country:india

  • Must we decolonise #Open_Access? Perspectives from Francophone Africa

    A long read featuring the recent work of Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou and Florence Piron, on how a truly open and inclusive ‘Open Access’ movement must include those at the periphery

    I recently watched the recording of the fantastic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion session at OpenCon, and I was struck by the general theme of how ‘openness’ isn’t necessarily the force for equality that we perhaps think it is, and how issues of power, exploitation, and hierarchy means that it should be understood differently according to the context in which it is applied. In the session, Denisse Albornoz used the expression of ‘situated openness’ to describe how our Northern conception of openness should not be forced on anyone or any group – it needs to be understood first in individual contexts of historical injustices and post-colonial power structures.

    What stood out for me most in this session, however, (because it related most to my work) was Cameroonian Thomas Mboa’s presentation, which talked about the ‘neo-colonial face of open access’. The presentation employed some very striking critical terms such as ‘cognitive injustice’ and ‘epistemic alienation’ to Open Access.

    I’ve always known that the Open Access movement was far from perfect, but at least it’s moving global science publishing in the right direction, right? Can working towards free access and sharing of research really be ‘neo-colonial’ and lead to ‘alienation’ for users of research in the Global South? And if this really is the case, how can we ‘decolonise’ open access?

    Thomas didn’t get much time to expand on some of the themes he presented, so I got in contact to see if he had covered these ideas elsewhere, and fortunately he has, through his participation in ‘Projet SOHA’ . This is a research-action project that’s been working on open science, empowerment and cognitive justice in French-speaking Africa and Haiti from 2015-17. He provided me with links to four publications written in French by himself and his colleagues from the project – Florence Piron (Université Laval, Quebec, Canada), Antonin Benoît Diouf (Senegal), and Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba (Cameroon), and many others.

    These articles are a goldmine of provocative ideas and perspectives on Open Access from the Global South, which should challenge all of us in the English-speaking academic publishing community. Therefore, I decided to share some excerpts and extended quotes from these articles below, in amongst some general comments from my (admittedly limited) experience of working with researchers in the Global South.

    The quotes are taken from the following book and articles, which I recommend reading in full (these are easily translatable using the free tool Google Translate Web, which correctly translated around 95% of the text).

    Chapter 2 – ‘Les injustices cognitives en Afrique subsaharienne : réflexions sur les causes et les moyens de lutte’ – Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou (2016), in Piron, Dibounje Madiba et Regulus 2016 (below)
    Justice cognitive, libre accès et savoirs locaux – Collective book edited by Florence Piron, Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba and Samuel Regulus (2016) (CC-BY) https://scienceetbiencommun.pressbooks.pub/justicecognitive1
    Qui sait ? Le libre accès en Afrique et en Haïti – Florence Piron (2017) (CC-BY) (Soon to be published in English in Forthcoming Open Divide. Critical Studies of Open Access (Herb & Schöpfel ed), Litwinbooks
    Le libre accès vu d’Afrique francophone subsaharienne – Florence Piron, Antonin Benoît Diouf, Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, Zoé Aubierge Ouangré, Djossè Roméo Tessy, Hamissou Rhissa Achaffert, Anderson Pierre and Zakari Lire (2017) (CC-BY-NC-SA)
    Une autre science est possible. Récit d’une utopie concrète dans la Francophonie (le projet SOHA) – Revue Possibles, 2016 (CC-BY)

    Piron et al’s (2017) article starts with a stinging critique of those of us in our Northern scholarly publishing community cliques, and our never-ending open access debates over technicalities:

    “… there are many debates in this community, including on the place of open licenses in open access (is an article really in open access if it is not freely reusable in addition to being freely accessible?), on the legitimacy of the fees charged to authors by certain journals choosing open access, on the quality and evaluation of open access journals, on the very format of the journal as the main vehicle for the dissemination of scientific articles or on the type of documents to be included in institutional or thematic open archives (only peer-reviewed articles or any document related to scientific work?).

    Viewed from Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa, these debates may seem very strange, if not incomprehensible. Above all, they appear very localized: they are debates of rich countries, of countries of the North, where basic questions such as the regular payment of a reasonable salary to academics, the existence of public funding for research, access to the web, electricity, well-stocked libraries and comfortable and safe workplaces have long been settled.” Piron et al. (2017)

    … and their critique gets more and more scathing from here for the Open Access movement. OA advocates – tighten your seatbelts – you are not going to find this a comfortable ride.

    “… a conception of open access that is limited to the legal and technical questions of the accessibility of science without thinking about the relationship between center and periphery can become a source of epistemic alienation and neocolonialism in the South”. Piron et al. (2017)

    “Is open access the solution to the documented shortcomings of these African universities and, in doing so, a crucial means of getting scientific research off the ground? I would like to show that this is not the case, and to suggest that open access can instead become a neo-colonial tool by reinforcing the cognitive injustices that prevent African researchers from fully deploying their research capacities in the service of the community and sustainable local development of their country.” Piron (2017)

    Ouch. To understand these concepts of ‘cognitive injustice’ and ‘epistemic alienation’, it helps to understand this ‘world system’ and the power relationship between the centre and the periphery. This is based on Wallerstein’s (1996) model, which Thomas featured in his OpenCon slides:

    “… a world-system whose market unit is the scientific publication circulating between many instances of high economic value, including universities, research centers, science policies, journals and an oligopoly of for-profit scientific publishers (Larivière, Haustein, and Mongeon, 2015).” Piron et al. (2017)

    “… we believe that science, far from being universal, has been historically globalized. Inspiring us, like Keim (2010) and a few others (Polanco, 1990), from Wallerstein’s (1996) theory, we consider that it constitutes a world-system whose market unit is the scientific publication. Produced mainly in the North, this merchandise obeys standards and practices that are defined by the ‘center’ of the system, namely the main commercial scientific publishers (Larivière, Haustein, & Mongeon, 2015), and their university partners are the US and British universities dominating the so-called world rankings. The semi-periphery is constituted by all the other countries of the North or emerging from the South which revolve around this center, adopting the English language in science and conforming to the model LMD (license, master, doctorate) imposed since the Bologna process to all the universities of the world with the aim of “normalizing” and standardizing the functioning of this world-system. The periphery then refers to all the countries that are excluded from this system, which produce no or very few scientific publications or whose research work is invisible, but to whom the LMD model has also been imposed (Charlier, Croché, & Ndoye 2009, Hountondji 2001)”. Piron et al. (2017)

    So, the continuing bias and global focus towards the powerful ‘center’ of the world-system leads to the epistemic alienation of those on the periphery, manifesting in a ‘spiritual colonisation’:

    “… this attitude that drives us to want to think about local problems with Western perspective is a colonial legacy to which many African citizens hang like a ball.” Mboa (2016).

    So where does Open Access fit in with this world-system?

    “… if open access is to facilitate and accelerate the access of scientists from the South to Northern science without looking into the visibility of knowledge of the South, it helps to redouble their alienation epistemic without contributing to their emancipation. Indeed, by making the work of the center of the world-system of science even more accessible, open access maximizes their impact on the periphery and reinforces their use as a theoretical reference or as a normative model, to the detriment of local epistemologies.” Piron et al. (2017)

    Rethinking Northern perspectives

    This should be an eye-opening analysis for those of us who assumed that access to research knowledge in the North could only be a good thing for the South. Perhaps we need to examine the arrogance behind our narrow worldview, and consider more deeply the power at the heart of such a one-way knowledge exchange. Many of us might find this difficult, as:

    “The idea that open access may have the effects of neocolonialism is incomprehensible to people blind to epistemological diversity, who reduce the proclaimed universalism of Western science to the impoverished model of the standards imposed by the Web of Science model. For these people, the invisibility of a publication in their numerical reference space (located in the center of the world-system) is equivalent to its non-existence. The idea that valid and relevant knowledge can exist in another form and independently of the world-system that fascinates them is unthinkable.” Piron et al. (2017)

    Having spent a little time at scholarly publishing events in the Global North, I can attest that the mindset described above is common. There are kind thoughts (and a few breadcrumbs thrown in the form of grants and fellowships) towards those on the periphery, but it is very much in the mindset of helping those from the Global South ‘catch up’. Our mindset is very much as Piron describes here:

    “If one sticks to the positivist view that “science” is universal – even if its “essence” is symbolized by the American magazine Science – then indeed African science, that is to say in Africa, is late, and we need to help it develop so that it looks more and more like the North”. Piron (2017)

    And whilst in the North we may have a lot of respect for different cultural perspectives, genuine reciprocal exchanges of research knowledge are rare. We are supremely confident that our highly-developed scientific publishing model deserves to be at the centre of our system. This can lead to selective blindness about the rigorousness of our science and our indexed journals, in spite of the steady drip drip drip of reports of biased peer review, data fraud and other ethical violations in ‘high-impact’ Northern journals, exposed in places like retraction watch.

    North/South research collaborations are rarely equitable – southern partners often complain of being used as data-gatherers rather than intellectual equals and partners in research projects, even when the research is being carried out in their own country.

    “These [Northern] partners inevitably guide the problems and the methodological and epistemological choices of African researchers towards the only model they know and value, the one born at the center of the world-system of science – without questioning whether this model is relevant to Africa and its challenges”. Piron et al (2017).

    These issues of inequity in collaborative relationships and publication practices seem inextricably linked, which is not surprising when the ultimate end goal of research is publishing papers in Northern journals, rather than actually solving Southern development challenges.

    “In this context, open access may appear as a neocolonial tool, as it facilitates access by Southern researchers to Northern science without ensuring reciprocity. In doing so, it redoubles the epistemic alienation of these researchers instead of contributing to the emancipation of the knowledge created in the universities of the South by releasing them from their extraversion. Indeed, by making the work produced in the center of the world-system even more accessible, free access maximizes their impact on the periphery and reinforces their use as a theoretical reference or as a normative model, to the detriment of local epistemologies, which generates situations absurd as, for example, the use of a theoretical framework related to wage labor in the Paris region to analyze the work of women in northern Mali” Piron (2017)

    “The resulting consequences are, in particular, the teachers of the Southern countries who quote and read only writers from the North and impose them on their students and the libraries of our universities who do everything to subscribe to Western scholarly journals while they do not deal with our problems. (Mboa Nkoudou, 2016 )”

    This is also a striking example:

    “It is very sad to note that geographers in Ouagadougou are more familiar with European work on the Sahel than those at the Higher Institute of Sahel in Maroua, Cameroon.” Piron (2017)

    The lack of equity in research knowledge exchange and collaboration is also caused by another one-way North to South flow: funding. Research in the South is often dependent on foreign funding. Big Northern donors and funders therefore set the standards and agendas in research, and in how the entire research funding system works. Southern partners rarely get to set the agenda, and researchers rarely get to develop the research questions that guide the research. They have to learn to jump through administrative hoops to become credible in the eyes of the Northern donor (for more information see ‘Who drives research in developing countries?‘).

    Southern institutions are also compelled, via league tables such as the World Unviersity Rankings, to play the same game as institutions in the North. Institutions are ranked against each other according to criteria set in the North, one of which is citations (of course, only citations between journals in the Web of Science or Scopus, which is overwhelmingly Northern). And so to stay ‘competitive’, Southern institutions need their researchers to publish in Northern journals with Northern language and agendas.
    Northern agendas and local innovation

    Whilst it is tempting to think that the issues and criticism described above is mostly a problem for the social sciences and humanities, there are also real issues in the ‘hard’ sciences – perhaps not so much in their epistemological foundations – but in very practical issues of Northern research agendas. For example, Northern research, being based in Europe and the US, is overwhelmingly biased towards white people, in diversity of leadership, diversity of researchers, and most importantly in the whiteness of clinical trial subjects. This is problematic because different ethnic populations have different genetic makeups and differences due to geography, that mean they respond differently to treatments (see here, here and here). Are African and Asian researchers informed of this when they read research from so-called ‘international’ journals?

    Furthermore, these Northern agendas can also mean that research focuses on drugs, equipment and treatments that are simply not suitable for developing country contexts. I was reminded of a discussion comment recently made by a Pakistani surgeon on the Northern bias of systematic reviews:

    “There is a definite bias in this approach as almost all of the guidelines and systematic reviews are based on the research carried out in high income countries and the findings and the recommendations have little relevance to the patients, health care system and many a time serve no purpose to the millions of patients based in low resourced countries. e.g. I routinely used Phenol blocks for spasticity management for my patients which were abandoned two decades ago in the West. Results are great, and the patients can afford this Rs 200 phenol instead of Rs 15,000 Botox vial. But, unfortunately, I am unable to locate a single systematic review on the efficacy of phenol as all published research in the last decade was only on the use of Botox in the management of spasticity.” Farooq Rathore (HIFA mailing list, 2016).

