The paper proposes a short reflection on the nature of the post war political transformation in Sierra Leone, taking the visual signs of the streets as a starting point. The author observed the post-conflict democratisation process over five years, between 2008 and 2012, and describes how reading the political slogans, bill boards and popular graffitis allowed her following the subtle socio-economic changes characterising the country. The underlying argument is that the largely externally led liberal peace building using foreign and local NGOs as engines of a deep social transformation was based on abstract promises that ultimately failed to realise. Without effectively changing people’s lives, these abstract promises normalised a value system that prepared a capitalist take offbut ten years after the end of the civil war capitalist development still worked only for a tiny minority, making many people doubt about the benevolent nature of globalisation.
A recent international conference, entitled Transition in Perspective offered an opportunity for the author to take stock of the achievements of the post-socialist economies since the regime change in 1989/90. The analysis was carried out in two dimensions, in the political and the economic one. Regarding the first one, the record is largely positive: many countries have regained their independence, although in some cases the price was high and the fundamentals of democracy are still missing. In civil wars and inter-ethnic fights far too many people were killed and/or displaced. Since about 2000, many countries fell in the hand of autocratic leaders. In terms of catching-up with the income levels of the advanced economies, less than half of the countries were truly successful. The people have good reasons to be disappointed.
While memory guarantees a degree of continuity between past and present, it is not without shortcomings. Powerless in the
face of the future and threatened by oblivion, memory has the ability to imprison individuals and communities alike in a version
of the past that has been promoted to the level of historical truth. This is why the work of Lebanese-Canadian playwright
Wajdi Mouawad (a rising figure in the world of French-language theatre) generally prefers the international kind of memory
provided by literature to the historical ties commonly invoked in family retellings of the past. Mouawad’s reworking of memory
is particularly present in his best-known play,Littoral (1997), which addresses the various ways in which institutionalized forms of memory prevent the development of individual
This article concentrates on his more recent playIncendies (2003), where historical memory no longer yields to literary memory, but rather superimposes itself on an intertextual canvas.
While obviously rewriting the Oedipus myth as told by Sophocles (whoseOedipus Rex becomes a “palimpsestuous” plot forIncendies), Mouawad’s text is also replete with references to the civil war in his native Lebanon. Most historical episodes (e.g. the
burnt-out bus of 1975, the Sabra and Chatila refugee camp massacres of 1982) are reworked in function of the dramatic plot,
and it would be unfair to reduceIncendies to a “message” or any other traditional form of “commitment”. Yet Mouawad does not fit the profile of Jean-Paul Sartre’s
“irresponsible” writer either: Lebanon’s civil war, far from being a mere screen onto which the action is projected, informs
this play as much as the oedipal plot does. It is indeed the combination of both semantic networks that allows a real working
through of memory, which is what is at stake here.
As Augustus returned to Rome in 13 BC, the Senate passed a constitutio to build in his honor a lasting altar of peace, the Ara Pacis Augustae, to signal with a major ceremony the new peace all over the Roman world, Gibbon’s Pax Romana. As we know from Ovid Fast. 1. 709–714, 3. 881–882, the Ara Pacis was the site of two annual sacrifices (on 30 Jan. and 30 March) to Pax, an innovation of the Augustan Age, for formerly Pax had been a minor goddess without a temple. The Augustan regime elevated a new form of Pax as a religious cult and made it acceptable to the Roman people, who had regarded Pax as the phenomenon of a foreign power too beaten down to resist Roman arms any longer and had no use for pacifism (in the modern sense), which would be seen only as cowardly in their dangerous world.
Augustus had started this process, perhaps not intentionally, back when he closed the Gates of Janus in 29. By bringing together Greco-Roman elements of Pax with Jupiter and Janus, he was able to forge a new religious cult to Pax Augusta that could appeal to the average Roman by its promise of prosperity and the absence of civil war. Foreign war was perfectly acceptable and not incompatible with this cult, but the emphasis was on domestic harmony and old traditional religious practices, even if the average listener could not understand some of these obligatory, archaic chants. For this reason, the third closing of the Gates of Janus very likely accompanied one of the Ara Pacis ceremonies.
Augustus also built on precedents from his divine father Julius, who had founded the towns Forum Iulii Pacatum (Fréjus, France) and Pax Iulia (Beja, Portugal) and issued Pax imagery on coinage to gain the moral high ground during the civil war. Augustus went one step further with larger sets of Pax coin issues to tell the people that he, not Antony, was trying to maintain peace when Cleopatra wanted war, and then a sequel after Actium that demonstrated his ability to prevail and restore order. The image of Pax Augusta evolved as it developed, but the epitome is the goddess we see on the East side of the Ara Pacis, surrounded by fertility and prosperity, in a state of security. Rome too would enjoy the same benefits.
