Monthly Archives: November 2014

Gloomy Thoughts for the Week—By Peter Eisenstadt

Gloomy Thoughts for the Week
Peter Eisenstadt

There are (for the purposes of this post, at least) two types of war. There are wars that start suddenly and unexpectedly, seemingly with little or no warning. World War I is perhaps the best example of this. On June 27, 1914, the day before the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, Europeans were planning their summer vacations. By early August, in all the major European powers, they were marching to war.

The second type of war are foreshadowed for years before the actual fighting begins, and move towards actual hostilities slowly and agonizingly, with the major contenders marshalling their forces, heightening their rhetoric, and counting their grievances before blood is spilled. World War II, or if you prefer to keep Hitler out of it, the American Civil War is the best example of this type of war. Whatever other emotions people had on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, or when General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (love that name!) commenced shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, surprise was low on the list. read more

Did a Mediocre Letter of Recommendation for Martin Luther King, Jr. Change the Course of History?– By Peter Eisenstadt

Did a Mediocre Letter of Recommendation for Martin Luther King, Jr. Change the Course of History?
By Peter Eisenstadt

Can a letter change the world? A few years ago I found some correspondence that I thought might have profoundly altered the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and thereby redirecting the course of American and world history. And what made it more interesting is that King almost certainly was unaware of what happened. I was doing some research into the life of Howard Thurman, the great mid-20th century African American religious thinker. Thurman has never been as well-known as he should be, and if he is remembered among the general public, it is as an inspiration to Martin Luther King, Jr., which is accurate enough, but somewhat ironic given the contents of the exchange in question. read more

Thoughts on Finally Seeing Klinghoffer—by Peter Eisenstadt

Thoughts on Finally Seeing Klinghoffer
Peter Eisenstadt

Over the weekend I attended the last performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer” at the Met. I tried, as best as I could, despite reading about 20 reviews of the production, to view it without preconceptions. I must say I came away astonished that anyone could see the opera as Anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, or in any way condoning Palestinian terrorism. The opera provides the strongest possible condemnation of terrorism, and the terrorists who killed Klinghoffer are depicted as monsters, with their rationalizations for the crimes the rationalizations and self-delusions of monsters. read more