Genome analysis of Endomicrobium proavitum suggests loss and gain of relevant functions during the evolution of intracellular symbionts.   
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Genome analysis of Endomicrobium proavitum suggests loss and gain of relevant functions during the evolution of intracellular symbionts.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Jun 23;:

Authors: Zheng H, Dietrich C, Brune A

Bacterial endosymbionts of eukaryotes show progressive genome erosion, but detailed investigations of the evolutionary processes involved in the transition to an intracellular lifestyle are generally hampered by the lack of extant free-living lineages. Here, we characterize the genome of the recently isolated, free-living Endomicrobium proavitum, the second member of the Elusimicrobia phylum brought into pure culture, and compare it to the closely related "Candidatus Endomicrobium trichonymphae" strain Rs-D17, a previously described but uncultured endosymbiont of termite gut flagellates. A reconstruction of the metabolic pathways of E. proavitum matched the fermentation products formed in pure culture and underscored its restriction to glucose as substrate. However, several pathways present in the free-living strain, e.g., for uptake and activation of glucose and its subsequent fermentation, ammonium assimilation, and outer-membrane biogenesis, were absent or disrupted in the endosymbiont, probably lost during the massive genome rearrangements that occurred during symbiogenesis. While the majority of the genes in strain Rs-D17 have orthologs in E. proavitum, the endosymbiont also possesses a number of functions that are absent from the free-living strain and may represent adaptations to the intracellular lifestyle. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the genes encoding glucose 6-phosphate and amino acid transporters, acetaldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenase, and the pathways of glucuronic acid catabolism and thiamine pyrophosphate biosynthesis were either acquired by horizontal gene transfer or may represent ancestral traits that were lost in the free-living strain. The polyphyletic origin of Endomicrobia in different flagellate hosts makes them excellent models for future studies of convergent and parallel evolution during symbiogenesis.Importance The isolation of a free-living relative of intracellular symbionts provides the rare opportunity to identify the evolutionary processes that occur in the course of symbiogenesis. Our study documents that the genome of "Candidatus Endomicrobium trichonymphae", which represents a clade of endosymbionts that have coevolved with termite gut flagellates for more than 40 million years, is not simply a subset of the genes present in Endomicrobium proavitum, a member of the ancestral, free-living lineage. Rather, comparative genomics revealed that the endosymbionts possess several relevant functions that were either prerequisites for colonization of the intracellular habitat or might have served to compensate for genes losses that occurred during genome erosion. Some gene sets found only in the endosymbiont were apparently acquired by horizontal transfer from other gut bacteria, which suggests that the intracellular bacteria of flagellates are not entirely cut off from gene flow.

PMID: 28646115 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

          Today in History: Liberia   

Today in History–July 26–the Library of Congress features Liberia, declared an independent republic on this day in 1847. Formerly a colony of the American Colonization Society—organized in 1817 to resettle free black Americans in West Africa—Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected the first president of the republic in 1848. Find out more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to […]

The post Today in History: Liberia appeared first on TPS-Barat Primary Source Nexus.

          Discovered the «anchor» of bifidobacteria that promotes digestio   

This microorganism, known for its probiotic properties, uses these appendages to colonize the intestine, as demonstrated by an international investigation in which participated the National Research Council (CSIC).

The study, published this week in the journal PNAS, reveals that B. bifidum uses these protein appendages known as pili, to interact with their host. A more specific level, these appendages that decorate the surface of the bacteria are those that are joined to human intestinal cells.

Through functional genomic techniques, the team has identified further that B. bifidum possess pili three different types, each with a particular function and different expression patterns depending on environmental conditions.

According to the CSIC researcher at the Institute of Asturias Dairy Borja Sánchez, who collaborated on the research, "so far, there is little information on the mechanisms used by this bacterium to colonize the intestine". His presence there, however, it is well known to improve the balance of intestinal flora.

For his part, CSIC researcher at the center and has also contributed to the work, Abelardo Margolles, believes that this is one of the few studies that show that some probiotic bacteria are capable of using pili as intestinal colonization factors. The finding could encourage research and development of other organisms and probiotic products.

The research was led from the University of Parma (Italy) and has had the participation of researchers from the Universities of Cork (Ireland), Milan and Verona (both in Italy).

Francesca Turroni et al. The role of sortase-dependent pili of Bifidobacterium bifidum PRL2010 in modulating bacterium-host interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1303897110

Francesca Turroni et al. The role of sortase-dependent pili of Bifidobacterium bifidum PRL2010 in modulating bacterium-host interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1303897110

Photo By Y tambe (Y tambe's file) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

          Spatial heterogeneity and habitat permanence affect community assembly, structure and phenology of mayflies (Ephemeroptera) in sandpit pools   

Spatial heterogeneity is a factor generally considered to promote biodiversity of a given habitat. We studied a colonization of isolated, newly formed pools with different heterogeneity levels (with and without artificial vegetation) and permanence (temporary and permanent). Using mayflies (Ephemeroptera) as a model group, we estimated the effect of spatial heterogeneity on the mayfly community assembly. We found the vegetated pools to host higher species diversity and abundance. Only one species was more abundant in the pools without vegetation. Since the mayfly larvae could not migrate between treatments, differences must be caused either by preferences in female oviposition or different levels of mortality among the treatments. We recorded slightly faster and more synchronized larval development in the non-permanent pools, attributable to the temperature and hydrologic regime.

          DNA Points to Multiple Migrations into the Americas   
DNA analysis of skeletons found in the Pacific Northwest backs up traditional oral histories, and suggests there could have been more than one colonization of the Americas. Emily Schwing reports.

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          What Looms Inside My Machine   

How willful is our denial, I have to wonder?

How carefully do we avoid the elephant rotting in the corner of the room?

When we sit, half-naked in the doctor’s office, our guts rumbling under the tenacious dull smack of the clock’s relentless hands – sending the minutes tumbling through an abyss lurking within our troubled hide – do we imagine the great Jumbo, his chest a red jungle gym heaving with feasting hyenas, his eye a black pool teeming with flies?

Do we face, in this horribly mortal moment, our natural collapse in the lively scheme of things?
     Or do we see P.T. Barnum, counting ten thousand dollars on the lap of Queen Victoria, taking the chain about the celebrated pachyderm’s knee, leading him to his fated collision with a Canadian train?

Perhaps we see Walt Disney’s Dumbo, his great comical ears lopped and dried into chamois to wax a dictator’s car.
     Or Pooh’s Heffalump – but a hollow leg, holding an assortment of broken umbrellas. Kipling’s Colonel Hathi, his teeth crying balefully at the thoughtless touch of a child lacking dedication to her lessons.

I’m not so much speaking of our colonization of the other animals – the jackass and the monkey alike, running our circus of selective hubris – rather I’m pointing to the fearful disregard we hold for our own corporal fragility, our dire impermanence in the shade of the evolutionary show.

How is it that we spend our lives almost completely ignorant of the workings of our own bodies?
     So much so, that we treat those who spend their careers detailing the evisceration of the human form as magicians and saints – or high-paid vultures.

The surgeons, the forensic investigators, the coroners, the serial killers, the soldiers, the men who clean the toilets at the football stadium – they are all standing in the guts of mankind, twisting, pulling, plunging, prodding, embalming, suturing – putting the pieces together, tearing them apart – Marcus Welby, an even-toothed jackal practicing his grin, looming before a ceiling of blinding lights – Quincy, M.E., pouring drinks in his rocking houseboat – Jeffrey Dahmer, a celebrated chef – all receiving the cultural applause of an audience frozen with fear.

I think of the stupor on the face of the slaughterhouse jimmy, knackered from head to toe, his senses addled by the smells and the sights and sounds of the rendering factory – the automated bludgeoning, the blood-black pistons pounding, the fuck machines of death. I cup my hands to my ribs and I hear the tapping of Upton Sinclair’s keys, the cutting and stripping of flesh, the chopping of unwanted bits – the hooves and horns that hold panels to spaceships, the eyes and brain and balls gathered at the bottom of our soup – the skin that pockets our money – the gelatin that shapes the plastic angel, a credit to us all.

How cozy we are in our segregation of death, our agreement to devour on principal, our need to fantasize its sanctity.

When we eat each other, it is a last resort, a horror to behold, a humor unbound – John Cleese and Graham Chapman in a lifeboat – eyeing each other’s arms and legs, buttocks and thighs, shoulders and wings – winking under their rain-repellent hats – a rugby team diving up the frozen pieces of its dead teammates on an icy slope.

     They could only identify her by her dental records, her x-rays, the black windows showing the form of her cavities – the peculiar slant of her last remaining wisdom tooth.

I turn on the television and it implores me to watch the dead – bodies carted like hogs, dressed in dark plastic, sexy examiners doing the limbo under yellow tape – and I think of the thresher of genocide coming down, the rush of stinking bodies, the popping, punctured flesh, the releasing of vital fluids to an indifferent sun, dark stains lingering where hearts and eyes and genitals used to be – the scavenging birds in a fury – beating black against the falling sky.

I think of Jumbo, broken before a bruised locomotive – of people laughing as a swinging neck breaks under a grand old tree – and I hug myself, trying to forget what looms inside my machine – lest it should come out to get me.
          Educational Jeopardy   
I tried out a version of jeopardy game as a review for the quiz on the colonization mini unit with my fourth graders. It went well. I had simple qestions that we covered in other hands-on-activities during the unit. The students loved it. They asked me when can they play the game again. I had about 54 powerpoint slides with a total of 27 questions. I divided the class into three teams. Each team had an assigned team captain who was responsible for making sure that all team members knew the answer before he could tell me the final decision. Basically all mambers had to decide together on an answer and everybody had to agree. I made sure everybody participated.

It's really worth it and it works for almost any subject area and any grade level.

Just try it out!

The kids will love it and it is educational.
          Europe's Politics of Victimology   

Europe today finds itself trapped in a posture of moral relativism that is undermining its liberal values. An unholy three-cornered alliance between Middle East dictators, radical imams who live in Europe, and Europe's traditional left wing is enabling a politics of victimology. This politics drives a culture that resists integration and adaptation, perpetuates national and religious differences, and aggravates such debilitating social ills as high immigrant crime rates and entrenched unemployment.

As one who once championed the utopian state of multicultural bliss, I think I know what I'm talking about. I was raised on the ideals of the 1960s, in the midst of the Cold War. I saw life through the lens of the countercultural turmoil, adopting both the hippie pose and the political superiority complex of my generation. I and my high school peers believed that the West was imperialistic and racist. We analyzed decaying Western civilization through the texts of Marx and Engels and lionized John Lennon's beautiful but stupid tune about an ideal world without private property: "Imagine no possessions/ I wonder if you can/ No need for greed or hunger/ A brotherhood of man/ Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world."

It took me only 10 months as a young student in the Soviet Union in 1980-81 to realize what a world without private property looks like, although many years had to pass until the full implications of the central Marxist dogma became clear to me.

That experience was the beginning of a long intellectual journey that has thus far culminated in the reactions to the Mohammed cartoons. Politically, I came of age in the Soviet Union. I returned there in 1990 to spend 11 years as a foreign correspondent. Through close contact with courageous dissidents who were willing to suffer and go to prison for their belief in the ideals of Western democracy, I was cured of my wooly dreams of idealistic collectivism. I had a strong sense of the high price my friends were willing to pay for the very freedoms that we had taken for granted in high school -- but did not grasp as values inherent in our civilization: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and movement. Justice and equality implies equal opportunity, I learned, not equal outcome.

Now, in Europe's failure to grapple realistically with its dramatically changing demographic picture, I see a new parallel to that Cold War journey. Europe's left is deceiving itself about immigration, integration, and Islamic radicalism today the same way we young hippies deceived ourselves about Marxism and communism 30 years ago. It is a narrative of confrontation and hierarchy that claims that the West exploits, abuses, and marginalizes the Islamic world. Left-wing intellectuals have insisted that the Danes were oppressing and marginalizing Muslim immigrants. This view comports precisely with the late Edward Said's model of Orientalism, which argues that experts on the Orient and the Muslim world have not depicted it as it is but as some dreaded "other," as exactly the opposite of ourselves -- and therefore to be rejected. The West, in this narrative, is democratic, the East is despotic. We are rational, they are irrational.

This kind of thinking gave birth to a distorted approach to immigration in countries like Denmark. Left-wing commentators decided that Denmark was both racist and Islamophobic. Therefore, the chief obstacle to integration was not the immigrants' unwillingness to adapt culturally to their adopted country (there are 200,000 Danish Muslims now); it was the country's inherent racism and anti-Muslim bias.

A cult of victimology arose and was happily exploited by clever radicals among Europe's Muslims, especially certain religious leaders like Imam Ahmad Abu Laban in Denmark and Mullah Krekar in Norway. Mullah Krekar -- a Kurdish founder of Ansar al Islam who this spring was facing an expulsion order from Norway -- called our publication of the cartoons "a declaration of war against our religion, our faith, and our civilization. Our way of thinking is penetrating society and is stronger than theirs. This causes hate in the Western way of thinking; as the losing side, they commit violence."

Inconvenient facts. The role of victim is very convenient because it frees the self-declared victim from any responsibility, while providing a posture of moral superiority. It also obscures certain inconvenient facts that might suggest a different explanation for the lagging integration of some immigrant groups -- such as the relatively high crime rates, the oppression of women, and a tradition of forced marriage.

Dictatorships in the Middle East and radical imams have adopted the jargon of the European left, calling the cartoons racist and Islamophobic. When Westerners criticize their lack of civil liberties and the oppression of women, they say we behave like imperialists. They have adopted the rhetoric and turned it against us.

These events are occurring against the disturbing backdrop of increasingly radicalized Muslims in Europe. Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 ringleader, became a born-again Muslim after he moved to Europe. So did the perpetrators behind the bombings in Madrid and London. The same goes for Mohammed Bouyeri, the young Muslim who slaughtered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam. Europe, not the Middle East, may now be the main breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.

What's wrong with Europe? For one thing, Europe's approach to immigration and integration is rooted in its historic experience with relatively homogeneous cultures. In the United States one's definition of nationality is essentially political; in Europe it is historically cultural. I am a Dane because I look European, speak Danish, descend from centuries of other Scandinavians. But what about the dark, bearded new Danes who speak Arabic at home and poor Danish in the streets? We Europeans must make a profound cultural adjustment to understand that they, too, can be Danes.

Another great impediment to integration is the European welfare state. Because Europe's highly developed, but increasingly unaffordable, safety nets provide such strong unemployment insurance and not enough incentive to work, many new immigrants go straight onto the dole.

While it can be argued that the fast-growing community of about 20 million Muslim immigrants in Europe is the equivalent of America's new Hispanic immigrants, the difference in their productivity and prosperity is staggering. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study in 1999 showed that while immigrants in the United States are almost equal to native-born workers as taxpayers and contributors to American prosperity, in Denmark there is a glaring gap of 41 percent between the contributions of the native-born and of the immigrants. In the United States, a laid-off worker gets an average of 32 percent compensation for his former wages in welfare services; in Denmark the figure is 81 percent. A culture of welfare dependency is rife among immigrants, and taken for granted.

