2019
August
26
Monday

Welcome to your Monitor Daily. Today’s stories include a quest for healing on the 400th anniversary of the beginning of U.S. slavery, patterns in President Donald Trump’s positioning, a fresh perspective on extreme poverty, efforts in Hungary to protect mothers and children from abuse, and an architectural homage to the peace and stillness of a composer’s work.

Every crisis has its “wake-up.” During the refugee flow into Europe in 2015, which I covered as our European correspondent, it was the death of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi that galvanized international response to Syrian refugees. For the climate crisis, the watershed moment could be news last week of the spread of fires in the Amazon.

It began with a tweet by French President Emmanuel Macron. “Our house is burning. Literally,” he wrote, calling on leading industrial nations to act over the weekend. Suddenly the Amazon became the subject of discussion around dinner tables and water coolers – and of sporadic protests worldwide.

Tensions over Amazon development are long-standing. During my time as our Latin America correspondent, I wrote about a gas pipeline in 2007 that angered international environmentalists. But locals in Amazonas were quick to explain that millions of people have to make a living in the “lungs of the Earth.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has angered the international community over policies that tip the balance toward business over environmental protection. This time, Group of Seven leaders in Biarritz, France, held him to account, threatening to kill a trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur countries and boycott Brazilian products. For now, Mr. Bolsonaro has appeared to shift course, sending in the military to tackle the flames. For all the talk about the end of multilateralism in an age of nationalism, this weekend made clear that international cooperation is still very much the way forward.

It’s still unclear if this year’s Amazon fires will lead to long-term policy change in South America. We can at least take solace in the fact that the world is watching, and ready to respond, to the world’s challenges.

Share this article

A deeper look

1. On US slavery’s 400th anniversary, how ancestry quests help heal

The burgeoning interest of African Americans in their ancestry is helping to clarify family identities and heal the wounds of slavery. It is shaping everything from baby names to views on reparations.

Sara
Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Jane Howard attends the Reddick family reunion in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 14 Min. )

From the ancient rhythm of “begats” in the Bible to the modern marketing of genetic testing companies, the search for family history is more than a matter of personal curiosity. Over the ages it has been used to claim political power, royal lineage, and social standing. Now, for better or worse, it is shaping the conflicted American narrative of multiculturalism. And the growing interest in African American ancestry has important social and economic implications.

Recent developments credited with spiking interest include the 400th anniversary of the arrival of transatlantic slavery to the United States, the 2018 film “Black Panther,” and a burst of new and successful cultural institutions such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington and the dramatic National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, honoring more than 4,400 lynching victims.

“Once you get that identity back – a sense of pride and place and belonging – that sense of being an individual, you then play a more confident and active role in your personal life, in your family life, your local and even your national and global community,” says Gina Paige, co-founder of a genetic testing firm. “It gives you a better foundation to participate.”

Collapse

On US slavery’s 400th anniversary, how ancestry quests help heal

Flipping through his social studies textbook as a seventh grader in the 1970s, John F. Baker Jr. was stopped cold by an old black-and-white photo of four African Americans dressed in 1890s finery in front of a plantation home. The unidentified woman in the photo staring seriously out at him reminded him of his grandmother – and a tickle of curiosity was triggered every time he opened the book.

Coincidentally, when that grandmother came to see Mr. Baker’s family near Nashville for her annual visit in 1976, she asked the youth to take a photo of a local newspaper clipping that included a picture of her grandparents. They were posing in front of the Wessyngton Plantation house where they were born enslaved and continued to work as a cook and laundress into the late 1800s.

Mr. Baker says he was “in shock” when he realized that it was the very same photo as the one in the textbook with which he’d been obsessed. “Although I had seen the photograph in the textbook many times, it assumed a different meaning once I knew that those people were my ancestors,” he wrote in his book, “The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation: Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom.”

“I could hardly wait to get back to school and tell my classmates that my ancestors were in our history book. ... I was so excited I could hardly sleep.” 

Courtesy of John F. Baker Jr., Author of 'The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation'
A descendant of slaves, John F. Baker Jr. first saw this photo in a school textbook when he was a child in the 1970s. He later learned that his own great-great-grandparents are pictured: Emanuel (seated left) and Henny Washington (seated right), in front of the main house on Wessyngton Plantation in Cedar Hill, Tennessee, around 1891.

Mr. Baker’s jolt of elation – echoed today in the increasing number of African Americans engaging in ancestry searches through internet records and DNA testing – only seemed to grow in meaning over time as he made discovering his family’s past his life’s work. His painstakingly handwritten, 6-foot-long family tree of 11 generations and 1,000 descendants of enslaved people who labored at the Wessyngton tobacco plantation is his visualization of 40 years of sprawling research done for himself, for others seeking family information, for museums, and for his detailed book on the white Washington family and their slaves.

A changing multiculturalism

From the ancient rhythm of “begats” in the Bible to the modern marketing of the genetic testing company 23andMe, the search for family history is more than a matter of personal curiosity. Over the ages it has been used to stake claims to political power, royal lineage, and social standing. Now, for better or worse, it is shaping the conflicted American narrative of multiculturalism.

The growing interest in African American ancestry is creating a collective effect in the black community that has important social and economic implications.

“The cultural impact of ancestry tracing among African Americans has been phenomenal,” says Henry Louis Gates Jr., who heads the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Ancestry searching, he notes, has direct influence on African American baby names, music, clothing, hair, dance, and film, and is spurring African American tourism on the African continent. “All those things, incrementally, over the last 25 years are the results of black Americans being able to establish more concrete, specific connections with their African ancestors and cousins,” he says.

And there is implied political power in the new genealogical tool of genetic testing.

“Our DNA hopes are more boundless than we often fully apprehend or dare to admit,” wrote Alondra Nelson, the Harold F. Linder professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and the author of “The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome.” Genetics, she added, “might offer new leverage” in racial justice and social transformation, including evidence for reconciliation with – and possibly reparations for – slave descendants.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Stephen Reddick (center) listens to speakers at the Reddick family reunion in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Inspiration from 1970s, to digital era

The black power movement and creation of black studies programs in the 1960s, and the establishment of Black History Month and Alex Haley’s “Roots” miniseries in the 1970s, were part of the first wave of ancestral searches among African Americans.

