Jiri Gruntorad, a bricklayer-turned-librarian, replied to Communist repression by working to save thousand of then-illegal books and pamphlets. Known as samizdat, they symbolized the period’s rich dissident culture. A signer of the famous Charta 77, Gruntorad now runs Prague’s ‘Libri Prohibiti,’ akind of living memorial to free speech.
Hungarian thinker and politician Istvan Bibó was the last minister left at his post when Soviet troops entered the Budapest parliament in 1956. Rather than flee to avoid arrest, he rushed to finish his famous "For Freedom and Truth" proclamation. His 50-year-old views are growing increasingly pertinent.
Serbian Dragolijub Kojcic has worn many hats, including philosopher, journalist, and politician. He now heads a new party known as Serbia 21.His goal to encourage Serbs to membership in the European Union as an extension of their national identity and a part of their destiny. But in the bitter Belgrade atmosphere, persuasion comes hard.
By the thousands, Tibetan refugees embark on a perilous journey across the Himalayas to reach Nepal and Katmandu, which has a flourishing Tibetan neighborhood. Most of those who make the journey areadolescents and children who have sent away by their despairing parents.They hope their Diaspora children will ensure the maintaining ofTibetan traditions far from home. But surviving the trek isn’t easy.
The Kinner people live in the Indian Himalayas on the border with Tibet and see themselves as communing constantly both with gods and malevolent spirits, whose mischief dictates their day-to-day existence.Most of their villages arelocated in the proximity of Mount Kailash, considered the ancestral home of Lord Shiva. Entering into their world means putting Western concepts on hold and making room for oracles, nature-worship, exorcism, animal sacrifice, and the casting of spells.
Being a foreign correspondent also means sampling local food, sometimes for long stretches..In culinary terms, the Middle East is a particularly rich beat for a visiting Westerner reporter. Whether you're at a banquet with Jordan's royal family in Amman or snacking on what's available while under mortar fire in Afghanistan, the region never fails to deliver an interesting meal. Some offerings are delicious, others unbearable, while few staples arerepeated endlessly. British journalist Robert Fisk takes his own tour.
Bangkok-born Dutchwoman Dona Holleman has practiced yoga for 50 years. She played a major role in its Italian development. But she objects to the way it's taught and received in the West, where she says the practice exists to soothe egos and rein in waistlines. As a result, she's created an approach that uses the creatures closest to her heart: Horses. In her Normandie center, she tries teaching students and visitors how the life and movements of horses can teach people how to live their lives better and more purely.