Three Brave Lives
Encounters with a Chinese legal activist, a Syrian cartoonist, and a Cuban ‘Lady in White’

Chen Guangcheng, Ali Ferzat, and Berta Soler (Oslo Freedom Forum)


In Ferzat’s view, al-Qaeda is an American creation, used by America as a tool: an excuse to interfere, an excuse not to interfere. Furthermore, he emphasizes that Efraim Halevy, a former director of the Mossad, has described Assad as Israel’s “minion” in the Middle East. (It’s true that Foreign Affairs has just given an article by Halevy the exciting but strained title of “Israel’s Man in Damascus.”) I ask Ferzat whether he believes Israel has a right to exist. He says, “Well, you can’t negate places or people. But why does Israel insist on negating others?”

He expresses reverence for America’s Founding Fathers and for Abraham Lincoln, and says that the country’s current leaders are “dwarves” compared with these “giants.” Americans should return to their high and universal ideals, he says. He believes that America and the West went into Iraq, Libya, and Mali for the sake of oil. “What would prevent Mr. Obama from taking humane measures for Syria? Is it that we have no oil? Well, maybe we should start digging for some. Maybe that would prompt Mr. Obama to defend us.” He does not ask for boots on the ground. He asks that the regime’s missiles be “deactivated” — countered, disabled — and that a safe zone be established, “to protect civilians.”

June 17, 2013    |     Volume LXV, No. 11

Special Energy Section
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Jonah Goldberg reviews The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure, by Kevin D. Williamson.
  • Theodore Dalrymple reviews Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld.
  • Galen Mac Caba reviews Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century, by Christian Caryl.
  • Jay Nordlinger discusses James Levine, one of the great conductors of our age.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Star Trek: Into Darkness.
  • Richard Brookhiser discusses summer weeds.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .