Please please please listen to Part 1 of this episode of This American Life, “Before It Had A Name.” It discusses the first recorded testimonials of Holocaust survivors made by David Boder made in 1946 before the term “the Holocaust” even existed and before people even the mass move to record oral histories in the 1960s. It’s haunting, it’s morally intriguing, and it raises interesting questions about how we record history and how language shapes the human experience.
For those of us queer people in the West, we must support human rights everywhere in the world; however, standing up for our LGBTQ siblings’ rights also means acknowledging how we are culpable. We must stop pretending that we are ahead of the world when we talk about LGBTQ rights and democracy. If being “ahead” of other nations means that we export our hate instead of confronting it, we are not only backwards, but we are also hypocrites. We cannot call attention to other LGBTQ people’s voices if we only want to hear half of the story. Our struggles are not all the same, but they are definitely connected.
"My parents had sent me to a small village outside of Paris because they thought it would be safer. But I guess there were hidden munition stocks out there, because the Americans bombed the village. They flew very high. The British always flew low— they had the fighters, but the Americans flew very high and dropped the bombs. They were bombs filled with air. I don’t know how to describe it. You were killed by the air. The neighbor was killed. I spent all night hiding in the barn."
THIS is one of the main reasons I find storytelling, human interest pieces, and projects like HONY or Storycorps are so important. Everyone is a part of history and there is so much information that will one day be lost if we don’t take the time to record it.
Les Foufounes Folles Roundup:
Here’s to shameless self-promotion!
- Pantheon Goddesses by Emily - on letting women into French monuments
- 2013 Tinderbox Music Festival by Emily - a review
- When Fictional Violence Gets Real by Kari - sexual violence in horror movies
- On Becoming a Writer by Emily - in which I complain about being a young and broke writer
- Ooh, Bebe Bebe! by Emily - baby naming laws and race in the US
- Please Don’t STFU by Kari - feminism is awesome!
The first atomic bomb used by mankind detonated right above this spot.
The anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb dropping is today. Visiting the city last summer was a really strange experience and I’m so glad I went.
What the authorities cannot erase, they will deface.”
— Tom Hayden, in the Afterward of Conspiracy in the Streets (a transcript of the Chicago 8 trial)
"You can’t take people’s historical context away from them."
Thanks Sama’an for sharing! Also Hint: this has something to do with a very exciting and soon-to-come project Kari and I are starting!
Free Angela (and All Political Prisoners) trailer. I HAVE TO SEE THIS. She is awesome. April 5th!
March 17th 1959: Dalai Lama flees Tibet
On this day in 1959 Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled Tibet following an uprising against Chinese rule. He and around 20 of his entourage fled Lhasa and embarked on a 15 day journey on foot over the Himalayas on their way to Dharamsala in India where they had been offered asylum. On 30th March they crossed into India. Around 80,000 Tibetans later settled in the same area, leading to it becoming known as ‘Little Lhasa’. This place became the home of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibet is still under Chinese rule, and the Dalai Lama continues to try to find a peaceful negotiation for Tibetan self rule.
Interested in this topic? You should read Orphans of the Cold War by John Kenneth Knaus!