Joe Biden marks start of presidency with flurry of executive orders

Some orders undo significant actions from Trump administration, including the Paris climate agreement, while others address Covid

Joe Biden has marked the start of his presidency by signing a flurry of executive orders on a suite of issues, including Covid-19, the environment, immigration and ethics.

Some of the executive actions undo significant actions from Donald Trump’s administration, including halting the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, and ending the declaration of a national emergency used to justify funding construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.Biden returns US to Paris climate accord hours after becoming presidentRead more

He also signed an order allowing the United States to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and end the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census data used to determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.

The president also moved quickly to address Covid-19, signing orders to mandate mask wearing and social distancing in federal buildings and lands and to create a position of a Covid-19 response coordinator.

In other moves, Biden also revoked the permit granted for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and instructed all executive agencies to review executive actions that were “damaging to the environment, [or] unsupported by the best available science”. Biden also ordered all executive branch employees to sign an ethics pledge and placed limits on their ability to lobby the government while he is in office. The new president also ordered federal agencies to review equity in their existing policies and come up with a plan in 200 days to address inequality in them.

On his first day in office, Biden signed 17 executive actions – 15 will be executive orders.

As he began signing the orders, Biden, wearing a mask and seated behind the resolute desk said: “I think some of the things we’re going to be doing are bold and vital, and there’s no time to start like today.”

It’s not unusual for an incoming president to take executive action immediately after being sworn into office, a move meant to show the nation that the newly inaugurated president is getting to work. But the breadth and volume of Biden’s immediate executive orders underscore how quickly the new president intends to move in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and turning the page from the Trump administration.

“These executive actions will make an immediate impact in the lives of so many people in desperate need of help,” Wade Henderson, the interim president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement. “Reversing Trump’s deeply discriminatory Muslim ban, addressing the Covid-19 crisis, preventing evictions and foreclosures, and advancing equity and support for communities of color and other underserved communities are significant early actions that represent an important first step in charting a new direction for our country.”

Kamala Harris swears in Raphael Warnock, Alex Padilla and Jon Ossoff on the floor of the Senate.
Kamala Harris swears in Raphael Warnock, Alex Padilla and Jon Ossoff on the floor of the Senate. Photograph: AP

The flurry of activity from Biden came on the same day that Democrats formally took control of the US Senate as the Rev Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were formally sworn in as the two senators from Georgia. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York, is now the Senate majority leader, while Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, is now the minority leader.

Speaking from the Senate floor Schumer was momentarily breathless, saying: “We have turned the page to a new chapter in the history of our democracy and I am full of hope.”

McConnell, in his first remarks as the minority leader, also focused on a message of unity.

“Our country deserves for both sides, both parties, to find common ground for the common good everywhere we can and disagree respectfully where we must,” he said. “The people intentionally trusted both political parties with significant power to shape our nation’s direction.”

Obama, Clinton and Bush congratulate Biden on presidency – video

He also praised Kamala Harris’ historic achievement after she was sworn in as America’s first female vice-president.

“All citizens can applaud the fact that this new three-word phrase ‘Madam vice-president’ is now a part of our American lexicon,” McConnell said.

Looming on the horizon is the second impeachment trial for Trump, who the US voted to impeach earlier this month. In addition to Covid-19 relief, Democrats are also expected to push legislation dealing with immigration reform and voting rights.

Even though Democrats have a majority of votes in the Senate, they still face significant obstacles to get them through. That’s because Senate rules require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, a procedural move that can be used to halt legislation. Some progressives have called for ending the practice, which would allow Democrats to pursue sweeping legislation without GOP support, but it’s unclear if the party will do that.


