Incredible video. I don't think I'll ever forget it. Though I am afraid nothing will make Putin stop, I wish the whole world would see it.

Great analysis, too. Thank you!

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Another excellent analysis of a Zelensky speech. I've watched it several times. I do not know of any political leader who has made a speech that weaved together video, music, and spoken word. The setting, outdoors at night in Kyiv, Zelensky dressed in his war uniform, was simple and dramatic. The closest I can think of is a convention video that introduces a candidate. When this war ends, it would be fascinating to have an analysis of all his speeches, looking at them as a whole. Perhaps even including a look at his interviews and press conferences. It might make a fine magazine article, Mr. Fallows!

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James, thanks for the transcription and your annotations; not surprised that it has tremendous punch on the page as well. That being said, it's just remarkable how much the staging- his deliberate but impassioned delivery, the still pictures and video clips-magnifies the emotional impact. I've never seen anything like it...

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17 minutes well-spent indeed. Zelensky, like other leaders created by history, seems to have fallen from the sky in response to his country's great need. I felt privileged to watch a few weeks ago his address to Congress; I felt enlivened when I watched this address of his to the world.

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On New Years Day, I watched President Zelensky's remarkable speech via YouTube without knowing what it was and before your post, and my first reaction was to channel my wife's family and friends in France who had been children or teens in 1940 when General de Gaulle radioed "L'Appel du 18 juin" from London. Without getting into the fundamental differences between the circumstances that motivated these two orations, I remember one basic idea: very few French citizens heard the radio transmission directly, but it did live on in printed form and as an indelible marker on a timeline still developing and very uncertain.

If anything, perhaps that will be the lasting legacy of Zelensky: making their experience real and accessible to those who live in those parts of the world that does not place stringent digital barriers between its citizens and reality and with an immediacy and authenticity that is astounding. This does not happen in every potential setting, but the impact is remarkable when it does.

I wonder if we could handle all the truths that could potentially be shared in this way.

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just another wonderful article JF, thanks! Happy New Year to all! Let's never give up the fight for world peace in the new year.

"Instead of a happy childhood, I had Vietnam" anti-war message, 1960's. War devastates generations, destroys whole landscapes and environments such as in Vietnam.

Profiles in Courage

John F. Kennedy (1956) 

"John F. Kennedy had long been interested in the topic of political courage, beginning with his senior thesis at Harvard. The thesis, later published as Why England Slept, was a study of the failure of British political leaders in the 1930s to oppose popular resistance to rearming, leaving the country ill-prepared for World War II. Kennedy’s election to the House in 1946 and the Senate in 1952 gave him personal experience in dealing with the conflicting pressures that legislators face. When Kennedy took a leave of absence from the Senate in 1954 to recover from back surgery, it gave him the opportunity to study the topic of political courage. The project resulted in the publication of Profiles in Courage, which focuses on the careers of eight senators whom Kennedy felt had shown great courage under enormous pressure from their parties and their constituents. His own battles with physical pain and his experiences in World War II as a PT boat commander also gave him inspiration.

The subjects of Profiles in Courage are John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft. Each chapter from the book is summarized below.


Lucius Lamar, Democrat from Mississippi, gave a eulogy on the House floor as a freshman representative in 1874 upon the death of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. Sumner was hated by most Southerners because of his opposition to slavery and his vehemence in denouncing slaveholders. In 1856 Sumner was brutally caned on the Senate floor by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina. Later in his career Sumner's views towards the South became more moderate. Lamar's eulogy, which praised Sumner's desire for unity between North and South, was a sensation and many in the South felt it a betrayal. In 1876, Lamar was elected to the Senate and once again acted in opposition to his constituents and his party when he agreed to the findings of an election commission that gave the presidency to Republican Rutherford Hayes. The commission's findings were controversial, but Lamar felt that acquiescing to them would stave off another sectional controversy that might have meant more bloodshed. He further alienated the people of Mississippi when he voted against free silver measures that would have enriched the state in the short run. However, Lamar kept his Senate seat until 1885, when he resigned to become secretary of the interior and finally, a justice of the Supreme Court."

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