Monday, January 9, 2012

13 What the February 18 Referendum means for Latvia.

The forces of stagnation in Latvia are on the campaign trail again. The head and chief supporter of a stagnant Latvian government no doubt is Arnis Cimdars, Chief of the Voting Commission.

At the time of the previous Referendum on the dismissal of the Saeima, I argued that next to “Yes” and “No”, there also ought to be a third window or box to mark with a “Not-Vote”’; in short, the voter is given the opportunity to opt out of the oligarch enclosed system that dominates Latvia.

Cimdars deemed any such suggestion as a betrayal of the system. He hardly has the smarts to perceive that the system he is supporting is a “Dead End”. The latest referendum—to be held on February 18th—illustrates just how Dead End the current Latvian government is.

While the origin of the Referendum is the successful campaign of the Russian population to gather signatures for the recognition of the Russian language as a minority language in Latvia, the Referendum does not mention the Russian language at all.
Instead, the Referendum is now formulated in a way that does not allows for changes in the Latvian Constitution. In other words, if one votes “For” (ostensibly recognizing Russian as a minority language in Latvia), one is also voting “Against” any changes in the Constitution.

Wnile the “no changes” in the Constitution are said to affect only the first four Amendments, a vote “Against” is a vote for a Dogmatic and closed system. An “Against” vote is building a dam, behind which will build up so much silt, that an eventual bursting of the dam is inevitable. This is as dangerous to the “renewed” Latvian State as was the near exclusive Right Wing original Latvian State (there was no Left Wing to mitigate the draconian changes instituted by the Soviets).

While, on the whole, I am a supporter of the original State system of Latvia, including the Ulmanis regime (I have condemned Ulmanis for his failure to sacrifice himself for Latvia, even as he presumed to seize monopoly power over the State), the “renewed” system of the government is no less closed than, the “pre-” and “in situ-” Ulmanis governments.

Though I have said that I will wait until the time when I am in the voting booth before deciding whether I vote “For” or “Against”, at the present, I believe that the necessity for changes in the Latvian Constitution are a question of do or die for Latvia. Therefore, the tilt that the Referendum (as is) invites is:

1.     a “For” vote;
2.     also a “not-vote”, because it increases the chances for changing the Latvian Constitution, with all of the Amendments for reconsideration;
3.     An “Against” vote will create a mute and zombie-like Latvian State.
One of the reconsiderations for the Constitution which I support is opting out of the European Union (now in the process of collapsing), and the reestablishment of Latvia’s sovereignty, which the “renewed” post-Soviet Latvian government surrendered to Brussels and the banks. This ought to be part of a changed 1st Amendment).

As for the Latvian language, I am sure it will stay the dominant language in Latvia, if only because it is also in the interests of Latvian-Russians that it remain so .

Incidentally, I have a new BLOGSPOT. See:
of course the "my" is used only because "the" was unavailable.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I have a new BLOGSPOT. See:
13 Traveling “To Be There”, but Not As A Tourist

The Romanizing virus or Wealth virus began in the West, and was also rife to spread through various other centers rife for “oligarchic civilizations”. In my previous blog, I wrote about its source as being the king’s relatives, whom the king, in order to rid himself of rivals, found “jobs” in “cultural and spiritual” institutions, which the king founded for his otherwise unemployed heirs.

Much of the naked aggression against the spiritual and cultural leaders of an earlier era has by now been covered by layers of censorship, many book burnings, many false historians. Though covered up fingerprints may on occasion be recovered by the application of certain chemical dusts or liquids, it is a tedious job. The job may also be delayed by design, by withholding funds for investigatory work. In a country like Latvia, history is a “well known unknown”. Such history of Latvia as was written during its nationalist heyday, is by now over half a century old, and history professors are by design kept political reactionaries, because the “worn out” histories they teach are kept such as they are by making a history professor’s tenure ever insecure and dependent of the largesse of oligarchs. Academics are, on the whole, intolerant of each other’s views, because the monies available to keep them in their job are scarce. If a view ever becomes established and “main-stream”, it is becomes near impossible to dislodge.
One element able to break down academic reactionism in our time is the availability of information on the internet. This permits laymen to replace the academic conformists. While never easy, such a displacement of academics is taking place today. This author, too, is happy to be bringing fresh ideas into the arena, where reactionism has been the rule for many decades. While breaking through academic resistance is no easy job, it does take place, if only because alternate theories of history and pathways that history took are as interesting as they are fresh describing new analytic possibilities of how these took place.

