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Monday, July 21, 2008

Lens and Legacy: Immigration History in Prague's Mortar. Genocide and Migrations.

Spanish Synagogue, Dusni Synagogue, Prague

The lens of architecture and immigration. How do people bring with them their past. See where people come from by the buildings they create. What they want to remember.

1. Critical Mass Can Enable a New Identity. This occurs when there are enough to make a statement after all the small groups come together somehow. Put a human face on it through Petr Ginz and his community.

Here, the facade of the Spanish Synagogue in Prague, the Dusni Synagogue, known to Petr Ginz, see Petr Ginz, Places, Josevof. The synagogue is named for its architectural style resembling the Moorish Alhambra in Spain, see Spain Road Ways - Alhambra; //www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/The_Alhambra.html.

See the history of Jews in Spain at //www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/8636/History.html.
Large and many groups of people, moving around the globe in search of home or conquest-conversion. Watch the unfolding:

1242 - rise of antisemitism, Europe.
1290 - England expels Jews, many go to Spain.
1306 - France expels Jews, many go to Spain.
1348 - Plague, Central Europe, then Spain - Jews wash hands, keep sewage at a distance, and conduct burials quickly - plague hits their communities less hard, causing Christians to accuse them of poisoning Christian wells, etc. See geocities site.
1391 - persecutions, expulsions, and on and on.
1492 - huge expulsion.
Then leap forward to genocide.

The Spanish Jews who left Spain and Portugal, were known as Sephardim. See //www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Sephardim.html. Here in Prague, the building preserves on its face an entire era.

2. Critical Mass Can Become a Threat, Causing Extreme Reactions - Genocide.

Genocide. If the label is applied, does it dignify the deaths, prevent recurrence. Or not. Term coined in 1943-1944. See //www.visiontv.ca/RememberRwanda/Files/FS-ICCandGenocide.pdf.

When groups arrive, gradually and not by army, at what point do the local people feel threat. Because many do. Cultural absorption arises as an issue: The current power groups want it - be like us. The newer groups may not - we lose our ways. There is force. The old infrastructure may fall away.

What is the human critical mass. In a community, is there a predictable point of change, the size of the new group required before an event occurs, as in nuclear fission. See //encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861688572/critical_mass.html. The concept is familiar. Finally force enters, to preserve someone's something. See Spain Road Ways, post on colonialism, takeovers.

History sites: For eastern-central Europe, see, for a start, "Jewish Immigration" at //jbuff.com/c121400.htm, commentary by a Dr. Gerhard Falk. The topic is in the curriculum at Yeshiva University, see http://www.yu.edu/catalog/undergrad/catalog0406_women/courses/c1_CoursesJHIS_0406_women.htm. Are the classes separated by gender? This is not my tradition, and I am interested.

4. Track Explosions of Critical Mass and Immigration Tinderboxes. Current events:

4.1. The United States and immigration. Some sites in favor: //www.independent.org/events/transcript.asp?eventID=99. Or //www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=4206.

Article on the no's at //www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979734-3,00.html. Think and vote online at //www.ontheissues.org/VoteMatch/q15_2006.asp.

4.2. England and its colonial populations.

4.3. Switzerland - see New York Times, 10/08/2007, Switzerland's coping - and the political mailing with the picture of three white sheep kicking out the black sheep, and the caption on maintaining security. See post at The Joy of Equivocating: Lets You Say the Unsayable. See "Immigration, Black Sheep and Black Rage," at //www.nytimes.com/2007/10/08/world/europe/08swiss.html, and maneuver to the article. Do an images search for the picture itself.

4.4. Rwanda, Darfur

4.5. Turkey. Armenians. What was the tipping point. See www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/armenians.htm; University of Michigan "Fact Sheet" at http://www.umd.umich.edu/dept/armenian/facts/genocide.html. Here is an Armenian view: http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Genocide.

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