Adonis Diaries

 What Language are you Speaking? Any Moral Judgments attached to native or foreign language?

Our Moral Native Tongue

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Moral choice is influenced by whether the language you communicate with was native or foreign.

When a disaster choice is made in a foreign language that you understand, there is an emotional distance, and you opt for a utilitarian outcome: sacrifice one person to save 5.

Photo

Credit Olimpia Zagnoli. Gray Matter

ON June 20, 2003, employees of the Union Pacific Railroad faced a difficult decision as a runaway train headed toward downtown Los Angeles: Should they divert the train to a side track, knowing it would derail and hit homes in the less populated city of Commerce, Calif.?

Did the moral imperative to minimize overall harm outweigh the moral imperative not to intentionally harm an innocent suburb?

They chose to divert the train, which injured 13 people, including three children who were sent to the hospital.

This extreme real-life situation resembles a philosophical thought experiment known as the trolley problem, which was designed to probe our moral commitments.

It goes like this: Imagine you are standing on a footbridge over rail tracks. An approaching trolley is about to kill five people farther down the tracks. The only way to stop it is to push a large man off the footbridge and onto the tracks below. This will save the five people but kill the man. (It will not help if you jump; you are not large enough.) Do you push him?

No one approves of killing an innocent person.

At the same time, sacrificing one person to save five has its own compelling moral logic. One of these two moral principles has to yield, and there is considerable debate about which one it should be.

What is uncontroversial is that your reaction to this dilemma should not depend on morally irrelevant aspects of the situation, like what color shirt the large man is wearing, or what the weather is, or whether you are being presented with the dilemma on a Tuesday rather than a Wednesday.

But we’ve got some surprising news.

In a study recently published in the journal PloS One, our two research teams, working independently, discovered that when people are presented with the trolley problem in a foreign language, they are more willing to sacrifice one person to save five than when they are presented with the dilemma in their native tongue.

One research team, working in Barcelona, recruited native Spanish speakers studying English (and vice versa) and randomly assigned them to read this dilemma in either English or Spanish.

In their native tongue, only 18 percent said they would push the man, but in a foreign language, almost half (44 percent) would do so.

The other research team, working in Chicago, found similar results with languages as diverse as Korean, Hebrew, Japanese, English and Spanish. For more than 1,000 participants, moral choice was influenced by whether the language was native or foreign.

In practice, our moral code might be much more pliable than we think.

Extreme moral dilemmas are supposed to touch the very core of our moral being. So why the inconsistency?

The answer, we believe, is reminiscent of Nelson Mandela’s advice about negotiation: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

As psychology researchers such as Catherine Caldwell-Harris have shown, in general people react less strongly to emotional expressions in a foreign language.

An aversion to pushing the large man onto the tracks seems to engage a deeply emotional part of us, whereas privileging five lives over one appears to result from a less emotional, more utilitarian calculus.

Accordingly, when our participants faced this dilemma in their native tongue, they reacted more emotionally and spared the man. Whereas a foreign language seemed to provide participants with an emotional distance that resulted in the less visceral choice to save the five people.

If this explanation is correct, then you would expect that a less emotionally vivid version of the same dilemma would minimize the difference between being presented with it in a foreign versus a native language.

And this indeed is what we found.

We conducted the same experiment using a dilemma almost identical to the footbridge — but with one crucial difference. In this version, you can save the five people by diverting the trolley to a track where the large man is, rather than by actively shoving him off the bridge.

We found that people reacted much less emotionally in this situation. Indeed, 80 percent of our participants opted to divert the trolley, their choice identical in both native and foreign languages.

Our research does not show which choice is the right one.

But it does help us predict and explain some moral choices. Derailing the runaway train in California, for instance, was a choice we predict most people would make, both in their native and nonnative tongue.