The Words of Martin Luther King Jr. Reverberate in a Tumultuous Time

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929. He was a pivotal advocate for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
King experienced racism from an early age, and those events stayed with and eventually brought him to a life of activism. After graduating college with a doctorate degree in theology, King became a pastor in Alabama. He began a series of peaceful protests in the south that eventually changed many laws dealing with the equality of African Americans. King gave hundreds of moving speeches across the country, and in 1964 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
On April 4th, 1968,  Dr. King was shot and killed while in Memphis, Tennessee. Although his life ended that day, the work that he had accomplished changed the nation. King will be remembered not only for his commitment to the cause of equality for African Americans but also for his profound speeches that moved so many.
MLK Jr.’s words were spoken with hope that the future for African Americans would be brighter and that they would finally be given the equality they deserved.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. waving to the crowd during the March on Washington in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, where he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. waving to the crowd during the March on Washington in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, where he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.Credit…Central Press/Getty Images

By Audra D. S. BurchJohn Eligon and Michael Wines

He lived and died in a time of tumult and a racial awakening, so perhaps it is no surprise that the 35th national celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday has particular resonance amid one of the most traumatic seasons in memory: A raging pandemic. Protest and civil unrest after the killing of Black people by the police. A momentous election. And an insurrection.

Even the title of his final book — “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” — seems ripped from today’s headlines.

“I think it’s still an unanswered question,” said Clayborne Carson, a history professor at Stanford University, referring to the title of Dr. King’s book.

“I think the most important word in that question is ‘we’ — who are we, and until you figure that out, it’s very hard to tell where we are going,” said Dr. Carson, who is also the founder and director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which is publishing a collection of Dr. King’s papers.

Amid the change and upheaval, the words of Dr. King, both those celebrated and the less familiar, feel more urgent then perhaps ever before, both as a guide and a warning. From oft-quoted speeches to the words he never had a chance to deliver before his assassination, Dr. King talked about his vision of a just world, about the power of peaceful protests, and about disruption as the language of the unseen and the unheard.

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We asked Dr. Carson and others from across the country to choose words from Dr. King and reflect on how they resonate today. Here’s what they had to say.

“Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point, in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.”

— from the last speech given by Dr. King, on April 3, 1968, in Memphis, the day before he was assassinated.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, a chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign, said Dr. King’s words spoke to the daunting challenge that civil rights leaders faced helping the poor and marginalized. He drew a parallel to today’s challenges of systemic racism, ecological devastation and a lack of access to health care.

The election of a Democratic president, he said, is no reason to slow down.

“It’s not enough to have an election and put new people into office,” Dr. Barber said. “We must push and continue to push for the kind of public policy that really establishes justice.”

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“We really must now go about the business of lifting up those who are poor and those without health care,” he added. “That’s the only way we can heal the nation — we have to heal the body.”

Dr. King, center, with (from left to right) Mathew Ahmann, Floyd McKissick, Eugene Carson Blake and Cleveland Robinson during the March on Washington.
Dr. King, center, with (from left to right) Mathew Ahmann, Floyd McKissick, Eugene Carson Blake and Cleveland Robinson during the March on Washington.Credit…Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

— from Dr. King’s speech at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968.

Connie Field said Dr. King’s quote had guided much of her work as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.RACE/RELATED: A deep and provocative exploration of race, identity and society with New York Times journalists.Sign Up

“Dr. King presented a vision of an equal, multiracial society,” she said. “He presented a vision of economic equality. And he presented a vision of a political struggle that’s nonviolent. Those are three things that we can all try to live by and strive for today.”

She added: “What’s going on in the United States, what we witnessed on Jan. 6, all has to do with a backlash to the fact that our world is changing. It’s going on here in America; it’s going on in Europe. We’re becoming a more intertwined world, a more multicultural world. That’s the trajectory of history, and there’s no going back on that. That quote completely underscores everything I’m talking about — a just world is an equal world, equal no matter what our race is.”

“Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

— from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.

Bernard Lafayette, 80, recalled the words from the “I Have a Dream” speech as a reminder that the turmoil the country is witnessing today “is not the way things have to be, and it’s not something we have to accept,” but should be understood as another step on the long journey that Dr. King described, with each shift connected to the events that precede it.

The violence at the Capitol, he said, reflected the fear from some members of our society that they were losing political power.

“You have to ask the question, ‘What are these people afraid of?’ Well, they are afraid they would lose power, they would lose control and the election in Georgia exacerbated that,” he said. “These fears that are being perpetrated, they’re really false fears, because no one is going to take anything away from them.”

