Rosa Parks’ home in Berlin, saving it from destruction by Detroit’s mayor


This video from the USA is called The Rosa Parks Story.

The mayor of Detroit in the USA not only threatens a graffiti artist with fifteen years in prison for graffiti art.

There is also this.

By Mary Papenfuss from the USA:

04/10/2017 03:27 am ET

What Is Rosa Parks’ House Doing In Berlin?

Detroit planned to demolish the home, so now it’s in artist’s yard in Germany.

If you want to visit the home where civil rights legend Rosa Parks lived, you’ve got a trip ahead of you — all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s because her home is in the backyard of an American artist living in Germany.

It seems like back-of-the-bus treatment for the black woman who had the guts in 1955 to refuse to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama and go to the back of the bus. Instead, she gave birth to the civil rights movement.

Why is her home in Berlin? Short answer? Detroit planned to destroy it.

When Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley found out, she purchased the home for $500 and cast around for ways to save it. She reached out to artist Ryan Mendoza, who happened to be in Detroit at the time. Though they both appealed to Detroit’s mayor to protect the building, they said he had no interest. So they dissembled the home, packed it in shipping containers, transported it to Germany, and put it back together in an expensive operation that took several months, reported Deutsche Welle.

“It is something that is precious,” McCauley told The Associated Press. “It is priceless, yet it is being mistreated. That’s what I saw and that’s how it felt. So when I met Ryan and he said, ‘Let’s bring it to Berlin and restore it,’ I said yes.”

Mendoza, who was born in New York, is stunned that Germany ended up with what he considers a treasure. “The Rosa Parks house should actually be a national monument and not a demolition project,” he told Deutsche Welle.

“The basic question, the fundamental question I ask myself: ‘Is the house worthless or is the house  priceless?’ For the American institutions so far the house has been deemed worthless,” he told Agence France-Presse. “It was put on a demolition list; that’s not a detail.”

Mendoza believes it’s apt that the house stands in a country that tore down a wall, and has left a nation planning to build a wall.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the official unveiling of the home in Berlin last week. The interior still needs some work, but Mendoza has installed a sound exhibit for the home including a telephone interview with Parks.

McCauley said she hopes one day the U.S. will “grow up” and ask for its treasure back.

Saudi autocracy destroying country’s historic buildings


This video says about itself:

Armored vehicles attacking Al-Awamiyah – Feb 23, 2016

The Saudi security forces have attacked farming areas today Tuesday 23 Feb 2016 in Awamiyah; Eastern province in KSA, and killed a young Bahraini person (Ali Abdullah) and injured many others.

The security authorities in KSA confirmed the death of Ali Abdullah and repeated their usual justification in such circumstances by claiming Ali was wanted by the police.

Today’s events increased the tension in the Eastern province which is already very high after the execution of Shaikh Nimr Alnimr on 2nd Jan 2016.

Angry protestors replied by blocking the roads by burning tyres. Black smoke was seen in the sky.

The Saudi absolute monarchy is not only destroying beautiful historic homes and other buildings as part of their war on Yemen. They are also destroying the beautiful historic homes and other buildings of their own country. Not with warplanes, like in Yemen; but destruction is destruction.

From Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain in the USA:

ADHRB and UN Experts Urge Saudi to Halt Planned Demolition of Historic Awamiyah Neighborhood

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Having experienced political turmoil in its Eastern Province associated with the Arab Spring in 2011, Saudi Arabia’s state practice is presently characterized by human rights abuses including widespread torture, arbitrary detention, censorship, and arbitrary execution. Read more here.

5 April 2017—Today, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on poverty, cultural rights, and housing called on the Government of Saudi Arabia to immediately halt the planned demolition of the historic Mosawara neighborhood in the Eastern Province town of Awamiyah. The rapporteurs warned that the demolition may result in the forced evictions of many of the neighborhood’s 2,000 to 3,000 residents and may exacerbate an existing housing crisis, leading to a further increase in housing and land prices. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain strongly agrees with the UN experts and calls on the Saudi government to immediately halt and cancel all plans to carry through with the demolition.

