October 9, 2014 |
AS THE United States charges once more into war, little debate has centered on the actual utility of war. Instead, policymakers and pundits have focused their comments on combating the latest danger to our nation and its interests as posed by Islamic State militants. In late August, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed that Islamic State was an "imminent threat to every interest we have" and that the sophisticated group was "beyond anything we've seen. " With few dissenting voices, either in Congress or in the American media, U.S. air forces plunged again into the unstable region of the Middle East.
October 8, 2014 |
By activating its nuclear option and cancelling its teachers' contract, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission took an action Monday that could remake the city's schools and have national implications. The unilateral step at a morning meeting has already set off a battle. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers received no advance word of the action - a unanimous vote taken at an SRC meeting called with minimal notice. The move will likely result in a legal challenge to the takeover law the SRC believes gives it the power to bypass negotiations and impose terms.
October 4, 2014 |
For nearly 70 years, a mystery plagued the Jaworski family. On Sept. 10, 1944, Conshohocken native Stephen Jaworski was killed in action while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. For the family of nine children, of which Stephen was the oldest, closure never came because they did not know where or how Jaworski died. Despite never having met him, Stephen's niece, Dorothy Jaworski, took it upon herself to solve this family mystery. Her research would not only result in a book about her uncle's exploits but a pathway in France named after her late uncle.
October 1, 2014 |
Despite a decade of periodic searches, including inquiries by a Philadelphia detective, no one has located Little Ty. He was a soldier sent from Philadelphia to Vietnam in 1967, with the war in full fight and casualties mounting. All that remains - all that can be found - is the message he scrawled on the bunk of the troop ship that carried him to war. And the voices of men who shared the dread and boredom of similar voyages. "You're semi-relaxed because you're not in the war yet," said Army veteran George Stankovich, 67, of Matawan, N.J., "but you're nervous because you know you're going to be there.
September 26, 2014
IT TOOK documentarian Ken Burns more than 11 hours to document the devastation of the Civil War. It took the creators of "The Civil War - The Musical" about a fifth of that time to convey with equal power and intensity, the story of the defining episode in our nation's history. There is much to praise about the production at Hammonton's Eagle Theatre, which runs through Oct. 5, beginning with the surprisingly solid and affecting score, which defies major expectations. Going in, the idea of recounting such a brutal and universally destructive event via contemporary musical formats, including rock and country, seemed frivolous and lightweight at best, trivializing and disrespectful at worst.
September 25, 2014 |
THERE ARE some questions that seniors in high school should never have to ask. Questions that are deep, philosophical and largely unanswerable. Queries that can, if you let them, stunt your growth, stifle your ambition or paralyze your progression. However, for Haverford School senior running back and linebacker Phil Poquie, a single question and all its permutations, weigh heavily on his mind, but also spur him toward success. When civil war erupted in his native Liberia, Poquie was just 2 years old. His family fled to the United States, sent for by a grandfather who lived in Staten Island, N.Y., to begin life anew, rich with possibilities.
September 21, 2014 |
One of the casualties of Syria's civil war is history. Five of the country's six World Heritage sites have "significant damage" and some buildings have been "reduced to rubble," according to a new report that includes work by University of Pennsylvania experts. The report, which was released this week, relied on high-resolution satellite photos to chronicle damage to mosques, Roman buildings, and a Byzantine castle. The Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote the assessment with help from the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Syrian Heritage Task Force.
September 20, 2014 |
We usually hear about the previous century's two worldwide conflagrations as separate events. But what if we studied World War I and World War II in continuity with each other as part of one historical wave - a wave that saw the death of more than 88 million people. This is the approach taken by the makers of History channel's World Wars , a unique 270-minute documentary mini-series that looks at the three decades between 1914 and 1945 in unison. After all, as historians have argued, Adolf Hitler's worldview was deeply shaped by Germany's defeat in WWI and the humiliating armistice it was forced to sign.
August 31, 2014 |
The worn, leather-bound diaries, each about the size of a smartphone, reveal a voice rarely found in print. In them, Emilie Davis, a young housekeeper and seamstress, chronicles her life as a free black woman in Philadelphia during the Civil War. "To day has bin a memorable day and i thank god i have bin sperd to see it," Davis wrote in an entry dated Jan. 1, 1863, the day the Emancipation Proclamation became official. It is the first sentence in a series that fills three pocket diaries, recounting Davis' life from 1863 to 1865.
August 25, 2014 |
A child struggling for breath after a nerve-gas attack; a nurse attending to victims of barrel bombs; the tears of a Syrian doctor after a missile destroyed his hospital. Such are the images that haunt the days and nights of Rim Albezem, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a humanitarian-aid group of medical professionals of Syrian descent. "People have the capacity to be very, very monstrous," Albezem said Tuesday, the same day Islamic State extremists released a video depicting the decapitation of American journalist James Foley, who was abducted in Syria two years ago. SAMS wants to be an antidote, said Albezem, 46. "It shows the capacity for good.