• Call immigrant detention centers what they really are: concentration camps

    If you were paying close attention last week, you might have spotted a pattern in the news. Peeking out from behind the breathless coverage of the Trump family’s tuxedoed trip to London was a spate of deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody: Johana Medina Léon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker; an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man; and a 40-year-old woman from Honduras.

    Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill.

    Also last week, the Trump administration cut funding for classes, recreation and legal aid at detention centers holding minors — which were likened to “summer camps” by a senior ICE official last year. And there was the revelation that months after being torn from their parents’ arms, 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in the parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas. In the last year, at least seven migrant children have died in federal custody.

    Preventing mass outrage at a system like this takes work. Certainly it helps that the news media covers these horrors intermittently rather than as snowballing proof of a racist, lawless administration. But most of all, authorities prevail when the places where people are being tortured and left to die stay hidden, misleadingly named and far from prying eyes.

    There’s a name for that kind of system. They’re called concentration camps. You might balk at my use of the term. That’s good — it’s something to be balked at.

    The goal of concentration camps has always been to be ignored. The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was imprisoned by the Gestapo and interned in a French camp, wrote a few years afterward about the different levels of concentration camps. Extermination camps were the most extreme; others were just about getting “undesirable elements … out of the way.” All had one thing in common: “The human masses sealed off in them are treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of interest to anybody, as if they were already dead.”

    Euphemisms play a big role in that forgetting. The term “concentration camp” is itself a euphemism. It was invented by a Spanish official to paper over his relocation of millions of rural families into squalid garrison towns where they would starve during Cuba’s 1895 independence war. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II, he initially called them concentration camps. Americans ended up using more benign names, like “Manzanar Relocation Center.”

    Even the Nazis’ camps started out small, housing criminals, Communists and opponents of the regime. It took five years to begin the mass detention of Jews. It took eight, and the outbreak of a world war, for the first extermination camps to open. Even then, the Nazis had to keep lying to distract attention, claiming Jews were merely being resettled to remote work sites. That’s what the famous signs — Arbeit Macht Frei, or “Work Sets You Free” — were about.

    Subterfuge doesn’t always work. A year ago, Americans accidentally became aware that the Trump administration had adopted (and lied about) a policy of ripping families apart at the border. The flurry of attention was thanks to the viral conflation of two separate but related stories: the family-separation order and bureaucrats’ admission that they’d been unable to locate thousands of migrant children who’d been placed with sponsors after crossing the border alone.

    Trump shoved that easily down the memory hole. He dragged his heels a bit, then agreed to a new policy: throwing whole families into camps together. Political reporters posed irrelevant questions, like whether President Obama had been just as bad, and what it meant for the midterms. Then they moved on.

    It is important to note that Trump’s aides have built this system of racist terror on something that has existed for a long time. Several camps opened under Obama, and as president he deported millions of people.

    But Trump’s game is different. It certainly isn’t about negotiating immigration reform with Congress. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. His mass arrests, iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project to put the country under the control of the right kind of white people.

    As a Republican National Committee report noted in 2013: “The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.” The Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census was also just revealed to have been a plot to disadvantage political opponents and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” all along.

    That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.

    There are now at least 48,000 people detained in ICE facilities, which a former official told BuzzFeed News “could swell indefinitely.” Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended more than 144,000 people on the Southwest border last month. (The New York Times dutifully reported this as evidence of a “dramatic surge in border crossings,” rather than what it was: The administration using its own surge of arrests to justify the rest of its policies.)

    If we call them what they are — a growing system of American concentration camps — we will be more likely to give them the attention they deserve. We need to know their names: Port Isabel, Dilley, Adelanto, Hutto and on and on. With constant, unrelenting attention, it is possible we might alleviate the plight of the people inside, and stop the crisis from getting worse. Maybe people won’t be able to disappear so easily into the iceboxes. Maybe it will be harder for authorities to lie about children’s deaths.

    Maybe Trump’s concentration camps will be the first thing we think of when we see him scowling on TV.

    The only other option is to leave it up to those in power to decide what’s next. That’s a calculated risk. As Andrea Pitzer, author of “One Long Night,” one of the most comprehensive books on the history of concentration camps, recently noted: “Every country has said their camps are humane and will be different. Trump is instinctively an authoritarian. He’ll take them as far as he’s allowed to.”

    #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #camps #camps_de_concentration #centres_de_détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis

    • ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

      On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

      At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

      The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

      So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

      On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

      In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

      Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

      If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

      Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

      Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

      Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

      Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

      Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

      As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

      Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

      Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

      These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

      Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

      Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

      Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

      In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

      However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

      It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

      In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

      This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

      I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

      Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

      Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

      What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

      Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades.

      When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

      The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

      President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.

      The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

      Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

      The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?


    • #Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez engage le bras de fer avec la politique migratoire de Donald Trump

      L’élue de New York a qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».


  • The Strange Case of the Woman Who Gave Birth to a Demon Cat | Mysterious Universe

    There was a time in our history when demons roamed the earth. It was a time when even the most educated believed there were sinister supernatural forces lurking among us, while the uneducated huddled in their darkened homes at night, fearful of the witches, warlocks, demons, and spirits that prowled their world. From this age of superstition and myth, this era when monsters were very real to the people who feared that dark unknown, come many strange stories of encounters with demonic forces. These are stories of magic and monsters, taken as real at the time, and one such odd account has managed to be rather persistent over the centuries is a tale of a humble peasant woman, her Devil lover, and her demon cat baby.
    For this strange tale we go back in time to the year 1569, where in Leicestershire, England, there lived a woman named Agnes Bowker. There was nothing particularly remarkable about the then 27-year-old Bowker, the humble daughter of a butcher who worked as a family servant at an estate, and she may have remained a nobody lost to history if it weren’t for a series of very bizarre events that would unfold. It began when Bowker suddenly became pregnant, a sinful situation as she was not married at the time, but this was apparently the least of her worries. On January 17th, 1569, it was reported that Bowker had given birth to some sort of cat-like monster, and the news at the time spread like wildfire, whispered under the breath of fearful locals. After all, this was an era in which myths and magic were very real, demons and the devil a very present threat, and superstition ran rampant. Many locals feared that the creature was a demonic abomination from Hell or a portent of incoming catastrophe, and Bowker did little to calm these fears, claiming that it was the child of some shapeshifting supernatural creature, which she had had sexual relations with on several occasions. David Cressy says of this in his book Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England: Tales of Discord and Dissension:

    She now said ‘that a thing came unto her as she was in bed and lay the first night very heavy upon her bed but touched her not. The next night she saw it and it was in the likeness of a black cat. By the moonlight it came into her bed and had knowledge of her body’ on several occasions.

