Personal Reflections on Charlottesville

This post was written for Small Stones. -E

Resist! Protesting the Ku Klux Klan. Credit: Ézé Amos

In another part of my life, I run a newsletter of social justice events. There’s a joint Jewish-Muslim event coming up, and yesterday I received an email that began,

“The Palo Alto Police Department recommends not putting it on social media, so we are refraining from that.”

My first reaction was, “Let’s advertise it! Bring on the white supremacists! Let them show their faces.” I’m not going to do that, but part of me wants to.

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Election 2016 and My Grandmother

 Eva Kaye-Zwiebel is a co-founder of Small Stones. In June she attended a Voice of Witness oral history workshop, where she talked about the 2016 presidential election against the background of her grandmother’s life. She told this story in an interview, which we’ve edited to create a first person narrative. This post originally appeared on Small Stones on July 14, 2017.

Eva on Nov. 8, 2016 after casting her vote.

My brother was at my house on Election Day, November 8, 2016, when a giant box arrived from my cousin Nancy. I looked at it and thought, “What the heck is this?” As we were opening it, I remembered Nancy had told me she had the steamer trunk Manna used to move from Germany to the United States. I’d said Nancy could send it to me.

Manna was my grandmother. Her name was Marianne, German for Mary Ann. When she was little she called herself ‘Manna’ because she couldn’t pronounce her own name, and that became the family variation on grandma.

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Acknowledging History

Original image at
Bald cypress trees along the Bayou Coquille Trail at the Barataria Preserve. Credit: National Park Service.

On Friday, May 19, Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans gave a speech marking the removal of Confederate leaders’ statues from prominent city sites. His words strike me as the sort of thoughtful, nuanced words of persuasion that the United States needs. I’m not a Southerner, but I hope I could ‘take in’ analogous words on the issues where I have blind spots. 

The text of Mayor Landrieu’s speech, below, is from the Times-Picayune newspaper’s website.

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Political Science and Politics

Michael Ignatieff is a political science professor and a Canadian politician.

This editorial in the New York times is a meditation on the differences between theory and practice, on how to make political decision, and all-around thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.

I would also add how unusual it is for an academic to cross the divide to become an elected official.