Marchers gathered in Washington in August for an event celebrating the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. King made his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Marchers gathered in Washington in August for an event celebrating the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. King made his “I Have a Dream” speech.Credit…Christopher Lee for The New York Times

“I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

— from Dr. King speech in Memphis on April 3, 1968, a day before he was assassinated.

Rutha Mae Harris, 80, of Albany, Ga., said she believed Dr. King’s speeches often warned of the kind of conflict that unfolded in Washington on Jan. 6. Ms. Harris, who marched with Dr. King during the civil rights era, recalled, in particular, the famous speech he gave in Memphis a day before he was killed.

“With the rhetoric of Trump, I myself knew that something would happen,” she said. “This had been building up for four years.” She said Dr. King was a man of vision, but that the vision captured the darkness as well as the light. She noted, “He said, ‘I might not get there with you,’ and, of course, you can read in between the lines.”

“Why America May Go to Hell”

— title of a sermon that Dr. King had planned to deliver at his church on Sunday, April 7, 1968.

For the Rev. Amos C. Brown, the pastor of Third Baptist Church, a historically Black church in San Francisco founded in 1852, the words of Dr. King that come to mind this year are the ones he never had a chance to speak.

When he was assassinated, Dr. King had been planning to give a sermon, he said, called “Why America May Go to Hell.” In the sermon, Dr. King planned to warn that the country needed to use its vast resources to end poverty, and to offer all of God’s children the necessities of life.

The hell that Dr. King stood against is still deeply embedded in America today, said Mr. Brown, who is attending the inauguration as a guest of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (who attends his church).

“We are about to fall over the precipice into, figuratively speaking, hell in this nation — sure, we ought to be concerned about what’s going on now,” he said, referring to the attack on the Capitol. “But people are just now beginning to experience what Black folk have gone through since the Atlantic slave trade began. Hell.”

A view of the audience over Dr. King’s shoulder as he delivered a speech at the Gillfield Baptist Church, in Petersburg, Va., in 1960.
A view of the audience over Dr. King’s shoulder as he delivered a speech at the Gillfield Baptist Church, in Petersburg, Va., in 1960.Credit…Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

— from Dr. King’s speech in St. Louis on March 22, 1964.

For Antwan T. Lang, a member of the Chatham County Board of Elections in Savannah, Ga., Dr. King’s words meant we cannot be afraid to learn from one another and understand our differences and similarities.

“My hope is that one day white America will understand that we harvest no hate, but we want to be seen not as a Black man, Black entrepreneur, Black superintendent, Black doctor, Black lawyer, Black teacher, Black insurance agent, Black funeral director, but as a human being wanting to freely be ourselves without having to walk on eggshells in fear of becoming a statistic,” he said.

“It is clear to me that our protest and our plea to America is that we want to be free, to simply be a human being with real feelings, emotions, dreams and goals,” Mr. Lang said, “to be able to live long enough to accomplish those goals, dreams and ambitions.”

“Oh no, Brother Gray. This is no ploy at all. If we are to succeed, I am now convinced that an absolutely nonviolent method must be ours amid the vast hostilities we face.”

— Dr. King’s response in 1955 to a suggestion that his nonviolence tactics were for attention.

Fred D. Gray was the lawyer who represented Rosa Parks, Dr. King and the Montgomery Improvement Association during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, the event that inaugurated the 20th century’s civil rights movement. The quote, found in Mr. Gray’s account of that battle, “Bus Ride to Justice,” was Dr. King’s response to a suggestion that his commitment to nonviolence was a ploy to gain attention in the press.

“I became a lawyer so I could use the law for the purpose of destroying every act of segregation that I could find,” Mr. Gray said. “There were other people whose roles were to make speeches, and others who demonstrated, but you had to put it all together and do it in a nonviolent fashion.”