    Word of the anomalous birth made it all the way to Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Council and the Bishop of London, and rather than being written off as a hoax, the birth was actually seriously investigated. Among the first to be questioned on the incident were Bowker’s midwives, who were allegedly present at the birth, and amazingly they seemed to support the woman’s wild claims. One of the midwives, named Elizabeth Harrison, claimed that she had seen the alleged father of the creature, which she described as “the likeness of a bear, sometimes like a dog, sometimes like a man,” and explained that six other midwives had been present for the ominous birth. Another midwife named Margaret Roos claimed that, while she hadn’t actually seen the baby, it had “pricked” her with its claws while still in the womb, and although none of them had seen it actually come out of the body, it was claimed that they had gone to fetch what they needed for the birth and come back to the room to see the monstrosity on the floor at Bowker’s feet. Making it all the more bizarre is that Harrison also testified that Bowker had told her of meeting a woman in the countryside who had cryptically told her the portent that she would give birth to a beast called the “Mooncalf.”

    In the meantime, other witnesses were also questioned, including townsfolk and clergy, and there was even a body produced that was claimed to be the foul creature itself. Some local men claimed to have actually dissected it and examined it to find food and straw within its stomach, and in their opinion it had just been a regular cat. They even accused Bowker of having stolen a neighborhood cat in order to pull off a hoax. The Archdeacon’s Commissary, Anthony Anderson, was able to examine the cat himself, and not only made sketches of it, but also compared it with a normal cat. Anderson would come to the conclusion that the supposed “Bowker’s Cat” was just a normal cat, saying “It appeareth plainly to be a counterfeit matter; but yet we cannot extort confessions of the manner of doings.” Indeed, the Bishop of London, Edmund Grindal, would also concede that this was likely a hoax, but also admitted there was no way to prove it either way. London physician William Bullein would express doubts as to the veracity of the whole tale as well, but there were still plenty of scared people who believed it all.

    This expert opinion seems to have cast some doubt on the veracity of the whole story, and it did not help that Bowker seemed to be increasingly derailed, telling all sorts of conflicting stories. Sometimes she would expound on her night time visitations with a shapeshifting demon, at other times she said that she had been told to marry the Devil by a schoolmaster who had sexually abused her repeatedly, and that the demon had come to her in the form of a “greyhound and a cat” sent by him. Even the whereabouts of the baby were inconsistent, with Bowker at one point claiming that the child was being nursed at Guilsborough, and at another time saying that it had been stillborn, while still on other occasions she said that she had no memory of the actual birth, only being told after the fact by her midwives about the monstrosity that had come forth from her womb.

    However, even when the whole case was brought before a special ecclesiastical court in front of the Archdeacon of Leicester Bowker, her midwives remained adamant that the whole surreal story of the cat monster and the demon father was true. The case even went to a secular court, and one thing no one could ever figure out is just what had happened to the actual baby, because demon cat or not, it was widely known that Bowker really had been pregnant. It is unknown to this day whether it had been stillborn, as she often claimed, or whether it had really been sent away to be nursed, as she also claimed. It was also suggested that she may have killed her baby, not necessarily because it was a cat, but because she sought to escape the grave stigma of having a child out of wedlock. Of course there was also a contingent of people who believed that she really did have the cat abomination, and that the one that had been dissected was not the real one at all, although where it had gone was anyone’s guess. Whether there was anything supernatural or not going on here, a lot of people of the time believed there was, and Cressey would write:

    It mattered little whether Agnes gave birth to a bastard or to a beast, or whether she had murdered her baby; but it became a matter of public concern when people saw threatening portents in this apparent violation of nature, and when credulous Catholics gained ground by exploiting a dubious story. Abnormal births and bestial instrusions were shocking reminders of the unpredictability of the universe and of the power of hidden forces to subvert everyday routines. At times of crisis they assumed political dimensions, as augeries of ‘alterations of kingdoms’ and portents of ‘destruction of princes.’ It should come as no surprise, then, to find the government attempting to control or neutralize such reports in 1569.

    A sketch of Agnes Bowker’s cat

    In the end, Agnes Bowker was not found guilty of any crime, but that is about all we know about her life after that, and as soon as all of the court cases and investigations were over she just sort of evaporated into history. Regardless of what happened to Bowker, it is all rather fascinating and testament to the absurd weirdness of it all that her story has managed to remain talked about and remembered centuries later. Such is its utter bizarreness and its unique nature of having been given so much investigation and court time by the highest officials of the time that it has become nearly legendary. What happened to Agnes Bowker? Was this a wild tale spun by a possibly mentally unstable woman trying to escape the shame of a child out of wedlock, mixing with a mass hysteria fueled by the superstitions and fears of the supernatural at the times? Or did she really give birth to a demon child? Indeed, what happened to the child, demon or not? Why did the authorities spend so much time and manpower on this case? These are questions for which we will not likely find answers to, and the bizarre case of Agnes Bokwer’s cat manages to remain an intriguing historical oddity.

