Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Man from the Middle Ages

This is really beautiful.
The Man from the Middle Ages
by Michael Steinberg

. . . The heart of Ahmadinejad's letter is this passionate series of rhetorical questions:
The people will scrutinize our presidencies.

Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment? Did we intend to establish justice, or just support special interest groups and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship make a few people rich and powerful -- thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs'? Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them? Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or impose wars on them, interfere illegally in their affairs, establish hellish prisons and incarcerate some of them? Did we bring the world peace and security or raise the specter of intimidation and threats? Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or present an inverted version of it?

Were we on the side of people or the occupiers and oppressors? Did our administration set out to promote rational behavior, logic, ethics, peace, fulfilling obligations, justice, service to the people, prosperity, progress and respect for human dignity -- or the force of guns, intimidation, insecurity, disregard for the people, delaying the progress and excellence of other nations and trampling on people's rights?"
These questions have an oddly familiar ring, as they should. They pose a challenge about human communities that was first framed by Aristotle: that of making a world conducive to eudaimonia, or -- to use the most common English translation -- human flourishing. . . .

Michael, my Sheherazade, has one thousand and one nights' worth of stories about the main effects of commodity fetishism. . . .

[Don't cavil about a couple of points on which you would disagree with him. It's important for a piece like this to go online.]

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