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October 23, 2000 Issue

  • Columns

  • The Former Yugoslavia

    During the Kosovo crisis of last year, it was commonplace if not routine to hear two mantras being intoned by those who had decided that "never" would be about the right time to resist ethnic cleansing with a show of force. We were incessantly told (were we not?) that NATO's action would drive the Serbs into the arms of Slobodan Milosevic. And we were incessantly told (were we not?) that the same NATO action would intensify, not alleviate, the plight of the Kosovar refugees.  Now there has been an election that was boycotted by almost all Kosovars and by the government of Montenegro. And even with the subtraction of these two important blocs of opposition voters, it is obvious that Milosevic has been humiliated, exposed, unmasked, disgraced.

    Christopher Hitchens

  • On the Fading of the Euro Dream

    Momentum for the euro wanes.
    The krone is preferred by Danes.
    And recent surveys all have found
    That British voters love their pound.
    But, seeing this through New World eyes,
    Why is it such a big surprise?
    Imagine how we Yanks would holler
    If someone tried to take our dollar!
    You'd see a war like Vietnam,
    But this time we would use the bomb.

    Calvin Trillin

  • Books and the Arts

  • House Finches

    To watch the pair of house finches
    that frequent the neighbor's feeder,
    I leave the charcoal blinds pulled up.
    The berry-splashed chest of the male--

    each morning--makes me pause.
    He flits away when full, or troubled
    by the cat behind the window pane.
    But he's back again within the hour.

    Evenings, we owe our different debts
    to the woman who fills the feeder tray,
    who also chooses open blinds
    and wanders room to room, past

    the long blue light of the aquarium.
    (She caught me watching yesterday.)
    The fish, from here, are almost still,
    a drifting string of colored lights.

    Her boyfriend's echoes of her name
    reverberate and scare the cat;
    bird seed scatters with the flight
    of startled finches. Sunflower seeds,

    far from the flower they once composed,
    lie like black collapsed stars.

    John Poch

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