But there was very little specificity of heritage black Americans could easily trace. The U.S. census in 1870, the first to note the entire black population, is considered a genealogical “brick wall” before which slavery and Jim Crow laws erased the potential for paper trails used in genealogical research. Black Americans, excluded from mainstream institutional recognition, often were not registered at birth, death, and marriage or for the draft or voter rolls. 

The dawn of the digital era allowing online searches of public documents and archival holdings, plus the availability of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, triggered a boom in black genealogical interest.

A movie, new museums, and 1619

Other more recent developments are credited with spiking interest, too: marketing around the 400th anniversary of the arrival of transatlantic slavery to the U.S.; the 2018 film “Black Panther,” a fantasy of a peaceful, high-tech African kingdom that invigorated black identity; and a burst of new and successful cultural institutions such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, and the dramatic National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, honoring more than 4,400 lynching victims.

“There’s a direct correlation to the release of the movie ‘Black Panther’ two years ago” and a tripling of visits to AfricanAncestry.com, says Gina Paige, co-founder of the genetic testing company African Ancestry that traces lineage to a specific present-day African nation and ethnic group of origin through common maternal and paternal ancestors. She adds that the Trump administration’s “intensified assault on black Americans” is a contributing factor to the interest in ancestry, forcing “black Americans to look at themselves through a new lens.”

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Gina Paige (facing camera), co-founder of a genetic testing company, helped Afra Brown reveal ancestry testing results at Ms. Brown's family reunion in July.

Filling in the void

Overall, African Ancestry claims to have helped 500,000 African Americans reconnect with their roots since it started selling test kits in 2003. It has compiled a genetic database of more than 30,000 indigenous African DNA samples to compare with that of clients – an amount that dwarfs other companies’ African DNA files.

“Black Panther” encapsulates the dichotomy between difficulties of life in the African diaspora and the fantasy of a black utopia on the continent. And, says Ms. Paige, it plays to the black longing for connections erased by slavery. African Americans implicitly understand a generalized heritage on the African continent. But they don’t have the specificity European Americans enjoy in claiming Irish or German or Italian descent, she says.

And that’s important for some black Americans who feel the void, adds Ms. Paige, who admits that she, herself, had not had the “personal curiosity” to know more about her African roots as a child because it was impossible to trace. But with DNA testing as an option to know more, it did become possible and the void was more apparent as a result.

“In my opinion, [black Americans] are the original victims of identity theft,” says Ms. Paige, “because [as a result of slavery] we’ve lost everything that identifies us as a person; we’ve lost our original names; we’ve lost our languages; we lost the freedom to honor our ancestors. And our families were torn apart.”

The growing scale of the black ancestry search and its impact on the collective consciousness of the black community, she says, can restore and heal the residue of slave status by clarifying identity.

“Once you get that identity back – a sense of pride and place and belonging – that sense of being an individual, you then play a more confident and active role in your personal life, in your family life, your local and even your national and global community,” says Ms. Paige. “It gives you a better foundation to participate.”

Clara Germani
John F. Baker Jr., a pioneer in tracing family roots, shows the ancestral tree he has been researching for four decades.

Finding 11 generations of his family, beginning at age 13

Mr. Baker was a genealogy prodigy at age 13. Soon after the discovery of that photo of his great-grandparents, Henny and Emanuel Washington, his parents were driving him all over greater Nashville to the state archives and library and to visit the white owners of Wessyngton Plantation.

The teen scoured such documents as slave bills of sale, plantation account books, slave tax entries, wills, deeds, and Washington family correspondence. His research was enriched by the unusually thorough record-keeping by the white Washingtons – relatives of the first U.S. president – who left Virginia to pioneer the Tennessee plantation in the late 1700s. Their account books detailed clothing and shoe sizes and costs of doctor visits for enslaved people who were ill; letters between family members discussed visits to Virginia and Louisiana slave auctions.

The distillate of this very granular study of the economics and sociology of slavery is visible in Mr. Baker’s ability – not unlike doing long division in your head – to keep track of thousands of descendants and telling tidbits about them.

One of the most haunting threads he discovered was how his great-great-great-grandmother Jenny came to Wessyngton. Jenny’s extended family was owned in Virginia by Revolutionary War hero Col. Michael Blow. When he died, Jenny’s family was inherited by one of Blow’s sons, who then ran into financial difficulty. He sold 10-year-old Jenny and her 12-year-old sister in 1802 to the Washingtons. It is clear in the paperwork that the girls were force-marched from Virginia to Tennessee, but the emotional detail that Baker – and other black Americans piecing together their family history – narrates is the unspeakable trauma the girls suffered being torn from their mother and family, never to meet again.

This kind of graphic realization of ancestral events can, paradoxically, be inspiring. Dwight Fryer, a minister, FedEx marketing manager, and historical novelist, underscored this point when he spoke about his research at this summer’s Juneteenth event at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville. 

Pain – and survival

“I think there’s a need for humankind to know their story,” he says. Knowing the trials his enslaved great-great-grandmother Jane Dickens Hunt survived, he says, helped him deal with the pain of his own teenage daughter’s death in 2001. “I found things that made me understand just how strong I really am.”

Mr. Fryer’s great-great-grandmother was forced to walk from North Carolina to Mississippi by slave owners. It spoke to him, he says, “in an Elijah-type of way ... when God spoke to him in a quiet whisper – Jane Dickens Hunt was my quiet whisper. I began to really understand how special these people were, how smart they were to deal with these things, how strong; and they lived and were enterprising.” 

In short: Mr. Fryer’s ancestors were models of survival to him.

Clara Germani
"I think there’s a need for humankind to know their story," says Dwight Fryer, a minister in Memphis, Tennessee, who writes historical novels about slavery.