The Mosawara neighborhood is an historic quarter in the town of Awamiyah with a rich history and significant cultural heritage. The neighborhood’s architecture is unique: it is a walled village with mosques, farms and farmers markets, Shia places of worship, and businesses. According to Karima Bennoune, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, “the planned demolition would erase this unique regional heritage in an irreversible manner.” Despite its significance, the Saudi government is planning to redevelop the area into a commercial and service zone. Philip Alston, the Rapporteur on extreme poverty expressed concern that in the process of moving residents from the area, the government would “remove people from the areas where they live and work, resulting in loss of livelihood and difficulty in securing housing.” In this way, the redevelopment may worsen an existing housing crisis that is exacerbated by increasing housing and land prices.

The government is planning to move ahead with the redevelopment plan despite housing concerns and the concerns of the neighborhood’s residents. The experts noted that, “the demolition has been announced without any meaningful consultation with the residents, without having considered less damaging alternatives, or adequate[ly] informing them about the demolition plans.” The government has also pressured the residents to leave their houses and businesses, including by cutting the power to the neighborhood and refusing to allow charities to help elderly and sick residents.

“The Saudi government’s actions towards Mosawara and its residents are demonstrative of its high-minded approach to development. Though the plan for the neighborhood will surely harm hundreds of Saudis, the government seems not to care for their well-being,” states Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain. “Authorities must immediately halt the planned demolition and re-evaluate any development scheme, so as to place the needs and welfare of its citizens at the forefront of any future moves.”

Authorities’ demolition of Mosawara’s cultural heritage is emblematic of the kingdom’s view of cultural heritage sites. The Saudi government has embarked upon the concerted demolition of ancient landmarks, archaeological heritage, and cultural sites since before the kingdom was founded. Since 1925, the al-Saud family has overseen the destruction of tombs, mosques, and historical artifacts in Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, al-Khobar, and Awamiyah. It has destroyed sections of two cemeteries where family members and companions of the Prophet Muhammad were buried. The destruction encompasses secular as well as religious sites. During the government’s project to expand the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi authorities destroyed 10,000 properties in Mecca, including 126 mosques and whole neighborhoods. As a result, the government has destroyed more than 90 percent of the country’s landmarks.

The planned demolition of the Mosawara neighborhood despite local concerns is illustrative of the Saudi government’s approach to historic and cultural sites. The destruction of the neighborhood will not only erase a unique historic area and a symbol of the region’s past, but has the potential to have significant detrimental effects on the residents of the neighborhood. The demolition may entail the forcible eviction of hundreds of residents and increase the level of poverty in the town. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain therefore calls upon the Saudi government to immediately halt and cancel the planned destruction of the neighborhood and to re-evaluate its development standards so as to protect culturally and historic significant sites.

Pharaoh’s tomb discovery in Egypt


This video is called Bent Pyramid perfectly cut stones. Dashur, Egypt. April 2016.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio:

Newly discovered pyramid is royal tomb

Today, 11:09

In Egypt a new pyramid has been discovered. Egyptologist Huub Pragt says to the NOS Radio 1 News that the discovery is special. “This is a royal tomb, which is unusual.” The structure was discovered in Dashur, an archaeological area where several pyramids have been found.

That it is a tomb of a pharaoh is reflected in the structure and layout of the building. The tomb of which king it is not yet clear.

Hieroglyphs

Because the building dates from the 13th dynasty it is interesting to find out who is in the tomb, says Pragt. Because pharaohs quickly alternated at that time there are gaps in the list of kings. “So, it could be an unknown pharaoh. It is scientifically very interesting to perhaps again add a pharaoh’s name to the king list.”

Newly discovered Dashur hieroglyphs, photo Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/EPA

Pragt is hopeful it can be figured for whom the pyramid was built as a piece of stone was found with hieroglyphs. “I have seen a faded photograph of them, but it is not entirely clear to me what it says.”

UPDATE: there is suspicion it is the grave of Pharaoh Ameny-Qemau.

Ancient Mexican palace discovery


This video about archaeology in Mexico is called Palenque (New Documentary 2014).

From Science News:

Palace remains in Mexico point to ancient rise of centralized power

Ruler ruled, lived in, maybe even performed ritual sacrifices in 2,300-year-old structure

By Bruce Bower

3:10pm, March 27, 2017

Remnants of a royal palace in southern Mexico, dating to between around 2,300 and 2,100 years ago, come from what must have been one of the Americas’ earliest large, centralized governments, researchers say.

