Déjà Vu All Over Again

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Contagion, Quarantine, Fear

October 14, 2014

Listening to a recent news report on the quarantine and eventual death of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week from ebola in Dallas, the aspect of the story that struck me most was how a single individual stands at the center of a circle of contacts—and possible contagion—many of whom never knew the infected […]

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Déjà Vu All Over Again: Climate Change

February 8, 2014

Earlier this week I stood in a line that moved very slowly. As we waited, people began to tell weather stories–the natural consequence of five weeks of alternating snow and deep freeze. At first the stories focused on the efforts individuals had made to be in that line when the ticket office opened for a […]

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Déjà vu All Over Again: Closing the Border

November 1, 2013

Concerns that immigrants flooding across the border threaten the nation’s basic institutions. Construction of armed posts to defend the border. Passage of new, more restrictive immigration laws. Sound familiar? Welcome to Mexico in 1830. The story began when Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. At first the newly independent country welcomed settlers from the […]

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Déjà Vu All Over Again: The Immigration Law of 1924

July 19, 2012

America has always been a nation of immigrants, fueled by a constant stream of those with the energy and imagination to leave the familiar in search of something more.  And it has always had people who wanted to keep out the immigrants who came a generation or two after they themselves arrived. Between 1880 and […]

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Déjà Vu All Over Again: Back to Afghanistan

March 14, 2012

A while back I blogged about Great Britain’s first disastrous attempt to invade Afghanistan. That post barely scratched the surface of the story, so I was delighted when Shelf Awareness sent me Diana Preston’s The Dark Defile:: Britain’s Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842 to review. In The Dark Defile,  Preston tells the story of Great […]

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Déjà Vu All Over Again?: Attack on the British Garrison in Kabul, 1879

September 21, 2011

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the British government in India was always paranoid about the possibility of Russian influence on the northern border of Afghanistan.  (Some of the most paranoid even thought the Russians were behind the Indian Mutiny of 1857. *) In 1878, the amir of Afghanistan pushed British buttons when he accepted […]

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Déjà Vu All Over Again? Attack on British Garrison in Kabul, 1841

September 16, 2011

The story I’m about to tell is confusing. It’s about people you’ve never heard of, some of whom make bad decisions. In the end, people die and nothing much changes. In short, it’s a story about the West and Afghanistan. In 1838, Dost Muhammad Khan was the Amir of Afghanistan. He had seized the throne […]

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