 

This Scapegoat tendency of Single Cause fallacy

Tolstoy humored the gravity cause of the fallen apple. He enumerated two dozen possibilities of why an apple does fall “And no thing is the cause”

“People are Not the masters of their own destinies” as Aristotle proclaimed. There exists a complex network of influencing factors.

People are the masters of what Fortune and coincidences made them to take advantage of, making the best of what come to them and what they came to be.

Genetic predisposition, upbringing, education, levels of hormones, brain structure, attractive features, stature, social status… all contributed to what you are and were capable of achieving.

For example, unprofitable companies don’t get corporate loans in order to improve.

Though, the more loans the company is extended the wider the rate of returns, the bigger cash cushion, and the better they can stay afloat and much longer than the companies who are refused loans. And the financial world claim that the profitable and best managed companies are those considered best equipped to receive loans.

The company that went bankrupt do not show up in any study sample group of how these “debt-ridden” companies may fail.

Suppose that due to ill side effects you decide to take an “important” pill irregularly.

This group of  “irregular taking” patient is categorized as “irregular intake” group in evaluation studies of a drug.

The subjects who vanished from the sample (the “irregular intake”) are the ones who should have made the difference in evaluation studies  according to proper procedures and protocols.

The well-intentioned group who carried out the prescription according to procedures and protocols as a minority of all the patients who suffered from side effects. But the evaluation wants to hide the side-effects part of a drug.

Everything in nature and human interactions are intrinsically connected and trying had to discover a single cause is an abnormal behavior.

The Via Negativa concept is “We know things through what it is Not” and yet, we consistently focus on what is only significant.

Warren Buffet said: “I learned to avoid difficult business problems

Read: The Art of Thinking Clear

In the Syria US citizens Don’t Know

A young woman in Damascus produced a smart phone from her handbag and asked, “May I show you something?”

The phone’s screen displayed a sequence of images. The first was a family photograph of a sparsely bearded young man in his twenties. Beside him were two boys, who appeared to be five and six, in T-shirts. The young man and his sons were smiling. Pointing at the father, the woman said, “This is my cousin.”

The next picture, unlike the first, came from the Internet. It was the same young man, but his head was severed. Beside him lay five other men in their twenties whose bloody heads were similarly stacked on their chests. I looked away.

<!–

–>

Glass_1-110614.jpg
Contact Press Images. Supporters of Bashar al-Assad at a demonstration in Homs, May 2012

Her finger skimmed the screen, revealing another photo of her cousin that she insisted I see. His once happy face had been impaled on a metal spike. The spike was one of many in a fence enclosing a public park in Raqqa, a remote provincial capital on the Euphrates River in central Syria. Along the fence were other decapitated heads that children had to pass on their way to the playground.

The woman’s cousin and his five comrades were soldiers in the Syrian army’s 17th Reserve Division.

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS or Daesh) had captured them when it overran the Tabqa military airfield, about twenty-five miles from ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, on August 24.

The family’s sole hope was that the young man was already dead when they cut off his head. There was no question of returning the body or holding a funeral.

Only a few weeks later ISIS savagery touched the United States and Britain, as it already had Syria and Iraq, with the beheadings of the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.

The woman explained that her cousin had recently turned down a chance to leave his unit for a safer post near his home. It would not be right, he reasoned, for him, as a member of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite sect, to desert his Sunni comrades. He stayed with them, and he died with them.

The Syrian government does not publish casualty figures by sect, but martyrs’ notices pasted on the walls in Jabal Alawia, the Alawite heartland in the hills east of the port of Latakia, indicate that the Alawites have suffered a disproportionate share of deaths in the war to preserve the Alawite president.

A myth promulgated by the Sunni Islamist opposition is that the Alawites have been the main beneficiaries of 44 years of Assad family rule over Syria, but evidence of Alawite wealth outside the presidential clan and entourage is hard to find.

The meager peasant landholdings that marked the pre-Assad era are still the rule in Jabal Alawia, where most families live on the fruits of a few acres. Some Alawite merchants have done better in the seaside cities of Latakia and Tartous, but so have Sunni, Druze, and Christian businessmen.

