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img087Yes, there is a big difference between the European mindset in protesting and the American one! Here is a small piece of evidence from decades ago, found in an American magazine (Horizon Magazine) of 1966!

Most of Europe has shared a common history in spite of differences in culture, language, and borders. The common thread was the Second World War that changed the culture and the borders, as well as, in Eastern Europe only, the obligatory introduction of the Russian language in many countries. Entire ethnic populations, either perished or were forcefully removed.

What remained ingrained in each population was a “collective memory” of that experience, lasting well into the 1950’s and 60’s and beyond.

In the picture above and below, we see dolls hanging from a building as a reminder to the passersby. Cities are about people. People are the ones who built it and who destroyed it. A collective memory hangs on the outside wall of the building, as if the forever silent dolls wanted to tell their own story to those “passing by” and not taking note! We are all passersby of history in the making. The “silence” speaks for those who could not tell their story as there were too few survivors left!

img083The protest was really about the effects of City Planning and Urbanization of century old cities, and the special relationship between architecture and people.

The city fathers did not care. After much more protests, they razed  the largely dilapidated quarters to the ground, as if they could erase “memories” and “guilt”. Under the guise of progress, they built a Metro for the “ collective greater good of all“, and a new City Hall.

Old “Mokum”, as Amsterdam used to be called since the Sixteenth Century in Yiddish,  meaning place or safe haven, the town was also referred to as the New Jerusalem by the Jewish inhabitants. Mokum was adopted as a slang word, by the majority of Amsterdam-mers. Those “natives“, born in the city Jewish and non-Jewish alike, had finally disappeared.

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