position:emperor

  • An Interview with Ryszard Kapuscinski: Writing about Suffering
    https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jii/4750978.0006.107/--interview-with-ryszard-kapuscinski-writing-about-suffering?rgn=mai

    Wolfe:

    Were you trained as a journalist? Kapuscinski: No, never. I started in journalism in 1950 — I was 18, just finishing secondary school, and the newspaper people came to ask me to work. I learned journalism through practice.

    Wolfe: How would you describe your genre?

    Kapuscinski: It’s very difficult to describe. We have such a mixture now, such a fusion of different genres… in the American tradition you would call it New Journalism. This implies writing about the facts, the real facts of life, but using the techniques of fiction writing. There is a certain difference in my case, because I’m trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing… My writing is a combination of three elements. The first is travel: not travel like a tourist, but travel as exploration, as concentration, as a purpose. The second is reading literature on the subject: books, articles, scholarship. The third is reflection, which comes from travel and reading. My books are created from a combination of these three elements.

    Wolfe:When did the idea of Aesopian writing enter into the genre, the idea of putting layers into official texts?

    Kapuscinski: Well, this is not a new thing — it was a nineteenth-century Russian tradition. As for us, we were trying to use all the available possibilities, because there wasn’t any underground. Underground literature only began in the 70s, when technical developments made it possible. Before that, we were involved in a game with the censors. That was our struggle. The Emperor is considered to be an Aesopian book in Poland and the Soviet Union. Of course it’s not about Ethiopia or Haile Selassie — rather, it’s about the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The First Secretary at the time was named Gierek, and he was very much the emperor with his court, and everybody read the book as being about him and the Central Committee.

    Wolfe: But you didn’t write explicitly about the Central Committee.

    Kapuscinski: No, but of course the authorities knew what it was about, and so it had a very small circulation, and it was forbidden to turn it into a film or a play. Aesopian language was used by all of us. And of course, using this language meant having readers who understood it.

    Cohen: The other day we were discussing the crisis of readership, and wondering whether people were still capable of doing the double reading, of taking apart a text that has been written in a complicated way.

    Kapuscinski: The limitation of sources under the Communists had a very political effect on reading. People had just one book, and nothing else — no television or other diversions — so they just read the same book very carefully several times. Readership was high, and very attentive. It was people’s only source of knowledge about the world. You have to understand that the tradition of Russian literature — and Russians are great readers — is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart. This is the most intimate relationship between literature and its readers: they treat the text as a part of themselves, as a possession. This art of reading, reading the text behind the text, is missing now.

    Cohen: When did you first arrive on the African continent?

    Kapuscinski:My first trip to Africa came when the first countries south of the Sahara became independent, in 1958. Ghana was the first African country I visited. I wrote a series of reports about Nkumrah and Lumumba. My second trip was just two years later, when I went to cover the events surrounding the independence of the Congo. At that time, I was not allowed to go to Kinshasa — it was Leopoldville at that time — but I crossed the Sudan-Congo border illegally with a Czech journalist friend, since there was nobody patrolling it. And I went to Kisangani, which was called Stanleyville then.

    Cohen: Were you in Leopoldville during the actual transfer[1]?

    Kapuscinski:No, afterwards. It was a moment of terrible international tension. I remember the atmosphere of danger: there was the expectation that the Congo might begin a new world war. I say this today and people just smile. But that’s why everybody was so nervous: Russians were going there, Americans were going there, the French, the United Nations… I remember one moment at the airport in Kisangani, thinking that Soviet planes were coming — all the journalists were there, and we all expected it to happen.

    Cohen: At that time, in the early 1960s, there weren’t more than three regular American journalists covering Africa.

    Kapuscinski:There were very few, because most correspondents came from the former colonial powers — there were British, French, and a lot of Italians, because there were a lot of Italian communities there. And of course there were a lot of Russians.

    Wolfe: Was there competition among this handful of people?

    Kapuscinski: No, we all cooperated, all of us, East and West, regardless of country, because the working conditions were really terrible. We had to. We always moved in groups from one coup d’état to another, from one war to another… So if there was a coup d’état of leftist orientation in some country I took my Western colleagues with me and said ‘look, let them come in,’ and if there was one of rightist orientation they took me, saying ‘no, he’s okay, give him a visa please, he’s going with us, he’s our friend,’ and so on. I didn’t compete with the New York Times, for example, because the Polish press agency is a small piece of cake, not important. And because conditions were so hard. For example, to send the news out, there was no e-mail, nothing: telex was the only means, but telex was very rare in Africa. So if somebody was flying to Europe, we gave him correspondence, to send after he arrived. I remember that during the period leading up to independence in Angola in 1975, I was the only correspondent there at all for three months. I was in my hotel room when somebody knocked on my door - I opened it, and a man said, ‘I’m the New York Times correspondent.’ The official independence celebration was going to be held over four or five days, and a group of journalists from all over the world was allowed to fly in, because Angola was closed otherwise. So he said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m the new man here, and I heard you’ve been here longer, and I have to write something from Angola, and this is the article I have to send to the New York Times. Could you kindly read it and correct things which are not real?’ And he brought a bottle of whiskey. And whiskey was something which was absolutely marvelous, because there was nothing: no cigarettes, no food, nothing…The difference at that time, in comparison with today, was that this was a group of highly specialized people. They were real Africanists, and not only from experience. If you read articles from that time in Le Monde, in the Times, you’ll find that the authors really had background, a knowledge of the subject. It was a very highly qualified sort of journalism — we were all great specialists.

    Woodford: Professor Piotr Michalowski[2] says that when he was growing up in Poland, people lived through your reports in a very special way: they were like a big, exotic outlet, given the state of world politics. People of all ranks and stations followed these adventures. When you went back, did regular Poles, non-educated people, also want you to tell them about what it was like to see these things?

    Kapuscinski:Yes, very much so. They were very interested in what I was writing. This was a unique source of information, and Africa held incomparably greater interest for them at that time than it does now. People were really interested in what was going on because of the international context of the Cold War.

    Wolfe: What did the Poles know about Africa?

    Kapuscinski: They had very limited knowledge. This was very typical of the European understanding of Africa, which is full of stereotypes and biases. Nevertheless, there was a certain fascination with Africa. Maybe it has something to do with our literature: we have Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, for example, and Conrad is considered in Poland as a Polish writer. The similarity between Africa and Poland - and this is an argument I have always had with people in Africa - is that we were also a colonized country. We were a colony for 130 years. We lost independence at the end of the 18th century, and only regained it in 1918, after the First World War. We were divided between three colonial powers - Russia, Prussia, and Austria. There’s a certain similarity of experience. I’ve often quarreled with African friends about this. I’ve asked, ‘How long were you colonized?’ “Eighty years,” they’ve answered, and I’ve responded, ‘We were colonized 50 years longer, so what can you say about colonialism? I’ll tell you what colonial experience is.’ And they’re shocked. But though there is a similarity of experience, the common people are not conscious of this.

    Wolfe: At the end of the Copernicus Lecture, you said that you wrote Imperium because it was important to bring a Polish way of seeing things to your topic. How did you come to a sense that there was a Polish way of seeing things? Did it emerge from your experiences in Africa, or in relationship to Russia?

    Kapuscinski: It developed in relation to Russia in particular. Our history, the history of Polish-Russian relations, is very tragic, very harrowing. There has been a lot of suffering on our side, because Stalin killed all our intelligentsia. It wasn’t just that he killed 100,000 people, it was that he purposely killed the 100,000 who were our only intelligentsia… When I started writing Imperium, I had a problem with my conscience, because if I wrote strictly from the point of view of this Polish experience, the book would be completely unacceptable and incomprehensible to the Western reader…So I had to put aside our Polish experience, and to find an angle, an objective way of writing about Russia.

    Wolfe: Isn’t there something inherently difficult in writing about suffering? How does one go back and forth between a sense of causation in daily suffering on the one hand, and an understanding of the purges as a social phenomenon, on the other? How does one attempt to understand the cultural propensity of Russians to suffer?

    Kapuscinski: There is a fundamental difference between the Polish experience of the state and the Russian experience. In the Polish experience, the state was always a foreign power. So, to hate the state, to be disobedient to the state, was a patriotic act. In the Russian experience, although the Russian state is oppressive, it is their state, it is part of their fabric, and so the relation between Russian citizens and their state is much more complicated. There are several reasons why Russians view the oppressive state positively. First of all, in Russian culture, in the Russian Orthodox religion, there is an understanding of authority as something sent by God. This makes the state part of the sacred… So if the state is oppressive, then it is oppressive, but you can’t revolt against it. The cult of authority is very strong in Russian society.

    Wolfe: But what is the difference between Soviet suffering and something like the battle of the Marne, the insanity of World War I and trench warfare?

    Kapuscinski: It’s different. In the First World War, there was the sudden passion of nationalism, and the killing took place because of these emotions. But the Soviet case is different, because there you had systematic murder, like in the Holocaust. Ten or 12 million Ukrainian peasants were purposely killed by Stalin, by starvation, in the Ukrainian hunger of 1932-3…It was a very systematic plan… In modern Russia, you have no official, formal assessment of this past. Nobody in any Russian document has said that the policy of the Soviet government was criminal, that it was terrible. No one has ever said this.

    Woodford: But what about Khrushchev in 1956?

