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Completely Different.” I wonder if our friends in the Monty Python troupe ever predicted that the phrase they made popular would ever be used to introduce contemporary art from Croatia.

 


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For once I'm writing as I travel. Today I took this photo of the world's second largest administrative building. The largest is the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The building you see here is the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania. It was ordered in 1983 and is still not completed. But it houses the two houses of government and has somewhat endless meeting rooms. It is so large that a good part of its space is empty.

The Palace, which covers 82 acres and is 15 stories high (five underground) is the last effigy of the now dead president of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu. He and his wife Elena (the Prime Minister) were shot by a firing squad immediately after a trial that lasted less than two hours on Christmas Day 1989. Their story and that of Romania during their “reign” as self-appointed king and queen of Romania is a tough story. This is a rough photo scooped from YouTube, but it shows the primitive nature of the killing of the President and the Prime Minister.


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In 1984 this historic city hosted the Winter Olympics to world-wide acclaim. In part, that success flowed from the proximity of great mountains for skiing and bobsled. Little did anyone know eight years later those mountains would host an invading force that would hold siege on Sarajevo for more than three years.

From April 1992 until February 1996 as many as 13,000 troops fired down from the mountains at the folks of Sarajevo. Each day for 1395 days those troops fired on average 4,000 rounds down into Sarajevo. Artillery, mortar, rifle and machine gun fire killed 10,615 people and wounded more than 50,000. The people of Sarajevo could barely hang on, but with almost no weapons, little food and water they survived.The siege of Sarajevo was endured three times longer than the Second War siege of Stalingrad, and more than a year longer than Leningrad.

We thought in the 1990's that we were in modern times. Yet we failed to communicate, failed to help, failed to resolve problems before the problems turned to genocide. How did this happen?


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A lonely dog rolls

On the carpet of a sidewalk cafe.


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This stunning fortress town perched on the clear blue Adriatic Sea is clearly a world heritage view. But what is most unique about Dubrovnik is its people's history of surviving. Yet surviving while striving for and achieving justice, peace and fairness. This once powerful city state dates back well over 1,500 years. And since that time the people have kept the city alive by striking a balance between power and finesse: using walls and diplomacy.


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I was surprised, well maybe I wasn't. No, no I was surprised to hear how mighty this little nation has been.Back in 1565 the tyrannical Ottomans lay siege for several months, but they finally gave up. But the story goes back a bit further than that. This was the view from my hotel room over the active harbor.



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About This Place…

"This website is dedicated to the many people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have suffered and died."

 

The writer was a journalist, prosecutor, and Canadian soldier who is now trying to help the people who live in the DR Congo.

 

The photographs and the commentary here are solely those of the writer and his pet dog named "Bark." The United Nations and MONUSCO have nothing to do with this website.

Similarly, the township of Puskokum in eastern Tennessee is equally not interested.