Letter From the Editor Let me tell you about David, one of my best friends in high school. We hung out for an hour and half on the bus each day, for three years. David was very personable if you knew him, generous, and agreeable. He also drew hearty laughter out of everyone around him. The joke of the day, everyday, was that David was “lame”. Why was the bus late? Because David was “lame”. Why did David flunk his physics test? Because he was “lame”. Immature? Definitely. But David laughed along, and so did I. David worked hard for his grades, and got into the top-ranked Canadian university. I came down to the States. During my sophomore year winter break, I was hanging out with David when I suddenly had the compulsion to ask, “So, how did you feel about those jokes back in high school?” He said, “Pretty bad. I just went home and cried.” I was gutted by his response. Fun and jokes? No? A few weeks later, David abruptly stopped answering phone calls. One year later, I found out that he had dropped out of university, and had been shutting himself away for months. I haven’t seen him since that winter break. I’m still haunted by the wrenching thought that if I had only asked him how he felt back in high school… How much of our daily intentions are genuine, and how much are superficial? Rudyard Kipling once wrote that we should dream, but dreams may become our master. During a recent trip to the UN, I found time to visit Dr. Michael Doyle, who was a Special Policy Advisor for Kofi Annan. Dr. Doyle was one of the principal drafters of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of 8 goals aimed to improve the quality of lives of the poor around the world. They were the same set of goals that I had been lobbying UN delegates to implement for the past 3 years. But when I asked Dr. Doyle why they had not been implemented, he put it simply, “[Diplomats] all like the big photo op in New York… but they preferred not to have any pressure.” To anyone who has ever been curious about politics and social issues, Dr. Doyle’s words inevitably beg the question, “why bother?” From David, I learned that we better say and do something before it is too late.
Bob Ma (W’10)..........................Editor-in-Chief Ned Shell (C’12).............Senior Managing Editor e Maya Perl-Kot (C’10)..Associate Managing Editor Rachel Thomas (C’11)...............General Manager Patrick Stedman (C’10).........................Treasurer Nantina Vgontzas (C’11)..................Senior Editor Gideon Spitzer (C’11)......................Senior Writer
Greg Rollman (C’11), Bill Shotzbarger (C’10),
Nantina Vgontzas (C’11)
Editors Anne-Garland Berry (C’10), Janice Dow (C’11) Associate Editors Emily Blecker (C’12), Laura Drossner (C’09), Alex Melamed (C’11), Maya Perl-Kot (C’10), Ariela Rosenberg (C’12), Joel Tee (C’12) Copy Editors Sarah Heinz (C’12), Alisan Oliver-Li (C’10)
Senior Writers Josh Rittenberg (C’11), Gideon Spitzer (C’11),
Patrick Stedman (C’10) Staff Writers John Gee (C’12), Ned Shell (C’12), Bill Shotzbarger (C’10), Rachel Thomas (C’11) Associate Writers Patrick Bradley (C’10),Wenceslao G. Matos (C’11), Abdulaziz AlMulla (C’11), Elena Stein (C’10), Vanessa-Faith Daubman (N’10)
Art & Photography
Siede Coleman (C’11), Chiyel Hayles (C’11), Leroy Wilkes (C’09), Allison Zuckerman (C’12), Jonathan Coveney (W’09, E ’09), Janice Dow (C’11)
Business & Public Relations
Sarah Boice (A’10), Sunita Desai (C’09), Rachel Thomas (C’11),
Alicia Puglionesi (C’09), Bob Ma (W’10), Rachel Thomas (C’11) Copyright 2008 The Soapbox. It is forbidden to make any reproductions, in whole or in part, without the express consent of The Soapbox.
Bob Ma Editor-in-Chief
The Soapbox gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors: The Soapbox is an independent student publication of the University of Penn sylvania. We strive to provide a balanced and nonpartisan publication that critically examines relevant social, economic, and political issues. All articles are chosen by a Board of Editors based on argumentative merit and relevance. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s) and do not in !"#$!#%&'(')*%*+'%,-.".,"/%,&%*+'%'"0,&/'1'"*%,2%*+'%30.*,&/4
The Soapbox, March 2009