Ambassador Crocker is watching what's happening in Iraq with a careful eye. So are the many Iraqis who fled the country several years ago, when sectarian tensions there escalated to something close to civil war. Haider al-Jumaili was one of them. He is a mechanical engineer but he lost his job after the U.S. invasion and found work as an interpreter for U.S. organizations. Eventually, the sectarian violence started to overwhelm him.
HAIDER AL-JUMAILI: I left my country because of these two words: The Sunnis and the Shias.
Google scientists have been testing a way to link computers to the internet in rural, war torn or disaster areas where high speed internet does not exist. We hear from Steven Levy, a senior writer with Wired magazine who was embedded with the Google team.
In the late 1970s, activists in Iran had a brief moment of hope. The revolution had succeeded; the shah's repressive regime had been overthrown. But things quickly turned for the worse. The newly formed Islamic Republic threw vocal dissenters in prison, and in 1988, it quietly executed thousands of them.
Steven's father had been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors didn't think he would make it. Pale and bald, he didn't look himself. Steven wanted to take a picture, made a video, just in case. Dad refused. "I got so mad," Steven remembers. "I regret not just coming up to him and saying, 'Dad, five minutes.' "
Steven's dad died on June 12, 2011. "The only time I can hear his voice is on our answering machine for two seconds," Steven says. "Hi, Heinz family, leave a message."
Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 10:20 am
Each week,Weekend Edition Sundayhost Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Ryan Crocker is a long-time U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador in six Muslim countries. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush.
Born into a military family, Crocker says he was drawn to the foreign service because he grew up overseas and spent time traveling in the Middle East.
My dad was a mild-mannered guy. Never bragged. Hated sports. Mom won the arguments. He was an avocado farmer near Santa Barbara, but being dad was his No. 1 job.
He read me bedtime stories, never missed a piano recital or a family dinner. And he played it safe: Dad's idea of adventure was driving his Ford Taurus to town without the wiper fluid filled to the top.
The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn't reach the court any sooner.
They didn't want a repeat of the abortion issue. With its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the high court stepped in and guaranteed a right to abortion but also triggered a backlash that has lasted for 40 years.
With same-sex marriage, by contrast, legislators and voters in nearly every state had the chance to make their feelings known before the Supreme Court weighs in.