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Why We Must Save Dying Languages*

Why We Must Save Dying Languages*

By Max J Rosenthal

Is Common Language Killing off Ancient Ecological Knowledge?

You probably know that much of the world’s environment is under threat. But a new study says languages are disappearing alongside plants and animals.

The study, from the World Wildlife Fund, measured the threat to languages using a scale that tracks how threatened species are. Not only are many languages steadily losing speakers, says co-author Jonathan Loh, but “the rate of decline, globally, is actually very close to the rate of decline in populations of wild vertebrate species.”

There’s the obvious threat of in-demand languages, which many people start speaking more and more, as the speakers of smaller languages dwindle.

“Thousands of indigenous languages spoken around the world are being replaced by one of a dozen or so dominant world languages like English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese,” he says.

But Loh, who’s also a research associate at the Zoological Society of London, says that languages are dying off due to many of the same issues that plants and animals face. He comments:

“Some of the drivers that are driving the extinction of biodiversity — such as increasing global population, increasing consumption of natural resources, increasing globalization and so on — are applicable to languages as well…”

And that’s no coincidence. Loh explains that languages have a lot of specific local knowledge built in.

The vertical axis represents the number of nearly extinct indigenous languages; the number in blue its relation (in percent) to the total number of native languages still spoken in same country. (Source: National Geographic, 2013)

The Knowledge Embedded in Languages

“The cultures have evolved in a particular environmental context, so they have an extraordinary amount of traditional ecological knowledge — knowledge of the local species, plants, animals, the medicinal uses of them, the migration patterns of animals behaviour,”

So when the languages die off, much of that knowledge goes with them.

Then children stop learning the language, they also stop acquiring that traditional knowledge,” Loh says.

There are plenty of linguists who are studying and trying to preserve native languages, but Loh wants to see them work with biologists to make sure that valuable ecological history isn’t missed.

 “Linguists often don’t have the knowledge of natural history that’s necessary in order to be able to record an endangered language because so much of the lexicon is tied up with names of species or types of ecosystems,” he says.

He argues that:

“…if we can recognize that culture and nature are inextricably interlinked, then working on a biocultural diversity as a whole, as a subject, would be a more fruitful way of looking at conservation.”

The Link Between Culture and Nature

“One of the interesting findings was that where a species goes extinct — because the population of the species declines away to nothing — a language doesn’t go extinct because the population of speakers declines away to nothing, but usually because the speakers shift from their mother tongue to a second language, usually a more dominant one.”

An Aboriginal man from Laura, QLD; part of a Northern Australian ‘hotspot’ of dying languages.

 

Loh says languages are disappearing most quickly in Australia and the Americas.

“About three-quarters of the languages of the Americas are under the threat of extinction,” he says, and “95% of the indigenous aboriginal Australian languages are … declining extremely rapidly.”

“And, as with species,” he warns, “when a language is lost, it’s gone forever. You can never get it back.”

“There’s this extraordinary wealth of traditional ecological knowledge that’s bound up with a lot of the world’s indigenous languages, and I think it would be really useful to biologists in understanding how to manage natural ecosystems.”

Integrating Language and Knowledge

Over the past century alone, around 400 languages – about one every three months – have gone extinct, and most linguists estimate that 50% of the world’s remaining 6,500 languages will be gone by the end of this century, with some putting the figure as high as 90%. Today, the top ten languages in the world are spoken by around half of the world’s population. We could even be facing a future world where only one language is spoken globally, but while it’s important for everyone to understand each other, perhaps there’s a way we can preserve the wisdom of ancient languages at the same time.

 

Source*

Related Topics:

My Language is the Window to My Soul

Amazonian Elders Conclude Completion of First Indigenous Medical Encyclopaedia*

Muslims Launch the World’s First Islamic Sign Language Book*

Four Year Old Russian Girl Speaks 7 Languages, including Chinese and Arabic*

Indigenous Australia MP Gives Maiden Speech in Native Language*

Battle On To Keep Ambiguous Language about Family Out of Major UN Agreement*

Turkey-Iran: An Ancient Language Rediscovered

Basque: A 7,000 Year Old European Language and a People Exist

 

Shab-i-Barat: The Night of Forgiveness*

Shab-i-Barat: The Night of  Forgiveness*

Faithful on Thursday night observe “Shab-i-Barat” with great religious reverence and fervour across the country.

With the setting of the sun, the faithful started gathering in mosques to offer special prayers for peace, progress, and prosperity of the country besides seeking forgiveness for their sins.

An illuminated view of Badshahi Mosque decorated with colorful lights on the eve of Shab-i-Barat.

 

Women release oil lamps and candles in the water of Ravi river, seeking forgiveness and repentance.

