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September 2, 2011     Post-Gazette
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September 2, 2011

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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 2, 2011 "r st1 N ' . f r ff A weekly column highlighting some  ,L,,1,..wg, ofthemoreinterestingaspectsofour ,,,,, ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. , ..... VESPASIAN'S COLOSSEUM, PART II We know that the Colos- seum was the scene of fear- ful barbarities during the persecutions of the Chris- tians; however, it was also used for gladitorial combats during the first three hun- dred years after it was built. For the provision of this fatal service to the emperor, the Roman Empire and the glory of the Colosseum, they al- ways kept ready in Rome, about 10,000 gladiators who v)ere held as prisoners. They were strong, athletic, well fed, well lodged, skilled in the use of combat weapons and had at one time been soldiers themselves who had fought against the Roman legions and in some in- stances even defeated them. One thing was for sure; they were absolutely certain of an early death. The sheer stupidity of it all seems to be the manner in which these herds of human be- ings accepted their fate, yielded to the ceremonial atmosphere of the arena, considered this mortal com- bat as a duty, made the grand News Commentary ... procession around the com- bat area, yelled the famous "Ave!" and then flung them- selves against man or beast in a fight to the death. There are those who have said that while the building was imposing because of the nature of it's activity, it was never considered beautiful. The exterior of the structure was faced with the famous Italian travertine. This is the building stone, which shows the characteristic worm-eaten texture. It also had three orders of Roman architecture: Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian, superim- posed on the first, second and third stories respec- tively. The interior had a marble facing on the em- peror's ringside platform, as well as a marble throne. Huge masts projecting from the upper story were equipped to hold brightly col- ored awnings, which pro- tected the spectators from the summer sun. The last gladiator fights took place in 404 A.D. and the last wild beast fight in 503 A.D. but bullfights were held here as late as 1362. If, as a visitor to Rome and to the Flavian Amphitheater, it appears that more than half of the building stones have been removed, it is because the Romans themselves have done more harm to their own city than all of the invading armies put together. We are reminded that during the Renaissance era many of these priceless buildings of antiquity were used as quarries to furnish building stones for a number of churches and palaces. This structure has been despoiled by vandals and plundered by the Romans themselves but majestically it still stands as one of the great landmarks of the world. It has been said many times that while the Colos- seum stands, Rome will stand and when the Colos- seum falls, Rome, will fall. In retrospect then, it can be said that Vespasian brought Rome out of the (Continued on Page 12) Ayanna Pressley Isn't Going Anywhere but Back in for Another Term As I read David S. Berstein's Boston Phoenix front-page piece on City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (The Making of Ayanna Pressley: subtitle Elvis us Queen, August 12), I found it quite superficial when it came to showing her rise in Boston politics. Two years ago during a mayoral race, Pressley did indeed finish in the final fourth place to win her Council seat but she al- most finished in the third. She narrowly lost that place- ment to someone born and raised in Boston and whose father was a former city,. councilor'."'x3h6" i"d' retty darn well for a candidate born and raised in Chicago in her first attempt at pub- lic office. by Sal Giarratani people of Boston ... she works on issues that make a difference." The reference that her political affect is somewhat standoffish like her previous political bosses U.S. Repre- sentative Joe Kennedy and U.S. Senator John F. Kerry couldn't be further from Res Publica by David Trumbull President Obama's Labor Day Legacy, More Jobs Sent Overseas As the rest of us celebrate Labor Day, officials from Presi- dent Obama's Department of Commerce and Office of the United States Trade Representative head out to Chicago for the latest round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, set to begin on Tuesday. If you don't like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAF3"A) and believe that trade pact cost American jobs, you will really hate TPP. Along with the United States, the nations engaged in the free trade talks are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The United States already has trade agreements in effect with Australia, Chile, Peru and Singapore. That leaves Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam. New Zealand is a Western-style democracy that shares our heritage of British common law and tradition of individual freedom. President Obama wants to favor the remaining three nations with special trade privileges. Freedom House, the independent international watch- dog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world, classifies both Brunei and Vietnam as unfree and Malaysia as merely partially free. Brunei, which has been under martial law since 1962, is an Islamic state where most criminal activity is defined and punished according to draconian Islamic sharia law. According to the U.S. Department of State in a report covering the year 2009: The [Brunei] Ministry of Education requires courses on Islam ... and prohibits the teaching of other religions. Private Chris- tian schools were not allowed to give Christian instruction ... During the year the government warned Christian schools that they or their personnel could be fined or imprisoned for teach- ing non-Muslim religious subjects. That same State Department report says of Vietnam: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam ... is an authoritarian state ruled by the Communist Party of Vietnam ... Police commonly mistreated suspects during arrest or detention ... Individuals were arbitrarily detained for political activities and denied the right to fair and expeditious trials. The government continued to limit citizens' privacy rights and tightened controls over the press and freedom of speech, assembly, movement and association ... Violence and discrimination against women as well as traf- ticking in persons continued to be significant problems ... According to the group Human Rights Watch, in its World Report 2011: Malaysia's dual-track legal system permits Sharia courts, in which non-Muslims have no standing, to rule on religious and moral offenses involving Muslims and on issues involving mar- riage, inheritance, divorce and custody battles, and burial rites, many of which involve interreligious disagreement. There are nearly 200 nations in the world. The United States currently has free trade agreements in effect with 17 of them. Of all the places in the world the President could pick to start talks on a new free trade agreement, wouldn't you know he would pick a repressive communist regime and two intolerant Islamic states. She's no backslapper, she's never in your face and _if she smiles she really means it. Mayor Menino caught her essence when he said of her, "Pressley is a terrific advocate for causes that really matter to the the truth. The snapshot Bernstein painted of her was not really her. Reading his essay I was reminded of that great 1950s Nat King Cole hit "Mona Lisa" whose lyrics question whether that famous lady was real "or just a cold and lonely piece of art." City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is real, which is why she will be get- ting re-elected this coming November. The East Boston Elder Service Plan, part of 6 th Annual SONS OF ORSOGNA Golf Classic Proceeds Benefit the Sons of Orsogna Scholarship Fund MOUNT HOOD GOLF CLUB 100 Slayton Road, Melrose, MA Friday: September 9th, 2011 7AM Registration and 8AM Shotgun Best-Ball/Scramble Format Contact Nick Scenna at: