To be Ukrainian

When the ethnic fashion first caught on in Eastern Europe, the Russian tsar was able to keep a pretty good lid on it in his vast and ethnically fragmented Empire. In Ukraine, slowly the Ukrainian language and other uniquely Ukranian traditions started to be recognized and studied, for example in the University of Kiev, where […]

Young Turks Revolution

In 1908 the Young Turks, an unlikely mix of people who were unhappy with the Sultan’s policies, heralded the second constitutional era in the Ottoman Empire. They brought back the 1876 constitution (which had been abolished in 1878) and put a new Sultan on the throne; Mehmed V. They originated as a secret opposition group […]

Charlie

The horrible attack on Charlie Hebdo is so fresh it’s very hard to see its context. We don’t know who did it, or why exactly, or even what exactly happened. I recommend @AFP for the latest news. This brutal attack on the razor sharp and thoroughly funny paper (excellent for one’s French) is indescribable, at […]

Imminent Conflict

To be honest I can’t wait to get this series to the First World War (WW1). But I want to be thorough. So I’m going to take you from the beginning, when Zionists were buying land in Palestine to start a Jewish homeland, to the eve of WW1.* During this time, both groups, Arabs and […]

Many tragedies make a disaster

An old man told me when fighting broke out in Gaza last summer: “the international community made huge mistakes back in 1948, when Israel was created, and that’s why they’re fighting in endless loops now.” I didn’t know much about the origins of the conflict, so I believed him, on the basis that he was […]

The borderland’s borders

So, as I think I mentioned in the first post of the series on Ukraine, Ukraine as it is today has not been a sovereign state for very long. I’ve found this great list of maps that shows how the borders were laid out from 1400 AD. Please go ahead and study it for a […]

Iranian passengers

The tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines airplane that was shot down on July 17th seems unique in its kind. But it wasn’t the first time a passenger aircraft became involved in a war. In 1988 an Iranian airbus was shot down by the USS Vincennes, a ship that was in the strait of Hormuz to […]

Early Glory

The beginnings of human settlement in Ukraine are quite fascinating. The country has rich farmland and other natural resources, and was much contested by warring nomadic tribes, the Greeks and those coming in the Great Migration of Peoples. We don’t know much about this era, unfortunately, because there are very few primary records. The Scythians, […]