The old boy is at play, again. He is visiting Lebanon, pleads with Hezbollah leaders to meet him, though professes profound understanding as to why they would shun him:
"I understand that some of the leaders of Hezbollah have said they were not going to meet with any president or former presidents of the United States," Carter said upon his arrival at Beirut airport, adding that he would meet other leaders.
Carter has a new book coming out soon.
Carter is a member of the "Elders" who got around, finally, to acknowledge the horrific humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe in their latest pronouncement :
President Robert Mugabe's government cannot lead Zimbabwe out of its current humanitarian crisis, the Elders group of influential statesmen has said....
The Elders include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and international advocate for women and children's rights Graca Machel.
Mugabe was once described by Jimmy Carter as "exemplifying the finest aspects of humanity in achieving liberty and justice".
Remember, It was the Carter administration that pressed Zimbabwe to include Robert Mugabe in the 1980 elections that brought the guerrilla leader to power, despite the fact that he - like the leadership of Hamas - had also not renounced violence or pledged to respect democratic norms.
Mugabe is still the dictator Carter helped to install in power, and Carter is an itinerant peace-laureate in search of ways to drown the furious and loud noises generated by his presidential foreign policy decisions. And isn't it just like the wont of the angel of history to reward such hapless, touchy-feely leadership with his own brand of special irony:
Zimbabwe has barred former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and other prominent figures from visiting the country to assess the humanitarian crisis, the group said on Saturday. They were denied travel visas to Zimbabwe....
"Our purpose in coming here was never to be involved in the political issues that have been so controversial in the establishment of a new government in Zimbabwe, but only to help with the humanitarian issue and we will continue to do that," Carter said.
Walter Benjamin once mused:
"This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
God preserve us from any progress midwifed through the good offices of former President Carter.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008