Regarding the protests over the past year against killings of unarmed African-Americans by police officers, Mr. Gray said: “I think we’re going to have to go back to what Martin said about nonviolence and social change. All the things that Dr. King did, all the things we did in the Montgomery bus boycott were to get rid of racism and inequality. We were able to do a little bit, but not do it all.”

Ellen Barry, Elizabeth Dias and Richard Fausset contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

John Eligon is a Kansas City-based national correspondent covering race. He previously worked as a reporter in Sports and Metro, and his work has taken him to Nelson Mandela’s funeral in South Africa and the Winter Olympics in Turin. @jeligon

Michael Wines writes about voting and other election-related issues. Since joining The Times in 1988, he has covered the Justice Department, the White House, Congress, Russia, southern Africa, China and various other topics.  @miwine



Il Progetto “SU.PR.EME. ITALIA” – promosso anche dal nostro Comune – ha come finalità il reperimento di immobili residenziali privati da destinare alla locazione in favore di cittadini immigrati regolari in condizioni di disagio abitativo

Oggi si parla tanto di migranti e immigrazione, e ricordare la storia significa anche creare collegamenti tra il passato e il presente: la condizione in cui oggi si trovano tante persone è molto simile a quella in cui si sono ritrovati gli italiani a cavallo tra l’Ottocento e il Novecento. Stiamo parlando della “Grande Emigrazione”, che portò nove milioni di persone da nord a sud ad emigrare in America per andare alla ricerca della fortuna.

È un po’ ció che accade oggi a tutti quei migranti che intraprendono il lungo e doloroso viaggio della speranza, per andare alla ricerca di un futuro migliore per sé e le proprie famiglie.

Siamo tutti migranti alla ricerca di un mondo migliore, ed a tutti quanti noi fanno paura parole come: fame, povertà, guerra. Oggi, in tutte le società multietniche, una delle più grandi sfide é proprio quella di gestire le differenze. L’alterità non può essere eliminata o assimilata ma é necessario intraprendere le vie dell’incontro e della convivenza pacifica.  

Ancora oggi lo straniero continua ad essere associato a qualcosa di negativo e di minaccioso. Nel corso del tempo si è parlato di eliminazione, di assimilazione, di segregazione come la condizione degli ebrei che venivano ghettizzati e che nel periodo brutale del nazismo venivano considerati come entità staccate dal resto della società.

Troppo spesso si utilizza ancora il termine di integrazione quando in realtà occorre parlare di inclusione e di interculturalitá. La persona non dev’essere semplicemente integrata in una comunità, ma deve poter essere inclusa ed essere un partecipante attivo. Spesso i pregiudizi possono condizionare questo processo, generando una chiusura della persona in sé stessa perché non compresa.

I migranti arricchiscono?

É necessario partire dall’educazione sia a scuola ma soprattutto in famiglia, per cercare di diffondere un’ottica più aperta nei confronti del diverso. L’altro arricchisce la nostra vita, perché ci consente di scoprire nuove culture, religioni, lingue, tradizioni. Dobbiamo essere disposti ad aprire le frontiere del nostro cuore, perché il razzismo è un cancro silenzioso che aspetta il momento opportuno per discriminare, senza guardare in faccia nessuno.

Il rifiuto dell’altro ed anche la sua ingiusta discriminazione, è il tentativo di salvaguardare il sé e la propria identità perché ci si sente minacciati dalla diversità. Continuare a vivere in una società multietnica in cui si ha paura del diverso vuol dire non vivere. Non è con la paura, con la gerarchizzazione delle culture e la chiusura che si progredisce, ma con la valorizzazione delle unicità. Non possiamo annullare le differenze, perché queste esistono da sempre ed esisteranno sempre. La conoscenza e la curiosità sono importanti per imparare ad avere meno paura. Accettiamo le differenze e facciamo in modo che queste sussistano.

