Historical

The Nansen passport: the innovative response to the refugee crisis that followed the Russian Revolution

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The triumph of revolution in Russia in 1917 brought an end to the 300-year old Romanov dynasty and the empire over which it ruled Peter Gatrell The Conversation The collapse of the German, Austrian and Ottoman war effort in 1918 precipitated the end of the remaining continental European empires. In each instance, imperial dissolution went hand in hand with the formation of new states. The Russian Civil War, between 1918 and 1921, led to an exodus of people who opposed ... Read More »

What Chinese philosophers can teach us about dealing with our own grief

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November 2 is All Souls’ Day, when many Christians honor the dead. As much as we all know about the inevitability of death, we are often unable to deal with the loss of a loved one. Alexus McLeod Our modern-day worldview could also make us believe that loss is something we should be able to quickly get over, to move on with our lives. The Conversation Many of us see grieving as a kind of impediment to our ability to ... Read More »

Barnaby Joyce farce another reason why we need to rip up our failed constitution

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Twenty-five years ago I received the same news Barnaby Joyce heard on Friday In an astounding High Court decision I’d been ruled ineligible to sit in the Parliament and told I was no longer the independent member for the prized seat of Wills, Bob Hawke’s old seat, which I’d won eight months earlier in an exhilarating byelection. Phil Cleary The Canberra Times The euphoria of our victory party in Coburg that night was put into stark relief by the High Court decision. By day’s end I was told to ... Read More »

John F Kennedy files, though incomplete, are a treasure trove for answer seekers

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Dallas: Citing national security concerns, US President Donald Trump ordered some of the John F. Kennedy assassination files to remain sealed for at least another 180… The Sydney Morning Herald – New York Times, Dallas Morning News, agencies The CIA and FBI objected to release of the material, much of it 54 years old, and the President said he “had no choice” but to agree that the concerns raised justify a delay because the risk of irreversible harm outweighs the public ... Read More »

Turkey’s other Hagia Sophia – in Trabzon

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Once a church – and a hospital and a museum – it is now a mosque and also one of Turkey’s best-preserved buildings of the late Byzantine era. Admission is free and there is much here for visitors of all faiths Caroline Eden The Guardian It may be far smaller and much less famous than its namesake in Istanbul, but what Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia lacks in architectural splendour it makes up for in tranquillity and beauty. Right by the sea, ... Read More »

Narcissists aren’t very conservative but believe in inequality

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Are narcissists more likely to be right-wing conservatives or rebellious liberals? Alice Klein A study of narcissistic personalities reveals they typically combine elements of both, helping to explain some of President Trump’s actions. New Scientist Social scientists have long tried to understand how personality influences political beliefs. Studies have found that people who are open-minded, creative and curious are more likely to be liberal voters, whereas people who like convention and orderliness tend to vote more conservatively. But few studies ... Read More »

Prehistoric teeth fossils dating back 9.7 million years ‘could rewrite human history’

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‘This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery’ Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history. Tom Embury-Dennis  The Independent  The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim. They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found ... Read More »

Trump Likely to Block Release of Some JFK Files

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If the decision holds, it could contribute to the belief that the government has something to hide. Conspiracy theorists of the world, get ready for some bad news. Philip Shenon Politico Trump administration and other government officials say privately that President Donald Trump is almost certain to block the release of information from some of the thousands of classified files related to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are scheduled to be made public in less ... Read More »

How Money Became the Measure of Everything

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Two centuries ago, America pioneered a way of thinking that puts human well-being in economic terms. Eli Cook The Atlantic Money and markets have been around for thousands of years. Yet as central as currency has been to so many civilizations, people in societies as different as ancient Greece, imperial China, medieval Europe, and colonial America did not measure residents’ well-being in terms of monetary earnings or economic output. In the mid-19th century, the United States—and to a lesser extent ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

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Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Helena Smith The Guardian As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3655c9d83f27ad523e8bc2649f6bf2d4/content.css”/> Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this ... Read More »

Ancient Greek wisdom for today’s leadership crisis

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What makes a good leader? This question confronts us at every election and with every domestic and international policy decision. Emily Anhalt As a professor of classical languages and literature for more than 30 years, I marvel at our insistence on addressing this question as if it were brand new. The Conversation Centuries ago, myths helped the Greeks learn to reject tyrannical authority and identify the qualities of good leadership. As I write in my book “Enraged,” the same myths ... Read More »

Push to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day gathers momentum

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A movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day has gained momentum in some parts of the United States, with Los Angeles recently becoming the biggest city yet to stop honouring the Italian explorer and instead recognise victims of… ABC Austin, Texas, followed suit last week. It joined cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Denver, which had previously booted Columbus in favour of Indigenous Peoples… But the gesture to recognise indigenous people rather than the man ... Read More »

Old sites, new visions: art and archaeology collide in Cyprus

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Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. Craig Barker  Diana Wood Conroy The Conversation The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was destroyed, particularly during the Crusader era. The excavation of the site, and of the architectural remains ... Read More »

The Polygon Wood grave that reveals the toll World War I took on Australia

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It’s a single grave, in a single row, in a cemetery where 2,108 men are buried. It marks the death of a man that’s just as sad as any of the other lives lost at Polygon Wood, or indeed the First World War. Michael Best 9news But Private Patrick Scullin’s story says so much about the shocking toll this war took on Australia. His grave is marked. His brother Daniel’s isn’t. They both died on the same day, in the ... Read More »

Courageous quests: Keats, art and refugees

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The great sensualist Romantic poet John Keats arrived in Rome in late 1820 with his friend, painter Joseph Severn This was not to be a grand tour of Italy in the typical sense. Amanda Frances Johnson  The Conversation Fortune did not smile on Keats’s lungs or his bank balance; one year later he was dead. Passionate letters from sweetheart Fanny Brawne lay unopened and were buried with him, as he requested, in the tranquil oasis of the English Cemetery in ... Read More »

Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives

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Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians perished. The Turkish state does not have just one policy or rhetoric concerning it. One could argue that there are four main narratives in Turkey concerning the genocide. Uzay Bulut  The Armenian Weekly Narrative One: We Did Not Slaughter Armenians; Armenians Slaughtered Us Accusing Armenians of being mass murderers and the actual perpetrators of genocide is a popular myth in Turkey. Last year, a public stage play that depicted ... Read More »