The ancestry “reveal”

When 65 members of Afra Brown’s extended family gathered for their biannual reunion dinner in Silver Spring, Maryland, in July, a dramatic ancestry “reveal” was the featured event of the evening.

The conceit of the reveal is that genetic test results will suddenly clear the fog of identity for African Americans – they will know a nation or a specific tribe or an ethnic mix of their ancestors (depending on the claims of which company’s test is involved). The drama lies in the ceremonial presentation and finally knowing rather than imagining a broad ancestral history.

Men in Ms. Brown’s family had taken a patrilineal test, which analyzes just the Y chromosome passed from father to male offspring. The other two types of genetic testing are matrilineal, which tests the DNA passed unchanged exclusively from mother to offspring, and autosomal, or admixture, which tests all the rest of the DNA and gives the long-term ancestry in a person’s entire genetic family tree, including a sense of ethnic percentages and even geographic location of ancestors.

Ms. Paige of African Ancestry came to present the results at the family reunion. Even though Ms. Brown, a Washington nurse, already knew the details and had bought party favors in the colors of the flag of the African nation – and tribe – of their roots, she was still nervous about how the surprise would go over, particularly with the family matriarchs, her 82-year-old mother and 78-year-old aunt.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Afra Brown introduces herself at the Reddick family reunion in Silver Spring, Maryland, where DNA results identifying the family’s ancestry were announced.

When Ms. Paige announced that the women’s patrilineal roots traced several hundred years back to the Bamileke tribe of what is now Cameroon, there was joyous surprise – though one cousin, who had been resistant to the testing, stalked out, says Ms. Brown. Much of the surprise was that Nigerian or Native American roots were not part of the family’s lineage as members had expected, says Ms. Brown.

Social media is full of emotional genetic testing reveals. One typical happy video, for example, features an earnest young black American couple, John and Sophia. They live in Ghana and are recording themselves sitting in their car – baby in the backseat – giddy to play a video reveal of their matrilineal test results sent by Ms. Paige. Sophia’s roots trace to the Tikar people of Cameroon. (“I feel like I’m flying,” she gasps.) John’s line traces to Sierra Leone’s Mende tribe, who were historically rice farmers. (“We love rice!” Sophia emotes.) 

“Not for the fainthearted”

But another reveal on YouTube is less breathless. In this 11-minute segment,  20-something Leroy stalls during the reveal, agonizing for long minutes, “nervous” and “scared,” because he saved up to take both patrilineal and matrilineal tests (about $600, total, from African Ancestry). He’s worried he’ll have white, European roots. When he opens the envelopes, he is crestfallen to learn he has Iberian roots on his father’s side and to find that his matrilineal roots are in the Akan tribe of Ghana, which he considers too “common” and not “exotic” in the world of African genealogical testing. He ends the video by saying he is “not a happy camper.” 

Harvard’s Dr. Gates, who pioneered the reveal in the early 2000s with his public television miniseries “African American Lives,” counsels caution about staking any happiness on genealogical findings. “DNA analysis is not for the fainthearted,” he says. It can “present some profound challenges” about what happened “in the dark reaches of slavery,” not to mention uncovering recent family secrets surrounding paternity.

Brynn Anderson/AP
A sculpture by Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo is part of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Opened in Montgomery, Alabama, in April 2018, the complex focuses on honoring those killed in America's racist lynchings.

The way this plays out for Leroy in the video can be purely a personal disappointment, but on a collective level in the black community, Dr. Gates explains, it is “new concrete scientific evidence for the agonizing costs of slavery on black women and the black family.”

He cites research showing that the average African American is 24% white; Dr. Gates, himself, is 50% white. “All this stuff on reparations is just sophisticated scholarship by economists and historians,” he observes, “but ... this high degree of European ancestry for an average African American most likely did not occur because of ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ This is rape. What else are you going to call it?”

Reconnecting with Africa

Ancestry searches can provide evidence for reparations, but also for reconciliation. Business, trade, educational, and aid groups see the search for roots as a natural platform for turning the sins of transatlantic slavery into productive contemporary reconnection to Africa. Likewise, initiatives surrounding the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery (which is dated to the 1619 arrival of settlers with slaves to Jamestown, Virginia) have created a dramatic historical atmosphere for roots searches and reveals – but also for renewed ties between the continent and the diaspora.

Ghana has pioneered the promotional lead in reconnecting those who were forced to leave the continent. As far back as 2000, the West African nation offered citizenship to people of Ghanaian ancestry and a “right of abode” immigration status for anyone of African descent in the diaspora. Ghana, as well as Liberia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Mauritius, and the African Union as a whole, has been involved with the R400 Summit planned for Charlotte, North Carolina, in September to “reconnect, reconcile, reclaim and reimagine what was lost over the past 400 years.” The summit will host a 75-person reveal of ancestry.

Ghana also has capitalized on its historic status as a major port of departure for slave ships through tourism. African Americans frequently take trips to the dungeons of forts where enslaved people were held before ships embarked to the Americas. For example, a group of three dozen NAACP leaders and members, including its president, Derrick Johnson, traveled to Jamestown and on to Ghana to reverse the journey of their ancestors and do reveals in August. 

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
A guide closes tourists in the "death cell," where enslaved people sentenced to die were once held, as they visit Elmina Castle in Elmina, Ghana. The building held slaves for hundreds of years and is today a museum.

One twist on the search trend is a reconciliation effort by Saint Louis University and the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province. They are trying to trace the genealogical descent of slaves owned, rented, and borrowed by the Jesuit priests who came to run the school in 1823. As part of their effort, the university sent letters in July to some slave descendants whom researchers believe they’ve discovered through DNA databases and church archival records.

“History is very important to ancestry, but what’s also important is what’s happening [in Africa] now” and in the future, says Diallo Shabazz, co-founder of Birthright Africa, a New York nonprofit that has committed to sending 5,000 people of African descent – ages 13 to 30 – to Africa and places within the U.S. to explore their cultural roots and leadership and entrepreneurial aspirations. The next phase of ancestry searching, he suggests, should “really be a transition in the way people relate to their ancestry on the continent.”