    Similarly, I’ve read research papers from the South that report on innovative approaches to medical treatments and other problems that utilise lower-cost equipment and methodologies (in fact, as is argued here, research in low-resource environments can often be more efficient and innovative, containing many lessons we, in the North, could learn from). This point is also made by Piron et al:

    “… the production of technical and social innovations is rich in Sub-Saharan French-speaking Africa, as evidenced by the high number of articles on this subject in the Sci-Dev magazine, specializing in science for development, or in the ecofin site, an economic information agency turned towards Africa. But these are mostly local innovations that mobilize local resources and often recycled materials to, for example, introduce electricity into a village, better irrigate fields or offer lighting after sunset. The aim of these innovations is to contribute to local development and not to the development of international markets, unlike innovations designed in the North which, while targeting the countries of the South, remain highly marketable – just think of milk powder or GMO seeds. The issue of open access to scientific publications is a very secondary issue for local innovators in such a context”. (Piron et al. 2016)

    These examples of innovation aside, there are many cases where the ‘epistemic alienation’ described above leads to ‘the exclusion or contempt of local knowledge’ (Mboa, 2016), even amongst researchers in the global South.

    “In fact, Western culture abundantly relayed in the media and textbooks is shown to be superior to other cultures. This situation is pushing Africans to multiply their efforts to reach the ideal of life of the “white”. This situation seems to block their ability to think locally, or even to be reactive. Thus, faced with a given situation specific to the African context, many are those who first draw on the resources of Western thinking to propose elements of answers.” Mboa (2016)

    Free and open access as ‘showcasing products’

    The Research4Life (R4L) programme also comes in for criticism from Piron et al. which will come as a shock to Northern publishing people who often use the ‘… but they’ve got Research4Life’ line when faced with evidence of global research inequalities.

    “… while pretending to charitably provide university libraries in the Global South with free access to pre-defined packages of paid journals from the North, this program, set up by for-profit scientific publishers, maintains the dependence of these libraries, limits their understanding of the true network of open access publications and, above all, improves the market for the products sold by these publishers.” Piron et al (2017)

    “… this program encourages the continued reliance of these libraries on an external program, designed in the North and showcasing Northern products, while it may disappear as soon as this philanthropic desire is exhausted or as soon as trading partners will not find any more benefits.”

    Whilst I still think R4L is a great initiative (I know many researchers in the Global South who are very appreciative of the programme), it’s difficult to disagree with the conclusion that:

    ‘… this program mainly improves the opportunities of Northern publishers without contributing to the sustainable empowerment of university libraries in the South … this charity seems very hypocritical, let alone arbitrary, since it can stop at any time.” Piron (2017)

    Of course, the same could be said of Article Processing Charge (APC) waivers for developing country authors. Waivers are currently offered by the majority of journals from the big publishers (provided according to the same HINARI list of countries provided by Research4Life), although sometimes you have to dig deep into the terms and conditions pages to find them. Waivers are good for publishers to showcase their corporate social responsibility and provide diversity of authorship. However, they are unsustainable – this charity is unlikely to last forever, especially as they rely on the pool of Southern authors being relatively limited. It should also be noted that developing countries with the most active, growing researcher communities such as Nigeria, South Africa and India do not qualify for either R4L access or APC waivers.

    Speaking of APCs, something I observe regularly amongst Southern researchers is a confusion over the ‘Gold’ OA author-pays model, and this too is noted:

    “In northern countries, many researchers, especially in STEM (Björk and Solomon, 2012) [ 7 ], believe (wrongly) that open access now means “publication fees charged to authors” … this commercial innovation appears to be paying off, as these costs appear to be natural to researchers.” Piron (2017)

    This also appears to be paying off in the Global South – authors seem resigned to pay some kind of charge to publish, and it is common to have to point out to authors that over two-thirds of OA journals and 99% of subscription journals do not charge to publish (although, the rise of ‘predatory’ journals may have magnified this misunderstanding that pay-to-publish is the norm).

    It may be tempting to think of these inequalities as an unfortunate historical accident, and that our attempts to help the Global South ‘catch up’ are just a little clumsy and patronising. However, Piron argues that this is no mere accident, but the result of colonial exploitation that still resonates in existing power structures today:

    “Open access is then easily seen as a means of catching up, at least filling gaps in libraries and often outdated teaching […] Africa is considered as lagging behind the modern world, which would explain its underdevelopment, to summarize this sadly hegemonic conception of north-south relations. By charity, Northern countries then feel obliged to help, which feeds the entire industry surrounding development aid [….] this model of delay, violently imposed by the West on the rest of the world through colonization, has been used to justify the economic and cognitive exploitation (Connell, 2014) of colonized continents without which modernity could not have prospered.” Piron (2017)

    To build the path or take the path?

    Of course, the authors do admit that access to Northern research has a role to play in the Global South, provided the access is situated in local contexts:

    “… African science should be an African knowledge, rooted in African contexts, that uses African epistemologies to answer African questions, while also using other knowledge from all over the world, including Western ones, if they are relevant locally.” Piron (2017)

    However, the practical reality of Open Access for Southern researchers is often overstated. There is a crucial distinction between making content ‘open’ and providing the means to access that content. As Piron et al. 2017 say:

    “To put a publication in open access: is it, to build the path (technical or legal) that leads to it, or is it to make it possible for people to take this path? This distinction is crucial to understand the difference in meaning of open access between the center and the periphery of the world-system of science, although only an awareness of the conditions of scientific research in the Southern countries makes it possible to visualize it, to perceive it.”

    This crucial difference between availability and accessibility has also been explained by Anne Powell on Scholarly Kitchen. There are many complex barriers to ‘free’ and ‘open’ content actually being accessed and used. The most obvious of these barriers is internet connectivity, but librarian training, language and digital literacy also feature significantly:

    “Finding relevant open access articles on the web requires digital skills that, as we have seen, are rare among Haitian and African students for whom the web sometimes comes via Facebook … Remember that it is almost always when they arrive at university that these students first touch a computer. The catching up is fast, but many reflexes acquired since the primary school in the countries of the North must be developed before even being able to imagine that there are open access scientific texts on the web to make up for the lack of documents in the libraries. In the words of the Haitian student Anderson Pierre, “a large part of the students do not know the existence of these resources or do not have the digital skills to access and exploit them in order to advance their research project”. Piron (2017)

    Barriers to local knowledge exchange

    Unfortunately, this is made even more difficult by resistance and misunderstanding of the internet and digital tools from senior leadership in Africa:

    “Social representations of the web, science and copyright also come into play, especially among older academics, a phenomenon that undermines the appropriation of digital technologies at the basis of open access in universities.” Piron et al. (2017)

    “To this idea that knowledge resides only in printed books is added a representation of the web which also has an impact on the local resistance to open access: our fieldwork has allowed us to understand that, for many African senior academics, the web is incompatible with science because it contains only documents or sites that are of low quality, frivolous or entertaining. These people infer that science in open access on the web is of lower quality than printed science and are very surprised when they learn that most of the journals of the world-system of science exist only in dematerialized format. … Unfortunately, these resistances slow down the digitization and the web dissemination of African scientific works, perpetuating these absurd situations where the researchers of the same field in neighboring universities do not know what each other is doing”. Piron et al. (2017)

    This complaint about in-country communication from researchers in the South can be common, but there are signs that open access can make a difference – as an example, in Sri Lanka, I’ve spoken to researchers who say that communicating research findings within the country has always been a problem, but the online portal Sri Lanka Journals Online (currently 77 open access Sri Lankan journals) has started to improve this situation. This project was many years in the making, and has involved training journal editors and librarians in loading online content and improving editorial practices for open access. The same, of course, could be said for African Journals Online, which has potential to facilitate sharing on a larger scale.

    Arguably, some forms of institutional resistance to openness in the Global South have a neocolonial influence – universities have largely borrowed and even intensified the Northern ‘publish or perish’ mantra which focuses the academic rewards system almost entirely on journal publications, often in northern-indexed journals, rather than on impact on real world development.

    “The system of higher education and research in force in many African countries remains a remnant of colonization, perpetuated by the reproduction, year after year, of the same ideals and principles. This reproduction is assured not by the old colonizers but by our own political leaders who are perpetuating a system structured according to a classical partitioning that slows down any possible communication between researchers within the country or with the outside world, even worse between the university and the immediate environment. For the ruling class, the changes taking place in the world and the society’s needs seem to have no direct link to the university.” Mboa (2016)

    Mboa calls this partitioning between researchers and outsiders as “a tight border between society and science”:

    “African researchers are so attached to the ideal of neutrality of science and concern of its ‘purity’ that they consider contacts with ordinary citizens as ‘risks’ or threats and that they prefer to evolve in their ‘ivory tower’. On the other hand, ordinary citizens feel so diminished compared to researchers that to talk to them about their eventual involvement in research is a taboo subject …” Mboa (2016)

    Uncolonising openness

    So what is the answer to all these problems? Is it in building the skills of researchers and institutions or a complete change of philosophy?

    “The colonial origin of African science (Mvé-Ondo, 2005) is certainly no stranger to this present subjugation of African science to northern research projects, nor to its tendency to imitate Western science without effort. Contextualization, particularly in the quasi-colonial structuring of sub-Saharan African universities (Fredua-Kwarteng, 2015) and in maintaining the use of a colonial language in university education. Considering this institutionalized epistemic alienation as yet another cognitive injustice, Mvé-Ondo wonders “how to move from a westernization of science to a truly shared science” (p.49) and calls for “epistemological mutation”, “rebirth”, modernizing “African science at the crossroads of local knowledge and northern science – perhaps echoing the call of Fanon (1962/2002) for a “new thinking” in the Third World countries, detached from European model, decolonized.” Piron et al. (2017)

    For this to happen, open access must be about more than just access – but something much more holistic and equitable:

    “Can decentralized, decolonised open access then contribute to creating more cognitive justice in global scientific production? Our answer is clear: yes, provided that it is not limited to the question of access for scientific and non-scientific readers to scientific publications. It must include the concern for origin, creation, local publishing and the desire to ensure equity between the accessibility of the publications of the center of the world system and that of knowledge from the periphery. It thus proposes to replace the normative universalism of globalized science with an inclusive universalism, open to the ecology of knowledges and capable of building an authentic knowledge commons (Gruson-Daniel, 2015; Le Crosnier, 2015), hospitable for the knowledge of the North and the South”. Piron et al. (2017)

    Mboa sees the solution to this multifaceted problem in ‘open science’:

    “[Cognitive injustice comes via] … endogenous causes (citizens and African leaders) and by exogenous causes (capitalism, colonization, the West). The knowledge of these causes allowed me to propose ways to prevent our downfall. Among these means, I convened open science as a tool available to our leaders and citizens for advancing cognitive justice. For although the causes are endogenous and exogenous, I believe that a wound heals from the inside outwards.” Mboa (2016).

    Mboa explains how open science approaches can overcome some of these problems in this book chapter, but here he provides a short summary of the advantages of open science for African research:

    “It’s a science that rejects the ivory tower and the separation between scientists and the rest of the population of the country. In short, it’s a science released from control by a universal capitalist standard, by hierarchical authority and by pre-established scientific classes. From this perspective, open science offers the following advantages:

    it brings science closer to society;
    it promotes fair and sustainable development;
    it allows the expression of minority and / or marginalized groups, as well as their knowledge;
    it promotes original, local and useful research in the country;
    it facilitates access to a variety of scientific and technical information;
    it is abundant, recent and up to date;
    it develops digital skills;
    it facilitates collaborative work;
    it gives a better visibility to research work.

    By aiming to benefit from these advantages, researchers and African students fight cognitive injustice. For this, open access science relies on open access, free licenses, free computing, and citizen science.” Mboa (2016).

    But in order for open science to succeed, digital literacy must be rapidly improved to empower students and researchers in the South:

    “Promoting inclusive access therefore requires engaging at the same time in a decolonial critique of the relationship between the center and the periphery and urging universities in the South to develop the digital literacy of their student or teacher members.” Piron et al. (2017)

    It also requires improving production of scientific works (‘grey’ literature, as well as peer-reviewed papers) in the South for a two-way North/South conversation:

    “Then, we propose to rethink the usual definition of open access to add the mandate to enhance the visibility of scientific work produced in universities in the South and thus contribute to greater cognitive justice in global scientific production.” Piron (2017)

    And providing open access needs to be understood in context:

    “… if we integrate the concern for the enhancement of the knowledge produced in the periphery and the awareness of all that hinders the creation of this knowledge, then open access can become a tool of cognitive justice at the service of the construction of an inclusive universalism peculiar to a just open science.” Piron, Diouf, Madiba (2017)

    In summary then, we need to rethink the way that the global North seeks to support the South – a realignment of this relationship from mere access to empowerment through sustainable capacity building:

    “Africa’s scientific development aid, if it is needed, should therefore be oriented much less towards immediate access to Northern publications and more to local development of tools and the strengthening of the digital skills of academics and librarians. These tools and skills would enable them not only to take advantage of open access databases, but also to digitize and put open access local scientific works in open archives, journals or research centers.” Piron (2017)

    So what next?

    Even if you disagree with many the above ideas, I hope that this has provided many of you with some food for thought. Open Access must surely be about more than just knowledge flow from North to South (or, for that matter the academy to the public, or well-funded researchers to poorly funded researchers). Those on the periphery must also be given a significant voice and a place at the table. For this to happen, many researchers (and their equivalents outside academia) need training and support in digital skills; some institutional barriers also need to be removed or overcome; and of course a few cherished, long-held ideas must be seriously challenged.