Because our own day is so filled with violence, it is easier to persuade people of how violence “worked” in days gone by. This state of affairs allows for the suggestion that “violence” is an artifice of oligarchies. This is why it is possible for violence to suggest that “non-violence” must play a greater role in combating violence, the violent ones then arguing with so much more energy that their doings are  “non-violent”.

It cannot be denied that the Baltic and Old Russia regions experienced a major episode of violent intimidations at about the 9th to 11th centuries OE. The mass graves of this experience have not been found or located, which is one reason why the present system, built on the “good news” violence claims to be bringing, escapes a direct challenge and makes possible for the establishment to argue that ill effects of such violence left no long-lasting ill effects, and that the present government is, therefore, healthy.

So what was the actual violence brought against proto-Latvians and proto-Russians like? I will go for an example of what the Real role of violence is to Central America at about the 15th century. Because the Aztec civilization is so far from Europe, the violent elements of our own civilization are not as repressive about the information of how violence works at far-away places.

Writes David Carrasco in his book “City of Sacrifice”:

“From this campaign, 2,300 warriors were brought to Tenochtidan and, reflecting the two quotations [One here: “More can be said for the thesis that all orders and forms of authority in human society are founded on institutionalized violence.—Walter Burkertk Homo Necans.”] that opened this chapter, they were sacrificed while the king initiated the ritual killing.” (p. 76)

In short the “wealth” or “oligarch” virus marches on.

No lesser violence took place in Eastern and Central Europe, as the cousins of Aztecs from the European West mistook Byzantium for Jerusalem, and because their mythology did not recognize either Jersika or Byzantium as their imaginary Jerusalem, they could and did slaughter the people of Jersika and Byzantium at will. They only let up, when the indigenous people agreed to the removal of activist John and his replacement with passivist Jesus.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 Traveling “To Be There”, but Not As A Tourist

When I began about the “wealth virus” and claimed it was introduced about the 9th century, at least one reader refused to believe that the first oligarchs were the brothers and cousins of the kings in the 9th century or that the oligarchs of today could have inherited the virus—or have been colonized by it—from the king’s favored. It seemed unbelieveable to the reader that compulsion to amass wealth could be at least 11 centuries old and as deadly and worse than the H5N1 bird flu virus.

I am tempted to write this blog my favourite anthropologists (Michael Taussig) and his interest in contrasting the colonial violence practiced by the British and the egalitarianism of the natives of Tierra del Fuego. What makes Taussig’s interest interesting to me is how the “distance” of London from Tierra del Fuego helped exterminate the natives of that land.

The “distance” that I have in mind is immediately accessible to everyone who reads these words. It exists between the viewer of this screen and the screen itself, or the viewer of any news on television and the screen the news comes from. The screen may present us with bodies thrown about a market place, where a terrorist has blown up himself and those about him. The “distance” protects the viewer from any contact with the violence, and whatever he-she may think of the event, he-she has no effect on either its origin or denoument of it.

Professor Taussig does not use “distance” in quite the same sense that I am using it. His example of “distance” is by way of an example that is more direct, a first encounter, in which the distance is “the space between”—“a colonial space par excellence”—on one side of which space a dancing British tar is pulling faces and on the other side of which the natives imitate his every movement. Since Taussig’s expertise is mimesis, Taussig insists that mimesis may persist through myth and is true to tradition.

