(un)learning lessons from the 20th century

A beautiful, well-dressed older woman and her good-looking adult son came to the front entrance just as I was about to close the main gate of the museum. Asking to see the exhibition, they quickly added that they were from Belarus and that their time in Rīga was limited. Belarus - it was the keyword…Read more (un)learning lessons from the 20th century

There and back : #FreedomWay for Belarus

Last Sunday, August 23, I went on a very special pilgrimage to Lithuania. Quite different from what some may expect when hearing this word, but the kind I find the most meaningful spiritually - for a special cause and on behalf of others. This time to show support for the ordinary people of Belarus who…Read more There and back : #FreedomWay for Belarus

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

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…

Ask Latvians about the Corner House and take time to listen

This museum  - the former KGB headquarters in Rīga - is not for the disinterested or the deeply traumatized by Latvia's totalitarian past. In the first group, you quickly realize that this is a very somber space. Every room has soaked up fears, tears and witnessed intimidation, humiliation, broken lives and tortured consciences... For the…Read more Ask Latvians about the Corner House and take time to listen