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PRISON SENTENCES FOR MAURITANIAN ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVISTS A ‘DEVASTATING BLOW’ FOR THE MOVEMENT

Mauritania

In Mauritania, despite the government reporting otherwise, slavery still exists. Haratine people – a group known to be the descendants of slaves – even if no longer in slavery, face widespread discrimination.

Anti-Slavery International said today that imprisoning anti-slavery activists is a ‘devastating blow’ for the Mauritanian human rights movement, and exposes the Government’s pledges to address slavery as a farce.

Thirteen leading anti-slavery activists from the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison yesterday. They were charged after a protest in late June in an impoverished neighbourhood against the forced relocation of the community in preparation for the Arab League Summit. However, none of the thirteen activists, nor IRA, had organised the protest or taken part in it.

Sarah Mathewson, Africa Programme Manager at Anti-Slavery International, said:

“The sentences are a devastating blow to the Mauritanian anti-slavery movement. They are clearly being targeted by the Government for their work to expose and denounce slavery, still commonplace in the country.

“The charges are highly politically motivated and expose the Government’s pledges to address slavery as a farce.

“It is outrageous that anti-slavery activists are targeted and prosecuted for their work, while slave-owners perpetrate crimes with impunity.

“The international community must join together to call for the unconditional release of the activists and dropping all the charges.”

Background:

Mauritania is one of the last countries where people are still born into slavery and literally owned by their masters, facing a lifetime of abuse and forced labour. They can be bought and sold, given as gifts and are at complete mercy of their masters. Women are commonly raped and forced to bear their masters’ children, who in turn also become their slaves. Haratine people –a group known to be the descendants of slaves – even if no longer in slavery, face widespread discrimination.

Mauritania has long been under national and international pressure to enforce the law, but most anti-slavery initiatives so far have proved to be empty promises.

Although last year’s new anti-slavery law offered some hope, the Government continues to target anti-slavery activists and even refuses to acknowledge the existence of slavery in the country.

To date Anti-Slavery International and its national partners achieved the only two prosecutions for slavery in the country’s history, but the slave-owners received very lenient sentences. At least 30 other cases have remained pending for years in courts or prosecutors’ offices.

Note to Editors:
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact Anti-Slavery International Press and Digital Media Manager Jakub Sobik on 07789 936 383 or at j.sobik@antislavery.org.

source:Anti-Slavery

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Exodus,responding to some of the nasty remarks

A couple of days I was on Twitter reading and posting comments on the refugee situation we are currently experiencing.Mostly it was an interesting discussion,many differing opinions but also some extremly nasty behaviour.

THIS this is what they are fleeing from,take a good look.

dead Syrian children,according to UNICEF 10% OF THE VICTIMS ARE CHILDREN

Some people said to me they are all just young men and mostly terrorists overrunning our country.Have you ever considered the these young men are simply trying to find a place for their wifes,sisters,mothers and children to come to?They are the ones that have the strength and courage to endure the arduous conditions crossing thousands of miles of hostile lands to find a safe haven.

Also the media will show you what they wish to.Change the camera directicetion and you will see plenty of women and children but it it far more convinient for some parties to whip up fear of the “other” that is going to steal your job your housing.

The reality is we started these wars,on false premises by a lying corrupt government that did not care about the suffering they are causing.

As for the argument that other countries are not taking in refugees why hould we.

It leave we me speechless ,it has nothing to do with what other countries do.What matters is that it is the right thing to do,we have an obligation to these people ,we destroyed their homes,their infrastructure their lives,murdered millions in the name of giving them freedom.

Why not look to those countries like Lebanon that have taken in far more people then us.Instead of using those that to nothing as an example.

We have plenty of space,thousands of empty houses to house our own homeless as well as refugees.These people will bring skills and ideas to country with an aging population.

Are you still going to say we should not help them when they start building concentration camps and gas chambers?

Do you see how broken our young soldiers are that return from these places,how many are left to starve on the streets having done their bit for this corrupt government?Is that OK too?

In my mind it is simply the right thing to do.Nobody leaves their country  to end up in filthy refugee camps and those are the lucky ones.How many have drowned on the way,died of cold,hunger or been shot?

You know just stopping those stupid wars on all sides is the simplest solution.Stop killing,stop sending our sons and daughters to kill theirs.

How would you feel if we were invaded because the UN has criticised our givernment for it’s austerity measures that has killed so many? While those causing it are hoarding wealth in offshore bank accounts ,bleeding the country dry.It is not the refugees you should fear but ,or the poor,the disabled,the jobles.

