Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Arivaca Tower Round Up

Sharon E. Herbert of ghosts in the machine has a round up of all the recent big news stories on the Arivaca Tower. She has been doing a very good job of covering the news around this issue. It is kind of strange to see so many people I know personally quoted in big name news media.

Arivaca Tower Makes NY Times

The New York Times has now published an article on the Arivaca Tower.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Article on the Arivaca Tower

I found another good article on the Arivaca Tower here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Update on the Possible Repatriation of the Meskhetian Turks

In my last post I wrote about a bill in the parliament of the Republic of Georgia to allow tens of thousands of Meskhetian Turks to return to their ancestral homeland. According to the International Herald Tribune the bill passed by 134 to 14. It still has to go through two more readings. Even if it does pass there will still be obstacles to a large-scale return of the Meskhetian Turks to Georgia. But, the article in the International Herald Tribune notes that some 40,000 Meskhetian Turks have been actively trying to repatriate to Georgia even without the benefit of this new law. It is likely that this new law will increase the number of Meskhetian Turks attempting to settle in the land of their forefathers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Will Georgia Allow the Meskhetian Turks to Return Home?

Recently the Georgian government introduced a bill into parliament that would allow tens of thousands of Meskhetian Turks to return to their ancestral homeland. The story from Turkish Daily News can be found here. Stalin deported the Meskhetian Turks from Georgia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in November 1944. I have written about this ethnic cleansing here. The Soviet government did not allow the Meskhetian Turks to return home as it did the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush and Balkars. Instead they have remained dispersed in exile across Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and since 2004 the US. I have some more information on the subject in this post. The Meskhetian Turks have now been forcibly separated from their homeland for over 62 years.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Getting Ready

I am busy preparing for classes and getting ready for the big move. If anybody has any advice you can e-mail me. Just make sure you put something in the subject heading to alert me that it is not spam. Otherwise I might delete it without reading it. My e-mail is pohlcat [the at sign] rocketmail [the dot] com.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Leaving Arivaca

I am now in California for a brief interlude before leaving the country later this summer. Yesterday I packed up most of my books and papers and put them in the attic. I also gave my small music collection and hookah away to Chris O'Byrne in a farewell ceremony. This morning I flew from Tucson to Los Angeles and then to Orange County.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

14 June 1941 Baltic Deportations

I am too busy right now to write a new post for the 66th anniversary of the first mass wave of Soviet deportations of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians. So I will refer you to my post for the 65th anniversary of this event. Also Peteris Cedrins has some very good material on the Soviet deportations from Latvia at his site. The deportations received a special commemoration in the US this year with the opening of the Victims of Communism Memorial.


Early today I checked up on a number of pieces I have in the publication pipeline. That went fairly well. I heard back from three of the four people I wrote. I also sent off my last writing assignment to the editor today.

Later today did not go as well. For a couple of hours I thought I had lost a library book. I finally found it in a place it must have walked to on its own volition. I certainly do not remember putting it there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More on the Victims of Communism Memorial

My friend Cassandra Clifford in Washington DC has posted an excellent article on the opening of the Victims of Communism Memorial. Please go read it. If anybody finds any other good posts on this subject please let me know.

A Very Cool Post on Arivaca

Sharon E. Herbert has put up a very cool post about Arivaca. It says some very nice things about me.

Some Russian-Germans Returning to Kazakhstan

Ben Paarmann has put up an English language translation of a German article on the desire of some Russian-Germans in Germany to return to Kazakhstan. So far only about 2,000 out of a population of over 800,000 have actually returned to Kazakhstan from Germany. I am sure this population will grow in the future. But, I am also sure that those opting to return to Kazakhstan will remain a small minority.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Last Week in Arivaca

This is my last week in Arivaca. Next Sunday I will be flying to California for a while and then I will be leaving the US again for an extended period of time. It may be several years before I have a chance to visit Arivaca again. I will miss Arivaca, but it is time for me to move on. After three years of applying for hundreds of academic positions I have finally landed a post as an associate professor.