    Kapuscinski: I’m speaking about the present. Official Russian state doctrine and foreign policy doesn’t mention the Bolshevik policy of expansion. It doesn’t condemn it. If you ask liberal Russians - academics, politicians - if Russia is dangerous to us, to Europe, to the world, they say: ‘No, it’s not dangerous, we’re too weak, we have an economic crisis, difficulties with foreign trade, our army is in a state of anarchy…’ That is the answer. They are not saying: ‘We will never, ever repeat our crimes of expansionism, of constant war.’ No, they say: ‘We are not dangerous to you, because right now we are weak.’

    Cohen:

    When Vaclav Havel was president of Czechoslovakia, he was asked whether the state would take responsibility for the deaths, the oppression, the confiscations of the previous governments of Czechoslovakia, and he said ‘yes.’ The same questions were asked in South Africa of the Mandela government. And I think Poland is now struggling with how much responsibility the government will have to take for the past. But the Russian official response has been that Stalin can be blamed for everything.

    Kapuscinski:This is a very crucial point: there is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past.

    Polish-born journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski worked as an African correspondent for various Polish periodicals and press agencies from 1958 to 1980. In his book Imperium (Granta Books, 1994), he turns a journalist’s eye onto the Russian state, and the effects of authoritarianism on everyday Russian life. Kapuscinski delivered his November, 1997 Copernicus lecture: "The Russian Puzzle: Why I Wrote Imperium at the Center for Russian and East European Studies. During his visit, he spoke with David Cohen (International Institute); John Woodford (Executive Editor of Michigan Today ); and Thomas Wolfe (Communications). The following is an excerpted transcript of their conversation.

    Sei Sekou Mobutu seized control of the Congo in 1965. After the evolution, the name of the capital was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa, and in 1971 the country was renamed Zaire, instead of the Congo. return to text

    Piotr Michalowski is the George D. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages at the Unversity of Michigan.

    Kapuscinski, more magical than real

    What’s the truth about Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski
    https://www.newstatesman.com/africa/2007/02/wrong-kapuscinski-african

    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryszard_Kapu%C5%9Bci%C5%84ski

    #presse #littérature #reportage



  • Uber Releases Ugly 3Q 2018 Results: Losses Widen to $1.1 Billion, Growth Slows | naked capitalism
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/11/uber-releases-ugly-3q-2018-results-losses-widen-to-1-1-billion-grow

    Uber has no plan to make money – it would have to raise fares 2 to 3 times to become profitable – how long will investors continue to subsidize a Company that promises to make it up in volume.

    Alles klar?

    Posted on November 15, 2018 by Yves Smith
    From Hubert Horan:

    3q P&Ls released tonight. Losses and margins got worse. Gross revenue growth continues to slow down, showing their inability to fix the fundamental weakness in the core car service business.

    Expenditures on the marginal business (food delivery, scooters) that are key to the longer term growth narrative drag results down further.

    Mainstream media coverage hasn’t reached “The Emperor has no clothes” point yet, but stories are raising explicit doubts about the viability of next year’s IPO.

    Actually, as we’ll discuss, there are Uber skeptics, just not necessarily among reporters.

    First, from Eric Newcomer at Bloomberg, who shows doubts about Uber’s proposed IPO valuation of $100 billion and its oft-made claims that it’s another Amazon:

    Uber’s sales are dramatically slowing even as the ride-hailing company is spending more to fuel global growth, particularly in its food delivery business. Revenue growth of 38 percent in the third quarter was almost half of what the growth rate was six months earlier, when the company was negotiating a $9.3 billion investment led by SoftBank Group Corp.

    That’s a troubling sign for a serially unprofitable business that hopes to get valued like a technology company in a planned initial public offering next year. Uber Technologies Inc. lost $1.07 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, an improvement over a year ago, but the loss widened 20 percent from the second quarter.

    Highly valued companies typically grow quickly or generate big profits — and great ones do both. In the fourth quarter of 2005, Amazon.com Inc. had about the same revenue as Uber’s today — just under $3 billion, not adjusted for inflation. Yet, Amazon earned $199 million in profit and was worth about a fourth of Uber’s $76 billion valuation.

    TechCrunch was more credulous, and also touted a more flattering profit metric:

    Uber, which is expected to go public sometime next year, just released its Q3 2018 financial results. Uber’s net losses increased 32 percent quarter over quarter to $939 million on a pro forma basis, though Uber expected these losses as it continues to invest in future growth areas.

    On an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization basis (EBIDTA), Uber’s losses were $527 million, up about 21 percent quarter over quarter. And as Uber prepares to go public, the company has started presenting the income statements with stock-based compensation.

    Ten years from now, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi envisions its core ride-hailing business accounting for less than 50 percent of Uber’s overall business, Khosrowshahi told me at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018. That means Uber expects businesses like Eats, scooters, bikes and freight to contribute to be more of Uber’s business, which requires Uber to invest heavily in those businesses.

    And why should we expect UberEats and scooters to become profitable? Just because Uber wants it to be so?

    The New York Tines’ story came off like a string of Uber talking points, with the only apparent real cause for pause that Lyft is also planning its IPO for 2019. For instance:

    Uber’s I.P.O. is likely to create an enormous financial bonanza for its many investors and shareholders, including the company’s co-founder, Travis Kalanick, as well as venture capital firm Benchmark and the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.

    To get ready for a public offering, Mr. Khosrowshahi has been trimming Uber’s money-losing businesses. Uber has withdrawn from markets including Southeast Asia and Russia, where it faced stiff competition and was spending a lot of money. It has focused on other areas, like food delivery, as well as other geographies that show more potential for growth. On Wednesday, Uber began a loyalty program that will give riders access to extra perks the more frequently they use Uber services.

    Uber said Uber Eats, its food delivery business that started in 2015, was growing rapidly, with bookings through its separate app up 150 percent from last year.

    Yet Uber’s spending also continues to rise. The company said its total costs and expenses were $3.7 billion in the third quarter, up from $3.5 billion in the prior quarter.

    It would be more accurate to say that Uber is cutting some loss-generating operations while expanding others.

    Finally, to the Wall Street Journal:

    The results for the three months ending in September show that Uber is still growing quickly but is likely to be unprofitable for some time. In documents for a bond offering last month, Uber said it expected it wouldn’t reach a profit for at least three years.

    Uber has turned its attention to providing customers with a host of transportation options in addition to its core ride-hailing service. Mr. Khosrowshahi said he is particularly hopeful about electric-scooters and bicycle rentals, which he has said can be a low-cost replacement for short car trips in urban centers.

    “What we’re going after is essentially to debundle car ownership,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech D.Live conference Tuesday. “A world in which the people who cannot afford to buy a car have access to consistent mobility wherever they are, that’s a better world.”

    Of the 22 comments on the story so far, only one read as positive, and other readers dismissed it as bad sarcasm. And remember that WSJ readers viciously attacked the initial stories on the Theranos fraud, accusing the journalists of being jealous of a talented entrepreneur. A sampling:

    charles cotton

    I’ve been tracking Uber and its copy cat, Lyft since 2013. The underlying root of their both their problems is that there business platform is toxic and can not ever make a profit. The burn rate is over 90% of investors money which has resulted in a meltdown. Outside investors have dried up and quite frankly dismayed. Such investors were all reckless, naive, and greedy being lured by hyped, false financials and advertising.

    The promise of “get in quick, we’re going public’” being the worm on the hook. There were no accurate disclosures or prospectus given to the investor…. No one really knows what is going on at Uber.”

    Joseph Swartz

    Uber may be the biggest con game the Street has seen in decades…..an IPO of a Company that loses billions of dollars, subsidizes every ride we take, and has gone off the path with Uber Eats, a ridiculous venture. I recently read it’s drivers last about 6 months, on average, before quitting.

    Uber has no plan to make money – it would have to raise fares 2 to 3 times to become profitable – how long will investors continue to subsidize a Company that promises to make it up in volume.

    Gary Ayer

    Uber is raising money via a public offering because otherwise they would go out of business due to continuous losses.

    Jef Kurfess

    Doing a thriving business selling dollar bills for $.85?

    So Uber’s PR machine is having less and less success in keeping its story going. But will polite press amplification be enough to save Uber’s bacon.

    #Uber


  • What the popularity of a Qing dynasty drama, The Story of Yanxi Palace, says about China’s appetite for feminism | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/united-states/article/2164662/what-popularity-qing-dynasty-drama-story-yanxi

    In China, a different type of drama is dominating the screens of millions of viewers – stories of love and palace intrigue at the court of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796) during the Qing dynasty and featuring his many wives and concubines. The new champion is The Story of Yanxi Palace, which set a single-day viewer record on August 12 with 530 million people tuning in, and garnered over 15 billion views by its finale on August 27. About 82 per cent of those viewers were women, according to Yi En Data, a mobile-based application monitoring viewership.

    What’s not to like? The residents of the Forbidden City looks fantastic in luxurious silk costumes with beautiful accessories. The series works even better if the female viewer imagines herself as the heroine, adored by the most powerful man, defeating every other woman to win his heart and being chosen as his favourite consort. The combination of love and power is intoxicating.

    But every time I threw myself into watching the series, something didn’t feel quite right.

