Historical

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

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On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

The genocide of the Roma – and how commemoration of this ‘forgotten Holocaust’ is shifting

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The genocide of the Roma by the Nazis remains for many the “forgotten Holocaust”. February 26, 2018 marked the 75th anniversary of the day in 1943 when, following an order issued by SS leader Heinrich Himmler the preceding December, the first transport carrying German Sinti and Roma arrived at the “Gypsy Camp” in Auschwitz-Birkenau – the beginning of a wave of mass transports which peaked that March… Eve Rosenhaft The Conversation By war’s end, some 20,000 Sinti and Roma had ... Read More »

New report details Germany’s role in Armenian genocide

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The German Reich provided the Ottoman Empire with the weapons to carry out the Armenian genocide, a new report claims. Ben Knight DW Prussian officers also laid the “ideological foundations” for the massacre, according to the author. Turkish forces mainly used German rifles and other weapons to carry out the 1915-16 genocide of the Armenian people, a new report has found. Mauser, Germany’s main manufacturer of small arms in both world wars, supplied the Ottoman Empire with millions of rifles ... Read More »

What King, Kennedy, Obama’s great speeches have in common

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Two of history’s great rhetoricians – Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert F Kennedy – were assassinated 50 years ago. Their words have resonance today, writes Benjamin Ramm. Benjamin Ramm BBC Popular volumes of great speeches celebrate the mastery of the art of persuasion. These tomes are full of rhetorical flourishes, of stirring appeals to universal ideals, with elevated cadences and effortless assurances. But two of the most significant rhetoricians of the 20th Century, both of whom were assassinated 50 ... Read More »

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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A life in pictures Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. The Guardian During her husband’s incarceration, she campaigned tirelessly for his release and the rights of black South Africans. She later became a controversial figure in South African politics due to allegations of corruption and involvement in acts of brutality. Matt Fidler Read More »

‘Glee, Satisfaction and Weeping’: How America Reacted When Martin Luther King Died

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When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, public perception of him was more mixed than it is today. Readers recount the mood they witnessed 50 years ago. Kelly Virella The New York Times For many years, the United States has lived under a broad consensus that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a national hero, even a national saint. But nearly a half-century ago, when he was assassinated, public perception of him was far more ... Read More »

Where the Brownshirts Came From

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Book review: Hitler’s stormtroopers were more representative of German society and politically relevant for longer than previous historians acknowledged. James H. Barnett The Weekly Standard The key to reading history of Nazi Germany, a wise professor once explained to me, is to attempt to understand the logic and mentality of those who embraced the Nazi movement without ever losing sight of what an ultimately absurd and fundamentally evil project theirs… This is the approach readers must bring to Daniel Siemens’s Stormtroopers: ... Read More »

Fair dinkum leaders don’t have groups, just ask Kerry Packer

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There has been much talk this week about “leadership groups”. I am terrified by the term. Harold Mitchell WAtoday To my mind it’s a complete cop out by leaders to have anonymous people around them to share decisions with and blame them when things inevitably go wrong. Fair dinkum leaders don’t have groups. They have teams which they lead themselves. Highly-effective leaders are brilliant people, sometimes eccentric and, often very… Back in the 1990s Channel Nine premiered a… Fair dinkum ... Read More »

Foreign Policy From the Dark Side

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THE RETURN OF MARCO POLO’S WORLD War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century By Robert D. Kaplan By Bret Stephens The New York Times The 1990s: Remember them? The decade began with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It ended with the Dow bursting past the 10,000 mark. In between, we got victory in the gulf, the creation of the European Union and the World Trade Organization, NATO enlargement, an American budget surplus, peace in Northern Ireland, Google, ... Read More »

The lost children of the Empire and the attempted Aboriginal genocide

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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has concluded that British children who suffered abuse when they were forcibly sent abroad should now be paid compensation from the government. David Pilgrim The Conversation The inquiry has looked into the cases of children who were sent to Australia and parts of the British Empire from 1945 to 1970 by charities and the Catholic church. Its findings are damning. But if society is looking for a fuller social and historical account of ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Europeans ‘will not walk safely on the streets’ if diplomatic row continues

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It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned war of rhetoric must stop Samuel Osborne The Independent Europeans across the world will not be able to walk the streets safely if they keep up their current attitude towards Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned. Turkey has been mired in a diplomatic row with Germany and the Netherlands after they banned Turkish officials from campaigning in support of an April referendum on boosting the… “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the… Turkey’s ... Read More »

Bombed into oblivion: The lost oasis of Damascus

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Ghouta, the one-time oasis of Damascus, is being destroyed. Every day brings with it news of renewed bombing, deadly chemical attacks and starved or crushed bodies, accompanied by desperate scenes of mass exodus. Karen Pinto The Conversation Located a mere seven miles from Bashar Al Assad’s palace, Ghouta is the last surviving rebel enclave close to Syria’s capital, where the Assad family’s dictatorial regime has ruled for 47 years. The Syrian revolution that began seven years ago has failed, and ... Read More »

24 March: Global Action Day for Afrin

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The international campaign in defense of Afrin declared 24 March as Global Action Day for Afrin and urged all supporters to protest Turkish invasion. AFN The signatories of the campaign released a statement entitled “Supporting the resistance is an historical imperative” and called all to join the first Global Action Day for Afrin on 24 March 2018. The statement read as follows: “The criminal assault on Afrin constitutes a new phase in the Turkish state’s war on the Kurdish people. ... Read More »

End the Weaponisation of Water in Central Asia

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Four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have argued over their water resources since the collapse of the Soviet Union. At times these disputes have seemed to threaten war. The forthcoming presidential summit in Astana can help banish that spectre. Alina Dalbaeva ICG On 15-16 March there is a landmark opportunity to promote peace and prosperity in Central Asia when the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. It ... Read More »

Destroying the notorious Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo is a huge mistake

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Preserving sites with the most shameful or contested histories is critical for building democracy Liz Ševčenko The Guardian The Pentagon this week announced it will tear down Camp X-Ray, the first temporary facility at Guantánamo where “enemy combatants” were imprisoned in 2002. Despite a US federal court’s preservation order, the Pentagon argued it did not need to preserve the physical site because the FBI has created a 3D digital reconstruction. Such a virtual tour is in no way a substitute for preserving the original ... Read More »

How US gun culture compares with the world in five charts

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The United States. Home to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the most mass shootings in the world. Kara Fox CNN America’s unique relationship to gun ownership — enshrined as a right in its constitution — is also in the middle of an emotional and divisive debate about the meaning of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Twenty-seven words that give its citizens the right to own guns and also, in the views of many critics, helped usher ... Read More »