    “These injustices denote anything that diminishes the capacity of academics in these countries to deploy the full potential of their intellectual talents, their knowledge and their capacity for scientific research to serve their country’s sustainable local development”. Piron et al., (2016).

    What do you think…?

    http://journalologik.uk/?p=149
    #édition_scientifique #OA #open_access #Afrique #Afrique_francophone #décolonisation #post-colonialisme

  • Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-28/boeing-s-737-max-software-outsourced-to-9-an-hour-engineers

    In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.

    The coders from HCL were typically designing to specifications set by Boeing. Still, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code,” Rabin said. Frequently, he recalled, “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”

    Boeing’s cultivation of Indian companies appeared to pay other dividends. In recent years, it has won several orders for Indian military and commercial aircraft, such as a $22 billion one in January 2017 to supply SpiceJet Ltd. That order included 100 737-Max 8 jets and represented Boeing’s largest order ever from an Indian airline, a coup in a country dominated by Airbus.

    Based on resumes posted on social media, HCL engineers helped develop and test the Max’s flight-display software, while employees from another Indian company, Cyient Ltd., handled software for flight-test equipment.

    C’est beau comme tout la langue de bois des public relations :

    Boeing said the company did not rely on engineers from HCL and Cyient for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been linked to the Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March. The Chicago-based planemaker also said it didn’t rely on either firm for another software issue disclosed after the crashes: a cockpit warning light that wasn’t working for most buyers.

    “Boeing has many decades of experience working with supplier/partners around the world,” a company spokesman said. “Our primary focus is on always ensuring that our products and services are safe, of the highest quality and comply with all applicable regulations.”

    In a statement, HCL said it “has a strong and long-standing business relationship with The Boeing Company, and we take pride in the work we do for all our customers. However, HCL does not comment on specific work we do for our customers. HCL is not associated with any ongoing issues with 737 Max.”

    Starting with the 787 Dreamliner, launched in 2004, it sought to increase profits by instead providing high-level specifications and then asking suppliers to design more parts themselves. The thinking was “they’re the experts, you see, and they will take care of all of this stuff for us,” said Frank McCormick, a former Boeing flight-controls software engineer who later worked as a consultant to regulators and manufacturers. “This was just nonsense.”

    Sales are another reason to send the work overseas. In exchange for an $11 billion order in 2005 from Air India, Boeing promised to invest $1.7 billion in Indian companies. That was a boon for HCL and other software developers from India, such as Cyient, whose engineers were widely used in computer-services industries but not yet prominent in aerospace.

    La sous-traitance logicielle peut-elle suivre les modèles de la sous-traitance de l’industrie ?

    HCL, once known as Hindustan Computers, was founded in 1976 by billionaire Shiv Nadar and now has more than $8.6 billion in annual sales. With 18,000 employees in the U.S. and 15,000 in Europe, HCL is a global company and has deep expertise in computing, said Sukamal Banerjee, a vice president. It has won business from Boeing on that basis, not on price, he said: “We came from a strong R&D background.”

    Still, for the 787, HCL gave Boeing a remarkable price – free, according to Sam Swaro, an associate vice president who pitched HCL’s services at a San Diego conference sponsored by Avionics International magazine in June. He said the company took no up-front payments on the 787 and only started collecting payments based on sales years later, an “innovative business model” he offered to extend to others in the industry.

    The 787 entered service three years late and billions of dollars over budget in 2011, in part because of confusion introduced by the outsourcing strategy. Under Dennis Muilenburg, a longtime Boeing engineer who became chief executive in 2015, the company has said that it planned to bring more work back in-house for its newest planes.

    #Boeing #Sous-traitance #Capitalisme #Sécurité #Logiciel

  • Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-28/boeing-s-737-max-software-outsourced-to-9-an-hour-engineers


    The cockpit of a grounded 737 Max 8 aircraft.
    Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

    • Planemaker and suppliers used lower-paid temporary workers
    • Engineers feared the practice meant code wasn’t done right

    It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors.

    The Max software — plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw — was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.

    Increasingly, the iconic American planemaker and its subcontractors have relied on temporary workers making as little as $9 an hour to develop and test software, often from countries lacking a deep background in aerospace — notably India.

    In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.
    […]
    In one post, an HCL employee summarized his duties with a reference to the now-infamous model, which started flight tests in January 2016: “Provided quick workaround to resolve production issue which resulted in not delaying flight test of 737-Max (delay in each flight test will cost very big amount for Boeing).

  • India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power (https://ww...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9289206

    India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power

    HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20316716 Posted by ljf (karma: 2572) Post stats: Points: 128 - Comments: 65 - 2019-06-30T06:35:25Z

    #HackerNews #cheapest #india #now #power #producing #solar #the #worlds HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 107 - Loop: 82 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 21

  • An Apology of Enclaves - The New York Times
    https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/an-apology-of-enclaves

    Article de 2011 - Pour les archives

    No, “apology” is not the collective noun for enclaves. The accepted term is a complex of enclaves — although more imaginative suggestions are welcome. Nor do I feel the need to apologize for enclaves. Yes, these geopolitical anomalies — for the uninitiated, a chunk of one political or ethnic unit lying wholly within another — have caused their fair share of misery and grief. But fascination with a subject does not equal approval of all its phenomena; herpetologists need not apologize for snakebites.

    In keeping with the original meaning of the word, this apology is a defense of enclaves, a fascinating but endangered border phenomenon. Yet at the same time, this piece is also an apology of sorts for enclaves [1], for two examples in particular: Baarle, Belgium, and Cooch Behar, India/Bangladesh, both of which involve not one or two but dozens of atomized enclaves spread throughout, respectively, Dutch and Bangladeshi/Indian territory. It’s fair to ask why these lands, which by all accounts feed daily bureaucratic nightmares, have been allowed to survive.

    #enclaves #frontières

  • Beyond the Hype of Lab-Grown Diamonds
    https://earther.gizmodo.com/beyond-the-hype-of-lab-grown-diamonds-1834890351

    Billions of years ago when the world was still young, treasure began forming deep underground. As the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates plunged down into the upper mantle, bits of carbon, some likely hailing from long-dead life forms were melted and compressed into rigid lattices. Over millions of years, those lattices grew into the most durable, dazzling gems the planet had ever cooked up. And every so often, for reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, an eruption would send a stash of these stones rocketing to the surface inside a bubbly magma known as kimberlite.

    There, the diamonds would remain, nestled in the kimberlite volcanoes that delivered them from their fiery home, until humans evolved, learned of their existence, and began to dig them up.

    The epic origin of Earth’s diamonds has helped fuel a powerful marketing mythology around them: that they are objects of otherworldly strength and beauty; fitting symbols of eternal love. But while “diamonds are forever” may be the catchiest advertising slogan ever to bear some geologic truth, the supply of these stones in the Earth’s crust, in places we can readily reach them, is far from everlasting. And the scars we’ve inflicted on the land and ourselves in order to mine diamonds has cast a shadow that still lingers over the industry.

    Some diamond seekers, however, say we don’t need to scour the Earth any longer, because science now offers an alternative: diamonds grown in labs. These gems aren’t simulants or synthetic substitutes; they are optically, chemically, and physically identical to their Earth-mined counterparts. They’re also cheaper, and in theory, limitless. The arrival of lab-grown diamonds has rocked the jewelry world to its core and prompted fierce pushback from diamond miners. Claims abound on both sides.

    Growers often say that their diamonds are sustainable and ethical; miners and their industry allies counter that only gems plucked from the Earth can be considered “real” or “precious.” Some of these assertions are subjective, others are supported only by sparse, self-reported, or industry-backed data. But that’s not stopping everyone from making them.

    This is a fight over image, and when it comes to diamonds, image is everything.
    A variety of cut, polished Ada Diamonds created in a lab, including smaller melee stones and large center stones. 22.94 carats total. (2.60 ct. pear, 2.01 ct. asscher, 2.23 ct. cushion, 3.01 ct. radiant, 1.74 ct. princess, 2.11 ct. emerald, 3.11 ct. heart, 3.00 ct. oval, 3.13 ct. round.)
    Image: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Same, but different

    The dream of lab-grown diamond dates back over a century. In 1911, science fiction author H.G. Wells described what would essentially become one of the key methods for making diamond—recreating the conditions inside Earth’s mantle on its surface—in his short story The Diamond Maker. As the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) notes, there were a handful of dubious attempts to create diamonds in labs in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the first commercial diamond production wouldn’t emerge until the mid-1950s, when scientists with General Electric worked out a method for creating small, brown stones. Others, including De Beers, soon developed their own methods for synthesizing the gems, and use of the lab-created diamond in industrial applications, from cutting tools to high power electronics, took off.

    According to the GIA’s James Shigley, the first experimental production of gem-quality diamond occurred in 1970. Yet by the early 2000s, gem-quality stones were still small, and often tinted yellow with impurities. It was only in the last five or so years that methods for growing diamonds advanced to the point that producers began churning out large, colorless stones consistently. That’s when the jewelry sector began to take a real interest.

    Today, that sector is taking off. The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), a trade group formed in 2016 by a dozen lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA secretary general Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about 1 percent of a $14 billion rough diamond market. This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market.

    He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry.
    “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not.”

    “This year some [factories] will come up from 100,000 gem-quality diamonds to one to two million,” Zimnisky said. “They already have the infrastructure and equipment in place” and are in the process of upgrading it. (About 150 million carats of diamonds were mined last year, according to a global analysis of the industry conducted by Bain & Company.)

    Production ramp-up aside, 2018 saw some other major developments across the industry. In the summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversed decades of guidance when it expanded the definition of a diamond to include those created in labs and dropped ‘synthetic’ as a recommended descriptor for lab-grown stones. The decision came on the heels of the world’s top diamond producer, De Beers, announcing the launch of its own lab-grown diamond line, Lightbox, after having once vowed never to sell man-made stones as jewelry.

    “I would say shock,” Lightbox Chief Marketing Officer Sally Morrison told Earther when asked how the jewelry world responded to the company’s launch.

    While the majority of lab-grown diamonds on the market today are what’s known as melee (less than 0.18 carats), the tech for producing the biggest, most dazzling diamonds continues to improve. In 2016, lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna announced its partners had grown a 6.28 carat gem-quality diamond, claimed to be the largest created in the U.S. to that point. In 2017, a lab in Augsburg University, Germany that grows diamonds for industrial and scientific research applications produced what is thought to be the largest lab-grown diamond ever—a 155 carat behemoth that stretches nearly 4 inches across. Not gem quality, perhaps, but still impressive.

    “If you compare it with the Queen’s diamond, hers is four times heavier, it’s clearer” physicist Matthias Schreck, who leads the group that grew that beast of a jewel, told me. “But in area, our diamond is bigger. We were very proud of this.”

    Diamonds can be created in one of two ways: Similar to how they form inside the Earth, or similar to how scientists speculate they might form in outer space.

    The older, Earth-inspired method is known as “high temperature high pressure” (HPHT), and that’s exactly what it sounds like. A carbon source, like graphite, is placed in a giant, mechanical press where, in the presence of a catalyst, it’s subjected to temperatures of around 1,600 degrees Celsius and pressures of 5-6 Gigapascals in order to form diamond. (If you’re curious what that sort of pressure feels like, the GIA describes it as similar to the force exerted if you tried to balance a commercial jet on your fingertip.)

    The newer method, called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), is more akin to how diamonds might form in interstellar gas clouds (for which we have indirect, spectroscopic evidence, according to Shigley). A hydrocarbon gas, like methane, is pumped into a low-pressure reactor vessel alongside hydrogen. While maintaining near-vacuum conditions, the gases are heated very hot—typically 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius, according to Lightbox CEO Steve Coe—causing carbon atoms to break free of their molecular bonds. Under the right conditions, those liberated bits of carbon will settle out onto a substrate—typically a flat, square plate of a synthetic diamond produced with the HPHT method—forming layer upon layer of diamond.

    “It’s like snow falling on a table on your back porch,” Jason Payne, the founder and CEO of lab-grown diamond jewelry company Ada Diamonds, told me.

    Scientists have been forging gem-quality diamonds with HPHT for longer, but today, CVD has become the method of choice for those selling larger bridal stones. That’s in part because it’s easier to control impurities and make diamonds with very high clarity, according to Coe. Still, each method has its advantages—Payne said that HPHT is faster and the diamonds typically have better color (which is to say, less of it)—and some companies, like Ada, purchase stones grown in both ways.

    However they’re made, lab-grown diamonds have the same exceptional hardness, stiffness, and thermal conductivity as their Earth-mined counterparts. Cut, they can dazzle with the same brilliance and fire—a technical term to describe how well the diamond scatters light like a prism. The GIA even grades them according to the same 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat—that gemologists use to assess diamonds formed in the Earth, although it uses a slightly different terminology to report the color and clarity grades for lab-grown stones.

