Essay: A son of the South, but no longer of the South

My great-great-grandfather owned slaves, and I now know there was no such thing as a good slaveholder. For many people who trace their heritage to the antebellum South, that statement is apostasy. For over 150 years, proud descendants of Confederate rebels have proclaimed that our ancestors were good to their slaves, and that President Abraham […]

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Dancing On The Page

Almost every culture dances. In Texas, we two-step. In Austria, they waltz. The Congolese do the Soukous. And the tango is required learning in Argentina. The only culture without dance is fundamentalist Protestantism, which inexplicably ignores the biblical instruction that there is “a time to dance.” Popular dances can range from the formal to the […]

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An Afghan Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day 2001, my job was to take the turkeys out of the fire. I’d been out reporting most of the day, so when I returned to Jalalabad my contribution to dinner was to monitor four scrawny Afghan turkeys that were baking in Dutch ovens buried in hot coals behind the Spinghar Hotel. Once […]

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Cultivating Creativity

Our environment has always shaped our artistic undertakings. In Africa, elaborate wooden masks and sculptures come from the west, where rainforests dominate. On East Africa’s savanna, wood is a precious commodity, so the arts focus on jewelry, clothing and body modification. In Texas, folks frequently lament a cultural landscape as desolate as the scrublands of […]

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Iraqi Court Rulings Stop at US Detention Sites

In the eyes of Iraqi justice, Yahya Ali Humadi is a free man. To the U.S. military, he’s another of the detainees in yellow jumpsuits held at the sprawling Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. Humadi — ordered released nine months ago after an Iraqi judge dropped all charges — now spends his days in a […]

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Much aid to Africa on Road to Nowhere

NAIROBI, Kenya: Dec.20, 2007 — To judge how far aid has helped Africa along the road to prosperity, just look down at the pavement — or the lack of it. The most important highway in East Africa starts at the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa. Tens of thousands of trucks every year carry food, fuel […]

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Rwanda Genocide Victims, Killers Meet and Learn to Live Together

MAYANGE, Rwanda (AP) — The late afternoon sun gleams off the tin roofs of this small farming village, as neighbors Xavier Nemeye and Cecile Mukagasana watch their children play tag around the banana trees. The two friends were born here and share much of Mayange’s daily life. They talk every day, pray at the same […]

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Ghana Reflects Progress in Pockets of Africa, led by Africans

ACCRA, Ghana, Dec. 3, 2007 (AP) _ Coby Asmah is a success in a part of the world that is hardly ever equated with success. The design and printing business he launched from his dining room table 14 years ago now employs 54 people. He drives a new gold SUV, dresses as sharply as any […]

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A Tribute to Anthony Mitchell

I am about to do something that would have made Anthony unhappy. You see, in December and January, when the war in Somalia was raging, we were all putting in 16 hour days and taking turns editing stories from our stringer reports. The lead editor that day would have to process information from 10 different […]

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Sent on an Odyssey as Boys, Sudanese Come Home to Serve their Country

JUBA, Sudan: Nov. 26, 2006 (AP) _ In the midst of a revolution, Sudanese rebel chiefs chose two boys _ a soldier and a goat herder _ to join a group of several hundred who were being sent abroad to become part of their nation’s next generation of leaders. The boys were taken from a […]

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