The Book, Still

220px-usns_core_t-akv-41_on_saigon_river_c1967I wondered, in the months since the election, if events had outrun my book. The war I write about seems almost quaint today. What use can telling its story be to us now? No one wants to hear any more about it anyway, right? (more…)

Call to Action

ramseyclark I had one last look at the bin filled with playbills, meeting notices, and yellowing newspaper clippings just to make sure I hadn’t missed some critical memory from college before I finished writing the Prologue and Epilogue for The One String Violin. Caught among a random assortment of announcements I found this. I share it as a relic of an active time on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill and of a time when organizing was done by extremely wordy fliers handed out at various between-classes crossroads. The organizers are not named, though the planned route (“march to law school”) suggests law students. There is no date other than the vague “today,” but I am guessing the spring of 1968.

1968. 47 years ago and the work isn’t even close to done.

Ramsey Clark, Attorney General of the United States will be speaking on campus today. We feel there are several important questions which Mr. Clark’s appearance at the University of North Carolina should raise in the minds of students. As a representative of the Johnson Administration and as head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Clark is an important figure in the system which daily sends more American men out to fight and die in a senseless and endless war in Southeast Asia. This same system perpetrate[s] injustice at home in the name of justice while destroying villages in Vietnam in order to “save them.” 1984 IS HERE, NOW. …

The oppression of a foreign nation is not unrelated to the repression of the Black minority at home; the slaughter of Vietnamese peasants is not unlike the massacre of Black students. …

It must be clear that Justice is a low priority at the Department headed by Ramsey Clark. While quick action is taken against those exercising their First Amendment rights of protest, lest their dissent spread and threaten “our” Vietnam policy, racists in police forces and the National Guard can murder Black people. Instead of  developing the idea of justice for all men, the department and Mr. Clark seem dedicated to perpetuating the injustices of the present society.