Text for these pictures is on the post “Berlin, March, 2013” These are pictures from the area of the old wall. Panels of the wall have been re-erected near “Checkpoint Charlie” and feature dictators still waiting for falling. The man balancing on the wall is in front of the Axel Springer building. Axel Springer is one of the big newspaper companies. Springer built his building … Continue reading Shadows of the Wall, Berlin 2013
The text for these pictures is in the post “Berlin, March 2013.” The East Side Gallery is the longest stretch of the wall still standing. One side has been painted by famous artists. The other side is a “free slate.” Continue reading East Side Gallery, Berlin, 2013
This is Bernauer Str. The Wall used to run along this street, not it is a memorial to the wall and there is a park where Berlin has its Sunday flea market. The Text for this letter is in the post “Berlin, March 2013” Continue reading Berlin 2013, Bernauer Str.
Note, Vukovar was the first major victim in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. It is a border town on the Danube, in Croatia but, before the wars, with a slight Serbian majority. The Serbs finally took the town over but after the Dayton Accords the town was administered by the UN before being turned over to the Croats, 13 days before we arrived. Our … Continue reading Vukovar, Croatia
This is from an October 2000 letter from Belgrade, on my first visit to the city after Milosevic lost power– and my first visit since the NATO bombing. When someone asks “do you want to see the sights” he really means “sites,” the places hit during the NATO bombing. Like in Pristina, the tour points out how accurate the bombing really was. People mark … Continue reading Belgrade, NATO Bombing Sites.
Suzi and I were in Kosovo on 9/11, 2001. I wrote these letters in the aftermath of 9/11. I am putting them in the “Winds of Change” category because the events of 9/11, and the response, affected a change in all of our lives. September 12, 2001 Prishtina, Kosova Dear Friends, Yesterday afternoon, as we were wrapping up our class, Emine’s cell phone beeped. … Continue reading 9/11, Kosovo and Slovakia
In July 1985 our family traveled to the Soviet Union, Leningrad and Moscow. This was our first exposure to Soviet life and, while we had not intended this, it provided a baseline against which to judge our later experiences. These entries are from a travel diary that I wrote for our two sons, who were 8 and 12 at the time. Customs: On the train … Continue reading Russia, The Prelude: Moscow and Leningrad, 1985
Rose Revolution Square is still under re-construction. It had two anchors, The Hotel Iveria and the reviewing stand for Mayday parades. One is gone and the other utterly transformed. In 2004 I wrote: “Georgia has some of the screwiest modern Socialist Realism on the planet, including a massive, several story high multi arched reviewing stand for May Day parades that looks like what Le Cobisier … Continue reading Rose Revolution Square, A Transformation.
The bridge cleaned up. April 15, 2011, Cairo, Egypt I got into the cab in Cairo and was shocked; the driver was wearing a seatbelt. I hadn’t seen this before. I put mine on. He smiled and said “New Egypt.” New Egypt is being stuck in a traffic jam near Tahrir Square and seeing a citizen in a white t shirt step forward, waving … Continue reading Arab Spring, April 2011
On February 11, Hosni Mubarak stepped down as President of Egypt. Suzi and I were in Doha, Qatar that night and went out on the streets as soon as we heard he had left power. We were watching the events on Al Jazeera in our hotel room. I looked out the window and across the bay I saw what looked, to me, like a large … Continue reading Arab Spring, Feb 11, Mubarak Steps Down
Suzi’s McClear was Chief of Party for USAID’s Media Development Program in Egypt. Tuesday, January 25 was a state holiday, Police Day. That day a group of demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square protesting the government. It was a large demonstration but many people thought not much would come of it. The local press tried to ignore it but Suzi got an email from our son, … Continue reading Arab Spring, January 2011, Suzi’s Story
November 10, 2009 Berlin, Germany Dear Friends, It was an attempt to recapture the past, to to relive some of the joy we felt in Berlin in 1990 when we watched bulldozers open streets closed for 28 years, to recapture the joy of the final stages of the Prague’s Velvet Revolution. It didn’t quite work for me. It didn’t give me the emotional jolt … Continue reading Berlin Wall Fall (Mauerfall) 20 Years Later
In May 2009 we returned to Prague. It is such a beautiful City I wanted to add this photo gallery taken in 2009 with a better digital camera, along with a letter for that week. May 3, 2009 Prague, Czech Republic Prague reminds what it’s like to live in a tourist town, except this time I was not a Sitka townie, I was a tourist, … Continue reading Prague, 20 Years Later.
