Shadows of the Wall, Berlin 2013

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

Belgrade, NATO Bombing Sites.

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.

9/11, Kosovo and Slovakia

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

Russia, The Prelude: Moscow and Leningrad, 1985

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, A Transformation.

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.

Arab Spring, Feb 11, Mubarak Steps Down

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

Arab Spring, January 2011, Suzi’s Story

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

Berlin Wall Fall (Mauerfall) 20 Years Later

  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

Prague, 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.

Arab Spring, April 6, 2008, A blogging course.

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.

Kosovo, June 1999

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

Velvet Revolution, 10 years later

  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

Russia, Vladivostok 1990

  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

Berlin Wall Fall (Mauerfall)

  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)

Velvet Revolution

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