While discussing mimicry in native ritual dances, Taussig presents us with a story first recorded by ethnographers Spencer and Gillen (students of the Arunta people in Australia):

“…at the close of the nineteenth century when Spencer and Gillen were writing their account of Central Australia, a young man born and bred in Tierra del Fuego, E. Lucas Bridges, saw the spirit of Hachai come out of the lichen-covered rocks. He was painted all over with red and white patterns. Grey bird’s down was stuck over him, and he wore a horned mask with red eyeholes. No horned animal is indigenous to Tierra del Fuego, noted Bridges, yet a hunter of wild cattle would have admired the actor’s performance. ‘His uncertain advances, his threatening tosses of the head, his snorting and sudden forward thrusts of one horn or the other—all were most realistic. The part he was playing came from legendary myth and had doubtless been enacted by the Ona [Selk’nam] for countless generations.’”

What I am trying to suggest makes possible that the existence of the “wealth virus” is akin to the spirit of Hachai emerging from the Australian rocks to a young man born in Tierra del Fuego. Though one may still discover Latvians who know to tell at which phase of the moon it is best to cut certain trees (certainly a remembrance from times, when  Latvia was covered by forests), it is also possible that through the acts of violence and implanting of fear by torture (the spirit of Hachai?), the Latvian culture bears the burden of a distant remembrance of torture, which causes it to try escape a similar encounter by attaching itself to the “wealth virus” as readily as children are fooled (and fascinated by) by a dish known as “viltotais zakhis” (Falscher Hase / False or Welch rabbit), that contains no real rabit meat, but ground carp or in times of war your favourite cat (Dachhase in German). The name probably originated among soldiers marching across Eastern Europe, who had no qualms about cooking a cat, while the poor peasants were left to go catch carp and tell their children a believable lie. It is likely the same dish that in Yiddish language is called “Gefilte Fish” . Today such humble origins are difficult to believe when the same Welch rabit appears as Welch rarebit on the menu as Hors d’oeuvre at parties hosted by Wall Street brokers. The same incongruity attaches itself to Latvian-Americans born in America trying to tell Latvians how it is their history came about.

Rather than make all humankind guilty of being s carrier of the “wealth virus”, it is possible to narrow the carriers down to men, violent men especially. I will touch on this phenomenon in my next blog. 829

Sunday, January 1, 2012

11 Traveling “To Be There”, Not To Look At It.

I had an interesting dream once. I was in Boston, Copley Square, in front of the Boston Public Library. It was night. I know the area well, having lived in close proximity to
Copley Square for fifteen or more years. I used to cross the square every day on my way to work about three or four miles in the direction of the centre of Boston.

It is possible that in the dream, I was unconsciously repeating my daily routine of days gone by. Out of the dark there emerged a man and came towards me. I was quite shocked to recognize him as my grandfather, the AB, who I mention in a number of preceding blogs. Though I know my grandfather from my childhood and the family photo album  (AB died before WW2 broke out), I had not seen him in a dream ever before; nor did my imagination of him behold him in corporeal form. Yet, here he was in Copley Square
, Boston, as real as he could be.

We greeted each other as familiars, and I offered to show AB a little of Boston. He turned to me and said; “Thanks. But I have seen it already”. With that he picked up an object, which had apparently been beside us on the darkened sidewalk. I caught but a quick glimpse of what the object was. It was the upper half of an oblong clay saucer, somewhat like the half a bathtub that the Irish catholics of Boston sink into the ground before their suburban homes, then fill the hollow part with a statue of Virgin Mary or Jesus. In this instance, the saucer contained two eyes, both were protruding like >> spear points from the inner depths of the tub. AB took put his hand on the edge of the bowl, picked it up, and then walked back into the darkness whence he had come.

At this point I awoke, the dream still clear before my eyes, but I was rather puzzled about the answer I had received from my grandfather: “I have seen (Boston) already”.
I surely knew that AB had never been to Boston. So, what did the answer mean? Was it a brush-off? Or was it a statement that I needed to contemplate during my waking state?

