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October 17, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

“Please Mr. Editor, please put an advertisement in the paper for me. I want to sell my child,” said a woman who carried a 1-year-old boy into the offices of the Forward. One of the writers approached her and inquired as to why she wanted to sell her son. “My husband,” she said, “he should get the plague. He dumped us without even giving us a penny. He should at least read in the paper that his child is going to be raised by strangers.” Our reporter, who didn’t think she was serious about doing this, asked if she would really give away her child. “Does it really matter?” she said, smiling. Though she admitted, “It’s a shame it had to come to this,” she went ahead with the advertisement. Her husband, Sam Dunel, walked out on his wife and child a month ago and left them with no support at all. “He disappeared like a drop in a pool of water,” she said.

75 Years Ago in the forward

There is great sadness in the socialist movement: Morris Hillquit has passed on. One of the best-known figures in the world of socialism, Hillquit served as one of the movement’s most prominent figures and was much beloved by its leaders and by the rank and file. Born Moyshe Hilkovitz in Riga, Latvia, he immigrated to the United States in 1886. By 1888, he had already helped to found the United Hebrew Trades, one of the earliest unions of the garment industry. A few years later he became an active Yiddish journalist, helping to found, together with Forverts editor Abe Cahan, Di Arbeter Tsaytung. A brilliant political theoretician, Hillquit possessed the ability to speak in multiple languages, and this made him a perfect candidate to appeal to the immigrant working masses. No one knows who can fill the role of this fallen socialist giant.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Ahmed Shukeiri, head of the Saudi delegation to the United Nations, announced this week that he has come up with a “revolutionary” new plan to solve the Middle East crisis. Shukieri’s plan is for the U.N. to simply revoke the resolution it made on November 29, 1947, in which it ratified the existence of contiguous Arab and Jewish states in Palestine. The Saudi consul said that the time had come to correct this mistake. Shukieri, who is of Palestinian origin but has served a number of political masters (he was, until recently, U.N. consul to Syria), argued that Israel is a failure because it cannot stabilize itself economically and has no borders, only cease-fire lines. Shukieri said that Israel was destroying itself, and he suggested that it would be easier for the U.N. to just liquidate the whole project.

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