    In The Story of Yanxi Palace and many similar Qing court dramas, a woman’s virtue is judged by how obedient she is to her husband, the emperor, and how many male offspring she provides him with. Her existence is defined by the status conferred on her by one man in exchange for her own identity. To be successful on this path, she must be pretty, fertile, gentle and resourceful, embodying perfection without being herself. On her deathbed, the first wife of the Qianlong Emperor is said to have yelled out, “Who am I really?”, offering an unusual feminist twist.

    “Feminism” is not a popular word in China. Occasionally, when I try to strike up a conversation about women’s rights with family or in the workplace with male friends, I am greeted with a bewildered look, followed by the blunt question: “Are you a feminist?” The next question, which is also part of the argument, is: “Chinese women already have many rights. What more do you want?”

    In theory, what Western women had to fight for over decades, such as the right to vote or access to education, was granted to Chinese women in one go. When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, gender equality was written into the constitution. Chairman Mao declared that women in China should “hold up half the sky”.

    But not having to fight for equality means we do not appreciate the value of it. The rights were gifted to us. Consequently, decades later, we are still living in the logic of Qing court dramas, inhabiting men’s worlds, abiding by their rules and defining our values against their preferences.

    #Chine #femmes


  • The History of Civilization Is a History of Border Walls

    When I joined my first archaeological dig at a site near Hadrian’s Wall in 2002, walls never appeared in the nightly news. Britain was still many years away from planning a barrier near the opening of the Chunnel in Calais. Saudi Arabia hadn’t yet encircled itself with high-tech barricades. Israel hadn’t started reinforcing its Gaza border fence with concrete. Kenya wasn’t seeking Israel’s help in the construction of a 440-mile barrier against Somalia. And the idea that India might someday send workers high into the Himalayas to construct border walls that look down on clouds still seemed as preposterous as the notion that Ecuador might commence construction on a 950-mile concrete wall along its border with Peru.

    No one chatted about walls while we cut through sod to expose the buried remains of an ancient fortress in northern Britain. I doubt that anyone was chatting about walls anywhere. The old fortress, on the other hand, was generally considered the crown jewel of British archaeology. For more than 30 years, sharp-eyed excavators at the Roman fort of Vindolanda had been finding writing tablets — thin slivers of wood upon which Roman soldiers had written letters, duty rosters, inventories, and other assorted jottings. At first, the tablets had represented something of a technical challenge; their spectral writing faded almost immediately upon exposure to air, almost as if written in invisible ink. But when the writings were recovered through infrared photography, a tremendous satisfaction came from the discovery that Roman soldiers complained about shortages of beer while the wives of their commanders planned birthday parties. The Romans, it turned out, were a lot like us.

    Archaeology, even at such a special place, was tiring business, but after work I enjoyed taking hikes along the wall. It was beautiful countryside — well lit by an evening sun that lingered late during the Northumbrian summer — and as I ambled over the grassy hills, occasionally enjoying the company of sheep, I sometimes imagined I was a lonely Roman soldier, stationed at the end of the world, scanning the horizon for barbarians while I awaited a resupply of beer. I’m ashamed to say that I took no detailed notes on the wall itself. It made for beautiful photographs, the way it stretched languidly over the countryside, but my real interest lay in other things: the Roman soldiers, the barbarians, the letters. If anything I saw in Britain was to hold any significance for my research, it seemed obvious that I would find it in the wet gray clay of Vindolanda. There I hoped only to discern tiny clues about a particular period of Roman history. Such are the modest goals of the academic. For the duration of my stay, my focus was on the clay. All the while, I was standing right next to a piece of a much bigger story, a fragment of the past that was about to rise up from its ancient slumber to dominate contemporary politics on two continents. I was leaning against it, resting my hand on it, posing for pictures by it. I just didn’t see it.

    It was my interest in the barbarians that finally opened my eyes to the historical importance of walls. The barbarians were, in the main, inhabitants of every North African or Eurasian wasteland — the steppes, the deserts, the mountains. Civilized folk had erected barriers to exclude them in an astonishing array of countries: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Britain, Algeria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Peru, China, and Korea, to give only a partial list. Yet somehow this fact had entirely escaped the notice of historians. Not a single textbook observed the nearly universal correlation between civilization and walls. It remained standard even for specialists to remark that walls were somehow unique to Chinese history, if not unique to Chinese culture — a stereotype that couldn’t possibly be any less true.

    By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone.

    The reemergence of border walls in contemporary political debates made for an even more surprising revelation. Like most people my age, I had watched the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with great excitement. To many of us, it looked like the beginning of a new era, heralded by no less towering an international figure than David Hasselhoff, whose concert united both halves of Berlin in inexplicable rapture. More than a quarter-century has passed since then, and if it had once seemed that walls had become a thing of the past, that belief has proven sorely wrong.

    Border walls have experienced a conspicuous revival in the 21st century. Worldwide, some 70 barriers of various sorts currently stand guard. Some exist to prevent terrorism, others as obstacles to mass migration or the flow of illegal drugs. Nearly all mark national borders. By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone. For every person who sees a wall as an act of oppression, there is always another urging the construction of newer, higher, and longer barriers. The two sides hardly speak to each other.

    As things turned out, it was the not the beer or the birthday parties that connected the past to the present in northern England. It was the wall. We can almost imagine it now as a great stone timeline, inhabited on one end by ancients, on the other by moderns, but with both always residing on the same side facing off against an unseen enemy. If I couldn’t see that in 2002, it was only because we were then still living in an anomalous stage in history and had somehow lost our instinct for something that has nearly always been a part of our world.

    How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them. As early as the 10th millennium BC, the builders of Jericho encircled their city, the world’s first, with a rampart. Over time, urbanism and agriculture spread from Jericho and the Levant into new territories: Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, and beyond. Walls inevitably followed. Everywhere farmers settled, they fortified their villages. They chose elevated sites and dug ditches to enclose their homes. Entire communities pitched in to make their villages secure. A survey of prehistoric Transylvanian farming villages determined that some 1,400 to 1,500 cubic meters of earth typically had to be moved just to create an encircling ditch — an effort that would have required the labor of 60 men for 40 days. Subsequently, those ditches were lined with stone and bolstered by palisades. If a community survived long enough, it might add flanking towers. These were the first steps toward walls.

    The creators of the first civilizations descended from generations of wall builders. They used their newfound advantages in organization and numbers to build bigger walls. More than a few still survive. We can estimate their heights, their thicknesses, their volumes, and their lengths. But the numbers can only tell us so much. We will always learn more by examining the people who built the walls or the fear that led to their construction.

    And what about these fears? Were civilizations — and walls — created only by unusually fearful peoples? Or did creating civilization cause people to become fearful? Such questions turn out to be far more important than we’ve ever realized.

    Since 2002, I’ve had ample time to reflect on the Roman soldiers who once guarded Hadrian’s Wall. They certainly never struck me as afraid of anything. Then again, they weren’t exactly Roman, either. They came chiefly from foreign lands, principally Belgium and Holland, which were in those days still as uncivilized as the regions north of the wall. Everything they knew of building and writing, they had learned in the service of Rome.

    As for the Romans, they preferred to let others fight their battles. They had become the definitive bearers of civilization and as such were the target of a familiar complaint: that they had lost their edge. Comfortable behind their city walls and their foreign guards, they had grown soft. They were politicians and philosophers, bread makers and blacksmiths, anything but fighters.

    The Roman poet Ovid knew a thing or two about the soft life, but he also had the unusual experience of learning what life was like for Rome’s frontier troops. The latter misfortune came as a consequence of his having offended the emperor Augustus. The offense was some peccadillo — Ovid never divulges the details — compounded by his having penned a rather scandalous book on the art of seduction. “What is the theme of my song?” he asked puckishly, in verse. “Nothing that’s very far wrong.” Augustus disagreed. Reading Ovid’s little love manual, the moralistic emperor saw plenty of wrong. He probably never even made it to the section where Ovid raved about what a great ruler he was. Augustus banished the poet from Rome, exiling him to Tomis, a doomed city on the coast of the Black Sea, 60-odd miles south of the Danube.

    Tomis was a hardscrabble sort of place, a former Greek colony already some 600 years old by the time of Ovid’s exile in the first century AD and no shinier for the wear. Its distinguishing characteristics were exactly two: First, it was about as far from Rome as one could be sent. Second, it lay perilously close to some of Rome’s fiercest enemies, in an area that didn’t yet have a border wall. Like northern Britain, the region of Tomis would one day receive its share of border walls, but in Ovid’s day, the only barriers to invasion were the fortifications around the city itself.

    Ovid suffered in his new home. It was one thing to live in a walled city, but quite another to be completely confined within those walls. In his letters to Rome, Ovid complained that the farmers of Tomis couldn’t even venture out onto their fields. On the rare occasion when a peasant dared to visit his plot, he guided the plow with one hand while carrying weapons in another. Even the shepherds wore helmets.

    Fear permeated everyday life in Tomis. Even in times of peace, wrote Ovid, the dread of war loomed. The city was, for all intents and purposes, under perpetual siege. Ovid likened the townspeople to a timid stag caught by bears or a lamb surrounded by wolves.

    Occasionally, Ovid reminisced on his former life in the capital, where he’d lived free from fear. He wistfully recalled the amenities of Rome — the forums, the temples, and the marble theaters; the porticoes, gardens, pools, and canals; above all, the cornucopia of literature at hand. The contrast with his new circumstances was complete. At Tomis, there was nothing but the clash and clang of weapons. Ovid imagined that he might at least content himself with gardening, if only he weren’t afraid to step outside. The enemy was quite literally at the gates, separated only by the thickness of the city’s wall. Barbarian horsemen circled Tomis. Their deadly arrows, which Ovid unfailingly reminds us had been dipped in snake venom, made pincushions of the roofs in the city.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism.

