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SOURCE: http://www.diverseeducation.com (4-5-07)
Daniels learned that her grandmother, Rita Hernandez, was a civilian riveter and blueprint reader during World War II, serving on the USS Franklin Roosevelt in the Brooklyn shipyard. Odessa Taylor-Marshall served as a medical technician with the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, which delivered backlogged mail to the troops in Europe from 1942-1945.
As a Black woman, Hernandez’ visage would never be immortalized in posters like “Rosie the Riveter.” She rarely talked with her family about her wartime service, in part because it had never garnered much recognition from anyone else.
The discovery of her grandmother’s service to America led Daniels to ask a couple of big questions: How many other Blacks have served the armed forces and what are their stories?
Currently a master’s student in social history at California State University-Sacramento, Daniels launched the Unsung Heroes Living History Project to answer those questions. The quest has led her to collect the oral histories of more than 280 Black veterans. She is chronicling the histories so they may be catalogued at the Library of Congress.
“For so many decades, historians have ignored the achievements of African-Americans, especially in the military capacity,” says Daniels.
“Even in 2006, [the Clint Eastwood movie] ‘Flags of our Fathers’ had no African-American soldiers, but I know they were there,” she says. “That’s heartbreaking, that in the 21st century, African-Americans are ignored in history.”
SOURCE: Kirstein blog (4-1-07)
[HNN Editor's Note: Peter Kirstein broke this story on his blog on April 1st. Subsequently, the story was picked up by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which had tracked the story independently. ]
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (4-3-07)
SOURCE: The Nation (Bangkok, Thailand) (4-3-07)
"People who have been part of our country have different ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities. Therefore, to reflect historical fact and the present reality, the name of the country should be Siam, not Thailand," historian Charnvit Kasetsiri wrote in an open letter issued yesterday.
The country's first constitution, promulgated in 1932, used Siam as the country's name, but in 1939 Prime Minister Field Marshal Phibul changed this to Thailand "for racist reasons", Charnvit said.
"The government deems it is appropriate following the new fashion to change the name of our country to fit the race and the liking of the people," said the government statement in 1939.
The name "Thailand" does not fit with historical or present facts as there are more than 40 ethnic groups in the country, including Chinese, Tai, Hmong, Akha, Karen, Laotians, Khmer and Mon, said Charnvit, a senior advisor and lecturer at Thammasat University's Southeast Asian Studies Programme.
SOURCE: Jerusalem Post (4-1-07)
In an interview in The Peninsula, Qatar's leading English-language daily, during a visit last week to Doha as a guest of the Qatar Foundation, Pappe said: "I was boycotted in my university and there had been attempts to expel me from my job. I am getting threatening calls from people every day. I am not being viewed as a threat to the Israeli society but my people think that I am either insane or my views are irrelevant. Many Israelis also believe that I am working as a mercenary for the Arabs."
Pappe is to join the History Department at Exeter University, in southwest England. He is active in anti-Israel academic boycott efforts.
Referred to in the Peninsula article as "the only Jewish academic in Israel who is vehemently critical of Zionism," Pappe said the only solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the creation of a single state, shared by Jews, Arabs and others. He said that two independent states cannot coexist in "the land of Palestine."
SOURCE: NYT (4-1-07)
His name is Dusan Stulik, and his appetite for old pictures is not sated by secondhand bins. He wants them from you too, from your old family albums and rubber-banded shoeboxes, from your Aunt Mildred the pack rat and your Uncle Milt who turned the shower into a darkroom. He wants essentially everything you no longer want: snapshots, portraits, photo-booth strips, art-school experiments, even passport pictures.
“Whenever I meet someone,” Mr. Stulik said, grinning, “I say, ‘Do you have something that I need?’ ”
Such questions tend to make people inch away, but Mr. Stulik doesn’t pay much attention. He is on a mission, one that has nothing to do with what the pictures he collects depict. He is interested only in what they are made of: the papers, chemicals and metals that constituted the richly varied physical world of photography for about 170 years, until the rise of digital cameras and printing a decade ago began to render it obsolete.
For the last few years, in an underground lab at the Getty Conservation Institute here, Mr. Stulik and a group of assistants have been working on what might be described as the genome project of predigital photography: a precise chemical fingerprint of all the 150 or so ways pictures have been developed since an amateur scientist named Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made what is believed to be the first one on a piece of pewter near Chalon-sur-Saône, France, in 1826....