 

The people also organised several gatherings and Mahafil-i-Naat to achieve Allah Almighty’s blessing in the world and the life hereafter.

Religious scholars in their sermons highlighted the teachings of Islam and various aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) so that the followers could lead their lives in line with the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Family members light lamps and pray at a grave of their relative. —AP

 

A woman reads the holy verses besides a grave of her relative at a graveyard in Karachi. —AP

 

Special prayers were offered to get rid of the menace of terrorism besides showing the right path to disgruntled people, playing in the hands of anti-state elements.

On this occasion, houses, streets and especially mosques were decorated with colorful pennants and bunting whereas at night these were well illuminated by means of electric lights, candles or even oil lamps.

People read holy verses near the graves of their relatives to mark the night of forgiveness. —AFP

 

Besides, people visited graves of their near and dear ones, seeking Allah’s blessings for the departed souls.

Special security arrangements were made for peaceful observance of “Shab-i-Barat”.

People attend a sermon at a mosque in Karachi.

 

Source*

Related Topics:

Layla-tul Bara’at

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadhan From Now*

Ramadhan Journey Across the Desert of the Sinai*

Freedom in Ramadhan*

Working and Staying Sane in Ramadhan*

U.S. Wants to Imprison These Six Water Protectors*

U.S. Wants to Imprison These Six Water Protectors*

These cases likely mark the first time that United States authorities have pursued felonies against individuals involved in demonstrations against fossil fuel infrastructure

By Will Parish

An elderly woman is escorted to a transport van after being arrested by law enforcement at the Oceti Sakowin camp as part of the final sweep of the Dakota Access pipeline protesters in Morton County, Feb. 23, 2017, near Cannon Ball, N.D. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune)

 

In February, a federal grand jury issued indictments of four Standing Rock water protectors on charges of Federal Civil Disorder and Use of Fire to Commit a Federal Crime.

The federal investigators accused the four men—James White, Brennan Nastacio, Dion Ortiz, and Brandon Miller-Castillo—of involvement in setting three highway barricades on fire, which obstructed police during a highly-militarized October 27 raid of the “Front Line Camp” just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Another water protector, Michael Markus, was indicted on identical charges on January 24, and his case has been combined with those of the other four men. Prosecutors are also pursuing three federal felonies against a 38-year-old Oglala Sioux woman named Red Fawn Fallis. They accuse her of firing a gun during her arrest, even as multiple police officers had her pinned face-down on the ground. Fallis’ arrest also occurred on October 27.

These cases likely mark the first time that United States authorities have pursued felonies against individuals involved in demonstrations against fossil fuel infrastructure.

All six people facing the charges are indigenous. Under sentencing guidelines, Red Fawn Fallis faces 25 years or more in prison. The other federal defendants—Markus, White, Nastacio, Ortiz, and Miller-Castillo—face up to fifteen years.

Starting in August of last year, indigenous people and their allies devoted months to attempting to block the construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs through four Midwestern states near North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux reservation and underneath their main water source, Lake Oahe.

The project sparked opposition in communities spanning the pipeline route, including in Iowa and Illinois. In North Dakota, police carried out over 700 arrests. State prosecutors have since brought felony charges against more than 100 people.

But the federal cases are arguably more serious, since they entail prosecutions by some of the U.S. government’s most elite attorneys and may result in lengthy prison sentences. The cases are also likely to exert a chilling effect on indigenous-led resistance to resource extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure.

In fact, in each case, the U.S. Attorneys for the District of North Dakota filed a most unusual charge: federal civil disorder.

“Nobody I’ve worked with previously has ever seen that charge,” the Water Protector Legal Collective’s Sandra Freeman, an attorney for Michael Markus, said in an interview.

“It comes from a law that is usually only invoked when the federal government decides to prosecute people involved in resistance.”

The National Lawyers Guild’s Bruce Ellison, the lead attorney for Red Fawn Fallis, agrees. He says he has only encountered federal civil disorder charges “a few times” before, including during federal prosecutions of American Indian Movement (AIM) activists who reclaimed Wounded Knee as part of an armed stand-off with federal and local police on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973.

Ellison is a long-time attorney for AIM political prisoner Leonard Peltier.

Records obtained via an open records request indicate high-level operatives within the U.S. domestic security state were involved in coordinating the enormous law enforcement mobilization against Standing Rock “water protectors” from last summer through early March of this year.

These records, which will be the subject of future stories, show officers from numerous federal agencies—the FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for North Dakota—coordinated with state and local police as part of an inter-agency “intelligence group” that monitored Standing Rock protests in real-time, with a focus on ferreting out “instigators” and “leaders of the movement.”

