Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Libya, US continue name-calling

The name-calling between Libya and the United States continued unabated Monday, with President Reagan saying that he has evidence of a Libyan-backed plot to assassinate him and that he does not believe Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's denials.

But Monitor correspondent Daniel Southerland says the State Department Monday declined to provide the evidence that Mr. Reagan spoke of, or even to say what that evidence is.

About these ads

Meanwhile, the FBI continued a nationwide search for Libyan-trained assassins believed to have entered the US recently.

Mr. Qaddafi called Mr. Reagan ''a liar . . . silly and ignorant,'' for believing the reports of a Libyan-backed hit squad.

It's a poignant place, an environment of personal memorabilia which arouses a sense of lives having been lived here. The closets still hold Mrs. Wilson's dresses, the overcoats and hats of a famous man. The kitchen is stocked with the soup cans and magazines of that earlier era. It was in this house that Woodrow Wilson lived from the time he left the presidency until his death in 1924.

There are always tours at Wilson House, but in December there's a ''Twenties'' theme. On Dec. 14 and 15, the Wilson House opens its doors for music and refreshments - madrigals plus cookies, perhaps cider and cocoa.

Downtown by the White House is another National Trust property, a Federal-style brick built in 1818-19: The Decatur House. It was briefly the home of Commodore Stephen Decatur, a challenger to Barbary pirates who managed to get himself killed in a duel shortly after he moved into this house. These days, Decatur House is a showcase for the National Trust, and in December the first floor is decorated for a Federal Era Christmas and the 2nd floor is updated to Victorian times. On Dec. 16 and 17, it's open house here.

Though one hardly associates ''country living'' with the Nation's capital, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss managed just this with their Washington property just above Georgetown's flashy shops and night spots. The Bliss house and gardens are now Dumbarton Oaks. The Dumbarton Oaks Conferences which produced the ingredients for the Charter of the United Nations were held here in 1944, four years after the entire package of land, house and exquisite possessions were given by the Blisses to Harvard University.

Today, Dumbarton Oaks is known as a jewel-like museum of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, the Byzantine objects displayed in the museum's older buildings, the Pre-Columbian stunningly exhibited in a contemporary addition competed in 1963.

About these ads

This winter, Dumbarton Oaks has linked with the Smithsonian to show remarkable examples of ''Treasures of Medieval Bulgarian Jewelry,'' 90 creations of gold, silver, gems and cloissone enamel. Buried for centuries by their owners to evade greedy invaders, the jewelry dates from as early as the 9th century. Examples have been found from Bulgaria's coast on the Black Sea west to the Yugoslavian border.

Though winter's chill precludes picnicking in neighboring Montrose Park, nearby Wisconsin Avenue dips down toward the Potomac River and Georgetown's multitude of restaurants.

And Georgetown - a center for stylish (and faddish) shops and boutiques, a meeting place for throngs of walkers and observers - is only minutes from the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center, plopped down by the Potomac River a decade ago amidst hisses and boos for its architectural banality, has long since proven itself a boon to Washington. Though the National Symphony Orchestra - in residence in the Center's Concert Hall - ducks out by mid-December, after its performances of Handel's ''Messiah,'' holiday celebrations will replace it with everything from 12 century drama - ''The Play of St. Nicholas'' - and candlelight concerts to a Hanukkah Festival of Lights (December 27) and - on New Year's Eve - A Night in Old Vienna. It's an evening's music followed by dancing in the center's Grand Foyer.

On December 12, you, too, can clamor for free tickets to the December 23 Messiah Sing-along, the once-a-year, sing-it-yourself version of Handel's great work.

The Concert Hall, of course, is only part of the Kennedy Center story, and this year's Holiday Festival will utilize the Grand Foyer and the Center's theatre Lab for a series of free events: puppets, mimes, clowns and choirs.

Next door in the Opera House, the American Ballet Theatre will perform The Nutcracker from December 22 to January 3, following almost two weeks of performances of everything from Raymonda to Billy the Kid.

When you're ready to shift gears once more, there's always the National Zoo. You may not ordinarily associate zoos with holiday celebrations, but the National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution and it finds ways to be festive. The subway reaches the zoo for the first time this month, and on December 12 you can ride the rails to a Holiday Zoo Celebration. You'll make animal-shaped ornaments and watch movies as well.

A week later - on December 18 - the National Zoo reopens its reptile and amphibian house, after its having been closed for nearly two years for extensive renovations.

If you're bringing your children to Washington, don't omit the Holiday Hijinx at the Capitol Children's Museum. And don't miss the Victorian Doll House at the Washington Dolls' House and Toy Museum. The National Geographic's Explorers Hall inevitably features a holiday exhibit, and you'll see treasures from Spanish galleons, Olmec sculpture, and a Cliff Dwellers kiva while you're there.

In December, this somber, brilliant, restive town is a festive, joyous celebration of life.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.