Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Tourism – the joys and sorrows

2016-09-04

A brief sketch. Imagine an idyllic island of some 30 thousand people. Beautiful and accessible, sandy beaches and calm, turqoise seas. Infrastructure and services, adequate to good. (more…)

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13August, and a Happy 90th

2016-08-14

Cuba and the world celebrate the 90th birthday of Fidel Castro. As TeleSUR reports, Tribute to Fidel Castro on His 90th Birthday

An excerpt, (more…)

Dying for a better life, and suddenly a violent death

2016-08-14

What a maligned lot those Central American immigrants to the US. As the saying would go: But for luck there go I? For many, at great personal sacrifice many of their dreams fulfilled; for most, dreams frustrated, and wretched lives do often ensue. Which brings us to those on the streets whose existence we barely notice, despite their increasing prevalence: the homeless, the vagrant.

And that brings us to the brief life, and sudden, brutal death of a Central American immigrant to the US, in the city of San Francisco. The Guardian, which has focused attention on a problem ignored by most US media, that of deaths of US citizens occasioned by its police, now turns its attention to ‘the invisible’ on the streets of the US. Its story, The life and death of Luis Góngora: the police killing nobody noticed,  is compelling and recommends re-telling. A sample, its dramatic start, to the brief life and violent death of a young Mayan from the village of Teabo in the Yucatán, Mexico. (more…)

4July in the US, another day in history

2016-07-04

The myth, the ‘narrative’, repetition to inculcate the myth, and an ever compliant corporate media. The advent of alternative media, its increasing reliability and credibility, would offer another perspective, providing background to issues. The 04July, US Independence Day (first Brexit?), would be no exception.

For those who still cling to some romantic notion, RT gives us, 5 myths debunked by Howard Zinn (and others) about America’s ‘Independence Day’.

In TeleSUR, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz views the day through the eyes of the indigenous peoples,  July 4th: No Time for Celebration for Indigenous Peoples in US. A snippet, (more…)

Water, nature and protective voices

2016-05-01

The loss of ancestral rights, lands and natural resources continues apace in places where the affected communities lack credible and effective representation. In Guatemala, as Honduras and other countries, the indigenous and campesinos refuse to be silenced, often at the cost of their lives. A recent example is the eleven day march of 15,000 to Guatemala City to protest the ruthless onslaught of corporations on their water resources. As TeleSUR reports,  March for Water: Thousands Protest Corporate Greed in Guatemala (more…)

That journey: from cradle to grave

2016-02-28

The Guardian provides yet another sobering read.

Here the author, Helen Pearson, examines the life journey of various cohorts of Britons,  The Life Project: what makes some people happy, healthy and successful – and others not? Just one paragraph should invite closer reading,

In March 1946, scientists recorded the birth of almost every British baby born in one, cold week. They have been following thousands of them ever since, in what has become the longest running major study of human development in the world. These people – who turn 70 over the next two weeks − are some of the best studied people on the planet. And the analysis of them was so successful that researchers repeated the exercise, starting to follow thousands of babies born in 1958, 1970, the early 1990s and at the turn of the millennium. Altogether, more than 70,000 people across five generations have been enrolled in these “birth cohort” studies. No other country in the world is tracking generations of people in quite this way: the studies have become the envy of scientists around the world, a jewel in the crown of British science, and yet, beyond the circle of dedicated researchers who run them, remarkably few people know that they even exist.

[bold added for emphasis]

Such studies, longitudinal or tracer, are clearly invaluable to society. Not only to researchers, but to committed policymakers. Regrettably, some countries with the wherewithal to conduct a similar data and analytical exercise opt for blather rather than data collection and analysis for policy making.

This article should provoke not only further observation and discussion, but also some introspection – how satisfactory has been the journey and what lifestyle adjustments are called for? That saying about the ‘unexamined life…’

 

 

An episode, bloody, of US history

2015-12-30

History seems an implacable pursuer – and that despite the best efforts of the very obliging ‘legacy’ media. This week an episode in the bloody history of the United States, one of extirpation and decimation and dehumanisation and dispossession, is commemorated.

Abby Zimet of Common Dreams recounts the event, Like Grass Before the Sickle An excerpt,

December 29 marks the 125th anniversary of the Wounded Knee massacre, when soldiers from the U.S. 7th Cavalry gunned down almost 300 cold, hungry, unarmed Lakota Sioux men, women and children who had come together for a Ghost Dance. For days, the bodies of Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) and his band lay frozen in the snow; they were eventually buried in a rough mass grave.

And that was just one of very many atrocities committed in the US, yet countless in other countries, where the role of the obliging media would be first to ignore the occurrence; if not, blame the victims; then rationalise the event – all a tragic mistake. Today’s NYT recollection of the 1890 massacre is instructive, and unsurprising.

A major consolation to the no longer small yet growing viewership of blogs and other digital media is that, unlike the many who rely on the corporate media, very few would have been credulous enough to accept the existence of the non-existent Muslim country of Agrabah, which their counterparts so fervently wanted to obliterate. Which answers the question, ‘What is propaganda?’

That myth of the benevolent and compassionate United States, all myth.

A Dickens of a time?

2015-12-25

No time better. And US economist Tim Taylor has been the guide.

That Christmas Carol of Charles Dickens, a customary seasonal read, not to mention the essential viewing of Alastair Sim’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge. Both a now a tradition.

Those impelled to follow the commercial gospel of ‘Shop till you drop!’ may have had little time to contemplate the, if not religious, spiritual significance of the season. Such, in their frenetic pursuits, will have missed life, in its various forms of emptiness and despair, around them. Of course, for some these same unfortunates their own bill may soon come due.

Thus, today is better than any to do an accounting. And we go back in time. Charles Dickens would recount a stroll with a friend one winter’s night in London, A NIGHTLY SCENE IN LONDON. One telling excerpt,

Crouched against the wall of the Workhouse,
in the dark street, on the muddy pavement-
stones, with the rain raining upon them, were
five bundles of rags. They were motionless,
and had no resemblance to the human form.
Five great beehives, covered with ragsfive
dead bodies taken out of graves, tied neck
and heels, and covered with ragswould
have looked like those five bundles upon
which the rain rained down in the public
street.

What is this! ” said my companion. “What is this!”

Some miserable people shut out of the
Casual Ward, I think,” said I.

Times have since changed. Roads are paved. Smart phones abound. And the poverty and destitution, though not as dire, ignored by policy makers, is made invisible or the victims’ fault by a cooperative corporate media that ensure that their distractions make the problem disappear.

Kindness is no sign of weakness, of human frailty.

El día internacional de derechos humanos

2015-12-10

Hoy se celebra el día internacional de DDHH. Estas imágenes cuentan el maltrato a personas en muchos paises del mundo. De TeleSUR, La humanidad reclama hoy el respeto a los DD.HH

Guaicaipuro

2015-12-08

Today in Venezuela there is national recognition and celebration of an indigenous patriot. TeleSUR does what very few media would do – show respect and relate history from the perspective of the ‘locals’.

Venezuela Celebrates Indigenous Resistance Leader Guaicaipuro