Among those who helped orchestrate this multi-agency intelligence effort was National Security Intelligence Specialist Terry W. Van Horn of the U.S. Attorney’s Office—the same entity now prosecuting Fallis, Markus, White, Nastacio, Ortiz, and Miller-Castillo.

The intelligence-gathering operation in which Van Horn participated appears to have been coordinated by the State and Local Intelligence Center, one of numerous law enforcement “fusion” centers set up by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the September 11th attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

Supporters of the six federal defendants, as well as others facing possible prison and jail sentence, say that their court cases are a major front in the struggle for indigenous self-determination and against resource extraction.

“The government is looking at how to deal with calls for indigenous self-determination and resistance to resource extraction nationally, and the people facing these charges could become symbols of their ability to carry out that repression,” Ellison contends.

The October 27 Raid on Front Line Camp

Dakota Access pipeline protesters face off with police who are trying to force them from a camp on land in the path of pipeline construction on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D.

 

The six federal prosecutions all stem from a highly-militarized October 27 raid of the “Front Line Camp,” or “1851 Treaty Camp,” which occupied some of the last remaining ground in the pipeline’s construction.

The camp was located on unceded Dakota territory, which was affirmed in the 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty to be part of the Standing Rock Reservation. It was later stripped away under an 1889 statute from Congress.

Over 300 police officers—some carrying M16 rifles and clad in flak vests—advanced down North Dakota Highway 1806 toward Oceti Sakowin camp, the main nerve center of the water protectors’ resistance to the pipeline.

The police were flanked by a MaxxPro Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) designed to withstand bombing attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. A Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), an extremely loud device used for crowd control, was mounted atop the MRAP. Snipers occupied positions on surrounding hills.

In the course of the raid, the police fired tear gas and concussion grenades and peppered the water protectors with rubber-tipped bullets and bean bag pellets, causing dozens of injuries.

Watch footage from the October 27th raid:

Four officers broke from the line to tackle and arrest Red Fawn Fallis, a Denver resident and lifelong member of the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement, whose family hails from the Oglala Sioux reservation at Pine Ridge in South Dakota.

As Fallis struggled under the weight of her arresting officers, at least two gunshots went off alongside her. According to an affidavit filed by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department in North Dakota, a deputy “saw a gun in Fallis’ left hand and wrestled it away from her.”

Native American activist Red Fawn Fallis.

 

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Department claims Fallis was arrested for “being an instigator” and “acting disorderly.”

According to attorneys for protesters, “instigator” and “camp leader” have emerged as keywords in both state and federal prosecutions.

Fallis was initially charged with attempted murder, but a state judge removed that charge from the docket, and she is now being accused of three federal felonies. They include “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon” and “discharge of a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence.”

According to numerous accounts, Fallis was a widely-respected coordinator at the Sacred Stone Camp, another major gathering place for prayerful opposition to the pipeline, and had played an instrumental role in the movement as a whole.

“Red Fawn was the kind of person who was down to help with anything at any time,” says one camp participant who asked not to be identified.

“She was integral to the camp.”

Many water protectors and members of Fallis’s family have organized a support campaign for her. They stridently maintain her innocence.

Glenn Morris, a leader of the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement, released a statement on behalf of Fallis’s family this past November, saying she is “an intelligent, informed and determined Oglala Lakota woman, who has defended the rights of native peoples and nations, in multiple circumstances.”

Water Protector Facing Federal Felony Charges for Disarming DAPL Contractor

Brennan Nastacio has became a hero to water protectors for his role in disarming a DAPL security guard security guard, Kyle Thompson, who had entered Oceti Sakowin camp wielding an AR-15. (Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

One of the other people facing federal felony charges, Brennan Nastacio, became a hero to water protectors for his dramatic role in disarming a DAPL security worker, who had entered Oceti Sakowin camp—a base of prayer and opposition to DAPL—wielding an AR-15.

The security guard, Kyle Thompson, drove into the camp and claimed to be a water protector, according to a camp security guard. He had a long-nosed semi-automatic rifle and a 30-round clip seated in the passenger seat of his truck.

Nastacio spent nearly a half hour pleading with Thompson to abandon the weapon while also calming other “water protectors,” who were clamouring around him. Thompson, who works for Texas-based Leighton Security, finally handed the gun over to Bureau of Indian Affairs officers, who arrested him. Soon after, Thompson’s truck was driven to a barricade and set on fire.

North Dakota prosecutors declined to charge Thompson instead charging Nastacio with felony terrorizing of Thompson because he briefly walked toward him with a hunting knife during the incident.

In a January YouTube video, Nastacio noted his goal was “the protection of everybody at the camp,” and that he was concerned Thompson himself would be shot by the police. Thompson claims he came to the camp to investigate vandalism to a DAPL vehicle.

