Slaughter is all too human. Killing fields or mass burial grounds are in the archeological record from the Neolithic period (6,000 to 7,000 years ago) on. Nonetheless, with the advent of modern weaponry and industrial processes, the killing fields of the world have grown to levels that can stagger the imagination. During World War II,... Read More
Death and Life in the Lost Town of Leer
LEER, South Sudan -- There it is again. That sickening smell. I’m standing on the threshold of a ghost of a home. Its footprint is all that’s left. In the ruins sits a bulbous little silver teakettle -- metal, softly rounded, charred but otherwise perfect, save for two punctures. Something tore through it and ruined... Read More
What Trumps the Horrors of a Hellscape? The Donald!
LEER, South Sudan -- I’m sitting in the dark, sweating. The blinding white sun has long since set, but it’s still in the high 90s, which is a relief since it was above 110 earlier. Slumped in a blue plastic chair, I’m thinking back on the day, trying to process everything I saw, the people... Read More
Every now and then, I teach a class to young would-be journalists and one of the first things I talk about is why I consider writing an act of generosity. As they are usually just beginning to stretch their writerly wings, their task, as I see it, is to enter the world we’re already in... Read More
The Limits of America’s African Experiment in Nation Building
[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Additional funding was provided through the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.] Juba, South Sudan -- The soft glow of the dancing white lights is a dead giveaway. It’s Christmas in July at the U.S. Embassy compound. Behind high walls topped with fierce-looking... Read More