The answer came just a few days ago, when someone at the internet portal, where I often post my blogs, wrote how impressed he was with Istanbul, Turkey. He mentioned several well known tourist attractions as especially noteworthy.

Since I, too, have been in Istanbul, and have mentioned it in a blog or two, another reader, remembering this, wrote and asked what it was that impressed me about the city. Since the question suggested (to me) that I give the reader a personal run-down of my favorite touristy sites, the answer that popped into my mind was the one AB had given me regarding Boston: “I have been here before and have seen it already. No thanks, I do not need a tour of it.”

Indeed, when I visited Istanbul , centuries ago known as Byzantium, which name has been immortalized (for me) in W.B. Yeats famous poem “Sailing to Byzantium ”, this poem alone informed me that I should never find there my body in its natural form, but as an artifice of eternity.

One of the artifices of eternity may be found in “The Alexiad of Anna Comnena” , a book written by the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. Anna Comnena describes in Chapter 15, under ‘The Heresy of the Bogomils’ the death of Jesus in a fiery pit, the Inquisition’s favorite manner of execution. .

If the reader reads the pages about the execution, he-she will note that the “crucifixion” is the result of a later rewriting or, better, revisualization of what happened. The cross “set up” by one of the two fiery pits that were lit, later serves as the cross from which Jesus-cum-Basil is hung, though if that was so, he (removed from the fiery pit) was hung there as a charred corpse.

A similar misplacement of time and events occurs in Latvian history. While Latvians have no Anna Comnena, there are enough such pretending to love the country so much, they are ready to become martyrs on Latvia’s behalf. “I love this country too much to ever really leave. Why that is—I dunno.

Well, we shall see who the brave are. Are they of those Latvians, which their elites have driven (and are driving still) from Latvia to seek jobs abroad, or are they of the them who make declarations such as above, and put Latvia in American-Latvian care--a Romanizing tactic if there ever was one.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 A Latvian Latvia for Latvians? Mimesis or Alterity?

There are actually two names for the name of “clone”. The other is “clown”, one and the same name, but differently pronounced and, an inflection of derision aimed at “clone” by "clown".

One story how the name of “clown” originated concerns the king’s court, the king vs the “clown”. The absolute ruler, the one who takes absolute responsibility for his acts, seeing through his act (as all too human and fallible), therefore puts himself in the way of one full of derision for the office by inviting into the court a “clown”.

Though the clown is portrayed, in the West, mostly as a male, whose head on occasion rolls,the clown may also be a female. A female clown is but the mime of the king’s desire. However, when and if the king is caught copulating with the clown, it is he who becomes the clown, moreover, the one who betrays all his many clone predecessors and with them the supra authority connotation that goes with the name and office of king.

Today the office of king is widely derided in the name of human liberty and/or rights. This is one of the reasons why “monarchy” is no longer seriously considered as an alternative to democracy as a culture buble, now nthed and called "Pop", capital P.

There surely are many reasons why the office of “king” has caved to before the snouts of swine to be sniffed and rejected with an “urk, urk!”

The Windsor affair in England as per the following link (below) to “Her Royal Affair" shows that the roles are interchangeable, between a male and a female, between king and queen. Who is the clone and who is the clown are roles almost too painful to contemplate. If traditionally the role of the clown is played by a male, the “human rights libertarian”, who by implication (unless he recuses himself) is a supporter of liberal neo-capitalist economy, is often a she The Windsor affair in England shows that the roles are interchangeable in a number of ways, between a male and a female, between king and queen; and who is the clone and who is the clown is difficult to tell.

Nevertheless, the king's pain is when king begins to becomes a clown, he betrays then not only himself, but thousands of years of political history and elevates to the office of the Sun, the object of his incestuous desire, ra Sun, who turned into a bone (nicely fleshed out), pulls up her skirt  for him.

