Wednesday, March 5, 2014

History doesn't repeat itself, but it occasionally rhymes

For the nerdy-history-minded among us ... this is a particularly auspicious time to be talking about Crimea. 160 years ago, it was during the Crimean War that modern military medicine was created - hygiene, battlefield sanitation and the like - due in no small part to the efforts of Florence Nightingale. It was during that war that modern battlefield logistics (telegraphs and railroads) were introduced. And sixty years ago this week, according to most reports, Khruschev handed over Crimea in a strange fit of drunken exuberance to Ukraine from Russia.

I was discussing several of these points (plus, you know, the actual work we're doing on the ground with the help of our donors and federations) with colleagues at the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest, NJ, this morning. But I couldn't help checking my facebook feed during some downtime ... and saw this comment from my inspiring colleague Ofer Glanz, our Director for the Former Soviet Union. "Flying to Odessa. German soldiers doing their way to Odessa; The Russian army is in Crimea. Yes it is 2014"

Below is the photo Ofer took on the plane. History always repeats itself, Marx said, first as tragedy and then as farce. But William Faulkner said it better: "The past isn't dead. In fact, it's not even past."

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