It is those in power you should fear ,they have shown only too clearly that we are nothing to them but pawns to be used and sacrificed.You can bet their children are not sent to to the frontline,nOr will you see our politicians living on starvation wages.Can you not see they are turning us against each other and those seeking shelter from their wars only to better control and exploit the worlds resources?

War is a buisness and it is the ordinary person paying for it with their lives while they grow ever richer,ever more divorced from reality.By turning our backs on our fellow human beings regardles of their race,religion or colour  ,we will all have blood on our hands.

 

 

 

 

 

Vietnam jungle saga: Father & son spent 40+ years hiding from US airstrikes in the wild

© Docastaway - Desert Island Experience

Having survived a deadly American bombing that killed their entire village, a Vietnamese family of two spent over 40 years hiding in jungles confident the war was still going on and getting close to human settlements was unsafe.

The “Tarzans” were found in 2013 – Ho Van Thanh, now 85, and his now 44-year-old son Ho Van Lang, according to reports in local media. For over four decades they had been living as hermits in a remote area of the Tay Tra district of Quang Ngai region of Vietnam.

© Google maps

The father served in the North Vietnamese Army. In 1972, the US Air Force bombed their village, killing everyone including Ho Van Thanh’s wife and two of his children. He decided to flee to the jungles with his surviving two-year-old son. Nobody set eyes on them again for 41 years.

Through all those years they evaded people they encountered in the jungle and lived in a small wooden hut elevated 5 meters above ground, wearing loincloths, making tools they needed and eating anything that could be gathered, picked and hunted down in the wild forest.

Finally, they were spotted by foragers who reported about the “jungle men” to the authorities. A distant relative was found, who tried to talk them into returning to civilization.

Initially, they refused to come out of the woods, believing the war was still on, but given his age, Ho Van Thanh eventually needed medical attention, which forced the father and son to leave the jungle.

For the next three years, they lived in a village, trying to adapt to civilization.

Last November, their story got the attention of Alvaro Cerezo, managing director of the Docastaway tourist company in Hong Kong, which provides tours to uninhabited parts of Asia.

Cerezo managed to talk the son, Ho Van Lang, into going back to the jungle with his crew to show how they managed to survive for so long in total isolation.

The man said he and his father didn’t lead a Tarzan life per se. They grew corn and cassava, and kept their fire lit, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In fact, the diet of two Mowglis was extremely varied, as they consumed practically anything that could be found in the forest. The majority of plants and fruits growing there are edible.

They ate fruit, vegetables, harvested honey and cooked a wide variety of meats, including bats, birds, frogs, lizards, monkeys, rats, snakes and fish.

“While I was with him in the jungle I saw him eat bats as though they were olives,” International Business Times cited Cerezo as saying. Practically no creature in the jungle could pose any threat to them.

They also used a number of hand-made tools, collecting items they needed to produce them across the jungle, which included fragments of American bombs.

“They never ate with their hands, but had improvised chopsticks made of bamboo,” Cerezo said.

It turned out they never had any major issues with health, narrowing their concerns to flu once a year and occasional stomach ache.

However, when they got back to civilization, they drank their cup in full, being not immune to the many maladies that spread among people who live crowded together.

Alvaro Cerezo discovered Ho Van Lang is still not interested in any news from the outside world or his own country. He doesn’t use electricity and cultivates a piece of land he was given. He plans to get married, although previously he had never seen a woman.

source: RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1936

Migrant Mother

Florence Owens Thompson with daughters Ruby and Norma.

Image: Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress

Dorothea Lange’s 1936 photograph of a worried migrant mother is the single most iconic image of the Great Depression, and one of the most famous pictures of all time, yet for decades after it was taken, almost nothing was known about its subject.

In 1903, Florence Leona Christie was born in Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, the daughter of Cherokees displaced from their native tribal land.

She married her first husband at 17, and started a family while working in the farms and mills of northern California. She gave birth to her sixth child in 1931, six months after her husband died of tuberculosis.

She had another child by a California businessman, and ultimately three more with Jim Hill, a bartender and butcher from Los Angeles. She worked a litany of jobs, day and night, to keep them fed.

I worked in hospitals. I tended bar. I cooked. I worked in the fields. I done a little bit of everything to make a living for my kids.
Florence Owens Thompson

In March of 1936, she, Hill and the children were driving on Highway 101, hoping to find lettuce-picking work near Watsonville, when their car broke down near Nipomo.

They pulled into a camp of nearly 3,500 pea pickers, who had come seeking work but were left stranded when the crops were ruined by freezing rain.

While Hill and her sons went into town to get parts for the car, Florence and her daughters waited in a crude lean-to. There, they were approached by a woman hefting a Graflex 4 x 5 camera.

