Image: Philadelphia Market Street Bank

May 23, 2017


History Re-Remembered

May 22, 2017

It is said that history is written by the victors, but that is not always true. In the American south, the myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy has dominated text books and streetscapes for well over a hundred years. Now, in 2017, as the monuments in praise of the racists are being removed from their prominent public spaces, the mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu has given a most inspiring speech that destroys the myth and validates the clearing away of the old monuments.

But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.

America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.

So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth. And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame …”

[The statues that are being removed] are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city …

So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, this is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once.

This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and, most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.”

It is a marvelous recitation of doing the right thing for the right reasons, and it is well worth reading in full.


Poem: Another Sunday Morning

May 22, 2017

 

the air

after all that rain

had the texture of twilight fireworks

 

glowing

gently above the ground

then bursting into a sun-splashed grey.

 

the chill

had gone while those

of faith pondered greater mysteries

 

and those

who preferred a faster tempo

drew other conclusions from the game.

 


Image: Bacon

May 21, 2017


The De-Beautification of Vancouver Continues

May 19, 2017

Vision Vancouver’s plan to turn Vancouver into a homogenous zone of endlessly similar beige neighbourhoods of townhouses, duplexes and soaring tower clusters continues apace.

Two of the loveliest buildings that make Grandview so special are about to be lost to us.

Image: Google Streetview

The pair of cottages at 2040 and 2054 Pandora are for sale, as a pair, at $5,600,000.  There is a “potential to build up to 11 units … excellent development opportunity.” That seems to encourage demolition and the imposition of some bland modern revenue development.

Why can’t we incentivize the current owner or a purchaser to moving the houses forward on the lot, thus maintaining a heritage streetscape at that point. The incentive presumably would be the right to infill buildings behind the old houses which themselves could be renovated and made strata. A form of HRA, I guess, not unlike Jeffs Residences and the presently-being-constructed Brookhouse on Parker.

Anyway, it will be a great shame to see these houses disappear.


Reason #227 NOT to use Facebook

May 19, 2017

Because of their censorship in Malta.

Facebook has deleted four posts from a Maltese journalist and they blocked him from his FB account because — well, why is still an open question (“Facebook is investigating the circumstances of the deletions and declined to comment”).

“The posts, which were written in Maltese, contained allegations of wrongdoing by prime minister Joseph Muscat, his chief of staff Keith Schembri, and minister of energy Konrad Mizzi. Each post included images of documents from the Panama Papers leak … The deletions raise questions about how Facebook moderates journalism.”

 

Sure looks as if the local  FB office wanted to protect the power elite.

Previous Reasons NOT to use Facebook.


Image: Dream

May 19, 2017