    There remained a final indignity for Ovid: the feeble, middle-aged author was pressed into service in defense of Tomis. As a youth, Ovid had avoided military service. There was no shame for shirkers back in Rome, a city replete with peaceniks and civilians. Now aging, Ovid had finally been forced to carry a sword, shield, and helmet. When the guard from the lookout signaled a raid, the poet donned his armor with shaking hands. Here was a true Roman, afraid to step out from behind his fortifications and hopelessly overwhelmed by the responsibility of defending them.

    From time to time, a Chinese poet would find himself in a situation much like Ovid’s. Stationed at some lonely outpost on the farthest reaches of the empire, the Chinese, too, longed for home while dreading the nearness of the barbarians. “In the frontier towns, you will have sad dreams at night,” wrote one. “Who wants to hear the barbarian pipe played to the moon?” Sometimes they meditated on the story of the Chinese princess who drowned herself in a river rather than cross beyond the wall. Even Chinese generals lamented the frontier life.

    Oddly, none of these sentiments appear in the letters written by the Roman soldiers at Vindolanda. Transplanted to a rainy land far from home, they grumbled at times about the beer supply but had nothing to say about shaky hands or sad dreams. It was as if these barbarian-turned-Roman auxiliaries had come from another world, where homesickness and fear had been banished. Perhaps they had.

    Almost anytime we examine the past and seek out the people most like us — those such as Ovid or the Chinese poets; people who built cities, knew how to read, and generally carried out civilian labor — we find them enclosed behind walls of their own making. Civilization and walls seem to have gone hand in hand. Beyond the walls, we find little with which we can identify — warriors mostly, of the sort we might hire to patrol the walls. The outsiders are mostly anonymous, except when they become notorious.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism. But the first path also pointed to much more — science, mathematics, theater, art — while the other brought its followers only to a dead end, where a man was nothing except a warrior and all labor devolved upon the women.

    No invention in human history played a greater role in creating and shaping civilization than walls. Without walls, there could never have been an Ovid, and the same can be said for Chinese scholars, Babylonian mathematicians, or Greek philosophers. Moreover, the impact of walls wasn’t limited to the early phases of civilization. Wall building persisted for most of history, climaxing spectacularly during a 1,000-year period when three large empires — Rome, China, and Sasanid Persia — erected barriers that made the geopolitical divisions of the Old World all but permanent.

    The collapse of those walls influenced world history almost as profoundly as their creation, by leading to the eclipse of one region, the stagnation of another, and the rise of a third. When the great border walls were gone, leaving only faint traces on the landscape, they left indelible lines on our maps — lines that have even today not yet been obscured by modern wars or the jockeying of nations for resources. Today, a newer set of walls, rising up on four continents, has the potential to remake the world yet again.


    https://medium.com/s/greatescape/the-history-of-civilization-is-a-history-of-border-walls-24e837246fb8
    #civilisation #histoire #murs #murs_frontaliers #histoire #frontières #livre #David_Frye



  • #NEW_SEVEN_WONDERS_OF_THE_WORLD

    Les #Sept_Nouvelles_Merveilles_du_Monde
    https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/outdoors-and-adventure/articles/new-seven-wonders-of-the-world
    consulté le 03/06/2018

    The following list of the New Seven Wonders is presented without ranking, and aims to represent global heritage.
    In 2007, more than 100 million people voted to declare the New Seven Wonders of the World. The following list of seven winners is presented without ranking, and aims to represent global heritage.

    #Great_Wall_of_China (#China)


    Built between the 5th century B.C. and the 16th century, the Great Wall of China is a stone-and-earth fortification created to protect the borders of the Chinese Empire from invading Mongols. The Great Wall is actually a succession of multiple walls spanning approximately 4,000 miles, making it the world’s longest manmade structure.

    #Christ_the_Redeemer Statue (#Rio_de_Janeiro)


    The Art Deco-style Christ the Redeemer statue has been looming over the Brazilians from upon Corcovado mountain in an awe-inspiring state of eternal blessing since 1931. The 130-foot reinforced concrete-and-soapstone statue was designed by Heitor da Silva Costa and cost approximately $250,000 to build - much of the money was raised through donations. The statue has become an easily recognized icon for Rio and Brazil.

    #Machu_Picchu (#Peru)


    Machu Picchu, an Incan city of sparkling granite precariously perched between 2 towering Andean peaks, is thought by scholars to have been a sacred archaeological center for the nearby Incan capital of Cusco. Built at the peak of the Incan Empire in the mid-1400s, this mountain citadel was later abandoned by the Incas. The site remained unknown except to locals until 1911, when it was rediscovered by archaeologist Hiram Bingham. The site can only be reached by foot, train or helicopter; most visitors visit by train from nearby Cusco.

    #Chichen_Itza (#Yucatan_Peninsula, #Mexico)


    The genius and adaptability of Mayan culture can be seen in the splendid ruins of Chichen Itza. This powerful city, a trading center for cloth, slaves, honey and salt, flourished from approximately 800 to 1200, and acted as the political and economic hub of the Mayan civilization. The most familiar ruin at the site is El Caracol, a sophisticated astronomical observatory.

    The Roman #Colosseum (#Rome)


    Rome’s, if not Italy’s, most enduring icon is undoubtedly its Colosseum. Built between A.D. 70 and 80 A.D., it was in use for some 500 years. The elliptical structure sat nearly 50,000 spectators, who gathered to watch the gladiatorial events as well as other public spectacles, including battle reenactments, animal hunts and executions. Earthquakes and stone-robbers have left the Colosseum in a state of ruin, but portions of the structure remain open to tourists, and its design still influences the construction of modern-day amphitheaters, some 2,000 years later.

    #Taj_Mahal (Agra, #India)


    A mausoleum commissioned for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was built between 1632 and 1648. Considered the most perfect specimen of Muslim art in India, the white marble structure actually represents a number of architectural styles, including Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Indian. The Taj Mahal also encompasses formal gardens of raised pathways, sunken flower beds and a linear reflecting pool.

    #Petra (#Jordan)


    Declared a World Heritage Site in 1985, Petra was the capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV, and likely existed in its prime from 9 B.C. to A.D. 40. The members of this civilization proved to be early experts in manipulating water technology, constructing intricate tunnels and water chambers, which helped create an pseudo-oasis. A number of incredible structures carved into stone, a 4,000-seat amphitheater and the El-Deir monastery have also helped the site earn its fame.

    En 2007, plus de 100 million de personnes ont voté pour élire les Sept Nouvelles Merveilles du Monde.
    La #Grande_Muraille_de_Chine (#Chine) :
    Construite antre le Vème siècle avant J.C. et le XVIème siècle, la Grande Muraille de Chine a été conçue pour protéger les frontières de l’Empire chinois des invasions mongoles. Aujourd’hui, la Grande Muraille est une succession de multiples murs qui s’étend sur environ 6 500 kilomètres : il s’agit de la plus longue construction humaine au monde.
    La statue du #Christ_Rédempteur (Rio de Janeiro) :
    La statue du Christ Rédempteur se dresse sur le mont du Corcovado depuis 1931. Cette statue de 40 mètres de haut a été conçue par Heitor da Silva Costa et a coûté environ 250 000 dollars (une grande partie du financement provient de dons).
    Le Machu Picchu (#Pérou) :
    La cité inca du Machu Pichu est supposée avoir été le centre de la capitale Inca Cusco. Construite au milieu du Vème siècle, la citadelle a été par la suite abandonnée par les Incas. Le site, qui n’a été découvert qu’en 1911 par l’archéologue Hiram Bingham, n’est accessible qu’à pied, en train ou en hélicoptère depuis Cusco.
    Chichen Itza (#Péninsule_du_Yucatan, Mexico) :
    La puissante cité de Chichen Itza, probablement construite entre le IX ème et le XIIIème siècles, était le centre économique et politique de la civilisation maya. Les ruines les plus visitées sont celles de l’observatoire astronomique El Caracol.
    Le #Colisée (Rome) :
    Construit au Ier siècle avant J.C., le Colisée a pu accueillir, pendant environ 500 ans, presque 50 000 spectateurs pour les spectacles de gladiateurs et autres événements publics. À cause de tremblements de terre et de vols, le Colisée est aujourd’hui en ruines.
    Le Taj Mahal (Agra, #Inde) :
    Mausolée construit pour la femme de l’Empereur Mongol Shah Jahan, la Taj Mahal a été construit entre 1632 et 1648. Cette structure de marbre blanc comprend un certain nombre d’influences et de styles architecturaux, parmi lesquels les styles persan, islamique, turque et indien.
    Pétra (#Jordanie) :
    Déclaré site mondial de l’UNESCO en 1985, Pétra était la capitale de l’Empire nabatéen au Ier siècle avant J.C. Cette civilisation était apparemment très avancée dans la maîtrise de l’irrigation, ce qui a permis de créer un pseudo-oasis.