SOURCE: Peter Steinfels in the NYT (3-31-07)
Used as reinforcement for the binding of an early modern book, it was an 18th-century copy of an otherwise unknown “letter to Theodore” from Clement of Alexandria, a church father of the late second century.
Clement, in this letter, acknowledged the existence of a longer Gospel by Mark known only to initiates. Clement quoted a section involving Jesus’ raising of a young man from his tomb and a nighttime encounter in which Jesus taught the lightly clad youth “the mystery of the kingdom.” Finally, denouncing a heretical sect that had “polluted” this secret text with “carnal doctrine” and “falsifications” emphasizing the nakedness of the encounter, Clement demanded that Theodore deny the existence of this secret longer version of Mark altogether, even under oath.
This was enough to inspire reviewers with the word “sensational” — but also to cause them to question whether the passages quoted by Clement and their hints of libertinism really stemmed from the Mark who wrote the first of the four Gospels rather than from one of the many spurious texts later created by esoteric groups of Christians.
Yet there were always deeper suspicions — namely, that the whole thing, the letter from Clement and the Marcan passage it contained, was a clever forgery, perhaps the work of a mischievous medieval monk, perhaps the work of a modern scholar or perhaps even the work of — shh! — Professor Smith himself.
If some experts preferred merely to hint at his complicity, it was because Professor Smith, who died in 1991, was an eminent teacher of ancient history at Columbia University and a man of enormous erudition. He was also a superb writer — his account of finding the manuscript in the Mar Saba Monastery is a screenplay in waiting — and a fierce combatant in academic battles....
Now two books have thrown down the gauntlet. “The Gospel Hoax” by Stephen C. Carlson (Baylor University Press, 2005) is subtitled “Morton Smith’s Invention of Secret Mark.” Peter Jeffery had finished writing “The Secret Gospel of Mark Unveiled” just published by Yale University Press, before receiving a copy of Mr. Carlson’s book....
SOURCE: NYT (3-31-07)
Instead of firing off a letter to a newspaper, though, Mr. Yoshimi went to the Defense Agency’s library and combed through official documents from the 1930s. In just two days, he found a rare trove that uncovered the military’s direct role in managing the brothels, including documents that carried the personal seals of high-ranking Imperial Army officers.
Faced with this smoking gun, a red-faced Japanese government immediately dropped its long-standing claim that only private businessmen had operated the brothels. A year later, in 1993, it acknowledged in a statement that the Japanese state itself had been responsible. In time, all government-approved junior high school textbooks carried passages on the history of Japan’s military sex slaves, known euphemistically as comfort women.
“Back then, I was optimistic that this would effectively settle the issue,” Mr. Yoshimi said. “But there was a fierce backlash.”...
SOURCE: New Anatolian (Ankara, Turkey) (4-2-07)
In an article in Agos, a Turkish-Armenian weekly, historian Taner Akcam had written, "The 1915-1917 deportations and massacres of Armenians constituted a genocide."
The complaint against Akcam was filed by Recep Akkus at the prosecutor's office of Istanbul's Eyup district. The charges against Akcam were under controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 for insulting Turkishness, as well as various other articles for instigating a crime, praising a crime and criminals, and instigating public animosity and hatred.
The prosecutor's office said that such writing about an alleged genocide is covered by freedom of speech and thus it is not "insulting Turkishness."
SOURCE: Reuters (4-2-07)
"Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power," is by presidential historian Robert Dallek, who spent four years reviewing the Nixon administration's recently opened archives, including 20,000 pages of Kissinger's telephone transcripts and hundreds of hours of Nixon tapes.
The historian says that when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on October 6, 1973, the Israelis informed Kissinger at 6 a.m., but 3 1/2 hours would pass before he spoke to Nixon.
Dallek, a biographer of Nixon predecessor Lyndon Johnson. also had access to nearly a million pages of national-security records and unpublished parts of the diaries of Nixon's first chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman.
Dallek says the documents reveal a complex relationship between two men who were both prone to paranoia, insecurity, manipulation, and ruthlessness. They also show Kissinger's increasing power derived from the deepening incapacity of the president due to the Watergate scandal.
SOURCE: Aaron Hanscom at frontpagemag.com (4-2-07)
The most recent battlefield in the war of ideas is Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, where Pipes spoke about "Radical Islam and the War on Terror" on March 29. Pipes, who is currently teaching a graduate seminar on "Islam & Politics" at Pepperdine University, began his talk by posing two questions that need to be answered before the West can even think about triumphing against the enemy it faces. Of course, to beat the enemy it is necessary to know the enemy, which is why the first question was: Who is the enemy?