Cultivating relationships to past and present

Karmen Thomas holds one fervent vision of the transatlantic future: After receiving matrilineal tests linking her to the Mende people of Sierra Leone last year, the Charlotte, North Carolina, operations manager connected with 500 other Mende descendants – and Mende people in Sierra Leone – on Facebook. She speaks for “hours every other day” with her very distant relatives in Africa and is planning a trip there in November to bring assistance for community improvement projects.

“I have never met these people and I can tell you I love them like they are family I’ve known all of my life,” she says, noting that they represent the culture black Americans lost when their ancestors were kidnapped and brought here. As a result, she describes a well of longing to reconnect that, if collectively harnessed, might have a major impact in Africa. “I want to go there twice a year. I want to invest in property. I want dual citizenship. I want to bank there, put money in there and bring revenue there.”

Mr. Baker’s search for his family’s past in Tennessee constantly gains momentum, too: Descendants of the Wessyngton Plantation slaves contact him at least three or four times a week for information or to ask for a tour.

He takes these visitors high on a hill to the plantation slave cemetery. Here it’s easy to be awestruck by the strange juxtaposition of the beauty of the rolling green landscape and a massive monument to those buried here – 455 people enslaved by a cruel institution still felt by their thousands of descendants.

shadow

2. ‘A master of deflection.’ Trump and the whiplash presidency.

“Follow the signal, not the noise” has been a frequent adage during the Trump presidency. But both allies and critics of the president say sometimes the noise is part of the signal.

Sara
Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel participate in a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019.

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 4 Min. )

After one of the most volatile weeks of the Trump presidency to date – with policy flip-flops, contradictory signals, market gyrations, and provocative assertions – separating the signal from the noise can be well-nigh impossible.

Keeping multiple storylines going or changing the subject abruptly (like, say, the United States wanting to buy Greenland) are tactics frequently employed by the president and were on display at the Group of Seven meeting of world leaders this weekend.

“Donald Trump is a master of deflection,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The deflection comes, she adds, when there’s news that goes against his interests – and in this case, it was stories that suggested the economy may be heading into recession. 

Ultimately, it’s all about control, says former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. “He’s creating bright new shiny objects to make the press manic and to largely confuse the American people as to what’s real and what isn’t,” says Mr. Steele, a Trump critic. 

A Trump ally, who defends the administration on cable news, disagrees. “He may ramble, but he’s driving home a real point: He’s delivering on his promises.”

Collapse

‘A master of deflection.’ Trump and the whiplash presidency.

The Trump presidency at times can look like a somewhat chaotic pingpong match, with head-snapping moves and counter-moves. Often it’s President Donald Trump himself standing at both ends of the table.

For anybody watching – the public, the press, world leaders, even his own aides – it is a performance that can be both riveting and exasperating. And it brings to mind advice a sympathetic observer of President Trump offered before he was elected: “Take him seriously, not literally.” 

Another variation on the theme goes like this: “Follow the signal, not the noise.” In other words, don’t be distracted by trivia. Focus on what’s important. But after one of the most volatile weeks of the Trump presidency to date – with policy flip-flops, contradictory signals, market gyrations, and provocative assertions – separating the signal from the noise can be well-nigh impossible. 

Sometimes the noise is part of the signal, both allies and critics of President Trump say. When Mr. Trump seemed to equate Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell and Chinese President Xi Jinping, wondering in a tweet “who is our bigger enemy,” he wasn’t meant to be taken literally, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Trump himself asserted Sunday from the Group of Seven meeting of world leaders in France, “we’re getting along very well with China right now.” But on Mr. Powell, a Trump appointee who is now a frequent Trump target over interest rates, the president offered no such assurances. When asked over the weekend if he wanted the Fed chair to resign, the president said, “if he did, I wouldn’t stop him.” But even if Mr. Powell sticks it out, at the very least Mr. Trump has signaled to his supporters that he’s “on the case” to lower interest rates, despite the Fed’s independent function.

At heart, Mr. Trump’s goal is to win reelection, and “he wants to make sure there’s no recession,” says a Republican strategist close to the White House. “He also wants to keep Democrats from manufacturing a recession in voters’ minds.” 

Thus, the president’s intensive messaging about the U.S. economy, and efforts to show he’ll do whatever it takes to fuel growth, keep unemployment low, and keep the markets strong. Never mind the competing narrative of his trade war with China, in which escalating tariffs threaten to create the very impact he’s trying to avoid. 

Last Friday, the Dow dropped more than 600 points as the trade war intensified. On Monday, after Mr. Trump said that China wanted to return to the negotiating table, the Dow rallied. When asked Monday at the G7 why he treats President Xi as an enemy one day and a friend the next, Mr. Trump acknowledged that his whipsaw routine is intentional.  

“Sorry, it's the way I negotiate,” said the former real estate developer. “It’s done very well for me over the years, and it’s doing even better for the country.”

Keeping multiple story lines going simultaneously is another Trump technique, with some so far out of left field they are impossible to ignore. Exhibit A was last week’s story that he wanted to buy Greenland – and then canceling a trip to Copenhagen after the Danish prime minister told him the idea was “absurd.”

It was Trump at his “shiny object” best, throwing out a seemingly outlandish idea and then holding media attention in his thrall until the story had played out. 

“Donald Trump is a master of deflection,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The deflection comes, she adds, when there’s news that goes against his interests – and in this case, it was stories that suggested the economy may be heading into recession. 

“You know that recession is on his mind, because into this bizarre news agenda of the last week, he continues to intrude things that are relevant to a recession, if only to dismiss them,” such as his short-lived suggestion he might try to cut the payroll tax, says Ms. Jamieson. 

Ultimately, the “noise” serves to deflect attention not just from bad news but also controversial moves. Last week, when Mr. Trump had the world talking about his supposed effort to buy Greenland, other news items came and went with much less flash. 