    Mon commentaire sur cet article :
    La volonté mondiale de choisir « Sept Nouvelles Merveilles du Monde » montre bien que l’art peut permettre de redéfinir les « codes » établis. On remarque en effet que les « Sept Merveilles du Monde », dont la liste datait de l’Antiquité, se trouvaient toutes aux alentours de la Méditerranée (la pyramide de Khéops à Gizeh en Égypte, les Jardins suspendus de Babylone, la statue de Zeus à Olympie, le temple d’Artémis à Éphèse, le mausolée d’Halicarnasse, le colosse de Rhodes et le phare d’Alexandrie). Plus encore, presque aucune de ces œuvres mystiques n’existe encore aujourd’hui : ces merveilles n’étaient que le symbole de la puissance culturelle et du développement avancé des « civilisations européennes ». Les « Sept Nouvelles Merveilles du Monde » permettent de sortir de cet européanocentrisme en reconnaissant la magnificence de civilisations « autres ».


  • Entre les atrocités des #soldats #Japonais et celles des soldats #Américain : #Okinawa, « pire que la mort », l’#histoire racontée par les enfants qui ont survécu à la #bataille.
    Between #Japanese and #American #soldiers’ atrocities : Okinawa, “worse than death” : the #history told by children that survived the #battle.

    Kiku Nakayama was 16-years-old in 1945 when she was handed two grenades by a soldier from the Imperial Japanese Army. She was told to blow herself up if she came into contact with US troops.
    “Japanese soldiers told us that the American forces would rape and burn alive any women they saw. I did not have the courage to pull the pin but many of my classmates did,” says Kiku, 89. “Every day I wonder why I survived and not them.”
    Outnumbered by American forces, Japanese soldiers handed out grenades to civilians describing them as “benevolent gifts from the Emperor”. Other accounts detail them using civilians as human shields, decapitating babies whose cries threatened to give away secret hiding spots and stealing food meant for women and children.

    http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2144267/worse-death-children-who-survived-battle-okinawa
    Publié le 06/05/2018
    Vu le 04/06/2018

    Cet article de Prabhu Silvam construit à partir des #témoignages et des #mémoires de survivants, en plus d’envisager cette période avec de nouvelles informations, il nous permet d’envisager l’île de manière #géographique en tant que location #stratégique pour la #base américaine lorsqu’il s’agit de couper les vivres ou envahir le #Japon. De plus aujourd’hui, « historiquement et culturellement », l’#île est toujours considérée comme extérieure au Japon et son gouvernement : toujours « un peu trop près de Taïwan » et « un peu trop loin » du Japon qui laisse l’île dans une situation toujours critique :

    This article made by Prabhu Silvam is constructed from the #testimonies and #memories of survivors, not only does it considers this time with new information, but it allows us to consider the island #geographically, as a #strategic location for the American base when it comes to cut supply lines or invade #Japan. Moreover, today, « historically and culturally », the #island is still considered as exterior to Japan and its government : always “a little too near Taiwan” and “a little too far from” Japan which leaves the island in a still as critical as before situation:

    Despite ongoing protests, the island chain hosts 70 per cent of American bases on Japanese soil. Over the years, cases of rape, murder, drink-driving and aircraft crashes committed by US personnel have continuously caused friction between the locals and its rulers 930 miles away. Repeated calls on the Japanese government to remove the bases have fallen on deaf ears.


  • The far-right nationalist movement roiling Eritreans in Israel

    The far-right Agazian movement seeks to establish a Tigrinyan Orthodox-Christian state in what is now Eritrea and part of Ethiopia. Its anti-Muslim, militant politics are deepening the divisions within the already fractious Eritrean opposition.


    https://972mag.com/the-far-right-nationalist-movement-roiling-eritreans-in-israel/135179
    #Israfrique #Israël #réfugiés_érythréens #Erythrée #extrême_droite #nationalisme
    cc @sinehebdo


  • Tutte le strade portano a Roma...
    An Interactive Map Shows Just How Many Roads Actually Lead to Rome

    No one can give you exact directions to Milliarium Aureum (aka the Golden Milestone). Just a few carved marble fragments of the gilded column’s base remain in the Roman Forum, where its original location is somewhat difficult to pinpoint.

    But as the image above, from interactive map Roads to Rome, shows (view it here), the motto Emperor Caesar Augustus’ mighty mile marker inspired still holds true.


    http://www.openculture.com/2018/05/an-interactive-map-shows-just-how-many-roads-actually-lead-to-rome.html
    #réseau_routier #routes #Europe #Rome #histoire #cartographie #visualisation
    via @franz42
    cc @wizo


  • Vietnam halts South China Sea oil drilling project under pressure from Beijing
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-vietnam/vietnam-scraps-south-china-sea-oil-drilling-project-under-pressure-from-bei


    le bloc 07/03 dans le bassin de Nam Con Son

    Vietnam has halted an oil drilling project in the “Red Emperor” block off its southeastern coast licensed to Spanish energy firm #Repsol following pressure from China, three sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Friday.

    It would be the second time in less than a year that Vietnam has had to suspend a major oil development in the busy #South_China_Sea waterway under pressure from China.
    […]
    #Red_Emperor, known in Vietnamese as the #Ca_Rong_Do field, is part of Block 07/03 in the #Nam_Con_Son basin, 440 km (273 miles) off the coast of Vietnam’s southern city of Vung Tau.

    The $1-billion field of moderate size by international standards is seen as a key asset to help slow the decline of Vietnam’s stalling oil and gas production.

    But the block lies near the U-shaped “#nine-dash_line ” that marks the vast area that China claims in the sea and overlaps what it says are its own oil concessions.

    Located in waters around 350 metres (1,148 ft) deep, it is considered to be profitable from around $60 per barrel. Current Brent crude oil prices are almost $70 per barrel.

    On est très très bas, dans la #mer_de_Chine_méridionale, mais trop proche de la #ligne_en_neuf_traits

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_en_neuf_traits
    #langue_de_bœuf #Đường_lưỡi_bò

    #Cá_Rồng_Đỏ
    cf. https://seenthis.net/messages/617802 (avec autre carte)


  • The Time Napoleon Was Attacked by Rabbits | Mental Floss
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/51364/time-napoleon-was-attacked-rabbits

    History tells us that Napoleon’s most upsetting defeat came at Waterloo. Or it may have occurred eight years earlier, after the French emperor was attacked by a relentless horde of rabbits.

    There are a couple versions of this story. Most agree it happened in July 1807, after Napoleon signed the Treaties of Tilsit (which ended the war between the French Empire and Imperial Russia). Looking to celebrate, the emperor proposed a rabbit hunt, asking Chief of Staff Alexandre Berthier to make it happen.

    Berthier arranged an outdoor luncheon, invited some of the military’s biggest brass, and collected a colony of rabbits. Some say Berthier took in hundreds of bunnies, while others claim he collected as many as 3000. Regardless, there were a lot of rabbits, and Berthier’s men caged them all along the fringes of a grassy field. When Napoleon started to prowl—accompanied by beaters and gun-bearers—the rabbits were released from their cages. The hunt was on.

    But something strange happened. The rabbits didn’t scurry in fright. Instead, they bounded toward Napoleon and his men. Hundreds of fuzzy bunnies gunned it for the world’s most powerful man.

    Napoleon’s party had a good laugh at first. But as the onslaught continued, their concern grew. The sea of long-ears was storming Napoleon quicker than revolutionaries had stormed the Bastille. The rabbits allegedly swarmed the emperor’s legs and started climbing up his jacket. Napoleon tried shooing them with his riding crop, as his men grabbed sticks and tried chasing them. The coachmen cracked their bullwhips to scare the siege. But it kept coming.

    Napoleon retreated, fleeing to his carriage. But it didn’t stop. According to historian David Chandler, “with a finer understanding of Napoleonic strategy than most of his generals, the rabbit horde divided into two wings and poured around the flanks of the party and headed for the imperial coach.” The flood of bunnies continued—some reportedly leapt into the carriage.

    The attack ceased only as the coach rolled away. The man who was dominating Europe was no match for a battle with bunnies.

    It was Berthier’s fault. Rather than trapping wild hares, his men had bought tame rabbits from local farmers. As a result, the rabbits didn’t see Napoleon as a fearsome hunter. They saw him as a waiter bringing out the day’s food. To them, the emperor was effectively a giant head of lettuce.

    #nos_ennemis_les_bêtes


  • Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks – Sci Phi Journal
    http://sciphijournal.org/why-the-culture-wins-an-appreciation-of-iain-m-banks

    Compared to the other “visionary” writers working at the time – William Gibson, Neal Stephenson – Banks is underappreciated. This is because Gibson and Stephenson in certain ways anticipated the evolution of technology, and considered what the world would look like as transformed by “cyberspace.” Both were crucial in helping us to understand that the real technological revolution occurring in our society was not mechanical, but involved the collection, transmission and processing of information.

    Banks, by contrast, imagined a future transformed by the evolution of culture first and foremost, and by technology only secondarily. His insights were, I would contend, more profound. But they are less well appreciated, because the dynamics of culture surround us so completely, and inform our understanding of the world so entirely, that we struggle to find a perspective from which we can observe the long-term trends.

    In fact, modern science fiction writers have had so little to say about the evolution of culture and society that it has become a standard trope of the genre to imagine a technologically advanced future that contains archaic social structures. The most influential example of this is undoubtedly Frank Herbert’s Dune, which imagines an advanced galactic civilization, but where society is dominated by warring “houses,” organized as extended clans, all under the nominal authority of an “emperor.” Part of the appeal obviously lies in the juxtaposition of a social structure that belongs to the distant past – one that could be lifted, almost without modification, from a fantasy novel – and futuristic technology.

