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- By Erri De Luca

“I would like to open a door”—the sentence was uttered by a prisoner on death row for decades now, in San Quentin. For decades now he has not touched the handle of a door.

California has repudiated capital punishment, but when Jarvis Masters was sentenced to death the gas chambers were still working.

I’ve read his life story, recorded by the journalist, David Sheff: A Buddhist on Death Row (Simon & Schuster, 2020, Italian translation, Emanuela Alverà, Uniliber). Masters began practicing controlled breathing and meditation...

Our America

At Smedley Butler's Grave

- By W.D. Ehrhart

So here I am with Smedley Butler,
Major General, Maverick Marine,
Old Gimlet Eye, the Stormy Petrel,
two-time Medal of Honor winner;
me a sergeant with a Purple Heart
for doing nothing but getting hit.
(Don’t kid yourself, there’s nothing
heroic in that; just bad luck.)

Yet here I am at Butler’s grave. But why?
Well, we were both Marines, there’s that.
And he graduated in 1898 from the school
where I taught decades later for 18 years.
And he wrote a book called War Is a Racket
in which he concluded, “To Hell with War!”
How can you not love the guy for that?


W.D. EHRHART is an American poet, writer, scholar, Vietnam veteran, and active member of...

Our America

Seeing Through Madness: A Roman Holiday

- By W.J.T. Mitchell

This essay was written in Rome on the eve of what may be a turning point in the fortunes of democracy, the political system that Plato called a “ship of fools” for its tendency to elect incompetent captains on the basis of their popularity. On November 8, the United States will conduct a kind of national referendum that could determine the future of the oldest and most powerful democracy in the world.

The very idea of free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power is at stake, though the question appears nowhere on the ballot. Scores of candidates are running for office on the explicit commitment to the Big Lie—that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen from Donald Trump, who lost by seven million votes. The Big Lie is accompanied by a mass...

Our America

Defending Freedom of Expression

- By Michel Moushabeck

At Interlink Publishing, my staff and I were shocked, devastated, and heartbroken to hear about the attack on Salman Rushdie and his interviewer on August 12th. Rushdie, a fellow member of PEN and past president of PEN America, has always been a fierce advocate for freedom of expression as we know all too well from his literary works and numerous speeches on the subject. Reese, his interviewer, is a longtime bookseller. We condemn this brutal attack and wish them a quick recovery and healing from this dreadful incident.

While this was a religiously motivated attack with unique circumstances, it is impossible to look at what happened without thinking about the numerous other incidents taking place around the world in order to silence writers, journalists, and human rights...

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