    #femme #accouchement #demon #chat

  • War of words : my battle to correct Wikipedia | The Spectator

    I signed up some years ago as a Wikipedia ‘editor’, thinking that, as I knew a little about some subjects, I could help to straighten out the online encyclopaedia a bit. Heaven knows, it needs some help. Its worst failing, much like BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, is to portray subjects that are racked with unresolved controversy as if they were settled.

    But I soon found out why nobody else had managed to put this right. Almost every significant article is guarded by powerful forces that appear from nowhere if you dare to make changes. Unless you have unlimited time, and a squadron of determined helpers, they will simply remove any alterations you make, and put things back the way they were.

    La controverse porte sur des accusations de pédophilie sur un évêque anglican. La version actuelle semble factuelle et équilibrée. Et compatible avec celle que déclare avoir défendue l’auteur.

    George Bell (bishop) - Wikipedia

    In September 2015 the diocese paid compensation to the woman and Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester, issued a formal apology to her the following month.

    This led to a major controversy, as people who respected Bell’s legacy found the claims to be incredible, and found the Church’s apparent acceptance of them to be unjust.

    Due to the controversy, in February 2016 the woman spoke publicly for the first time under the pseudonym “Carol”, in an interview with the Brighton Argus about being sexually abused from the age of five until her family moved away when she was nine.

    In June 2016 the Church of England announced that it would hold an independent review of the procedure used to investigate the church’s handling of the allegations (not the truth of the allegations themselves) and in November it announced that Alex Carlile, a QC and a member of the House of Lords, would be the reviewer. Carlile submitted his report to the Church of England in mid-October and on 15 December 2017 the church published it.

    Carlile found that “there was a rush to judgment: The church, feeling it should be both supportive of the complainant and transparent in its dealings, failed to engage in a process which would also give proper consideration to the rights of the bishop.” The report also found that the available evidence did not suggest there would have been “a realistic prospect of conviction” in court, the standard that prosecutors in England and Wales use in deciding whether to pursue a case.

    The Church of England released a statement with the report, in which it apologized to Bell’s relatives for the way it investigated child abuse claims made against him, acknowledged the mistakes highlighted by the report, and promised to implement all except one of its recommendations. Archbishop Welby rejected calls to state that the investigation had cleared Bell’s name and said that the allegations were handled as a civil matter, not a criminal one.

    In March 2018, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse began examining the handling of allegations of sexual abuse in the diocese of Chichester, including this matter, which it said would unfold over two years.

    Wikipédia propose un (long) article sur l’auteur, Peter Hitchens https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hitchens où la controverse n’est pas mentionnée. Article plus court, en français.

  • Why is Berlin so dysfunctional? - Poor and sexy

    Auf der Suche nach Ärger - dem bürgerlichen Schreiber fehlt die aalglatte Servicekultur der gleichgeschateten Metropolen.

    Unlike other capitals, Germany’s is a drain on the rest of the country

    Dec 2nd 2017 | BERLIN

    AT A crossroads in the middle of Tegeler Forst, a wooded part of north-west Berlin, visitors can admire the city’s longest-serving provisional traffic light. Erected in 2013 after a burning car had destroyed the pillar on which the lights were mounted, it was meant to be replaced by a more permanent structure within a few weeks. When a city lawmaker asked the government why, four years later, the lights still had not been fixed, he received an interesting response: owing to changed regulations, calculating whether or not the new structure would fall down had become “very laborious and difficult”. The government would not specify how much longer it would take.

    The traffic-light saga illuminates a wider problem. Berlin, the capital of Europe’s most successful economy, is surprisingly badly governed. The new airport, the city’s biggest flagship project, missed its seventh opening date earlier this year and may not open until 2021, ten years after it was originally supposed to. The jobless rate is among the highest in the country. Schools are dismal. Courts and police are so overworked that hundreds of millions of euros in fines and taxes have not been collected; and the city failed to keep tabs on Anis Amri, the jihadist who killed 11 people with a lorry last Christmas, despite warnings about him three weeks earlier.

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    Astonishingly for a capital city, Berlin makes Germany poorer. Without it, Germany’s GDP per person would be 0.2% higher. By comparison, if Britain lost London, its GDP per person would be 11.1% lower; France without Paris would be 14.8% poorer. “Berlin’s economic weakness is unique among European capitals”, says Matthias Diermeier of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.

    The city’s dysfunction makes everyday life more irksome. In some boroughs the streets are constantly clogged by piles of rubbish, not to mention inexplicable roadworks that make little or no progress. Registering a new car can take weeks, depriving new owners of a means of transport and car showrooms of space for new stock. This summer desperate couples travelled out of town to get married because short-staffed town halls could only offer wedding dates months in the future. “It is hard to escape the impression that Berlin’s government has a certain contempt for its citizens”, says Lorenz Maroldt, editor of the local daily Tagesspiegel, who writes a newsletter chronicling the city’s administrative hiccups.

    Berlin’s woes are partly a consequence of structural changes. Before the second world war the city was an industrial hub. When it was divided by the victorious allies, many firms moved their offices and factories to West Germany. As an anti-communist bulwark, West Berlin was heavily subsidised, but not an attractive place to set up a business. After unification, firms that had re-established themselves in Germany’s southern industrial clusters had little reason to move back. Instead the city attracted bohemians, lured by low rents and large numbers of abandoned factories and warehouses that made ideal artists’ studios or rave venues. These new, hip residents earned little and paid little tax. In 2003 Klaus Wowereit, a former mayor, described Berlin as “poor but sexy”.

    The city’s economic fortunes are improving. A heavy dose of austerity in the early 2000s averted bankruptcy. Startups have moved into the artists’ warehouses, making Berlin the second-biggest European tech hub after London. Its rough-and-colourful image has attracted tourists. The city’s population is growing.