One was the announcement of a regulation that would allow the US government to detain indefinitely migrants who cross illegally into the U.S., an effort to change a decades-old rule that governs how migrant children are treated. Another important story that came and went centered on how California has thwarted Mr. Trump’s effort to roll back auto emissions standards.

Ultimately, it’s all about control, says former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

“He’s creating bright new shiny objects to make the press manic and to largely confuse the American people as to what’s real and what isn’t,” says Mr. Steele, a Trump critic. 

Mr. Trump is also effectively his own press secretary. He speaks regularly to reporters – often from the south lawn of the White House as he’s heading out of town, Marine One sitting nearby with its engines running, creating noise and fumes. 

His 35-minute performance last Wednesday was classic. Reporters tossed out questions, and Mr. Trump could take his choice, addressing the economy, Democrats and Israel, racial politics, Greenland, background checks, China trade. On dealing with China, he looked skyward and declared, “I am the chosen one,” a line that sent critics into paroxysms over a supposed “Messiah complex.” 

Mr. Trump later said he was “just having fun,” but intentionally or not, another shiny object was born. 

To Mr. Steele, it’s all part of the performative nature of the Trump presidency. “You have a reality TV talk show host sitting in the White House who treats his job as if it’s just another episode,” he says. “There’s nothing serious going on here.”

The Trump ally, who defends the administration on cable news, disagrees. “He may ramble, but he’s driving home a real point: He’s delivering on his promises.”

shadow

Point of Progress

What's going right

3. The other economic trajectory: Global poverty in decline

Often the media focus on economic challenges, such as widening inequality, persistent poverty, or stagnant incomes. That’s important, but so is taking note of real progress.

Sara

​At a time of some big economic challenges, here’s a brighter perspective: The world in general has been making some big economic progress over the long term. Poverty is way down. Incomes are up. 

This doesn’t mean the world can rest easy when it comes to the basics of work, opportunity, and safety nets in nations around the world. But it does show that there’s progress for those nations to defend, at a time when the public focus lately has been on everything from a trade war and fears of recession to political unrest. 

Led by progress in Asia, extreme poverty has fallen from a level affecting about 36% of the world’s population in 1990 to 10% today. And the World Bank is targeting an achievable goal bringing that below 3% by 2030. More-open trade, freer markets, and stable governments have been big parts of that story.

Big gaps remain. Income inequality remains high, even as Asia’s catch-up to the West has rebalanced the global distribution of income somewhat. And ​inequality has been widening within many nations, ​which hints at why many people in the United States, for example, are questioning whether capitalism needs reform. 

“People realize that it’s not enough to know how GDP is growing,” economist Gabriel Zucman said in a conversation this month with the group Equitable Growth in Washington, ”they want to know how income is growing for people like them.”

– Mark Trumbull, staff writer

SOURCE: World Bank, Gapminder.org
|
Karen Norris and Mark Trumbull/Staff
shadow

4. Hungary wants more children. But is it protecting them and their mothers?

What does it mean to value families? Hungary’s government has promoted bigger families and more kids. But can those children, and their mothers, count on a reality that matches the rhetoric?

Sara

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 6 Min. )

Hungary’s government is pushing for larger families to tackle the country’s shrinking population. But when the members of those families experience domestic abuse or violence, the government’s interest in getting involved seems to disappear.

Byzantine bureaucracy, failures to recognize abusive situations, and miscarriages of justice are common in Hungary, according to women’s rights and child protection experts. Outdated data and research on these issues reflect a state that cares more about making families bigger than safer. “The protection of women is completely missing from the government’s action plan,” says Anna Betlen of the Hungarian Women’s Lobby. Key government agencies declined to comment on the issue to the Monitor.

Complicating matters is the broader government crackdown on civil society. “There is a witch hunt against civil society associations and NGOs, and among that women’s rights NGOs,” says Júlia Spronz, a lawyer helping domestic violence survivors. “They don’t let us near the state officers. We used to train police officers, we used to train children protection officers, we used to train judges. [Now] we can’t do that because of this witch hunting. That is a political decision.”

Collapse

1. Hungary wants more children. But is it protecting them and their mothers?

There were many warning signs for Ibolya that Endre, her former partner, was planning to take away their twin baby daughters.

They started before Endre (a pseudonym) moved out, an event triggered when he insisted on bathing the girls by himself, behind a locked door. Afterward, though Ibolya and Endre agreed he would get to see the children twice a week, on the twins’ first visit with their father he refused to return them until Ibolya called the police. Problematic encounters ensued.

One sunny day in March, when Ibolya met him at a public park with the twins, he kidnapped and kept them. But when she went to the authorities for help, Ibolya had little success.

Police recommended she report the case to a civil court and argue that he was endangering the children by removing them from their secure home. On paper, the court has eight days to issue an emergency decree and could have stipulated that the children should be returned to their mother. Four months have passed without any kind of decision.

She likewise appealed to a child protection office. “I was told many times that they are either not competent or have no time to deal with my case or that the whole situation is fine as it is,” says Ibolya, who did not want her last name to be used. The twins were separated from her while still nursing, and she wants to have custody, visitation rights, and alimony obligations settled quickly to avoid further trauma for them.

Her story is one of many cases that have been overlooked or mishandled in a country where the government is pushing for larger families but lacks the political will to tackle issues of family violence and abuse head on.

“They have no idea what domestic violence means or how to recognize an abusive father or person,” Ibolya says of her experiences with the Hungarian authorities. “They only care about blood and bruises or signs of sexual abuse. Not once in the last months of my nightmare have I been asked if I had been abused or hurt verbally or physically.”

Promoting family, but not protecting it

“It always takes a lot of time to get these children back because the system doesn’t work properly or quick enough,” says Júlia Spronz, a lawyer at Patent, a legal aid organization helping domestic violence survivors like Ibolya. “The system reacts very slowly and in a lot of the cases wrongly. ... Victim blaming and minimization is very much common in the application of the law.”

Byzantine bureaucracy, failures to recognize abusive situations, and miscarriages of justice are common in Hungary, according to women’s rights and child protection experts. Outdated data and research on these issues reflect a state that cares more about making families bigger than safer. Hungary has signed the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty on fighting violence against women, but has not ratified it. The political climate suggests it won’t soon.