What to do? Obviously, we can never return to the comfortable monocultures of old. A demographic revolution is changing the face, and look, of Europe. In an age of mass migration and the Internet, cheap air fares and cell phones everywhere, cultural pluralism is an irreversible fact, like it or not. A nostalgic longing for cultural purity -- racial purity, religious purity -- easily descends into ethnic cleansing.

Yet multiculturalism that has all too often become mere cultural relativism is an indefensible proposition that often justifies reactionary and oppressive practices. Giving the same weight to the illiberal values of conservative Islam as to the liberal traditions of the European Enlightenment will, in time, destroy the very things that make Europe such a desirable target for migration.

Europe must shed the straitjacket of political correctness, which makes it impossible to criticize minorities for anything -- including violations of laws, traditional mores, and values that are central to the European experience. Two experiences tell the tale for me.

Shortly after the horrific 2002 Moscow musical theater siege by Chechen terrorists that left 130 dead, I met with one of my old dissident friends, Sergei Kovalev. A hero of the human rights movement in the old Soviet Union, Kovalev had long been a defender of the Chechens and a critic of the Russian attacks on Chechnya. But after the theater massacre he refused, as always, to indulge in politically correct drivel about the Chechens' just fight for secession and decolonization. He unhesitatingly denounced the terrorists, and insisted that a nation's right to self-determination did not imply a free ticket to kill and violate basic individual rights. For me, it was a clarifying moment on the dishonesty of identity politics and the sometime tyranny of elevating group rights above those of individuals -- of justifying the killing of innocents in the name of some higher cause.

The other experience was a trip I made in the 1990s, when I was a correspondent based in the United States, to the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. There I wrote a story about the burgeoning, bustling, altogether vibrant Russian immigrant community that had arisen there -- a perfect example of people retaining some of their old cultural identity (drinking samovars of tea, playing hours of chess, and attending church) while quickly taking advantage of America's free and open capitalism to establish an economic foothold. I marveled at America's ability to absorb newcomers. It was another clarifying moment.

An act of inclusion. Equal treatment is the democratic way to overcome traditional barriers of blood and soil for newcomers. To me, that means treating immigrants just as I would any other Danes. And that's what I felt I was doing in publishing the 12 cartoons of Mohammed last year. Those images in no way exceeded the bounds of taste, satire, and humor to which I would subject any other Dane, whether the queen, the head of the church, or the prime minister. By treating a Muslim figure the same way I would a Christian or Jewish icon, I was sending an important message: You are not strangers, you are here to stay, and we accept you as an integrated part of our life. And we will satirize you, too. It was an act of inclusion, not exclusion; an act of respect and recognition.

Alas, some Muslims did not take it that way -- though it required a highly organized campaign, several falsified (and very nasty) cartoons, and several months of overseas travel for the aggrieved imams to stir up an international reaction.

Maybe Europe needs to take a leaf -- or a whole book -- from the American experience. For a new Europe of many cultures that is somehow a single entity to emerge, as it has in the United States, will take effort from both sides -- the native-born and the newly arrived.

For the immigrants, the expectation that they not only learn the host language but also respect their new countries' political and cultural traditions is not too much to demand, and some stringent (maybe too stringent) new laws are being passed to force that. At the same time, Europeans must show a willingness to jettison entrenched notions of blood and soil and accept people from foreign countries and cultures as just what they are, the new Europeans.

          Expression of apoplast-targeted plant defensin MtDef4.2 confers resistance to leaf rust pathogen Puccinia triticina but does not affect mycorrhizal symbiosis in transgenic wheat   

Rust fungi of the order Pucciniales are destructive pathogens of wheat worldwide. Leaf rust caused by the obligate, biotrophic basidiomycete fungus Puccinia triticina (Pt) is an economically important disease capable of causing up to 50 % yield losses. Historically, resistant wheat cultivars have been used to control leaf rust, but genetic resistance is ephemeral and breaks down with the emergence of new virulent Pt races. There is a need to develop alternative measures for control of leaf rust in wheat. Development of transgenic wheat expressing an antifungal defensin offers a promising approach to complement the endogenous resistance genes within the wheat germplasm for durable resistance to Pt. To that end, two different wheat genotypes, Bobwhite and Xin Chun 9 were transformed with a chimeric gene encoding an apoplast-targeted antifungal plant defensin MtDEF4.2 from Medicago truncatula. Transgenic lines from four independent events were further characterized. Homozygous transgenic wheat lines expressing MtDEF4.2 displayed resistance to Pt race MCPSS relative to the non-transgenic controls in growth chamber bioassays. Histopathological analysis suggested the presence of both pre- and posthaustorial resistance to leaf rust in these transgenic lines. MtDEF4.2 did not, however, affect the root colonization of a beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregularis. This study demonstrates that the expression of apoplast-targeted plant defensin MtDEF4.2 can provide substantial resistance to an economically important leaf rust disease in transgenic wheat without negatively impacting its symbiotic relationship with the beneficial mycorrhizal fungus.

          Screen of Non-annotated Small Secreted Proteins of Pseudomonas syringae Reveals a Virulence Factor That Inhibits Tomato Immune Proteases   

Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (PtoDC3000) is an extracellular model plant pathogen, yet its potential to produce secreted effectors that manipulate the apoplast has been under investigated. Here we identified 131 candidate small, secreted, non-annotated proteins from the PtoDC3000 genome, most of which are common to Pseudomonas species and potentially expressed during apoplastic colonization. We produced 43 of these proteins through a custom-made gateway-compatible expression system for extracellular bacterial proteins, and screened them for their ability to inhibit the secreted immune protease C14 of tomato using competitive activity-based protein profiling. This screen revealed C14-inhibiting protein-1 (Cip1), which contains motifs of the chagasin-like protease inhibitors. Cip1 mutants are less virulent on tomato, demonstrating the importance of this effector in apoplastic immunity. Cip1 also inhibits immune protease Pip1, which is known to suppress PtoDC3000 infection, but has a lower affinity for its close homolog Rcr3, explaining why this protein is not recognized in tomato plants carrying the Cf-2 resistance gene, which uses Rcr3 as a co-receptor to detect pathogen-derived protease inhibitors. Thus, this approach uncovered a protease inhibitor of P. syringae, indicating that also P. syringae secretes effectors that selectively target apoplastic host proteases of tomato, similar to tomato pathogenic fungi, oomycetes and nematodes.

          Screen of Non-annotated Small Secreted Proteins of Pseudomonas syringae Reveals a Virulence Factor That Inhibits Tomato Immune Proteases   

Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (PtoDC3000) is an extracellular model plant pathogen, yet its potential to produce secreted effectors that manipulate the apoplast has been under investigated. Here we identified 131 candidate small, secreted, non-annotated proteins from the PtoDC3000 genome, most of which are common to Pseudomonas species and potentially expressed during apoplastic colonization. We produced 43 of these proteins through a custom-made gateway-compatible expression system for extracellular bacterial proteins, and screened them for their ability to inhibit the secreted immune protease C14 of tomato using competitive activity-based protein profiling. This screen revealed C14-inhibiting protein-1 (Cip1), which contains motifs of the chagasin-like protease inhibitors. Cip1 mutants are less virulent on tomato, demonstrating the importance of this effector in apoplastic immunity. Cip1 also inhibits immune protease Pip1, which is known to suppress PtoDC3000 infection, but has a lower affinity for its close homolog Rcr3, explaining why this protein is not recognized in tomato plants carrying the Cf-2 resistance gene, which uses Rcr3 as a co-receptor to detect pathogen-derived protease inhibitors. Thus, this approach uncovered a protease inhibitor of P. syringae, indicating that also P. syringae secretes effectors that selectively target apoplastic host proteases of tomato, similar to tomato pathogenic fungi, oomycetes and nematodes.

          The Limit of Advisory Opinions   

I.          Introduction
One of the functions of the International Court of Justice [ICJ] is to give an advisory opinion for authorized international organizations. It means the ICJ has an advisory jurisdiction. Although, the ICJ has jurisdiction, the existence of jurisdiction does not create its obligation to exercise it.[1]This means the ICJ has the power to decline or to accept a request. This power is called a discretionary authority. Through the case of Kosovo, it discusses whether the ICJ uses its discretionary authority. The other point is the ICJ’s assertion of advisory jurisdiction. Before giving an opinion, the ICJ will review the motives of the authorized organs or the interested states in their request for an advisory opinion. This motive has been discussed on the ICJ advisory opinion of the legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict.   
The ICJ Statute was installed, ‘annexed’, to and from an integral part of the United Nations Charter.[2] It is clear that Article 7 (1) of the United Nations Charter crystallizes the function of the ICJ as one of the principal organs of the United Nations. Although the ICJ was established as a principal judicial organ and within the legal and political frameworks of the UN, the ICJ is bound to give its decisions ‘in accordance with international law’ as is stated in Article 38 of the ICJ Statute that the ICJ ‘whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes which are submitted to it’. This provision enables the ICJ to decide its case without considering the political aspects of cases even though there are political aspects within the cases, for instance, the ICJ Advisory Opinion of the ‘Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo’ and the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the ‘Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict’ as well as on the ICJ Advisory Opinion on ‘the Western Sahara.’

This paper will discuss the limit of the ICJ’s advisory jurisdiction as a judicial organ of the United Nations and it is going to emphasize the neutrality of the ICJ Advisory Opinion is based on international law; even though the ICJ is aware that the context of the cases has a political background.                      
II.        Regulation
The jurisdiction of the ICJ is to give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever authorized bodies is based upon Article 65 of the ICJ Statute. Authorized bodies in accordance with the UN Charter that can request an advisory opinion are laid down in Article 96 (1) & (2) of the UNs Charter.            
III.      Argumentation
There are several conditions ICJ should regard before giving an advisory jurisdiction; the conditions are considered as the limits of the ICJ’ advisory proceedings. The conditions are the competence bodies which request the advisory opinion and the subject matters that formulate into a legal question. As a principle of the advisory jurisdiction and provided that the conditions are fulfilled, the ICJ will not refuse to give an advisory opinion. Under Article 65 of the ICJ Statute, the ICJ has a discretionary power either ‘may give’ or ‘may not give’ an advisory opinion on any legal question as requested by authorized bodies and to put it under its advisory jurisdiction. The ICJ may refuse to give an advisory opinion unless there are ‘compelling reasons’. The compelling reasons are the lack of jurisdiction; the lack of consent of an interested state; any decision could impede politics; the lack of adequate facts & evidence; and the lack of useful purpose.[3]  The characteristics of the advisory opinion are that it does not need a dispute for exercising the advisory jurisdiction[4]and the question should be arisen from the activities of authorized bodies.   
             The authorized bodies that may request an advisory opinion under Article 96 (1) of the United Nations Charter are the General Assembly or the Security Council. The power of the General Assembly and Security Council under Article 96 (1) of the UN Charter to request advisory opinions is absolute in any legal matters within their activities. The scopes of the Security Council’ activities are to maintain international peace and security, under Article 24 of the UN Charter, and to act with respect to threats to the peace, breach of the peace, and acts of aggression, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter; whereas the scopes of the General Assembly under Article 10, 11, and 13 of the UN Charter are wider than the Security Council. Article 10 of the UN Charter states the General Assembly may discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the UN Charter relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for the UN Charter.  Article 11 the General Assembly has a competence to consider the general principles in the maintenance of international peace and security. The aims of an advisory opinion are to provide legal advice and guidance to the General Assembly or Security Council or the other organs of the United Nations. Therefore, the General Assembly and Security Council hope through the advisory opinion of the ICJ it can crystallize the world opinion; in some cases it can help the General Assembly and Security Council to furnish their activities[5]and to clarify certain fields in international law.[6]
            The other organs of the United Nations and specialized agencies under Article 96 (2) of the United Nations Charter may get authorization by the General Assembly to request advisory opinions of the ICJ on legal questions arising within the scope of their activities. To define the scope of the activities of the specialized agencies, the ICJ should analyze them on the basis of the constitutive instrument of the relevant organ, as well as on its practice.[7]Therefore, the ICJ may assess whether the question arises from the activities of the requested bodies.  
In the case of Nuclear Weapons[8], it can be seen between the requested body and the question, there is no clear connection on their activities; therefore, the ICJ has a compelling reason to refuse the advisory opinion. Within this case, the specialized agency of the United Nations which requested the advisory opinion was the World Health Organization. The WHO submitted a question to the ICJ for an advisory opinion in 1993[9]. The question was ‘In view of the health and environmental effects, would the use of nuclear weapons by a State in war or other armed conflict be a breach of its obligations under international law including the WHO Constitution?’
In the view of the ICJ, according to article 2 of the WHO Constitution, ‘none of these functions has a sufficient connection with the question to be capable of being considered as arising within the scope of the activities of the WHO[10].’ Therefore, the ICJ considers the request for an advisory opinion submitted to it by the WHO does not arise within the scope of the activities of that organization in accordance with Article 96 (2) of the United Nations Charter. The Court finds that an essential condition of founding its jurisdiction in the present case is absent and therefore it cannot give the opinion. Consequently, the Court is not called upon to examine the arguments which were laid before it with regard to the exercise of its discretionary power to give an opinion[11].’ In this case, the exercise of its discretionary power was the limit of the ICJ advisory opinion.  
            In this case, the ICJ found that the question has a political dimension in the nature of the case background. However, the ICJ cannot refuse to admit the legal character of the question[12]. Therefore, ‘the court also finds that political nature of the motives which may be said to have inspired the request and the political implications that the opinion given might have are of irrelevance in the establishment of its jurisdiction to give such an opinion.[13]    
            In the case of Kosovo, even though the statehood of Kosovo was the main background of the question and the background is considered as political, the ICJ has to draw the line in accordance with Article 38 of the ICJ Statute that the advisory proceeding should focus on the legal framework and should be based on international law. In the Kosovo case, there were no compelling reasons to exercise its jurisdiction, even though several states challenged it to implement the power.  
Advisory opinion on Kosovo started from the unilateral declaration of Kosovo from Serbia. It was declared on 17 February, 2008[14]by the Kosovar authorities; then the unilateral declaration led the international community to raise a legal question. The legal question was discussed on October 8, 2008 at the General Assembly of the United Nations and released by the General Assembly through its Resolution A/63/PV.22. In the resolution, the General Assembly requested an advisory opinion of the ICJ on the question of ‘Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?’[15]
The question was challenged by Serbia because Serbia was the interested state either in unilateral declaration of Kosovo being an independent state from Serbia or in publishing the General Assembly Resolution. The Serbian statement on the Resolution stated clearly that ‘…the ICJ’s advisory opinion would provide politically neutral, yet judicially authoritative guidance to many countries…’[16]including Serbia. The ICJ responded to the Serbian statement that ‘the advisory jurisdiction is not a form of judicial recourse for states, but the means by which the General Assembly, the Security Council, and other organs of the United Nations can issue a statement.’[17]However, the motive of Serbia on initiating the advisory opinion is irrelevant to the ICJ’s exercise of its discretion whether or not to respond.
            The ICJ observed the question that the question was ‘narrow and specific’; ‘it asked for the ICJ’s opinion on whether the declaration of independence is in accordance with international law; it did not ask about the legal consequences of the declaration; it did not ask about how Kosovo has achieved statehood; it did not ask about the validity or legal effects of the recognition of Kosovo by those which have recognized it as an independent state’[18].   
Although the discretionary power was challenged, the respective role of the Security Council is to exercise its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and this is not one of the respective roles of the General Assembly. The ICJ refused to accept the compelling reasons because the General Assembly was entitled to discuss the declaration within the limits of Article 12 of the UN Charter to make recommendations in respect of the situation in Kosovo without infringing on the powers of the Security Council.[19]
In the Kosovo case, the ICJ came to the conclusion that ‘the adoption of the declaration of independence of 17 February, 2008 did not violate general international law, Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) or the Constitutional Framework. Consequently, the adoption of that declaration did not violate any applicable rule of international law.’[20]
The advisory opinion on the case of Western Sahara was embodied in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), on the two questions that were Western Sahara at the time of colonization by Spain a territory belonging to no one (terra nullius)?; and what were the legal ties between this territory and the Kingdom of Morocco and the Mauritanian entity? The questions were naturally formulated as legal questions. The ICJ was suggested the questions were not legal questions, but they were factual in consideration of the historical background of the Western Sahara. However, the ICJ was satisfied of its competence to give an opinion and there was no compelling reason to refuse to comply with the request by the General Assembly.[21]Even though Spain did not express its consent and has made the observation that the advisory jurisdiction was used to settle a dispute so that needed the consent of the parties; the question was attributed to territorial sovereignty over Western Sahara; the Court did not possess the necessary information.[22] 
            In this case, the compelling reason was challenged ‘to what extent or degree its opinion will have an impact on the action of the General Assembly is not for the Court to decide. The function of the Court is to give an opinion based on law, once it has come to the conclusion that the questions put to it are relevant and have a practical and contemporary effect and, consequently, are not devoid of object or purpose[23].’
IV.      Conclusion
In conclusion, although the ICJ has discretionary power to decline the advisory opinions, the ICJ has rarely used its power. Furthermore, the compelling reasons in several advisory opinions have been challenged by the interested states; however, not all of the compelling reasons from the interested states have been accepted by the ICJ. By observing the three cases, it can conclude that the question must be a legal question even though the background of the question has a political dimension. Provided that there are political motives behind the legal questions, the ICJ is not concerned with any allegedly political motives behind the questions. In this regard, the ICJ has affirmed its jurisdiction on the cases of Western Sahara and Kosovo.
            Nonetheless, the ICJ is a judicial organ of the United Nations; the ICJ is bound to give its opinion under international law and should provide neutral opinions. Therefore, its opinions can be used as guidance and clarification not only for the interested states, but also the requested organizations.   


