Editorials: One strongman’s terrorist; and An apolitical statesman?

genetic inferiority
Mein Gott! An anti-terrorist hero, keeping the spirit of Heydrich alive! Photo by Adam Kohn. The editor, though, thinks that Kubiš and Gabčík were the real anti-terrorist heroes. But therein lies a problem — two heroes could not protect the hundreds of people in Lidice. Nor will antifascists confronting wannabe stormtroopers on the streets of Portland oust the white supremacists from the government in Washington. 

One strongman’s terrorist…

Once upon a time there was Hitler’s “man with the iron heart,” Reinhard Heydrich. He held high offices in the SS and the Gestapo, was for a time director of INTERPOL and then became Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Acting Empire-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia.

In November of 1938, in a long-planned series of actions set into motion on the opportunity of the assassination in Paris of Nazi diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a teenaged Polish Jewish emigre, Heydrich issued the order for the Kristallnacht — pogroms in which Jews across Germany were attacked. Hardcore anti-terrorist, Der Furher styled him. Later Heydrich organized the Einsatzgruppen, paramilitary thugs who killed more than two million people, most of them Jewish.

Hitler sent the guy to what is now more or less the Czech Republic to wipe out the resistance there. So the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, in cooperation with the British special operations commandos, set into motion Operation Arthropoid. Czech terrorists Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík were parachuted back into their home country and after months of stalking they managed to catch Heydrich’s car as it slowed toward a hairpin curve in Prague. Despite a misfiring sten gun their improvised bomb worked and mortally wounded Heydrich.

In retaliation the Nazis took stern anti-terrorist measures, including by descending on the town of Lidice, rounding up the population, shooting all the men and boys over age 16, deporting almost all of the women and children to death camps and razing all buildings.

Panama named a corregimiento in Capira Lidice, to honor the memory of those killed in the anti-terrorist operation.

NOW the Republicans seek to declare anti-fascist protests “terrorists.” Will the Trump State Department insist that we rename Lidice after the Proud Boys?


Seguro Social graphic.

An apolitical statesman?

“The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP), Jorge Juan de la Guardia, asked that the next director of the Social Security Fund (CSS) be a professional statesman whose main goal is to depoliticize the entity.” La Estrella, August 19.

But of course, matters of state are inherently political. Whether to leave cancer patients to die untreated, to leave the elderly poor to starve, to leave orphans to fend for themselves – or not to do these things – are inherently political decisions for the Social Security Fund.

Seguro Social needs an honest and competent director who is unswayed by partisan pressures, favoritism toward his or her family or other corrupting influences.

An inspiring leader would be a good thing, but the dedication of resources and time to create the impression that she or he is such would be and has been a common annoyance.

A politician eager to set aside all of the tiresome games and do a job without the usual pressures? That might be a good pick. A professional or functionary from the institution who knows a lot about what is wrong with it and what it does right, and is ready to jump into a political role to fight for certain policies and principles rather than to prepare for a climb up staircases of power? That might also work.

The Chamber’s little gaffe belies far greater flaws that are found in their constitutional proposals. They don’t have a clue about how the country should be run, but they are afraid of forces beyond their control or comprehension.

Panamanians of good will might well get the gist of what the Chamber looks for in a social security director and agree with their ideal of dispassionate probity. Most of us do want someone like that.

Yet at this moment those who concur about a nonpartisan and noncorrupt Social Security Fund should also be organizing a “Vote NO” campaign to defeat the constitutional package that the Chamber set into motion and at which and the legislature is now chopping. To save Panama from its current predicament, ordinary citizens must rise to the occasion and be the clear-thinking stateswomen and statesmen that the Chamber leaders are not.


clean for gene

It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember.

Eugene McCarthy

Bear in mind…


When people think the world of you, be careful with them.

Margaret Cho


The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you.

Rita Mae Brown


Everyone is as God has made him, and oftentimes a great deal worse.

Miguel de Cervantes



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