Aerial View of Angkor Wat from the Southwest.” #AngkorWat is the best known and largest of all the monuments from the Angkorian period (9th-12th centuries). #AngkorWatis renowned for its architectural complexity, and it features cruciform terraces, naga balustrades, and elaborately carved pediments and columns.
My current university has an online database of photographs of Cambodia. For a sample of the library’s images database, check out their pinterest.
When the von Trapp family fled the Nazi regime in Austria, they traveled to America. Eventually, the entire family—except for the husband, Georg—-became American citizens.In the early 1940s the family settled in Stowe, Vermont, where they bought a farm. They ran a music camp on the property when they were not on tour. In 1944, Maria and her stepdaughters Johanna, Martina, Maria, Hedwig, and Agathe applied for U.S. citizenship by filing declarations of intention at the U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont. Georg apparently never filed to become a citizen; Rupert and Werner were naturalized while serving in the U.S. armed forces during World War II; Rosmarie and Eleonore derived citizenship from their mother; and Johannes was born in the United States and was a citizen in his own right.
If you are planning on watching the new version of the Sound of Music this week, make sure you brush up on all your von Trapp trivia here: http://go.usa.gov/WFbh
If you didn’t know, Maria and the Captain were real people. If you follow the links above, you can read some of the differences between the movie/play and real life. Maria also wrote an autobiography (The Story of the Trapp Family Singers) and several books about her religious faith.
His body isn’t even cold yet and the New York times has already put out a shameful article declaring Nelson Mandela to be an “icon of peaceful resistance”. News outlets around the Western world are hurrying to publish obituaries that celebrate his electoral victory while erasing the protracted and fierce guerrilla struggle that he and his party were forced to fight in order to make that victory possible. Don’t let racist, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of another radical. Nelson Mandela used peaceful means when he could, and violent means when he couldn’t. For this, during his life they called him a terrorist, and after his death they’ll call him a pacifist — all to neutralize the revolutionary potential of his legacy, and the lessons to be drawn from it.
Don’t fucking let them.
Okay, also wrong.
1) Nelson Mandela WAS an icon of peaceful resistance, but not in the simplistic way the NYT article (and, I’m sure, many that will follow) believe he was. You see, when Mandela was arrested in 1962, he was, indeed, the leader of the ANC’s armed forces. That is not a fact that people should forget.
However, when he started negotiations with the apartheid regime in the late 1980s, South Africa was in the midst of what was basically an undeclared civil war. Violence was everywhere and often very unfocused; don’t think for one second that it was all between anti-apartheid fighters against people upholding the apartheid regime. The deaths/beatings/tortures/rapes were largely civilian-focused, and everyone was hurting everyone else (with white-on-white, black-on-black, black-on-Indian, Indian-on-coloured, coloured-on-black, so on and so forth). For an example, Google anything about “necklacing”.
It was b a d.
In order for the country not to collapse completely, someone needed to emerge as a leader who favored political negotiation and peaceful tactics over the violence that was ravaging the country, and Nelson Mandela, whose release had been advocated for over the past few years, found himself thrust into that position to the point that he started negotiating for the fall of apartheid from prison. He did what he needed to do because any more violence would have completely destroyed South Africa. He chose ending apartheid over saving face with the already-emerging anti-apartheid politicians, chose negotiating with the enemies that he hated over seeing more of his people die because of an ego or power trip or an extreme ideology (see: most of the leaders of both sides at this point). He chose making peace over expressing his anger, or (an even bigger issue now), his racial/ethnic affiliation. If he isn’t an “icon of peaceful resistance” for this, I don’t know who is.
2) “He and his party” Hahaha no. There were different parties and different voices and different races who fought together against the regime, not just the ANC. The ANC is one part of a MUCH LARGER MOVEMENT, one that included the people who would become the DA (the ANC’s biggest political rival), one that included not only the black Africans (mainly Zulu) that the ANC represents but also the Xhosa and the Tswana and the Sotho and the Coloureds and the Indians and The Black Sash and the Jews. IT WAS NOT JUST THE ANC.
Also, the ANC is actually largely why the country is so fucked up right now, because the party wants to keep power over actually doing anything good for its people (see: President Robert “Yes I raped that lesbian HIV-positive AIDS activist but I’m getting acquitted because I’m in power and I’m not HIV positive because I took a shower afterwards” Zuma; see: President Thabo “yeah I committed crimes against humanity but come on hear me talk more about how HIV isn’t a real thing and what all my people are dying of AIDS because I refuse to provide any knowledge or treatment LALALALA I can’t hear you LALALA” Mbeki)
3) “Don’t let racist, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of another radical.” Don’t let your ignorant, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of a man who is recognized as an amazing leader of a country and continent seriously lacking them. Don’t let your lack of knowledge of contemporary African politics let you think for one goddamn second that praising someone’s violence is a good thing. Don’t let your Western all-blacks-are-same ideology not recognize the true radicalism in his ideology, which is that ethnic groups should not matter and people should work together regardless.
4) “Nelson Mandela used peaceful means when he could, and violent means when he couldn’t.” Hahahaha take this, reverse it. He started violent and ended peaceful.
5) “For this, during his life they called him a terrorist,” Nope. They called him a terrorist because he fought against the apartheid regime, and the apartheid regime was allied with the West during the Cold War. He would have been a terrorist regardless of the amount of violence he actually used.
"and after his death they’ll call him a pacifist" Yep. Because he was (kind of) in the end. Although the Truth & Reconciliation Commission was totally Desmond Tutu’s brainchild, so don’t listen to anyone crediting him with that.