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions.
Dorothea Lange

rest of article over at Retronout

21 Things That Prove Fucking Hipsters Have Taken Over Scotland

curated by Hilary Mitchell

The Bearded Ones have finally made it north of the border.

1. This “upcycled” cigarette machine aquarium in a Glasgow bar.

This "upcycled" cigarette machine aquarium in a Glasgow bar.

“Does it matter that we can’t really see the fish?” “No.”

2. An Aberdeen restaurant that serves food in a bin lid.

An Aberdeen restaurant that serves food in a bin lid.

Clatty bastards.

3. And a Glasgow pub that serves its chicken wings in a pissing treasure chest.

And a Glasgow pub that serves its chicken wings in a pissing treasure chest.

“Are we a pirate-themed bar?” “No.” “Then why do…” “You’re fired.”

4. Everything about this photo of a cocktail bar in Edinburgh, but particularly the hairdryer light.

5. This fucking wine glass filled with sausage and mash.

This fucking wine glass filled with sausage and mash.

6. And this “mugotto”.

“Our special today is risotto in a mug.” “Why is it special?” “It’s in a mug.” (Pic: @AFraserAllen)

— We Want Plates (@WeWantPlates)

7. This twee eatery in Dollar, which has forgotten how to table.

This twee eatery in Dollar, which has forgotten how to table.

“Does it matter that people can’t fit their legs underneath it?” “No.”

More proof at Buzzfeed

Taq Kasra: The Archway of Ctesiphon

taq-kasra-2

The ancient city of Ctesiphon, on the banks of Tigris, is located about 35 km southeast of modern Baghdad. Established in the late 120s BC, it was one of the great cities of late ancient Mesopotamia and the largest city in the world from 570 AD, until its fall in 637 AD, during the Muslim conquest. The only surviving structure of Ctesiphon today is the majestic vaulted hall of Taq Kasra, which served as the palace of the Sasanian king Khosrow I, in the late 6th century. The archway is one of the largest single-span vault of unreinforced brickwork in the world.

Ctesiphon was founded by Mithradates I, the king of the Parthian Empire, as a place of royal residence, after he annexed Babylonia by defeating the Greeks. Under the Parthian rule, Ctesiphon became the political and commercial center of the region, and by 58 BC, it had become the Empire’s capital. Gradually, the city was merged with the old Hellenistic capital of Seleucia and other nearby settlements to form a cosmopolitan metropolis.

full article and stunning pictures  AmusingPlanet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE ARE POLYANDROUS, AND NOT JUST POLYGYNOUS

Illustration of Draupadi, a princess and queen in the Indian epic “Mahabharata”, with her five husbands (Wikipedia)

David P. Barash is an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington; his most recent book is Out of Eden: surprising consequences of polygamy (2016, Oxford University Press). A version of this post recently appeared in Psychology Today.

Human history did not begin with historians, or with the events recorded and interpreted by them. It is as old as our species … actually, older yet, but for my purposes, it’s enough to inquire into those aspects of our past that gave rise to our behavioral inclinations. Among these aspects, sex is prominent (albeit not uniquely formative). I wrote earlier about polygyny, which is dramatically evident in our bodies no less than our behavior. But polyandry, the mirror image of polygyny, is also “us”; ironically, we are both. Part of human nature inclines us to male-oriented harems, but also – although more subtly – to their female-oriented equivalent.

When biologists such as myself began doing DNA fingerprinting on animals, many of us were shocked, shocked, to find that the social partner of even some of the most seemingly monogamous bird species was not necessarily the biological father. And people aren’t altogether different, although for understandable reasons, the sexual adventuring of women has long been more obscured. Polyandry –unlike polygyny – has only rarely been institutionalized in human societies, and yet women, like men, are also prone to having multiple sexual partners. (This may seem – even be – obvious, but for decades biologists had assumed that female fidelity was generally the mirror-image opposite of predictable male randomness.

Male-male competition and male-based harem keeping (polygyny) is overt, readily apparent, and carries with it a degree of male-male sexual intolerance which also applies to polyandry, whereby “unfaithful” women along with their paramours are liable to be severely punished if discovered. This intolerance is easy enough to understand, since the evolutionary success (the “fitness”) of a male is greatly threatened by any extra-curricular sexual activity by “his” mate. If she were inseminated by someone else, the result is a payoff for the lover and a fitness decrement for the cuckolded male. As a result, selection has not only favored a male tendency to accumulate as many females as possible (polygyny), but also an especially high level of sexual jealousy on the part of males generally and of men in particular. This, in turn, pressures polyandry into a degree of secrecy not characteristic of polygyny. Another way of looking at it: patriarchy pushes polyandry underground, but does not eliminate it.

full story:HNNhistorynewsnetwork

 

 

 

 

 

French minister compares veiled women to ‘negroes who supported slavery’, sparks Outrage

A senior French politician today sparked outrage by comparing Muslim women who wear fashions designed for their own religion to ‘negroes who supported slavery’.