Complicating matters is the broader government crackdown on civil society. “There is a witch-hunt against civil society associations and NGOs, and among that women’s rights NGOs,” says Ms. Spronz. “They don’t let us near the state officers. We used to train police officers, we used to train children protection officers, we used to train judges. [Now] we can’t do that because of this witch-hunting. That is a political decision.”

“The protection of women is completely missing from the government’s action plan,” says Anna Betlen of the Hungarian Women’s Lobby. She says women are discriminated against by the courts and the investigative system. Key government agencies declined to comment on the issue to the Monitor.

Ms. Betlen is a women’s rights activist who works pro bono with a focus on domestic violence. Lack of shelters, she says, is a major problem, although new ones have opened in rural areas. The Hungarian Women’s Lobby estimates at least 400,000 women are endangered by domestic violence. At a minimum, 1,400 new places are needed to offer protection to women who do need to leave home. Existing shelters have the capacity to accommodate a few dozen for short stints.

The last publicly available tally on domestic violence from Budapest Police headquarters dates from 2010. A review of court and police data carried out in 2012 by women’s rights advocates concluded that least at least three women are killed each month by their partners in Hungary. The data is so partial and outdated that experts are unable to pin down a trend line other than saying that cases appear to be rising.

The NANE Women’s Rights Association highlighted in its submission to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency the widespread practice of “forced visitation” – the granting of visitation rights to abusive fathers. The Hungarian Red Cross – thanks to EU funding – was able to run a program providing long-term support for 41 economically disadvantaged survivors of domestic violence between January 2016 and December 2017. It was discontinued due to lack of funding.

“A female community was formed here,” says Zsuzsanna Dávid, the program’s manager. “We saw them develop, open up, and gradually re-find themselves. Many of them are the only breadwinners in their family so they work a lot and they have to take care of their children at the same time.”

‘They don’t know how to assess abuse cases’

Domestic violence cases may go unreported if the man is the breadwinner, note the experts. Walking away would plunge the woman and her children into poverty. When the woman shoulders the breadwinning role then she lacks the time to seek help. And even if they do seek help, little is available. Welfare institutions are under-resourced and lack relevant expertise.

One domestic violence survivor told the The Monitor that a court granted her former husband custody over their children although a psychologist flagged that they showed signs of sexual abuse – a claim supported by the records of a child psychiatrist. She used to steal moments with them by visiting them outside their school or church, although in theory she had the right to see them three times per week, as well as every other weekend.

After many reports to different offices and launching an emergency legal case where she stated that her children continued to be endangered by the father, the judge just restricted her access. She is only allowed to meet her children every two weeks for two hours, accompanied by a child service official. She says this isn’t enough time to bond. “My children’s lives are being ruined day by day and no one cares.”

“Many child abuse and domestic violence cases are not recognized by the authorities,” explains Mária Herczog, the chair and program director of the Family Child Youth Association in Hungary, which trains welfare workers and carries out research in this field. “Social services and police are often trying to turn down those who are seeking help. ... They don’t know how to assess abuse cases.”

There are several reasons for that, she says. Chief among them is lack of resources and training. Investigations are complicated and time consuming. In cases of domestic violence and child abuse it is often difficult to prove what exactly happened. Sometimes, well-intentioned social workers might discourage an investigation to avoid re-victimizing by an insensitive system.

“Every social worker in Hungary has got a caseload of around 100,” she says. “Sometimes even more. And because of the lack of backup services, our social workers in most cases have nowhere to refer those who are suffering.”

Another factor is people are not always aware that they could and should get help. Public debates and media attention are limited. One high-profile Hungarian politician is known to be a perpetrator of domestic violence and faced no consequences; he was even re-elected.

Dr. Herczog believes efforts to address domestic violence should focus on men too.

“Not all perpetrators are hopeless wild animals or psychopaths,” she says. “Putting men in prison, making them homeless and hopeless, doesn’t really resolve anything. And most of the women don’t want these men to leave, they want them to change their behavior.”

shadow

5. ‘Silence is here’: Estonia pays homage to composer Arvo Pärt

Stillness brings sweet relief to a fast-paced world. An international composer’s music offers just that. Fittingly, his country celebrates his lifework in a new center nestled in a forest.

Sara
Raul Mee/AFP/Getty Images
The Arvo Pärt Center, a 30,600-square-foot, pentagon-shaped structure, is a joint venture between the Pärt family and the Estonian government, which financed it.

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 4 Min. )

Few other living composers have reached such a worldwide audience as Arvo Pärt. His minimalist compositions take listeners deep into a tonal landscape that echoes the scenery of his homeland, Estonia. After studying Gregorian chant, he learned “what a cosmic secret is hidden in the art of combining two, three notes,” as he explained to a German journalist. 

Exiled for decades because of antagonism from the former Soviet government, Mr. Pärt returned to Estonia in 2010. Since then, he’s been lauded for his role in shaping contemporary music and for the recognition he brings to his country. To honor his legacy, the Estonian government, working with the composer’s family, commissioned the Arvo Pärt Center. Located an hour outside the capital, Tallinn, the 30,600-square-foot, pentagon-shaped structure is aimed at bringing researchers and lay people closer to his music, and to the creative process.   

Calling him a cultural ambassador, President Kersti Kaljulaid said that the composer’s work continues to “say more in today’s confusingly multipolar world than perhaps ever before.” That this project became reality in a country of only 1.3 million people testifies to how culture – and Mr. Pärt’s role in it – is embraced by Estonians.

Collapse

‘Silence is here’: Estonia pays homage to composer Arvo Pärt

Walking beneath the whispering pines of Estonia’s majestic forests, along a path edged by pale-colored lichen and blueberry plants, a visitor arrives at a curved building that seems to rise out of the earth. It’s a music center and a library devoted to world-renowned Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose compositions translate the stillness and peace of his country’s forests into sound. 