Ironically, on the same day as Nastacio helped disarm the Dakota Access security worker, a security firm hired by Dakota Access collected the aerial surveillance photos that now form a major basis for federal prosecution of him, as well as of Miller-Castillo, Ortiz, Markus, and White, court records show. (*Note: This public-private “fusion” model of law enforcement that played out at Standing Rock will be the subject of future stories.)

Ellison, Fallis’s attorney, is attempting to introduce evidence that demonstrates the dubious role the FBI has played in the charges against Fallis.

Terry VanHorn of the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

The Role of the FBI in Suppressing Opposition to the Pipeline

In this image provided by Morton County Sheriff’s Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. (Morton County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

 

Police in North Dakota went to enormous lengths to portray many anti-DAPL protesters as violent criminals for their role in the protests.

More recently, the allegations against Fallis, Nastacio, Markus, White, Ortiz, and Miller-Castillo have become fodder for domestic security agency warnings about potentially violent threat posed by protests against other fossil fuel infrastructure.

A Department of Homeland Security report, published by the conservative Washington Examiner on April 18, spells out the possibility that “environmental rights extremists” and “anti-government militia” may muster up attacks on the in-construction Diamond Pipeline extending from Oklahoma to Tennessee.

The report states that “[p]rotests surrounding the DAPL have resulted in the arrest of hundreds of individuals for allegedly committing criminal acts,” and that

“[o]ne individual was charged with attempted murder for allegedly discharging a firearm at officers during removal efforts.”

But water protectors and their advocates point out that the real criminals at Standing Rock were the police and the oil companies’ private security firms, who consistently used violent repression to sabotage constitutionally-protected political activity.

Meanwhile, the federal government has failed to hold the police accountable for a single act of violence.

On a single night in November, the police injured more than 300 unarmed and generally highly-restrained protesters by spraying water on them amid freezing temperatures and firing rubber bullets and concussion grenades.

A police officer struck 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky with a concussion grenade that nearly severed her forearm. A fellow water protector named Steve Martinez drove her to the hospital, where she underwent emergency surgeries in an effort to save her arm.

On the day after Wilansky nearly lost her arm, seven FBI agents—including two clad in Joint Terrorism Task Force jackets—came to her hospital room and collected articles of clothing and shrapnel freshly dislodged from her arm. They also subpoenaed hospital visitor logs and videos of her room.

The JTTF visit “created a chilling atmosphere where anyone who’s a protester is under suspicion of being a terrorist,” Sophia Wilansky’s father, Wayne Wilansky, says.

The same grand jury that has indicted Fallis, Markus, Nastacio, White, Ortiz, and Miller-Castillo on felony charges subpoenaed Steve Martinez soon afterward. The subpoena implied that a federal investigation of the extremely far-fetched claim that Wilansky’s injury was caused by an improvised explosive was underway, and that Martinez was a subject of that investigation simply because he had driven Wilansky to seek medical attention.

It ordered Martinez to produce, among other things, “photos and SD cards; written statements; and any other information in [his] possession.”

Martinez appeared before the grand jury on January 4th and was asked a single question: “When did you arrive in North Dakota?” He immediately invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify.

In a written statement, Martinez, who is partly of Pueblo and Apache ancestry, called the grand jury “a fishing expedition to find out information about the water protector movement, and organizations and people related to it,” and asserted that “to comply with this subpoena would violate my spiritual duty to protect my loved ones.”

Martinez was expected to begin a jail sentence for contempt of court on March 1, but in late February, the U.S. Attorney’s office unexpectedly withdrew its subpoena of him, meaning he’s free for now. About 20 supporters nevertheless gathered in front of the courthouse on March 1 holding up banners with slogans, such as “The Frontlines Are in the Courtroom.”

The Water Protector Legal Collective, the Freshet Collective, and other volunteer-driven collectives have provided legal support and advice for the water protectors now slogging through various court cases.

Notwithstanding the temporary victory in Steve Martinez’ case, members of the collectives say they intend to continue support for those whose sacrifices made the water protector movement possible in their various courtroom-related struggles.

The History of the Federal Civil Disorder Charge

At a rally outside the U.S. Courthouse October 29, 1969, Dr. Benjamin Spock, background, listens to Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Black Panther party. (AP Photo/stf)

 

The civil disorder statute used against the six federal defendants can be traced to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, which spurred Congress to pass the U.S. Civil Rights Act one week after his death.

It was passed in the aftermath of riots across the country in protest against substandard living conditions in segregated Black communities. The best known section of the act is Title VIII, known as the Fair Housing Act, which was designed to end residential segregation and promote racial integration. But a little-remembered section of the bill, Title X, is known as the Civil Obedience Act.

