Historical

Reuniting the Parthenon marbles is nothing to do with nationalism

Alexi Kaye Campbell responds to Jonathan Jones’s article on the British Museum director’s claim that the marbles’ removal from Greece in the 19th century could be seen as ‘a creative act’. The Guardian Plus letters from Pierre Makhlouf and John AK Huntley As a member of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles who recently argued (and happily won) against Jonathan Jones at the UCL debate which he mentions in his recent article (Let’s not lose our marbles over the British ... Read More »

American colonisation killed so many people it triggered climate change, study suggests

‘Genocide-generated drop in CO2’ resulted from abandoned farmland turning into forests that sucked climate-warming gas from atmosphere Josh Gabbatiss Independent The arrival of Europeans in the Americas left a trail of death in their wake that also triggered a period of climate change, according to a new theory proposed by British scientists. A University College London team estimates that 55 million indigenous people died following the conquest of the Americas that began at the end of the 15th century. The majority of these ... Read More »

Tutankhamun’s tomb restored to prevent damage by visitors

A nine-year project has been completed to restore the tomb of ancient Egypt’s boy king, Tutankhamun, and address issues that threatened its survival. BBC Experts from the Getty Conservation Institute repaired scratches and abrasions on the wall paintings caused by visitors to the burial chamber. The paintings were also affected by humidity, dust and carbon dioxide introduced by every person who entered. A new ventilation system should reduce the need for future cleaning. New barriers will restrict physical access to ... Read More »

Imperial Exceptionalism

It is hard to give up something you claim you never had. That is the difficulty Americans face with respect to their country’s empire. Jackson Lears The New York Review of Books Since the era of Theodore Roosevelt, politicians, journalists, and even some historians have deployed euphemisms—“expansionism,” “the large policy,” “internationalism,” “global leadership”—to disguise America’s imperial ambitions. According to the exceptionalist creed embraced by both political parties and most of the press, imperialism was a European venture that involved seizing territories, ... Read More »

The Unnerving Kitsch of New York City’s New K.G.B. Spy Museum

Imagine walking down Fourteenth Street in New York and seeing a sculpture of the head of a twentieth-century tyrant. Masha Gessen The New Yorker The likeness of a man responsible for the deaths of millions, the imprisonment and torture of tens of millions, and the total subjugation of hundreds of millions has been placed on the sidewalk to entice you to visit a museum. If that appeals to you, then, for twenty-five dollars (twenty dollars for children, students, and seniors), ... Read More »

‘Shock and dismay’: Thai pop idol condemned for Nazi swastika T-shirt

A member of Thailand’s most popular all-girl band wore a shirt portraying Nazi Germany’s state flag with a swastika emblazoned across it during a televised rehearsal. AFP – SBS A member of Thailand’s most popular all-girl band has apologised for wearing a shirt with a Nazi flag featuring a swastika, after her TV appearance Friday drew “shock and dismay” from the Israeli embassy. Images of Hitler, swastikas and other Nazi regalia are fairly commonplace on T-shirts and memorabilia in Thailand, ... Read More »

Fight for Europe – or the wreckers will destroy it

The continent faces its biggest challenge since the 1930s. We urge European patriots to resist the nationalist onslaught Bernard-Henri Lévy, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, Elfriede Jelinek, Orhan Pamuk and 25 others Europe ‘coming apart before our eyes’, say 30 top intellectuals The Guardian The idea of Europe is in peril. From all sides there are criticisms, insults and desertions from the cause. “Enough of ‘building Europe’!” is the cry. Let’s reconnect instead with our “national soul”! Let’s rediscover our “lost identity”! This is the agenda shared ... Read More »

Mary Lou McDonald calls for Dublin to convene forum to plan for Irish unity

It is ‘arrogant’ to shout down unity referendum, says SF leader Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has called for the Government to convene a forum to begin planning for Irish unity. Gerry Moriarty The Irish Times Ms McDonald when speaking at a conference, “Beyond Brexit – the Future of Ireland”, in Belfast said that history was unfolding and now was the time to press for a Border poll on a united Ireland. “The biggest mistake – and most reckless course of action – is ... Read More »