The original answer to this question after September 11 was terrorism. Indeed, "War on Terror" became the standard way to refer to the greatest existential threat to face the West since the Cold War. But it must be remembered that terrorism is just a tactic. As Pipes made clear, we did not call World War II the "war against surprise attacks" in response to Pearl Harbor. Furthermore, if terrorism were the real enemy, non-Islamic terrorist groups such as the Shining Path in Peru would have to be mentioned by Western leaders more often than they are.
Does this mean that Muslims are the enemy? Pipes doesn't think so. Such a view is ahistorical: Islam has never been at such a low point as it is today. Viewing Islam as the problem also turns all Muslims into enemies, when, in fact, the West has Muslim allies. Here, Pipes mentioned the Algerians, who have been victims of radical Islamists during the last decade. In order to have achievable war aims, Pipes stressed the importance of creating secular goals. After all, the United States is not engaged in a crusade against Islam.
According to Pipes, the true enemy is not a religion but a political ideology called radical Islam. Radical Islamists believe that Islam is the answer to all the problems in the world. Put another way, radical Islam is the transformation of faith into a totalitarian ideology. Like fascism and communism before it, radical Islam seeks world hegemony. The rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan from 1996-2001 showed the nightmare that awaits the world if radical Islamists ever achieve their dream of applying Islamic law across the globe. A regime that banned the flying of kites and prevented women and girls from attending school is at odds with the principles of Western civilization. This is the reason why radical Islamists believe that a clash of civilizations is underway.
This clash is often expressed violently, whether it is through terrorism in New York or London, civil insurrection in Algeria, revolution in Iran or civil war in Afghanistan. But Pipes warned of a second wing of radical Islam that attempts to achieve its goals by working within the system. For example, the Egyptian terrorist group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya renounced violence after its 1997 attack in Luxor which killed 57 tourists. This was a change of policy rather than a change of heart, as Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya believed it had a better chance of implementing its goals peacefully.
In Pipes' view, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan of Turkey is a greater threat to the world than Osama bin Laden. The latter's prospects have actually dimmed since September 11, while the former has the ability to make Turkey an Islamic state by promoting the Islamist agenda politically. Americans need to be aware of the non-violent wing of radical Islam. Groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)—which Pipes calls an indirect offspring of Hamas—and the Muslim Public Affairs Council share the same goals as the terrorists, even if their means of attaining them are different.
Pipes then moved on to the second question: What can we do about radical Islam? He believes that we need to overhaul the Muslim world like we did with the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan in the 20th century. A refrain that Pipes repeated throughout the night was "Defeat radical Islam, strengthen moderate Islam." Only by marginalizing the ideas of our enemies can we defeat them. Muslims can and need to play an important role in bringing this about. Today, isolated individuals live like moderate Muslims, but there is no mass movement of moderate Islam. Such a movement takes a great deal of money and organization, two things Muslims reformers don't yet have.
Pipes reminded his audience that since 1945, fascist ideas have not threatened the world. Similarly, 1991 saw the end of the powerful influence of Marxist-Leninist ideology. Pipes views the years 1945 and 1991 as bookends of the alternatives that face us now. He predicts that the current war will end somewhere in between the violence of 1945 and the non-violent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
It won't end, however, until Western allies start seeing things on the same page. Pipes described the case of the Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan, who has been banned from the United States because of his support for terrorism. Meanwhile, Ramadan was employed by Tony Blair's government to examine the roots of Islamic radicalism after the London bombings of July 7. Western countries need to develop similar strategies and show solidarity if they are ever going to be able to deal successfully with issues like Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
While the West no longer faces a powerful state like the Soviet Union or Germany (a nuclear Iran would change this), there are probably over 150 million Islamists today. This number is greater than all the communists and fascists who ever lived. Moreover, radical Islam is a utopian movement that has a powerful body of ideas to offer. Proof of this can be found in the increasing number of Western converts to radical Islam. Thus, it is dangerous to view terrorism in cynical terms or—like John Kerry—to call it simply a nuisance akin to gambling or prostitution. Even worse is not to think about radical Islam at all. Pipes said that most of the Republican presidential candidates seem to be deeply affected by the threat radical Islam poses to the United States. The Democratic candidates, meanwhile, hardly seem to mention it at all.
Pipes ended his talk with a list of things people can do to counter the threat: Learn about and research the subject, write letters to the editor or opinion pieces, get active in politics and organizations, and talk to people. In other words, they can join Pipes by becoming informed and, in turn, informing others in the war against radical Islam.