he stay out of Argentina. On the second day of the summit, the crowd took to the streets. Invigorated by a vitriolic speech from Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez, they marched and chanted and brandished banners; all the while the Young Communist Revolutionaries stoked the crowd and passed out pamphlets: “At four o’clock, we march on the summit.” By that afternoon, a crowd of angry Argentines had amassed at Avenida Colon, taunting, burning flags and effigies and staring across the security barrier. A phalanx of police stood waiting in full riot gear. Within minutes, violence broke out.
by Holley Horrell
Paris. Athens. Lisbon. Names like these doubtless bring to mind the bright lights of Texas, the classic setting of Georgia and the glamour of Indiana. However, for some people, these appellations evoke locations scattered across the globe. Here, we’ve mapped out a few American towns and their lesser-known namesakes. With the region’s only commercial airport just next door, a store named Bling Wireless, and an event called Crazy Days, this Montanan town is a hot destination in the chilly Rocky Mountains terrain. Nestled in the Balkans, its European namesake, the capital of Serbia, may not have Bling Wireless, but it’s a cultural gem in its its own right.
With the longest suspension bridge in Europe rounding out its list of attractions, the capital of Portugal is a worthy rival to its North Dakotan namesake—whose state-of-the-art water and sewer systems have won it regional acclaim. Stick that in your toilet and flush it, Portugal.
This venerable city, officially established in 1987, is known the world over for the prestigious gastronomical powerhouse based there—does the name Wendy’s ring a bell? Across the pond, an Irish city calls several other names (James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett…) its own.
North Dakota, Portugal
North Carolina, England
The 30,000-plus UGA Bulldogs that call Athens home may not be aware that some of the subjects they study (Plato, Aristotle, a little thing called democracy) originated in a town in Greece that shares the same name.
A Southern landmark, the tower of the Duke Chapel soars above the Gothic wonderland of its eponymous university. In another locale of colorful accents, the famous Romanesque architecture of Durham Cathedral helps make it one of the most popular sites in England.
Standing tall above the skyline of this bustling metropolis is the 65-foot Eiffel Tower, crowned with a cowboy hat for a touch of whimsy. The French Paris has a similar sculpture, sans hat, reaching nearly a thousand feet tall (overcompensate much?). And while the Texas town’s Hayden Museum boasts four galleries’ worth of art, the French do their best with a little three-winged museum called the Louvre.
Passport would like to thank:
The International Association and International Council The Asian Pacific Studies Institute Duke University Center for International Studies Latin American and Caribbean Studies International House International Comparative Studies The John Spencer Bassett Fund The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs
Dear all, It’s the time of year when the old must prepare to give way so the new can come through. It feels appropriate that we’re handing over the reins to the next generation of Passporteers. Before I step down as Editor-in-Chief of Passport, I’d like, one last time, to thank the incredible team that made this magazine the marvel that it is. Alex Shum, Leland McNabb, Caitlin Monjeau, Holley Horrell, and Nile Ledbetter: you have been the core of this publication. None of this would have been possible without you. Willy Wu, even though you left us a while back, we still appreciate the tremendous amount of time and effort you put into making the magazine look beautiful. Gretchen Doores, it’s a pity that we didn’t find you sooner. You are a positive force within the staff—you have energized us all. To the newest members of staff, Andrew Cheesman, Michelle Fang and Melanie Wright: we’re thrilled to have you on board. I have no doubt that the underclassmen among you will do a wonderful job with the magazine. To Jordan Hosmer-Henner and Ashley Dean: Thank you for your last-minute help. It is much appreciated. Last but certainly not least, a huge thanks to Cloe Liparini for her enthusiasm and support. You remind us of what’s really important about this magazine. With that, I pass on Passport with a fond farewell and the hope of new and brilliant things to come.
Is the world your onion?
Come show us your layers. Submit to Passport. firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Apr 7, 2008