This may explain in part why, from my own observations, a considerable proportion of Syrian Sunnis, who comprise about 75 percent of the population, have not taken up arms against the regime. If they had, the regime would not have survived.

The rising number of Alawite young men killed or severely wounded while serving in the army and in regime-backed militias has led to resentment among people who have no choice other than to fight for President Assad and to keep their state’s institutions intact.

Their survival, as long as Sunni jihadists kill them wherever they find them, requires them to support a regime that many of them oppose and blame for forcing them into this predicament.

After my friend’s cousin and his comrades were decapitated at Tabqa and their corpses left on the streets of Raqqa, ISIS publicly executed another two hundred captured soldiers. It was then that someone, said to be an Alawite dissident, declared on Facebook, “Assad is in his palace and our sons are in their graves.”

Alawite frustration is matched by that of the now-marginalized nonviolent opponents of Assad’s rule.

The Damascus cafés where I met young anti-Assad activists early in the uprising are now mostly empty, and their original enthusiasm has dissipated. Some organizers are in prison, others have gone into exile, and the rest have given up, as disillusioned with the rebellion as many Alawites are with the regime.

But like the Alawites who grumble off the record, they are powerless. One former protester told me, “I spent three days in jail, three days of hell. I’ve gone back to my job and stay out of politics.” He fears ISIS more than the security forces who arrested him, and he tries to avoid them both.

It took less than a year for the armed militias that coalesced into the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic Front to displace the pro-democracy demonstrators. The FSA predicated the success of its rebellion on a repetition of the Western air campaign that deposed Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. “When that failed to materialize,” Patrick Cockburn writes in his enlightening The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising, “they had no plan B.”* Without the air support they demanded, the FSA–Islamic Front offensive ground to a stalemate.

ISIS came along to supersede the FSA, as the FSA had replaced the protesters.

ISIS was more combative, more ruthless, better financed, and more effective, using mobility across the desert in Syria and Iraq to launch surprise attacks. It used suicide teams in bomb-laden trucks to open the way into regime strongholds that its rebel adversaries had merely besieged.

Moreover, it has achieved the one objective that eluded the FSA: it brought American airpower into the war, but not in the way the FSA wanted. Instead, the Syria war has produced an opposition to Assad so repellent and so antagonistic to Western allies in the region that when the air intervention came, it arrived in the guise of the regime’s ally in all but name.

The prospect of America reversing its policy from threatening to bomb the regime in August 2013 to actually bombing the regime’s enemies this year gave the regime hope. It saw that not only would it survive, but that it would become, however covertly, a partner of the nations that had worked most assiduously to remove it.

Although I left Syria just before the United States bombed ISIS-held towns, with the predictable civilian casualties and targets that turned out to be grain silos and private houses, Syrian officials were anticipating American involvement with satisfaction.

Contacts with the US had been underway at least since June 20, when Syrian presidential adviser Bouthaina Shaaban met former US President Jimmy Carter and former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman in Oslo. Feltman was attending a conference as a newly appointed UN official, but he still had his State Department connections.

Officials present at his meeting with Dr. Shaaban recounted a conversation in which Feltman told her, “We know President Assad is going to stay, but you know what President Obama said. So, how can we solve the problem?” Having said for three years that Assad must go, Obama has yet to explain why Assad can, for the time being, stay.

This change would not be unusual for an American president, since the recurring theme in US–Syria relations throughout the Assad era has been one of hostility followed by cooperation—that is, cooperation when both sides needed it.

During the early years of Hafez al-Assad’s rule, which began in 1970, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger refused all dealings with the ostensibly pro-Soviet ruler. The October 1973 war, launched by Egypt and Syria to regain territories Israel occupied in 1967, put an end to that. Kissinger flew to Damascus in December 1973 and wrote later:

Withal, I developed a high regard for Assad. In the Syrian context he was moderate indeed. He leaned toward the Soviets as the source of his military equipment. But he was far from being a Soviet stooge. He had a first-class mind allied to a wicked sense of humor.

