JFK's assasination provides us with lessons about the dangers of secret wars and unaccountable power.
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The way to stop is to stop.
Turning from Old Ways
From the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the Cold War ended. But U.S. policymakers apparently still haven’t gotten the news.
This meeting of the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, last weekend ended without the usual official declaration because U.S. policy refuses to include Cuba, while a broad range of other governments in the Americas supports an invitation. The final vote was 32-2 for Cuba’s inclusion in future meetings, with only the U.S. and Canada opposed.
Reuters noted: “U.S. insistence that Havana undertake democratic reforms before returning to the hemispheric family led to a clash with a united front of leftist and conservative governments that see Washington's policy toward Cuba as a relic of the Cold War.”
It’s long past time for the U.S. to realize that the Cold War is over, that Cuba exists, and that inclusion will foster change faster than exclusion. Even the Vatican realizes that, as Pope Benedict’s recent trip to Cuba demonstrated.
I am one of those who still prefer ink on paper to pixels on a screen. But no matter how you get your news, the passing of a giant is worth noting. Tom Wicker, reporter and columnist for The New York Times for 30 years, died on Saturday. The Times described him as “one of postwar America’s most distinguished journalists.”
Wicker was a meticulous reporter and a passionate advocate, so much so that he was sometimes criticized for overstepping the bounds of objectivity. But when faced with the major events he wrote on, how could he not be?
Albania was perhaps the most closed society in the world during the Cold War, with absolutely ruthless persecution of all religion. Churches were destroyed in every corner of that country. Clergy were eliminated. Worship was outlawed. And enforcement was brutal.
When Communism fell, and the country opened for the first time in decades, the Albanian church began a miraculous process of rebirth. We heard the moving story of the Albania Orthodox Church, rebuilding countless church structures, but even more importantly, restoring faith in the hearts of its people. I've known its leader, Archbishop Anastasios, from past encounters at the World Council of Churches, and he surely is a saint. The revival of religious faith in Albania and its compassionate service to those in need is a magnificent story of the church's witness, and the Spirit's power.
How strange sightings, the Cold War, and the national security state add up to a truth we'll never know.