Category Archives: History

If walls could talk…

Arch Daily: The Oldest Building in Every US State.

“The United States is a comparatively young country, but one with a rich and diverse history. From the ancient villages of New Mexico’s Pueblo people and the early Spanish settlers in Florida, to the Russian traders of Alaska and 19th-century missionaries in Utah, each of the 50 states has its own story to tell.

There’s no better way to trace this history than through buildings, which is why we’ve mapped out the oldest intact building in each US state. Whether they’re cottages, grand mansions, fortresses or churches, these historic sites offer us a glimpse into the early days of the regions. They help us to understand what brought early inhabitants to the state – and what their lives might have been like.”

Of the buildings mentioned, I’ve been to these:

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“Osama’s son Hamza may well cloud the family’s attempts to shake off their past”

The Guardian: My son, Osama: the al-Qaida leader’s mother speaks for the first time. “Nearly 17 years since 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s family remains an influential part of Saudi society – as well as a reminder of the darkest moment in the kingdom’s history. Can they escape his legacy?”

“Alia Ghanem is Osama bin Laden’s mother, and she commands the attention of everyone in the room. On chairs nearby sit two of her surviving sons, Ahmad and Hassan, and her second husband, Mohammed al-Attas, the man who raised all three brothers. Everyone in the family has their own story to tell about the man linked to the rise of global terrorism; but it is Ghanem who holds court today, describing a man who is, to her, still a beloved son who somehow lost his way. “My life was very difficult because he was so far away from me,” she says, speaking confidently. “He was a very good kid and he loved me so much.” Now in her mid-70s and in variable health, Ghanem points at al-Attas – a lean, fit man dressed, like his two sons, in an immaculately pressed white thobe, a gown worn by men across the Arabian peninsula. “He raised Osama from the age of three. He was a good man, and he was good to Osama.””

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“When we saw this, we knew straight away, this had never been seen or recorded before”

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales: Cropmarks 2018.

“The unprecedented spell of hot, dry weather across Wales has provided perfect conditions for archaeological aerial photography. As the drought has persisted across Wales, scores of long-buried archaeological sites have been revealed once again as ‘cropmarks’, or patterns of growth in ripening crops and parched grasslands. The Royal Commission’s aerial investigator Dr Toby Driver has been busy in the skies across mid and south Wales over the last week documenting known sites in the dry conditions, but also discovering hitherto lost monuments. With the drought expected to last at least another two weeks Toby will be surveying right across north and south Wales in a light aircraft to permanently record these discoveries for the National Monuments Record of Wales, before thunderstorms and rain wash away the markings until the next dry summer.”

NPR: In Ireland, Drought And A Drone Revealed The Outline Of An Ancient Henge.

“A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland’s Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.

Photographer and author Anthony Murphy discovered the site. He was flying a drone near Newgrange, a famous prehistoric stone monument in County Meath, on Tuesday, taking pictures of the known archaeological attractions. Then he saw something strange — a perfect circle, etched in the color of the crops, in an otherwise unremarkable field.”

Links via MetaFilter: It’s like a carpet and chair, only with vegetation and buildings, In Ireland, Drought and a drone revealed the outline of an ancient henge.

Otto Frank desperately sought to get his family to safety, seeking asylum

Deutsche Welle: Anne Frank’s family tried to escape to US but couldn’t overcome restrictions: study. “Bureaucracy, war and suspicion prevented Anne Frank’s family being able to emigrate to the US from their home in Holland during World War II. Similarities with the US attitude towards current immigrants have been drawn.”

“New research from the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House has shown Anne’s father Otto Frank made numerous attempts for the family to emigrate to the United States, starting in 1938.

“I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see the USA is the only country we could go to,” Otto Frank wrote in 1941 to his American friend Nathan Strauss in New York.

The only American consulate in the Netherlands issuing visas had been in Rotterdam but it was destroyed during the German bombing of May 1940. All applications for asylum then had to be resubmitted, and the Frank family’s request was never processed.

As the US closed all German consulates, the Nazi regime reciprocated and ordered all American consulates to close in occupied and collaborationist territory. Frank’s efforts to get a passage to Cuba failed and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, all transatlantic shipping was suspended.

It was then, in July 1942, that the Frank family went into hiding in the annex of his business premises on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam where they stayed for two years before being discovered and deported, first to a transit camp and then to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.”

“The Trump administration implemented this policy by choice and could end it by choice.”

The Washington Post: The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border.

“The doublespeak coming from Trump and top administration officials on this issue is breathtaking, not only because of the sheer audacity of these claims but also because they keep being repeated without evidence. Immigrant families are being separated at the border not because of Democrats and not because some law forces this result, as Trump insists. They’re being separated because the Trump administration, under its zero-tolerance policy, is choosing to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offenses.

This includes illegal-entry misdemeanors, which are being prosecuted at a rate not seen in previous administrations. Because the act of crossing itself is now being treated as an offense worthy of prosecution, any family that enters the United States illegally is likely to end up separated. Nielsen may choose not to call this a “family separation policy,” but that’s precisely the effect it has.

Sessions, who otherwise owns up to what’s happening, has suggested that the Flores settlement and a court ruling are forcing his hand. They’re not. At heart, this is an issue of prosecutorial discretion: his discretion.”

NYmag Daily Intelligencer: Trump Ends Family Separations by Ordering Family Detentions.

“In effect, Trump has switched from holding children hostage to congressional action to holding entire families hostage instead.

So in the very narrowest sense Trump is complying with demands that he end family separations at the border, but only by way of creating the equally large problem of large-scale family detentions at the border, and ignoring the more obvious option of abandoning the whole “zero tolerance” posture until such time as the system can be overhauled. The president’s allies will try to sell us on his compassion for kids and his extreme flexibility in modifying his administration’s procedures without, of course, giving up its devotion to The Law. The real question is whether the sights and sounds from the border that turned the cruel Trump-Sessions policy into a political disaster will get that much better now that children are no longer suffering on their own.”

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