The Arvo Pärt Center is nestled in the forest where the composer and his wife live, an hour outside the capital, Tallinn. The 30,600-square-foot, pentagon-shaped structure is a joint venture between the Pärt family and the Estonian government, which financed it. That this project became reality in a country of only 1.3 million people testifies to how culture – and Mr. Pärt’s role in it – is embraced by Estonians.

Exiled for decades because of antagonism from the former Soviet government, Mr. Pärt returned to Estonia in 2010. Calling him a cultural ambassador, President Kersti Kaljulaid said that the composer’s work – particularly his 1978 “Spiegel im Spiegel” (Mirror in the Mirror) whose radical simplicity revolutionized music – continues to “say more in today’s confusingly multipolar world than perhaps ever before.”

Isabelle de Pommereau
Composer Arvo Pärt has influenced generations of musicians, from Keith Jarrett and Radiohead to Sting and John Adams. His music has also been featured in films such as “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He’s perhaps best known for his choral compositions, many of them set to religious texts.

“Through your music we can experience the multitude of sounds hidden within one carefully considered note,” President Kaljulaid told international guests assembled at the opening celebration in October. 

It is a fitting tribute, says Tõnu Kaljuste, the founder of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, who is regarded as one of the composer’s most trusted interpreters. “Pärt is not your typical classical composer. He thinks differently, and this center is a place where people can think differently,” he says.

Few other living composers have reached such a worldwide audience as Mr. Pärt, an adherent of the Christian Orthodox faith. 

Simplicity, silence, and spirituality are woven together in the tapestry of his music, allowing him to “penetrate the soul of so many different kinds of listeners,” says Peter Bouteneff, who teaches at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York. The composer has influenced generations of musicians, from Keith Jarrett and Radiohead to Sting and John Adams, and his music has been featured in films such as “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He’s perhaps best known for his choral compositions, many of them set to religious texts.

“Arvo Pärt has created a whole new musical aesthetic of stillness and hypnotic beauty that is very refreshing in today’s fast-paced world,” says composer Eric Tuan from Palo Alto, California. “His music speaks to people who are searching for quiet, reflection, stillness, spirituality, even if the people are not particularly religious.” 

And now precious bits of Mr. Pärt’s creative history are sheltered at the new center. They help visitors understand a unique journey shaped by the Soviet authorities’ ban of the 1968 piece “Credo” (“I believe” in Latin), his subsequent eight years of creative silence and spiritual search, and the new composition style that resulted.

Isabelle de Pommereau
The 140-seat chamber music hall opens to forest views.

Original scores are included, as well as diaries Mr. Pärt kept in the 1970s when he was searching for a new voice. The diaries include various harmonic accompaniments to melodies marked in bright-colored ink, along with comments he wrote in Estonian, Russian, Latin, German, and English.

The center’s mission is to bring researchers and lay people closer to his music, and to the creative process. 

“We want to teach how to listen to music,” says film-music editor Michael Pärt, Mr. Pärt’s youngest son and the driving force behind the center. “My father’s music works very well because it needs a certain amount of endurance to listen to.”

Mr. Pärt no longer gives formal interviews. But, on his way to the little office at the center, he sometimes stumbles upon and questions visitors with humility and curiosity that those who know him say define his personality. Asked about the role of silence in his music during a recent encounter with a journalist, the composer placed his hand on his heart. “Silence is here,” he said.

Mr. Pärt explained to a German journalist in 1988, “I cannot say in a thousand sentences what I can say in a few notes.” Studying Gregorian chant, he said, “taught me what a cosmic secret is hidden in the art of combining two, three notes.”

The center’s design was “inspired by the silence, beauty, and the geometry of Arvo Pärt’s music,” says Enrique Sobejano of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, who was selected out of a field of 70 architects from 21 countries to design the $9 million center.

The center is sparsely furnished and there are no corners or right angles so that the space flows. There’s a library with books that have influenced Mr. Pärt, including many theology books, a 140-seat concert hall, and a video room. Courtyards and glass panels let the forest and the light into the building. 

There’s a little chapel and a tower with a spiral staircase that opens onto views of the Baltic Sea. 

“The tower is to the sea, to the heavens. It’s just the subjective part of my father’s music,” Michael Pärt says. “You need to have inspiration in order to do everything that’s inside this place.”

shadow

The Monitor's View

The road back to trusted institutions

Two ways to read the story

  • Quick Read
  • Deep Read ( 2 Min. )

When the world’s central bankers met this past weekend, they had one big thing on their minds: how to restore trust in their ability to use financial tools to help the world economy. In France, meanwhile, the Group of Seven nations were trying to restore trust in their economic tools. Restoring trust in societal institutions is now the “world’s greatest challenge,” says Angel Gurría, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

More people around the world have low confidence in institutions to help them navigate a turbulent world. In the United States, a Pew survey found about half of adults link a decline of trust among Americans to a belief that people are not as reliable as they used to be.

This has spilled over to a decline of trust in the federal government.

These trust hurdles are being addressed. In fact, the Pew poll found some 84% of Americans believe it is possible to improve the level of confidence people have in the government. It only takes the right mix of shared values and norms, such as personal integrity, institutional transparency, and fair administration of rule of law.

Collapse

The road back to trusted institutions

When the world’s central bankers met this past weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they had one big thing on their minds: how to restore trust in their ability to use financial stimulus to prevent another crash in the world economy In France, meanwhile, leaders of the powerful Group of Seven leading industrial nations were trying to restore trust in their economic tools, from trade rules to taxation. The reason you did not read about major results from both of these gatherings only shows the enormity of their trust-building task.

Restoring trust in societal institutions is now the “world’s greatest challenge,” says Angel Gurría, head of the 36-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The causes lie mainly in the uncertainty and instability created by rapid globalization, disruption of social norms by digital devices, and uneven economic growth after the 2008 financial crisis. The OECD, a club of wealthy nations, has even issued guidelines on “trust measurement” for institutions. And it launched a Trustlab initiative to locate important drivers of trust, such as the integrity of officials and reliability in government services.

