Courage to be available

Courage is something I think about often and have fantasized about it a lot. Whether simply speaking my mind, taking a risky decision, confronting a challenging situation or dealing with a peer pressure. I have noticed that I am always drawn to the real life people or fictitious characters who display the unexpected and practical…Read more Courage to be available

Communicative memory through three or four generations of family

I love browsing through my grandmother's photo albums, especially, searching for visual glimpses of her life before or during World War II, before and during the Soviet, then Nazi and then again Soviet regime. There are not many photos to find.. First of all, they were a simple farming family who did not have many…Read more Communicative memory through three or four generations of family

The surreal reality called Putin’s Russia

Why call it 'surreal' when it is very real and even dear to millions of people? It continues to look and feel surreal to me 'on the outside looking in' or 'looking over the neighbor's fence'. Metaphorically speaking. This week I watched a documentary "Putin's witnesses" by an exiled Ukrainian/Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky who now…Read more The surreal reality called Putin’s Russia

In the church this side of the barricades

In January expect a real winter in Latvia. Icy sidewalks, snow piles, slush, messy driving... this time of the year I walk the streets of Riga watching every step and practicing good balance. January with its cold temperatures is also a month that brings memories from 1991. Every year Latvia commemorates January 20 and The…Read more In the church this side of the barricades

Wrestling with the antisemitism of the past and of the present

I have wanted to write this for a while but kept postponing... and tried to understand why?! One of the simple explanations is that it is extremely difficult to write about national shame, inhumane ideologies, ordinary people with extraordinary hatred or indifference. It is difficult to say something about all of this without too many…Read more Wrestling with the antisemitism of the past and of the present

Beating the swords into plowshares? One day…

Today is centennial Armistice Day in western Europe and around the world to mark the end of World War I (1914-1918). 100 years is quite the landmark! In Latvia November 11 is named after Lācplēsis who is a national, but fictional hero from an epic poem. He fought for freedom from the evil forces, in…Read more Beating the swords into plowshares? One day…

Why bother crossing this particular bridge on May 9

The usual parade of special dates. May 1, May 4, May 8, May 9...  The weather exceptionally beautiful and 'woe is me' for having to study and sit in lectures. Not that I care much about official events but glad to participate in smaller grassroots initiatives to give these days a personal meaning. Every year…Read more Why bother crossing this particular bridge on May 9

Borders check more than our passports: Story about fault lines

On May 1, I woke up and felt like going to the cinema. Latvian cinema. This year we have many new movies - fiction, documentary, animation, TV, etc. - since 2018 celebrates 100 years of national statehood. Since these movies are also a gift to me as a Latvian citizen, I better go and support…Read more Borders check more than our passports: Story about fault lines