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
Why the right to vote is my privilege
Election day in Latvia is coming to an end... the important part is behind us but the interesting part is still ahead. The polling booths have closed. Now all is left is to wait for the results. I have bittersweet feelings. While voting today at the nearby polling station, I was thinking about my 95…Read more Why the right to vote is my privilege
Israel-Palestine conflict and my personal challenge
This one is hard. Not because I have nothing to say or because it is too complicated. No, it is because I am a Western Christian and also student of theology/religion. And there is no other international geopolitical issue which can divide Christians as sharply as the Israel-Palestine past, present and future. No matter how…Read more Israel-Palestine conflict and my personal challenge
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
Am I my brother’s keeper?
Thursday, November 30, in Riga was cold, wet and windy. In the evening my friend Bella and I went to the Freedom Monument to help light the candles and prepare the space for a special Holocaust memorial. The official start was to be an hour later and the volunteers were busy getting things organized. I…Read more Am I my brother’s keeper?
What is it to be?
99 years... old or young? There is a popular Latvian song about Latvia being too big to hug or cover with your blanket as you would for a loved one but it is too small to go alone in the big wide world. Similar metaphor can be used for these 99 years we celebrated yesterday…Read more What is it to be?
Lustration and flushing out the Soviet poison for good
I belong to two generations. Gen X - Nirvana, grunge, MTV, The Cure, flannel shirts, cynicism... but also a generation between two worlds and two truths. Born in the USSR, I became an adult in free and independent Latvia. The feature photo was taken at a former Soviet military facility in western Latvia which used…Read more Lustration and flushing out the Soviet poison for good