On the right to bear arms

It’s at times like this when I can feel every inch of the 3,675 miles that separates London from Washington DC.  Oakland, Aurora, Oak Creek, New York City, Minneapolis, Brookfield, Newtown – and that’s just 2012’s mass shootings.  I could fill this entire article with the names of the wounded and the dead.  It’s almost too much to take in.  Never has the American anti-gun lobby had more ammunition.  And yet, as it stands, I’m more inclined to despair for it than to hope. What took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School was beyond nauseating, beyond horrific.  Another mass murder, another gun-wielding maniac, another tragedy.  The day itself may not have been about politics, but its aftermath should be.  And when Newtown is finally left, out of sight of the cameras and the speculators, to pick up the pieces, I wonder what – if anything at all – will have …

The war that never ends

“What is the fundamental question one must ask of the world? I would think and posit many things, but the answer was always the same: Why is the child crying?”      —Alice Walker (Possessing the Secret of Joy)   His name was Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa.  He was Palestinian; he was Gazan; he was human.  He was the first of 30 children killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza in the space of just 11 days last month.  He – like all the others – stood no chance: a 13 year-old boy with weapons no more deadly than the football he was playing with, shot in the stomach.  Such ‘surgical precision,’ such care! It’s only a month after these events that I feel able to write about them with any sort of cogency.  Even now, I only have questions: Who are the terrorists here?  Which is the ‘rogue nation’?  Where …

Manufacturing injustice

As Apple’s website displayed a poignant tribute to the man who made technology beautiful, very few of us spared a thought for those who made his dreams a reality: people like Wang Ling, Li Rongying and Lu Xin.  They are just three of 23 workers at Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese manufacturer, who have committed suicide since 2010.  Systemic abuse of workers’ employment and, dare I say it, human rights have been obfuscated by the lure of the dancing pixels – and you and I are part of the reason why. While we wait for higher resolution, the workers seem to be planning a revolution. Only last week, between three and four thousand underpaid and underappreciated Foxconn workers staged a walkout at the Zhengzhou plant.  A few weeks earlier, a protest at the Taiyuan factory descended into the mother of all broils, leaving 40 people in need of medical treatment. This hasn’t …