 1. When the valet of King Edward (see clip of “Her Royal Affair”) tells his master: “…but you are not a man, sir… you are a king”—and the king’s apparent incomprehension of what it is that his valet is telling him—sums up the tragedy of our times in a few words for many. Here is a short list of the tragedies:

2. If addressing AB and Emilija (about whom the preceding blogs), the same valet could be saying: “…but you are not a stud, sir… you are a father of four”;

To the Latvian people, the vallet would say: “…but you are not a mere people called Latvians, sirs and madams, but you are a community dying;”

Of course, there are a million excuses for Latvians--illiteracy with regard to politics and history, among the foremost of them.

Then there is ‘face saving’, claimed to be a human right of the ego, more important than the ‘charisma’ of self-sacrifice unto death that is a proven  bond of a community.

There is, of course, the angst that Russia, a once Holy Land populated by the same Children of Johns, who were also proto-Latvians, now infected with the “wealth virus” or oligarchism, will awaken to its ancestry, and all the romanized Ivans will arise so many resurrections, but with invalid passports, denied them for being Latvians supporting Latvia's romanization, re westernization.

There is the oligarchy of the European Union, whose laws are more important than Latvian sovereignty, and to whose banks the Latvian President, Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and State Bank President are beholden above being beholden to Latvia.

Then there is “the law” issued by the secular government in Brussels dictating “religion”. Not to mention the matter of centralization of power in Bruessels (Vatican II) presuming itself to be infallible in matters both  secular and of religion.

Herewith ends my autobiographical essay regarding the affair of AB and Emilija. These clones of oligarchal viruses, alterities and clones of other oligarchs. This disease prompted them both to reject mimesis and present themselves as alterities of their former selves. The price for doing the trick was formidable with regard to the future of those who followed them.

Unpleasant as this digression has been to their descendants (Emilija was my godmother, thus religious tradition wise, I have her to descent from), the reawakening of their memory through a photograph of a moment at their wedding ninety years ago, prompted me to say what remained unsaid. Photography, incidentally, is the technical side of mimicry.

The copy mashine is the theatre of our day, because that is how the day is and happens.
In the next blog, I will turn to the history of Istanbul, once called Byzantium. Someone at this portal (LOL) asked me what I thought about Istanbul when I visited it.

I will tell next why I did not go to Istanbul “to see it” or look at it, but to be able to say “I have been there”. There may be a few pareidolias’ on the theme among the upcoming blogs.

Friday, December 30, 2011

9 A Latvian Latvia for Latvians? Mimesis or Alterity?

Each actor, when asked to play a role, will play it his or her way. Thus, each Latvian actor, if asked to play The Bear Destroyer (Lachplesis), will do it differently. The same goes for the reenactment of any role, say, in an opera. This role playing is what is called miming, mimesis of an original presented by the creator of a story or the “Creator”.

However, when an actor becomes something entirely different than the character presented by a writer/creator, if the actor becomes a turn-coat vis a vis the character, then this is known as alterity. Thus, Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde or Mr. Hyde becomes Dr. Jekyll. Such a switch also describes a split personality. The story about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was originally written (1886) by Robert Louis Stevenson. Lewis Carroll, who wrote “Alice in Wonderland”, a story famous for  the invention of many curious characters, one being the Cheshihre Cat , sees the cat mimicing himself by leaving behind himself a grin even as he himself disappears.

The terms “mimesis” and “alterity”, I take from Professor Michael Taussing’s work by that name. I was especially taken by the chapters in the book on the Cuno (also Guno, Kuno) Indians of Panama , who according to Professor Taussig in spite of many and frequent exposures to cultures other than their own managed to stay the same, did not change in their fundamental character, and did not become turn-coats vis a vis their ancestry.

