In 1941, the Nazis turned the the Czech fortress and town of Terezin into the ghetto of Theresienstadt. The ghetto was a transit center as well as a camp for high-profile people, and was turned into a "model Jewish settlement" in preparation for a Red Cross visit in 1944. The "embellishment" had the desired propaganda outcome - a "positive report." While researching Shoah, Claude Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein, the last surviving member of the Jewish Council of the Elders in Theresienstadt. That footage is now in a new film, "The Last Of The Unjust." [more inside]
The Rohingya have lived in Burma for generations, as a Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country. The government does not recognize them as citizens. Burmese Buddhists have referred to them as "illegal Bengalis", "viruses", and terrorists. In 2012, over 100,000 Rohingya were forced out of their homes during a violent conflict with Buddhists of the Rakhine ethnic group. The displaced Rohingya now live in refugee camps that they're not allowed to leave. With insufficient food provided, refugees resort to scavenging for grass and plants to survive. [more inside]
A Lost Map On The Tramway In Istanbul
In Turkey, there lives a mysterious minority known as the “secret Armenians.” They have been hiding in the open for nearly a century. Outwardly, they are Turks or Kurds, but the secret Armenians are actually descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, who stayed behind in Eastern Anatolia after forcibly converting to Islam. Some are now devout Muslims, others are Alevis –generally considered an offshoot of Shia Islam, even though that would be an inaccurate description by some accounts–, and a few secretly remain Christian, especially in the area of Sassoun, where still there are mountain villages with secret Armenian populations. Even though Armenian Gypsies wouldn’t strictly qualify as Secret Armenians, they share many traits with the latter, including reluctance or fear to reveal their identity even to fellow Armenians.[more inside]
"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay - "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
What is a Spaniard?: Forcibly Crossing the Cross, the Crescent, and the Star
"The conversions came at the end of one of the most successful Jewish periods in human history... Their success led them to call their land Sepharad, a name from the book of Obadiah that implied that Spanish Jews were the successors to the Jews of Israel. This world ended in 1391."
"At the appointed time, those children who were not presented voluntarily were seized by the officials and forced to the font.... In many cases, parents smothered their offspring in their farewell embrace. In others, they threw them into wells in order to save them from the disgrace of apostasy, and then killed themselves. Sometimes, even old men were dragged to the churches and forcibly baptized by over-zealous fanatics,... In all other cases, the unwilling neophytes, some mere babies, were distributed throughout the country, as far as possible from home, to be brought up in Christian surroundings."[more inside]
Baghdad nights: evaluating the US military ‘surge’ using nighttime light signatures (PDF). A team of UCLA geographers using satellite imagery to track the amount of light emitted in Baghdad at night found that electricity use in Sunni neighborhoods fell prior to the surge and never returned, indicating that ethnic cleansing by Shiite militias drove the Sunnis away before the surge began and was largely responsible for the subsequent decrease in violence. [Via Passport]
Reading the news, the violence in Kenya can feel distant. For Mission in Action/Nakuru Baby Orphanage, located in the heart of the Rift Valley, the violence is all to near, and extremely troubling. (the last link contains images that may be very disturbing) [more inside]
Ethnic Cleansing - The Video Game? I don't know what can be said about this. It pushes several hot buttons - violence in video games, "hate speech" and (in the US) the First Amendment, and race relations in a post 9-11 world. Yes, it's reprehensible - but can you play Voltaire and defend the author's right to create it? (Warning: Pro-Aryan website; link contains explicit depictions of race-based violence.) Discuss.