The reading list for the New York State Common Core English/Language Arts curriculum looks like someone took a handful of darts and through them at a wall with boxes labeled with different grade levels. There are no discernible themes and at a first glance no patterns at all.
In The Roses Underneath, a confident first novel by C.F. Yetmen, the details of one German female's wily survival skills are in the forefront against the backdrop of the Monuments Men cataloguing fine art stolen, sold and hidden during the Holocaust.
In eight words, the German Jewish philosopher summed up the monumental challenge art has faced after the horrors of the Holocaust: How can art retain its redemptive and curative powers after such methodical human extermination?
Muhammed Jusic from Bosnia: "The Holocaust is not just our common history, it could, as my own Bosnian experience shows, easily become our present and future if we all do not learn the valuable lessons that it can teach us."
Perhaps it is solidarity with the victims of Damascus that has caused Hollande and France to voice their determination, and now to assume a leading role. As if to declare, 'We know, we have been there, it can not be permitted to happen again."
A couple of days ago I was in a deeply melancholic state because of various personal struggles, including health and financial issues and an ex-wife I still love, but it all is leavened with the sense that as one approaches the end of life, the world becomes a much more apocalyptical place.
For a brief moment I grasped this elusive sense of commonality as Catholics and Jews stood together in the former gates of hell listening to sublime music invoking solidarity, compassion and the universal yearning for heaven.
As Wallis Annenberg, of the Annenberg Foundation, said: "Helmut Newton is one of the most powerful and influential photographers of the past century -- the place where art and fashion and subversion and aspiration all collide."