In the Cuno culture, it is the men who mimic their western occupants, soon learning to dress as their occupants, while the women remained the guardians of the ancestral values, especially through their skill at making appliqués, the famous mola blouses .  The Cuna men to our day remain protective of their women. However, the key to maintaining the Cuna community is (to quote from Wikipedia) “a Saila (pronounced "sai-lah"). The Saila is traditionally both the political and spiritual leader of the community; he memorizes songs which relate the sacred history of the people, and in turn transmits them to the people.

Now the Saila for the Slavic and Baltic/Latvian people was traditionally know as Ivan and/or Janis/John. Unfortunately, unlike among the Cunos, where their Saila retained the power of life and death in the community, among Latvians, their John or Johns were savaged, killed and humiliated, by the religion of the oligarchs. Left with no place to run and hide—the forests being largely destroyed by the middle of the 19th century—the Latvians were left with little choice but to “westernize” or lie themselves into an alternate existence. This “lying into” another make-believe creature is fanatically defended (a characteristic of the convert) as “real” (rather than virtual). This is a widely shared Latvian characteristic. Any subliminal guilt associated with the denial of the culture of their forebears is hastily covered by prejudice, re: once anti-Semitism and now anti-Russianism or anti-Slavism, a feature quickly exploited by the real occupants of Latvia: the romanizers, which includes everything and all characteristics that are described by the word “West”.

If the reader has followed my blogs, he-she can see how the “westernization” affected and manifested itself through this writer’s family and his experience and eyes. The brightest playing cards in this “game of transformation” belong to AB and Emilija.

First, there were my grandfathers, ‘westernized’ men, who came (about 1740) to “westernize” demoralized Latvians through bringing them into their Herrnhuter community. Second, there are the women: a) my paternal grandmother, also famous for her work with yarn and needle, but eventually brought low by their “westernized” counterparts. The road traveled by the “westernized” or romanized counterpart is clearly seen by the process of alterization experienced and performed by my godmother Emilija Simsone Benjamins, who changed from a woman with soft features into a harsh, stern, steely, managerial looking magna-tes.

Much could be written about the metamorphosis of the mimetic faculty into an alternate and alternizing character. The excuse for the submission of tradition to something entirely different is summed up in the statement so common in urban liberal democracy, re: change: .

Having gained his “million”, AB buried himself ever more in work, became extremely “fat” (went on cures to Germany to heal his ‘heart embraced by fat’), and wished that he could divorce Emilija. He did not do the latter on the advice of his lawyers, one of who was my godfather, a “senator” of Latvia’s Supreme Court, because then he would lose his amassed ‘million’ in the hands of his 2nd wife, Emilija. Whether AB had originally been willing to so “alter” himself, I will never know, but he had no doubt taken the chance that he may die of the effort. The ‘heart embraced by fat’, perhaps a psychological consequence of losing his sovereignty over his person, was a consequence of his succumbing to the “wealth virus”.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

8 A Latvian Latvia for Latvians? Mimesis or Alterity?

Because his earlier bankruptcies in the hardware business had made AB, my grandfather, unable to sign on as a publisher of the newspaper, and, therefore, the million of his dreams let him get but a whiff of it—with the substance of the money going into the personal account of Emilija—AB’s first wife and mother of his four children was, so to say, “not happy”.

At the time when AB first came to Made Jurjane and pleaded with her for her signature that would permit him to divorce her and marry Emilija, my grandmother was, one “angry” Latvian countryside woman.

Among other things, the documents that AB and Emilija had exchanged between themselves with regard to who owned what and who would get what if one of them were to die, was one known in the family at large as the “Testament” or “Will”. According to the Will, in the event of Emilija’s death, all the material substance, proceeds, and monies of “Jaunākās Ziņas” (The Latest of Latest News) would go to her heirs, these heirs being her mother, two sisters and their descendants.

On her lawyers' advice, Made Jurjane did not agree to release AB from his obligation to her and the family that he had left in her care as he, first, went bankrupt as a shopkeeper; and, second, was willing to sell out the principles of egalitarianism of the Herrnhuters in a Faustian deal to make “a million” by sacrificing his own.