Progetto “SU.PR.EME. ITALIA”

A tal riguardo la Commissione Europea – Direzione Generale Migrazione e Affari interni ha approvato il Progetto “SU.PR.EME. ITALIA” – FAMI 2014/2020 – EMAS (Emergency Assistance) – Grant Agreement, che vede coinvolti, in partnership, Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali, in qualità di lead applicant in partenariato con la Regione Puglia, la Regione Basilicata, la Regione Calabria, la Regione Campania, la Regione Sicilia, l’Ispettorato Nazionale del Lavoro, l’Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni e il Consorzio Nova. Tale iniziativa – promossa anche dal nostro Comune – ha come finalità il reperimento di immobili residenziali privati da destinare alla locazione in favore di cittadini immigrati regolari in condizioni di disagio abitativo.

Agenzia sociale per l’abitare

E nello specifico Agenzia sociale per l’abitare è il nome del progetto nato per fronteggiare l’emergenza abitativa dei migranti regolari che vivono nelle baracche di Contrada Russo.
Nata su proposta del Comune di Taurianova, Agenzia sociale per l’abitare verrà gestita dal Consorzio Macramè di Reggio Calabria, attivo da anni sul tema dell’accoglienza nel territorio calabrese. Ha l’obiettivo di ridurre l’emarginazione sociale dei migranti regolari, di promuovere l’inclusione sociale, favorire forme di accoglienza diffusa.

Scrive in una nota il sindaco Biasi con l’assessore Crea (per le pari opportunità e politiche sociali) e l’assessore Fedele (all’immigrazione): “Diventa, pertanto, essenziale collocare al centro del progetto le persone accolte, le quali non devono essere meri beneficiari passivi di interventi predisposti in loro favore, ma protagonisti attivi del proprio percorso di accoglienza e di inclusione sociale”.

Al progetto possono aderire tutti i proprietari di case sfitte e abitabili nel comune di Taurianova, disponibili a destinarle in locazione in favore di migranti regolari in condizione di disagio socio-abitativo. L’Agenzia sociale per l’abitare selezionerà le case, offrirà ai proprietari servizio di accompagnamento nella fase preliminare di stipula del contratto di affitto, individuerà i potenziali inquilini, curerà il loro inserimento abitativo. Il comune di Taurianova attiverà una serie di garanzie, voucher integrativi in favore dei proprietari e agevolazioni economiche e sociali. I proprietari potranno avere la certezza di un reddito dall’affitto, sperimentare in prima persona un progetto innovativo di accoglienza.

Come comunità noi taurianovesi potremmo dar vita a delle opportunità, a delle attività o progetti rivolti alla conoscenza di culture diverse, perché è sempre più bello conoscere nuovi orizzonti che tracciare confini. Il pittore spagnolo, Pablo Picasso diceva: “non giudicare sbagliato ció che non conosci, prendi l’occasione per comprendere”. 


Terrorism & Security

Osama bin Laden killed: How

the world is reacting

Western leaders and Arab citizens alike said that Osama bin Laden’s death is an important symbolic victory, but does not signal an end to the threat of terrorism in the West.

Reactions varied, but for many of them, the relief was measured. From Western leaders to Arab citizens, they acknowledged that while Mr. Bin Laden’s death is a symbolic victory, it does not signal an end to the threat of terrorism in the West.

“Osama bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people…. The forces of peace were successful last night. International terror has not been defeated. We’ll all have to remain vigilant,” said a spokesman speaking on behalf of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to Reuters.

In the Arab world, too, there was a widespread feeling that this was a milestone, but not an end, as the Guardian reported from Cairo and other major cities in the region.

Reaction in Cairo was initially muted, with local media outlets and early morning commuters reluctant to talk about the significance of the news before the body of the terrorist leader was displayed.

“I hope it’s true, but even it it is, does it really mean that al-Qaida is finished?” said bank worker Ayman Qhadari. “There will be a million more men like him. There probably already are.” …

“Al-Qaida is not one person anymore,” said Major General Hussein Kamal from the intelligence division of Iraq’s interior ministry. “I don’t expect that the killing of Bin Laden will finish al-Qaida here or in other countries. It will affect their morale, for sure. But it won’t end their organisation.”

Israel, which has described the fight against terrorism as a joint responsibility of the world’s democracies, responded euphorically. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel “shares the joy of the American people” and called the operation a “resounding victory for justice, freedom, and the values shared by all democratic countries fighting should to shoulder against terror.”