[1]Capps, Evans, Konstadinidis, Asserting Jurisdiction, International and European Legal Perspective, Oxford, 2003, p. 198.
[2]Article 92 of the UNs Charter and Article 1 of the ICJ Statute.
[3]Brabandere, The Kosovo Advisory Proceedings and the Court’s Advisory Jurisdiction as a Method of Dispute Settlement,, p 3-4
[4]Singh, The Role and Record of the International Court of Justice, p 84.
[5] See supra note No. 4, p. 26.
[6]Capps, Evans, Konstadinidis, Asserting Jurisdiction, International and European Legal Perspective, p 197.
[7] See supra note No. 6, p 197.
[8]ICJ Advisory Opinion, Legality of the Use by A State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict, 1996, No. 93, at 20.
[9]See Supra Note No. 8, at 1.
[10] See supra note No. 8 at 31.
[11] See supra note No. 8 at 26.
[12]See supra note No. 8 at 16.
[13]See supra note No. 8 at 17.
[14] General Assembly Resolution Sixty-third session, A/63/P.22 paras. 3.
[15]ICJ Advisory Opinion, Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, 22 July 2010, at 21.
[16] See supra note No, 14 p. 1, paras. 7.
[17]See supra note No. 15 at 33.
[18]See supra note No. 15 at 51.
[19]See supra note No. 15 at 44.
[20] See supra note No. 15 at 122.
[21]ICJ Advisory Opinion, Western Sahara, 16 October, 1975, No. 414, at 74.
[22] See supra note No. 21 at 25.
[23][23] See supra note No. 21 at 73.

          In Shadow is FREE for the Month of June   
I've told this story many times before.
In November of 2015, I set out to write a stepbrother romance. They were popular at the time and it was National Novel Writing Month and I wanted to cash in.

I failed miserably, as always. If you see a book I've written calling itself a romance, please take that with a grain of salt. My books are queer fiction and erotica. If some of them contain some romance in passing, I hope readers find it fulfilling, but my work contains enough cheating and deception to piss off most romance readers.

So when I started writing "In Shadow," I was hoping for a sexy little cash cow. Instead, I ended up with an unreliable narrator conveying a story that is, in essence, an allegory of the contemporary relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settlers in Canada--a relationship that is all too often prettified, or at very least whitewashed.

I'll let you guess how many readers were anxiously awaiting this book's release. Here's a hint: not a lot.

Canadians are so nice. No matter where you live in the world, that's the one thing you know about us. We're SO NICE. And I think that niceness is what leads us to not want to discuss colonization and its impact on Indigenous Peoples down the generations. It's not nice to think about the negative ways in which our presence on stolen land has impacted (and continues to impact) the lives of those who were here long before us.

But we're so nice! We had good intentions!

Well, when your good intentions lead to cultural genocide, guess what? Fuck those "good intentions," because look at their impact. It's time to stop hiding behind the idea of good intentions and start acknowledging the history of this country for what it really is.

And not just history! We need to pay attention to what's going on in the present moment too. This is supposed to be a time of Truth and Reconciliation, and all I'm seeing are a bunch of streamers and party hats. 

But history is a good starting point, because many horrendous atrocities have been committed against Canada's First Peoples. The more history you learn, the more you feel like a piece of shit. But that's a good thing! We all need to get our heads out of the sand a little more and do a lot more acknowledging the consequences of residential schools and similar acts of colonization.

I highly recommend watching APTN's Reel Insight series of documentaries by Indigenous filmmakers. Potlatch Keepers, in particular, is a film I found very moving because of its complexities. I also learned a lot about the ways in which important rituals were criminalized by the Canadian Government.

Today is National Aboriginal Day (which, I hear, will henceforth be known as National Indigenous Peoples Day), so maybe it's shitty of me to give you a book featuring a main character who can't wrap her head around her own racism. But I'm giving this book to you for free, so I don't feel too bad. It's a book I want a lot of people to read. It's a book I think a lot of people need to read.

And if you want to ignore the sordid undercurrent that carries the story forward and read "In Shadow" as a paranormal stepbrother romance where a girl gets raped by a ghost a bunch of times, you can do that too. I don't control your brain. I just wrote a book. What you do with it is up to you.

In Shadow is free this month (ebook only) at many retailers, including:


          Tooth decay   


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"The seventeenth-century Dutch were perhaps the first to [[tooth decay|pay for their unprecedented prosperity with their teeth]]. And we have all been paying the same price ever since." [Harvey and Sheldon Peck, orthodontists, Discover, October 1980].

'''Tooth decay''', also known as '''dental caries''' or '''cavities''', is a breakdown of [[tooth|teeth]] due to acids made by [[bacteria]]. The cavities may be a number of different colors from yellow to black. Symptoms may include pain and difficulty with eating. Complications may include [[periodontal disease|inflammation of the tissue around the tooth]], [[tooth loss]], and infection or [[dental abscess|abscess]] formation.
== History ==

There is a long history of dental caries. Over a million years ago, [[hominin]]s such as [[Australopithecus]] suffered from cavities. The largest increases in the prevalence of caries have been associated with dietary changes. Archaeological evidence shows that tooth decay is an ancient disease dating far into [[prehistory]]. [[human skull|Skull]]s dating from a million years ago through the [[neolithic]] period show signs of caries, including those from the [[Paleolithic]] and [[Mesolithic]] ages. The increase of caries during the neolithic period may be attributed to the increased consumption of plant foods containing carbohydrates. The beginning of rice cultivation in [[South Asia]] is also believed to have caused an increase in caries, although there is also some [[evidence]] from sites in Thailand, such as Khok Phanom Di, that shows a decrease in overall percentage of dental caries with the increase in dependence on rice agriculture.

A [[Sumerian language|Sumerian]] text from 5000 BC describes a "[[tooth worm]]" as the cause of caries. Evidence of this belief has also been found in [[India]], [[Egypt]], [[Japan]], and [[China]]. Unearthed ancient skulls show evidence of primitive dental work. In [[Pakistan]], teeth dating from around 5500 BC to 7000 BC show nearly perfect holes from primitive [[dental drill]]s. The [[Ebers Papyrus]], an [[Egypt]]ian text from 1550 BC, mentions diseases of teeth. During the [[Assyria#Sargonid dynasty|Sargonid dynasty]] of [[Assyria]] during 668 to 626 BC, writings from the king's physician specify the need to extract a tooth due to spreading [[inflammation]]. In the [[Roman Empire]], wider consumption of cooked foods led to a small increase in caries prevalence<!-- article does not cite reference for roman diet -->. The Greco-Roman civilization<!-- rewrite -->, in addition to the Egyptian, had treatments for pain resulting from caries.

The rate of caries remained low through the [[Bronze Age]] and [[Iron Age]], but sharply increased during the [[Middle Ages]]. Periodic increases in caries prevalence had been small in comparison to the 1000 AD increase, when [[sugar cane]] became more accessible to the Western world. Treatment consisted mainly of herbal remedies and charms, but sometimes also included [[bloodletting]]. The [[barber surgeon]]s of the time provided services that included [[Extraction (dental)|tooth extractions]]. Learning their training from apprenticeships, these health providers were quite successful in ending tooth pain and likely prevented systemic spread of infections in many cases. Among Roman Catholics, prayers to [[Saint Apollonia]], the patroness of dentistry, were meant to heal pain derived from tooth infection.

There is also evidence of caries increase in North American Indians after contact with colonizing Europeans. Before colonization, North American Indians subsisted on hunter-gatherer diets, but afterward there was a greater reliance on [[maize]] agriculture, which made these groups more susceptible to caries.

During the European [[Age of Enlightenment]], the belief that a "tooth worm" caused caries was also no longer accepted in the European medical community. [[Pierre Fauchard]], known as the father of modern dentistry, was one of the first to reject the idea that worms caused tooth decay and noted that sugar was detrimental to the teeth and [[gingiva]]. In 1850, another sharp increase in the prevalence of caries occurred and is believed to be a result of widespread diet changes. Prior to this time, cervical caries was the most frequent type of caries, but increased availability of sugar cane, refined flour, bread, and sweetened tea corresponded with a greater number of pit and fissure caries.

In the 1890s, [[Willoughby D. Miller|W.D. Miller]] conducted a series of studies that led him to propose an explanation for dental caries that was influential for current theories. He found that bacteria inhabited the mouth and that they produced acids that dissolved tooth structures when in the presence of fermentable carbohydrates. This explanation is known as the chemoparasitic caries theory. Miller's contribution, along with the research on plaque by G.V. Black and J.L. Williams, served as the foundation for the current explanation of the etiology of caries. Several of the specific strains of lactobacilli were identified in 1921 by [[Fernando E. Rodriguez Vargas]].

In 1924 in London, Killian Clarke described a spherical bacterium in chains isolated from carious lesions which he called [[Streptococcus mutans|''Streptococcus'' ''mutans'']]. Although Clarke proposed that this organism was the cause of caries, the discovery was not followed up. Later, in the 1950s in the USA, Keyes and Fitzgerald working with hamsters showed that caries was transmissible and caused by an acid-producing ''Streptococcus''. It was not until the late 1960s that it became generally accepted that the ''Streptococcus'' isolated from hamster caries was the same as ''S''. ''mutans'' described by Clarke.

Tooth decay has been present throughout human history, from early [[hominids]] millions of years ago, to modern humans. The prevalence of caries increased dramatically in the 19th century, as the [[Industrial Revolution]] made certain items, such as refined sugar and flour, readily available. The diet of the “newly industrialized English working class” then became centered on bread, jam, and sweetened tea, greatly increasing both sugar consumption and caries.


          “Corky” Gonzáles and the first National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference   
On this date in 1969, the first national Chicano youth conference was held in Denver, Colorado by Crusade for Justice, the civil rights organization founded by former boxer Corky Gonzáles. “Rodolfo ’Corky’ Gonzáles (June 18, 1928 – April 12, 2005) was a Mexican American boxer, poet, and political activist. He convened the first-ever Chicano youth conference in March 1969, which was attended by many future Chicano activists and artists. The conference also promulgated the Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, a manifesto demanding self-determination for Chicanos. As an early figure of the movement for the equal rights of Mexican Americans, he is often considered one of the founders of the Chicano Movement.” 

According to Carlos Muñoz, Jr.,   

“[The conference] brought together for the first time activists from all over the country who were involved in both campus and community politics. The conference was also significant because it brought together young people of all types—students, non-students, militant youth from the street gangs (vatos locos), and ex-convicts (pintos)—to discuss community issues and politics. The majority in attendance, however, were student activists, and most of them were from California. The conference emphasized themes that related to the quest for identity as popularized by Gonzáles and [Luis] Valdez, which were eagerly received by students searching for an ideology for the emerging student movement. 

Corky Gonzáles and his followers in Denver had developed the image of the Crusade for Justice as ‘the vanguard’ of the rapidly growing Chicano Power Movement. The Crusade, originally a multi-issue, broad-based civil rights organization oriented toward nonviolence, came to symbolize Chicano self-determination and espoused a strong nationalist ideology that militant youth found extremely attractive. [….] 

During the week-long conference, Gonzáles and his followers stressed the need for students and youth to play a revolutionary role in the movement. Conference participants were told that previous generations of students, after completing academic programs and becoming professionals, had abdicated their responsibility to their people, to their familia de La Raza. This abdication of responsibility was attributed to the fact that Mexican American students had been Americanized by the schools, that they had been conditioned to accept the dominant values of American society, particularly individualism, at the expense of their Mexican identity. The result had been the psychological ‘colonization’ of Mexican American youth.”  

A brief biography of Gonzáles: 

[….] “During his final year in high school and the subsequent summer, Corky worked hard to save money for a college education. With a keen interest in engineering, Corky entered the University of Denver, but after the first quarter realized that the financial cost was insurmountable. Rodolfo then pursued a career in Boxing. An outstanding amateur national champion Rodolfo became one of the best featherweight (125 lbs.) fighters in the world. Even though Ring Magazine ranked Corky number three in the world, he never got a justly deserved title shot. 

In the mid-1960’s, Rodolfo Gonzáles founded an urban civil rights and cultural movement called the Crusade for Justice. Soon he became one of the central leaders in the Chicano movement and a strong proponent of Chicano nationalism. In the late sixties and early seventies, Corky Gonzáles organized and supported high school walkouts, demonstrations against police brutality, and legal cases. He also organized mass demonstrations against the Vietnam War. 

In 1968 Gonzáles led a Chicano contingent in the Poor People’s March on Washington, D.C. While there, he issued his ‘Plan of the Barrio’ which called for better housing, education, barrio-owned businesses, and restitution of pueblo lands. He also proposed forming a ‘Congress of Aztlán’ to achieve these goals. 