"All to neutralize the revolutionary potential of his legacy," hopefully by now you realize that if you mean "revolutionary" to mean "violence is okey-dokey" you are full of shit. His revolutionary act was to be a Xhosa leading a largely Zulu resistance-cum-political party; his revolutionary act was to negotiate with a racial/ethnic enemy. His revolution rested in whom he dared to talk to, not whom he dared to hurt.
"and the lessons to be drawn from it." Yeah, the wrong lessons will be drawn from it, but not for the reasons you think. People will just think his thought process was "peace at any cost" instead of "w o w having a violent revolution was a super stupid idea because everyone is dying. Let’s take a different approach that doesn’t involve my wife directing her own band of assassins and me being imprisoned for almost 30 years that sounds grand".
An Actual Fucking (Half) South African
P.S. This is still super-simplified (I could literally spend hours explaining all the ins and outs of apartheid/the anti-apartheid movement/Mandela himself), but I think it does its job at least somewhat okay.
December 6th 343: St Nicholas dies
On this day in 343 AD, Nikolaos of Myra (better known as Saint Nicholas) died aged 73. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, thieves, children, and students. During his lifetime, Nicholas was Greek Bishop of Myra (which is in modern day Turkey). Many today associate Saint Nicholas with Santa Claus, as the Christmas character is modeled after Nicholas, who was known for secretly giving people gifts like coins in their shoes. The name ‘Santa Claus’ is loosely derived from translations of ‘Saint Nicholas’.
The Nebra sky disk, found near Nebra, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. It is dated to c. 1600 BCE, and is associated with the Bronze Age Unetice culture.
This artifact weighs 2.2 kg, and is inlaid with gold symbols. It is thought that this disk was an astronomical instrument, and likely also held religious significance. This find reconfirms the abilities and astronomical knowledge of the people of the European Bronze Age, which included the sun’s angle between its rising and setting points at summer and winter solstice, and close observation of the sun’s course over the year. The Nebra sky disk is the oldest known “portable instrument” showing such measurements.
The disk appears to have been developed in four stages (Meller 2004):
1) On the right is the waxing moon, on the left the full moon, and between and above, the Pleiades.
2) Arcs are added on the horizon for the zones of the setting and rising of the sun. Individual stars were shifted and/or covered.
3) The “sun boat” is added.
4) The disk in its current condition. A star and part of the full moon (or sun) was restored.
(The diagrams used are by Rainer Zenz)
Euan MacKie suggests that the Nebra disk can be linked to Alexander Thom’s reconstructed solar calendar from his analysis of standing stone alignments in Britain.
Wang Ziwu Tripod, Chinese, Spring and Autumn Period (770~476 BCE).
A mortuary object belonging to nobleman Wang Ziwu, the son of an emperor in the Chu State. This artifact was stumbled upon by a boy in 1977 in the Xi county, Henan province.
A giant sea-serpent attacks a ship off the coast of Norway on Olaus Magnus’s Carta Marina of 1572. Sea monsters on medieval maps run the gamut from menacing giant squids to improbable lion-fish hybrids to seductive sirens. Many cartographers simply copied these sea monsters from illustrated encyclopedias. While fantastical today, at the time they were considered real, with “scientific” evidence to prove it.
As eternal guards watching over the deceased ruler, nine warriors were modeled on the walls of the funerary chamber in bas-relief. They represent the Lords of the Night, who were the regents of the nine levels or tiers, into which according to ancient Maya belief, the underworld was divided. (-Palenque Museum)
The sarcophagus of Maya ruler K’inich Janaab’ Pakal (Late Classic period, 603-683), Palenque’s greatest ruler. His tomb is located beneath the Temple of Inscriptions, and lay undetected for more than a century of explorations before being discovered by Alberto Ruz Lhuillier in the mid-twentieth century. The burial chamber contained the bones of one women and four men as sacrifices.
A mammoth limestone sarcophagus, its sides carved with portraits and hieroglyphs, filled most of the chamber. Inside lay the skeletal remains of Pakal, covered with jade beads, a disintegrated jade mosaic mask, and other offerings.
The most stunning object in the tomb was the magnificently carved sarcophagus lid, depicting Pakal’s apotheosis, emerging like the sun at sunrise from the jaws of the underworld, reclining on the mask of the partially skeletal sun god, marking the transition from death to life. The implication of this association is clear, for like the sun, Pakal mastered the forces of death and was reborn as a deity, just as the sun is reborn each day at sunrise. The pathway of their ascent is marked by the world tree, shown sprouting from behind Pakal. In its jeweled branches rests the double-headed serpent bar, the cosmic symbol of Maya rulership, and its crown sits the celestial bird. The entire scene is framed by a sky band containing the symbols of the most important celestial deities, including the sun, moon, and Venus.
-R. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, page 453.
+ For those interested, this drawing shows the details of the sarcophagus lid spoken of.
Courtesy & currently located at the Palenque Museum, Mexico. Photos taken by Maya Portrait Project.
NARA—The vibrant colors of an eighth-century Buddhist statue have been recreated, thanks to computer graphics technology by a joint research team from the Tokyo University of the Arts and Tokyo University of Science.
The project of reproducing the original colors of a national treasure, the standing statue of the armor-plated guardian deity Shukongojin, was conducted by the team led by Satoshi Yabuuchi, professor of studies in preservation and restoration of sculptures at TUA’s Graduate School of Fine Arts.
As a result of two years of research, the team used computer graphics technology to re-create the colors of the rich-colored patterns of the statue from the Tenpyo Period (729-749), based on pigments that remained on its surface.