Archive for the 'History' Category

A Guernica of our time

Hope not, but the historical parallel between the germinal civil war in the desert of Libya and the attack on Guernica during the Spanish Civil War is beginning to seem eerily more relevant every day. It’s true that  Gaddafi has used his own planes so far to strafe his own people unlike Franco who had […]

Classical Music : the Jewish Counterpoint

The playlist of a New York public radio station included a special holy day service on the eve of Yom Kippur 2010, featuring the Kol Nidrei of Max Bruch. This is unremarkable, except for the fact that Max Bruch is not even Jewish although many people mistakenly assume so. In addition, Bruch’s  work is scored […]

Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway can’t all be wrong

They all drank, loved and drew creative inspirations from Absinthe, or Absinth, the fabled ‘king of spirits’ of successive generations of artists. Probably a few, if any, other drink has ever captured the popular imagination and been featured in so many books,  plays, movies and legends. What started as the favorite drink of Toulouse-Lautrec and […]

No End of a Lesson

On Saturday 24th April, Armenians in Yerevan marked the solemn commemoration of the 95th anniversary of the genocide that began under the Ottoman Turks in 1915, in which about 1.5 million Armenians were killed. What’s unusual about the above paragraph? This was reported in most serious news outlets, but not all using exactly the same […]

Mona Lisa and Cholesterol

What has Cholesterol got to do with that sphinx-like lady and her mysterious expression iconized in the famous Leonardo painting?  Quite a lot in fact, according to the findings of an  Italian medical expert who also delves into renaissance art, artists and their subjects. A recent article in the New York Times reports that Professor […]

Ask not what your country can do for you…

… ask what you can do for your country.” This memorable passage, part of President John F Kennedy’s inauguration address, is perhaps one of the best-known and most often-quoted of our presidential speeches. We are all familiar with that, but where did this passage come from? Was it  a JFK original? Or, did he paraphrase […]

Jew who saved more Jews than Schindler

Yet the heroic saviour  Reszö  Kasztner (aka Rudolf or Israel Kastner)  was maligned, spat upon by fellow Israelis in Tel Aviv,  and on 3rd March 1957, became the first Jewish victim of   a Jewish political assassination in  the Jewish  state of Israel ! Why? The specious explanation is that  Kasztner, a Hungarian Jew, who survived […]

Debunking the Myth or Revisionism?

Today is St. Crispin’s Day ( or the Feast of Crispian as  “Harry the King” called it in his famous speech from Shakespeare’s eponymous play). On this  day, at different times and places in history, many famous battles took place, but none  has taken a firmer root in our history and cultural consciousness  than the […]