One of the most important roles played by Gonzáles was as an organizer of the Annual Chicano Youth Liberation Conference, an ambitious effort to create greater unity among Chicano youth. These Conferences brought together large numbers of Chicano youth from throughout the United States and provided them with opportunities to express their views on self-determination. The first conference in March 1969 produced a document, “Plan Espiritual de Aztlán,” which developed the concept of ethnic nationalism and self-determination in the struggle for Chicano liberation. The second Chicano Youth Conference in 1970 represented a further refinement in Corky Gonzáles’s efforts toward Chicano self-determination, the formation of the Colorado Raza Unida Party. 

During this time Corky and his wife, Geraldine Romero Gonzáles, raised a family of six daughters and two sons…. Corky is proud of his family, especially the twenty-four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Recently celebrating his fifty-sixth wedding anniversary, Corky attributed the closeness and strength of his family to his beloved wife, Geraldine, who has been his most enthusiastic and ardent supporter.

In many ways, Corky Gonzáles has greatly influenced the Chicano movement. His key to liberation for the Chicano community is to develop a strong power base with heavy reliance on nationalism among Chicanos. His contributions as a community organizer, youth leader, political activist, and civil rights advocate have helped to create a new spirit of Chicano unity.” [….]   

An introduction to the Crusade for Justice by James Mejia (for La Voz, October 14, 2015): 

[….] “Emerging from a non-partisan group called Los Voluntarios, the Crusade for Justice was born out of frustration of living in a system that did not serve the residents of Denver equitably. A former Democratic political captain had been fired from his patronage job working with area youth for protesting racist coverage by the Rocky Mountain News. When Denver Mayor, Tom Currigan, handed Rodolfo ‘Corky’ Gonzáles his walking papers from the Neighborhood Youth Corps, he catalyzed the movement toward an independent organization serving the Chicano community and gave the Crusade for Justice its leader, and personification of the entire Chicano movement in Colorado. ‘They didn’t buy me when they gave me this job,’ was Corky’s retort when asked how a City of Denver employee could organize a protest, according to Corky’s son, Rudy Gonzáles.

Corky was the natural chair of the organization given his status as suddenly available, his passion for serving his community, the reflection on the recent death of his father, and his notoriety for athleticism in the boxing ring – once winning the National Amateur Athletic Union bantamweight title in 1946. What César Chávez and Dolores Huerta were to California and Reies Lopez Tijerina was to New Mexico, Corky Gonzáles was to Colorado – the face and leader of the movement – brash, determined, independent, and decidedly moving toward self-determination of the Chicano community.

The founding board of the Crusade for Justice is a ‘Who’s Who’ in early Chicano activism and achievement, all leaders in their own right and all achieving positions of prominence in their fields of interest to give weight, professionalism and political influence to the positions that would be taken by the Crusade. From boxer, Ralph Luna, to entrepreneur, John Haro, and from War on Poverty representative, Charlie Vigil, to Democratic Party captain, Eloy Espinoza, the board was steeped with talented bootstrappers achieving in a system stacked against them. Their individual standing and unity as a board led the Crusade to Justice to almost immediate prominence and provided the ability to meet with local or national politicians and policy makers.

Founding Crusade for Justice board member, Desi DeHerrera, held a position investigating police brutality. Originally from the San Luis Valley, he, like many others came to Denver for work. What he found upon arrival was discouraging, ‘So many places didn’t hire Latinos. Coors, the Post Office, local utilities… When the Crusade started to question these practices, at least some of them started to open up. It took boycotting others to make change.’

The Crusade for Justice would hit their stride in the late 1960s when they protested against the Vietnam War, held demonstrations against racist media and police brutality toward youth of color, organized legal cases in employment discrimination and organized and supported high school walkouts across the state, most notably the Denver West High School walkout. The Crusade had a prominent place in the national movements of the day including the Poor People’s March on Washington, and the United Farm Workers protests and pickets in California. Closer to home, the Crusade produced ‘El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan’ outlining self-determination of the Chicano community and gave birth to the Colorado Raza Unida Party.

At its peak, the Crusade for Justice was a movement but also a substantial holder of property used to provide services for the Chicano community in Denver – job training, a food bank, book store, dance troupe, a Chicano-centric school, and the first Chicano art gallery in Denver founded by renowned artist and sculptor, Carlos Santisteva.

In the mid-1970s the Crusade for Justice disbanded. There are several versions as to why including a standoff with Denver Police over a jaywalking incident in front of Crusade headquarters where injuries on both sides seemed to cool momentum and prosecution of Crusade members on weapons charges took important players off the field. Other versions include Corky’s disagreement with board members on how the physical assets of the organization were to be operated and financed.

For Rudy Gonzáles, now Executive Director of Servicios de la Raza, the Crusade hasn’t ever died, ‘The Crusade for Justice was never about bricks and mortar, it is a movement, a behavior and a belief system. It was ingrained in us to continue the philosophy and the action. If anything, the issues facing our community have become more pronounced and our work continues.

Recommended Reading:

  • Castro, Tony. Chicano Power: The Emergence of Mexican America. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1974. 
  • Chávez, Ernesto. “¡Mi Raza Primero!”— Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
  • Elam, Harry J., Jr. Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka. Detroit, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2001. 
  • Esquibel, Antonio, ed. Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles. Houston, TX: Arte Público Press, 2001.
  • García, Alma M., ed. Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings. New York: Routledge, 1997. 
  • García, Ignacio M. United We Win: The Rise and Fall of La Raza Unida Party. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1989.
  • García, Mario T. Memories of Chicano History: The Life and Narrative of Bert Corona. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994. 
  • García, Mario T. and Sal Castro. Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • Gomez-Quiñones, Juan. Mexican Students por la Raza: The Chicano Student Movement in Southern California, 1967-1977. Santa Barbara, CA: Editorial La Causa, 1978. 
  • Marin, Marguerite V. Social Protest in an Urban Barrio: A Study of the Chicano Movement, 1966-1974. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1991. 
  • Mariscal, George. Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun: Lessons from the Chicano Movement, 1965-1975. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2005. 
  • Mariscal, George, ed. Aztlán and Vietnam: Chicano and Chicana Experiences of the War. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999. 
  • Muñoz, Carlos, Jr. Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement. London: Verso, 1989. 
  • Navarro, Armando. Mexican American Youth Organization: Avant-Garde of the Chicano Movement in Texas. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1995. 
  • Navarro, Armando. The Cristal Experiment: A Chicano Struggle for Community Control. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998. 
  • Navarro, Armando. La Raza Unida Party: A Chicano Challenge to the U.S. Two-Party Dictatorship. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2000. 
  • Oropeza, Lorena. ¡Raza Si! ¡Guerra No!: Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam War Era. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005. 
  • Rendon, Armando B. Chicano Manifesto: The History and Aspirations of the Second Largest Minority in America.New York: Macmillan, 1971. 
  • Rosales, Francisco Arturo. CHICANO! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Houston, TX: Arte Público Press, University of Houston, 2nd ed., 1997. 
  • Vigil, Ernesto B. The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government’s War on Dissent. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999.
 I have a separate bibliography for César Chávez & the United Farm Workers.

          Comment on [Re]construction: Metamodern ‘Transcendence’ and the Return of Myth by pavla   
So metamodern is "back to canvas and twist it once around"? You can get the real metamodern if you will able to understand western society: its beginning, western rationalism and its PR in context with the rest of the world, before and after first and second wave of colonization and modern wars and coups. Norrby's picture Rise should be concern with the beginning of royal blood of old and modern eite and mechanism behind this nonsense. Delacroix didn't have Internet. You cannot reconstruct if you don't know the reasons behind wrong construction. Metamodernists owe this to the precariat.
          French Female Pioneer is My Role Model in Journalism   

My role model is a woman that died 67 years ago.

First French war correspondent and investigative journalist Andree Viollis started her career during the first World War, she traveled to Afghanistan in the 20’s and extensively to Indochina to expose the dark side of the French colonization. Continue reading

          The Japanese and I   
A war baby, I was fed, while growing up, with stories about the difficult war years and the uneasy peace of the Japanese occupation.
It should have been easy for me to hate the Hapon but the ambivalent stories impressed upon me made it hard for me to indict them absolutely. Sure, I heard later accounts about “Japanese atrocities “ (why does that phrase sound almost like a cliché?), how the Japanese treacherously bombed Pearl Harbor, how 10,000 Filipino and American soldiers perished in the Bataan Death March, how Japanese soldiers used some Pinays for personal "comfort." But maybe because my immediate family was largely spared of wartime catastrophes, with no one dead nor hurt nor gravely abused, the tales twice told me were mostly benign.
The first story happened on Day 1 of my chequered life.
From Gagalangin, Tondo where we lived to Ermita where the Philippine General Hospital was located was an hour’s distance by karetela (horse-drawn carriage). My long expectant mom, whose time finally had come, would have preferred to be whisked away in a cab for she sensed, by dint of experience, the baby inside her was in a hurry to get out. But alas, taxis were as hard to come by those days as American Spam luncheon meat and Hereford corned beef were hard to buy. Sure enough, whby the time the karetela ho-hooed to a stop, its seats and floor had been splattered with placental blood, with baby’s head already bobbing out. My dad, by then a bundle of nerves, clambered down so hurriedly he almost slipped by the pavement. Who would happen to come by and steady him with a swift hand but a Japanese officer who, summarizing the situation in one sweeping glance, later helped lift anxious mother and half-born infant from out of the carriage into the hospital’s obstetric unit?
When I was a toddler, another friendly Japanese soldier came into my life, or so my Lola loved to tell me. He was a sentry who would pass by our house to and from work. I reminded him of his own daughter whom he sorely missed, he would tell my Lola who subbed as my guardian every time my mom tended her rice store at the talipapa. For the entitlement to pinch my cheeks and make goo-goo eyes at me, the Japanese would give me pieces of bubble gum and candy.
These stories are, of course, third-person accounts but were told and retold so many times I sometimes confuse the memory of the telling with first-hand memory. Actually, it would take about 30 years more before I made my first true Japanese friend.
The Nagoya International Training Center, Nagoya, Japan, where I was sent on a fellowship training on small business promotion by my office in 1974, became both school and home to me for three months.
I arrived at the Center in the early evening after a two-hour trip by shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo. The train ride had been pleasant but uneventful and I was reading a pocketbook some of the time -- until we reached tall, snow capped mountain ranges partly hidden by blue gray clouds -- whereupon a couple of Japanese gentlemen suddenly rose from their seats to jolt me away from my book, almost frantically pointing outward. “Look, Fuji, Fuji!” they chimed. Truly, what right had I to bury my nose on a banal story when I could feast my eyes on splendor and majesty just by looking out the window?! I was grateful for the magnificent eyeful, but more than that, I was amazed how proud they were of their Mt. Fuji and – as I found out later -- of many things Japanese.
I fell in love with the Japanese people overnight.

          Bacterial Colonization Linked to Food Sensitization, Allergy   
Specific genera underrepresented in children with food sensitization and food allergy
          The Overnightscape #264 (8/18/05)   
Tonight's subjects include: A picture of yogurt, a trillion dollars, intellectual pursuits, the most poisonous spider in the world, blog mentions ("Jen Davis-Wilson", "The Fink File"), Technorati, Versace, toiletry review ("Charmin to Go - 1-Ply Bathroom Tissue / Toilet Seat Covers"), Julie responds to more criticism on The Overnightscape Forum ("Harvie from Australia", "Val", "Coach", "Colin from England", "Concrete Angel", "Lance", "BaldMonkeyBoy", "OpinionMan", "Huw from Wales"), Anguilla, the classic arcade video game "Sinistar", and The United Nations Committee on Decolonization. Hosted by Frank Edward Nora. (30 minutes)
          The Future of Ocean Colonization with Bob Llewellyn   
The Marinea Project, a Village At Sea is the pilot project for mankind’s colonization of the oceans. Did you know that Earth’s population has just passed 7 billion on its way to 10 billion by 2050? Have you asked how we are going to be able feed 40% more people, house them, clothe them? Mr. Llewellyn has asked those questions, and provides those answers as well as the solution to many more problems that face our planet. Think about this, two thirds of the planet is ocean, unclaimed and free for colonization. Consider joining those with the vision of the way to a brighter tomorrow. Join us during this presentation to learn how you can become part of this movement for a brighter future for the entire planet.  Call in with you questions, or comments, 646-652-4620.  We look forward to hearing from you  
          India and the Industrial Revolution   
Nevertheless, there were powerful forces at work that inhibited the growth of science and technology in India and prevented Indian manufacturing from entering the industrial era on it's own terms.Perhaps the most important of these factors was the relative prosperity that India enjoyed vis-a-vis the rest of the world. A mild climate meant that the peasantry and working class could survive relatively cheaply. And the huge trade surplus the country enjoyed enabled the nobility and the middle classes to live lives of relative luxury and comfort. There was little incentive to bring about revolutionary changes and the forces of parasitism and conservatism prevailed quite easily over more radical forces. Harry Verelst (Senior Officer of the East India Company) described Bengal before Plassey quite succintly: "The farmer was easy, the artisan encouraged, the merchant enriched and the prince satisfied".But in Europe, virtually all classes had an interest in bringing about revolutionary changes that could improve their lives. Long and harsh winters meant that even the peasantry and working class needed more items of personal consumption just to survive, let alone live comfortably. The demand for cheap manufactured goods for mass consumption was initially far greater in Europe than in the warmer parts of the globe. The short days in the long and harsh winters created a much more compelling need for breakthrough inventions like the light bulb or electric heater or piped hot water and indoor toilets.But need alone was an insufficient factor in securing technological breakthroughs. Europe also needed important social changes to create a climate where scientific study and technological innovation could flourish. For centuries, the catholic church in Europe had preached the idealogy of worldly renunciation and taught it's followers to accept their earthly suffering in exchange for a promise of redemption in the next world. Rational and scientific thinking was routinely condemned as sacriligious or heresy. It was then little wonder that Europe had slipped into a period of intense stagnation and became inordinately dependant on imports from the more developed nations of Asia.But it was precisely this backwardness and internal oppression that lead to mass radicalization and calls for revolution or reform. The protestant movements were the first in a series of movements calling for greater democracy and radical improvements in social conditions for the masses. At the same time, the European intelligentsia was no longer willing to wait for redemption after death but wanted to enjoy the good life right here on earth. Secular and rational challenges to Christian orthodoxy grew and science and philosophy were gradually liberated from the strangulating influences of the church. The knowledge of the East was translated into the European languages and found it's way into university curriculums. Scientific research and investigation began to thrive and technological innovations followed. All the social ingredients for the industrial revolution were beginning to fall into place.But at first, Europe still lacked a vital ingredient for the industrial revolution to take off and succeed - and that was capital. For centuries, Europe had to fund it's negative trade balance (vis-a-vis Asia) by exporting gold, silver and other precious metals. To make matters worse, exports from India (which made up an important share of European imports) were heavily marked up by various intermediaries in the Middle East and later by the Venetians. By the 15th century, this burden was becoming almost impossible for the royal houses of Western Europe to bear. It was in response to this crisis that voyages to discover a new route to India were funded, and eventually led to the creation of the East India Companies. {The pillage and plunder of the Americas (and later Africa as well) played a significant role in financing these voyages.}While this made imports from India more affordable, it did not eliminate the negative trade balance. European banks were initially in little position to fund the new inventions that were waiting to find industrial sponsors. Colonization provided the answer. Europe thus embarked on a complex transition where within it's borders it followed a path of progress and radical reform, but externally, it raped and pillaged without mercy.This occurred at a time when the rest of the world was largely ill-equipped at dealing with such a wily and complex enemy. In much of the world, large sections of society were moving in the opposite direction - and particularly so in the Islamic world. Madrasahs resisted numerous attempts at introducing anything resembling science and reason in the curriculum. This was also true in India. In spite of repeated attempts by Akbar to introduce a secular curriculum in the nation's Madrasahs, the conservative clergy successfully resisted all attempts at change. Similiar processes were at work in many of the Buddhist monasteries and the Hindu Gurukuls who had succumbed to the influence of orthodox Vedantism. In extreme versions of the Vedantic world-view the real world was more an illusion, and hence all efforts at changing it or transforming it were deemed unimportant.Even in schools that escaped Vedantic influences, and where science and logic remained a part of the curriculum, religious instruction often took precedence. In addition, Brahminical notions of purity created a needless divide between the mental and physical creating obstacles to experimentation and transfer of theoretical knowledge to practical applications. The fixation on astrology and other such superstitions also served to distract sections of the intelligentsia from more scientific pursuits.So just as Europe was preparing itself to meet the challenges of the industrial revolution, significant sections of society in Africa and Asia were becoming more resistant to studying science. This made the process of colonization much easier as those who resisted colonization were technologically outmatched and outwitted.Once colonization had taken hold of a nations economy, educational options became further limited. Often, the few who were keen to pursue a career in the sciences could only do so under the auspices of their colonial masters. But for the colonial powers, teaching science and technology to the colonized was not necessarily a benevolent act. The western educated individual played an important role in the colonial process - either as a manager or engineer in a company that produced cheap raw materials (or industrial goods) for export from the colony to the master nation, or as a representative of an import agency that imported expensive manufactured goods and machinery into the colony.So great was this contradiction in some nations that science and technology almost came to be associated with treachery and religious obscurantism became synonymous with patriotism. As a result the masses were often denied the opportunity to deal with an industrializing Europe on anything even remotely resembling equality.Like other colonized nations, India was dragged into the industrial era on terms that were not of it's own choosing and many of the technological developments that have since taken place in India have been geared more towards the export market than bringing about all-round improvements in the quality of life for the Indian masses.For that reason, it cannot yet be said that India has fully entered the modern industrial era. Only when India is able to harness the power of technology and modern industry towards improving the quality of life for the vast majority of it's people will that be the case. That will require not only major advances in the Indian education system but radical social changes that have yet to take place in a systematic way. Above all, the forces of religious fundamentalism, religious obscurantism and social backwardness will have to be pushed back and defeated. That is the real lesson of the Industrial Revolution that has yet to sink in completely in India.

