Births of a Nation

We were an hour into a discussion about the war in Rwanda and the future of Africa when the President of Uganda, the dome-headed capitalist Yoweri Museveni, invited me to sit with him under an acacia tree and talk cow-talk. Mr. Museveni is the owner of a stupendous herd of Ankole cattle, and in the course of conversation I couldn't help but mention my own kibbutz-acquired calf-birthing skills -- one of the only real practical skills this Diaspora Jew possesses.

The mention of kibbutz gave Mr. Museveni pause, and he narrowed his already narrow eyes and asked: "Are you Jewish?" It is my policy never to deny my Jewishness except to tefillin-bearing pubescent Lubavitchers and so I answered yes, even though I worried about the arc of this conversation: Mr. Museveni knew me as a representative of The New York Times Magazine, and Third World intellectuals believe certain things about the leanings of The New York Times.
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