Archive - November 2012

1
Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Reports in The New Yorker on Tahrir Square
2
Peace Corps Volunteers not properly informed on health care compensation options
3
JFK's Last Morning in Texas
4
Review of Never Gonna Cease My Wanderin' Letters Between Friends
5
David Mather (Chile 1968-70) Discuesses His Novel "One for the Road"
6
Radio Interview with Rowland Scherman (PC/W 1961-65)
7
Review — THE BEACH AT GALLE ROAD by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996–98)
8
Dodging Machetes Wins Best Multicultural Non-Fiction of 2012 From USA Best Book Awards
9
Benghazi – the Partisan Political Game Goes On . . .
10
Gregory D. Johnsen (Jordan 2001-02) Writes on Yemen

Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Reports in The New Yorker on Tahrir Square

November 24, 2012 Tahrir Square Turns Against Morsi Posted by Peter Hessler On the edge of Tahrir Square, I met a twelve-year-old boy named Hassan Mohamed Abdel Hafiz who showed me an empty tear gas canister and a birdshot scar on his stomach. Scavenged canisters are a badge of honor for those who fight for the people who fight on the front lines of Egyptian protests; Hassan said he had acquired his after a battle with the police in front of the Lycée la Liberté, a block away from the square. He wore a filthy blue sweater with a thick collar that could be pulled up over his face whenever the tear gas got bad. Hassan was quick-eyed and alert; he spoke with the eagerness of a child but part of his attention was always directed at the street behind us, where injured protestors were carried past on their way . . .

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Peace Corps Volunteers not properly informed on health care compensation options

written by Eric Katz in Goverment Executive November 20, 2012 Peace Corps volunteer Megan Chandler worked with a women’s cooperative in Uganda from 2003 to 2006 on health education. The Peace Corps and Labor Department are not adequately monitoring access to and quality of health care compensation for volunteers returning home after serving, a report has found. As required by the Federal Employee Compensation Act, volunteers who serve abroad as part of the Peace Corps are entitled to reimbursement for health care costs resulting from service-related illnesses. Labor oversees FECA applications and payments, while the Peace Corps is responsible for informing returning volunteers they are eligible for the benefits. The Government Accountability Office report said the two agencies are failing to monitor and inform volunteers on the documents needed and application requirements to apply for the benefits. Labor is not tracking how long it is taking to review applications and . . .

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JFK's Last Morning in Texas

[Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) one of our bloggers on the site sent me this piece by Carl M. Cannon Washington Editor of RealClearPolitics and suggested I share it with all of you on this Thanksgiving Day. Thanks, Joanne, and Marian Beil and I would like to thank all of you for your support as we remember JKF on this fateful November day.] By Carl M. Cannon Good morning. It’s Wednesday, November 21, 2012, the eve of Thanksgiving Day. Not much is scheduled in official Washington today, which is probably just as well. Even with the “fiscal cliff” looming in their immediate future, Americans have earned a holiday from politics. On this date in 1963, John F. Kennedy boarded the presidential helicopter on the South Lawn for a political trip to Texas. He was seeking to make peace between the feuding factions within the Lone Star State’s Democratic Party. Kennedy took . . .

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Review of Never Gonna Cease My Wanderin' Letters Between Friends

Never Gonna Cease My Wanderin’: Letters Between Friends by Ruth Kesselring Royal (Philippines 1962-64) and Beryl A. Brinkman (Afghanistan 1967-69) Peace Corps Writers $15.00 September 2012 Reviewed by  Douglas Foley (Philippines 1962-64) Never Gonna Cease my Wanderin’ is a lovely, heartfelt coming-of-age story of friendship between two female Peace Corps Volunteers. The principal author, Ruth Kesselring Royal (Philippines 1962-64) reconstructs her friendship with Beryl Brinkman (Afghanistan 1967-69) through their extensive correspondence. She supplements the letters with recollections from her journal. To her credit, the edited letters retain much of their original language and tone. I must forewarn the readers that a long string of raw letters may present some reading challenges. The letters meander over many topics and contain a great deal of mundane information. But if readers plunge into the detail, they will find the fascinating narrative threads I am about to suggest. First, Ms. Royal is telling a . . .