    Yet the bureaucratic dysfunction continues. One culprit is the complex division of responsibilities between the city and its boroughs. This makes it easy for officials to pass the blame for problems back and forth without doing anything about them. (By contrast, cities such as Hamburg or Munich have centralised their administrations to improve accountability.) That the austerity measures were implemented in a slapdash fashion probably did not help either. But the main reason, Mr Maroldt believes, is cultural, going back to Berlin’s historic anti-capitalist and anti-technocratic streak: “We have a deeply held suspicion of anything that smacks of efficiency and competence.” Abandoning that attitude may make life in Berlin easier. For some, no doubt, it will also make it less sexy.

    #Berlin #Gentrifizierung

  • Russian Orthodox Patriarch announces church-government inquiry to prove that the Tsar was killed in 1917 as part of a Jewish ritual / Boing Boing

    Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church says he’s working with Vladimir Putin to convene a Church-based inquiry into whether the execution of the royal family by revolutionaries in 1917 was actually a Jewish ritual killing; this appears to be an actual thing the Russian state is about to do, with many details confirmed in a public statement by Moscow’s General Prosecutor.

    Russian Orthodox Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov expressed disgust at the idea that investigating a hundred-year-old revolution as a secret Jewish ritual murder plot made him an antisemite.

    Quand on pense que déjà la révolution française fut un complot des Illuminés ... et les enfants de Marie-Antoinette, vous vous rendez compte ?

    #Russie #révolution #église #antisémitisme #wtf #mhouahaha

  • The Lost Latvian Land – Abrene | Latvian History


    The lost land Latvian land today is known as Abrene district although before World War 2 it was called Jaunnlatgale (New Latgale) district that also included large areas of modern-day Balvi district. During 9-12th centuries these territories were inhabited by Latgalian tribes who lived as far of west from the river Velikaya, Mudava in Latvian. On 13th century during the Baltic crusades Duke of Pskov Mstislav Rostislavich and local Latgalian rulers fought wars for this border area. On 1224 the Abrene castle district was taken over by Bishop Albert of Riga and later added to Riga Archbishopric, part of the Livonian Confederation. On 1431 Pskov Duchy started to wage wars to gain this land. A well fortified fortress of Vyshgorodok was built within occupied parishes of Kacēni and Augšpils. On 1461-1464 while Livonia was caught up in internal rivalry the whole Abrene region was taken over by Pskov and forced locals to give up their catholic faith. On 1481 the Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III also claimed this land. On 1581 during the Livonian war the fortress of Vyshgorodok was captured by Polish-Lithuanian troops. After the end of the Livonian war the easter part of Abrene region was gained back by Russia.

    #territoire #frontière #russie #lettonie

  • Show 631

    Questions of Travel

    By Jo Burzynska

    Questions of Travel is a sonic travelogue inspired by two poems that chart different but interlinked journeys, created largely from recordings made on my own travels around the world. The first part, created specifically for this programme, draws on and uses fragments of the Elizabeth Bishop poem, Questions of Travel. The second, was the sound element of an audio-olfactory installation at the Institute for Art and Olfaction (2016, Los Angeles) and takes a sensuous journey through external to internal worlds using Charles Baudelaire’s La Chevelure as its guide.

    Additional Creative Commons recordings used courtesy of Taira Komori, Andy Gardner, Glen Faramach and Panta Rei.

    Jo Burzynska – who also works under the name Stanier Black-Five – is an (...)


  • J’ai donc donné mon deuxième cours hier soir à l’UPop Montréal, Une histoire populaire en chansons, consacré aux Chansons Historiques et à des héro.ine.s comme Abdel Kader, Rosa Parks, Che Guevara, Angela Davis, Steven Biko, Thomas Sankara, Fares Odeh, Um Nyobe, Amilcar Cabral, Norbert Zongo, Toussaint Louverture, Alexandra Kollontaï ou Cheikh Anta Diop.

    Moins de discussions qu’au premier cours, mais un public attentif et une bonne ambiance.

    Dans deux demaines, le troisième cours sera consacré aux Chansons révolutionnaires. Pour vous consoler de l’avoir raté, ou pour raviver vos souvenirs, voici donc la playlist d’hier soir :

    #Musique #Musique_et_politique #Histoire

  • Quand la France accueille une organisation terroriste iranienne a Paris pour préparer la reconquête de l’Iran le MEK http://ncr-iran.org/en/news/iran-resistance/20677-live-update-freeiran-gathering-2016 Des politiciens français, journalistes, pseudo-experts élus français participent à cette grand-messe en parlant en notre nom au service de la gouroute Maryam Radjavi accusée de crimes par Amnesty mais largement ignoré par les citoyens français.."Dominique Lefebvre, Member of National Assembly.
    Gilbert Mitterrand, President of France Libertés: The fight for human rights and a democratic and free Iran is why everyone is gathered there today.A delegation of French lawmakers from the National Assembly and Senate as well as renowned French personalities who have over many years supported the Iranian Resistance are now on the stage. They include Bishop Jacques Gaillot, former Minister Alain Vivien, former governor and head of France’s internal security agency DST Yves Bonnet, former mayor and MP Jean-Pierre Brard, former French MP and judge Francois Colcombet, honorary president of the French human rights group New Human Rights (NDH) Pierre Bercis, Michelle Joli and MPs Dominique Lefebvre and Michel Terrot and Senators Alain Neri and Hélène Conway-Mouret, who is a former French deputy minister of foreign affairs."
    Que du beau linge ! Allez une bonne petite guerre humanitaire en vue ??

  • Egypt The elephant in the room (part 1): The state and sectarian violence | MadaMasr


    President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged the swift pursuit of justice in holding the perpetrators of sectarian violence to account, regardless of who they are, in the aftermath of a sectarian incident in Karm Village, Minya in May.