    They’re so similar, in fact, that lab-grown diamond entering the larger diamond supply without any disclosures has become a major concern across the jewelry industry, particularly when it comes to melee stones from Asia. It’s something major retailers are now investing thousands of dollars in sophisticated detection equipment to suss out by searching for minute differences in, say, their crystal shape or for impurities like nitrogen (much less common in lab-grown diamond, according to Shigley).

    Those differences may be a lifeline for retailers hoping to weed out lab-grown diamonds, but for companies focused on them, they can become another selling point. The lack of nitrogen in diamonds produced with the CVD method, for instance, gives them an exceptional chemical purity that allows them to be classified as type IIa; a rare and coveted breed that accounts for just 2 percent of those found in nature. Meanwhile, the ability to control everything about the growth process allows companies like Lightbox to adjust the formula and produce incredibly rare blue and pink diamonds as part of their standard product line. (In fact, these colored gemstones have made up over half of the company’s sales since launch, according to Coe.)

    And while lab-grown diamonds boast the same sparkle as their Earthly counterparts, they do so at a significant discount. Zimnisky said that today, your typical one carat, medium quality diamond grown in a lab will sell for about $3,600, compared with $6,100 for its Earth-mined counterpart—a discount of about 40 percent. Two years ago, that discount was only 18 percent. And while the price drop has “slightly tapered off” as Zimnisky put it, he expects it will fall further thanks in part to the aforementioned ramp up in Chinese production, as well as technological improvements. (The market is also shifting in response to Lightbox, which De Beers is using to position lab-grown diamonds as mass produced items for fashion jewelry, and which is selling its stones, ungraded, at the controversial low price of $800 per carat—a discount of nearly 90 percent.)

    Zimnisky said that if the price falls too fast, it could devalue lab-grown diamonds in the eyes of consumers. But for now, at least, paying less seems to be a selling point. A 2018 consumer research survey by MVI Marketing found that most of those polled would choose a larger lab-grown diamond over a smaller mined diamond of the same price.

    “The thing [consumers] seem most compelled by is the ability to trade up in size and quality at the same price,” Garard of IGDA said.

    Still, for buyers and sellers alike, price is only part of the story. Many in the lab-grown diamond world market their product as an ethical or eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds.

    But those sales pitches aren’t without controversy.
    A variety of lab-grown diamond products arrayed on a desk at Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan. The stone in the upper left gets its blue color from boron. Diamonds tinted yellow (top center) usually get their color from small amounts of nitrogen.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Dazzling promises

    As Anna-Mieke Anderson tells it, she didn’t enter the diamond world to become a corporate tycoon. She did it to try and fix a mistake.

    In 1999, Anderson purchased herself a diamond. Some years later, in 2005, her father asked her where it came from. Nonplussed, she told him it came from the jewelry store. But that wasn’t what he was asking: He wanted to know where it really came from.

    “I actually had no idea,” Anderson told Earther. “That led me to do a mountain of research.”

    That research eventually led Anderson to conclude that she had likely bought a diamond mined under horrific conditions. She couldn’t be sure, because the certificate of purchase included no place of origin. But around the time of her purchase, civil wars funded by diamond mining were raging across Angola, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, fueling “widespread devastation” as Global Witness put it in 2006. At the height of the diamond wars in the late ‘90s, the watchdog group estimates that as many as 15 percent of diamonds entering the market were conflict diamonds. Even those that weren’t actively fueling a war were often being mined in dirty, hazardous conditions; sometimes by children.

    “I couldn’t believe I’d bought into this,” Anderson said.

    To try and set things right, Anderson began sponsoring a boy living in a Liberian community impacted by the blood diamond trade. The experience was so eye-opening, she says, that she eventually felt compelled to sponsor more children. Selling conflict-free jewelry seemed like a fitting way to raise money to do so, but after a great deal more research, Anderson decided she couldn’t in good faith consider any diamond pulled from the Earth to be truly conflict-free in either the humanitarian or environmental sense. While diamond miners were, by the early 2000s, getting their gems certified “conflict free” according to the UN-backed Kimberley Process, the certification scheme’s definition of a conflict diamond—one sold by rebel groups to finance armed conflicts against governments—felt far too narrow.

    “That [conflict definition] eliminates anything to do with the environment, or eliminates a child mining it, or someone who was a slave, or beaten, or raped,” Anderson said.

    And so she started looking into science, and in 2007, launching MiaDonna as one of the world’s first lab-grown diamond jewelry companies. The business has been activism-oriented from the get-go, with at least five percent of its annual earnings—and more than 20 percent for the last three years—going into The Greener Diamond, Anderson’s charity foundation which has funded a wide range of projects, from training former child soldiers in Sierra Leone to grow food to sponsoring kids orphaned by the West African Ebola outbreak.

    MiaDonna isn’t the only company that positions itself as an ethical alternative to the traditional diamond industry. Brilliant Earth, which sells what it says are carefully-sourced mined and lab-created diamonds, also donates a small portion of its profits to supporting mining communities. Other lab-grown diamond companies market themselves as “ethical,” “conflict-free,” or “world positive.” Payne of Ada Diamonds sees, in lab-grown diamonds, not just shiny baubles, but a potential to improve medicine, clean up pollution, and advance society in countless other ways—and he thinks the growing interest in lab-grown diamond jewelry will help propel us toward that future.

    Others, however, say black-and-white characterizations when it comes to social impact of mined diamonds versus lab-grown stones are unfair. “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not,” Estelle Levin-Nally, founder and CEO of Levin Sources, which advocates for better governance in the mining sector, told Earther. “I think it’s always about your politics. And ethics are subjective.”

    Saleem Ali, an environmental researcher at the University of Delaware who serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative, agrees. He says the mining industry has, on the whole, worked hard to turn itself around since the height of the diamond wars and that governance is “much better today” than it used to be. Human rights watchdog Global Witness also says that “significant progress” has been made to curb the conflict diamond trade, although as Alice Harle, Senior Campaigner with Global Witness told Earther via email, diamonds do still fuel conflict, particularly in the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.

    Most industry observers seems to agree that the Kimberley Process is outdated and inadequate, and that more work is needed to stamp out other abuses, including child labor and forced labor, in the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining sector. Today, large-scale mining operations don’t tend to see these kinds of problems, according to Julianne Kippenberg, associate director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, but she notes that there may be other community impacts surrounding land rights and forced resettlement.

    The flip side, Ali and Levin-Nally say, is that well-regulated mining operations can be an important source of economic development and livelihood. Ali cites Botswana and Russia as prime examples of places where large-scale mining operations have become “major contributors to the economy.” Dmitry Amelkin, head of strategic projects and analytics for Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, echoed that sentiment in an email to Earther, noting that diamonds transformed Botswana “from one of the poorest [countries] in the world to a middle-income country” with revenues from mining representing almost a third of its GDP.

    In May, a report commissioned by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), a trade organization representing the world’s largest diamond mining companies, estimated that worldwide, its members generate nearly $4 billion in direct revenue for employees and contractors, along with another $6.8 billion in benefits via “local procurement of goods and services.” DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr said this was a story diamond miners need to do a better job telling.

    “The industry has undergone such changes since the Blood Diamond movie,” he said, referring to the blockbuster 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio that drew global attention to the problem of conflict diamonds. “And yet people’s’ perceptions haven’t evolved. I think the main reason is we have not had a voice, we haven’t communicated.”

    But conflict and human rights abuses aren’t the only issues that have plagued the diamond industry. There’s also the lasting environmental impact of the mining itself. In the case of large-scale commercial mines, this typically entails using heavy machinery and explosives to bore deep into those kimberlite tubes in search of precious stones.

    Some, like Maya Koplyova, a geologist at the University of British Columbia who studies diamonds and the rocks they’re found in, see this as far better than many other forms of mining. “The environmental footprint is the fThere’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.” ootprint of digging the hole in the ground and crushing [the rock],” Koplyova said, noting that there’s no need to add strong acids or heavy metals like arsenic (used in gold mining) to liberate the gems.

    Still, those holes can be enormous. The Mir Mine, a now-abandoned open pit mine in Eastern Siberia, is so large—reportedly stretching 3,900 feet across and 1,700 feet deep—that the Russian government has declared it a no-fly zone owing to the pit’s ability to create dangerous air currents. It’s visible from space.

    While companies will often rehabilitate other land to offset the impact of mines, kimberlite mining itself typically leaves “a permanent dent in the earth’s surface,” as a 2014 report by market research company Frost & Sullivan put it.

    “It’s a huge impact as far as I’m concerned,” said Kevin Krajick, senior editor for science news at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who wrote a book on the discovery of diamonds in far northern Canada. Krajick noted that in remote mines, like those of the far north, it’s not just the physical hole to consider, but all the development required to reach a previously-untouched area, including roads and airstrips, roaring jets and diesel-powered trucks.

    Diamonds grown in factories clearly have a smaller physical footprint. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, they also use less water and create less waste. It’s for these reasons that Ali thinks diamond mining “will never be able to compete” with lab-grown diamonds from an environmental perspective.

    “The mining industry should not even by trying to do that,” he said.

    Of course, this is capitalism, so try to compete is exactly what the DPA is now doing. That same recent report that touted the mining industry’s economic benefits also asserts that mined diamonds have a carbon footprint three times lower than that of lab-grown diamonds, on average. The numbers behind that conclusion, however, don’t tell the full story.

    Growing diamonds does take considerable energy. The exact amount can vary greatly, however, depending on the specific nature of the growth process. These are details manufacturers are typically loathe to disclose, but Payne of Ada Diamonds says he estimates the most efficient players in the game today use about 250 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity per cut, polished carat of diamond; roughly what a U.S. household consumes in 9 days. Other estimates run higher. Citing unnamed sources, industry publication JCK Online reported that a modern HPHT run can use up to 700 kWh per carat, while CVD production can clock in north of 1,000 kWh per carat.

    Pulling these and several other public-record estimates, along with information on where in the world today’s lab diamonds are being grown and the energy mix powering the producer nations’ electric grids, the DPA-commissioned study estimated that your typical lab-grown diamond results in some 511 kg of carbon emissions per cut, polished carat. Using information provided by mining companies on fuel and electricity consumption, along with other greenhouse gas sources on the mine site, it found that the average mined carat was responsible for just 160 kg of carbon emissions.

    One limitation here is that the carbon footprint estimate for mining focused only on diamond production, not the years of work entailed in developing a mine. As Ali noted, developing a mine can take a lot of energy, particularly for those sited in remote locales where equipment needs to be hauled long distances by trucks or aircraft.

    There’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.”

    #dimants #Afrique #technologie #capitalisme

  • Sikh drivers are transforming U.S. trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway - Los Angeles Times
    https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-col1-sikh-truckers-20190627-htmlstory.html

    By Jaweed Kaleem, Jun 27, 2019 -
    It’s 7:20 p.m. when he rolls into Spicy Bite, one of the newest restaurants here in rural northwest New Mexico. Locals in Milan, a town of 3,321, have barely heard of it.

    https://www.trbimg.com/img-5d12f8d2/turbine/la-1561524431-z6kcx6gnzm-snap-image
    Punjabi-operated truck stops

    The building is small, single-story, built of corrugated metal sheets. There are seats for 20. The only advertising is spray-painted on concrete roadblocks in English and Punjabi. Next door is a diner and gas station; the county jail is across the road.

    Palwinder Singh orders creamy black lentils, chicken curry and roti, finishing it off with chai and cardamom rice pudding. After 13 hours on and off the road in his semi truck, he leans back in a booth as a Bollywood music video plays on TV.

    “This is like home,” says Pal, the name he uses on the road (said like “Paul”).

    There are 3.5 million truckers in the United States. California has 138,000, the second-most after Texas. Nearly half of those in California are immigrants, most from Mexico or Central America. But as drivers age toward retirement — the average American trucker is 55 — and a shortage grows, Sikh immigrants and their kids are increasingly taking up the job.

    Estimates of the number of Sikh truckers vary. In California alone, tens of thousands of truckers trace their heritage to India. The state is home to half of the Sikhs in the U.S. — members of a monotheistic faith with origins in 15th century India whose followers are best recognized by the uncut hair and turbans many men wear. At Sikh temples in Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside, the majority of worshipers are truck drivers and their families.

    Over the last decade, Indian Americans have launched trucking schools, truck companies, truck washes, trucker temples and no-frills Indian restaurants modeled after truck stops back home, where Sikhs from the state of Punjab dominate the industry.

    “You used to see a guy with a turban and you would get excited,” says Pal, who is in his 15th year of trucking. “Today, you go to some stops and can convince yourself you are in India.”

    Three interstates — the I-5, I-80 and I-10 — are dotted with Indian-American-owned businesses catering to truckers. They start to appear as you drive east from Los Angeles, Reno and Phoenix, and often have the words “Bombay,” “Indian” or “Punjabi” on their storefront signs. But many, with names like Jay Bros (in Overton, Neb.) and Antelope Truck Stop Pronghorn (in Burns, Wyo.) are anonymous dots on a map unless you’re one of the many Sikhs who have memorized them as a road map to America.

