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By Philip C. Winslow | Sierra Leone’s civil war ran from 1991 to 2002. I reported it occasionally, in 1994 and 1995, mainly about a group of South African mercenaries hired by the Freetown government. (The same mercenaries had also worked in Angola.) In 1999-2000, I worked there again, not as a journalist, but with UNAMSIL, the United Nations peacekeeping mission, with 17,500 troops then the world’s largest. Read more →


By Philip C. Winslow | I reported from Angola 1993-1995 as the Southern Africa radio correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and later on my own. The war took a terrible toll on civilians, mostly through the use of landmines, but also through murder and various forms of coercion. For a time, the civil war, extravagantly fueled by the US and the Soviet Union, with help from South Africa and Cuba, was known as “the worst war in the world.” Although that title has passed to other conflicts, Angola’s forty-one years of war remain a distinct chapter in the annals of human destruction. Read more →


By Philip C. Winslow | Shortly after a teenage gunman murdered seventeen people and wounded seventeen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, I thought back over some American history and my own familiarity with guns, and wrote here on Beacon Broadside that “In 1970, historian Richard Hofstadter popularized the term ‘gun culture’ in writing about how Americans’ resolute possession of firearms dated back to colonial days, when farmer-settlers lived on a wild frontier . . . Read more →


By Philip C. Winslow A Palestinian throws a rock in response to Israel's intervention during a protest, organized to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba. Photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrus (Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/r) Last Monday’s opening of the American Embassy... Read more →


By Philip C. Winslow: On a hot summer morning in 1954, when I was eleven years old, I saw my first human death by gunshot. The victim was a boy about my age. He had been playing with a .22 caliber rifle thought not to be loaded, I was told. The gun discharged, the bullet passed through his neck, rupturing the left carotid artery, and he bled out. I saw him only afterward. I never knew his name, the circumstances, nor anything about him or his family. But sixty-four years later, I clearly recall the stillness in death, his ashen face, the color of his hair, and the small entry wound in the left side of his neck. The death was ruled accidental, or, as they say these days, unintentional. Shaken, that night I had a long discussion with my mother about the unfairness of death, and about the consequences of the negligent handling of firearms. Read more →


Between 2009 and 2011, journalist Philip Winslow offered us a half dozen of his insightful “Observation Posts,” pieces which opened our eyes to international issues with original reporting. We’re delighted to welcome him back with this remarkable remembrance of one of the most significant events of the past decades: the fall of the Berlin Wall. Read more →


In the News: Former Liberian President Charles Taylor on Trial for War Crimes

As former Liberian President Charles Taylor defends himself against charges of war crimes in Sierra Leone, you should read Philip C. Winslow's post about that's country's brutal civil war here. Winslow wrote the piece after three commanders in that war... Read more →


Letter to the Palestinian Leadership: Try a New Approach

by Philip C. Winslow Open Letter to: President Mahmoud Abbas, Ramallah Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza City Occupied Palestinian Territories Dear President Abbas and Prime Minister Haniyeh: I write to you in frustration and some alarm as the latest violence... Read more →