U.S. Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, an avowed segregationist, was the amendment’s main author and offered it as a quid pro quo for his support of the legislation as a whole.

The amendment created stiff penalties for such activities as “interfering with law enforcement officials during the course of civil disorder.”

Long previously offered up the Civil Obedience Act as an amendment to a bill that would have specified punishments for violence against civil rights workers in the Deep South.

Biographer Michael S. Martin recalled in his book, “Russell Long: A Life in Politics,” a speech Long made to the Senate floor, in which he described the pro-civil rights worker legislation as “a bill to aid and abet H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael,” in reference to leaders of the Black Power movement. He also claimed the people the bill supported were “known to stir up hatred and ill will among people of their race and put cities to the torch.”

In response, Long proposed the Civil Obedience Act as a means to “strike the very thing which really concerns the people of this country: the rights and the safety of 200 million Americans whose property and whose very lives have been seriously endangered.”

Nearly a half-century later, the federal government is using this same racially-charged legislation to pursue felony charges against six indigenous people at Standing Rock.

Ellison recalled one of the few previous times he encountered Federal Civil Disorder charges was during prosecutions of AIM activists in the 1970s. He experienced first-hand the murderous FBI-coordinated counter-insurgency campaign against AIM at Pine Ridge, he noted, whereby a paramilitary organization known as the Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs) went on a rampage of beatings and assassinations of AIM leaders and supporters.

Federal prosecutions are viewed as one aspect of an escalating effort by domestic security agencies, police, politicians, and fossil fuel industries to break the spirit of resistance movements nationwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said more than 30 separate anti-protest bills were introduced since November 8, representing “an unprecedented level of hostility towards protesters in the 21st century.”

“The government is looking at how to deal with protests nationally, and these federal prosecutions are certainly a part of that,” Ellison concluded.

Source*

Related Topics:

Trump’s Latest Executive Order Means More Criminalization of Protests*

Arrests and Protests Continue over DAPL*

Water Protectors Expose Moles in Their Ranks, Infiltrating DAPL Protests, Provoking Police*

The Dakota Access Pipeline Is Already Leaking*

The Company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline Just Had 2 Major Spills*

Pipeline Shut Down In North Dakota after Leaking into Little Mississippi River*

BNP Paribas Latest Bank to Dump Dakota Access Pipeline*

Journalist and Filmmaker Faces 45 Years for Reporting on Dakota Access Protests*

 

How Art Can Heal Mental Illness*

How Art Can Heal Mental Illness*

 By Go Paolo

Merriam-Webster defines art as “the use of skill and creative imagination in creating aesthetic objects such as paintings, music, and sculptures.”

But that is a superficial definition. Art goes beyond definitions but is what enriches life and touches each of us as individuals.  The rapid growths of technology and secularism have not deterred the importance of art but have made it more valuable as more people face stress and mental illness and are in need of the healing power of art:

How art helps heal mental illness:

A comprehensive study was done to prove the many benefits of the various forms of art on patients. Art forms such as music, visual arts, dance, and creative writing were used and produced encouraging results.

Reduces anxiety and stress

Music is one of the most powerful and moving art forms that even the great nihilist himself, Friedrich Nietzsche recognized its value. Listening to music was found not only to reduce stress but also anxiety. Noticeable improvements were made to patients’ well-being and relaxation and reductions in tension, cortisol levels, and heart rate. Making art also has similar effects as another

Making art also has similar effects as another study highlighted. This wasn’t limited to individuals who were excellent artists and the majority of the subjects admitted to having little experience when it came to any form of art. It harkens back to what Aristotle said that art isn’t about the outward appearance but the inward experience. Art is human expression and it’s now medically proven (to a degree) that it has health benefits.

Helps you focus on positive life experiences

Another study was conducted this time on the effects of visual art and it showed how patients; pain tolerance and threshold both increased when exposed to visual stimuli (and music). The study was inspired to help patients deal with the intimidating surroundings of a hospital.

Creating and being exposed to art helps generate positive thoughts. The American Journal of Public Health’s study described the impact of visual art on its patients as “filling occupational voids and distracting thoughts of illness” and “improving flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks.” A study from the University of North Carolina adds to this point emphasizing the healing power of positive emotions and how it forms and strengthens personal relationships and gives individuals more motivation to live.

Helps the body heal and stay healthy

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind – particularly your gut. Eating healthy, sleeping well, and doing physical exercises or yoga all contribute to a healthy bod. But you can also add experiencing magnificent visual imagery through art and nature to this list. A study from the University of California, Berkeley links this experience to boosting the immune system thus lowering chances of diabetes, heart attacks, and other illnesses, which may include mental illnesses.