    “It is very inappropriate that this happened in Egypt yet again. Anyone who makes a mistake, whoever he is, will be held accountable. The law should take its course and be applied on anyone, including the president himself,” Sisi said.

    But what if it is the law itself that is the problem and not the solution?

    Along the same lines as the President’s remarks were comments by Coptic Pope Tawadros and Bishop Makarios, who was assigned by the Pope to follow up on the incident. They reiterated the necessity of implementing the rule of law, and only resorting to customary reconciliation committees afterwards. Similarly, statements by most representatives of official Islamic institutions and those among the legal and political elite demanded the law be applied without discrimination.

    But what if it is the law itself that is the problem and not the solution? What if the main trigger for incidents of sectarian violence in Egypt, since the beginning of the 1980s until after January 2011, is the legislative framework that governs the relationship between state and society, religion and personal affairs?

    Recent sectarian incidents indicate the state’s function has shifted from one that supports social cohesion to one that threatens it. What is needed then is a move away from calls for implementing the rule of law to the restructuring of the relationship between state and society based on foundations that are different to those of a century and a half ago.

  • Indonesia and Australia discuss joint naval patrols in the South China Sea - World Socialist Web Site

    Indonesia and Australia discuss joint naval patrols in the South China Sea
    By Peter Symonds
    2 November 2016

    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop yesterday confirmed that Australia and Indonesia are considering joint naval patrols in the South China Sea. Her comments followed a four-day visit to Indonesia last week, during which she met with Indonesian President Joko Widido and senior Indonesian ministers.

    Speaking to Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio, Bishop sought to portray the mooted patrols as a routine part of the Australian navy’s operations. “This is a regular part of what our navy does,” she said. “This is part of our engagement in the region and this is in accordance with Australia’s right of freedom of navigation, including in the South China Sea.”


  • 5 British Witch Trials | Mental Floss

    The Salem witch trials of 1692 to ’93 might be among the most famous in history but they were by no means alone—nor was the paranoia that surrounded the grim witch hunts of the 17th and 18th centuries unique to New England. Witch trials were being carried out all across Europe right through to around 1800. Here are the stories behind five witch trials from across Great Britain.

    #histoire #hitoricisation #femmes #sorcières


      The Bideford witch trial that took place in Devon in the far southwest of England in 1682 was one of the last in England to lead to an execution. The three women involved were Temperance Lloyd, a local widow (who had already been acquitted of the murder of a man by witchcraft in 1671), and two beggars, Mary Trembles and Susanna Edwards, who had allegedly been spotted conversing and begging for food with Temperance. Together, the three were suspected of causing the illness of a local woman, Grace Thomas, by supernatural means—although the full list of accusations thrown at the trio included a claim that a demonic figure in league with Temperance had transformed himself into a magpie and flown through Grace’s window to peck her while she slept; Grace later reported that she had suffered “sticking and pricking pains, as though pins and awls had been thrust into her body, from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet.”

      Despite a great deal of the evidence brought against the women being little more than hearsay, all three were found guilty and executed on August 25 at Heavitree, outside Exeter. A plaque commemorating the women on the wall of Exeter’s Rougemont Castle, where the trials were held, is dedicated to “the hope of an end to persecution and intolerance.”


      In 1589, a young family named the Throckmortons moved into the manor house beside the church in the tiny rural English village of Warboys, 20 miles north of Cambridge. Soon afterwards, one of the family’s young daughters, Jane, began suffering seizures and fits, which the local doctors found impossible to ease or cure. Then one day the Throckmortons’ neighbors—John and Alice Samuel, and their daughter Agnes—happened to pay the family a visit, but as soon as Alice arrived and took a seat by the fire, Jane’s condition suddenly worsened, and she began to point wildly at Alice, screaming, “Look where the old witch sits!” The mother quickly rebuked Jane and thought nothing more of it. But as more of the children began showing similar symptoms and a respected physician was unable to discover the cause, suspicions returned to the Samuels.

      Even Lady Cromwell, the wife of Oliver Cromwell’s grandfather and a close friend of the Throckmortons, once confronted Alice about her apparent crimes; when Lady Cromwell died a little over a year later, her “murder” was added to the list of crimes of which the Samuel family were eventually accused. Imprisoned and tried before the Bishop of Lincoln, Alice, John, and Agnes Samuel were all found guilty of witchcraft and hanged in April 1593.


      The North Berwick witch trials of the late 16th century are notable not only for the sheer number of people involved (over the two years from 1590 to ’92, around a hundred supposed witches and warlocks were implicated in the case), but because the trials were, for much of their duration, personally overseen by the king himself, James VI of Scotland. James was convinced that a local coven of witches had together raised a storm to wreck the ship on which he and his new bride, Anne of Denmark, were returning home from their wedding in Norway. Once suspicions were raised, one of the first to be accused was Geillis “Gelie” Duncan, the young servant of a local chamberlain, who confessed under torture to practicing witchcraft when her apparent gift for healing the sick aroused suspicion. Duncan implicated three further people in her confession, who each implicated several others, who were all then in turn brought in for questioning. One of the accused, Agnes Simpson, a local midwife and healer, was even taken before the king himself for questioning; after confessing to more than 50 crimes brought against her—including relieving the pains of a woman in labor by suffering them herself, and even baptizing a cat—Simpson was executed in January 1591. Another, Euphame MacCalzean, was burned alive without being granted the “mercy” of being hanged first, an astonishingly severe sentence even for the 16th century. In all, a total of six supposed witches were executed.

      Eventually, the supposed network of witchcraft James and his court uncovered led him to believe that his cousin Francis Stuart (or Stewart), 5th Earl of Bothwell, had been behind the entire plot, and had worked with the coven to plot to kill the king and secure the throne for himself. In 1593, however, Bothwell staged a short-lived coup in James’s court and took the opportunity to have himself acquitted of the charges against him. After James retook control, Bothwell fled into exile and died in Naples in 1612.