Meanwhile, the top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip condemned the killing of Bin Laden, according to Reuters. “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood,” said Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in Gaza.

That statement could complicate the reconciliation deal agreed last week between Hamas and Western-backed Fatah, which made a statement of support for Bin Laden’s death and said the next step is ending the violence he endorsed, reported the Guardian.

“Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods – the violent methods –that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world,” Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said.

Al Jazeera commentators agreed that Bin Laden’s death is also a symbolic victory in the Arab world, but argued that it is much less of a game changer than the popular uprisings sweeping the region since January.

” … Bin Laden has already been made irrelevant by the Arab Spring that underlined the meaning of peoples power through peaceful means,” said Marwan Bishara, an Al Jazeera political analyst, in a column.

A Guardian report from the Afghan capital of Kabul said the streets of the city were quiet and the local reaction was muted as President Hamid Karzai announced Bin Laden’s death. Mr. Karzai used the event as an opportunity to criticize the West’s operations in Afghanistan because Bin Laden was not found in the country.

“Year after year, day after day, we have said the fighting against terrorism is not in the villages of Afghanistan, not among the poor people of Afghanistan,” he said. “The fight against terrorism is in safe havens. It proves that Afghanistan was right,” Karzai said.

Indian officials, meanwhile, used the news to bolster their longtime claims that Pakistan harbors militants, according to Dawn. How else could Bin Laden have hidden there so long, so comfortably?

“We take note with grave concern that part of the statement in which President Obama said that the firefight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbotttabad ‘deep inside Pakistan’,” Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said.

“This fact underlies our concern that terrorists belonging to different organisations find sanctuary in Pakistan,” he said.

India has long had fraught relations with Pakistan, partially stemming from India’s belief that Pakistan has allowed militant groups to operate within its borders.

A senior security official in the Pakistani city of Peshawar told Reuters that the attack on Bin Laden’s compound was a joint operation, but the fact that Pakistan hadn’t acted sooner could reflect badly on the country’s willingness to hunt down militants.

“Pakistan will have to do a lot of damage control because the Americans have been reporting he is in Pakistan. This is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan,” [said security analyst Imtiaz Gul].

But defence analyst and former general Talat Masood said the fact bin Laden was killed in a joint operation would limit the damage to Pakistan’s image.

“There should be a sigh of relief because this will take some pressure off of Pakistan,” said defence analyst and former general Talat Masood. “Pakistan most probably has contributed to this, and Pakistan can take some credit for this – being such an iconic figure, it’s a great achievement.”

The Times of India interpreted the ambiguity of US and Pakistan statements on involvement differently, however, saying that Obama’s statement “left no doubt” that the US alone could take credit for Bin Laden’s death and that Pakistan was not informed of the operation.

In fact, there was not even a word of thanks for Pakistan. Instead, Obama said: ”Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates.”

The finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden before US forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head in the wee hours of Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the al-Qaida fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.

Hati: il dolore e il grido

Haiti: il dolore e il grido

E noi apriamo le nostre palme vuote
La tragedia di Haiti lascia senza fiato. Gigantesca. Più di quanto si immaginava. Il numero delle vittime imprecisato, si parla di decine e decine di migliaia. In una parte di un’isola già povera e provata da miseria e fatica di vivere, si è abbattuta una sventura che lascia attoniti. Come se a sventura si aggiungesse sventura in un baratro senza fondo. Haiti, nome esotico e di buia miseria. Nome di terra lontana. Di popolo provato e povero. E il fiato non si sa dove prenderlo. Se metti la faccia tra le mani, il respiro non torna.

E se anche ti volti da un’altra parte, il respiro non torna. E se ancora maledici i terremoti, non torna. Come non tornano le decine di migliaia di innocenti. I bambini e le donne. Come non tornano i sepolti vivi.