The US opened an embassy in Damascus in 1974 and enjoyed a brief honeymoon with Assad père, until his meddling in Lebanon made him persona non grata again in Washington.

A near victory by Palestinian commandos in Lebanon’s civil war in 1976 prompted Kissinger to ask Assad to send his army into Lebanon to control the Palestine Liberation Organization and save Lebanon’s Christians.

By 1982, the US was again fed up with Assad for giving aid to Yasser Arafat.

That turned out to be disastrous for Arafat. Syrian tolerance of his actions only worsened his situation and that of his people as Palestinian commandos had a part in dividing and ruining Lebanon.

Ronald Reagan let the Israelis drive Assad’s army out of most of Lebanon. A few years later, when Hezbollah was making life unbearable in West Beirut and Westerners were easy pickings for kidnappers, the first Bush administration invited Syria back into the region that its army had evacuated in 1982.

This was followed by another freeze in relations that ended when Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, asked Syria to take part in the war to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Assad obliged, making him a temporary hero at the White House if something of a pariah to those of his citizens who were Arab nationalists.

After September 11, the US rendered terrorism suspects to Syria for torture.

That relationship ended with the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005 and Syria’s humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon after it was accused of conspiring against Hariri. If his father survived the ups and downs of that seesaw, young Bashar, who succeeded him in 2000, has a good chance of riding out a rebellion that has become, as he had prematurely claimed at its inception, an uprising of fanatics and terrorists who want to take Syria into a dark age.

As Bashar’s prospects improve with each American sortie against his enemies in the east of the country, Damascus and the populous towns to the north have been enjoying a respite of sorts from war.

The Syrian Ministry of Education reported that, of the 22,000 schools in the country, more than 17,000 of them reopened on time in the middle of September.

Needless to say, almost all of the functioning schools are in government-held areas. The souks in the old city of Damascus, unlike their more extensive and now destroyed counterparts in Aleppo, are open. Shops selling meat, vegetables, spices, and other basic items to the local population are doing well, although the tourist boutiques in and around the famous Souk Hamadieh have no customers apart from UN workers and a few remaining diplomats.

At night, restaurants in most neighborhoods are, if not full, nearly so. Everything from wine to grilled chicken is plentiful, albeit at prices higher than before the war. Traffic remains heavy, although somewhat less obstructed since June when the government felt confident enough to remove many of its checkpoints.

Electricity is intermittent, and those who can afford private generators use them in the off-hours.

Syria-Glass-MAP-110614
Mike King

In the old city of Damascus, where I stayed in an Ottoman palace converted into a hotel, I heard each morning at eight the roar of Syrian warplanes. They ran bombing missions on the suburb of Jobar, not more than a few hundred yards from the old city’s walls.

Most of Jobar’s inhabitants fled long ago, and its buildings have dissolved to rubble under relentless shelling. The rebels are said to be safe underground in tunnels that they or their prisoners have dug over the past two years. They fire the occasional mortar, which the Damascenes ignore.

People in the city refuse to see and hear the violence in their suburbs, much as Beverly Hills ignored riots in Watts in 1965 and 1992.

It becomes easy to pretend there is no war, unless a bomb falls too close or kills someone you know. One morning as I was driving through the upscale Abu Rummaneh quarter, a rebel mortar shell whistled overhead, hit a fuel storage tank, and sent black smoke soaring into the sky. Yet the shoppers around the corner went on as if nothing happened.

Jobar is not the only outlying area of the capital in rebel hands, but the government has dealt more successfully with the others. It has recaptured some, like Mleiha on August 14. In others, a UN official said, the strategy has been subtler.

