September 12, 2004
Journey from the Land of No, by Roya Hakakian. Crown. 245 pages. $23. The transcendent poignancy of Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl lies in the coming-of-age story of a teen-ager against the backdrop of a gathering, obliterating evil force. In Anne, we recognize all the yearnings, petulance and wonder of a talented adolescent, knowing all the time that this precious bulb is doomed never to realize her full blossoming. Roya Hakakian, fortunately, avoids Anne's fate by safely emigrating to America with her family, but her story too is about the stunting of a vibrant young woman who, like Anne, stands in awe as she catches a glimpse of all the vast potential within herself precisely at the exact moment when an oppressive, annihilating regime makes her self-actualization impossible.
November 5, 1993
"The Remains of the Day," the powerful new Merchant-Ivory film that opens today at the Senator, is about the remains of the soul. What's left after a lifetime spent locked in the clammy grip of that most human of failings, the force called repression"The Remains of the Day," the powerful new Merchant-Ivory film that opens today at the Senator, is about the remains of the soul. What's left after a lifetime spent locked in the clammy grip of that most human of failings, the force called repression?
January 30, 1994
Something is going on in today's movies. Or, more precisely, something is not going on.In "The Age of Innocence," Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis are riding in a carriage, their unspoken passion throbbing in cadence with the horse's hoofs. Suddenly, Mr. Day-Lewis does something shocking. He unbuttons Ms. Pfeiffer's tightly knit glove and kisses her wrist.In "Shadowlands," Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger seek refuge from a rainstorm in an empty barn. They embrace, and she reaches under his sport coat to caress his back.
September 24, 2000
ON THE Great Wall, China - China is the kind of country where you can camp on the Great Wall without a permit, but if you sit down in Tiananmen Square you might get a kick in the head. Earlier this summer I went strolling through the square with my college roommates, Dan and Dave, who were visiting from California. As we walked around the vast expanse of concrete, the nation's political epicenter, police descended on clumps of simply dressed Chinese. They were members of the banned spiritual meditation group, Falun Gong, quietly demonstrating against a government crackdown in which tens of thousands of their comrades have been detained.
March 28, 1998
THE CONTACT group of six powers gave a weak ultimatum to Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to end repression of the Albanian majority in Kosovo province: End brutality in a month or the world community would impose sanctions specified in an earlier ultimatum.Mr. Milosevic was not impressed. He gives in only to credible threats. In this case, the resolve of the United States and Britain were not enough to overcome the resistance of Russia, France, Germany and Italy.A let-up of police repression and talks with the shadow Albanian government in Kosovo might defuse the crisis.
March 29, 1991
Russia has a history of and a gut instinct for the authoritarian. When all else fails, or when you think it is going to fail, or you think that perhaps it might fail, or you just don't know, go for the iron fist.This philosophy kept the czars in power for a long time and the communists for a lesser time, and now the fading sometimes-liberalizing communists are trying to prolong their mandate by reversing course back to their basics, repression.Banning demonstrations in Moscow is just the latest example, though it is a good one, an attempt to parry several problems in one ill-conceived stroke.