The first humanist Latin epic in Hungary was written by the Transylvanian humanist of Moravian origin, Stephanus Stierxel
(or Taurinus, in his latinized name). The work appeared in 1519 in Vienna, under the title Stauromachia id est Cruciatorum Servile Bellum. The present study reviews the previous interpretations of the epic, which chose as its subject the 1514 peasants' revolt,
led by Gyrgy Dsza. Some of the interpretations state that the author's sympathy is expressed towards the noblemen, who fell
victim to the riots; some state the opposite: the author stands on the side of the peasants. According to the author of the
present study, neither of these views is well founded. He supports his opinion with genre-analysis, showing that the work
is an epic-parody, based on the Homeric Batracomyomachia, translated and made widely known by Reuchlin. On the other hand he shows that the author of the epic, following the Erasmian
Riccardo Bartholini, condemns both the arrogance of the aristocracy and the cruelty of the peasants: both classes help to
destroy the unity of Christian Europe, opening a way to the Islamic conquerors waiting at the borders. This is the reason
why the author of the epic chose Lucan's epic on the Roman civil war as his moral guide in his historic pessimism, and adapted
the motives of this work according to his own poetic goals. Imitation of Lucan in such format is unprecedented in the whole
European Neo-Latin literature.
In this paper I shall describe several iconographic documents attesting the resounding success of a few Dionysiac themes and, more generally, the vitality of Dionysism in the Augustan Age. These materials confirm that in the years of the triumph of Augustus no dichotomy between Dionysus and Apollo was perceived. Amidst the late civil war of the Roman Republic what was fearful was Antony regardless of his identification to Dionysus. Indeed, Dionysus, as Liber, civilizing god, benefactor of Mankind and winner of every enemy and threat, represented an ideal model for young Octavianus, in the same way as Romulus, Hercules and the Dioscouri had proven. In particular, the iconographies highlight that even the particular Dionysiac cult practised by Antony, influenced as it was by Hellenistic beliefs, continued to enjoy great status during the years of the new Augustan era. Indeed, in the first years of his government Augustus might well have taken advantage of the semantic of the Hellenistic royalty, implied by the symbolism inherent within the Alexandrine Dionysus triumphant.
The most basic eschatological conceptions of Islam are found already in the Qur’ān. The expansion of the Qur’ānic picture in the
includes new materials and conceptions and it reflects various religious, social and political processes in Muslim society in the first centuries to the
. This article offers explanations for some matters that seem to represent the migration of apocalyptic issues from non-Muslim sources into the
. It seems that the interpretation of Muslim apocalyptic traditions often requires a search of the parallel Jewish and Christian literatures, and the issues chosen here might serve as a methodological model to demonstrate this. We see here (as in other studies) that the Muslim apocalyptic traditions and the Jewish and Christian apocalypses evince similarity in basic ideas, perceptions, attitudes, terminology, structures, and other features of the genre; still, the Arabic traditions already reflect the Islamic system of values; they were created against the background of social, religious and political settings of early Muslim society. This also attests to a certain similar cultural background of Jews, Christians and Muslims, to similar responses and interpretations they gave (in form and content) to their fears, agonies and hopes, in time of crisis, political disorder, military confrontations or civil wars.
This article interrogates the application of postcolonial theory to U.S.-American history and culture and argues that such
an application helps us to rethink postcolonialism’s relationship to the concept of the nation-state. While current postcolonial
theory has become disillusioned with models of the postcolonial nation, which frequently seem to mirror imperialist structures,
American Studies’ application of postcolonial theory to American cultures of imperialism is arguing for a rethinking of the
relationship between post-colonialism and nation. On the territory which emerged as the contested space of the U.S.-American
nation, we encounter various competing imagined communities during all historical phases, making impossible the clear temporal
or spatial demarcation of coloniality from post-coloniality. U.S.-American history thus necessitates a rethinking of nationhood
not only as a spatially, but also as a temporally flexible concept. To provide an example, I draw on John Brown’s 1859 raid
on Harpers Ferry which contributed to the tensions that led the nation into the Civil War.
The paper analyzes European Union – Middle East and North Africa (EU-MENA) relations from the perspective of complex interdependencies. As a theoretical framework, it outlines the application of Barry Buzan’s Security Complex Theory on the Euro-Mediterranean (or EU-MENA) region-pair. This involves the provision of a general overview on the several sectors of interdependence between the two regions, namely the military, political, economic, societal and environmental sectors. The paper then turns towards the deeper elaboration of the economic sector and identifies it as the most potent sector for European activism, where the Union could work most effectively on building a long-term solution for the stabilization of the MENA. As conclusions, the paper argues for a deeper economic integration between the two regions, which would provide opportunities for the MENA’s population to be economically successful “at home”, therefore reducing not only the highly visible migration pressure on the EU, but also other security threats such as civil wars, organized crime and weapon proliferation.
Places of Pilgrimage in Hungary to Images of Mary said to Shed Tears - Ideological Instruments of the Catholic Restoration and the Church Union - Miraculous tears or drops of blood shed by paintings or statues are found at the origin of a few Marian places of pilgrimage in Hungary. Contemporary souces recorded nine cases in the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Four of these are Greek Catholic (Uniate) places, such as Máriapócs, the famous place of pilgrimage in Eastern Hungary. These miraculous events are linked to the situation of the country and the church at that time. This was the period when the Turks were driven out of Hungary, the time of the Counter-Reformation, the wars of independence against the Habsburgs and of civil wars. The tears were inter-preted at the time to mean that Mary was sorrowing for the people's sufferings and for the division of Christendom, longing for the restoration of Christian unity and reorganisation of the Catholic Church. The miraculous happenings also had an anti-Protestant slant and served the cause of conversion of Ortho-dox Ruthenians and Romanians to the Catholic Church, and organisation of the Greek Catholic Church.