Commanders from the warring sides make local agreements not to fight one another. “Local agreements for them are just stages of their military strategy,” said a United Nations official involved in talks between the two sides. “Fragment areas. Isolate them. Besiege them, until the people understand that they are not going to win the war and are going to negotiate. The opposition calls this a policy of kneel or starve…. The government uses the term ‘reconciliation.’ We call it ‘surrender.’”

A young Druze friend, who like the rest of his community has struggled not to take sides, said, “People are exhausted. Even those who fought the regime are moving toward reconciliation.” It is hard to blame them, when 200,000 Syrians have died and another 9 million have become refugees inside and outside their country in a war that has, to date, achieved nothing except death and destruction.

t’s a lot quieter in Damascus,” admitted a UN aid worker, “but there are other places that are on fire.”

Yet the fire is burning far to the north and east of Damascus, many miles from the heartland of populated Syria. The roads west to Lebanon and north from Damascus to Homs look as if central Damascus has become contiguous with the regions the regime considers vital to its survival.

The first sight as I drove on the highway north out of the capital was the district of Harasta, destroyed and mostly deserted. Then came Adra, an industrial town that was brutally captured last year by Islamists who massacred its Alawite inhabitants. Shortly after I drove past, the government took it back and invited its industrial workers to return.

Further north, the highway crosses open land of farms and peasant hamlets. A year ago, the route there was not safe. Bandits and rebels alike set up flying checkpoints to demand money or cars and to kidnap those who looked prosperous enough to afford ransom. It was a no-go zone for minority sects like the Alawites, Ismailis, and Christians, as well as for visiting Westerners. A year later, the atmosphere has changed.

The rebels in Homs, said in 2011 to be the cradle of the revolution, surrendered their positions to the government and left with their light weapons last May. Only the district of Al Wa’er, about a mile from the old city, remains in rebel hands and under regime siege.

There is a tense and regularly violated truce, but the city is mostly quiet. Some civilians are returning home, even to houses that must be rebuilt after three years of fighting.

Christians fleeing from areas taken by ISIS and the Islamic Front groups have found temporary refuge in an Armenian church in the city, and the local aid organizations help people of all sects.

From Homs, the road north to Aleppo remains as precarious as the road west to the sea is secure. Aleppo, which like Damascus claims to be the biggest city in Syria, is the major zone of battle between the regime and the rival opposition forces, who fight one another as much as they do the army. A Human Rights Watch report this summer identified hundreds of sites in Aleppo that had been attacked, often with “barrel bombs” by government forces.

The road west toward the sea, however, is safe for anyone not allied to the rebels. The famed Krak des Chevaliers Crusader fortress, from which rebels were able to shell the highway and nearby villages, is again in government hands. So are the towns of Qosair and Qalamoun, which the rebels had used to keep their lines of supply open to Lebanon.

The road runs through fields where the apple harvest has begun and the olives will soon be collected. The coastal city of Tartous is buzzing with life, as if there had never been a war. The ferry to Arwad Island, where families go for lunch, runs every twenty minutes.

Further north, the port of Latakia has suffered shelling only on the rare occasions that rebels took positions in the Alawite hills above it until the army quickly pushed them back.

It may sound odd to anyone outside Syria who has followed the conflict, but the beach in front of my hotel in Latakia was filled with families swimming and not a few women in bikinis.

There is fear, however, that a major onslaught by ISIS and similar jihadist groups would put an end to these pockets of ordinary life.

It is hard for Syrians to accept that the countries in the Gulf and elsewhere that supported ISIS with arms, financing, and fighters are now signing up to an American coalition to bring it down.

Yet ISIS may have gone too far, even for its backers. The caliphate that it declared in parts of Syria and Iraq struck a strong chord with Islamist fanatics in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and other states that had facilitated the group’s rapid and rabid expansion.

These states must fear that the movement they brought to Syria will come to haunt them. “It’s like the lion tamer,” an Arab diplomat in Damascus told me. “He feeds and trains the lion, but the lion might kill him at the right moment.”