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David Mather (Chile 1968-70) Discuesses His Novel "One for the Road"

David Mather discusses his book, One for the Road, a fictionalized account of a young Peace Corps Volunteer living in Cufeo, Chile, and supervising a reforestation project to help save the community in Gainesville, Florida, at 1:30 p.m., on January 22, 2013 in the Headquarters Branch Library at 401 University Avenue. Mather, who served in southern Chile with the Peace Corps from 1968 to 1970, has lived off-grid for more than 40 years. He and his wife divide their time between Lyme, New Hampshire, and Florida’s Gulf Coast. David Mather grew up in Sarasota, Florida, before attending school in New England where he graduated from Deerfield Academy (’64) and Bowdoin College (’68). He then served in southern Chile with the Peace Corps from 1968 – 70. He was the most isolated volunteer in his program, and the two years in the Peace Corps strongly influenced him. Upon his return, he . . .

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Radio Interview with Rowland Scherman (PC/W 1961-65)

Rowland Scherman and Chris Szwedo were interviewed this past Sunday on Cape Cod’s Ocean 104 FM “Sunday Journal”. They discuss the making of the documentary and offer insights and previews of the many things to come. http://www.szwedo.com/INTERVIEW.mp3 Interview Length: approximately 24 minutes. Just click the above link and it will stream. Thanks for listening! Chris Szwedo has made a movie of Rowland Scherman’s life with Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and JFK and Bobby, and, of course the Peace Corps. The movie title is “Eye on the Sixties: The Iconic Photography of Rowland Scherman” Rowland’s first professional job was as the Peace Corps’ official photographer. He started in the spring of  1961.

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Review — THE BEACH AT GALLE ROAD by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996–98)

  The Beach at Galle Road: Stories from Sri Lanka by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996-98) Algonquin Books $22.95 278 pages September 2012 Reviewed by Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1991-93) • Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night. -William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence” Blake’s observation is as true of countries as it is of people. Some indeed seem born to endless night. Guatemala. Mozambique. Rwanda. Three otherwise beautiful counties plagued by civil war. There are others, of course. Sri Lanka, an island nation located off the southern coast of India, for example. From 1983 to 2009, Sri Lanka was the site of a civil war pitting the government against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, whose aim was to create an independent state in the north and east of the island. Over the 26-year-long war, . . .

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Dodging Machetes Wins Best Multicultural Non-Fiction of 2012 From USA Best Book Awards

The winner of the “Multicultural Non-Fiction” Award from USA Book News is Dodging Machetes: How I Survived Forbidden Love, Bad Behavior, and the Peace Corps in Fiji by Will Lutwick (Fiji 1968-70). A Peace  Corps Writers Book, it was published in 2012. Other finalists were: Journey to the Heart: Secrets of Aboriginal Healing by Dr. Gary Holz with Robbie Holz (iUniverse) and Returning: A Tale of Vasalisa and Baba Yoga by Suzanne Banay Santo (Red Butterfly Publication) This the 10th Annual USA Best Book Awards. USA Book News covers books from all sections of the publishing industry-mainstream, independent, & self-published.  USA Book News will continue to feature quality books and aggressively promote those books to the publishing & entertainment industries, national media and the book buying public. Awards by USA Book News are giving in 137 categories from  African-American Studies  to Youth Issues.

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Benghazi – the Partisan Political Game Goes On . . .

Tino Calabia (Peru, 1963-65) who rallied all of us RPCVs in support of Ambassador Christopher Stevens sent me this note over the weekend. The 2012 elections are history.  Finally.  Yet the tragic deaths of RPCV/Ambassador Chris Stevens and his three colleagues in Benghazi, Libya remain part of the controversy fueling partisan wrangling on Capitol Hill.  Besides ensnaring U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, the dispute has now dragged in former CIA Director David Petraeus; even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had to accede to requests that she soon come before a Congressional committee. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain last Wednesday, Sept. 14th, roundly dismissed Susan Rice as “not qualified” to serve as the next Secretary of State, the post for which President Barack Obama is reportedly considering Rice.  Tying Rice to the increasingly heated controversy over what actually transpired in the 9/11 attack on two diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, McCain further urged . . .

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Gregory D. Johnsen (Jordan 2001-02) Writes on Yemen

Gregory D. Johnsen (Jordan 2001-02) is a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen and a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He has written for Newsweek, Foreign Policy, appeared on NPR and the Charlie Rose Show among other places, and this week W.W. Norton will  publish his book: The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia. It is, the cover copy reads: A gripping account of how al-Qaeda in Yemen rebounded from an initial defeat to once again threaten the United States. On November 13, 2012, of this week, Johnsen spoke at the Brookings Institution saying among other things that the struggle against al Qaeda in Yemen may become a lasting model for U.S. fights against non-state actors, but it hasn’t worked. He goes onto point out that the approach to counterterror in Yemen, where the United States carriers out air strikes but avoids putting boots . . .

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