The Impetus for Metallurgy 1:14 AM with 0 comments »
Monumental architecture required considerable advances in the technology of lifting, loading and transportation of construction materials, building construction ramps, scaffolding, and related tools and implements. As in ancient Egypt or Babylon, appropriate techniques also had to be developed and implemented in India. But more importantly, stone-based construction presupposes the existence of hard metal based tools and implements for cutting and shaping stone. The discovery of iron thus played an essential role in the development of monumental architecture in India which may have in turn given a further impetus to the development of metallurgical skills. As early as the 4th C. BC, Kautilya's Arthashastra had a section outlining the processes for metal extraction and alloying. Later Sanskrit texts talk about assessing metal purity and describe techniques for achieving metal purity. Various alloying techniques were in use and some may have had their origin in the Harappan or Vedic periods. (For instance, there are references in the Vedic literature that suggest that copper vessels were coated with tin so as to prevent milk from going sour.)A combination of scholarly investigation and broad dissemination of practical techniques propelled the development of metallurgical skills. The fifth century Iron Pillar of Delhi is a remarkable example of those skills. Standing over 23 feet high it consists of a single piece of iron and has weathered over 1500 monsoons without showing any signs of rust. The pillar is made of wrought iron with an iron content of 99.72 % and appears to have been protected from rust by the application of a thin coating of manganese dioxide.By the 12th century, construction engineers were using iron girders and beams on a scale unknown in any other part of the world. The most significant use of iron beams was in the temples of Puri and Konarak. The Puri temple contains 239 iron beams and one of the beams in Konarak is 35 feet long. All are 99.64 percent iron and were produced in a similiar manner to the Delhi iron pillar.During the middle ages, India acquired a reputation for producing very high quality steel and was also able to extract zinc from it's ore by the 14th century. Bidari (an alloy of copper, lead and tin developed in the Deccan) was also extensively used.Unsurprisingly, developments in metallurgy also had their impact on artillery production. According to A. Rahman (Science in Medieval India), by the 16th century, the heaviest guns in the world were being cast in India and a variety of weapons were being manufactured in the subcontinent. The Jaigarh cannon factory was one of India's best and before the crucial battle of 1857, the Jaipur Rajputs laid claim to owning Asia's largest cannon. Yet, none of the Rajput cannons were ever used to confront the British who succeeded in conquering the sub-continent without ever having to fight against the country's best equipped armies, thus demonstrating that technological progress is not an end in itself.

Social Conditions and Technological Progress 1:10 AM with 0 comments »
It is quite possible that the decline in civil society extended to other areas such as agricultural planning and maintenance of irrigations systems making the civilization more vulnerable to natural disasters such droughts, floods, fires or earthquakes - thus contributing to the eventual extinction of that vibrant civilization. This suggests that technological progress cannot be divorced from social conditions that may either encourage the progress of technology or conversely cause civilizations that may be (in relative terms) quite advanced to stagnate and even decline. For instance, 3000 years after Harappa, we find anecdotal evidence of impressive urban settlements constructed during the Mauryan period. Greek travellers have left behind admiring descriptions of Patliputra - the Mauryan capital. But social strife brought a precipitous end to the grand civilization. The growth of a parasitic, exploitative and socially oppressive elite led to massive social upheavals. In the course of the civil wars, fires and looting destroyed virtually all of the wood-based dwellings including grand palaces and public buildings.Thus, an entire tradition of wood-based urban construction - (which may have taken several centuries to develop) was destroyed. But it also led to a greater emphasis on the use of more lasting construction materials. The very social conditions that destroyed technological progress in one direction gave birth to technological progress in another. Sculptural finds from the Mauryan period indicate that Mauryan sculptors of that time had achieved a high degree of proficiency in working with stone. They must have had tools and implements that enabled them to create smoothly modelled and highly polished representations of human and animal figures. Later civilizations in India employed these skills not only for the purposes of sculpting but for creating entire monuments constructed from a variety of hard building materials. For instance, various methods for preparing cements were developed, and by the 7th century, cement of highly durable quality came into use in the construction of important monuments that survive to this day.

Technological discoveries and applications in India 1:06 AM with 0 comments »
The earliest evidence of technological progress in the Indian subcontinent is to be found in the remains of the Harappan civilization (4000-3000 BC). Archaeological remains point to the existence of well-planned urban centres that boasted of private and public dwellings laid out in orderly fashion along with roads and drainage systems complementing them. The drainage systems were particularly remarkable for the times since they were built underground and were constructed in a manner to allow for regular cleaning. Smaller drains from private homes connected to the larger public drains. Larger private dwellings were invariably multi-storied and all homes were constructed from standardized fired bricks and provided for separate cooking areas and toilets. Storage facilities for grain and goods for trade were built as were public baths and other buildings intended for various public functions.Urban centres were often planned near riverine or sea-ports. Accurate weights and measures were in use and ports such as Lothal were developed as export centres of early manufactured products from smelted copper and bronze. Kilns for smelting copper ingots and casting tools were in existence as were metal tools such as curved or circular saws, pierced needles and most significantly, bronze drills with twisted grooves. The drill enabled the production of items with unparalleled precision for the times and could be regarded as an ancient precursor of the modern machine tool.There is also evidence of planned irrigation systems and it appears that fire and flood control measures to protect farms and villages were also in place. Artisans made use of the wheel and clay pottery was decorated in a variety of colors and designs. Cotton was grown and used to produce textiles.Urban centres in the Harappan region traded with each other as well as with counterparts in Babylon, the Persian Gulf, Egypt and possibly the Mediteranean. The span of the Harappan civilization was quite extensive, and included much of modern Sindh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Western UP.But prior to it's disappearance, there is also evidence of considerable social decay and disintegration. Excavations from the later phases of the Harappan civilization suggest that population pressures led to greater anarchy in building construction. Urban dwellings became smaller and settlements became more haphazard indicating a breakdown of social mores and structures that promoted urban regulations and enforced construction codes.
          DNA Points to Multiple Migrations into the Americas   
DNA analysis of skeletons found in the Pacific Northwest backs up traditional oral histories, and suggests there could have been more than one colonization of the Americas. Emily Schwing reports.
          Note from Revolutionaries of Color II   
from DavisAntiZionism: “At whatever level we study it… decolonization is quite simply the replacing of a certain ‘species’ of men by another ‘species’ of men. Without any period of transition, there is a total, complete, and absolute substitution.” -Frantz Fanon “Indeed our words will remain lifeless, barren, devoid of any passion, until we die as […]
          Canadian Week in Review - 02 January 2017    

I have come across the following Canadian genealogy, history and heritage websites, social media, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

This Week in Canadian History

John Cabot

It is written that John Cabot reached the island of Newfoundland, which he claimed for England, in December 1497. He was born c1450 and died c1500. 

To mark the Canadian celebration of the 500th anniversary of Cabot's expedition in 1997, the Canadian and British governments both accepted a widely-held conclusion that the landing site was at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland. 

Quebec City

The troops of Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold are defeated before Quebec City on 31 December 1755. 

Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold led a force of about 1,200 American army forces and Canadian militia in a multi-pronged attack on the city, which, due to bad weather (there was a blizzard) and bad timing, did not start well, and ended with Montgomery dead, Arnold wounded, and Daniel Morgan and more than 400 men captured. The battle was the first major defeat of the war for the Americans. 

Prince Edward Island Railroad

All rail service was terminated in Prince Edward Island after Canadian National Railway abandons its historic rail lines in the province. 

The railway ran from Tignish in the west to Elmira in the east, with major spurs in the capital in Charlottetown, Montague, and Georgetown and the original eastern terminus at Souris. 

The line officially closed on 31 December 1989, and the rails removed between 1990 and 1992.

Social Media

(Photos) Hants History: Dec. 26, 2016 edition

Here's a look at what was making the news 35 and 50 years ago in the Hants Journal.

Newspaper Articles 


The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum will tweet out its history as nation marks its 150th 

As Jan. 1 marks the start of sesquicentennial celebrations in Canada, it’s also a milestone date for those who safeguard Canada’s military heritage in London. 

Jan. 1, 1888 was the day the infantry school on Oxford Street was declared open, following two years of construction on a budget of $30,000. 

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum plans to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday year with tweets detailing 150 significant events in the RCR’s history. 

Selecting Viola Desmond as the new face on the $10 bill will finally raise the national profile of Canada’s Rosa Parks. 

Many are familiar with Parks’ famous refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on an Alabama bus in 1955, an act that helped spark the civil rights movement in the U.S.

Students learn indigenous history by reenacting colonization in unique blanket exercise

Three dozen high school students in stocking feet wander quietly over colourful blankets spread across the floor. They are roaming their land. It is centuries ago, and they inhabit a vast place that will one day be known as Canada.

Cobourg 2017 events celebrate Canada 150

Canada 150 is becoming big news, as Jan. 1 of the nation’s sesquicentennial year draws near.

Cobourg is planning its own version, with an amazing string of 2017 events, thanks to its own Cobourg 2017 committee (co-chaired by Nicole Beatty and Peter Delanty).

Early Falconbridge films now at Sudbury archives

A few years ago, Charlie Stafford of British Columbia was researching the history of his hometown of Falconbridge, Ont., in the hopes of writing a book about the town.

While researching, he discovered the City of Greater Sudbury Archives, located in the heart of Falconbridge, and began encouraging former residents who were helping him with his book to donate records to the archives.


History Corner - Some immigrants to the Canadian West came from a well-to-do background 

The photo features Henri Rudolph Roosmale Nepveu — the man standing beside the horse, on his horse ranch near Yorkton in 1889. Henri, who was a banker in his native Netherlands, came to the Yorkton area in 1888, and within a year, had erected this log house and a horse ranch.

British Columbia

Royal B.C. Museum calls on Indigenous people to submit stories about relics

An Indigenous artist and writer says First Nations artifacts in museums are not simply cold, hard objects, but are rather the belongings of families and communities.

The Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria has brought in Francine Cunningham as the guest editor for the spring issue of its digital magazine, Curious, which will focus on Indigenous peoples' relationship to the museum's collections.

Cherryville artist seeks First World War internment camp stories

A Cherryville-based artist is seeking help in providing information and stories on a dark chapter in Canadian history.

Kerri Parnell is working with the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund to create a series of paintings for a travelling art exhibition that will depict the internment of Ukrainian and Eastern Europeans in Canada during the First World War.

Murals help heal scars of history

The dark past of internment in Vernon, which has long been buried under shame and guilt, is coming to life.

Between 1914 and 1920, more than 96,000 Ukrainians and Europeans living in Canada were imprisoned behind the barbed wire fences of internment camps. They were forced to work for free, carving out highways. 

Canadian Stories this Week 

Social Media
Are you a social media person? Do you want to publicize the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) 2017 Conference? Then you should read the press release put out by the OGS last week. 

“Our goal is to help promote Canadian bloggers, social media gurus and the genealogy community. The official OGS Conference 2017 website will have a sidebar where your blog postings will be shared as they are posted. 

There will be a Social Media Team Haven at the conference where we can meet, write our blog entries and post to social media. You will be accredited with an official media tag, as well as get the chance to help promote one of the largest genealogy conferences in Canada”. 

Have you joined? My application is going in today!

If you are interested please send your name, blog name and URL, Twitter handle, and email address to:

Applications close on 20 January 2017. Notifications will be sent by 25 January 2017. 

The year 2017 is looking to be a great one, with all of the things going on in Canada, as our country celebrates its 150th birthday. 

As for myself, I look forward to finishing my Professional Development Certificate towards receiving my PLCGS certificate in 2018 from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies; entering my 7th year as editor of the Ontario Genealogical Society's journal, Families; and continuing on with my genealogical research business,, which will celebrate its 4th year in March.

So it will be a full year, and. hopefully, as successful as 2016!

Meanwhile, speaking of celebrations and successes, please be sure to tell your friends about us here at Our blog is celebrating its 9th blogiversary today!

With over 2,300 posts since the blog's inception on 02 January 2008, there is much to read. Simply use the search box located on the right side of the page to find your favourite tidbit(s) of news and resources on Canadian genealogy, history, and heritage.