      The Pendle Hill witch trials of 1612 are amongst the most famous in British history, partly because their events are so well documented, partly because a number of those involved genuinely believed that they had supernatural powers, and partly because so many of the accused were eventually executed: Only one of the dozen individuals implicated in the case, Alice Grey, was found not guilty, and one, Margaret Pearson, was sentenced to being pilloried, but was spared the gallows.

      The trials began when a young woman named Alizon Device, from Pendle in Lancashire in northwest England, was accused of cursing a local shopkeeper who soon afterwards suffered a bout of ill health, now believed to have probably been a mild stroke. When news of this reached the authorities, an investigation was started that eventually led to the arrest and trial of several members of Alizon’s family (including her grandmother, Elizabeth Southerns, a notorious practitioner of witchcraft known locally as “Demdike”), as well as members of another local family, the Redfernes, with whom they had reportedly had a long-standing feud. Many of the families’ friends were also implicated in the trial, as were a number of supposed witches from nearby towns who were alleged to have attended a meeting at Elizabeth Southerns’s home on the night of Good Friday 1612.

      The first to be tried (in a different but related case) was Jennet Preston, who was found guilty and executed in York on July 29; the last was Alizon Device herself, who, like her grandmother, was reportedly convinced that she indeed had powers of witchcraft and freely admitted her guilt. In all, 10 men and women were hanged as a result of the trials.


      Following the arrest of Alizon Device in Pendle in 1612, the discovery that witchcraft was being practiced in Lancashire caused a wave of paranoia that swept across the county and eventually implicated three women—Jane Southworth, Jennet Bierley, and her daughter Ellen (or Eileen) Bierley—from the neighboring village of Samlesbury. Tried at the same Lancashire hearing as the Pendle witches, the trio were suspected of witchcraft by Jennet’s 14-year-old granddaughter, and Ellen’s niece, Grace Sowerbutts. Her grim testimonial accused the women of everything from shape-shifting (Jennet had reportedly transformed herself into a dog right before Grace’s eyes), to cavorting with demons (“black things going upright, yet not like men in the face,” as Grace described them), to cannibalism (the three women had supposedly abducted a young baby from a local merchant, Thomas Walshman, and drank blood from its navel; when the baby died a few days later, they were accused of robbing the grave and cooking the remains).

      Unlike the trial of the Pendle witches, however, the Samlesbury trial was quickly turned on its head. With the evidence against them concluded, Jane, Jennet and Ellen were finally given the chance to speak and immediately pleaded with the judge not for clemency or mercy, as might have been expected, but to force Grace to tell the court who had coerced her into making the accusations against them. Grace’s immediate look of guilt raised the judge’s suspicions, and he ordered her to be taken from the court and interrogated by two justices of the peace. When they returned, it emerged that the entire grim story had been concocted by a local priest who—at a time of considerable religious upheaval in Britain—had strong-armed Grace into incriminating her Protestant relatives. All three women were acquitted.

  • Pula! Botswana at 50: love, race and duty in the struggle for freedom

    Here was the future King of the Bamangwato, a border people, whose labour was interwoven with South African capitalism, whose capital was at Mafikeng, within South Africa, presuming to transgress the most basic prejudices of the racial order.

    The rush of correspondence to stop this abominable wedding was intense. The British government hired lawyers, mobilised diplomats and succeeded in getting a Church of England Bishop to refuse the marriage. Seretse’s uncle forbade him to proceed and Ruth was cast out of her family for a while.

    (…) Jan Smuts intervened and changed Churchill’s mind, convincing him that support for Seretse would only harden the Nationalists who had defeated Smuts in South Africa. “Natives traditionally believe in authority,” Smuts explained, “and our whole Native system will collapse if weakness is shown in this regard.”

    #Botswana #Afrique_du_Sud #colonialisme #histoire #mariage #racisme #beau

  • Perception - eL Seed – – Zaraeeb – Egypt |

    In my new project ‘Perception’ I am questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.
    In the neighborhood of Manshiyat Nasr in Cairo, the Coptic community of Zaraeeb collects the trash of the city for decades and developed the most efficient and highly profitable recycling system on a global level. Still, the place is perceived as dirty, marginalized and segregated.
    To bring light on this community, with my team and the help of the local community, I created an anamorphic piece that covers almost 50 buildings only visible from a certain point of the Moqattam Mountain. The piece of art uses the words of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a Coptic Bishop from the 3rd century, that said: ‘Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.’
    ‘إن أراد أحد أن يبصر نور الشمس، فإن عليه أن يمسح عينيه’

    The Zaraeeb community welcomed my team and I as we were family. It was one of the most amazing human experience I have ever had. They are generous, honest and strong people. They have been given the name of Zabaleen (the garbage people), but this is not how they call themselves. They don’t live in the garbage but from the garbage; and not their garbage, but the garbage of the whole city. They are the one who clean the city of Cairo.

    #calligraffiti #street_art #calligraphie #coptes #éboueurs

  • Radical Islam and the West: the moral panic behind the threat

    Not to be outdone in #hyperbole, Attorney-General George Brandis declared IS to be an “existential threat to us”. Prime Minister #Tony_Abbott said the dangers were “unprecedented”. Foreign Minister #Julie_Bishop claimed these particular Islamists were:

    … the most significant threat to the global rules-based order to emerge in the past 70 years – and included in my considerations is the rise of communism and the Cold War.

    This was an extraordinary suggestion. But Bishop’s speech was apparently insufficient to mobilise public fear about the scale of the threat the nation suddenly faced. It wasn’t long before she invoked the spectre of IS terrorists with weapons of mass destruction – chemical weapons and dirty uranium bombs – again, as in 2003, without producing any evidence for such claims.

    In a recent speech, Bishop also explained IS’s origins. But missing entirely from her analysis was an acknowledgement that the West’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, and its subsequent occupation, had any role in fomenting the conditions that gave rise to IS.

