“Il y a deux Histoires: l’officielle, mensongère, qui nous est enseigné, et l’Histoire secrète où se trouves les vraies causes des événements, une Histoire honteuse” – Balzac, Les Illusions perdues. (Rough translation: History comes in two versions: there is the official history, that which we learn in school with its lies and half truths; then there is the secret history in which the more accurate causes of historical events unfolds, a shameful and shameless tale.”)
1. Nothing Left To Uncover About World War II?
Putting the Dieppe Raid of August 17,1942 in its more global context, at least up until recently there are a number of historians who argue that, really, there is nothing left to say about World War II, that so much has been researched, written, made into documentaries and feature films about the war that anything new would simply be in part or in large measure redundant.
Nothing could be further from the truth; to the contrary, it would be more to the point to argue that historians have just scratched the surface. True enough the general outlines of the war in Europe are clear enough although, even here, a certain blurred vision fueled in large measure by Cold War blinders endured until the collapse of Communism in 1989 and 1991. Much of the narrative has been reworked in the past quarter century. On the other hand, where, in English (or any other European based language is the complete or comprehensive of the war in Asia? It remains largely unknown both in terms of what actually transpired there and how the war itself shaped the post war evolution throughout the continent from Indonesia to China. Read more…
1. A family vacation in the Dieppe Region
A quarter of a century ago next month, our family was fortunate enough to spend two weeks on vacation in France, a week of that time vacationing in the region in and around Dieppe. Today, Dieppe is a small French port and fishing town of 35,000 in Normandy on the English Channel long frequented by British tourists who make the 70 mile journey across “La Manche.” It includes some of 16th century Europe’s best cartographers. Although its importance has dwindled some, Dieppe has a rich history; it was a key transit point in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries between the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. It was in large measure from Dieppe and nearby ports that the Arcadians and Cajuns, who would make up the French-speaking populations of Eastern Canada and Louisiana, would depart. Read more…
(Note: This summer I was thrilled to participate in a trip through OFI (Orangutan Foundation International) in which we got to see orangutans in the rainforest of Indonesia. We also got to meet Dr. Birute Galdikas, who has been studying and advocating for orangutans in Indonesia for over 40 years.)
So Vivid Yet So Fleeting
By Molly Prince
My dad suggested I write about the trip
because the experience is
so vivid yet so fleeting.
And he is right.
I can feel Indonesia
from my consciousness
at an alarming rate
as Denver floods back in.
Denver with its dry air and Western food and high technology.
My cats and my people,
tap water I can drink and internet and phone and
quiet invaded by ambulance sirens
instead of the constant chirping of birds
and whirring of insects of Indonesia
with the hot, humid air, rice and tofu,
chicken and shrimp, cooked greens and potatoes,
dangerous tap water, mango, pineapple and durian fruit,
traffic jams and overcrowded Jakarta and the serenity of the Sakonyer River,
selamat pagi and terima kasih,
women in colorful head coverings, Muslim prayer calls,
crocodiles and black water rivers.
There is the background.
The main points seem very simple.
The gorgeous rainforest
pulsing with life
home to the majestic orangutan and a rich ecosystem
including proboscis monkeys, Bornean bearded pigs, clouded leopards,
hornbills, butterflies – a seemingly endless list.
All being destroyed
just a little bit left
like the glacier at Glacier National Park
so that people can have junk food and money.
We all need money.
But we don’t need to be billionaires.
Palm oil plantation owners are billionaires.
Not just the orangutans but the whole ecosystem.
Not just the eco-system but all the ecosystems.
Not just all the ecosystems but
the macro system,
all the systems of the earth that work together
to make the planet hospitable to life.
Not hospitable to life = climate crisis = we can not eat money.
“Only when the last tree has been cut down,
the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught
will we realize we can not eat money.”*
Then there are the orangutan themselves.
They are interesting and humanlike and
I love listening to Dr. Birute talk about orangutans
and evolution and their social structures and
it was an incredible experience of a lifetime
to be so close to them.
I am honored and I love them.
They are the star of the show.
But also, it is the show as a whole that I care about.
Dr. Birute Galdikas.
Also the star of the show.
A celebrity to me
although her personality is
certainly not that of a celebrity.
Deliberate and thoughtful
brilliant and patient
stubborn, tenacious and fragile.
I love her.
She has done a superhuman amount.
She has worked miracles.
And still, it is possible that
it won’t be enough.
Irene said, “most people’s favorite is the care center.”
The care center is not my favorite.
It was amazing to see the orangutans there
but the care center makes me sad.
It begins and ends with sad
it does have magic and hard work and
in the middle.
It begins with orphaned orangutans
And it ends with
where are these orangutans to go?
Saved and cared for and ready to
be released back into the wild
and there is
not enough wild.
My favorite is the orangutans in the jungle.