Please take a moment to write us a quick note at to say "Hi!", to let us know about something that you or your group is doing, or even to suggest a good news tip we may have missed. We'd love to hear from you, our readers!

If you would like to subscribe for your e-copy of the latest blog post, please send your email to 

Wishing you and yours all the best for 2017!
Publishers Elizabeth and Mario Lapointe 

Sponsored by Elizabeth Lapointe Research Services. To learn more about the research services offered by ELRS, go to 

(c)2017 All rights reserved.

          Comment on Professor disagrees with Elon Musk’s Mars colonization plans by pariah dog   
I didn't complain about that stuff. Fuck, are you retarded, or what? You should really crawl off and die, you aren't worth oxygen.
          Twenty Reasons I am Distressed by Religion and its Believers.   
1- I am distressed when I share confined space with believers and their every sentence is filled with God delusion.

2- I am distressed when religious leaders accuse a child of witchcraft and those self-styled prophets are allowed to freely abuse children and vulnerable people under the pretense of casting out demons. 

3- I am distressed when the opinions of religious leaders are deemed more important than scientific evidence.

4- I am distressed when a child is forced-fed the cancer called religion 

'5- I am distressed when creationism is taught in public schools but evolution never made it to a biology class curriculum.  

6- I am distressed when I get a group mail message from a feminist group, asking for prayers for a sister who is seriously ill in hospital and members start sending prayers to different Gods. 

7- I am distressed because I know sending a response suggesting more practical ways we can help the sister in hospital e.g. financial assistance, volunteering to take or pick up her children from school or just writing her encouraging letters and asking her how we can be of practical assistance might actually help more than praying to our different skydaddies, but I know such suggestions is most likely to be viewed as antagonistic and might even caused me to be blocked from the group. 

8- I am distressed when religion makes me lose intellectual respect for those I used to like because in all honesty, I cannot have any intellectual respect for someone who believes there was a talking snake, a Noah's ark and gladly quotes the commandments of a war mongering, pedophile prophet.

9- I am distressed that I almost choke with disbelief whenever I am forced to share space with Nigerian religious believers, even in a London red bus, as they narrate loudly on their phone to their captive audience about how God just saved them from the plotting of the evil village people, who somehow from the remote part of a Nigerian village, managed to use 'juju' to send UK immigration to come after them in London.

10- I am distressed by the ignorance and bigotry of religious believers.

11- I am distressed at how vindictive many believers are in the name of religion. The faithfuls are always praying to their Skydaddy and his warrior angels to destroy and kill their enemies by 'fire by force'. Never a word of love, always an orgy of vengeful vendetta.

12- I am distressed that I can hardly hold a conversation with Nigerians including members of my family without them mentioning God in every sentence. 

13- I am distressed that the God delusion has broken families and driven a wedge between many family members with the many accusations and counter accusations of witchcraft. 

14- I am distressed that quotes from the Bible and Quran are deemed perfectly good reasons to oppress women and even stone to death gays, lesbians, bisexuals, Trans and women accused of committing adultery.

15- I am distressed every time I see a picture of a blue eyed, blonde Jew on a cross hanging on the wall of a public school, a village church or from my mother’s bedroom because it is another reminder of colonization and mental slavery. 

16- I am distressed because the gods now embraced by Nigerians have no physical or cultural resemblance to them; it is another reminder that Nigerians import everything, including Gods. Africa can’t even export its own Gods.  

17- I am distressed when the sculpture of a white, pale woman aka ‘Holy Mary’ occupies a place of pride in the center of a remote village in Nigeria.  Even though the foreign sculpture has no resemblance to the village inhabitants, it is somehow deemed the most sacred sculpture in the village. 

18- I am distressed when an African quotes from the Bible or Quran to justify the oppression of another. I wondered if they did not read the parts in their precious holy books that clearly state that they are not the chosen race , it is OK for the chosen race to enslave them, rape their wives, kill their children and animals and of course the bible and the Quran were used to do just that to their ancestors.

19- I am distressed when it is increasingly difficult to have adult friends who do not have imaginary friends; they all talk about having a friend in Jesus, angels and skydaddy. 

20- I am distressed that even though I am the one who does not believe in a talking snake, a talking donkey, a virgin mother, a Noah’s ark that ferried all living things on earth, yet somehow I am the one the believers call crazy.

Even though I am distressed by all these absurdities, I am happy I am not one of the believers. To be called crazy by ignorant people is a compliment. 


Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws 


The anti same sex marriage bill criminalizing same sex marriage and stipulating 14 years imprisonment for Nigerians who engage in same sex relationship has passed through the second reading in the House of Representatives. The House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal has referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole House for consideration. LGBT rights are Human Rights.

As stated in our position paper on the Anti Same Sex marriage bill, Fundamental Human Rights of sexual minorities are violated daily because of criminalization of same sex relationship and societal prejudice.The homophobic bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights regional and international laws and agreements that Nigeria has ratified. Thus this Bill would nullify some parts of the Constitution.

Also, the bill would lead to political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support Lesbians and gay rights.

The bill would further affect Nigeria’s Human rights records.  Individuals, general society and institutions including the police would use it as a license to intimidate and harass citizens based on their actual or suspected sexual orientation. The passing of the bill would give official validation to the harassment of sexual minorities and many homophobic persons would use it as a license to discriminate against lesbians and gays.

Sodomy law is a relic from British colonization. The British parliament and many of its former colonies e.g. Canada, Australia, South Africa and India have since repealed the law. Why is Nigeria clinging and seeking to strengthen this antiquated and erroneous law through the proposed Anti-same sex relationship bill? The argument that any sexual act or relationship that deviates from the standard heterosexual norm is against African culture is using “culture” to sanction the erasure of dialogue about alternative sexualities and to condone homophobia, therefore constituting a form of cultural violence. A society that stifles sexual and gender identities discourages the recognition of human dignity. LGBTI rights are human rights.

If two people of the same sex want to make their relationship more stable and commit themselves more deeply to each other, this can only be good for Nigeria. It makes no difference whether the couple is gay or straight. We ask that the lawmakers reconsider their decision to pass this bill as it infringes on the Human Rights of Nigerian LGBT people.
Nigeria LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws call on all Nigerians to oppose the Anti Same Sex Marriage bill.  If passed, President Goodluck Jonathan must not sign this homophobic bill into law.
Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws affirms that LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and every Nigerian deserve the same right every other Nigerian enjoys irrespective of class, sex, gender or sexual orientation.
Signed on behalf of Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws
Yemisi Ilesanmi-
Davis Mac-Iyalla –
John Adewoye-
Mojisola  Adebayo-
Toyin Ajao-

WEBSITE LINK-  Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against Anti Same Sex Laws-Press statement



by E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

 Though in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie… The workingmen have no country. We cannot take from them what they have no got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself as the nation, it is so far itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.

—KARL MARX & FRIEDRICH ENGELS, “Manifesto of the Communist Party” (1848) (1971, 101,109)

Recent political events mark the beginning of a phase in which insurrection has become the sole means for the masses to express their political will.

—ANTONIO GRAMSCI, letter dated Feb. 1925 (1971, lxxviii)

