January 9th, 2009

Chris Keeley

(no subject)

Two Boys Sniffing Glue, New York


Stephen Shames
Boy Wears Angela Davis Shirt, ca. 1970


Stephen Shames: Childhood and Youth

Stephen Shames: Childhood and Youth at Steven Kasher Gallery. "...Since he began working, in 1967, childhood and youth have been the central concerns of Stephen Shames’ photography. Shames has published eight books largely concerned with youth in struggle. The exhibition will feature over 75 vintage prints made in the late 1960s through today. In 2004, Stephen Shames started a foundation to educate kids in Uganda. In 2008 Shames was hired by City of New York’s Human Resources Administration to photograph fathers and their kids for bus-stop billboards in the five boroughs." More... Works by Stephen Shames at his personal site.

Chris Keeley

Barack Obama's Historic speech

To: Undisclosed-Recipient

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
As Israel's savage assault on Gaza continues, even thinking about possibilities for genuine peace between Israelis and Palestinians gives rise to an understandable presumption that the thinker must be drowning his sorrows in mind-altering drugs. Reconciliation and mutual respect have never seemed more distant, and the willingness of the Arab world to accept the permanent presence of a Jewish State in Palestine, which was born when the "Oslo" Declaration of Principles was signed on the White House lawn in 1993 and has been in declining health ever since, has been definitively consigned to the grave along with the torn bodies of the women and children of Gaza.
Nevertheless, I am transmitting below a new article of mine which was published today in the DAILY STAR (Beirut). It was also published on Wednesday in the JORDAN TIMES (Amman) and yesterday in AL-AHRAM WEEKLY (Cairo).
Having justified his silence until now on the principle that the United States has only "one president at a time", Barack Obama will have to say SOMETHING almost immediately upon assuming office on January 20. What seems to me to be essential is that President Obama should NOT immediately commit himself to working toward the same impossible goal by the same constricted means which have repeatedly failed (and which appear to have been expressly designed so as to ensure that they would "fail" successfully). Particularly in light of the uncertainty over the composition and leadership of the new Israeli government which will emerge from Israel's February 10 elections, he should keep his options open.
Ideally, he would state that his administation intended to make the actual achievement of a just peace in the Middle East its foremost foreign policy priority, that it would not necessarily be bound by policies and approaches which have repeatedly failed over a period of decades and that it would be examining urgently and with an open mind new approaches to achieving both peace and justice in the Middle East -- and, then, he and his Middle East advisors (hopefully including some representation from the traditionally excluded "98% minority" of the American population) would do so, both urgently and with open minds.
If any of my distinguished recipients who are in contact with Barack Obama or those close to him saw fit to pass on this suggestion and/or my article, I would be extremely grateful.


Copyright (c) 2009 The Daily Star





Friday, January 09, 2009


Barack Obama's historic speech on the Middle East

By John V. Whitbeck


President-elect Barack Obama has a problem. Particularly in the wake of Israel's holiday-season massacre of Gazans, he is under heavy pressure to focus immediately on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to "do something." However, if he were simply to announce an intention to work harder to achieve an impossible goal by means that have repeatedly failed - a decent "two-state solution" through bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations - such a commitment to further years of time-wasting would kill hope rather than inspire it and be counterproductive.


Furthermore, Obama's entourage has let it be known that he would like to make a major speech in a Muslim country early in his presidency. A welcome gesture, to be sure, but what would he say? If he were simply to promise "more of the same," as he did during his campaign, his frustrated audience might be tempted to throw shoes. What could he say that would be new and exciting, would truly represent "change" in American policy and would inspire genuine and justified hope that Middle East peace really is possible?


A conclusion to his speech along the following lines would offer change to believe in and audacious hope and could produce a far better future for Israelis, Palestinians and all mankind than most people would dare to dream possible in these somber days:

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Chris Keeley



Subject: My latest Athens News piece - advice to Hillary

Letter to Secretary of State Clinton


Dear Madame Secretary-designate,


In February 2003 I ended my resignation letter to Colin Powell, with the following words: 

I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.


The election of Barack Obama has been a vindication for me and many other foreign service officers. Merely by existing as the embodiment of that universal dream we like to call "American," he has opened the door for the United States to represent itself effectively to the world again.


You have the skills to take full advantage of that opening. Powell was a superb diplomat, but diplomacy cannot restore America's global standing. Our policy choices matter more than the intelligence and gravitas with which we explain them. Fortunately, the American people have demanded a change in course. To fulfill their dream of security and prosperity, that change must respect a growing interdependence of U.S. and global interests.


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