—Damascus, October 8, 2014

 

 

 

Five scary Christopher Columbus quotes that let you celebrate the holiday the right way

Katie Halper

 posted this 13 Oct 2014

You’ve probably heard lots of great things about Christopher Columbus and tons of inspiring quotes from him about hard work, god, the sea etc.

But those don’t really capture what Columbus and the colonial expansion of which he was part were all about.

So, without further ado, allow me to present these quotes that you may not have heard, from or about Christopher Columbus. 

YOUR HIGHNESSES, as Catholic Christians and Princes who love the holy Christian faith, and the propagation of it, and who are enemies to the sect of Mahoma [Islam] and to all idolatries and heresies, resolved to send me, Cristóbal Colon, to the said parts of India to see the said princes …

with a view that they might be converted to our holy faith ….

Thus, after having turned out all the Jews from all your kingdoms and lordships

your Highnesses gave orders to me that with a sufficient fleet I should go to the said parts of India ….

I shall forget sleep, and shall work at the business of navigation, so that the service is performed.

I was right about how easy that whole subjugation thing would be!

In another letter to King Ferdinand, Columbus wrote 

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.

And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.

These Natives are so nice, we’d be crazy not to enslave them! 

This excerpt from Columbus’ diary describes the Arawak people who greeted him and his men:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… .

They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features….

They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… .

They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

 Rape! Columbus was such a mensch, he would let his men do whatever they wanted with the natives they captured. One of his men and a childhood friend of Columbus, Michele da Cuneo, describes in a letter how he raped a native woman:

While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire.

She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears.

Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores.

 But the anecdote captured above was not some isolated incident of cruelty.

Ironically, but in no way surprisingly, the Spanish who came to save the “heathens” from their idolatry, weren’t very Christ-like in their behavior.

In his book The Devastation of the IndiesBartolome de las Casas, the priest who accompanied Columbus on his conquest of Cuba, detailed the abuse and murder of the native population:

Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy…

And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house.

They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike.

They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them head first against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!

Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire.

With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim’s neck, saying, “Go now, carry the message,” meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains.

They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them….

 

 

 

 

Israeli forces kill 13-year-old Palestinian

If not killed and murdered by live bullet, car over run, bulldozed… Palestinian youth are rounded up and put in administrative detention prisons.

Relatives of 13-year-old Palestinian Ahmed al-Beitawi mourn during his funeral procession in Ramallah, West Bank on October 17, 2014. (Photo: Anadolu Agency – Issam Rimawi)

Published Friday, October 17, 2014

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in the village of Beit Laqiya northwest of Ramallah on Thursday evening.

Medical sources said Bahaa Samir Badir, 13, was shot in the chest after Israeli forces raided the village.

Badir was reportedly shot in the chest from close range, and suffered from severe bleeding shortly before dying at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah.

Clashes broke out in the village of Beit Laqiya after news of Badir’s death spread.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that Israeli forces “encountered an illegal riot in Beit Laqiya,” and “while they were exiting the village, rioters hurled Molotov cocktails at the forces.”

“They responded to the threat with live fire,” she said, claiming that the 13-year-old child posed a serious threat to the armed Israeli soldiers.

“Reports of a dead Palestinian are being reviewed. There will be military police investigation,” she added.

She also said that the Molotov cocktails had posed a “direct threat” to the lives of the armed soldiers.

The death of Bahaa brings the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank so far this year to 42, in addition to the nearly 2,200 Palestinians slain during Israel’s summer offensive across Gaza.

More than 4,300 Palestinians have also been injured by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank since the beginning of 2014, as well as more than 11,000 during the nearly two-month assault on Gaza.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

Meet 5 year old Inas Khalil

Inas Khalil, 5 years old, died today in Ramallah after being run over by an Israeli settler’s car.

Naomi Wolf reported:

The second child who was hit along with Einas Khalil, RIP, Nilin Asfour, is in intensive care.