Gramsci has been pronounced “dead” so many times that one suspects the announcement to be unwittingly premature and question-begging (Day 2005). Of all the Western Marxists, Gramsci is exceptional in being the subject of an immensely burgeoning archive of scholarly studies and the object of furious worldwide political debates (Rosengarten 1994). Except for the somewhat opportunist inflection of “subaltern” by the Derridean Gayatri Spivak and the trendy fashion of reinterpreting “hegemony” as pluralist consensus, Gramsci’s thought seems useless for postmodernists, including Establishment postcolonialists. Stuart Hall and the Birmingham School successfully popularized Gramsci as an innovative cultural theorist and founded the academic discipline of mainstream Cultural Studies. It was Gramsci’s resurrection in advanced capitalist formations, the birth of what David Harris (1992) calls “gramscianism.” This followed the Eurocommunist view of Gramsci’s “revolution against Capital”—to quote his famous article of 1917—in which the Italian road to socialism (classless society, socialization of crucial productive means) would be won not through revolutionary violence but through cultural reform—through education and moral/ethical persuasion. Communist parties will thus gain hegemony, that is, domination by consent, peacefully or legally. 
Communism or socialism will win without replacing the prevailing “common sense.” Presented as ideals to be aspired for, and naturalized as “common sense,” the belief system of bourgeois society does not require armies or police; only a finely tuned art, schools and mass media, ideological apparatuses that would do the job. Maurice Finnochiaro views the Italian road as the conquest of social institutions whose “control would yield the desired economic and political changes”—a view that eclectically mixes the influences of Croce, Mosca, Machiavelli and Hegel on Gramsci primarily as diverse patterns of thinking (1995, 304). From this prophylactic stance, Gramsci is seen as a precocious neoliberal avant la lettre, committed to “rational persuasion,” political realism, methodological fallibilism, liberal democracy, and pluralism. Something is surely wrong with this picture.
Clearly, history—or, better yet, neoliberal historicism exacted a vengeance on Gramsci’s historicist “good sense.” While reborn as a theoretician of the superstructures, civil society, rule by consent, and non-economistic “open Marxism,” Gramsci became irrelevant to socialist revolution as they were occurring in the “third world.” He had nothing to say to peoples struggling against finance-capitalist imperialism, old-style colonialism that ruled by brute force, or neocolonial rule masquerading as latter-day “mission civilizatrice,” humanitarian intervention. For postcolonial studies, in particular, the obsession with Eurocentrism (the fallacious subsumption of capitalism into an abstract Western modernity) in the case of Edward Said, as Neil Lazarus (2002; see also San Juan 2007) has shown, led soon to the speechless subalterns of Spivak and the sly mimics of Homi Bhabha. Meanwhile, the logocentric discourse of poststructuralism wrought its dire effects on the critique of the nation/nationalism launched by Bhabha and the Australian “high priests” of the discipline, Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, before and after the fall the of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of “actually existing socialism.” With nations and nation-states abolished or rendered defunct by the “New World Order” and later by triumphalist neoliberal globalization, we are on the way to the heady disjunctures of Arjun Appadurai and the nomadic multitudes of Hardt and Negri’s Empire. Until September 11, 2001 exploded over this academic scenario and overtook our missionary enlighteners/mentors who had attended Gramsci’s redundant burials.
We owe it to Benita Parry’s appraisal of the historical-political contexts surrounding the disciplinary formation of postcolonial studies that we can begin to appreciate Gramsci’s relevance to “third world” social transformations. Parry’s argument on the centrality of Marxist principles (internationalism, permanent revolution) in liberation theory actualized in anticolonial revolutions, is salutary. The erasure of socialism and an anti-capitalist modernity in postcolonial discourse coincides with the refusal of a national-democratic stage in anti-colonial revolutions led by a historic bloc of anticapitalist forces. What kind of nation-state do postcolonialists have in mind? Certainly not the Italian nation of 1861 that witnessed the colonization/annexation of the South by the subjugation of the insurgent peasant masses, and produced the “Southern question” that Gramsci considered decisive in carrying out a socialist revolution in the twentieth century (Verdicchio 1992). Postcolonialists erase the ugly fact of neocolonized nation-states (the Philippines, Haiti, Colombia, etc.) resistant to their fantasy of a world-system of hybrid social formations equal in power and wealth, all inhabited by transnational consumer-citizens.
The asymmetry of uneven and combined development distinguishes the structure of nation-states born in the shadow of finance-capitalist imperialism. Archaic, feudal, and modern sectors coexist in these societies. The Althusserian idiom of Bhabha is revealing when he problematizes the “ambivalent temporalities of the nation space.” Bhabha puzzles himself over the “disjunctive representation of the social, in this double-time of the nation” which is hidden by homogeneity, literacy and anonymity. Nation as narration, for Bhabha, testifies to the “teleology of progress tipping over into the ‘timeless’ discourse of irrationality,” which in turn leads to “the archaic body of the despotic or totalitarian mass” (177). In short, nationalism is fascism tout court. Based on the experience of racial nationalist violence in Europe (Nazi racist nationalism, in particular), Bhabha sees only the “archaic ambivalence” undermining the progressive contemporaneity of existing nation-states. Ultimately, the culprit is “that progressive metaphor of modern social cohesion—the many as one—“ and so, Marxist theories of culture and community, of nations, defined as holistic, expressive social totalities should be repudiated. Unity, solidarity, the multitude envisaged by Gramsci as “national-popular” collective will (Jessop 1982) are all anathema, contaminated by bourgeois universalism and other archaic irrationalities.
Following Partha Chatterjee, Bhabha believes national sovereignty is impossible, given “the contingency and arbitrary signs and symbols that signify the effective life of the national culture.” Hypostatizing the dynamic process of signification—of making meaning and sense— in everyday life, Bhabha thus creates for his discourse the untenable modernity of the unified nation, of national belonging. For her part, Spivak rejects anticolonial revolutions as hopelessly controlled and manipulated by a native bourgeoisie. The colonized subaltern is made not only speechless but immune to experience. Parry’s comment applies a Gramscian optic to this subalternist self-erasure: “[I]t dismisses the experiential transformation of the ‘subalterns’ through their participation, and disregards situations where an organic relationship was forged between masses and leaders sharing the same class interests and revolutionary goals—there is after all no essential and invariable correlation between objective class position and ideological belief or political stance” (2002, 144). In short, history as a dialectic of subject-object is denied by academic postcolonialists.
With the formalization of canonical postcolonial studies as an academic discipline, a reconciliatory attitude seems to have emerged. Stuart Hall’s inflection of this fetishism of ambivalence or difference is only symptomatic: anti-imperialist opposition, for Hall, must be conceived iin terms of “transculturation” or cultural translation “destined to trouble the here/there cultural binaries for ever” (1996, 247). This postmodernist bias against binarism, telos and hierarchy, as we have seen, returns us to the question of agency and the role of the subaltern in a revolutionary disruption of the colonial predicament. But, as Parry notes, this impulse to find a middle ground between domination and oppression, to describe colonialism as “generically ambivalent,” the site of dialogue and cultural assimilation, is both historically mendacious and “morally vacant” (2002, 144). This applies to the tendentious genealogy of nation/nationalism offered by Ashcroft, Griffith and Tiffin (1998; see my critique in San Juan 2001). In effect, the nation (and its attendant set of beliefs called “nationalism”) is a foul ideological invention, a dangerous myth of exclusivism, homogeneity, and naturalness. It refuses internal heterogeneities and differences. It informs the violence of the nation-state (such as the Stalinist Soviet Union, as well as European imperialism as “an extension of the ideology of a ‘national’ formation) against those who are different, thus making the cause of national liberation for oppressed colonies suspect if not hopelessly tainted. Throughout their account, however, Ashcroft, Griffith and Tiffin are silent on the capitalist foundation of these nation-states, much less of U.S. chauvinism and Eurocentric white supremacy. They mix capitalism, socialism and other alternatives, thus inventing a utopian fiction of plurality and multiculturalism that exists neither here nor there, except of course in a homogenizing global capitalism which supposedly nullifies boundaries and identities.
Postcolonialists cannot face the truth of sustained colonial legacies and their insidious resonance in everyday lives. As to the notion of the “subaltern,” Ashcroft et al cannot but invoke Gramsci’s terminology but not the political project that motivates it. They elide the whole issue of hegemony (consent armored by coercion) and replace Gramsci’s framework with the entirely disparate paradigm of the Indian historians’ Subaltern Group (with which Spivak is affiliated). This Group’s primary preocupation is the criticism of elites and elite culture in India whose anti-British nationalism worsened the oppression of the landless peasantry. Consequently, they criticize Marxist class analysis which to them ignore the “politics of the people,” and by implication Gramsci’s notion of the popular as a transcendence of economic-corporatist position, and a national-popular culture as a crystallization of the diverse interests/sectors constituting the nation (Gramsci 1985, 203-212). Their concern with power and authority, with governability (a variant of Foucault’s governmentality), displaces the question of sovereignty vis-à-vis the occupying colonial power. While Gramsci envisioned the “national popular” as a process of lay intellectuals expanding and elaborating a secular “humanism” attuned to the grassroots, for the Subaltern Studies Group, an implacable fissure exists between the nation represented by the native elite and the people, specifically the peasantry. Gramsci is accused of essentialism, though it is unclear how the Indian historians can be credible when they themselves postulate a rigid distinction between the elite and the subaltern, subject-positions which are constituted by converging and diverging lines of differences. Again, difference becomes fetishized or reified when Spivak claims to establish a fixed incommensurability between elite and subaltern, even canceling the at least relational category of dominant/subordinate groups in structural-functionalist sociology. Since the categories of nation and class are rejected, subalternity becomes mystified or trivialized as all or any kind of subordination removed from any revolutionary socialist telos.
The habitual imposition of a monolithic grid of differance in postcolonial methodology sets it apart from a historical-materialist analysis such as that subtending Gramsci’s “Notes on Italian History” (1934-35) in Prison Notebooks. It accords with a nihilistic and even cynical skepticism toward any emancipatory project of overthrowing capitalist social relations of production. For those desiring to change the impoverished and exploited condition of what is now called the global “South,” it is better to forego Establishment postcolonial studies and go straight to Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks. The twin issues of the peasantry and national sovereignty constitute the blind spot that defines the limit of postcolonial critique.
In Quest of Gramsci
“A new way of being Gramscian”—to quote Pasolini’s (1982) slogan—is to apply his dialectical-materialist (not homological) approach to the task of popular democratic mobilization against finance capital in specific national settings. I am not interested in deriving axiomatic truths or formulas from Gramsci’s texts. Nor am I interested in ascertaining which text represents the ‘real’ Gramsci among the multiple Gramscis now available (Holub 1992), including the ‘rightist’ Gramsci quoted by neoconservatives. My task here is circumscribed: to see how we can deploy or adapt certain modes of analysis initiated first in Gramsci’s historical studies. I would locate Gramsci’s usefulness today in the application of precisely the speculative tools he devised earlier in his vocation as a radical activist. One key concept is the “national-popular” and its resonance with the conceptual archive of alliances, anti-corporativism, blocs, ensembles, etc. Following Richard Bellamy’s contention that Gramsci’s most seminal ideas were formed in his analysis of Italian social history, I would argue that Gramsci’s dialectical analysis of historical process, especially the stratified divisions of epochal and conjunctural sequences, would prove most useful in elucidating what is involved in the theory of combined and uneven development first formulated by Lenin and Trotsky and explored by activists in the Marxist tradition. Gramsci is, as Derek Boothman (1995, liii) aptly puts it, “the theorist of the historical bloc” engaged in a concrete analysis of relations/articulations of social forces in a given country at specific conjunctures or periods for the purpose of calibrating at which exact point human agency can produce the most decisive transformative effects.
The “Southern Question” epitomized for Gramsci the problem of uneven, disarticulated, non-synchronous development carried out by the bourgeois liberal State. Before Gramsci became a socialist around 1913, he was a Sardinian nationalist, alienated as he was by the industrial North’s subjugation of the predominantly rural South. Even when Gramsci became an active socialist intent on constructing a proletarian-led State within the fabric of civil society, he never stopped insisting on the need to concentrate on the specificity of the Italian situation, its “particular, national characteristics,” compelling the party to assume “a specific function, a particular responsibility in Italian life” (1994, 4). The premise here is the forced unification of Italy by the Northern bourgeoisie’s subjugation of the Southern peasantry and the unresolved issue of landed property. What this implies is an active program to counter the transformist politics of the liberal State which maintained the fragmented social reality of Italy characterized by divergent regional traditions, polarized classes and economic disparities. The material inequalities were reflected, and in turn sustained by, the ideological/cultural incompatibilities between a popular culture of the quasi-feudal, rural areas and the elite culture of the caste of cosmopolitan intellectuals. To mobilize the masses, a whole program of education and organization of the entire populace was needed, a pedagogical mobilization led by a political party of the proletariat and its organic intellectuals. New values and ideals were needed to generate a critical consciousness—“unitary” and “coherent” thinking, as he put it—of the social situation, together with the ethico-moral imperative for organized collective action.
Gramsci had in mind a national-democratic liberation project based on the protagonism or participatory mobilization of the people that would constitute the nation. What was needed is a mass movement to emancipate the proletariat, together with the peasantry, and the establishment of a communist society, the precondition for the full liberation of the individual. This fundamental Marxist belief Gramsci enunciated in his articles of 1914 and 1916, “An Active and Functional Neutrality,” and “Socialism and Culture.” It was specifically in the 1917 article “The Revolution Against Capital” that Gramsci expressed for the first time his distinctive Marxist conviction that without organized political will and social consciousness of the people, even the most favorable objective conditions of crisis will not lead to revolutionary change. A highly disciplined political party, “homogeneous, compact and self-aware,” (1971, 185) was needed to lead by universalizing the demands of the proletariat. This is not voluntarism. Change requires the right structural situation, but the opportunities it offers have to be seized and worked on by the masses who can develop the capacity to know, analyze, and exploit the potential offered by ongoing historical situations/events. Economic statistics do not mechanically determine politics; it was necessary for people “to understand […] and to assess them, and to control them with their will, until this collective will becomes the driving force of the economy, the force which shapes reality itself” (1994, 40). In colonial and peripheral societies, historically sedimented divisions of class, race, religion, nationality, and so on present more formidable obstacles to mass mobilization. The appeal of national self-determination in such colonial formations as India in the 1920s-1930s led Gramsci to conceptualize the “national-popular” movement as a powerful agent of revolutionary change (Bocock 1986). The centrality of organic intellectuals and the pedagogical strategy of mobilizing the masses is immediately relevant to peripheral societies (such as the Philippines) where bureaucratic and authoritarian institutions support and are reproduced by patronage, clientelist politics, reinforced by police-military coercion and para-military gangsterism and warlordism.
We owe it to David Forgac’s review of its historical context that Gramsci’s concept of the “national popular” has been foregrounded into a site of controversy and revaluation. While textually faithful in his reconstruction of its genealogy, Forgac’s renovation is qualified by the British/European political and ideological milieu of the eighties—the rise of neoconservatism in the UK, North America and the industrialized nation-states. Like Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe (against the background of the Althusser/Poulantzas/Foucault orbit of dissonance), Forgac’s chief concern lies in using Gramsci’s idea to transcend economistic Marxism and assert that there is no necessary correlation or link between class and ideology. Forgacs is correct in appraising Gramsci’s concept as integral, fusing the political and cultural, but at the expense of the economic—a term misconstrued as a separate, independent sphere usually isolated to the “base” in the misleading couplet “base-superstructure.” Removing “popular-national” from the underlying historically specific relations of production in any given society, Forgacs concludes:
 It recognizes the specificity of national conditions and traditions. It valorizes civil society as a key site of struggle. It emphasizes the role of ideological reorganization and struggle. It identifies struggles common to more than one social class, fraction or group which can be strategically linked together. It recognizes that different social elements can, and do, act in terms not only of economic or ideological self-interest but also in terms of shared interests. (1993, 219; compare Hall 1981)
In effect, Forgacs has re-inscribed Gramsci’s idea in the process of “passive revolution,” transformism, at the same time as he marginalizes the role of the state. By detaching the “national-popular” from its Gramscian framework of socialist transformation, its link with the abolition of private property and class inequality, in short, an expansive proletarian hegemony, Forgacs confuses himself and others in wondering how a class alliance can contain a collective will, and how such an alliance can become reorganized by bourgeois hegemony. Of course, once a national-popular alliance no longer operates as a method or guide for socialist transformation, it will be a tool for the Thatcherite-Reaganite apparatus to resolve the capitalist crisis at the expense of the majority. In fact, the logical mistake is to use the term “alliance” for a group that has no will, no purposive direction. Once a collective will is defined as non-class (in the functionalist sense) since it has transcended narrow corporatist class interests, then it is impossible to fashion a collective will lacking goals that are defined as simultaneously national and popular. Nation and people (both the discourses and institutional practices associated with these terms) are class-stratified and acquire coherence by articulation into a hegemonized nation-people. Hegemoy is not only ethico-political but also economic, given “its basis in the decisive function exercised by the leading group in the decisive core of economic activity” (Boothman 1995, li). Why this is so from Gramsci’s perspective, can be explained by his own singular understanding of “collective will.”
Beyond Hermeneutics
Two earlier texts may illuminate the political condition of possibility for the theory of the “national-popular” will. The first is the 1916 article “Socialism and Culture.” Here Gramsci defines culture as a creation of humans as products of history, not natural evolution. Culture is “the organization, the disciplining of one’s inner self; the mastery of one’s personality; the attainment of a higher awareness, through which we can come to understand our value and place within history, our proper function in life, our rights and duties.” This inventory and ordering of the layers/aspects of one’s self becomes the staging-ground of class consciousness. Change occurs gradually, through “intelligent reflection” of a few, then of a whole class. “Which means that every revolution has been preceded by a long process of intense critical activity, of new cultural insight and the spread of ideas through groups of men initially resistant to them, wrapped up in the process of solving their own immediate economic and political problems, and lacking any bonds of solidarity with others in the same position.” Revolutionary change comes about through critical reflection and enlargement of one’s awareness via solidarity or collective mobilization of the people constituted as nationwide directing agency (Jones 2006).
The formation of a socialist collective will thus results from “a critique of capitalist civilization.” Gramsci emphasizes the growth of a collective will through critique, through the discovery of the self as an inventory of traces inscribed by history. Gramsci focuses on the objective or goal pursued through discipline and order: “Discovery of the self as it measures itself against others, as it differentiates itself from others and, having once created an objective for itself, comes to judge facts and events not only for what they signify in themselves, but also according to whether or not they bring that objective nearer. To know oneself means to be oneself, to be master of oneself, to assert one’s own identity, to emerge from chaos and become an agent of order, but of one’s own order, one’s own disciplined dedication to an ideal. And one cannot achieve this without knowing others, knowing their history, the succession of efforts they have made to be what they are, to create the civilization they have created, and which we are seeking to replace with our own” (compare Mao’s idea in Buci-Glucksmann 1980, 348-49). The labor of acquiring self-knowledge is key to grasping the nation/people as a site of constituting oneself as an agent of change. The dialectical interface of nation/people found in self-understanding—a form of cognitive appropriation of the world—leads to the integral state, thus abolishing the liberal distinction between civil society and state: “State = political society + civil society, in other words hegemony protected by the armour of coercion” (1971, 263; Williams 1980). Learning has an ultimate emancipatory drive: “If it is true that history is a chain of efforts man has made to free himself from privileges, prejudice and idolatry, then there is no reason why the proletariat, as it seeks to add one more link to that chain, should not know how and why and by whom it has been preceded, and how useful that knowledge can prove” (1994, 11-12).