    Such a postulate can be entertaining, to the extent that it involves a dramatic rejection of Marx’s view, that the development of the forces of production drives the relations of production (“The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.”1). Put in more contemporary terms, Marx’s claim is that there are functional relations between technology and social structure, so that you can’t just combine them any old way. Marx was, in this regard, certainly right, hence the sociological naiveté that lies at the heart of Dune. Feudalism with energy weapons makes no sense – a feudal society could not produce energy weapons, and energy weapons would undermine feudal social relations.


  • The Song Sisters Facts
    http://biography.yourdictionary.com/the-song-sisters

    By marrying men of political distinction and adhering to their own political pursuits, the Song sisters— who included Ailing (1890-1973), Meiling (born 1897), and Qingling (1892?-1981) Song— participated in Chinese political activities and were destined to play key roles in Chinese modern history.

    Charlie Song and Guizhen Ni had three daughters and three sons, all of whom received American educations at their father’s encouragement. Though dissimilar political beliefs led the Song sisters down different paths, each exerted influence both on Chinese and international politics; indeed, Meiling’s influence in America was particularly great.

    In childhood, Ailing was known as a tomboy, smart and ebullient; Qingling was thought a pretty girl, quiet and pensive; and Meiling was considered a plump child, charming and headstrong. For their early education, they all went to McTyeire, the most important foreign-style school for Chinese girls in Shanghai. In 1904, Charlie Song asked his friend William Burke, an American Methodist missionary in China, to take 14-year-old Ailing to Wesleyan College, Georgia, for her college education. Thus, Ailing embarked on an American liner with the Burke family in Shanghai, but when they reached Japan, Mrs. Burke was so ill that the family was forced to remain in Japan. Alone, Ailing sailed on for America. She reached San Francisco, to find that Chinese were restricted from coming to America and was prevented from entering the United States despite a genuine Portuguese passport. She was transferred from ship to ship for three weeks until an American missionary helped solve the problem. Finally, Ailing arrived at Georgia’s Wesleyan College and was well treated. But she never forgot her experience in San Francisco. Later, in 1906, she visited the White House with her uncle, who was a Chinese imperial education commissioner, and complained to President Theodore Roosevelt of her bitter reception in San Francisco: “America is a beautiful country,” she said, “but why do you call it a free country?” Roosevelt was reportedly so surprised by her straightforwardness that he could do little more than mutter an apology and turn away.

    In 1907, Qingling and Meiling followed Ailing to America. Arriving with their commissioner uncle, they had no problem entering the United States. They first stayed at Miss Clara Potwin’s private school for language improvement and then joined Ailing at Wesleyan. Meiling was only ten years old and stayed as a special student.
    The First and Second Revolutiona

    Ailing received her degree in 1909 and returned to Shanghai, where she took part in charity activities with her mother. With her father’s influence, she soon became secretary to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese revolutionary leader whose principles of nationalism, democracy and popular livelihood greatly appealed to many Chinese. In October of 1911, soldiers mutinied in Wuhan, setting off the Chinese Revolution. Puyi, the last emperor of China, was overthrown and the Republic of China was established with Sun Yat-sen as the provisional president. Charlie Soong informed his daughters in America of the great news and sent them a republican flag. As recalled by her roommates, Qingling climbed up on a chair, ripped down the old imperial dragon flag, and put up the five-colored republican flag, shouting “Down with the dragon! Up with the flag of the Republic!” She wrote in an article for the Wesleyan student magazine:

    One of the greatest events of the twentieth century, the greatest even since Waterloo, in the opinion of many well-known educators and politicians, is the Chinese Revolution. It is a most glorious achievement. It means the emancipation of four hundred million souls from the thralldom of an absolute monarchy, which has been in existence for over four thousand years, and under whose rule “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have been denied.

    However, the “glorious achievement” was not easily won. When Qingling finished her education in America and went back in 1913, she found China in a “Second Revolution.” Yuan Shikai, who acted as president of the new Republic, proclaimed himself emperor and began slaughtering republicans. The whole Song family fled to Japan with Sun Yat-sen as political fugitives. During their sojourn in Japan, Ailing met a young man named Xiangxi Kong (H.H. Kung) from one of the richest families in China. Kong had just finished his education in America at Oberlin and Yale and was working with the Chinese YMCA in Tokyo. Ailing soon married Kong, leaving her job as secretary to Qingling, who firmly believed in Sun Yat-sen’s revolution. Qingling fell in love with Sun Yat-sen and informed her parents of her desire to marry him. Her parents, however, objected, for Sun Yat-sen was a married man and much older than Qingling. Charlie Soong took his family back to Shanghai and confined Qingling to her room upstairs. But Qingling escaped to Japan and married Sun Yat-sen after he divorced his first wife.

    Meanwhile, Meiling had transferred from Wesleyan to Massachusetts’s Wellesley College to be near her brother T.V. Song, who was studying at Harvard and could take care of her. When she heard of her parent’s reaction to Qingling’s choice of marriage, Meiling feared that she might have to accept an arranged marriage when she returned to China; thus, she hurriedly announced her engagement to a young Chinese student at Harvard. When her anxiety turned out to be unnecessary, she renounced the engagement. Meiling finished her education at Wellesley and returned to China in 1917 to become a Shanghai socialite and work for both the National Film Censorship Board and the YMCA in Shanghai.

    Ailing proved more interested in business than politics. She and her husband lived in Shanghai and rapidly expanded their business in various large Chinese cities including Hongkong. A shrewd businesswoman, who usually stayed away from publicity, Ailing was often said to be the mastermind of the Song family.

    Qingling continued working as Sun Yat-sen’s secretary and accompanied him on all public appearances. Though shy by nature, she was known for her strong character. After the death of Yuan Shikai, China was enveloped in the struggle of rival warlords. Qingling joined her husband in the campaigns against the warlords and encouraged women to participate in the Chinese revolution by organizing women’s training schools and associations. Unfortunately, Sun Yat-sen died in 1925 and his party, Guomindang (the Nationalist party), soon split. In the following years of struggles between different factions, Chiang Kai-shek, who attained the control of Guomindang with his military power, persecuted Guomindang leftists and Chinese Communists. Qingling was sympathetic with Guomindang leftists, whom she regarded as faithful to her husband’s principles and continued her revolutionary activities. In denouncing Chiang’s dictatorship and betrayal of Sun Yat-sen’s principles, Qingling went to Moscow in 1927, and then to Berlin, for a four year self-exile. Upon her return to China, she continued criticizing Chiang publicly.

    In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek married Meiling, thereby greatly enhancing his political life because of the Song family’s wealth and connections in China and America. Whereas Qingling never approved of the marriage (believing that Chiang had not married her little sister out of love), Ailing was supportive of Chiang’s marriage to Meiling. Seeing in Chiang the future strongman of China, Ailing saw in their marriage the mutual benefits both to the Song family and to Chiang. Meiling, an energetic and charming young lady, wanted to make a contribution to China. By marrying Chiang she became the powerful woman behind the country’s strongman. Just as Qingling followed Sun Yat-sen, Meiling followed Chiang Kai-shek by plunging herself into all her husband’s public activities, and working as his interpreter and public-relation officer at home and abroad. She helped Chiang launch the New Life Movement to improve the manners and ethics of the Chinese people, and she took up public positions as the general secretary of the Chinese Red Cross and the secretary-general of the commission of aeronautical affairs, which was in charge of the building of the Chinese air force. Under her influence, Chiang was even baptized.

    Meiling’s marriage to Chiang meant that the Song family was deeply involved in China’s business and financial affairs. Both Ailing’s husband Kong and her brother T.V. Song alternately served as Chiang’s finance minister and, at times, premier. In 1932, Meiling accompanied her husband on an official trip to America and Europe. When she arrived in Italy, she was given a royal reception even though she held no public titles.
    The Xi-an Incident

    In 1936, two Guomindang generals held Chiang Kaishek hostage in Xi-an (the Xi-an Incident) in an attempt to coerce him into fighting against the Japanese invaders, rather than continuing the civil war with Chinese Communists. When the pro-Japan clique in Chiang’s government planned to bomb Xi’an and kill Chiang in order to set up their own government, the incident immediately threw China into political crisis. In a demonstration of courage and political sophistication, Meiling persuaded the generals in Nanjing to delay their attack on Xi-an, to which she personally flew for peace negotiations. Her efforts not only helped gain the release of her husband Chiang, but also proved instrumental in a settlement involving the formation of a United Front of all Chinese factions to fight against the Japanese invaders. The peaceful solution of the Xi-an Incident was hailed as a great victory. Henry Luce, then the most powerful publisher in America and a friend to Meiling and Chiang, decided to put the couple on the cover of Time in 1938 as “Man and Wife of the Year.” In a confidential memo, Luce wrote "The most difficult problem in Sino-American publicity concerns the Soong family. They are … the head and front of a pro-American policy.