Un raddoppiamento di male. Di sventura. Un raddoppiamento di catastrofe. Una insistenza del dolore e della mancanza di fiato. Come se nessun “perché” gridato in faccia a nessuno e nemmeno gridato in faccia al cielo potesse esaurire lo sconforto, e la durezza che impietrisce davanti al disastro e alle immagini di disastro. Nessun “perché” rigirato nelle mani, nessuna domanda ricacciata in gola, può esaurire l’inquietudine. Una doppia ingiustizia. Una moltiplicata sventura. Anche il cuore più sordo sente il grido di questa sventura. Anche il cuore più duro si crepa davanti alla morte che domina così apertamente, così sfacciatamente. Anche l’anima che non sospira mai, sente il fiato che si tira. Il fiato che non arriva. Il fiato che si rompe.

Quasi non si arriva nemmeno alla domanda, lecita, urgente di cosa si può fare, di fronte a questa tragedia. Quasi non si arriva a formulare nessuna domanda su cosa fare, perché si rimane inchiodati a una domanda più forte, più radicale: cosa possiamo essere? Sì, insomma, cosa si è, cosa è essere uomini davanti a questi eventi? Perché sembra quasi che ogni forza nostra, ogni umana dignità siano annullate. Radiate. Come se esser uomini davanti a tali tragedie sia quasi una cosa grottesca. Tappi di sughero nel mare in tempesta. Formiche in balìa della strage, come diceva Leopardi di fronte al Vesuvio sterminatore.

Da dove riprendere fiato, umanità, dignità davanti a tale strage? Non c’è altra possibilità: davanti a questo genere di cose, o si prega o si maledice Dio. O si è credenti o si diventa contro Dio. Una delle due. E se il cristiano dice di esser quello che prega, invece di esser l’uomo che maledice, non lo fa per sentimentalismo. Non lo fa per comodità. Anzi, è più scomodo. Molto più scomodo. Ma più vero. Perché quando il mistero della vita sovrasta – nella sventura come nelle grandi gioie – è più vero aprire le palme vuote, o piene di calcinacci o di sangue dei fratelli e dire: tienili nelle tue braccia. Tienili nel Tuo cuore. Perché noi non riusciamo a conservare nemmeno ciò che amiamo. Perché la vita è più grande di noi, ci eccede da ogni parte, e la morte è un momento di eccedenza della vita. Un momento in cui la vita tocca fisicamente il suo mistero.

La natura non è Dio. In natura esistono anche i disastri. Come gli spettacoli e gli incanti. Ma la natura non è Dio. Non preghiamo la natura, che ha pregi e difetti, come ogni creatura. Preghiamo Dio creatore di abbracciare il destino delle vittime. Il destino triste di questi fratelli. Che valgono per Lui come il più ricco re morto anziano e sereno nel proprio letto. Che ci ricordano, nel loro dolore, che non siamo padroni del destino.

Davide Rondoni


AVSI a seguito del violentissimo terremoto che ha colpito Haiti – ha lanciato una raccolta fondi per intervenire in favore della popolazione e far fronte alla grave emergenza umanitaria che si è creata nell’isola.
AVSI è presente ad Haiti dal 1999 con alcuni progetti a sostegno della realtà locale; i suoi 6 operatori sono fortunatamente salvi.

– Credito Artigiano – Sede Milano Stelline, Corso Magenta 59
IBAN IT 68 Z0351201614000000005000
Per bonifici dall’estero:  IBAN IT 68 Z0351201614000000005000   BIC (Swift code) ARTIITM2
– Conto corrente postale n° 522474, intestato AVSI


In memoria del Papa

Stamattina si sono svolti a Piazza S. Pietro i funerali solenni di Papa Giovanni Paolo II. Molto emozionante è stata la presenza dei capi di Stato, degli esponenti religiosi e dei fedeli di quasi tutto il mondo.

Seguendo questo link troverete il discorso che il Papa ha tenuto il 19 agosto 2000 a Tor Vergata in occasione della Giornata Mondiale della Gioventù e che penso possa suscitare anche in voi particolare interesse.
Spero che il prossimo Pontefice riesca a trasmettere a noi giovani nello stesso modo lo stesso messaggio d’amore.