Many good suggestions below for excellent charities and aid organizations operating in Palestine to whom to donate money. Some understandable critiques below of why send flowers in a war zone.

Instead of food, money, medical supplies….the answer is long and delicate and I will explain more fully when I am less tired.

But it has to do with an instinct about depersonalization versus personalization.

All civilians everywhere who are killed are killed after depersonalization. So peace starts with each of us in our hearts really knowing Einas’ family are our close neighbors and their loss is our loss.

It may be pointless in the great sweep of violence to make loving respectful personal gestures heart to heart but I don’t think so. The settlers dancing are making personal gestures of hate and they don’t take long but have huge impact.

I think this is true of personal gestures of love as well. My own awakening about Palestinians and Muslins generally being part of my family came through acts of personal kindness on their part.

So of course I think that if there were waves and waves of caring responsible gestures and actions to counter waves of hate it would be powerful. That is what I hope this community can be…a cloud of love that can be sent around the world…person to person.

Also of course it can be transformational for the oppressor to do one small thing….it is about transforming the oppressor not just helping the oppressed. That is why flowers to the family could well be wrong but our making a personal gesture that says we care honor love and remember is right.

Plus it shows the US and Israel that we are watching and caring and not colluding in dehumanization of our collective children.Which dissidents do say helps to keep them safer.

You may know. Still, are there enough sufficiant conditions to demonstrate your knowledge?

You might know the topic before the interview. You might know the topic after the interview.

During the interview you failed to demonstrate your knowledge. Do you know or don’t you?

Apparently, knowledge is Not a mere mental process: It is intrinsically related to your emotional system.

There are periods of memory lapses. And it does not matter how often you repeat “I do know”, but the external observer has no tangible evidence to your claim.

You may know, but if you are unable to communicate this knowledge then your audience will believe you are another idiot.

That is why people feel comfortable within their circles of competent companions or same professional colleagues.

It is the hardest job of all to explain your knowledge using various perspectives and angles to convince your various audience.

In fact, if the institutions designed to properly disseminate knowledge are not doing their jobs, then your audience will have no idea what you are talking about.

There got to exist a base level of compatibility between your knowledge and the methods you use to explain your knowledge.

For example, it is necessary that you strongly believe in your knowledge of the topic.

And it is necessary that you are capable of providing reasonable justifications that you know about your topic.

The problem is that neither belief nor justification are sufficient to prove your knowledge.

The community has to “think clear” too in order to comprehend your knowledge.

If it was so, it might be. And if it were so, it would be. But as it , it ain’t. That is logic” (Lewis Carroll)

If an experiment says that there is significant probability that cause A has effects on B, it would be wise to consider the counter-effect scenario: If Not A, then No B. Otherwise, what the experiment discovered as the cause may not be the real cause but correlated to other more important causes.

We fall prey to False Causality bias, or this false prophet tendencies

For example, if you have high fever, this fever is not the consequence that your head is filled with lice: actually, lice vacate your hair as soon as it senses that your head is hot and feverish. “Hot heads” are not the favorite dwelling place for lice.

Removing the lice from your hair does not guarantee that your fever will come down.

Large fires leave big damages. It is not because too many firefighters were present at the scene that the damage increased. Well, it depends:

If 8 fighters are engaged doing the same task, each one will be investing 50% OF HIS ENERGY or potential talent in putting down a fire.

Members of teams of firefighters must have different specialties so that each one will be cognizant that if anything wrong happens, then the investigators will know who was at fault and failed to perform according to his specialized task.

Each member must be aware that accountability can be pinpointed and no cover ups can convince the investigators.

Another example. Students with good grades tend to have a library at home.

Obviously, if the books are covered with dust, no reading is taking place. Because you parents are professionals and read books that does not mean that you are a passionate reader.