    "The United Front was thereafter formed and for a time it united the three Song sisters. Discarding their political differences, they worked together for Chinese liberation from Japan. The sisters made radio broadcasts to America to appeal for justice and support for China’s anti-Japanese War. Qingling also headed the China Defense League, which raised funds and solicited support all over the world. Ailing was nominated chairperson of the Association of Friends for Wounded Soldiers.
    Meiling’s Appeal to United States for Support

    The year 1942 saw Meiling’s return to America for medical treatment. During her stay, she was invited to the White House as a guest of President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. While there, she was asked by the President how she and her husband would deal with a wartime strike of coal miners, and she was said to have replied by drawing her hand silently across her throat. In February of 1943, she was invited to address the American Congress; she spoke of brave Chinese resistance against Japan and appealed to America for further support:

    When Japan thrust total war on China in 1937, military experts of every nation did not give China a ghost of a chance. But, when Japan failed to bring China cringing to her knees as she vaunted, the world took solace ….Letusnot forget that during the first four and a half years of total aggression China had borne Japan’s sadistic fury unaided and alone.

    Her speech was repeatedly interrupted by applause. In March, her picture again appeared on the cover of Timeas an international celebrity. She began a six-week itinerary from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles, giving speeches and attending banquets. The successful trip was arranged by Henry Luce as part of his fund-raising for United China Relief. Meiling’s charm extended past Washington to the American people, and the news media popularized her in the United States and made her known throughout the world. Indeed, her success in America had a far-reaching effect on American attitudes and policies toward China.

    Soon afterward, Meiling accompanied Chiang to Cairo and attended the Cairo Conference, where territorial issues in Asia after the defeat of Japan were discussed. The Cairo Summit marked both the apex of Meiling’s political career and the beginning of the fall of Chiang’s regime. Corruption in his government ran so rampant that—despite a total sum of $3.5 billion American Lend-Lease supplies—Chiang’s own soldiers starved to death on the streets of his wartime capital Chongqing (Chungking). While China languished in poverty, the Songs kept millions of dollars in their own American accounts. In addition to the corruption, Chiang’s government lost the trust and support of the people. After the victory over Japan, Chiang began a civil war with Chinese Communists, but was defeated in battle after battle. Meiling made a last attempt to save her husband’s regime by flying to Washington in 1948 for more material support for Chiang in the civil war. Truman’s polite indifference, however, deeply disappointed her. Following this rebuff, she stayed with Ailing in New York City until after Chiang retreated to Taiwan with his Nationalist armies.

    Ailing moved most of her wealth to America and left China with her husband in 1947. She stayed in New York and never returned to China. She and her family worked for Chiang’s regime by supporting the China Lobby and other public-relations activities in the United States. Whenever Meiling returned to America, she stayed with Ailing and her family. Ailing died in 1973 in New York City.
    Differing Beliefs and Efforts for a Better China

    Meanwhile, Qingling had remained in China, leading the China Welfare League to establish new hospitals and provide relief for wartime orphans and famine refugees. When Chinese Communists established a united government in Beijing (Peking) in 1949, Qingling was invited as a non-Communist to join the new government and was elected vice-chairperson of the People’s Republic of China. In 1951, she was awarded the Stalin International Peace Prize. While she was active in the international peace movement and Chinese state affairs in the 1950s, she never neglected her work with China Welfare and her lifelong devotion to assisting women and children. Qingling was one of the most respected women in China, who inspired many of her contemporaries as well as younger generations. She was made honorary president of the People’s Republic of China in 1981 before she died. According to her wishes, she was buried beside her parents in Shanghai.

    Because of their differing political beliefs, the three Song sisters took different roads in their efforts to work for China. Qingling joined the Communist government because she believed it worked for the well-being of the ordinary Chinese. Meiling believed in restoring her husband’s government in the mainland and used her personal connections in the United States to pressure the American government in favor of her husband’s regime in Taiwan. Typical of such penetration in American politics was the China Lobby, which had a powerful sway on American policies toward Chiang’s regime in Taiwan and the Chinese Communist government in Beijing. Members of the China Lobby included senators, generals, business tycoons, and former missionaries. In 1954, Meiling traveled again to Washington in an attempt to prevent the United Nations from accepting the People’s Republic of China. After Chiang’s death and his son’s succession, Meiling lived in America for over ten years. The last remaining of three powerfully influential sisters, she now resides in Long Island, New York.
    Further Reading on The Song Sisters

    Eunson, Roby. The Soong Sisters. Franklin Watts, 1975.

    Fairbank, John. China: A New History. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.

    Hahn, Emily. The Soong Sisters. Greenwood Press, 1970.

    Li Da. Song Meiling and Taiwan. Hongkong: Wide Angle Press, 1988.

    Liu Jia-quan. Biography of Song Meiling. China Cultural Association Press, 1988.

    Seagrave, Sterling. The Soong Dynasty. Harper and Row, 1985.

    Sheridan, James E. China in Disintegration. The Free Press, 1975.

    #Chine #USA #histoire


  • You’re Descended from Royalty and So Is Everybody Else - Issue 56: Perspective
    http://nautil.us/issue/56/perspective/youre-descended-from-royalty-and-so-is-everybody-else

    Charlemagne, Carolingian King of the Franks, Holy Roman Emperor, the great European conciliator; your ancestor. I am making an assumption that you are broadly of European descent, which is not statistically unreasonable but certainly not definitive. If you’re not, be patient, and we’ll come to your own very regal ancestry soon enough. Along with Alexander and Alfred, Charlemagne is one of a handful of kings who gets awarded the post-nominal accolade “the Great.” His early life remains mysterious and the stories are assembled from various sources, but it seems he was born around 742 B.C., just at the time when the Plague of Justinian was dispatching millions at the eastern edge of the moribund Roman Empire. The precise place of his birth is also unknown, but it’s likely to be in a town (...)


  • Female Samurai Warriors Immortalized in 19th Century Japanese Photos
    http://www.openculture.com/2017/01/female-samurai-warriors-immortalized-in-19th-century-japanese-photos.ht

    And yet, it turns out, “such women did exist.” Known as onna bugeisha, these fighters “find their earliest precursor in Empress Jingū, who in 200 A.D. led an invasion of Korea after her husband Emperor Chūai, the fourteenth emperor of Japan, perished in battle.” Empress Jingū’s example endured. In 1881, she became the first woman on Japanese currency.



  • Encountering the promised land: Rastafari in Ethiopia and Shashamane
    http://africasacountry.com/2017/08/encountering-the-promised-land-rastafari-in-ethiopia-and-shashamane

    Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie would have been 125 this year. Perhaps coincidentally — and indeed meaningfully for Rastafari repatriates in Ethiopia — the government just announced a decision to issue identification cards to foreigners who have contributed to the country’s development, Israelis of Ethiopian descent and Rastafari. According to news agency AFP, a foreign ministry…


  • Make Concrete Roman Again! - Facts So Romantic
    http://nautil.us/blog/make-concrete-roman-again

    Pliny’s literary challenge, in composing his “Natural History” in 1st century A.D., was giving “novelty to what is old, and authority to what is new.” Modern engineering’s is to see that what is old has some authority, too.“Roman Capriccio: The Pantheon and Other Monuments,” by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1735)The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder can be charmingly self-deprecating. He attempted, in the 1st century A.D., to curate all ancient knowledge in his Natural History, yet he described its 37 volumes to his close friend’s son, Titus, the Emperor of Rome, as having “such inferior importance.” To Pliny, they did “not admit of the display of genius,” nor “of anything particularly pleasant in the narration, or agreeable to the reader.” But he reminded Titus of his basic challenge—that it was, “indeed, (...)


  • ‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display
    The New York Times - By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER - JUNE 3, 2017
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/03/world/middleeast/1967-arab-israeli-war-nuclear-warning.html

    On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

    The secret contingency plan, called a “doomsday operation” by Itzhak Yaakov, the retired brigadier general who described it in the interview, would have been invoked if Israel feared it was going to lose the 1967 conflict. The demonstration blast, Israeli officials believed, would intimidate Egypt and surrounding Arab states — Syria, Iraq and Jordan — into backing off.

    Israel won the war so quickly that the atomic device was never moved to Sinai. But Mr. Yaakov’s account, which sheds new light on a clash that shaped the contours of the modern Middle East conflict, reveals Israel’s early consideration of how it might use its nuclear arsenal to preserve itself.

    “It’s the last secret of the 1967 war,” said Avner Cohen, a leading scholar of Israel’s nuclear history who conducted many interviews with the retired general.
    Continue reading the main story

    Mr. Yaakov, who oversaw weapons development for the Israeli military, detailed the plan to Dr. Cohen in 1999 and 2000, years before he died in 2013 at age 87.

    “Look, it was so natural,” said Mr. Yaakov, according to a transcription of a taped interview. “You’ve got an enemy, and he says he’s going to throw you to the sea. You believe him.”

    “How can you stop him?” he asked. “You scare him. If you’ve got something you can scare him with, you scare him.”

    Israel has never acknowledged the existence of its nuclear arsenal, in an effort to preserve “nuclear ambiguity” and forestall periodic calls for a nuclear-free Middle East. In 2001, Mr. Yaakov was arrested, at age 75, on charges that he had imperiled the country’s security by talking about the nuclear program to an Israeli reporter, whose work was censored. At various moments, American officials, including former President Jimmy Carter long after he left office, have acknowledged the existence of the Israeli program, though they have never given details.

    A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington said the Israeli government would not comment on Mr. Yaakov’s role.

