Sticking with Love

I am enjoying the fruits of other people’s labor. 15 years ago my parents collaborated with a woman named Mia Scarlat to start an organization for children in Bucharest who needed a safe place to go. Mia had the expertise, my family had the concerned American donors, and with a very small budget the group … Continue reading

Samizdat: Underground Resistance Made Public

Samizdat means “self-published.” A Russian term, it refers to any underground publication banned during Communist rule in the USSR and Soviet bloc. It includes essays, books, art, poems – whether original or copied, it was all illegal. Yesterday I attended the opening of Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance 1968-1989 at the Embassy of the … Continue reading

Ferdinand and Isabella Were Cowards.

In researching for a writing project I came across my old books on Judaism in Spain from when I was living in Madrid. In particular I found my copy of the Alhambra Decree, or the 1492 Charter of the Expulsion of the Jews. The Spanish Inquisition had been underway for a while at that point, … Continue reading

Dirty Laundry

I’ve been reading up lately on a scandal in Ireland surrounding the Magdalene laundries/asylums. In case you’re unfamiliar with these crazy horrible places (as I was until just recently), here’s a quick run-through: Protestants and Catholics set up Magdalene laundries in Ireland – and elsewhere on a smaller scale – as a way to reform … Continue reading

Good News Friday: Statelessness

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Statelessness means a lack of citizenship. It happens for a variety of reasons, including racial discrimination, unsuccessful asylum attempts, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a war. Some families have been stateless for generations. Statelessness can … Continue reading

Not a Touchdown Yet

It was really awesome to see how much press human trafficking got before the Super Bowl. It felt like everywhere I turned, from Facebook to local news, people were banding together and joining the cause. I know a number of folks down in Texas added the National Human Trafficking Hotline to their phones, and groups … Continue reading

Thoroughly Modern Millie and the Marginalized

In the hit musical comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie, the villain Mrs. Meers plays an ex-actress who works for a white slavery ring based in Hong Kong. She kidnaps pretty American girls and ships them to the Orient, using the help of her easily manipulated Chinese sidekicks, Ching Ho and Bun Foo. The Mrs. Meers subplot … Continue reading

A World Cup with Less Injuries

On Sunday, the Netherlands took on Spain in the final World Cup match. Spain is obviously a tremendous team, and to fight them it seemed clear that Holland was forced to use some violent tactics, even deserving of red cards. The game will be remembered, among other things, as the most penalty-ridden World Cup final … Continue reading

The World Cup Finals and the Refugee Experience

This Sunday, the World Cup will come to a close with a European battle of wills: Spain and the Netherlands, two teams that have never won the championship, will fight it out to see who can make history first. Both countries are known for partying hard, and the celebrations of either team’s win will likely … Continue reading

Footbinding the Marginalized

From Secularizing the Pain of Footbinding in China: Missionary and Medical Stagings of the Universal Body, by Angela Zito, who is a professor at NYU: If you are interested in Chinese history, gender issues, international development, or even just stiletto heels, this is a great read. Take the time to look at it over the … Continue reading

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