Years ago, former German chancellor Konrad Adenauer described history as “the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.” But must history always be something we regret, something we’d rather bury and forget?

Not necessarily, suggests writer Pearl Buck, who explained, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” In this issue of InTheFray, we attempt to do just that. Matthew Fishbane begins by exploring The culture of being, when a transnational adoptee returns to her native Colombia in search of clues to her identity, only to discover that reconciling her two selves — American and Colombian — is both harder and easier than she’d imagined.

Meanwhile, poet Rae Peter looks at the joys and limitations of one’s female heritage in Shapes that brush against you in the dark. And ITF Books Editor Nikki Bazar uncovers Something borrowed, something new in Jonathan Lethem’s novel You Don’t Love Me Yet, the novelist’s newest venture in cultural borrowing.

We then journey to Cuba, where Lita Wong learns to trust the locals during a walk to San Diego de los Banos Alone in the forest. And halfway around the world, Aditi Bhaduri chats with Raphael Cohen-Almagor, organizer of the “Gaza First” campaign, about living in A society under constant stress and the prospects for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Speaking of conflict, former ITF Commentary Editor Zachariah Mampilly recounts the first 20th century genocide — it is probably not the one you’re thinking of — and discovers how difficult The labeling of genocide can be when it comes to Western interests and that hazy line between “violent conflict” and so-called ethnic cleansing.

Thanks for partaking in this history lesson with us!

Coming next month: ITF gives up the skinny on the 21st century’s obsession with FAT.

Laura Nathan
Buffalo, New York

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