Dr. Dacher Keitner of the university said, “the beauty promotes healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things people do to experience these emotions – walking in nature, losing oneself to music, beholding art – all have direct inlfuence upon health and life expectancy.”

Source*

Related Topics:

The Shift – The Age of Heart*

Singing Together Brings Heartbeats into Harmony*

Australia’s Aboriginal Artist’s Message Resonates in Palestine*

Mexican Martial Art Based on Traditional Mayan Culture*

Caribbean Cave Art Illuminates Encounters with Europeans*

Spirit Science ~ Milk, Dairy and Health*

Tribal Parenting – How to Heal Our Children*

The Healing Power of Fasting*

Healing the Psychic Split Which Causes War*

Healing your Creativity after Trauma*

Sufism Healing the Soul in Gaza*

Healing with Water: An Indigenous Approach*

The Radical Work of Healing: Fania and Assata (Angela Davis) on a New Kind of Civil Rights Activism*

An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma*

How I Healed My Failing Liver Naturally*

The Healing Frequency, and the Frequency of Disharmony

It Took a Nine-year-old Muslim Boy 35 Seconds to Rumble Theresa May*

It Took a Nine-year-old Muslim Boy 35 Seconds to Rumble Theresa May*

By James Wright

 

It looks like even nine-year-olds can see through Theresa May. On ITV News, Hasnain Nawaz questioned the sitting Prime Minister’s ‘strong and stable’ sloganeering and called on her to “actually do something”:

Weak and wobbly?

Nawaz specified that he is not “following” May. In a display of raw, childhood common sense, he pointed out that May’s rhetoric does not match her actions:

“She’s not really doing anything to be honest, all she’s saying is ‘oh, this, oh, that, I’m strong,’ and all of this.

Well she’s not really doing anything by saying all of that is she?”

ITV invited Nawaz on the show after he asked Jeremy Corbyn a question about “strong and stable leadership” in Peterborough. He also explained why he felt “inspired” by Corbyn:

“He helps the homeless. Everyone talks about needing to help the homeless, well Jeremy Corbyn does it. School education… he does it all for me”

By contrast, May wants to take away free school meals for primary school pupils like Nawaz. She will replace them with breakfast, which amounts to another cut of £650m per year. Meanwhile, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) confirmed reports from teachers and parents that the Conservatives are bringing the  ‘deepest cuts’ to education for 30 years.

Joining Nawaz, a BBC Question Time audience member also hit out at the lack of substance in the Conservative campaign. The audience member said he’d bet his wife £10 that Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green would say “coalition of chaos” and “strong and stable government” during his first contribution. It might be the easiest £10 he’s ever earned.

Robot rhetoric

The Conservative campaign indicates that his wife was up against terrible odds. During an interview with Radio Derby, Theresa May epitomised this. Host Chris Doidge asked the Prime Minister if she knew what a ‘mugwump’ was. Boris Johnson had used the word to personally attack Jeremy Corbyn earlier that day. Then, like a robot, May responded:

“What I recognise is that what we need in this country is strong and stable leadership.”

The collective face-palm was tangible. Journalists from The Sun and The Guardian alike expressed utter disbelief. The mindless catchphrase only highlights the Prime Minister’s inability to defend her party’s record:

Even nine-year-olds can see through May’s electioneering. From pretending opposition parties are blocking Brexit, to scapegoating E.U. interference in the election, almost all of the Conservatives’ movements amount to naked electioneering. Brexit is happening. It’s about what type of country we want to build outside the E.U. A civil meritocracy where everyone has the opportunity to succeed through universal education, healthcare and housing. Or a rigged economy where we rent our essential services from the already rich. Nawaz hasn’t reached double figures yet, but he gets it.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.K PM to Create New Internet that would be Controlled and Regulated by Government*

U.K. PM Bows to Pressure to Spell out ‘Brexit Plan’ Details*

U.K’s New PM a Very Jewish Coup*

U.K’s New PM’s Husband is a Senior Executive to an Investment Fund that Profits from Tax Avoiding Companies*

Theresa May Alone in the Trump Debate U.K. Parliament Unites to Send its own Message*

Criminal Investigation Into U.K. Conservative Government*

Young Mothers are going Hungry so their Children can Eat in Theresa May’s Britain*

Jeremy Corbyn Accused of Being Russian “Collaborator” for Questioning NATO Troop Build-Up on Border*

The U.K. Establishment Toppling the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn*

Corbyn Triumphs as Cameron Fears Failure to Achieve Mandate on Invading Syria*

Corbyn Keeps his Promises to his Constituents, even if it means keeping the Queen Waiting*

Reality of British Empire should be taught in Schools – Corbyn*

Corbyn Turns PMQs into the People’s Question Time, and Cameron Flounders*

Why Corbyn Gained the Unlikely Support of Business*

U.K. Brexit Election 08 June 2017*

 

Last horsemen of Hunza, Pakistan*

Last horsemen of Hunza, Pakistan*

Unlike in neighbouring Afghanistan or Central Asia, where the sport remains vibrant, Khan fears the tradition will die out in Pakistan.─AFP

 

In a remote northern valley surrounded by giant ice-capped peaks, villagers gather to watch a game of Buzkashi, an ancient equestrian sport once seen as a key test of virility that is now struggling for survival.