I came here almost two years ago with almost no possessions and very few expectations. At that time I had no idea when I would be leaving. I found myself in a unique community in the middle of the Sonoran Desert on the very edge of the US. I believe God sent me here for a reason. At first I had no idea what tasks I needed to accomplish or what lessons I needed to learn before I could leave here. All I knew is that when I finished what I needed to do in Arivaca that God would send me elsewhere. I have now reached that point.

Although I am probably not aware of all my accomplishments here. I think two stand out. First, I finished writing my first non-academic book, Catherine´s Grandchildren: A Short History of the Russian-Germans under Soviet Rule. A task made possible by the very helpful and friendly librarians of Arivaca. They managed to get me a wide variety of obscure sources in English, Russian and German through the magic of inter library loan. Their ability to get me books from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University libraries compensated for my lack of access to any research libraries.

Second, I managed to organize and host an international academic conference with absolutely no backing or funding. This was not an easy task. It was extremely difficult to get anybody to come out to Arivaca. Not even people from Southern Arizona could be enticed to actually show up. Despite having already sent in their abstracts the entire contingent of people from the University of Arizona dropped out without any justification less than two months before the conference. These people are on my permanent black list. Nevertheless I did end up with four speakers and myself. About thirty five people showed up from town to listen and ask questions. All the presentations and question sessions went very well. Given that there was a very real chance up until the last few days before the conference that I would be the only speaker to show up, I think it went pretty well.

I will now be leaving Arivaca with almost no material possessions. But, I have a lot more experience and knowledge than I did two years ago. I have had the privilege of living in a community unlike any other I have encountered. Here people still love their neighbors. They wave to you when you pass them on the road. If you are walking they will stop and give you a ride. They raise money for those here in need of medical care beyond their financial means. They organize frequent events with lots of very good home cooked food. Here on the frontier I found the last remains of an older more communitarian America. I am leaving here with love and peace in my heart.

US civilian internment of citizens and permanent residents of German origin during World War II

During World War II the US rounded up and interned almost 11,000 permanent residents and naturalized American citizens born in Germany. In a number of cases American born minor children accompanied their parents into the internment camps since there was no one else to care for them. This selective internment failed to abide by even the most basic standards of due process. For a long time the myth that the US government only interned civilians of Japanese descent during World War II has been perpetrated by the American media and educational system. Unlike the interned permanent residents from Japan and Japanese-Americans, none of the internees of German descent have ever gotten an apology yet alone compensation. But, things may be changing. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently had an editorial condemning the World War II internment of German permanent residents and German-Americans. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) are trying to get the US government to at least acknowledge this injustice. The continued refusal of the US government to even publicly admit to this mass violation of civil rights decades after compensating internees of Japanese descent is a travesty.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Arivaca Tower in the Washington Post

The Washington Post published a story today about the Arivaca Tower.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Finkelstein Denied Tenure

DePaul University has denied Norman Finkelstein tenure. The Chronicle of Higher Education has the story here. I think the decision to deny professors tenure because they are critical of the politically correct positions held by most academics sets a very bad precedent.

Victims of Communism Memorial

The Victims of Communism Memorial is set to be unveiled in Washington DC on 12 June 2007. For more information you can go to the official web site. The memorial is intended to honor all the victims of communist repression. This is a very large number of people from a great many countries. I can not begin to even outline the scale of this terror in a single blog post. But, below I have listed the nationalities deported in their virtual entirety by the Soviet government from their homelands to distant areas of the USSR with poor living conditions. In total they numbered nearly 2,000,000 people. Over 500,000 of them or more than one in four perished from the harsh conditions of the deportation and exile.