“It is essential to strengthen local integrity systems,” says Mr. Gurría. “Citizens’ levels of trust are often forged through public services, and more frequent and direct interactions with public institutions who think and act locally is likely to solidify trust.”

More people around the world have a low confidence in institutions to help them navigate a turbulent world, says Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. His global communications firm conducts annual surveys of trust in 28 countries. The latest survey suggests people are increasingly seeking greater purpose in life than surviving or making money.

In the United States, a Pew survey released in July found about half of adults link a decline of trust among Americans to a belief that people are not as reliable as they used to be. This has spilled over to a decline of trust in the federal government. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have little or no confidence in elected officials. A similar number says the issue of ethics in government is as serious a problem for the country as drug addiction.

These trust hurdles are being addressed, as the weekend gatherings show. In fact, the Pew poll found some 84% of Americans believe it is possible to improve the level of confidence people have in the government. For many of those polled, the focus is on finding ways to turn local communities into laboratories for the kind of trust-building that will confront partisan tensions and overcome tribal divisions. It only takes the right mix of shared values and norms, such as personal integrity, institutional transparency, and fair administration of rule of law.

shadow

A Christian Science Perspective

About this feature

Each weekday, the Monitor includes one clearly labeled religious article offering spiritual insight on contemporary issues, including the news. The publication – in its various forms – is produced for anyone who cares about the progress of the human endeavor around the world and seeks news reported with compassion, intelligence, and an essentially constructive lens. For many, that caring has religious roots. For many, it does not. The Monitor has always embraced both audiences. The Monitor is owned by a church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston – whose founder was concerned with both the state of the world and the quality of available news.

Character matters

  • Quick Read
  • Read or Listen ( 4 Min. )

The understanding of what constitutes true character changed one woman’s view of herself, making her kinder, less selfish, and more purposeful. When we realize what we are as God’s children, we are inspired to manifest more of the character that has its source in God, which blesses both ourselves and others.

Collapse

Character matters

Today's Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

When I read the opening comments about Toni Morrison’s legacy of leaving “an indelible mark on America” in The Christian Science Monitor Daily for Aug. 6, something clicked. Recently I discovered that the Greek word kharaktēr, from which the English character is derived, means “engraved mark” as well as “instrument for marking.” I saw how this meaning of character certainly applies to the impress of Ms. Morrison’s life on humanity, as she not only “unflinchingly plumbed” difficult subjects like racism and rage, but did it with empathy and the ability to help others see their own value.

My takeaway from that short read? Character matters.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what really undergirds character. Partly because I just want to do better. But also because in the apparent climate of distrust and rage often ignited by harsh rhetoric and an “us and them” viewpoint, it almost seems like the importance of character, as well as even character itself, is being sidelined by reaction.

The teachings of Christian Science, based on the Bible, have helped me understand more profoundly that all of us have a spiritually based character given to us by God. Qualities that have their source in God, Spirit, like integrity and purity, constitute our true character and in reality are indelibly imprinted in everyone. When it is understood that Spirit is the only source of each of us, we realize how unnatural it is to express anything that doesn’t have its source in spiritual good.

Reasoning prayerfully from this perspective with an open heart lifts us to the realization that we are forever the children of Spirit, wholly spiritual, made in the likeness of divine Love and able to express such attributes as mercy and kindness in our daily life. And bringing these to bear wherever we are imparts an uplifting influence, however small or humble, that can contribute to healing in communities and individual lives.

In my late teens when I began to study Christian Science, my human character needed improvement, to say the least. But I clung to this idea that I was a perfect reflection of God – that my true character was formed by God, not by human emotion, heredity, or habit.

As I prayed to feel practically that I was under the governance of Spirit and God’s law, not materiality, I saw that I could act from that standpoint. Self-absorption and moodiness began to fade in the light of more joyful stability and the desire to help others. Relationships became more harmonious and activity more purposeful. The mistaken sense of myself as including finite character traits lost its grip because such traits were never created by God.

Christ Jesus defined divine character for all time through his unparalleled example. Referring to a description of Jesus as “the express image” of God in the book of Hebrews (1:3), Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote, “It is noteworthy that the phrase ‘express image’ in the Common Version is, in the Greek Testament, character” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 313).

This character is the Christ, the indissoluble expression of God’s goodness that Jesus so fully and lovingly illustrated for all humanity. The all-power of Love that defined his very existence and nature enabled him to love and bless his enemies. And as we follow Jesus’ example, we gain clearer views of God and of our own true character, which in turn enables us to help and bless others in a more substantial way.

One of Mrs. Eddy’s other written works, “The People’s Idea of God,” explains how our perception of God’s nature shapes our character, individually and collectively. It says: “Proportionately as the people’s belief of God, in every age, has been dematerialized and unfinited has their Deity become good; no longer a personal tyrant or a molten image, but the divine Life, Truth, and Love. ... This more perfect idea, held constantly before the people’s mind, must have a benign and elevating influence upon the character of nations as well as individuals, and will lift man ultimately to the understanding that our ideals form our characters, that as a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’” (pp. 2-3).

We may not all make an indelible mark that will be written about in newspapers, but there’s no telling the good we can do when we clearly recognize what constitutes our own and others’ true character – and live accordingly. Clearing off whatever would hide our devotion to a higher understanding of God and a greater manifestation of true Christian character, we’ll contribute to bringing out more of the goodness that humanity has been forever blessed with by God.

shadow

Viewfinder

World Series champs

Gene J. Puskar/AP
River Ridge, Louisiana, celebrates an 8-0 win over Curaçao in the Little League World Series Championship baseball game in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Aug. 25, 2019.
( The illustrations in today's Monitor Daily are by Karen Norris. )
shadow

In Our Next Issue

( August 27th, 2019 )

Thanks for joining us today. Come back tomorrow when we’ll explore the many services that the Amazon rainforest provides the world.

Monitor Daily Podcast

August 26, 2019
Loading the player...

More issues

2019
August
26
Monday

Give us your feedback

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

 
of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.