Baksh Dil Khan, a retired schoolteacher is saddling his horse as his wife sprinkles a pinch of flour over the animal for good luck, worried that the snowfall that blankets the Chapursan Valley will make the day’s match too treacherous.

The burly, moustached 52-year-old is one of the sport’s last two dozen players in this region of roughly 2000 people, which shares a border with Afghanistan to the east and the north.

Horsemen competing for a cattle carcass.─AFP

 

A black goat is led out to the middle of the grounds for the players to inspect. Some pick it up before nodding their approval.

It is taken away, later returning as a headless, disembowelled carcass and is placed in a circle in the centre of the field.

This body is the prize the horseman will jostle over in the game, made up of a series of rounds in which they aim to throw it back into the circle.

Goals are met with enthusiastic shouts of ‘Halal‘ from the crowd, a sign they believe it was legitimately scored.

Horsemen prepare for a traditional game of Buzkashi in snow covered Chapursan village of Hunza Valley.─AFP

 

Buzkashi is a way for players to show off their equestrian skills and manliness, but there are also prizes and cash to secure.

Khan has won Rs4,000, three packs of cigarettes and a cellphone.

“I almost broke my neck for these three packs of cigarettes and I am not even a smoker,” he jokes — he fell twice from his horse during the game.

Unlike in neighbouring Afghanistan or Central Asia, where the sport remains vibrant, Khan fears the tradition will die out in Pakistan.

“It is dying down and there are only half a dozen old players left, the new generation is not taking much interest in the game and we have only around a dozen young players,” he explains.

Now even finding enough horses can be a challenge as many locals have sold their steeds to buy modern comforts, says 38-year-old Taj Muhammad.

“Buzkashi will become an event of the past, a story for our children,” he muses.

In a remote northern valley surrounded by giant ice-capped peaks, villagers gather to watch a game of Buzkashi.─AFP

 

“I will continue to play even if I am the last player, the game should at least survive till my death.”─AFP

 

For Aziz Ali Dad, a cultural anthropologist, the decline of the bloodsport is a sign of Pakistan’s diminishing cultural ties with Central Asia, where the game originated.

In Hunza, it has long been a mainstay of the Wakhi people, who are also found in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Xinjiang in China.

But Ali Dad says the lack of contact between them today means Buzkashi is “on the verge of extinction in Pakistan.” Defiant, Khan vows to ride on, even if others give up.

He insists: “I will continue to play even if I am the last player, the game should at least survive till my death.”

Source*

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A Sufi, a Sikh and Their Message of Love — A Journey from Lahore to Amritsar*

A Sufi, a Sikh and Their Message of Love — A Journey from Lahore to Amritsar*

By Taimur Shamil

Sufi music and architecture has always fascinated me. Consequently, I have taken it upon myself to explore the tribal areas of North Pakistan and the remote areas of Sindh to learn as much as I can about the Sufi culture.

During recent travels, I happened upon the shrine of renowned Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir of the Qadariyyah Sufi order in Lahore.

Pigeons are attracted to the serenity of shrine. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

The mosque area attached with the shrine. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

The shrine is situated in what T.S Eliot calls, “streets that follow like a tedious argument”.

The saint’s life history, however, contains clear messages of peace. His times were soon to be followed by cultural degradation and “insidious intents”.

Surrounded by a populated area, the shrine is home to many poor people to whom it provides free shelter, and food on Thursdays.

“Thursday evening is considered to be a Mubarak day for Sufis,” explained Ghulam Fareed, a Qawwal vocalist.

Him, along with other Qawwals, have been regular visitors at this shrine. He sings here because he feels the act gives him a sense of belonging.

“This shrine has given us an identity.”

Devotees at the shrine. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

Singing qawwalis here also helps them make a living. After interacting with a few Qawwals, I realised that it’s not just mere appreciation and money; these Qawwals spoke with a sense of purpose as well.

To them, Sufi singing is a way to spread the message of unity and harmony, and they take immense pride in it.

Here, every Thursday, Qawwals sing in the courtyard of the shrine, while men and women clap and sway to the rhythm. Some men dance in ecstasy, some sing along, while others pay their tributes to the saint by bowing in front of his grave.

