5 Best Wednesday Columns

Nanjala Nyabola gives an African view of the Rhodes, Kathleen Parker ponders GOP-Tea Party dynamics, and more

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  • Nanjala Nyabola Gives an African Perspective on the Rhodes Scholarship In a thoughtful article for The Gaurdian, Oxford grad student and Kenya native Nanjala Nyabola explains why she accepted a scholarship from a trust in the name of Cecil Rhodes despite his "bloody and destructive quest to subjugate an entire generation of my people." While the tension between Rhode's legacy and Nyabola's heritage are "complicated," Nyabola's reasoning is fairly simple: the oppurtunity "is a step towards something bigger, a platform from which I can launch into bigger and better things in the future." Nyabola ends on a lighter note: One of the best answers to the original question was given by one of the wonderful students that I met when I arrived. When asked why she accepted the scholarship, she said: "Cecil Rhodes had no intention for us as black women to ever see his money. I can't think of a better way of saying fuck you than taking it."
  • David Ignatius on the Attempted Times Square Bombing  Though he praises counter-terrorism officials and law enforcement for successfully foiling the attempted attack and capturing Faisal Shahzad, the Washington Post columnist warns: "Jihadists learn from one another's mistakes." Just because "the dots got connected" this time does not mean a new breed of do-it-yourself terrorists will not attempt more attacks on U.S. soil. Ignatius ominously concludes that it's not a question of if one succeeds, but when.
"This plot failed, but America won't always be so lucky. Al-Qaeda and its spin-offs have been working hard to recruit terrorists who can operate in the United States, and sooner or later, one of them is going to succeed. The test of the country's resilience isn't when a terrorist botches the job and people are patting themselves on the back, but when the bomb goes off."
  • Steven Pearlstein on Greece's Debt Crisis  The Washington Post columnist lays out a concise explanation of the economic quandary facing Greece and the European Union's resistance to making tough fiscal choices. "With the Greek credit crisis quickly turning into a eurozone-wide liquidity crisis, European leaders would be well advised to forget about appearances and come up with an acceptable mechanism for the orderly restructuring of sovereign debt," he urges. "For just as 'too big to fail' has proven a lousy strategy for banks, it is just as lousy when applied to countries, in both cases encouraging incaution on the part of lenders and profligacy and risk-taking on the part of borrowers. While a debt restructuring would be painful for Greece and its European bankers, it would surely be less painful than a decade of austerity-induced recession." Pearlstein posits the EU's sluggish response to the crisis is primarily because "their exaggerated concerns about appearances have led them to reject useful strategies."

  • Garrison Keillor on the Charms of Midtown Manhattan Writing in the Chicago Tribune, the Minnesota-born humorist offers a different take on the Times Square bombing attempt and the "knowledge-impaired terrorist" responsible for it. While police evacuated Times Square this past Saturday, Keillor was blocks away, taking in a show and "packing away some giant prawns and fried wonton." He shrugs that "people in Williston, N.D., probably got the news before I did ... That's what I love about the city, that feeling of being utterly out of touch, as if you were in the Australian Outback."
  • Kathleen Parker on How the Tea Party Undermines the GOP  At The Washington Post, Parker takes a counter-intuitive angle on Tea Partiers, arguing that the movement's impulse to support only the hardest of hard-line conservatives could leave the Republican Party anemic and ineffectual--which in turn would undermine the Tea Party's own agenda. "In purging impure Republicans from the ranks, Tea Partyers ultimately may manage to further shrink the GOP by alienating those repelled by purity tests," Parker warns. "If good-faith, conservative legislators such as [Bob] Bennett fail to pass muster, who will be brave enough to legislate? If no one, then what?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.