I Pledge Allegiance…

by W.D. Ehrhart Way back in 2006, a few years after the 9/11 attacks, I was teaching at the Haverford School for Boys. Our a cappella choir, the Notables, was hosting a companion choir from a school in Denmark, and each choir member hosted a Danish boy. One morning, one of my students told me this story: He and his Danish guest were driving to school when the Danish boy asked Neal if the day was some sort of holiday. Neal replied that it wasn’t. The Danish boy asked, “So why are there so many American flags all over the place?” The American flag has …

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A Poet in Palestine

By W.D. Ehrhart Back in the spring of 2022, I wrote an essay titled “A Farewell to Arms” about a young Palestinian poet named Mosab Abu Toha who had just published a book called Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear (City Lights, 2022). Mosab is a remarkable young man. Still in his very early 30s, he is married and the father of three children. He was a visiting poet at Harvard University in 2019-20 (during which time his youngest son was born, thus making Mostafa a U.S. citizen); founded the Edward Said Library, the first English-language public library in Gaza; and earned an …

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Sorrow, grief, and trouble sit like vultures on my psychic fence

by Jean Stimmell A few years ago, I photographed five vultures attempting to warm up on a cold winter morning by spreading their wings toward the sun. I am using it to illustrate this rant. The title⁠1 reflects how I feel. I can’t get images of maimed and bloody bodies out of my mind, first in Ukraine and now doubling down in Israel and Palestine. They are broadcast nonstop on the news and haunt my dreams. Especially disturbing are the corpses of dead babies. As I write this, 4104 children have been killed so far, just in Gaza, according to the United Nations.⁠2 Seeing their …

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A Gordian Knot

by W.D. Ehrhart I was among a small unit of U.S. Marines who entered Hue City, Vietnam, on January 31st, 1968, at the beginning of what turned out to be the Tet Offensive. The city had been secretly occupied by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces (VC/NVA), and it took us nearly a month to drive them out. By the time we were done, the city was largely in ruins. A year and a half later, and immediately after public revelation of the massacre of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by units of the U.S. Americal Division at a place known as My Lai, …

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Is Peace Possible?

by W.D. Ehrhart The October attack on Israel by Hamas came as a shocking surprise and will have major repercussions no one can yet foresee. It reminds me of the Vietnamese Tet Offense in January 1968. Just as Israel has been caught off guard, so too had the U.S. The big difference is that the Tet Offensive took place on Vietnamese soil, not American. This attack is against Israel itself. And one can hardly imagine a more ruthless or brutal attack. I gather that Hamas fighters descended from the air on a rock concert largely attended by young people, indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed civilians, …

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Looking on the Bright Side

by W.D. Ehrhart I’ve just had a new experience.  For the first time since I began writing essays for the New Hampshire Gazette, I finally submitted one so unrelievedly pessimistic that our Alleged Editor rejected it, declining to inflict so bleak and hopeless an argument predicting the all-but-inevitable re-election of Dolt .45 next November with no way to avoid that outcome except through divine intervention. Well, fair enough.  He’s not only the editor, but also the publisher and owner of the Gazette.  He gets to print what he wants and not print what he doesn’t want.  And he’s obligated to consider his readership’s sensibilities.  Who …

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