Nations becoming something more: European perspective

Sitting in L√§hetyskirkko in Helsinki, an old church with a very contemporary and welcoming feel, I was¬† drawn to the stained-glass window with the map of the world. Enframed within the ornate design, it looked beautiful but small and somehow fragile. Just like those amazing images from the outer space which make me think about…Read more Nations becoming something more: European perspective

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

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

Helpful or harmful to talk about painful national past?

This is a common and valid question. When do the wounds, losses and memories from time ago truly become things of the past? When does it heal and hurt no more? When does dwelling on the past become harmful and we get stuck in it? Increasingly many people in my global circle of friends are…Read more Helpful or harmful to talk about painful national past?

Time to bridge the chasm of dividing memories in my own nation… Latvia

Does time heal all wounds? Few months ago I was asked by an American how much more time we need in Latvia to bridge our ethnic and historical divides and to have a real sense of 'one nation'. 30 years? 40 years? More? Wait a few decades when the older people will be gone and…Read more Time to bridge the chasm of dividing memories in my own nation… Latvia

I am so sorry, Aleppo

This is about Syria and it is not about Syria; this is about politics and it is not about politics; this is about global challenges and it is not about global challenges; this is about the world's reaction but it is not about the world. This is about my own feelings in regards to what…Read more I am so sorry, Aleppo

“Ich bin ein Berliner…”

There are words and there are famous words. Phrases that people quote. I don't know how long we will remember these words "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a citizen of Berlin) by U.S. President John F Kennedy but to lots of people they still mean something. It came to my mind on a recent…Read more “Ich bin ein Berliner…”

Our renewed attraction to “greatness”

One leader has promised to make "Russia Great Again", one businessman has vowed to make "America Great Again" and others in Europe and elsewhere are declaring the same. Then there are those of us who have never been so "great" and just want to keep our countries the way they are. Or keep our countries...…Read more Our renewed attraction to “greatness”

It could be me, it could be you…

I want to talk about Ukraine in a very personal way and this story starts in Thailand... of all places. My former home in Chiang Mai was in a small and quiet neighborhood close to Chiang Mai University. There were not many foreigners living there. So, when a foreign family moved in, everyone took notice.…Read more It could be me, it could be you…

Tale as old as time: My tribe against yours

So, I was thinking about our tribalism in Europe and elsewhere and suddenly remembered one of my favorite children's stories, "Ronia the Robber's Daughter" by Astrid Lindgren. It is truly one of my favorite books and I have read it many times. I can still experience the same emotions I had when I read it…Read more Tale as old as time: My tribe against yours