    The best-known are along Interstate 40, which stretches from Barstow to North Carolina. The road, much of it alongside Historic Route 66, forms the backbone of the Sikh trucking world.

    It’s a route that Pal, 38, knows well. Three times a month, he makes the seven-day round trip between his Fontana home and Indiana, where he drops off loads and picks up new ones. Over his career, he’s driven 2 million miles and transported items as varied as frozen chickens and paper plates. These days, he mostly hauls chocolate, rice and fruits and vegetables from California farms. Today, it’s 103 containers of mixed produce, with mangoes, bell peppers, watermelons, yellow onions and peeled garlic among them. All are bound for a Kroger warehouse outside Indianapolis.

    Across the street from Spicy Bite, dozens of arriving drivers form a temporary village of 18-wheelers in a vast parking lot by the interstate. Most are white. Nearly all are men. More are older than younger.

    But every now and then there are Sikhs like Pal, with long salt-and-pepper beards, colorful turbans and thick Indian accents. They head straight toward Spicy Bite.

    Lines can form out the door at the restaurant, which opened two years ago outside the Petro Stopping Center, a longtime mainstay for truckers headed east.

    Pal makes a point to stop by the restaurant — even just for a “hello” — when he sleeps next door. The Sikh greeting is “Sat sri akaal.” It means “God is truth.” In trucking, where turnover is high, business uncertain and risk of accidents ever present, each day can feel like a leap of faith and an opportunity to give thanks.

    Punjabi Americans first appeared on the U.S. trucking scene in the 1980s after an anti-Sikh massacre in India left thousands dead around New Delhi, prompting many Sikhs to flee. More recently, Sikhs have migrated to Central America and applied for asylum at the Mexico border, citing persecution for their religion in India; some have also become truckers. Estimates of the overall U.S. Sikh population vary, placing the community’s size between 200,000 and 500,000.

    In recent years, corporations have pleaded for new truckers. Walmart kicked up salaries to attract drivers. Last year, the government announced a pilot program to lower the age for driving trucks from 21 to 18 for those with truck-driving training in the military. According to the American Trucking Assn., the trucker shortage could reach 100,000 within years.

    “Punjabis are filling the gap,” says Raman Dhillon, a former driver who last year founded the North American Punjabi Trucking Assn. The Fresno-based group advises drivers on regulations, offers insurance and tire discounts, and runs a magazine: Punjabi Trucking.

    Like trucking itself, where the threat of automation and the long hours away from home have made it hard to recruit drivers, the Punjabi trucking life isn’t always an easy sell. Three years ago, a group of Sikh truckers in California won a settlement from a national shipping company after saying it discriminated against their faith. The drivers, who followed Sikh traditions by wrapping their uncut hair in turbans, said bosses asked them to remove the turbans before providing hair and urine samples for pre-employment drug tests despite being told of the religious observance. The same year, police charged a man with vandalizing a semi truck at a Sikh temple in Buena Park. He’d scribbled the word “ISIS.”

    Still, Hindi- and Punjabi-language newspapers in the Eastern U.S. regularly run ads promising better wages, a more relaxed lifestyle and warm weather as a trucker out West. Talk to any group of Sikh drivers and you’ll find former cabbies, liquor store workers or convenience store cashiers who made the switch.

    How a rural Oklahoma truck stop became a destination for Sikh Punjabis crossing America »

    “Thirty years ago, it was hard to get into trucking because there were so few people like us in the business who could help you,” says Rashpal Dhindsa, a former trucker who runs Fontana-based Dhindsa Group of Companies, one of the oldest Sikh-owned U.S. trucking companies. When Pal first started, Dhindsa — now a close friend but then an acquaintance — gave him a $1,000 loan to cover training classes.

    It’s 6:36 a.m. the next day when the Petro Stopping Center switches from quiet darkness to rumbling engines. Pal flips on the headlights of his truck, a silver ’16 Volvo with a 500-horsepower engine. Inside the rig, he heats aloo gobi — spiced potatoes and cauliflower — that his wife prepared back home. He checks the thermostat to make sure his trailer isn’t too warm. He takes out a book wrapped in a blue cotton cloth that’s tucked by his driver’s seat, sits on a bed-turned-couch and reads a prayer in Punjabi for safety on the journey: There is only one God. Truth is His name…. You always protect us.

    He pulls east onto the highway as the sun rises.

    Truckers either drive in pairs or solo like Pal. Either way, it’s a quiet, lonely world.

    Still, Pal sees more of America in a week than some people will in their lives. Rolling California hills, spiky desert rock formations, the snow-dusted evergreens of northern Arizona, the fuzzy cacti in New Mexico and, in Albuquerque, hot air balloons rising over an orange sky. There’s also the seemingly endless fast food and Tex-Mex of Amarillo and the 19-story cross of Groom, Texas. There’s the traffic in Missouri. After hours of solitude on the road, it excites him.

    Pal’s not strict on dogma or doctrine, and he’s more spiritual than religious. Trucking has shown him that people are more similar than different no matter where you go. The best of all religions, he says, tend to teach the same thing — kindness to others, accepting whatever comes your way and appreciation for what’s in front of you on the road.

    “When I’m driving,” Pal says, “I see God through his creation.”

    His favorite sights are the farms. You spot them in Central California while picking up pallets of potatoes and berries, or in Illinois and Indiana while driving through the corn and soybean fields.

    They remind him of home, the rural outskirts of Patiala, India.

    Nobody in his family drove trucks. Still, to Pal, he’s continuing tradition. His father farmed potatoes, cauliflower, rice and tomatoes. As a child, Pal would ride tractors for fun with Dad. Today, instead of growing food, Pal transports it.

    He wasn’t always a trucker. After immigrating in 2001 with his younger brother, he settled in Canoga Park and worked nights at 7-Eleven. After he was robbed at gunpoint, a friend suggested trucking. Better pay, flexible hours — and less dangerous.

    Three years later, he started driving a rig he didn’t own while getting paid per mile. Today, he has his own company, two trucks between himself and his brother — also a driver — and bids on shipments directly with suppliers. Nationally, the average pay for a trucker is just above $43,000. Pal makes more than twice that.

    He uses the money to pay for the house he shares with his wife, Harjeet Kaur, 4-year-old son, brother and sister-in-law, nieces and parents. Kaur threads eyebrows at a salon and video chats with him during lunch breaks. Every week before he leaves, she packs a duffel bag of his ironed clothes and stacked containers of food for the road.

    “I love it,” Pal says about driving. “But there are always two sides of the coin, head and tail. If you love it, then you have to sacrifice everything. I have to stay away from home. But the thing is, this job pays me good.”

    The truck is fully equipped. From the road, you can see only driver and passenger seats. But behind them is a sleeper cab with a bed that’s 6-foot-7 by 3-foot-2.

    Pal likes to connect the TV sitting atop a mini-fridge to his phone to stream music videos when he’s alone. His favorite songs are by Sharry Maan, an Indian singer who topped charts two years ago with “Transportiye.” It tells the story of a Sikh American trucker who longs for his wife while on the road. At night, the table folds down to become a bed. Pal is just missing a bathroom and his family.

    The life of a Sikh trucker is one of contrasts. On one hand, you see the diversity of America. You encounter new immigrants from around the world working the same job as people who have been truckers for decades. All transport the food, paper and plastic that make the country run. But you also see the relics of the past and the reminders of how you, as a Sikh in 2019, still don’t entirely fit in.

    It’s 9:40 a.m. on Saturday when Pal pulls into Bowlin’s Flying C Ranch rest center in Encino, N.M., an hour past Albuquerque and two from Texas. Here, you can buy a $19,999 stuffed buffalo, Baja jackets and fake Native American moccasins made in China in a vast tourist stop attached to a Dairy Queen and an Exxon. “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood plays in the background.

    It reminds Pal of the time he was paying his bill at another gas station. A man suddenly shouted at customers to “get out, he’s going to blow up this place!” “I will not fight you,” Pal calmly replied. The man left. Those kinds of instances are rare, but Pal always senses their danger. Some of the most violent attacks on Sikhs this century have been at the hands of people who mistook them for Muslims or Arabs, including the case of a turban-wearing Sikh man in Arizona who was shot dead by a gunman four days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    For Pal, suspicious glances are more common. So are the truckers who think he’s new to the business or doesn’t speak English. None of it fazes him.

    “Everybody relates to us through Osama bin Laden because we look the same,” he says, driving across the plains toward the Texas Panhandle. “Or they think because my English sounds different that I am not smart. I know who I am.”

    Every day, he wears a silver bracelet that symbolizes a handcuff. “Remember, you are handcuffed to God. Remind yourself to not do bad things,” Pal says. It reminds him to be kind in the face of ignorance and hatred.

    At a Subway in Amarillo a few hours later, he grabs his go-to lunch when he’s taking a break from Indian food: a chicken sandwich on white bread with pepper jack, lettuce, tomato and onion. At home, the family is vegetarian. Pal relishes chances on the road to indulge in meat. He used to depend solely on his wife’s cooking. Today, he has other options. It’s a luxury to switch from homemade meals to Punjabi restaurants to fast food.

    Trucking has helped Pal find his faith. When he moved to the U.S., he used to shave, drink beer and not care much about religion. But as he got bored on the road, he started listening to religious sermons. Twelve years ago, he began to again grow his hair and quit alcohol; drinking it is against the faith’s traditions. Today, he schedules shipments around the temple calendar so he can attend Sikh celebrations with his family.

    “I don’t mind questions about my religion. But when people say to me, ‘Why do you not cut your hair?’ they are asking the wrong question,” Pal says. “The real question is, why do they cut their hair? God made us this way.”

    It’s 4:59 p.m. when he arrives in Sayre, Okla., at Truck Stop 40. A yellow Punjabi-language billboard advertises it as the I-40 starts to bend north in a rural region two hours from Oklahoma City.

    Among the oldest Sikh truck stops, it has a 24-hour vegetarian restaurant, convenience store, gas station and a housing trailer that functions as a temple — all spread over several acres.

    Pal has been coming here for more than decade, since it was a mechanic shop run by a Sikh former trucker who settled on the plot for its cheap land. When he has time, Pal lingers for a meal. But he’s in a rush to get to Joplin, Mo., for the night so he can make his drop-off the next day.

    He grabs a chai and heads to the temple. Resting on a small pillow upon the altar is the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. An audiotape plays prayers on a loop. A print of Guru Nanak, the faith’s founder, hangs on the wall.

    Pal prostrates and leaves a few dollar bills on the floor as a donation for upkeep. He prays for God to protect the temple, his family and himself on the 891 miles that remain until he hits the Indianapolis suburbs.

    “This feels like a long drive,” Pal says. “But it’s just a small part of the journey of life.”

    #USA #LKW #Transport #Immigration #Zuwanderung

  • India has just five years to solve its water crisis, experts fear - CNN
    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/27/india/india-water-crisis-intl-hnk/index.html

    But many fear it won’t be enough. According to a UN human rights report, the world is fast approaching a “climate apartheid” where only the wealthy can afford basic resources in the face of fatal droughts, famine and heatwaves.
    In some places in India, disaster has already arrived. The four reservoirs that supply Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city, are nearly dry.

    #it_has_begun

  • Severe water shortage afflicts Chennai, India’s fourth-largest metro area - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/25/watr-j25.html

    Severe water shortage afflicts Chennai, India’s fourth-largest metro area
    By Arun Kumar
    25 June 2019

    A severe water crisis is afflicting Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and India’s fourth most populous metropolitan area. Residents have been forced to join overnight queues to access small amounts of water. Those hardest hit are the working class and other poor families.

    –—

    “Water has been made a commodity for profit”—Chennai residents speak out on city’s water crisis - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/25/chen-j25.html

    “Water has been made a commodity for profit”—Chennai residents speak out on city’s water crisis
    By a WSWS Reporting Team
    25 June 2019

    World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke with workers and other impoverished residents of the Viyasarpadi and Velachery districts of Chennai about the severe water crisis afflicting India’s fourth largest metropolitan area.

    Voicing anger and outrage, the residents blamed bourgeois politicians from all the major parties at both central and state levels for the water crisis.

    #inde #eau

  • "Hacia un pensamiento Islámico decolonial"

    En una mañana de julio en Madrid me encontraba disfrutando de una ponencia del profesor Enrique Dussel y en medio del receso tuve la oportunidad de encontrarme con Sirin Adlbi Sibai a quien había conocido anteriormente por su conferencia “Mas allá del feminismo islámico: hacia un pensamiento islámico decolonial”, la cual, despertó un gran interés en mi por leer y conocer más sobre su trabajo. En sus artículos “Colonialidad, feminismo e Islam” y “Hacia un pensamiento islámico decolonial” Sirin hace un análisis crítico de las bases que sostienen las mayores desigualdades y discriminaciones en el sistema-mundo en el que vivimos hoy y cómo dichas bases se han constituido y han afectado de manera radical a la humanidad; pero sobre todo, cómo el mundo moderno occidentalocéntrico ha afectado a la vida de lxshumanxs (y también la de lxs no humanxs) tanto dentro y fuera de los territorios colonizados. Por todo ello, le manifesté a Sirin mi deseo de entrevistarle para que nos explicase cuestiones que se encuentran en el debate público como lo es el feminismo islámico, la islamofobia y el hiyab de la mujer musulmana, además de que nos cuente un poco de su perspectiva sobre la situación de lxsdesplazadxs por la guerra en Siria y la penosa actitud de los gobiernos europeos ante esta situación.