Laurence Rossignol, the families secretary in the Socialist government, was reacting to new lines by designers who increasingly cater for followers of Islam.

They include millions of women in countries such as Britain and France who are increasingly drawn to the clothes in a market said to be worth more than £200billion a year.

Dolce & Gabbana’s range includes 14 abayas, or ankle-length dresses matched with embroidered headscarves and hijabs.

Swedish giant H&M uses a veiled Muslim women in its advertising, while Japanese brand Uniqlo said it would sell hijabs in its London stores, along with Marks & Spencer which markets a full-body ‘burqini’ swimming costume online.

Ms Rossignol caused widespread anger on social media by saying Muslim fashion wearers were just like ‘negroes who supported slavery’.

full post at Ray online

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaharshanbe Suri – Ancient Iranian Fire Festival (Photos)

Chaharshanbe Suri is an ancient ceremony dating back to at least 1700 BCE. Iran’s largest dictionary, Dehkhoda, describes it as: “A festival arranged on the last Tuesday evening of the old year, where you light fires and jump over them, to achieve happiness and good health in the New Year.”

The celebration usually starts in the evening and people leap over the flames, singing “zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man”, literal translated as “my yellow is yours, your red is mine”, asking the fire to take their pallor, sickness, and problems and in turn give them redness, warmth, and energy.

Traditionally, it is believed that the living were visited by the spirits of their ancestors on the last day of the year. Many people specially children, wrap themselves in shrouds symbolically reenacting the visits. By the light of the bonfire, they run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons (“Gashog-Zani”) to beat out the last unlucky Wednesday of the year, while they knock on doors to ask for treats. Sometimes the treat is a mixture of seven dried nuts and fruits (pistachios, roasted chic peas, almond, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins) and is called “Ajeel-e Chahar Shanbeh Suri”. The practices are very similar to Halloween, which is a Celtic version of similar festivals celebrated throughout the area in ancient times.

Photos: Chaharshanbe Suri in Iran, 2016

Families customarily enjoy snacks during the evening and a supper at night after the end of the festivities. In Ker­man and Shiraz the main dish is usually polow with pasta soup (“ash reshte“); the longer the pasta strands, the better the chances for a long life for each member of the family.

The ancient Iranians celebrated the last 10 days of the year in their annual feast of all souls, Hamaspathmaedaya (Farvardigan). They believed Foruhars (faravahar), the guardian angels for humans and also the spirits of dead would come back for reunion. These spirits were entertained as honored guests in their old homes, and were bidden a formal ritual farewell at the dawn of the New Year. The ten-day festival also coincided with festivals celebrating the creation of fire and humans. Flames were burnt all night to ensure the returning spirits were protected from the forces of Ahriman. This was called Suri festival. Zoroastrians today still follow this tradition.

The celebration was not held on this night before Islam and might be a combination of different rituals to make them last. Wednesday is likely to have been prompted by an Arab superstition where it represents a bad omen day with unpleasant consequences. This is contrary to Zoroastrian cosmology where all days were sacred and named after a major deity. By celebrating in this manner Iranians were able to preserve the ancient tradition. The festival is celebrated on Tuesday night to make sure all bad spirits are chased away and Wednesday will pass uneventfully.

Today, there is no religious significance attached to it any more and is a purely secular festival for all Iranians (Persians, Azerbaijani people, Armenians, Kurdish people, Assyrians, Bahá’í, Jews, Christian and Zoroastrians). The night will end with more fire works and feasts where family and friends meet and enjoy music and dance.

Fire Festival in Sweden
In Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden they celebrate Eldfesten, a Swedish version of the Persian Chaharshanbe Soori. This year, 2016, is the 25th anniversary of the festival in the city of Gothenburg, where it has become one of the most popular public cultural celebrations in the city. Thousands of people, including non-Iranians, attend each year to celebrate the arrival of spring with crackling fires, music, fireworks and fragrant Persian dishes.

Photos: Eldfesten 2016 in Sweden

Sources: Iran Chamber Society, Enciclopædia Iranica, Wikipedia | Chaharshanbe Suri, IRNA 1,IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4, IRNA 5, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, Mehr News AgencyFacebook | Eldfesten 2016,Göteborgs-Posten, goteborg.com

Chaharshanbe Suri in Tehran, Iran – 2016

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