    If the Israeli leadership had detonated the atomic device, it would have been the first nuclear explosion used for military purposes since the United States’ attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 22 years earlier.

    The plan had a precedent: The United States considered the same thing during the Manhattan Project, as the program’s scientists hotly debated whether to set off a blast near Japan in an effort to scare Emperor Hirohito into a quick surrender. The military vetoed the idea, convinced that it would not be enough to end the war.

    According to Mr. Yaakov, the Israeli plan was code-named Shimshon, or Samson, after the biblical hero of immense strength. Israel’s nuclear deterrence strategy has long been called the “Samson option” because Samson brought down the roof of a Philistine temple, killing his enemies and himself. Mr. Yaakov said he feared that if Israel, as a last resort, went ahead with the demonstration nuclear blast in Egyptian territory, it could have killed him and his commando team.

    Dr. Cohen, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California and the author of “Israel and the Bomb” and “The Worst-Kept Secret,” described the idea behind the atomic demonstration as giving “the prime minister an ultimate option if everything else failed.” Dr. Cohen, who was born in Israel and educated in part in the United States, has pushed the frontiers of public discourse on a fiercely hidden subject: how Israel became an unacknowledged nuclear power in the 1960s.

    On Monday, the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington — where Dr. Cohen is a global fellow — is releasing on a special website a series of documents related to the atomic plan. The project maintains a digital archive of his work known as the Avner Cohen Collection. (President Trump’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of all federal funding for the center, which Congress created as a living memorial to Wilson.)

    It has long been known that Israel, fearful for its existence, rushed to complete its first atomic device on the eve of the Arab-Israeli war. But the planned demonstration remained secret in a country where it is taboo to discuss even half-century-old nuclear plans, and where fears persist that Iran will eventually obtain a nuclear weapon, despite its deal with world powers.

    Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and prime minister who died last year, hinted at the plan’s existence in his memoirs. He referred to an unnamed proposal that “would have deterred the Arabs and prevented the war.”(...)


  • CNTRBND with Equiknoxx session and co
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/contrebande/cntrbnd-with-equiknoxx-session-and-co-

    Broadcasted : Panik (Brussels-Be) Canal B (Rennes-Fr) C’rock (Vienne-Fr) Coloriage (Bourgogne-Franche comte-Fr) Equinoxe FM (Namur-Be) You FM (Mons-Be) 48 FM (Liège) Campus FM (Toulouse-FR) Grenouille (Marseille)

    Emperor - Rumors

    Chima - Reflection (Prod. By Crème)

    BOWTYE & Avalon - Young To me

    Migos - B-ad and Boujee (Ben Dragon Remix)

    Le cycle des cultures - media plan by Divskouarne

    Chârogne - Féministe frustrée

    Baba Zula - Iki Alem Dub

    Amalgam session mix by Equiknoxx

    Unno - Lions

    Tip lecture parllèle

    Al Green -Love & Happiness - Raconteur & Luzz’s Stranjjurs no More re-issue-edit

    Monkey Brothers - El Adios del Truan

    Le Son du Marché -Marchand de légumes.

    TENSNAKE- Freundchen - Lauer Remix

    Boxed In Pushing (...)

    #alimentation2017
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/contrebande/cntrbnd-with-equiknoxx-session-and-co-_03609__1.mp3


  • Move Fast and Break Things by Jonathan Taplin review – the damage done by Silicon Valley | Books | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/26/move-fast-and-break-things-jonathan-taplin-review-damage-silicon-valley

    Critique (négative) du livre de Jonathan Taplin sur les GAFA

    In the end, Taplin is reduced to hoping that the dominant players of the digital world will come to their senses and realise the damage they are doing. Of Zuckerberg, he writes: “I hope that the young CEO of Facebook will be willing to pause and think about where his company is taking the media business.” So that’s what we’ve been reduced to: wishing for a “good emperor” to hear his people’s distress. It’s a sign of how slavish the world built by Silicon Valley has become. Taplin’s own experience with Ohanian should show us just how dangerous it is to be dependent on the goodwill of spoiled brats.

    #GAFA #monopoles #vectorialisme



  • 1,700 years ago, the mismanagement of a migrant crisis cost Rome its empire

    On Aug. 3, 378, a battle was fought in Adrianople, in what was then Thrace and is now the province of Edirne, in Turkey. It was a battle that Saint Ambrose referred to as “the end of all humanity, the end of the world.”
    The Eastern Roman emperor Flavius Julius Valens Augustus—simply known as Valens, and nicknamed Ultimus Romanorum (the last true Roman)—led his troops against the Goths, a Germanic people that Romans considered “barbarians,” commanded by Fritigern. Valens, who had not waited for the military help of his nephew, Western Roman emperor Gratian, got into the battle with 40,000 soldiers. Fritigern could count on 100,000.
    The defeat of Adrianople didn’t happen because of Valens’s stubborn thirst for power or because he grossly underestimated his adversary’s belligerence. What was arguably the most important defeat in the history of the Roman empire had roots in something else: a refugee crisis.


    https://qz.com/677380/1700-years-ago-the-mismanagement-of-a-migrant-crisis-cost-rome-its-empire
    #empire_romain #histoire #migrations #réfugiés
    cc @albertocampiphoto


  • The “Offshore” Phenomenon: Dirty Banking in a Brave New World // CABINET Issue 2 Mapping Conversations Spring 2001
    http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/2/dirtybanking.php

    by Mark Lombardi
    ...
    There are many reasons why someone would want to avail themselves of such services. Perhaps the oldest is the fear of seizure or confiscation in times of war, civil unrest, or political instability; what’s known as ‘fright capital.’ Quite often when a country is invaded, under threat of invasion, or in the grip of a civil war or reign of terror, there is an attendant rush to ship assets out of the country. A classic case is the struggle of thousands of European Jews to transfer their property (most of which was never recovered) out of Nazi-controlled areas and into Switzerland and beyond.

    But far and away the most common reason is tax evasion. The first truly modern multinational tax evaders arose in the United States in the 1920s. They were men like Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the late president, a stock manipulator and liquor importer who ordered his foreign suppliers and attorneys to submit fraudulent and inflated bills which he then promptly paid in order to move otherwise taxable profits overseas. Another was Meyer Lansky, the infamous longtime chief financial officer of the American mob. Lansky and his associates, whose revenues came primarily from bootlegging, illegal gambling, loansharking and prostitution, employed couriers and bagmen to carry their ill-gotten loot to banks overseas, primarily in Canada, Switzerland, and the Bahamas. By the mid-l930s many large US-based corporations had also begun to get in on the act by setting up foreign subsidiaries and affiliates, particularly in the United Kingdom and Bermuda, as vehicles for various kinds of financial gimmickry.
    ...
    The attitude of most Western governments to this activity is simple; they deplore it in countries considered unfriendly while condoning or even encouraging it among clients and allies. The purpose is to concentrate money and power in the hands of loyal local elites. Thus, unlike hot investment capital flowing in from other tainted offshore sources, ‘politically-packaged’ black money often receives special red carpet treatment because it is controlled by a corrupt ally.

    Though fully aware of the source of the plunder, officials of even the most ‘law-abiding’ Western countries rarely interfere in the process, citing ‘mutual cooperation,’ “national security interests,” or ‘healthy export markets’ as a pretext. Thus former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie was able to amass a fortune worth around $15 billion over the course of his reign, most of which was banked and invested in Europe; ex-Zairean president Mobutu Sese Seko was believed at the time of his ouster to control bank accounts and assets in Belgium, the former colonial power, worth several billion dollars at a minimum; and Saddam Hussein’s personal and family fortune was at one time estimated at between $10 and $15 billion, some of which was invested in major French companies. Much the same applies to the Marcoses of the Philippines, the Shah of Iran, the Duvaliers of Haiti, Noh Tae Wu of South Korea, Suharto of Indonesia, Somoza of Nicaragua, the Salinas brothers of Mexico, ad infinitum. In some cases the level of cooperation offered by a patron state can go beyond ‘noninterference’ to the actual provision of advisors and access to financial entities capable of performing whatever services the lucky ally or client might require. It is thought that Castle Bank and Trust (founded in the Bahamas in 1964), Nugan Hand Limited (chartered in Australia in l973), and World Finance Corporation (which operated out of Miami in the middle to late 1970s) provided such services at the behest of several successive American administrations.

    Gerhard Friedl
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerhard_Friedl

    Gerhard Friedl (Dokumentarfilm, Experimentalfilm)
    http://www.cargo-film.de/blog/2009/jul/05/gerhard-friedl

    Container vom 5. Juli 2009 von Bert Rebhandl
    Der beste Film über die Deutschland AG stammt von einem Österreicher:

    Hat Wolff von Amerongen Konkursdelikte begangen? von Gerhard Friedl aus dem Jahr 2004. Hier ist ein Blogeintrag dazu, und beim Wiener Innovativfilmvertrieb Sixpackfilm gibt es das offizielle Filmdatenblatt dazu. Gerhard Friedl, Jahrgang 1967, hat an der Münchner Filmhochschule bei Helmut Färber studiert.

    Bei einer Begegnung vor wenigen Wochen sprach er von einem neuen Projekt, zu dem die Recherchen schon weit gediehen waren und das ihn in die Karibik hätte führen sollen. Wie wir heute erfahren haben, hat Gerhard Friedl sich das Leben genommen.

    #art #politique #réseau #évasion_fiscale