    Aprovecho este espacio de la entrevista para celebrar y dar a conocer su nuevo libro “La cárcel del feminismo. Hacia un pensamiento Islámico decolonial” publicado en Akal en la colección Inter Pares [1]

    Podrías darnos una breve explicación de qué es el decolonialismo epistémico, para que nos cuentes ¿porqué partes desde estos fundamentos en tus estudios y cual es la importancia, en la actualidad, de promover un conocimiento decolonial? y ¿qué es la violencia epistémica y cómo se ejerce?

    Para comprender qué es la decolonialidad epistémica, tenemos que entender, reconocer y concienciarnos primero de la existencia y práctica estructural, sistémica y sistemática de la violencia colonial epistémica y epistemológica desde hace más de 500 años aproximadamente y hasta la actualidad. También, entender cuáles han sido sus dispositivos de funcionamiento y analizar, visibilizar y denunciar los epistemicidios y los extractivismos epistemológicos que ha generado y sigue haciéndolo.

    La colonialidad es el aparato de poder que se refiere a cómo las jerarquías globales (laborales, epistémicas, lingüísticas, espirituales, etno-raciales, sexuales, culturales, etc.) se imbrican entre sí y se articulan en torno al mercado capitalista global, a la idea de raza y al sistema de sexo-género y constituye el reverso de la modernidad occidentalocéntrica. No hay modernidad sin colonialidad.

    La modernidad occidentalocéntrica se funda y genera entorno a una matriz dualista-negacionista: YO-EL OTRO, dibujada sobre la línea de lo humano: SER-NO SER. Algo que ya dijo Fanon y desarrollan Grosfoguel y Boaventura, caracterizándolo éste último como el pensamiento abismal.

    En contra del mito occidentalocéntrico de una modernidad lineal y auto-instituida (Dussel) que sostiene que la modernidad empieza en una punta de Europa y acaba en la otra: Grecia y Roma hasta llegar a la Revolución Industrial y la Ilustración, la modernidad occidentalocéntrica comienza en 1492, que es cuando Europa se convierte por primera vez verdaderamente en “centro” del mundo con el control de las rutas de comercio internacional y tiene lugar el despliegue del sistema-mundo moderno/colonial.

    Lo que sucede entonces es que una experiencia local y concreta se violenta como imposición universal válida para todo tiempo y lugar y como medida de todo. Ahí podemos empezar a hablar ya del surgimiento del privilegio epistemológico y el epistemicidio. Cuando Europa destruye a las otras civilizaciones y se apropia de todas sus riquezas materiales, culturales, epistemológicas, filosóficas, etc., las interioriza e integra en su proyecto moderno-colonizador-civilizador y usurpa el lugar de un universalismo abstracto invisibilizando y deshumanizando el resto de la existencia y todos los ejercicios de violencia, genocidio, expropiación y apropiación que debe hacer para ubicarse ahí donde lo ha hecho.

    En segundo lugar, la designación de los saberes no occidentales como “tradicionales”, los ubicaba y los ubica hasta el día de hoy, como residuos de un pasado sin futuro, siendo éste propiedad exclusiva de Occidente y estableciéndose por lo tanto la imposibilidad fáctica de acceso por parte de cualquier otra forma cultural, civilizacional, social, política, lingüística o epistemológica, ni al presente, ni al futuro. Condenando, por lo tanto, a todos “los otros” al silencio y a la invisibilización a través de la imposición de un único camino de acceso a los mismos a través de los marcos modernos occidentales, lo cual supone un ejercicio perverso de múltiple anulación y auto-anulación que únicamente perpetúa un monólogo occidental y occidentalocéntrico infinito, que podemos identificar, no sólo como la colonialidad del saber, sino también como otra forma enredada con ella que es la de una colonialidad espacio-temporal.

    Todo esto dibuja, en cierto modo, algunos de los aspectos de lo que yo denomino en mi trabajo la cárcel epistemológico-existencial y espacio-temporal del sistema-mundo moderno/colonial que va a marcar al mundo quién puede hablar, cómo se puede hablar y desde dónde se puede hablar.

    Después de esta muy “breve” introducción es posible intuir cómo los principales conceptos que utilizan las ciencias sociales están impregnados de colonialidad y de violencia epistémica, lo que trunca mediante un macabro ejercicio todas las posibilidades de “pensar”, “hablar” o “ser” de los sujetos colonizados/racializados ubicándolos y re-ubicándolos indefinidamente en el NO SER…en una irracional racionalidad de violencia y aniquilación. De ahí la necesidad ineludible y la urgencia de la descolonización epistemológica, de revisar todos los términos, los conceptos, el uso que hacemos de-con ellos y su trasfondo y cuestionarnos nuestros puntos referenciales de partida, todas y cada una de las categorías que utilizamos. De otro modo, estaremos participando en la reproducción indefinida de la producción de saber y (des)conocimiento colonial con todas las consecuencias, materiales en última instancia, de subalternización y aniquilación de dos terceras partes de la Humanidad.

    Ahora con la oleada de migración de personas sirias, también de países africanos por culpa de los conflictos armados y en medio de la palpable exhibición del racismo de Europa desde su propio seno ¿Cuál es tu perspectiva de todo este panorama cómo mujer proveniente de Siria y como investigadora que ha trabajado la decolonialidad por varios años desde dentro y fuera de Europa?

    Lo que hoy estamos viviendo en Siria, que es la mayor catástrofe y genocidio de los últimos siglos, es consecuencia directa del colonialismo y la colonialidad, que ha mantenido en el poder en los países árabes a mafias corruptas que sirven a los intereses de las principales potencias. Occidente se ha aliado con Rusia (ese héroe de la izquierda marxista-leninista racista y colonial que no duda en apoyar el genocidio de todo el pueblo sirio en nombre de un anti-imperialismo trasnochado) para mantener en el poder al clan de los Asad y no permitir la democratización de Siria que tendría la consecuencia necesaria de la disposición y autodeterminación de los sirios sobre sus bienes y riquezas. Las personas que están muriendo en las fronteras de la Europa enferma, huían de la muerte de las bombas asadíes-ruso-iraníes-occidentales. No nos han dejado vivir en nuestros países con dignidad, libertad y justicia, han desplazado masivamente a la población para seguir implementando sus agendas de saqueo. Nadie querría ir a Europa y abandonar su hogar si puede seguir viviendo dignamente en él, sólo huyen de la muerte para volvérsela a encontrar de frente. Parece que nuestro único destino como infrahumanos es el camino de la muerte y de la aniquilación, en todas su formas. Pero como decía Cesaire, en esta política está inscrita la pérdida de Europa misma, que si no toma precauciones, perecerá por el vacío que creó alrededor de ella.

    Siguiendo con el tema del racismo y colonialidad pero enfocándonos más en el mundo árabe; se habla constantemente en los medios de comunicación sobre islamofobia como la discriminación a las personas que practican el Islam, nos podrías contar ¿qué es el Islam? y ¿cómo nace la islamofobia en occidente?

    Yo defino el Islam como una forma de ser, estar, saber, conocer, sentir y relacionarse en/con la existencia, con la realidad y la naturaleza. El Islam no es una “religión”, este es un concepto cristianocéntrico y occidentalocéntrico que ha sido empleado para la colonización del resto del mundo y de todas las formas plurales de existencia/conocimiento en el mundo. El Islam es una ética y praxis de la más absoluta liberación de todas las formas de esclavitud: el egoísmo, el materialismo, el exhibicionismo, las apariencias, el consumismo. Es un orden de valores y es, como diría AbdelmuminAya, una vuelta a la fitra, naturaleza original y es asumir la deuda que tenemos con la realidad, con la existencia y con todas sus cosas y sus criaturas. El Islam es compasión, humildad, generosidad. Es como dice el filósofo musulmán Taha Abderrahman, una epistemología del Ethos. El componente ético es estructural y transversal y dota de todo sentido y forma al Islam. Así mismo el Islam no es un conjunto de dogmas y doctrinas. En el Islam no hay ninguno de estos dos, sino que es sobre todo una experiencia. No se cree en el Islam, el Islam se experimenta, se vive y se siente y ésas formas, por la naturaleza misma de los seres humanos y de las sociedades, son plurales, multiformes y heterogéneas y es que el Islam es así. Los más de 1600 millones de musulmanes que hay en el mundo, no practican un solo Islam. Pertenecen a todo tipo de culturas y hablan todo tipo de idiomas y por consiguiente tienen también formas muy dispares de experimentar y comprender el Islam.

    La islamofobia es un aparato de poder colonial que hunde sus raíces en el despliegue del sistema-mundo moderno-colonial. Es un dispositivo que específicamente se ocupa de la subhumanización, epistemicidio y aniquilación del Islam y los musulmanes, mediante marcos discursivos y conceptuales que han ido transformándose en las diferentes coyunturas históricas y que en la actualidad se entreteje entorno a los discursos coloniales del desarrollo/el feminismo/el terrorismo/la democratización/la liberalización, etc. Desde aquí se ve ya que trabajo con una concepción alejada del clásico que sostiene muy limitadamente que es una forma de racismo entendido como “el odio al Islam y a los musulmanes”.

    Además la islamofobia, como dispositivo de poder colonial, es triplemente generizada: en el sentido de quién la genera: las instituciones del sistema-mundo moderno/colonial, cómo se genera (a través de qué): del objeto colonial “mujer musulmana con hiyab”; y sobre quién tiene mayor incidencia: las mujeres musulmanas. De este modo estoy planteando una comprensión de la islamofobia que difiere de la sostenida por YasmineZine que habla de un tipo específico de islamofobia que ella denomina como “islamofobia de género”. En mi concepción, la generización no se da en una tipología específica derivada de la islamofobia, sino que atraviesa, estructura, sistematiza y racionaliza todo el aparato de la islamofobia. Es decir, que no hay islamofobia sin género. Esta diferencia es crucial a la hora de concienciarnos, comprender y analizar la fundación-funcionamiento del dispositivo colonial islamófobo y por lo tanto, incide determinantemente en la transformación de los diseños de las resistencias/luchas contra la islamofobia/colonialidad.

    Situándonos en tu trabajo de investigación; sobre la mujer en concreto describes en tus artículos que “la mujer musulmana con hiyab es un argumento islamofóbico que favorece el discurso liberal occidental” ¿podrías explicarnos este argumento?

    Cuando en la respuesta anterior hablo de la triple generización de la islamofobia, me refiero a un tipo de producción de la misma basada en discursos, “la mujer musulmana con hiyab oprimida, subyugada, analfabeta, sumisa” no representa a ningún sujeto real, de hecho, “la mujer musulmana con hiyab” mismamente, así en singular y sin el resto de adjetivos, también es una categoría sumamente problemática. Entonces esa “mujer musulmana con hiyab” es lo que yo denomino un objeto colonial sexuado y feminizado, prototipo supremo de la mujer del Tercer Mundo de la que hablaba Mohanty, un objeto de intervención y clasificación, a través del cual se han colonizado y se sigue colonizando la civilización arabo-islámica: las sociedades y los individuos árabo-musulmanes, sus culturas, sus sociedades, su cosmovisión y todo lo que son. La producción de “la mujer musulmana con hiyab oprimida” se trata del pilar fundamental que va a estructurar todo el edificio islamófobo en sus diferentes vertientes y formas.

    En occidente se considera el hiyab como una institución simbólica del patriarcado árabe, sin embargo las feministas decoloniales lo niegan. ¿Porqué?

    Occidente que se ha autoerigido en portavoz de la humanidad, se ha adueñado de todos los términos y los conceptos, practicando sus violencias y sustracciones epistemológicas. Ha robado la voz de las y los colonizados y el derecho de éstos a desarrollar sus propias formas de ver y entender el mundo. En este contexto, el hiyab es relacionado por parte del colonizador occidental con opresión, sumisión, subyugación o cuanto menos, tradicionalismo, subdesarrollo y retraso, silenciándonos e invisibilizándonos por completo a las mujeres musulmanas que lo vestimos como ejercicio de nuestro pleno derecho a expresarnos del modo y la forma en el que nosotras queramos hacerlo. El colonizador occidental también pretende hacer de policía y salvaguarda de unos derechos y unas libertades que es quien en primera instancia priva al resto de la humanidad de ellos. Ejercemos nuestro pleno derecho a vestir como nosotras consideramos más adecuado, según nuestros valores y nuestra cosmovisión y nos vemos acosadas sistemáticamente por un sistema que pretende mediante la manipulación de los conceptos que demos explicaciones continuas sobre todo lo que hacemos y dejamos de hacer, cómo vestimos, cómo vivimos y casi cómo respiramos. Pero claro que esta práctica de regulación sobre los cuerpos y las vidas de las mujeres no se limita sólo a las mujeres musulmanas, sino a las mujeres en todo el mundo, ya que el sistema es intrínsecamente patriarcal. Solo que las mujeres no occidentales, sufren violencias mucho más complejas, puesto que se hayan intersectadas por la más destructiva y brutal estructura de poder que es la de la colonialidad que Occidente practica contra ellas, reforzando de una manera sistemática los patriarcados y otras estructuras de poder locales que afectan a las vidas de las otras mujeres no occidentales.

