A Plea from Lauri Love

The waiting is torture enough. Any individual placed in confrontation with the legal system knows that the process somehow moves too quickly in the most painful ways and then too slowly in other, equally painful, moments.

Lauri Love, the British hacktivist who the United Kingdom has agreed to send to the United States to face charges despite pleas from over 100 MPs that he not be extradited, reported earlier today (April 21) that he is becoming ill from the stress.

But in this moment of profound tension, almost in a recognition that this moment is no different than the one immediately before or the one that will follow because no news has been announced, he wrote of his hopes for the rest of us, for his ambition that the fight will continue: “Mostly though I’m worried about the world and whether we can rise to the challenge that we find ourselves in, at this crux of history and generational crisis-cum-opportunity. Show me the courage and strength I need to maintain, and I’ll try to show you the same.”

It is typical of Lauri Love that even in his darker moments he finds hope in his plight, shares that hope (albeit with plenty of sarcasm and wit), and then brings it out to the world.
Read More

#OpFOQ: All 26 Hostages Freed

As reported in the international media (CNN, BBC), all twenty-six Qatari hostages held in Iraq since December 2015 were released from Iraq today.

The Qatari hostages have been the subject of a social media campaign to bring attention to their plight that is known as “OpFOQ,” a campaign that this website started to report on from the day it was launched in March 2017.
Read More

The Deep Repercussions of a Bombing in Syria

Yesterday’s violent suicide bombing that killed at least 112 refugees in a bus convoy near Aleppo, Syria, derailed at least temporarily a complicated operation to evacuate Syrian civilians from four besieged towns in that country as well as help for the families of twenty-six Qatari men held hostage in Iraq.

The Qatari hostages have been the subject of a social media campaign to bring attention to their plight that is known as “OpFOQ,” and this website started to report on that campaign from the day it was launched.
Read More

A Century’s End

Emma Morano (pictured above) of Verbania, Italy, died today at the age of 117, according to reports. She was the oldest person alive on the planet and she was also the last human being who was here the century before last. When we woke this morning, the 19th Century was still a part of living history; now it is entirely history.

Ms. Morano was born on November 29, 1899, and every human being alive was born after the dawn of the 20th Century or this present century.
Read More

A Timely Definition of ‘Time’

Samuel Johnson wrote, “He that hopes to look back hereafter with satisfaction upon past years must learn to know the present value of single minutes, and endeavor to let no particle of time fall useless to the ground.”—Rambler 108, March 30, 1751

Dr. Johnson was 41 in March of 1751 and several years into his work on his most lasting project, his Dictionary. Unlike most of the dictionaries developed for any language, and all dictionaries in English, Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was written by one man. An entire dictionary, with more than 40,000 word entries and over 100,000 literary quotations to back up and explain Johnson’s definitions and create an etymology (the study of the origin of words). It took Johnson nine years to complete it; 75 years later, Noah Webster published his own dictionary, which had 70,000 entries, took 25 years to complete, and cites Johnson throughout. The first completed edition of the Oxford English Dictionary took 75 years and dozens of scholars to compile its first edition, published in 1928.
Read More

Blindly Paranoid

The story has a happy ending: my bank account is still a bank account, and—even better!—it is still my bank account. So breathe easy, everyone.

I do not know if 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday is the worst time to learn that something is amiss with one’s bank account or if it is the second-worst time to learn that something is amiss with one’s funds, but that was the time I learned this scary fact. Now, I have watched friends lose their ATM cards into an ATM at 2:00 a.m. because the ATM had been given instructions by the bank to stop my friends from doing more damage to their (the bank’s) reputation. That would be worse than what I experienced, except for one crucial point: this is me I’m talking about here, and it happened to me, not to a memory of a friend. Me. Everything is always worse when it happens to me.
Read More

Blind but Now I See

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

An Anglican clergyman named John Newton wrote the hymn titled “Faith’s Review and Expectation” late in 1772, and he introduced the hymn in a New Year’s Day service in his parish in Olney, Buckinghamshire, on that date in 1773.

Many years later, the hymn became best known by the two-word exclamation that opens it: “Amazing grace!”
Read More

For Shawkan: One More Month

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

* * * *
Although Shawkan is approaching his forty-fourth month in jail, a court in Egypt today postponed the continuing trial of Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” until Tuesday, May 9. One more month.

Shawkan’s ongoing story, with its staggered month-by-month steps, is one of the denial of basic human rights by a nation allied with Western governments, but it also has been a story of many citizens stepping up and making certain that Shawkan’s story is heard. Both stories are worth knowing.

Shawkan is one of twenty-five journalists jailed in Egypt, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

For those unaware of Shawkan’s story, I recently wrote the following background article:
Read More