Olympia Then and Now

By Philippe Magnier (French, 1647-1715) Copy of the celebrated Uffizi Wrestlers, stored in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy. Marble, 1684–1688. The statue was first installed in the park of Versailles, then transferred in 1689 to the park of Marly and in 1797 to the Tuileries Gardens. Part 1/11 of Olympia, by Leni Riefenstahl, documenting … Continue reading

Doing Good on Yom HaShoah

Today was Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day. As a Jewish commemoration, it ends in the evening at sundown rather than at midnight. It is a time to reflect and remember, and a chance to refocus our energy on preventing similar atrocities. Unfortunately, the latter half of the 20th century tells a different story than … Continue reading

Terra Spiritus…with a darker shade of pale

Bea Maddock is one of Australia’s most influential contemporary artists. Her most recent works often consider place and memory, importance of the land, and the way Australia remembers and preserves multiple views of history. Nowhere are these themes more evident than in her piece “Terra Spiritus…with a darker shade of pale” at the National Gallery of … Continue reading

The Fitzroy Aboriginal Heritage Trail

Fitzroy is a dynamic little neighborhood just north of Melbourne’s city center. The narrow streets and pedestrian laneways buzz with shops and cafes that show off its rich immigrant history. As one of the city’s most up-and-coming areas, Fitzroy is an expensive place to live. Ironically it’s also a cultural hub for the state of … Continue reading

“I’m Sorry” Is the First Step

(FYI: If you haven’t already, read the post on Australia’s Stolen Generations for more background to this story). It was 2008, and thousands of Aboriginal Australians gathered in the Australian capital city of Canberra. Across the country, many more thousands of people gathered in plazas and remote towns, where screens had been set up to … Continue reading

The Stolen Generations

How do you say “sorry” for stealing a generation of children from their parents? Well, if you’re Australian, you just say “sorry.” Wednesday the 13th marks the 5th anniversary of the “Stolen Generations Apology.” The newly-installed Prime Minister of Australia, in consultation with aboriginal leaders, gave the speech after many requests for a formal government … Continue reading

Monticello and Lost Genius

A highlight of 2012 for me was visiting Jefferson’s Monticello on our way back up to DC after the holidays. See, I have a strange and unshakeable crush on Thomas Jefferson, and have for a long time. I told my husband this was like the hometown date on The Bachelor. I was checking out Thomas’s … 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

What You May Not Know About South Sudan

Recently I was talking with a friend about how the world map has changed, and we got into a bitter discussion about South Sudan, which she was certain is not a country but some sort of state. Beer bottles flew, burly men burst into tears, and I screamed “You’ll be hearing about this on the … Continue reading

Hunger + Hunger = Generosity

In researching a writing project, I recently came across what has to be one of the most beautiful stories in American history. Perhaps you’re already familiar with the Choctaw Indians and their incredible display of generosity during the 1840s. Regardless, read on because it’s worth the reminder: Beginning in the early 1830s, the US government … Continue reading

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