Black Blocs – “The Black Peril”?

Eyes on Europe & Middle East

It may be very difficult to not notice them during rallies. Hooded, dressed in black, they are hundreds, sometimes more, to parade during important local or more international political events.

A black bloc is a name given to groups of protesters who wear black clothing, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items. The clothing is used to conceal marchers’ identities, and hinder criminal prosecution, by making it difficult to distinguish between participants. It is also used to protect their faces and eyes from items, such as pepper-spray, which are often used by law enforcement during protests or civil unrest. The tactic allows the group to appear as one large unified mass.

Black bloc has become a generic term for ultraradical, highly mobilised leftwing groups often associated with anti-capitalism, anti-globalisation, anti-fascism and anarchism.

The black bloc is not a group or organisation, it’s something…

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No day shall erase you from the memory of time. — Old Chook Enterprises

September 11 2001 changed everyone’s world regardless of where you lived. I remember waking up that morning without knowing what had happened. When I got to work there was hushed silence and people crying. I thought one of my colleagues must have died.

Photographer Robyn Lang visits the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Her photo essay captures the site’s somber atmosphere

via No day shall erase you from the memory of time. — Old Chook Enterprises

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Will Ecumenical Patriarch encourage sectarian war in Ukraine?

President Petro Poroshenko and other high-ranked Ukrainian officials state that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is ready to create an autocephalous (independent) Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The new religious organization is said to be based on the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), both of which haven’t been recognized by the Orthodox world.

In its communique of April 22, the Ecumenical Patriarchate doesn’t deny it. The Holy Synod has started to review the appeals of the President, Ukraine Parliament and the archbishops of the mentioned Churches.

According to the comments of Ukrainian experts and high-ranked officials published in the media, the participation of state in this process is a demand of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew while the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church won’t become a “state” one and will function along with the others. Officials claim that a new canonical Church (recognized by the Orthodox world) will put an end to inter-confessional conflicts in the country.

Meanwhile, till this moment, the Ukrainian authorities haven’t sought or simply been unable to adhere to the principle of confessional equality, showing support only to one Church – the UOC-KP.

As known, in the cities of Bar (Vinnitsia region) and Lokhvytsia (Poltava region), local councils’ deputies, being under the pressure of the far-right group Pravy Sector, rejected the UOC-MP’s claim to allot a lot for building a church in favor of the UOC-KP. The interference of nationalist organizations in property disputes between congregations shows that Ukrainian authorities can’t secure the equality of confessions.

Within the period of just four months of 2018, the Ukrainian authorities ignored:

Three arsons of UOC-MP churches:

  • Another seizure of an UOC-MP church in Ptycha village (Rivne region) by UOC-KP followers and the members of the paramilitary organizations Azov Battalion and Aidar Battalion;
  • The desecration of the gates of an UOC-MP monastery in Odessa region;
  • The demolition of an UOC-MP cross in Kyiv.

In all cases, the police inaction was considered unlawful. Probes on destroying and desecrating objects of worship were started by court orders only after complaints from human right organizations.

It doesn’t seem that against the background of such a policy just the emergence of a canonical alternative to the pro-Russian Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will end the confessional discrimination in Ukraine.

Moreover, the indifference of the UOC-KP clergy and episcopate to lawless actions committed in favor of their personal and corporate interests is incompatible with their high ministerial service, especially under the omophorion of His All-Holiness Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, the Ecumenical Patriarch.

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Migration, Cities, and Engaged Scholarship

By Kelsey P. Norman for Denver Dialogues. Protesters gather in Washington, DC, against President Trump’s proposed ‘Muslim Ban.’ Photo via Ted Eytan. On April 3, 2018, just prior to the start of the annual meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA) in San Francisco, I co-organized (along with Dr. Hans Schattle) a working group titled…

On April 3, 2018, just prior to the start of the annual meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA) in San Francisco, I co-organized (along with Dr. Hans Schattle) a working group titled “Cities and the Contentious Politics of Migration,” co-sponsored by the Ethnicity, Migration & Citizenship and International Ethics sections. The idea behind the workshop arose from the previous year’s ISA meeting in Baltimore, which took place just weeks after President Trump’s first issuance of the now infamous ‘Muslim Ban.’

This year, with San Francisco’s role as a historic and contemporary sanctuary city and its ongoing battle with the federal government, we decided on a theme that examined the role of cities as sites of migration politics, local integration, and contention. Some of the questions we wanted to address included: How do migrants and refugees benefit urban environments? What challenges do they pose to political or community coherence? What are the inherent tensions among federal-level, state-level, and city-level migration policies? And how do civil society actors and networks advocate for migrant and refugee rights within today’s politics of migration?

via Migration, Cities, and Engaged Scholarship — Political Violence at a Glance

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Phantasmagoric

Ely was small and cute, but the sizeable cathedral left quite an impression. As I walked past one of the towers, I looked to the top and captured the photo above. To my mind, this tower resembled very much like Isengard — tall and imposing; dark but quite impressive too in a rather macabre way. These Gothic masterpieces never fail to ignite my imagination, and I begin to think of otherworldly things.

via Phantasmagoric

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Scenes of Springtime and Sakura from Celia in Tokyo

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Teacher and blogger Celia Knox — originally from Far North Queensland, Australia, and now living in Tokyo — recently photographed parts of Japan as it was blanketed in pink during festive hanami season. Catch a glimpse of this fleeting landscape on her blog, Celia in Tokyo, as she documents the sakura (cherry blossom) trail.


Hanami (or flower viewing) season at its peak near the Arakawa River, a short walk from Kumagaya Station in Saitama Prefecture.


A boat ride on a sakura-framed canal in Kawagoe, a popular day-trip destination from Tokyo.


Festival lanterns and sakura at dusk create a lovely landscape in Kawagoe.


A pathway surrounded by ema — plaques of wishes — at the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, as known as the shrine of love.


More plaques at Chureito Pagoda at Arakurayama-Sengen Park.

View all of Celia’s photographs


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The Role of Imagination in Creative Nonfiction

The expectation of creative nonfiction, as its name implies, is that the writing is true.  Indeed, when it’s not true — when we find the writer has “made stuff up,” has intentionally deceived us — we feel betrayed as readers, as though the sacred contract between the writer and reader has been broken. But this intentional kind of deception is not what I’m referring to when talking about imagining a different reality in creative nonfiction.

Rather, I am writing about imagination as truth.

One of the things I enjoy most about creative nonfiction is being invited into someone else’s mind. After all, creative nonfiction is about truth as the writer sees it. As readers, we follow the path of the mind of a writer at work, watching it unfold on the page.

Creative nonfiction, I think, is the closest we can get to mapping a person’s interior world, whether navigating our own or visiting another person’s. And the truth is, in creative nonfiction — as in life — we can’t help but imagine.

via The Role of Imagination in Creative Nonfiction

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