October 11, 1995 |
Pope John Paul II challenges the widespread notion that international affairs is a realm of amorality in which interests alone are in play. The Pope is emerging as the world's premier defender of the idea that there is a nobility to the human person and prospect. It is not an easy case to make at the end of a century of slaughter, tyranny and unfathomable human suffering. Having fought the Nazi and communist occupations of his homeland, the Pope is no naive optimist. But he is, as he said at the United Nations last week, a "witness to hope.
October 7, 1995 |
I know an 81-year-old man who chortles with life. He takes aerobic classes four times a week. He lifts weights three times a week. On weekends, he takes it easy - he goes ballroom dancing twice. Oh, did I forget to mention he has had both knees replaced? Americans are living longer these days - 76 years on average. But as the body ages, sadly it weakens, which means that because of physical degeneration, this foreboding possibility exists: We will lose some, if not all, of our ability to live independently.
November 3, 1994 |
There is no bitterness in Ann Weiss's voice as she speaks from a hospital bed, where a morphine drip is keeping the raging pain at bay. Her tone is almost bright, her mind clear, even as the disease plays hide-and-seek - racing about from brain to ribs to legs. It began 15 years ago when she was 30, with a lump under her breast. "I went in for a biopsy and when the doctor came into the recovery room all I had to do was look at his face to know the answer . . . he was in tears.
August 8, 1994 |
I admit I'm feeling lousy today because one of the most significant human rights organizations in this region is on its deathbed, and not many people seem to care. After more than 53 years of advocacy and activism on issues ranging from educational equality to gun control to police accountability and fair-election practices, the Fellowship Commission may take its final breath within the next 30 days. It needs $150,000 to keep going for another year, but it's broke. The private giving and foundation grants that have sustained it have dried up. Evidently, not enough people think that a group that promotes fellowship is worthy of support.
August 4, 1994
It's a global village, all right, and that just makes it harder to keep the creeps out. Many American parents have disabled their home telephones from calling 900 numbers, lest their rambunctious and inquisitive offspring decide to call one of the phone-sex lines advertised on cable television or the back pages of selected magazines. This worthy precaution has financial as well as moral motivations; the lines can charge up to $3 a minute. Now, this parental blockade has sprung a leak.
June 25, 1994
TO JAPANESE, UNMENTIONABLE WAR What a change a week makes! First, near-saturation coverage of the Normandy hoopla. Then the emperor and empress of Japan visit the United States and - SHHH! - no mention of World War II. No visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial allowed by the Tokyo government, lest it seen as if he might be apologizing. Japan today, where a cabinet officer may choose to deny the rape of Nanking and a leading liberal political leader publishes a blueprint for the future with quotes from "Mein Kampf," may prefer to gloss over 1931-1945.
May 8, 1994
Excerpts from Nelson Mandela's victory speech on Monday: To all those in the African National Congress and the democratic movement who worked so hard these last few days and through these many decades, I thank you and honor you. To the people of South Africa and the world who are watching: This is indeed a joyous night for the human spirit. This is your victory, too. You helped end apartheid, you stood with us through the transition. . . . I am your servant. I don't come to you as a leader, as one above others.
October 10, 1993 |
Robin Chew pressed forward through the crush of people, hoping simply to touch her. "I'm 21," said Chew, of Southwest Philadelphia, who works as an item processor in a bank. "Reading her poems is like something I've never experienced before in my life. " Maya Angelou - poet and professor, actress and journalist - graced Philadelphia with her presence yesterday, speaking, singing and inspiring at the first event of the "Make Unity Work" campaign sponsored by the Fellowship Commission.
May 13, 1993 |
When a natural disaster strikes a part of the world that is already struggling, news footage tends to make the misery faceless. In And Life Goes On, a unique documentary filmed amid the rubble of the 1990 earthquake that took 50,000 lives in northern Iran, Abbas Kiarostami tells stories that render the suffering individual and vivid. And Life Goes On celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and movingly expands the traditional limits of the documentary. Kiarostami shot an earlier film in a now-devastated village, and in this work, he chronicles his search for the two boys who starred in it and who are now somewhere - alive or dead - in the ruins.
April 10, 1993 |
Everyone thought it came to an inglorious end last year with 300 onlookers, a straggling gaggle of a parade and founder Joseph Zanghi's lament: "It's dead. It's dead. It's all over. " But, hey, it ain't over. Cherry Hill's Cherry Blossom Festival is back for its 21st year, neither bigger nor brighter than ever, but back, nonetheless - sans parade. "Tell the people, 'Hey, we're back and we didn't get blasted off the face of the Earth last year,' " Zanghi said last week.