If the link to Emilija  is correct, that AB and Emilija started living together in 1911, Made Jurjane let them both feel that they were not to get away with their under handed deal to do in Blankenstein, owner of Rigaer Tagesblat, and her and her children for their benefit alone. On the advice of her lawyer (one Liepins), my grandmother held her will against that of Emilija for over a decade, thus allowing all of Riga know that AB, her husband, and Emilija were “living in sin”—as such live-together arrangements were known in those days.

To this writer’s surprise and delight, a friend sent him a photograph, taken in 1922 at the wedding of AB and Emilija. The photograph had been hidden among family possessions for near ninety years. According to the sender, the family was doing house cleaning and burning old stuff found in the attick, and had come across the picture. The reason it was not consigned to the fire was because one family member remembered that their late mother had said that the photograph ought to be saved, because it was of certain well known people and apparently had some social significance.

There are a number of interesting features about the photograph. The most significant is that of Emilija—her appearance, her looks—in 1922; and her appearance in subsequent years (see link above). The appearance of Emilija today is known through a hastily written and sensation seeking book (probably the only way a book can be sold in Latvia with some profit these days) , “Mīla”, written by the Maija Muktupavele  It is interesting for me to see AB all these years ago. While AB (62 at the time; his 150th birday anniversary was celebrated with a display at the Missinu library last year, 2010) is immediately identifiable by his nearly bald head, Emija (41) looks a completely different woman from the one being presented to the public today.

Photo Copyright Eso Anton Benjamins.

First Row (from L to R): George Aicher (Juris Benjamins), son of Annija Aichere (immediately behind), Ede Usiņa (Peter’s grandmother and Emilija’s mother), AB, Emilija, and Theatre director Eduards Smilģis.

Second Row (from L to R): Annija Aichere, Mina Usina (stage name Tusnelda), Rudolph Aicher, unidentified young woman.
Both Emilija and AB display their wedding rings.

What is striking about the photo is how different Emilija Benjamins looks in 1922 from the way she looked in later years.

The photo shows at least five theatre professionals (AB, the sixth, became associated with the theatre as a result of his efforts to become a playwrigfht in years before his association with Emilija (He won an award for his play, called “Fog” (Migla)—something of a do-it-yourself moralizing and educational play about why stay sober to make it in the world. In restrospect the number of actors present 9 (in retrospect) in the photo includes almost all shown. However, as ‘reality-theatre actress’, Emilija topped all.

Let us now compare the faces as projected in the following two photographs:

Emilija Benjamin, photo said to be taken in the 1920s, possibly around 1928, 29.
It is certainly post-1922.
In this first picture is Emilija as we are used to seeing her presented today in books or media.

Copyright Eso Anton Benjamins. Emilija on her wedding (2nd) day in 1922.

Here  is Emilija’s face in the photo on the day of her wedding in 1922.

I have no other photographic evidence of AB’s and Emilijas wedding day.

The other side of the family (AB’s children)  was also present, but is out of the picture. My father, John (Janis) Benjamins, who under less stressful family circumstances would have been in Rudolf Aicher’s place as his father’s, AB’s, “best man” is not in the photo. It is interesting to see Eduard Smilģis, a theatre director, act the role of Emilija’s father, the one who gives the bride away. Perhaps, in a symbolic sense, he was her father: that is, we may guess that he introduced Emilija to AB ten or more years (1904 or a little later) before.

Incidentally, the design of the photograph is that of two hands, cupped, fingers spread, both hands facing the viewer . If we attempt to re-enact the positions in the photograph with our hands, the R hand overlays the L. This may not have any significance, but perhaps it does. Emilija enacts the role of the index finger, while Smilģis is the R hand’s thumb, and AB the middle finger, Ede Usiņa the ‘ring finger’, and Juris Aircher-Benjamin (4) is the ‘pinky’.

The photograph also reveals some other things. But suffice unto the day.