    Omitted too from Bishop’s account were the financial contributions of Saudi, Kuwaiti and Qatari elites to their Sunni co-religionists, presumably because they are now posing as the West’s allies in this latest Babylonian struggle. Turkey’s porous border, across which oil, arms and militants freely flow into IS-held territory, also fails to gain a mention.

    Instead, it is the democratic uprisings in North Africa and the Persian Gulf in 2010 and 2011 that produced fertile conditions for IS’s rise. According to Bishop:

    The Arab Spring for all its potential as an example of grass roots democracy movements rising up against authoritarian regimes, in fact left behind chaos and instability – creating a breeding ground for terrorist cells. One of the most brutal was al-Qaeda in Iraq under the ruthless leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was among the first to use beheadings as a tool of terror.

    Bishop did not explain the mystery of who al-Zarqawi was actually fighting in Iraq, presumably because the illegal invasion and occupation by Western military forces remains taboo. It cannot be easy delivering a major speech on the war against IS without mentioning what was happening in the country between 2003 and 2011. Or how so many former members of Saddam Hussein’s army ended up fighting for IS.

    However dubious her historical narrative, Bishop’s invocation of the Arab Spring is nevertheless a perspicacious lens through which to examine the relationship between the West and radical Islam. It reveals a very different history to the one framed by official orthodoxy. It tells us a good deal more about the main currents of contemporary US foreign policy than the moral panic that currently prevails.

    #excellent de bout en bout

  • Kurds Not Invited To Paris Summit On Combatting ISIS

    Members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria met Tuesday in Paris to draw up a more cohesive plan to fight the Sunni militant group, but one key partner was missing, the Kurds. The Kurdish military wing, also known as the peshmerga, was not invited to the summit but is fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, on the front lines in Iraqi Kurdistan. 

    The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), the ruling party in Iraqi Kurdistan, criticized the U.S.-led coalition for not inviting his men to the summit, claiming the peshmerga are the only forces stopping the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, from advancing on key cities in the country, such as the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

    C’est étonnant, non, que fleurissent au même moment tant d’articles au sujet des exactions des forces kurdes…

    • Mais aussi: Invite Iran To Anti-ISIS Talks: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

      Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Iran should have been included in Paris talks on how to tackle Islamic State group militants. Bishop argued that Iran deserved to be a part of the talks as it had been fighting against the terrorist forces for a long time.


      Bishop said that the coalition must be aware of Iran’s plan against ISIS forces. “We must have one of their military commanders and political leaders at the table informing us of what Iran is doing there,” Bishop told the Australian. "The Iranians are doing much of the fighting but we are not hearing from them as to what their objectives are."

  • The Syriac Pseudo-Clementines. An Early Version of the First Christian Novel Translated into English by F. Stanley JONES | AELAC

    Of imperial family and eventually Peter’s heir as bishop of Rome, Clement relates here how he happened to become a Christian and how Peter instructed his companions as he refutes the arch-heretic Simon Magus in a series of debates. Clement also recounts the astonishing recovery of his long-lost family. All these events occur in the year of Christ’s death.
    The Pseudo-Clementines were popular reading throughout the Middle Ages in a Latin translation and reemerged in early modern times via vernacular versions and especially the Faust-legend. Often considered the first and only ancient Christian novel, the Pseudo-Clementines originated in Syrian Jewish-Christianity in the early third century. Two ancient Syriac translations from the fourth century reflect Greek texts no longer preserved; they contain the essence of Clement’s biographical account and of Peter’s teachings and debates with Simon. Of particular interest is Peter’s detailed review of the origins of Christianity, which apparently seeks to rebut the canonical Acts of the Apostles and lays the blame for the unbelief of the Jews squarely at the feet of Paul.
    This volume presents the first complete translation of the Syriac into any modern language and thereby opens the door for a new stage of historical research and literary appreciation.

    #apocryphes #Rome #Pierre #syriaque

  • Hezbollah sheikhs in Christmas tour of south Lebanon churches

    Hezbollah delegations toured several churches in southern Lebanon Thursday to wish Christians a merry Christmas.

    The first delegation, headed by Sheikh Ahmad Mrad, arrived at the Greek Orthodox Church in Tyre at the start of their tour, where they offered Christmas greetings to Archimandrite Jack Khalil.

    Next, the same delegation visited the Catholic Church. Bishop Michael Abrass thanked the delegation for the well-wishes offered by Hezbollah on Christmas.

    “We hope this country would be blessed with more love, harmony and convergence in order to build a nation that expects a lot from us,” Mrad said.

    The tour ended at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of the Seas, where Bishop Shukrallah al-Haj thanked Hezbollah for its support “of this church and of this country where a display of Christian-Muslim unity is always seen during joint holidays.”

    A second Hezbollah delegation headed by Sheikh Zeid Daher made a similar tour of churches in the southern port city of Sidon.

  • Congregation unite in protest at suspension of parish priest | Herald Scotland

    Congregation unite in protest at suspension of parish priest
    Monday 18 November 2013

    The furious congregation of a church has walked out in protest after the suspension of their parish priest.
    FAITH: Father Matthew Despard has the backing of his parishioners.
    FAITH: Father Matthew Despard has the backing of his parishioners.

    Only a handful of parishioners remained yesterday to take mass at St John Ogilvie’s Church in High Blantyre with Archdiocese of Motherwell acting Bishop Joseph Toal after Father Matthew Despard was removed from his ministry the night before.

    Before they went into church, people signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of Father Despard, suspended for writing a controversial memoir that claimed there is a culture of homosexual bullying in the Catholic Church.

    When Bishop Toal, accompanied by Father William Nolan, tried to take mass, Geraldine Penches said she wanted to make a statement, and received a roar of applause from the congregation in a packed church.

