By Joel S. Migdal, Professor.
Insight from Tel Aviv, Israel.
Sitting in the Betty White Café (that’s right!) in Tel Aviv, I have come to the conclusion that Israel is a highly schizophrenic society. I am a couple of blocks from the beach, where the evening sunsets over the Mediterranean are breathtaking. And all around me people seem to be enjoying life to the fullest. They sit in cafés and bars until all hours of the night, sometimes spilling out onto the street in the warm summer nights long after midnight. The restaurants are full—and they are expensive. Cultural events are packed. World recession? I don’t see it on the streets of downtown Tel Aviv. At the old Tel Aviv port, now converted into a happening place of shops, shows, and bikinis, traffic jams to get in last until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. This is Barcelona on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean.
By Julie Mendel, B.A. student.
Insight from Kagbere, Sierra Leone.
Previously: On Hunger & Loving Humans & Manifesto (For Clarke Speed)
Sento is twenty-seven years old, maybe twenty-eight. She’s got a figure, a voice, a hairdo, and an attitude that all say city instead of village, Los Angeles instead of rural Sierra Leone. Mostly, it’s her attitude.  Sento’s confidence is inexplicable, an anachronism; like many other things about the lives of women I know in Kagbere, it seems all but impossible. Keyword being but. Because Sento is there, on that porch, wearing a fitted t-shirt and enormous silver earrings, selling someone a packet of sugar or laughing with some man on a motorbike, radiating confidence the entire time. Impossible, but possible. […]
By Elizabeth Cook, B.A. student.
Insight from Berlin, Germany.
Living in Berlin, a city caught up in a selective forgetting and remembering of the physical past, it is not hard to stumble across something with a hidden or little-known history. On July 20th, a few classmates and I went exploring in the city, and came upon the Memorial to the German Resistance, also known as the Bendlerblock. The Bendlerblock is better known through the context of Operation Valkyrie; the area was used as the headquarters for the Wehrmacht officers who carried out the July 20 plot against Adolf Hitler. General Olbricht, Colonel von Stauffenberg, Werner von Haeften, and Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim were executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the building for conspiracy. Currently, the courtyard is home to the Memorial to the German Resistance. […]