This post shows two areas of Berlin and how they have changed over 45 years. In 1964 when the leader of our student tour told me that Potsdamer Platz has been the busiest intersection in Europe it was difficult to believe. I took a picture at the Platz. Twenty Five years later I took a picture near the same place. It was not exactly the … Continue reading Berlin Contrasts
April 8, 2008, Cairo, Egypt Dear Friends, For the past several months we’ve been trying to pull off the first ever course on blogging in Egypt. There is a lot of concern because bloggers have been the ones who exposed police brutality, sexual harassment and bloggers have given people a voice that is denied in state controlled press. The news moves forward on blogs. At … Continue reading Arab Spring, April 6, 2008, A blogging course.
This is a paragraph from a 2004 letter. The markets no longer have Stalin icons. I have not found Stalin Vodka in recent visits and the Stalin statue in Gori was torn down after the war with Russia, although I am told the authorities had to take the statue down under cover of darkness because he is still the town’s most famous export. Georgia has … Continue reading Stalin
In June, 1999, about a week after NATO took control of Kosovo Suzi and I visited Prishtina for the first time. For the next two years we would be regular commuters into Kosovo, based either in Podgorica or Belgrade but managing a media program in Kosovo as well as for Serbia. Dear Friends, It was 4:22. The muezzin’s morning call to prayer drifted through … Continue reading Kosovo, June 1999
In 1999 we lived in Bratislava, Slovakia, working in media development for IREX-ProMedia. Prague was just a 3 hour drive from our home. February 27, 1999 Bratislava, Slovakia This week we drove to Prague to represent ProMedia at an opening of a photo journalism exhibition entitled “‘Ten Years After’; capturing ten years of change in post-communist countries.” An added attraction was that we were … Continue reading Velvet Revolution, 10 years later
In June 1995 we were working on a radio project in Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East for a month. Our friends from Vladivostok were able to visit us in Khabarovsk and we were able to return a visit to them. This is the part of the weekly letter from June 20 that deals with that visit. June 20, 1995 Khabarovsk Russian Far East … Continue reading Russia, Vladivostok, 1995
In 1991 Suzi and I kept up our contacts with the Russian Far East. This is an excerpt from an end of the year letter I sent to my family in October 1991. We have continued to maintain contact with the folks who hosted us in Vladivostok. Brian’s “Russian sister” lives in Alaska now, with her mother. 1991 is the 250th anniversary of the … Continue reading Russia, Vladivostok, 1991
In November of 1990 we got a call from a friend in Juneau. Juneau was trying to put together the first US citizen delegation to visit Vladivostok in more than 50 years. They wanted kids who could spend a week in a Vladivostok English language school and adults who could accompany them to discuss business relations. Were we interested? Suzi immediately committed the two … Continue reading Russia, Vladivostok 1990
After our 1990 trip I wrote a long letter. These segments are from Berlin. The pictures are scans from slides, some well faded over the years. Thursday, June 14, 1990 After lunch we crossed into East Germany. We were supposed to get a visa for East Germany at the border. The guards waved us through without stopping the car, no visa, no passport stamp. … Continue reading Berlin Wall Fall (Mauerfall)
I wrote this letter in June 1990. I started writing it on a yellow legal pad on the evening of June 9, 1990, filling in what went before and finishing it in Sitka. Wednesday, June 6, 1990 Ceske Budejovice, Czechoslovakia This morning we crossed the border into Czechoslovakia. On Monday all visa and currency requirements for Americans were lifted. We expected exchange at the official … Continue reading Velvet Revolution
Twleve weeks before the Berlin Wall fell we were in Berlin. The wall looked permanent. It had grown higher and more fearsome than when I was in Berlin in 1964. I know I wrote a travel diary of this trip but I have lost it, or I should say it is on a floppy disc for an Apple II which I can no longer read. … Continue reading Berlin 1989