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Has the Soviet Jewry movement anniversary forgotten Soviet Jews themselves?

February 19, 2013
March for Soviet Jews pin - commemorating Soviet Jewry movement anniversary

Have you joined the virtual march to commemorate the real march for Soviet Jews yet? On December 6, 1987, some 250,000 people rallied in Washington, DC, to demand immigration rights for Soviet Jews. If you missed it, you can “remember” by joining the virtual march. There are a lot of people talking about the Soviet…

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The social media revolution, World War II, Syria, and oh, Walmart

August 17, 2012
Wal-Mart Supercenter Parking Lot in Virginia

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media – mostly Twitter – and whether the increased speed and availability of global communicating is really going to make the world a better place (see: every Twitter revolution, everywhere). But Twitter just reflects ourselves back to us – the good and the bad. It’s not going to…

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An interview with Swimming in the Daylight author Lisa Paul

July 17, 2012
Cover of Swimming in the Daylight by Lisa Paul

I am really excited about today’s post – an interview with Lisa Paul, whose memoir, Swimming in the Daylight, is about her time in Moscow and friendship with Soviet refusenik and dissident Inna Meiman. In 1985, after returning from her trip, Lisa went on a hunger strike to bring attention to her friend’s plight and…

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CLOSED: A hunger strike! A memoir! A giveaway!

July 13, 2012
Cover of Swimming in the Daylight by Lisa Paul

I’m very excited to announce that I’m doing a book giveaway in the next issue of the Soviet Samovar newsletter. Those of you who follow my page on Facebook can also sign up through the giveaway tab on the page. In 1985, an American student named Lisa Paul went on a 25-day hunger strike, to…

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A Russian primer on making journalists irrelevant

June 9, 2011
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya's grave

  In Russia today, journalists are murdered like Anna Politkovskaya, beaten like Oleg Kashin and intimidated like me, but — as terrible as this will sound — that is not the real problem. The real problem is that journalists are ignored. The risks they take in challenging Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchy have ceased…

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Twitter revolution? Sorry, the revolution is not being tweeted

February 23, 2011
Twitter Revolution: Gadhafi Tweet

Hanging out on Twitter makes for an odd perspective on world events. Like Revolution 2011 World Tour. There’s an expectation to comment on these major upheavals. And at the same time, an expectation that seeing lunch tweets interspersed with desperate pleas from protesters is meant to make us uncomfortable. It does. (But then, we’re also…

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On technology and activism, and the rest of the world

October 28, 2010
On technology and activism - businessman on phone while waiting for train

There’s a funny blindness that sets in when you live in technology, where updates from the CEO of a computer company become as central to your news sense of the world as the fate of 33 miners in Chile. Are the release of a colour Nook, or the ups and downs of a white iPhone,…

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A Q&A on the Soviet Jewry movement with Gal Beckerman

September 23, 2010
Book cover for Gal Beckerman's When They Come for Us We'll Be Gone

When I first started this blog, I’d stated that very little has been written about the Soviet Jewry movement, and that most of it focuses on the movement in North America and on the better known refuseniks such as Natan Sharansky. A new book coming out today goes a long way to undo all that.…

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Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 3: We Weren't All Refuseniks

August 18, 2010

*This is the third in the series on the Refusenik documentary. Read the first two posts here (Part 1: Defining Moments) and here (Part 2: The Rescuers and the Rescued). As I wrote in my first post on the Refusenik documentary screening, the evening gave me a chance to see the different levels of knowledge…

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Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 2: The Rescuers and the Rescued

August 17, 2010

*This is the second in a series. Missed my earlier posts? Catch up here: Refusenik Documentary Screening Part 1: Defining Moments I was talking recently about the Refusenik documentary and my Edmonton screening to a couple of people, both Canadian Jews here in Toronto. The Soviet-Jewry cause had been a monumental issue for Canadian and…

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