    Los patriarcados locales que en las sociedades musulmanas se apropian igualmente del Verbo, de su interpretación y de su puesta en práctica, forzando a las mujeres musulmanas a vestir en ocasiones y en otras a dejar de vestir el hiyab, son reforzados por el patriarcado occidental sobre el Islam. En medio estamos nosotras, las mujeres musulmanas que luchamos por rescatar al Islam de manos de unos y otros para vivirlo en plenitud, lejos de imposiciones y violencias.

    El problema principal respecto a los significados secuestrados del hiyab es que tanto Occidente como algunos sectores patriarcales islámicos obsesionados ambos con los cuerpos de las mujeres y la regulación sobre ellos, han colonizado y limitado, reduciendo hasta el absurdo la ética global islámica extremadamente sofisticada respecto a los cuerpos de los hombres y las mujeres en general, pero más aún, el hiyab se está utilizando de modo que llegue a constituir un verdadero “velo” respecto al significado y el sentido global de todo el Islam, que es en primer lugar, como ya he dicho, una epistemología ética de liberación.

    Ante esto, hay una corriente mayoritaria de mujeres musulmanas (al contrario de la imagen que los medios promueven y promocionan) que deciden llevar el hiyab y lo hacen desde una plena conciencia de su práctica espiritual transgresora y liberadora, frente a todos aquellos que pretenden imponerles tanto sus visiones deformes de una modernidad colonial como sus interpretaciones tergiversadas del Islam.

    Debido a las diferentes formas de discriminación y violencia hacia la mujer árabe, ya no solo desde los prejuicios coloniales occidentales sino desde las propias estructuras patriarcales del mundo árabe, se ha generado una corriente teórica y activista que reivindica los derechos de la mujer, denominándose así misma como feminismo Islámico, ¿cómo se complementa el feminismo con el islam y cuáles son sus principales demandas?

    Bueno, primero habría que aclarar, que las feministas islámicas más destacadas, no son árabes. Aunque sí musulmanas de EEUU, Malasia, Indonesia, Irán o India, entre otros. También me gustaría subrayar (algo sobre lo que espero haber podido arrojar algo de luz en las respuestas anteriores) que no estamos hablando de simples “prejuicios coloniales” sino de estructuras de poder muy profundas institucionales e institucionalizadas.

    El término “feminismo islámico”, tal y como se ha empleado por parte de las académicas y los medios de comunicación encierra no poca confusión y se mezclan y confunden a menudo los feminismos árabes con los autodenominados feminismos islámicos o con cualquier movimiento femenino que surja en los países árabes y/o musulmanes. Lo cierto es que hay una gran diversidad de movimientos y discursos que son sumamente heterogéneos y que pueden ser incluso contradictorios.

    Si nos referimos a los feminismos islámicos como aquellos que primero se autodenominan a sí mismos como tal y que segundo basan su activismo feminista en el Corán, el hadiz (hechos y dichos del Profeta Muhammad, sAaws) y la sunna (biografía del Profeta) y que también presentan lecturas muy diversas según a quién estemos escuchando y según el contexto sociopolítico en el que se elabora dicho discurso, podemos sin embargo, afirmar que efectivamente guardan una base compartida: la de sostener la existencia en el Corán y por tanto en el Islam, de una matriz igualitaria desde la que partir para construir políticas y praxis de liberación de las mujeres musulmanas. Su trabajo, por lo tanto se centra en hacer una revisión de los textos que refuta cualquier discurso misógino, machista y patriarcal que pretenda justificarse en una base islámica, que en todo caso, solo podría hacerse desde la tergiversación de las interpretaciones de los textos islámicos y la historia de la vida y el ejemplo del Profeta Muhammad (sAaws).

    Dicho esto, personalmente no opto por expresarme como “feminista islámica”, como lo hacen otras compañeras mías a las que respeto y admiro. Yo sin embargo, lo hago como “pensadora musulmana decolonial”, y en mi libro La cárcel del feminismo… trato de sostener el por qué. En el mismo, desde la decolonialidad, problematizo los discursos sobre feminismo e Islam y muestro las diversas violencias epistémicas que se enredan en los modos muy particulares de construir estos discursos. Digamos que trato de llevar hasta la última de sus consecuencias la descolonización epistemológica, terminológica y conceptual. Una de mis hipótesis principales es que la producción de los discursos sobre feminismo e Islam, hoy en día, en términos generales e incluida la de los propios discursos de las mujeres musulmanas, aún no han podido trascender la normativa liberal y se hayan encerrados en la cárcel epistemológico-existencial y espacio-temporal. Necesitamos una revolución decolonial en el seno de los diferentes movimientos de mujeres musulmanas que parta de una consciencia plena del epistemicidio occidentalocéntrico, cristianocéntrico, capitalista, blanco, militar, sexista, patriarcal y sus consecuencias para nuestras vidas y por lo tanto, que repiense todos y cada uno de los términos que escogemos para llevar a cabo el ejercicio de la enunciación como sujetos existentes, conscientes y resilientes.

    Dentro de las distintas hermenéuticas que realizan las feministas islámicas al Corán ¿cómo se analiza la figura de Alá desde una perspectiva de género?

    En tu forma de plantear la cuestión hay algunos problemas de partida, en los que mismamente algunas de las compañeras feministas musulmanas han caído. Y esto es por herencia directa de la colonialidad cristianocéntrica. En primer lugar, desde la concepción islámica no podemos hablar de “figura” si nos referimos a Allah, así como tampoco tiene sentido en una lógica islámica aplicar la perspectiva de género (como han hecho algunos trabajos) al estudio de Allah. Ya que en el Islam, Allah no es la figura patriarcal del Dios que existe en la Cristiandad. Allah en el Islam no tiene género, ni número, ni tiempo, ni forma alguna concebible por las capacidades humanas. Allah no es un conjunto de dogmas y conocimientos previos en los que se tiene fe, como sucede con la figura de Dios en la Cristiandad. Allah en el Islam, no es lo que se entiende por Dios en Occidente y no puede traducirse por Dios (AbdelmuminAya). Las y los musulmanes no creemos en Dios, sino que experimentamos a Allah como la existencia misma, y entonces fluimos en esa existencia y en Allah. En su búsqueda a través de la praxis de una epistemología eminentemente Ética.

    Con todo esto, quiero llamar la atención sobre el peso de la colonialidad occidentalocéntrica y cristianocéntrica sobre el resto de epistemologías del mundo, hasta el punto de haber colonizado nuestra propia capacidad de comprendernos a nosotros mismos y a nuestros referentes, nuestra cultura, nuestras maneras (la de todas y todos los sujetos colonizados en su diversidad invisibilizada) de vivir, de ser y de existir.

    Desgraciadamente, las feministas musulmanas que han caído en la trampa de pretender aplicar la perspectiva de género al análisis de Allah no han estado tan alejadas de las formas patriarcales que se imponen en las sociedades árabo-musulmanas, debido, entre otras cosas, a que esas formas patriarcales fueron reforzadas por el patriarcado Occidental sobre el resto del mundo, y en ese ejercicio se envistieron de occidentalocentrismo y cristianocentrismo las formas de opresión patriarcal locales pre-existentes a la colonización. Aplicar por lo tanto, la perspectiva de género al análisis de Allah en vez de mostrar todas las implicaciones de una comprensión tal de Allah, acaba convirtiéndose en un doble ejercicio de subalternidad y colonización de la tradición islámica.

    “El especismo es una forma de discriminación, contra quienes no pertenecen a determinada especie.En la mayoría de sociedades humanas se considera completamente normal discriminar a los animales de otras especies. La manera en que esta discriminación ocurre y su gravedad difiere en cada lugar, y determinados animales son tratados peor en algunos lugares que en otros.” (animal-ethics.org) Algunas feministas occidentales señalan que la propia construcción de la masculinidad patriarcal esta basada en el especismo en la misma medida en que lo está en el sexismo. Dado que debemos oponernos a todas las formas de discriminación y desigualdades injustificadas, incluso cuando las afectadas no son humanas, independientemente del lugar que ocupemos en el sistema-mundo ¿consideras que dentro del feminismo islámico hay cabida para incorporar planteamientos antiespecistas?

    Dentro del Islam es perfectamente posible desarrollar teorizaciones similares. En la concepción occidental capitalista y patriarcal existe un problema original de planteamiento de “la otredad” y de las formas de relacionarse con todo lo que es construido como otredad. Dentro del Islam no existen los mismos problemas de planteamiento. Las y los musulmanes partimos del concepto del TAWHID: la unicidad y unificación de Allah. La unicidad de Allah significa que ya de entrada en nuestra epistemología no existe el dualismo negacionista (Yo-el Otro) de la tradición occidental. La unicidad de Allah es también la unicidad de la Creación de Allah, de la Existencia y en esa existencia todos los seres, humanos y no humanos, las plantas, los animales tienen en el Islam, derechos sobre nosotros. Para ponerte un ejemplo, se relatan en varios hadizes que una persona puede alcanzar el janna-Jardín eterno (mal traducido por paraíso) por haber tratado bien y haber sido compasivo con un animal y lo opuesto, por haberle maltratado.

    https://vientosur.info/spip.php?article11946

    #décolonialisme #décolonial #islam #Sirin_Adlbi_Sibai

    • La cárcel del feminismo

      Inspirándose principalmente en el pensamiento decolonial latinoamericano, en los llamados feminismos de la #Tercera_Ola y en el pensamiento islámico del filósofo marroquí #Taha_Abderrahman, esta obra plantea una crítica profunda a los fundamentos epistemológicos de los feminismos islámicos, a la vez que tantea la urgencia de un pensamiento islámico decolonial como la respuesta y quizás la única, pero no unificada, solución posible a la crisis del pensamiento islámico contemporáneo. Se trata de una invitación a comenzar un recorrido otro de verdadera introspección dialógica intracultural e intracivilizacional islámica cuya premisa básica parte paradójicamente de «la consciencia del No Ser» en el contexto del «imperio de la anulación del Otro» y que nos brinda posibilidades reales de liberación y de regeneración, así como de una reinserción anticapitalista, antisexista, antipatriarcal, antirracista, anticlasista y anticolonial en los presentes y futuros de los que, como sujetos colonizados, hemos sido expulsados.

      Desde una lectura decolonial renovada de la islamofobia como una de las estructuras de poder, control, gobierno y subalternización del Islam y los musulmanes en el sistema-mundo moderno/colonial, esta investigación muestra cómo los discursos feministas islámicos son una respuesta reactiva a la misma. En este sentido, pueden leerse desde lo que Judith Butler ha denominado «la paradoja de la subjetivización», y es que los discursos que resisten tales normas, son en sí mismos habilitados o creados, incluso, por esas mismas normas, lo cual supone una limitación constitutiva que, aunque no anule su capacidad de agencia social, sí los convierte en discursos reiterativos o rearticuladores inherentes al poder.

      https://www.akal.com/libro/la-carcel-del-feminismo_35238
      #féminisme #livre #féminisme_islamique #islamophobie #pouvoir #subjectivisation

  • Chennai, an Indian City of Nearly 5 Million, Is Running Out of Water - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/21/climate/chennai-india-water-shortage-images.html

    Satellite photographs reveal the stark shrinking of one of the main rain-fed reservoirs that serves Chennai, one of the biggest cities in India.

    In one image, taken by satellite on June 15 last year, the city’s largest reservoir, Lake Puzhal, resembles a dark blue ink-stain amid a densely crowded cityscape.

    In another, taken on Sunday, exactly a year later, the lake is a small grey fraction of its former self.

    One of the city’s other important reservoirs, the smaller Chembarambakkam Lake, is also running dry.

    Chennai, a hot, muggy city on the Indian Ocean coast, should be in the throes of the monsoon by now. But the rains are late across India. And Chennai has received virtually none of the rain it should have seen by now.

    #climat #eau #Inde

  • A Major Indian City Has Nearly Run Out of Water
    https://diasp.eu/p/9250826

    A Major Indian City Has Nearly Run Out of Water

    In Chennai - India’s sixth largest city - 4.6 million people have all but run out of water.

    Those who can afford it rely on private water tankers, although these are mostly inaccessible for the 820,000 people who live in the city’s slums.

    The situation is becoming dire, and it’s causing tension in the city. There are recent stories of neighbours stabbing each other over access to water.

