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Why deviants of the world will never unite

Why deviants of the world will never unite Frank Zappa once said that the world cannot progress without deviation. That’s why deviants are so necessary. One can quibble over the definition of “progress” but if you replace it with the word “change”, then Zappa’s judgement seems to ring universally true. The world cannot change without […]

I am gonna study war some more.

Unlike the weather, everybody not only talks about war, but many actually do something about it. Some start them, others try to end them, and over the centuries mankind has devised all kinds of rules and regulations in a desperate attempt to control them. I’ve been invited by the UK Parliament to participate in a […]

Latvia’s pride of place, 97 years and counting

Americans will soon celebrate Thanksgivings Day, but for Latvians it comes today, November 18th, the 97th anniversary of the declaration of Latvia’s independence. Yes, 50 of those years were under foreign occupation, but the last 24 have given me and the people of Latvia a great deal to be thankful for. Yes, we’ve had our […]

More than just a monument (2001)

When I first visited Soviet-occupied Latvia in 1978 as a tourist, I was told it was best not to go near “The Monument.” There it was, this massive, imposing object with a soaring obelisk topped by bronze female figure, standing tall in the heart of Riga, and we tourists from America were told it would […]

What is Latvia for?

A few years back when nation branding expert Simon Anholt was interviewing civic leaders in Latvia he began each conversation with a simple question, “What is Latvia for?” Anholt usually poses this question to help governments get their priorities straight before committing themselves to a nation branding strategy. What politicians invariably discover is that the pursuit of economic growth, tourism, and investment (the usual reasons nations seek […]