1. Russian-Koreans 1937

2. Russian-Germans 1941

3. Russian-Finns 1941

4. Karachais 1943

5. Kalmyks 1943

6. Chechens 1944

7. Ingush 1944

8. Balkars 1944

9. Crimean Tatars 1944

10. Meskhetian Turks 1944

New Link: Blog Devoted to Arivaca Tower

There is now a blog devoted to the Arivaca Tower. Southwind Dancer is a group blog maintained by local people from Arivaca. If you want to keep up with the story of the tower from a local perspective that is the place to go.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Arizona Fried Chicken

Tonight I made fried chicken. It was very good, much better than the fried chicken that claims to have originated in a state starting with the letter K. I dipped the chicken in a mixture of egg and milk. I then dredged it in bread crumbs spiced with paprika, thyme, sage, rosemary, nutmeg, dried chillies and lemon pepper. Finally, I pan fried it in oil. It turned out excellent. No greasy fast food franchise can compete with home cooking.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lack of Feedback

I wonder why I get so few comments on this blog? It seems that I have a very low ratio of comments to readers. Which means that probably nobody will comment on this post.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Top Ten Things I will Miss About Arivaca

Well, I suppose I should start putting down my final impressions of Arivaca for prosperity. I have less than two weeks left here. It will probably be quite some time before I return to visit. So during the next two weeks I am going to post a series of entries on what these last two years in Arivaca have meant to me. I am starting out with a list which will serve as a kind of outline for these posts.

1. My uncle

2. The rest of the very friendly and helpful people here

3. The library

4. The peace and quiet

5. The potlucks

6. The free concerts

7. The free lectures

8. The Arivaca Film Festival

9. The warm and dry weather

10. Blaster

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


This blog like the rest of my life is in a period of transition. I am not sure how much time and energy I will have to devote to it in the future. Right now I am mostly limiting myself to short journal type entries on my everyday life. I just do not have the extra hours and stamina to do any researched historical posts. They generally take about three hours or so to write. Some take longer. I am still not very clear about who reads this blog and what they come here to read about. But, I do know my family and friends read it to keep up on my life.

Yummy Things I Have Cooked this Last Week

As I mentioned before, Chris and Sara have a much better stocked kitchen than does my uncle. Tonight I cooked an omelet using fresh eggs, goat cheese, Serranos, sun dried tomatoes, tarragon and paprika. Two nights ago I made a great tomato based pasta sauce. I took fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and tomato sauce. I then added brown sugar, oregano, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, paprika and crushed dried chilies to the mixture. I cooked this concoction over low heat for two hours. It was mind numbingly good. Tomorrow I am going to make tacos. I think they will turn out quite well.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Well Again

If you have followed this blog semi-regularly over the last two years then you know that the well at Serenity Ranch frequently goes on strike. Last week the pump finally gave up the ghost after over 30 years of fitful work. Today my uncle and I extracted it from the well shaft. This was not an easy task. It took hours to hoist up by rope. Even wearing gloves I got a nasty blister on my right index finger. Pulling up the pump in 100 degree weather has totally worn me out. I am very grateful I will not have to do this again.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Work that needs to be done

I only have one writing project left to finish this summer. It is a peer review report for a journal article. I am going to try and get most of it done by Tuesday. Once that is done I am not tackling any intellectual tasks not directly related to my new job for at least a couple of months.

It looks like the pump on the well at my uncle's ranch finally died. Tomorrow I have to help him pull it up from the well shaft. The pump is over thirty years old so it is a miracle it lasted this long. It is also probably fortunate for my uncle that it died before I left Arivaca. Otherwise he would be stuck doing the heavy lifting needed to replace it by himself.

The daily chores at Chris and Sara's place are pretty easy. They are certainly a lot easier than pulling up the pump from the well is going to be. The amount of labor needed to maintain a small egg laying chicken farm is amazingly minimal.

Another two scholastic citations

I noticed two new citations for my first book, The Stalinist Penal System (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1997) in the last two days. This fall will celebrate the book's ten year anniversary. Despite its age it is still being cited in the current literature. The two new citations I came across today and yesterday are both from 2005. One is in Gennady Estraikh, In Harness: Yiddish Writers' Romance with Communism (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005). The other is in Golfo Alexopolous, "Amnesty 1945: The Revolving Door of Stalin's Gulag," Slavic Review, vol. 64, no. 2 (Summer 2005). That brings the total number of academic sources with citations of my published work that I have been able to verify up to 80.