Excavations completed in 2014 at El Palenque uncovered a palace with separate areas where a ruler conducted affairs of state and lived with his family, say archaeologists Elsa Redmond and Charles Spencer, both of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Only a ruler of a bureaucratic state could have directed construction of this all-purpose seat of power, the investigators conclude the week of March 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The royal palace, the oldest such structure in the Valley of Oaxaca, covered as many as 2,790 square meters, roughly half the floor area of the White House. A central staircase connected to an inner courtyard that probably served as a place for the ruler and his advisors to reach decisions, hold feasts and — based on human skull fragments found there — perform ritual sacrifices, the scientists suggest. A system of paved surfaces, drains and other features for collecting rainwater runs throughout the palace, a sign that the entire royal structure was built according to a design, the researchers say.

El Palenque’s palace contains no tombs. Its ancient ruler was probably buried off-site, at a ritually significant location, Redmond and Spencer say.

Saudi bombs destroy Yemeni homes


This video says about itself:

UNESCO Director-General condemns the destruction of Bani Matar Mosque in Yemen

5 September 2016

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the destruction of a 9th century mosque located in Bani Matar, Sana’a Governorate.
“I am deeply concerned about the continuing destruction of Yemen’s unique cultural heritage. This is a direct attack against the country’s historical sites, and on the people’s history and identity that will affect the society over the very long term. This senseless violence must stop immediately” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General.

Several reports from the General Organization of Antiquities and Museums (GOAM) and the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities (GOPHCY) in Yemen, notably, have confirmed the destruction of the mosque by an air strike on Thursday August 25, 2016.

By James Tweedie:

Yemen: Homes bombed ahead of ceasefire

Thursday 17th November 2016

Saudi-led coalition continues onslaught a day before ceasefire

SAUDI-LED invasion forces bombed civilian homes in Yemen yesterday, the day before a new US-agreed ceasefire is due to take effect.

The aircraft of the nine-nation coalition hit the Bani Matar district of Saada province, south-west of the capital Sanaa, with three strikes, destroying private homes and public property in the village of Yazel.

Ibb University condemned the coalition after it bombed the faculty of medicine.

The same day, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he had agreed a truce, to begin today, with the Supreme Political Council (SPC) government in Sanaa.

It pledged to abide by the ceasefire provided the coalition and its Riyadh-based puppet government, led by former president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, did the same.

The SPC also said it was willing to participate in a unity government to be formed by the end of the year.

The deal was struck in neighbouring Oman, which has remained neutral in the war between the SPC and Washington’s Gulf Arab allies.

“There is a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, (not) just serious security and economic and political and humanitarian challenges,” Mr Kerry said after flying out.

“All the parties we talk to agree that there’s no military solution,” he stressed. “So if that’s the fact, you’ve got to get into: What is the political solution?”

But the Hadi faction immediately rejected the peace deal, calling it “unilateral.”

Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhalfi tweeted angrily: “The government doesn’t know and is not concerned with what Kerry announced.

“This shows a desire to foil peace efforts by trying to reach a deal with Houthis away from the government.”

But the US is not neutral in the war on Yemen, having sold arms to Saudi Arabia and other belligerents and provided in-flight refuelling support to more than 5,000 air raids.

Last month, US navy ships launched cruise missiles at the Yemeni coastline, supposedly in response to missile attacks — denied by the Republican Guard.

That came a week after the Saudis bombed a funeral in Sanaa, slaughtering some 150 mourners, in revenge for the sinking of an Emirati warship a week earlier.

Modern classical music in medieval Dutch church


Choir in Hooglandse Kerk, 10 September 2016

This photo shows the Leids Kamerkoor choir performing in the Hooglandse Kerk, St. Pancras church in Leiden, the Netherlands. Like all photos in this blog post, this is a cellphone photo.

We heard the choir there on 10 September 2016, Heritage Day.

Hooglandse kerk windows, 10 September 2016

The church was built in the late middle ages. It is in Gothic style, as one can see from the tall windows.

Buildings through Hooglandse kerk windows, 10 September 2016

Through the windows, one can see the buildings around the church; many of them ancient as well.

Tombstone, 10 September 2016

On the church floor, many tombstones, from, eg, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some of them still legible; some so worn that they are now illegible; some in which a few letters are still legible, like on the left of this photo. The window reflects on the church floor in this photo.

Light through windows, 10 September 2016

Beautiful late summer light through the windows.

The Leids Kamerkoor choir on this 10 September sang twentieth and twenty-first century classical music, from, eg, Dutch and Canadian composers.

In this 2015 video from a concert in Tampere, Finland, the Leids Kamerkoor sang nineteenth century music: “Die Nachtigall” (The Nightingale), by Mendelssohn.