Every day is Survival Day in the colony of Australia

January 26 is redneck Christmas and white supremacist festivus rolled into one Scott Trindall for IndigenousX The Guardian When you think about it you realise that Australia’s only really got a couple of holidays that aren’t religion-based or coincide with the local show. And, given that Aussies love taking a day off – we lead the world in chucking sickies – you can start to appreciate why so many white people have such a strong affinity with January 26 and ... Read More »

Fundamental freedoms and the right to participate in public and political life

Almost two quarters of a century have already passed since July 20, 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus, occupied 40% of its territory and used all possible means to force the 200 000 Christian inhabitants of the occupied area to flee their ancestral homes and settle in the free southern part of the island as refugees. Mattheos Economides Agora Dialogue More than 7 000 Cypriots of Greek origin were murdered by the invaders and around 2000 were held hostages, the fate ... Read More »

Do truth and reconciliation commissions heal divided nations?

As long as unresolved historic injustices continue to fester in the world, there will be a demand for truth commissions. Bonny Ibhawoh The Conversation Unfortunately, there is no end to the need. The goal of a truth commission — in some forms also called a truth and reconciliation commission, as it is in Canada — is to hold public hearings to establish the scale and impact of a past injustice, typically involving wide-scale human rights abuses, and make it part ... Read More »

Hidden women of history: the priestess Pythia at the Delphic Oracle, who spoke truth to power

In a time and place that offered few career opportunities for women, the job of the priestess of Apollo at Delphi stands out. Julia Kindt The Conversation Her position was at the centre of one of the most powerful religious institutions of the ancient world. The competing Greek city states had few overarching authorities (political or otherwise), so the significance of her voice should not be underestimated. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that the Pythia was at the ... Read More »

My Australia: The woman tackling workplace ignorance about Indigenous Australians

Djiribul woman Shelley Reys has spent her career trying to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Today she counts Microsoft, Qantas and Telstra as clients. Matt Connellan SBS My Australia is a special series exploring cultural heritage and identity, and asking what it means to be Australian in 2019. When Shelley Reys was a little girl, she watched her father win ‘the race that stops a nation’. Frank Reys became the only Aboriginal jockey to win the Melbourne ... Read More »

Brexit ‘has unleashed such a set of demons’ on the UK

How does a society that has been so badly fractured begin to heal? To stay or to go is no longer a binary question in Britain, if it ever was to begin with. Jennifer OÇonnell The Irish Times Between those two poles, there are myriad shades of opinion. There are the remorseful Leavers. The regretful Remainers. The more-hardline-than-ever Leavers. Those who are so fatigued by it all they no longer care what happens. Then there are the uncategorisable views: like ... Read More »

Stammtisch – Red Rosa and the German Left

This month marks 100 years since the murder of socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. Kate Brady Deutsche Welle So, on this week’s Stammtisch we’re asking: why is Luxemburg so important today for left-wing politics? Listen to audio And how is the radical Left in Germany doing anyway? Stammtisch hosts Damien McGuinness and Michaela Küfner are joined by journalist Siobhán Dowling and The Guardian’s Kate Connolly… Stammtisch – Red Rosa and… Read More »

To Save the Sound of a Stradivarius, a Whole City Must Keep Quiet

CREMONA, Italy — Florencia Rastelli was mortified. As an expert barista, she had never spilled a single cup of coffee, she said. But last Monday, as she wiped the counter at Chiave di Bacco, the cafe where she works, she knocked over a glass and it shattered loudly on the floor. Max Paradiso The New York Times The customers all stood still, petrified, Ms. Rastelli recalled. “I was like: Of all days, this one,” she said. “Even a police officer ... Read More »