    #ClimateCrisis #ClimateChange #GlobalWarming #WaterCrisis #Water

    https://www.sciencealert.com/this-indian-city-has-all-but-run-out-of-water-and-no-one-is-talking-ab

  • GRAIN | Indian dairy under threat from new trade deals
    https://grain.org/e/6257

    India’s 150 million small dairy farmers, local cooperatives and networks of small-scale vendors have made the country the world’s largest producer of milk and ensured its self-sufficiency. The handful of transnational corporations that dominate the global dairy industry are still only marginal players in India, and only a tiny fraction of dairy products are imported into the country or exported out. But several new trade pacts that cater to transnational corporations, like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or the proposed deals pending with Europe, threaten to radically change the map and wipe out India’s small dairy producers. This update from GRAIN assesses what is at stake with current trade talks for India’s dairy farmers and vendors, and the consumers they supply.

  • Draft bill proposes 10-year prison term for dealing in cryptocurrency - Business News
    https://www.indiatoday.in/business/story/draft-bill-proposes-10-year-prison-term-for-dealing-in-cryptocurrency-154

    HIGHLIGHTS

    A draft bill has proposed 10-year jail term for people dealing in cryptocurrencies in India
    Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence
    A cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology

    Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years.

    The “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” draft has proposed 10-year prison sentence for persons who "mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.

    Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence.

    A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world.

    Given the high chances of cryptocurrencies being misused for money laundering, various government bodies such as the Income Tax Department and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had endorsed banning of cryptocurrencies.

    The draft bill for banning cryptocurrency has been in the works for some time with Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg leading the exercise.
    While strict law would soon be in place to deal with people indulging in trade of cryptocurrency, India is likely to have its own digital currency.

    “A decision on the launch of Digital Rupee would be taken after consulting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said an official.

    #Monnaie_numérique #Cryptomonnaie #Bitcoin #Inde

  • The woman fighting back against India’s rape culture

    When a man tried to rape #Usha_Vishwakarma she decided to fight back by setting up self-defence classes for women and girls.

    At first, people accused her of being a sex worker. But now she runs an award-winning organisation and has won the community’s respect.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-48474708/the-woman-fighting-back-against-india-s-rape-culture
    #Inde #résistance #femmes #culture_du_viol

    • In China, a Viral Video Sets Off a Challenge to Rape Culture

      The images were meant to exonerate #Richard_Liu, the e-commerce mogul. They have also helped fuel a nascent #NoPerfectVictim movement.

      Richard Liu, the Chinese e-commerce billionaire, walked into an apartment building around 10 p.m., a young woman on his arm and his assistant in tow. Leaving the assistant behind, the young woman took Mr. Liu to an elevator. Then, she showed him into her apartment.

      His entrance was captured by the apartment building’s surveillance cameras and wound up on the Chinese internet. Titled “Proof of a Gold Digger Trap?,” the heavily edited video aimed to show that the young woman was inviting him up for sex — and that he was therefore innocent of her rape allegations against him.

      For many people in China, it worked. Online public opinion quickly dismissed her allegations. In a country where discussion of rape has been muted and the #MeToo movement has been held back by cultural mores and government censorship, that could have been the end of the story.

      But some in China have pushed back. Using hashtags like #NoPerfectVictim, they are questioning widely held ideas about rape culture and consent.

      The video has become part of that debate, which some feminism scholars believe is a first for the country. The government has clamped down on discussion of gender issues like the #MeToo movement because of its distrust of independent social movements. Officials banned the #MeToo hashtag last year. In 2015, they seized gender rights activists known as the Feminist Five. Some online petitions supporting Mr. Liu’s accuser were deleted.

      But on Weibo, the popular Chinese social media service, the #NoPerfectVictim hashtag has drawn more than 17 million page views, with over 22,000 posts and comments. Dozens at least have shared their stories of sexual assault.

      “Nobody should ask an individual to be perfect,” wrote Zhou Xiaoxuan, who has become the face of China’s #MeToo movement after she sued a famous TV anchor on allegations that he sexually assaulted her in 2014 when she was an intern. “But the public is asking this of the victims of sexual assault, who happen to be in the least favorable position to prove their tragedies.” Her lawsuit is pending.

      The allegations against Mr. Liu, the founder and chairman of the online retailer JD.com, riveted China. He was arrested last year in Minneapolis after the young woman accused him of raping her after a business dinner. The prosecutors in Minnesota declined to charge Mr. Liu. The woman, Liu Jingyao, a 21-year-old student at the University of Minnesota, sued Mr. Liu and is seeking damages of more than $50,000. (Liu is a common surname in China.)

      Debate about the incident has raged online in China. When the “Gold Digger” video emerged, it shifted sentiment toward Mr. Liu.
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      Mr. Liu’s attorney in Beijing, who shared the video on Weibo under her verified account, said that according to her client the video was authentic.

      “The surveillance video speaks for itself, as does the prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges against our client,” Jill Brisbois, Mr. Liu’s attorney in the United States, said in a statement. “We believe in his innocence, which is firmly supported by all of the evidence, and we will continue to vigorously defend his reputation in court.”

      The video is silent, but subtitles make the point so nobody will miss it. “The woman showed Richard Liu into the elevator,” says one. “The woman pushed the floor button voluntarily,” says another. “Once again,” says a third, “the woman gestured an invitation.”

      Still, the video does not show the most crucial moment, which is what happened between Mr. Liu and Ms. Liu after the apartment door closed.

      “The full video depicts a young woman unable to locate her own apartment and a billionaire instructing her to take his arm to steady her gait,” said Wil Florin, Ms. Liu’s attorney, who accused Mr. Liu’s representatives of releasing the video. “The release of an incomplete video and the forceful silencing of Jingyao’s many social media supporters will not stop a Minnesota civil jury from hearing the truth.”

      JD.com declined to comment on the origin of the video.

      In the eyes of many, it contradicted the narrative in Ms. Liu’s lawsuit of an innocent, helpless victim. In my WeChat groups, men and women alike said the video confirmed their suspicions that Ms. Liu was asking for sex and was only after Mr. Liu’s money. A young woman from a good family would never socialize on a business occasion like that, some men said. A businesswoman asked why Ms. Liu didn’t say no to drinks.

      At first, I saw the video as a setback for China’s #MeToo movement, which was already facing insurmountable obstacles from a deeply misogynistic society, internet censors and a patriarchal government. Already, my “no means no” arguments with acquaintances had been met with groans.
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      The rare people of prominence who spoke in support of Ms. Liu were getting vicious criticism. Zhao Hejuan, chief executive of the technology media company TMTPost, had to disable comments on her Weibo account after she received death threats. She had criticized Mr. Liu, a married man with a young daughter, for not living up to the expectations of a public figure.

      Then I came across a seven-minute video titled “I’m also a victim of sexual assault,” in which four women and a man spoke to the camera about their stories. The video, produced by organizers of the hashtag #HereForUs, tried to clearly define sexual assault to viewers, explaining that it can take place between people who know each other and under complex circumstances.

      The man was molested by an older boy in his childhood. One of the women was raped by a classmate when she was sick in bed. One was assaulted by a powerful man at work but did not dare speak out because she thought nobody would believe her. One was raped after consuming too much alcohol on a date.

      “Slut-shaming doesn’t come from others,” she said in the video. “I’ll be the first one to slut-shame myself.”

      One woman with a red cross tattooed on her throat said an older boy in her neighborhood had assaulted her when she was 10. When she ran home, her parents scolded her for being late after school.

      “My childhood ended then and there,” she said in the video. “I haven’t died because I toughed it out all these years.”

      The video has been viewed nearly 700,000 times on Weibo. But creators of the video still have a hard time speaking out further, reflecting the obstacles faced by feminists in China.

      It was produced by a group of people who started the #HereForUs hashtag in China as a way to support victims of sexual harassment and assault. They were excited when I reached out to interview them. One of them postponed her visit to her parents for the interview.

      Then the day before our meeting, they messaged me that they no longer wanted to be interviewed. They worried that their appearance in The New York Times could anger the Chinese government and get their hashtag censored. I got a similar response from the organizer of the #NoPerfectVictim hashtag. Another woman begged me not to connect her name to the Chinese government for fear of losing her job.

      Their reluctance is understandable. They believe their hashtags have brought women together and given them the courage to share their stories. Some victims say that simply telling someone about their experiences is therapeutic, making the hashtags too valuable to be lost, the organizers said.

      “The world is full of things that hurt women,” said Liang Xiaowen, a 27-year-old lawyer now living in New York City. She wrote online that she had been molested by a family acquaintance when she was 11 and had lived with shame and guilt ever since. “I want to expand the boundaries of safe space by sharing my story.”

      A decentralized, behind-the-scenes approach is essential if the #MeToo movement is to grow in China, said Lü Pin, founding editor of Feminist Voices, an advocacy platform for women’s rights in China.

      “It’s amazing that they created such a phenomenon under such difficult circumstances,” Ms. Lü said.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/05/business/china-richard-liu-rape-video-metoo.html
      #Chine #vidéo

  • India reportedly orders Uber and rival Ola to electrify 40% of flee...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9164884

    India reportedly orders Uber and rival Ola to electrify 40% of fleets by 2026

    HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20114219 Posted by abhi3 (karma: 3151) Post stats: Points: 196 - Comments: 73 - 2019-06-06T13:15:21Z

    #HackerNews #2026 #and #electrify #fleets #india #ola #orders #reportedly #rival #uber HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 155 - Loop: 284 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 47

  • Modi Won Power, Not the Battle of Ideas
    https://www.cetri.be/Modi-Won-Power-Not-the-Battle-of

    The Hindu nationalists were victorious. What does that say about India ? Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a major victory in the country’s general elections, winning more than 300 of the 543 parliamentary seats and five more years to run the country. This is an impressive achievement, but how has Mr. Modi been able to do it ? And why has the Indian National Congress, the old national party, been restricted to a mere 52 seats ? In (...)

    #Le_Sud_en_mouvement

    / #Le_Sud_en_mouvement, #Inde, #Election, #Mouvements_réactionnaires, #Revendications_identitaires, Other (...)

    #Other_news

  • UK: Johnson ordered to face accusations that he lied to the public ...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9129729

    UK: Johnson ordered to face accusations that he lied to the public

    Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

    “A British court is ordering Boris Johnson to face accusations that while holding public office, he lied in order to sway voter opinion on Brexit. The case was brought by a ‘private prosecutor’ who says Johnson abused the public’s trust while holding official posts. Johnson has quickly emerged as a front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who is resigning next month. But with today’s ruling, he must also face charges of misconduct in public office. The case was brought by Marcus Ball — who has raised more than $300,000 to fund his effort. Ball says Johnson is guilty of ‘misleading the public by endorsing and making statements about the cost of European Union (...)

    • – lien propre :

      http://rationalreview.com/archives/337859

      – article relié :
      https://www.npr.org/2019/05/29/727832275/boris-johnson-is-ordered-to-face-accusations-that-he-lied-to-the-public

      #UK #EU #UE #Europe #Brexit

      A British court is ordering Boris Johnson to face accusations that while holding on Brexit. The case was brought by a “private prosecutor” who says Johnson abused the public’s trust while holding official posts.

      Johnson has quickly emerged as a front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who is resigning next month. But with today’s ruling, he must also face charges of misconduct in public office. The case was brought by Marcus Ball — who has raised more than $300,000 to fund his effort.

      Ball says Johnson is guilty of “misleading the public by endorsing and making statements about the cost of European Union Membership, which he knew to be false.”

      Johnson is currently a member of Parliament. He resigned as the U.K’s foreign secretary last summer, in a protest against May’s plans to leave the European Union. He has also served as London’s mayor.

      Johnson has repeatedly made the false claim that Britain paid £350 million each week to be in the European Union. The claim was famously touted on a Vote Leave campaign bus during the run-up to the Brexit vote.

      In 2017, the head of the U.K.’s Statistics Authority sent Johnson a letter expressing his disappointment and telling Johnson it was “a clear misuse of official statistics” to say leaving the EU would free up £350 million (more than $440 million) weekly to spend on national healthcare.

      In 2018, Johnson acknowledged that the figure was inaccurate — but he said it was “grossly underestimated.”

      On his crowdfunding page, Ball stresses that he’s not trying to stop Brexit from happening. Instead, he’s targeting what he sees as the real threat facing society: lying, particularly the falsehoods that flow from those in power.

      “Lying in politics is the biggest problem. It is far more important than Brexit and certainly a great deal older,” Ball wrote. “Historically speaking, lying in politics has assisted in starting wars, misleading voters and destroying public trust in the systems of democracy and government.”

      He added, “When politicians lie, democracy dies.”

      Ball says he wants to set a precedent by making it illegal for an elected official to lie about financial matters. If he’s successful, he says, the case could have a wide ripple effect.

      “Because of how the English common law works, it’s possible that such a precedent could be internationally persuasive by influencing the law in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and India.”

      In Britain’s legal system, private prosecutions can be started by any person or company with the time and money to do so.

      As the London-based law firm Edmonds Marshall McMahon (which was once involved in Ball’s case) states, “Other than the fact the prosecution is brought by a private individual or company, for all other purposes they proceed in exactly the same way as if the prosecution had been brought by the Crown.”