Bolivia Social economics does work: Evo Morales elected for third term

Ellie Mae O'Hagan

Evo Morales campaigns for the presidency
Evo Morales in the runup for the vote at the inauguration of a thermo-electric plant in Yacuiba in September 2014. Photograph: Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty

The socialist Evo Morales, who yesterday was re-elected to serve a third term as president of Bolivia, has long been cast as a figure of fun by the media in the global north.

Much like the now deceased Hugo Chávez, Morales is often depicted as a buffoonish populist whose flamboyant denouncements of the United States belie his incompetence.

And so, reports of his landslide win inevitably focused on his announcement that it was “a victory for anti-imperialism”, as though anti-US sentiment is the only thing Morales has given to Bolivia in his 8 years in government.

More likely, Morales’s enduring popularity is a result of his extraordinary socio-economic reforms, which – according to the New York Times – have transformed Bolivia from an “economic basket case” into a country that receives praise from such unlikely contenders as the World Bank and the IMF – an irony considering the country’s success is the result of the socialist administration casting off the recommendations of the IMF in the first place.

According to a report by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, “Bolivia has grown much faster over the last eight years than in any period over the past three and a half decades.”

The benefits of such growth have been felt by the Bolivian people: under Morales,

1.. poverty has declined by 25% and

2. extreme poverty has declined by 43%;

3. social spending has increased by more than 45%;

4. the real minimum wage has increased by 87.7%; and,

5. perhaps unsurprisingly, the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean has praised Bolivia for being “one of the few countries that has reduced inequality”.

In this respect, the re-election of Morales is really very simple: people like to be economically secure – so if you reduce poverty, they’ll probably vote for you.

It’s true that Morales has made enemies in the White House, but this is probably less to do with rhetoric than the fact that he consistently calls for the international legalisation of the coca leaf, which is chewed as part of Bolivian culture but can also be refined into cocaine (via a truly disgusting chemical process).

Before Morales was first elected, the Telegraph reported: “Decriminalisation would probably increase supply of the leaf, which is processed into cocaine, providing drug traffickers with more of the profitable illicit substance.”

In fact the opposite has happened – in the past two years, coca cultivation has been falling in Bolivia.

This inconvenient fact is a source of great consternation to the US government, which has poured billions of dollars into its totally ineffective and highly militaristic war on drugs in Latin America.

Morales has – accurately in my view – previously implied that the war on drugs is used by the US as an excuse to meddle in the region’s politics.

Having said this, it would be dishonest to argue that Morales’s tenure has been perfect.

Earlier this year the Bolivian government drew criticism from human rights groups for reducing the legal working age to 10.

But what most news outlets neglected to mention is that the government was responding to a campaign from the children’s trade union, Unatsbo, which sees the change in legislation as a first step to protecting Bolivia’s 850,000 working children from the exploitation that comes with clandestine employment.

Although Bolivia has made massive strides in reducing poverty, more than a million of its citizens still live on 75p a day – a legacy of the excruciating poverty of Bolivia before Morales took office.

Nevertheless, Morales must make reducing the number of child workers a priority during his third term.

Not doing so will be a serious failure of his progressive project. In terms of social reforms, Morales should heed recent calls from the public advocate of Bolivia, Rolando Villena, to legalise same-sex civil unions and pave the way for equal marriage.

He should also follow the lead of Uruguay’s president, José Mujica, and completely liberalise abortion, which would be a good first step to tackling the country’s high rates of maternal mortality.

And Morales must also address the criticism of indigenous leaders who accuse him of failing to honor his commitments to protect indigenous people and the environment.

But however Morales uses his third term, it’s clear that what he’s done already has been remarkable.

He has defied the conventional wisdom that says leftwing policies damage economic growth, that working-class people can’t run successful economies, and that politics can’t be transformative – and he’s done all of this in the face of enormous political pressure from the IMF, the international business community and the US government.

In the success of Morales, important political lessons can be found – and perhaps we could all do with learning them.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2014
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 455,085 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 315 other followers

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 315 other followers