My favorite is the orangutan babies with their mamas
in the jungle.
Yoko Ono continues to oppose any effort to grant parole to Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s assassin. Chapman shot and killed Lennon at point black range with a hand gun using hollow point bullets as Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to their apartment, the Dakota, a luxury apartment just off Central Park West in Manhattan. On August 22, 2012 Chapman was denied parole for the eighth time. Representing Yoko Ono, as he did often in the past was entertainment lawyer, Peter Shukat.
Shukat not only personally represented Yoko Ono but also the estates of Miles Davis, Jimmy Henrix and Bob Marley. Peter S. Shukat, a founding partner of New York-based entertainment law firm Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman, died on June 7, 2013 – a month ago – after a ten-year long battle with cancer. His obituary appeared throughout the music industry, including in Music Week, Jazz FM, Billboard.com as well as the New York Post, The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Read more…
Some presume that eugenics, that perverse notion of genetic engineering based on flaky genetics, died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, the factory floor of I.B. Farben where it was exposed for the inhumane, racist, class-biased bigotry that it was. This was not the case. Its advocates crossed the political spectrum from left to right. It was not just right-wing weirdos of all stripes, Christian identity types and KKK types whose eyes lit up and penises stiffened at the thought of Blacks, Native Americans, Jews, Mexicans and generally speaking poor people having their vas deferens snipped or their tubes tied.
Liberal politicians, socialists, Unitarians – those who believed in “managed progress,” “rational development” were, in the day, equally as enthusiastic – and as racially bigoted and class biased as their more conservative brethren and sisteren (if the latter is a word). It was the rage to support interfering with the reproductive rights of others as a way to make the world a better place, as long as the movement did not cut out the testes and purge the ovaries of those too close. Read more…
1. A New Day for Colorado’s State Employees?
November 2007 was a historic moment for union-unfriendly Colorado, or so it seemed. The breakthrough drew little attention from Colorado’s general public for labor movement developments get little to no airing in the state’s media. But the shift was noted among politically sensitive business and government circles, as well as state’s labor movement: Governor Bill Ritter issued an executive order legalizing union activity for the state’s employees.
The rules of the state sector labor-management game were about to change. Each “side” had its priorities. For labor it was use the new situation – an executive order allowing state employees to unionize – to increase its modest leverage and bargaining power in the state. The goal of business – and the business oriented bureaucracy in state government – to the contrary, was to limit the impact of the changes as much as possible.
Not long before, in February of that year, Ritter vetoed HB 1072, which, if passed would have eliminated one of two votes needed for unions to negotiate all-union shops. The two stage voting system to achieve a closed union shop is unique to Colorado and has been one of the main legal mechanisms for keeping the state’s labor movement in a weakened position. Read more…
(Note: Gerry Auel and I worked together in the Peace Corps in Tunis 1966-1968. We have remained friends ever since for half a century now. Gerry went on to become the International Student Adviser at Oklahoma State University. She married and has four grown children. A year ago, Gerry Auel re-upped for another Peace Corps experience, this time in Burkina Faso – formally referred to as Upper Volta. She is there now; if you want to contribute to the pre-school where she works – and I hope you might consider it – here is a link below. )
Do you want to help our pre-school in Burkina Faso?
The Peace Corps adventure continues! The 125 or so children in the community preschool where I teach 5 days a week show up every morning on foot, with or without shoes. They greet me with “Bon jour, Yaba” (Hello, Grandmother) and make a little bob with their arms crossed across their chest.
The preschool is set right in the middle of the village crossroads. With motorcycles zooming across the school grounds, animals wandering through, and our playground equipment at the mercy of after-school adolescents, we are determined to build a protective fence to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for our children. Parents began to contribute their share of the project cost even before the project was approved by Peace Corps. They are eager.
The cost of the project is going to be beyond the ability of the parents alone to pay, around four million Central African Francs or CFA. To give you an idea of family resources in this rural community — the preschool charges 2,000 CFA per year, the equivalent of roughly $5.00 US dollars. We often have to wait a month or so for payment, until the harvest is finished and money is available. We are seeking funds from far and near – from the mayor’s office in Rouko, to representatives of the Rouko Sister City in Normandy, France, and to YOU!
Would you like to be part of this initiative? It’s a great opportunity to be directly connected to a project you are supporting….and there is no added administrative overhead. I’ll be administering the funds and I can’t receive a salary. Furthermore, I am committed to transparency and updates!
Because of my Peace Corps volunteer status, I submitted a grant application through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. This means the Peace Corps has approved the project and has posted it on the Peace Corps grant website to invite general contributions.
You’ll have to log in to the Peace Corps website: PCPP.peacecorps.gov and look for the project number 14-686-017. It will be exciting to work along with you to give our children in Rouko a good start to a better education and a more hopeful future.
Gerry – Peace Corps – Burkina Faso