    Her short statement referred to Father Despard as “a very honest man” and said: "This is more scandal to rock the Catholic Church which has to be hushed up.

    “Because Father tells the truth he is removed from his priestly duties. We the people are the church, not the bishops. When people said on Saturday night they wouldn’t return, the Bishop said we’ll close the church. I don’t think Pope Francis would be very pleased with that.”

    After her remarks, the Bishop tried to continue with mass. The atmosphere was charged and some women were in tears. Most of the congregation walked out, with many queuing to sign the petition.

    “I felt so strongly about this and what they’re doing to Father Despard that I had to make a statement in the church,” Ms Penches said. I won’t be back for mass if Father Despard isn’t here. The Bishop should be removed from the church, not Father Despard. I want to send an email to the highest office in the church. The church has caused more hurt than Father Despard’s book ever did."

    Angry scenes broke out among the congregation on Saturday when Bishop Toal informed them “a penal judicial process” had been instituted against Father Despard as a result of his book Crisis in the Priesthood.

    In April Jospeh Devine, the previous Bishop of Motherwell, said no action would be taken against Father Despard. The move by Bishop Jospeh Toal is being taken under canon law.

    A member of the church for 13 years, Josephine Greenhorn said she had spoken to the Bishop before the service yesterday and implored him to rethink. "I also asked why, if Bishop Devine said there would be no sanctions against Matthew Despard, had he decided to act now?

    “He said it was his decision. I said, are you saying Bishop Devine was wrong? And he said no but I’m making the decision now and this has to happen.”

    She said the congregation had no option but to walk out and thought it was wrong for the Bishop to try to silence them by attempting to continue with the mass.

    “I found that shocking, he was taking that disorder into the mass. What happened on Saturday was an affront to the mass and to the eucharist. The publicity surrounding this is going to hurt us all over again. Have an investigation, but don’t destroy a man.”

    She urged the Bishop to agree to meet a group from the parish to discuss the deadlock. Parishioner Patrick Stirling said: “This is not about what Father Despard is or is not guilty of - it’s the way the church went about it.”

    Hugh Neilson, a lawyer representing Father Despard, said people are shocked and angered at the treatment of Father Despard.

    “He is aware the world church is listening to the people under the guidance of Pope Francis and his hope is the hierarchy of the church in Scotland will start listening to the people and engaging with him, even if he has things to say some in the church don’t want to hear,” he said. “He is praying for the people of his congregation and others affected. He will be seeking to have Bishop Toal reconsider this unnecessary decision.”

    Father Nolan of Our Lady of Lourdes in East Kilbride has been appointed parish administrator at St John Ogilvie’s.

    A spokesman for Bishop Toal said: “Since there is a canonical case in progress at the present time, Bishop Toal felt it was appropriate to remove Fr Matthew Despard from Parish Ministry, until the judicial process has run its course. This action does not prejudge the case in any way.”

  • Church Times, the leading Anglican magazine:

    THE sole Anglican cathedral in the Gulf, St Christopher’s, in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, celebrated its diamond jubilee last weekend. A special service was held on Sunday, at which the preacher was the Bishop of Cyprus & the Gulf, the Rt Revd Michael Lewis. St Christopher’s was consecrated in 1953, and became a cathedral in 1986.

  • Greece: Gay play production team and cast charged with blasphemy
    By Scott Roberts
    16 November 2012If found guilty the defendants could face several months in prison

    If found guilty the defendants could face several months in prison

    Actors and the producer and director of a play in Greece that depicted Jesus Christ as gay have been charged with blasphemy.

    Earlier this month, director Laertis Vasiliou was forced to close his production of Corpus Christi in Athens because of political pressure from neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.

    RTE reports that charges of “insulting religion” and “malicious blasphemy” have been filed after a bishop lodged a lawsuit against those involved in the play.

    The production had been subjected to protests since October, when a Golden Dawn MP was captured shouting homophobic and racist insults at Mr Vasiliou among a violent mob.

    If found guilty, Mr Vasiliou and the other defendants could face several months in prison, a trial date has not yet been set.

    Mr Vasiliou said he was stunned that prosecutors had chosen to go after him rather than pursue tax evaders and others blamed for driving Greece to near-bankruptcy.

    Golden Dawn have increased their power since June’s election and its supporters have been linked to a significant number of attacks on migrant workers, rival political groups and LGBT citizens.

    • I am sorry, BUT when a guy is living in communion with twelve(12) other guys, is not married, and none of the twelve guys is married, WHAT is one to refer to to then?

      That the guys were heterosexual? And were living for reproduction purposes?
      Jesus was homosexual, to the core, he lived a life of sleeping with other men, twelve even so he was not monogamous either, he kissed males were and when ever he could, and he never ever considered to be married to a woman........

      For crying out loud, when will religious idiots acknowledge the facts, and come to their senses, and see that their great example was in fact a homosexual?

  • UK: New Archbishop signals openness on LGBT issues
    By Scott Robertsfor PinkNews.co.UK
    9 November 2012, 3:02pm

    Dr Welby is replacing Dr Rowan Williams (KJB Photography)

    Dr Welby is replacing Dr Rowan Williams (KJB Photography)

    The Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, who has been appointed as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, says the Church of England must have “no truck with any form of homophobia”.

    Although Dr Welby has previously stated his opposition to equal marriage and the ordination of gay bishops, in a speech made on Friday at Lambeth Palace, Dr Welby signalled that he was willing to engage on LGBT issues by saying:

    “It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships.

    “We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the church”.

    He said that he supported the House of Bishops’ statement in the summer in response to the government’s consultation on same-sex marriage – which opposed the measure.

    “But I also know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking carefully and prayerfully,” he added.

    Dr Welby was named on Thursday as the replacement for Dr Rowan Williams, who steps down in December after ten years in the post as Archbishop of Canterbury.