Secret histories

One hundred years after Margaret Sanger opened her birth control clinic in Brooklyn, I learn that ISIS’s system of rape relies on birth control – the irony of it all. We are listening to Jill Lepore, American history professor at Harvard, who is reading to us her book about the secret history of Wonder Woman – a story that includes Margaret Sanger, the emancipation, voting rights and feminism at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a fascinating documentary about the things most people now take for granted. We have come a long way in 100 years.

I am reading, in parallel, another secret history, which is the Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh, a book published two decades ago. In 10 short pages it toppled, at least for me,  the statue of JFK as an eminent statesman and upright man, which I thought he was. Clinton’s affair with ML, if it was the only one, is a minor trespass compared with the behavior of someone so revered by so many. I sometimes run into men named Kennedy, as a first name, in Africa. If only people knew.

On Friday Axel and I presented three slide shows at the Manchester Essex regional high school during International Week, for 7 to 9 graders, about Mongolia and Afghanistan. I had responded to an ad in the Manchester Cricket, for speakers from the community who travel a lot. I included a trivia quiz on Mongolia and the two best teams received (worthless) banknotes from around the world (first prize) and a bag of coins (second prize). It served the double purpose of relieving me of stuff I don’t know what to do with, while rewarding students with things other than candy.

We showed up in burqa and the coat best known from Karzai, which Axel received as a gift from his students at SOLA. The preparation of the slide show about Afghanistan brought back many wonderful memories.

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