Category: History

A Moment of Silence

A poem for 9-11

By Emmanuel Ortiz, September 11, 2002


Before I begin this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.

I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those … [more]

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Trans-Siberian Highway

 It was too good to be true…

I found out that the short curved section in the middle of the Trans-Siberian Highway is just an urban legend, probably based on a similar tale about the Moscow-Saint Petersburg Railway.  Here’s the real story:

Nicholas I is involved in a common misconception about the railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg. When it was to be constructed, the engineers proposed to Nicholas to draw the future road on the map himself. So he … [more]

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Out of Egypt

 Ms. Rice,

Thank you.  I just finished reading the paperback version of your novel [Christ the Lord – Out of Egypt].  I immediately detected a Catholic flavor to your tale, which is OK.  I saw it in Mel Gibson’s movie as well.  What I didn’t understand was the insertion of “Arabian” mercenaries on at least two occasions.  What was that all about?  Why did you feel it necessary to sell the notion that Jews and Arabs were adversaries even in … [more]

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Matthew 24

 Mr. Turner was interesting, but he disappointed me with his “spin” on Matthew 24.  Seems like the gist of his message was that, when he’s really challenged by alternate/competing philosophies or moments of doubt, he rests his faith in the prophecies of the Bible.  Funny how Jesus could be clearly explaining things that would come to pass in his audience’s generation, but then suddenly shift into really abstract metaphors concerning distant-future Christendom and a special time of tribulation way, way … [more]

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Beyond Iraq?

 Gov. Huckabee,

 Thank you for taking time to respond to my concerns re. your position on the war in Iraq.  I saw you this morning on MSNBC and when asked what you are currently reading, you mentioned “Beyond Iraq” by Mike Evans. Very disappointing. An excerpt from Publishers Weekly says this:

With the Bible’s various prophecies of the downfall of Babylon, one would think Christian eschatologists would have a field day with the war in Iraq. But apart from a … [more]

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Amazing Grace

 Thanks for sending the review, it was very interesting.  To me, it sounds like the biggest beef the writer has is that the movie isn’t the one he wanted it to be.  He reminds me of someone who knows so much about the subject matter that he nitpicks every deviation from absolute historical accuracy.  Amazing Grace is not a documentary.  No doubt it occasionally distorts and compresses the facts in order to tell a good story.  That’s what movies do.  … [more]

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For whom do I write?

 …by Lebanese poet, Musa Shu`ayb, about the 1967 defeat.  Written in 1967 and translated/posted by As’ad at  

“For whom do I write?
Do I wrote about you,
o my homeland
Do I write my sadness and bitterness
and the hopes of millions
that were buried without coffins?
Do I write about our history
which is mixed with mold
and on a time
when we lived outside of time
For whom do I write?
If I sob, they would… [more]

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