The air is filled with the mixed scent of roses and locally-made incense. Salvers of sweets and other food items are distributed among the crowd, both inside and outside of the shrine.

There are certain food items that are specific to the Sufi shrines in Lahore and can be found around Mian Mir; for instance, Qatlaammay (desi pizza) and Doodh Badam (milk with nuts).

Vendors selling food. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

On the outskirts of the shrine, vendors swarm the place. They sell dahi baray, chaat, sharbat and samosas to the visitors.

One of the samosa vendors, Akbar Shakir feels he doesn’t belong in the posh areas of Lahore, only here in the street next to the shrine.

“Quality is not ensured at these rairrhis but is it ensured at the hotels?” questioned Aleem Khan, a visitor to the darbar.

“After seeing what’s going on in expensive food chains that people dine in, I think we are better off over here,” he added, pointing to the samosa carts close by.

A woman lighting up a chiraagh — a ritual mostly seen at Sufi shrines in the sub-continent. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

Women constitute a huge number of devotees here.

“I was sick for the last two years,” said Sakeena, 32.

“I went to many doctors and hakeems but no one knew what my problem was. I took medicines but nothing worked. Then one day, my mother asked me to go to the shrine and pray for myself. I am much better since then. I believe that Awlia (friends of God) have the power to make things work for you,” she added thoughtfully.

Women at the shrine. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

People reciting the Qur’an inside the shrine. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

Historically, I learned, Mughal royals and nobility would frequent the Shrine of Mian Mir religiously.

According to local and British historians, Dara Shikoh had given orders to build the mausoleum of Mian Mir Shikoh. He was a Mughal prince with Sufi and mystical inclinations. He strongly believed in social harmony and a peaceful co-existence.

Shikoh authored several books on Sufism, and wrote a treatise on Bhagavad Gita (a sacred book on Hinduism). His book Sakinatul Aulia is dedicated to the life and works of Mian Mir.

Shikoh’s intellectual pursuits made him strive for a heterogeneous culture and harmony in the subcontinent — an important ingredient that was much needed in the 17th century as much as it is required now.

Students of history, who are proponents of a pluralistic society, mourn the execution of this philosopher prince who was killed by his puritan brother Aurangzeb Alamgir. Many modern-day historians are of the view that Shikoh was the bearer of the legacy of King Akbar whose stance was Sulh-e-Kul (Peace with all) — a stance that Sufis, too, have taken.

On my most recent visit to the shrine, I met many Sikh yatris who had come to pay homage to this great saint. Many of them were from Pakistan, while some had come from India. Mostly Sikh Yatris come here during the birthday celebration of Guru Nanak.

What makes the Sikhs visit the Shrine of Mian Mir? I was curious to know. I met a group of Sikhs and asked them.

Mian Mir’s grave covered with flowers while people recite the Quran. —Photo by Abdullah Khan

 

“To us, Mian Mir Sahab is as divine as the saints of Sikhism,” replied Diljeet, who came to visit the shrine from Ferozepur, India.

Sufis and Gurus, and their message, transcends geographical and cultural boundaries. “They are the beacons of light,” added Gursavek, another devotee.

The Golden Temple. —Photo by Fatema Imani

 

Mian Mir was an icon of unity, tolerance and love during and after the Mughal era. According to Sufi as well as Sikh traditions, Mian Mir laid the foundation of, what is now known as, the Golden Temple Amritsar, also known as Harminder Sahib.

Mian Mir is said to have travelled from Lahore to Amritsar on the invitation of Guru Arjun Dev, the fifth Guru of Sikhs, who asked Mian Mir for his blessings.

The story goes that Mian Mir was revered by Guru Arjun Dev. Both were divine figures of their respective religions, had mutual respect for each other and also had a similar notion: respect for humanity.

The goal of human life, according to Sufis, is to realise the divinity within; irrespective of cast, creed and religion. Harminder Sahib, in this sense, is more of a cultural hub for the people of Punjab; it is a place where self-actualisation is promoted. It is also marked as a Gurdawar — literally meaning Lord’s door or the door of the Guru.

On these grounds. Mian Mir laid the foundation of a worship place of a nascent religion.

It is noteworthy that Garanth Sahab, the holy book of the Sikh faith, includes the kalaam (poetry/works) of renowned Sufis like Baba Fareed of the Chishtiyyah Sufi order.

And hence, aptly, the kalaam of popular Sikh poet Ravidas jee resounds at the Shrine of Mian Mir in Lahore today as a reminder of humanity and tolerance, echoed by this shrine’s existence.

In today’s era of chaos and war, such places of religious and ethnic harmony always manage to leave the heart at peace, if only for a little while.

Source*

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