I invite my history students to have coffee with several other Caribbean authors -- metaphorically, of course. Rather than historians, most are literary figures whose careers straddle between fiction and nonfiction (and between poetry and prose); authors like Nobel laureates V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad) and Derek Walcott (St. Lucia), Carlos Franqui...Read more
In the first part of this column, I shared my pedagogical strategy of asking students whether they would like to have coffee with the author whose works they read for class; this, as an invitation to reflect not only on the author's ideas and conclusions but also on his/her values and personality as manifested through the way they write: ...Read more
I advocate and promote reading. I do it through my columns, in the classroom and every opportunity I have. Of course, not of just any reading material; there is too much junk out there -- remember Snooki and The Situation from "Jersey Shore"? They have six books between them -- and not just any way of reading either, but deep, contemplative, ...Read more
"But how do we remove Stalin from Stalin's heirs?" Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko asked in his 1962 poem "The Heirs of Stalin." "While Stalin's heirs walk this earth," Yevtushenko closed the poem, "Stalin, I fancy, still lurks in the mausoleum."
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is an unabashed heir to Stalin: cult of personality, militarism, ...Read more
Before withdrawing from the smoldering cities of Bucha and Borodyanka in the first week of April, Russian soldiers raped, tortured and massacred countless civilians. Upon inspection of the carnage in those cities, yesterday, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan declared the obvious: "Ukraine is a crime scene."
Civilian ...Read more
After three weeks of war, Putin's army has captured only one city, Kherson, off the Black Sea coast; military and civilian resistance has been just too formidable. An increasingly frustrated and angry Putin has resorted to destruction instead: more indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilian targets -- apartment buildings, schools, over ...Read more
Growing up, perhaps because of my family's experience in Revolutionary Cuba, my mother often said that "we know how things start but not how they are going to end." That is generally true with revolutions and wars as well. We don't know how they are going to end. That said, knowledge about previous wars offers opportunities to foresee potential ...Read more
Russian troops are advancing against several Ukrainian targets. They have taken possession of the infamous, out-of-commission Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, have largely captured the southern city of Kherson, where Ukrainian soldiers and militias continue to resist. Today, they seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe's largest.
A brutal bombing...Read more
Since 2019, I have been working on a collection of opinion columns under the title "All History Is Contemporary History." Scheduled for publication sometime this year, its subtitle reveals what prompted me to embark on this project: "the unimaginable events of 2019-2022."
It doesn't get much more unimaginable than former President Donald Trump'...Read more