The second text for elucidation is the 1917 article, “The Revolution Against Capital.” Here Gramsci spells out the versatile diagnostic power of historical materialism, “the real, undying Marxist thought” purged of positivist, naturalist incrustations. This Marxism upholds, as the most important factor in history “not crude, economic facts but rather men themselves, and the societies they create, as they learn to live with one another and understand one another; as, out of these contacts (civilization), they forge a social, collective will.” Giovanni Battista Vico’s discovery of truth (verum/factum) as historical creation informs Gramsci’s historicism. This collective will understands and controls facts, becoming “the driving force of the economy, the force which shapes reality itself, so that objective reality becomes a living, breathing force, like a current of molten lava, which can be channeled wherever and however the will directs” (1994, 40). Knowledge, will, and practice/action all coalesce in the collective transformation of social life in a determinate historical milieu.
In Russia, Gramsci holds that the “popular collective will” was forged by socialist propaganda. It emerged slowly, fusing a vast range of class experiences, “in the normal course of events,” in which humans are organized “first externally, into corporations and leagues; then internally, in their thought, in their will, in an endless continuity and multiplicity of external stimuli.” Amid the turmoil and chaos of class struggles, the Russian people experienced “in thought” the entire history of capitalist society going through crisis, determined to establish the necessary pre-condition for the collectivism that Marx considered a requirement for the transition to socialism. For Gramsci, “The revolutionaries will themselves create the conditions needed to realize their ideal fully and completely” (1994, 42). But this creation is not ex nihilo but a creative harnessing/cultivation of potentials in the given changing situation. The transition to socialism in Russia, bypassing the stage of industrial capitalism, is not a voluntarist accomplishment but rather a dialectical leap of political action—the war of maneuver succeeding a long complex process of ideological-political struggles—demanded by the conditions, both subjective and objective, in which the Russian revolutionaries found themselves. The national-popular collective will actualized in the actions of Lenin and the Bolsheviks responded not only to the readiness of the masses to change the system but also to their knowledge of “the experiences of other proletariats”—in short, to a solidarity with international revolutionary movements.
Beyond being a united front tactic, the project of a national-popular ensemble is the project of the proletarian party constructing hegemony—moral-intellectual leadership—as it confronts “the problems of national life.” Gramsci’s collective will arising from historically determined “popular forces” is premised on “the great mass of peasant farmers” bursting “into political life” (1971, 132). This event will materialize through a Jacobinist strategy: when the working class overcomes its “narrow economic-corporative” outlook and incorporates the interests of the peasantry and urban artisans into its own program and praxis. In the “Notes on the Southern Problem,” Gramsci predicates the capacity of the proletariat to govern as a class on its success in shedding “every residue of corporatism, every syndicalist prejudice or incrustation” (1995, 27). While this may be described as an educative, universalizing and expansive alliance, the strategy does not abandon class—does not break the connection between ideology and class, as Forgacs, Laclau and Mouffe (1985) insist. Rather, the class ideology used to dominate the peasantry and other intermediate strata is thoroughly analyzed (as witness the meticulous anatomy of traditional, pettybourgeois intellectuals, their ethos and world-views). Gramsci thus asserts that aside from getting rid of inherited prejudices and sectarian egoism, they have to take one more step forward: they have to think like workers who are members of a class that aims to lead peasants and middle classes into a collective project of releasing human potential for the benefit of all; “members of a class which can win and build socialism only if it is helped and followed by the large majority of these social strata” (1995, 28)—the majority—whose subsumption by bourgeois leadership serves as the chief obstacle to socialist reconstruction. This process of a generating directed consensus through organic intellectuals who will synthesize the cultural traditions of the whole people is a process not only of education but of organization for class war. This raises questions regarding the purpose of a national-popular alliance and the the goal of constructing a national-popular will?
Again, Gramsci directs our attention to the shifting balance (equilibrium/disequilibrium) of political forces. Given the situation of the South as “a social disintegration,” and the peasants inability “to give a centralized expression to their aspirations and needs,” Gramsci notes, the landlords and their intellectuals (Croce, for example) dominate the political and ideological field. Likewise, the proletariat as a class “lacks in organizing elements,” just as it lacks its own stratum of intellectuals with a left tendency “oriented toward the revolutionary proletariat.” With the mediation of intellectuals as organizers, the proletarian party will facilitate the alliance between peasant masses and the workers prepared to “destroy the Southern agrarian bloc.” The party needs to organize the masses of poor peasants “into autonomous and independent formations” free from the stranglehold of the “intellectual bloc that is the flexible but very resistant armature of the agrarian bloc” (1995, 47). Thus the people, not the bourgeoisie nor the Church and its cosmopolitan intelligentsia, will proceed to constitute the nation by releasing the productive forces needed for a more humane civilizational project, a new social order.
While the educational-pedagogical task seems a pre-requisite, Gramsci does not envision an ideological-moral reform as an end in itself, a continuous “war of position” regardless of changed circumstances. Nor does it have anything to do with the numerical weakness of the proletariat nor of the fascist monopoly of military reserves and logistics. Rather, the problem Gramsci faced then was historically dictated by the deleterious moral-intellectual leadership of the fascist bloc enabled by the continuing political and economic subordination of the peasantry and the failure of the workers and their party in mobilizing them. For Gramsci, one of the ways (specific to Italy but not to all social formations) in building a counter-hegemonic bloc is the cultivation of organic intellectuals that can help shape a genuinely democratic national unity (the Italian nation as a legal, formal entity had no real cultural unity rooted in the people’s lives) on the basis of a unified struggle with the popular forces (peasantry, middle elements). 
 Before applying Gramsci’s theory of the national-popular strategy to the Philippines as a model neocolonial formation, I want to summarize its fundamental elements:
 1) A national life and field of action is needed for the proletariat to settle first with its bourgeoisie, as Marx and Engels stipulated in the Manifesto, and a synthesizing historical program based on commonalty of experiences will be used to unify, activate and lead the majority of the population;
 2) For socialist revolutionaries to defeat the capitalist bloc, the party of the proletariat needs to move beyond sectarianism, that is, beyond corporatist/syndicalist tendencies and win the consent of the peasantry and middle elements by including their interests/demands in a common program/platform of action through concessions/compromises without abandoning their humanist, secular principles and the goal of a classless society;
 3) To build such an alliance or historic bloc of subaltern masses under the leadership of the party of the working class, organic intellectuals are needed for organizing the nation-people, and to supervise the inculcation of discipline in thinking and action; these tasks aim to generate a collective will informed by a knowledge of the totality of social relations that is its condition of effectivity;
 4) The field of political mobilization involves civil society and the state institutions, without any predetermined approach (whether through frontal assault in a war of maneuver, or normal political-legal actions in a war of position); the tactics of mass actions will depend on the concrete situation and the alignment and balance of political forces in any specific conjuncture.
 5) The national-popular has a socialist orientation based on internationalist solidarity, aimed at utilizing the scientific and progressive achievements of all of humanity to improve the material and spiritual well-being of all communities and national formations.
Historical Triangulation
I will now summarize briefly the political history of the Philippines and sketch the most crucial problems of neocolonial development in the epoch of globalized capitalism and the U.S.-led “war on terror” gripping the whole planet. This exercise is intended simply to illustrate the usefulness of Gramsci’s thesis on the imperative of a “national-popular” will applied to a colonial/neocolonial formation. While Italy and the Philippines belong to sharply disparate temporal and spatial regions and scales, with incommensurable singularities, one can discern rough similarities. The principal difference, of course, is that the Philippines were colonized by theocratic feudal Spain for three hundred years and by the industrialized capitalist United States for nearly a century. U.S. colonial rule preserved the feudal infrastructure, heightened ethnic divisions (principally between Christian and Muslim), and deepened class inequality by supporting a comprador-merchant class and an army of bureaucratic intelligentsia. After forcibly subjugating the revolutionary forces of the first Philippine Republic, it used a transformist “passive revolution” to win the subaltern intelligentsia and thus incorporate the peasantry into a colonial order and eventually a neocolonial setup. It suppressed the birth of a Filipino national-popular will.
The parameters of revolutionary socialist change in the Philippines are clearly drawn by the legacy of its colonial history, first by Spain and then by the United States. This resulted in the continuing fragmentation of the country in terms of class, language, and religion with deadly consequences (instanced by the undefeatable Moro separatist struggle). Spain used the Philippines primarily as a trading post for the galleon trade with China, using natural and human resources it found, until primitive mercantilism took over in the nineteenth century. The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines as a result of tribal conflicts which the Spanish civil authority resolved by mainly by force and partly by concessions to the local chieftains. Unable to occupy the Muslim territories with its limited resources and personnel, the Spanish colonial administration used this conflict to heighten insecurity and legitimize their authority. They relied mainly on the friars of the religious orders to extract tribute from the Christianized inhabitants who were reduced to serfhood or abject slavery. The encomienda system generated a stratum of Spanish landlords who, together with the Catholic Church, maintained a tributary system in which only a few selected natives functioned as petty administrators and bureaucrats. So Spanish hegemony was tenuous, obtained mainly through the disciplinary regime of religious practices and institutions. When the children of Chinese and Filipino creoles or mestizos succeeded in acquiring formal education in schools administered by the religious orders, and also in Europe, they absorbed liberal ideas that formed the basis for the nationalist movement which began in the 1870s and ripened in the 1898 revolution. But this consciousness of Filipino nationality was confined mainly to the artisans and professions led by the ilustrado gentry class. It was not shared by the peasantry who were mobilized in terms of kinship or traditional loyalty to their village elders; or in terms of affiliation with millenary, chiliastic sects. In time, because of the organizing efforts of the Propagandists (reformist intellectuals, ilustrados, from the classes of rich farmers, artisans and petty traders) with their ideals of Enlightenment rationalism and autonomy, and the recruitment of the petty landlords-merchants, a hegemonic social bloc of anticolonialists emerged: the Malolos Republic led by General Emilio Aguinaldo. This signaled the emergence of a Filipino national-popular intelligence and sensibility.
A sense of Filipino nationhood founded by the cosmopolitanized pettybourgeoisie with allies in the merchant and small landlord class was aborted when the United States suppressed the young Republic in the 1899-1903 Filipino-American War. The formal republican institutions built on the ruins of Spanish theocracy collapsed when the ilustrado leadership surrendered to the U.S. colonial authority. While the Spaniards used violence armored by Christian evangelization, the United States occupied the islands with brutal force armored by diplomatic propaganda, the promise of “Benevolent Assimilation” and eventual independence. Using scorched earth-tactics, torture and mass imprisonment, the U.S. killed 1.4 million Filipinos, ten percent of the population. Unable to defeat the Moros (Filipino Muslims) despite a series of massacres, the U.S. deployed a combination of diplomatic chicanery, subterfuge and “bribery” to pacify them. Up to the present, U.S. Special Forces are still battling the Moros (Muslims living in the Philippines) in the form of the “Abu Sayyaf” terrorist bandit group, a proxy for the massive and more formidable Moro insurgency forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and disaffected sections of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) (San Juan 2007) who refused to cooperate with the current U.S.-subservient administration.
 One can summarize the fifty years of direct U.S. colonial rule as an illustration of hegemony won through initially through military power and stabilized through the twin methods of bureaucratic coercion and cooptation. When the Philippines was granted formal-nominal independence in 1946, the U.S. had set in place an Americanized privileged minority, an oligarchy of landlords, bureaucrat-capitalists, and compradors that would fulfill U.S. economic needs and global foreign policy. Consensus on elite democracy and the formal trappings of representative government was obtained through decades of violence, cooptation, moral persuasion, and a whole range of pedagogical-disciplinary methods, with the active collaboration of the religious institutions (both Catholic and Protestant). Hence the Philippines today is a nation, basically agricultural and dependent on foreign investments (lately, on remittance of Overseas Filipino Workers [OFW]), devoid of the full exercise of its sovereignty (the U.S. has veto power over its military and foreign policy). Its political system is characterized by the presence of formalistic liberal-democratic institutions administered by a tiny group of oligarchic families, reinforced by the Church, and a vast military-police apparatus chiefly dependent on U.S. aid (economic, military, political) rationalized by the U.S.-led “war on terror” (on U.S. support of “low-intensity conflict” see Agee 2003). There is no national-popular will, only a subalternized elite whose ascendancy and survival depend on direct or mediated (via World Bank-IMF) U.S. military and political patronage.
The Southern Colonial Question
 Gramsci of course did not directly engage with the process of Western colonization of a “third world” country. However, even though there are considerable differences, one can consider the Philippines as analogous to the Italian “southern region” vis-à-vis the U.S. industrial metropolis. The current metaphorical use of “North” (industrialized nations; center) and “South” (underdeveloped regions; periphery) in International Relations is clearly indebted to Gramsci’s geographical-economic polarity. To be sure, Gramsci’s categorization of the North-South binary is less economic than sociopolitical and cultural, in contrast to the orthodox Marxist definition of a nation historically predicated on the existence of a market and a commodity exchange system. 
Contrary to orthodox Marxism (Rosenthal and Yudin 1967, 304), which considered the capitalist national market as the basis for nationhood, the sense of a Filipino nation was born in armed struggle against Spanish theocratic rule and later against U.S. military aggression. No full-blown commodity market existed in a feudal-theocratic mercantilist order. However, the emergent national identity was cancelled outright when Filipinos were excluded in the 1898 Treaty of Paris when Spain ceded the islands to the U.S. for twenty million dollars. Laws were immediately promulgated to criminalize anticolonial dissent: the 1901 Sedition Law and 1902 Brigandage Act punished anyone advocating separation from the U.S. The 1903 Reconcentration Act relocated entire rural communities into towns to deny refuge to rebels; the Flag Law, which prohibited displays of the revolutionary flag of the Filipino Republic, was enacted in 1907, the same year when the last revolutionary Filipino general, Macario Sakay, was hanged in public. Nationalist discourse and symbols were proscribed, thus destroying the material practices sustaining the collective spirit of resistance and will to independence. This period of pacification (1898-1935) involved a variable if shrewd application of force and consent, violence and persuasion, guided over-all by a transformist, “passive revolution” strategy administered from Washington.
U.S. colonialism thus applied “transformism” by supplementing coercive tactics with a long-range strategy of ethnocentric, opportunistic extraction of consent from the new subjects (Pomeroy 1970). After Filipino guerilla resistance waned in the first decade of the 20th century, the U.S. established the Philippine Assembly as an auxiliary law-making body under the U.S.-dominated Philippine Commission appointed by the U.S. President to manage the colony. It was one way of implementing the slogan of “Benevolent Assimilation” of the natives proclaimed by President William McKinley in the midst of the violent pacification of the islands under the aegis of the white-supremacist slogan of “Manifest Destiny.” This assembly served to coopt the native elite (elected by at most three percent of the population) and defuse the popular agitation for “immediate independence,” a submerged, repressed tendency in the majority of colonial subjects. 
A neocolony was born from the destruction of the insurgent nation and the systematic deepening of divisions among the people (Schirmer 1987). The principal instruments for winning consent were the school system of universal public education and the enforcement of English as the official medium of instruction, government communication, and mass media. Among progressive intellectuals, Renato Constantino (1978; see also Martin 2001) was the first to stress the crucial role of the pedagogical apparatus and the modes of the production and transmission of knowledge, specifically through the English language, in enforcing the allegiance/conformity of the majority of citizens whose national imaginary has been captured and detained. Thus, Americanization of the Filipino through education and cultural domination may be viewed as a kind of “passive revolution” aimed chiefly to defuse nationalist impulses in the peasantry and working class, and re-channel the energies of the middle strata of intellectuals-professionals to serve the interests of U.S. policy in Asia especially in a time when Japan was rising as an imperial power and revolutionary ferment in China and other countries was dangerous looming in the horizon. Future independence was promised to pacify the nationalist intellectuals while recruitment to the Hawaii plantations gave temporary relief to unmitigated misery in the countryside.
In the process of revolutionizing the political and cultural institutions “from above,” the U.S. colonial regime also cultivated its own bureaucratic intelligentsia. Politics imitated the prevailing patronage system binding landlord and tenant. Filipino ilustrados serving the defeated Republic—the educated gentry—were enticed to join the colonial administration as teachers, policemen, clerks, technical help in the bureaucracy; as judges and municipal legislators. One example of a traditional intellectual who participated in this negotiated compromise was Trinidad Pardo de Tavera. In 1901, Tavera wrote to General Arthur MacArthur, the chief administrator of the military occupation: “After peace is established, all our efforts will be directed to Americanizing ourselves, to cause a knowledge of the English language to be extended and generalized in the Philippines, in order that through its agency the American spirit may take possession of us, and that we may so adopt its principles, its political customs, and its peculiar civilization that our redemption may be complete and radical” (quoted in Constantino 1978, 67). This stratum of neocolonized intellectuals cemented the tie between the oligarchic elite and the colonial rulers, performing a necessary role in disintegrating the popular memory of past revolutionary struggle and alienating this elite from the everyday lives of the masses. 
When the Philippine Commonwealth was established in 1935, the Filipino intellectuals who came from the peasantry and working class gathered around the U.S.-sponsored President Manuel Quezon and his program of “social justice.” This populist rhetoric re-channeled nationalist impulses toward legal ameliorative schemes won as concessions from Washington. The social bloc of landlords-bureaucrats-compradors funded cultural programs with a sentimental patronizing attitude toward the native or aboriginal populace. While writers in the vernacular gravitated toward more activist left-leaning circles on the fringes of the Communist Party of the Philippines (formed in August 1930), the writers using English remained “cosmopolitan,” as can be gleaned from this reflection of a progressive-minded critic, Salvador P. Lopez (written during the Japanese occupation circa 1942-44): “For culture is fluid, volatile, impossible to confine in an air-tight compartment; and nothing is truer than that real culture is universal, the exclusive property of no particular nation but of all nations that have intelligence to harness it to their own uses” (1945, 61). Cosmopolitanism Filipino-style lurked astutely behind this left-wing nationalist figure who eloquently voiced proletarian sentiments in the 1930s and 1940s against European fascism and Japanese militarism.
Uneven and Combined Development
Unlike Italy, then, the Philippines was distinguished as an undeveloped rural-agricultural economy without any heavy industry, under U.S. intellectual-moral control and “tutelage.” Utilitarian and pragmatic norms permeated the social habitus of the middle strata. This hegemony flourished due to the acquiescence of the oligarchic bloc of landlords, comprador merchants, and bureaucratic technocrats, complemented by overt and covert tactics of violence and bribery unleashed on the unruly sections of landless peasants, workers, and artisans. Challenged by numerous peasant insurrections, US hegemony continues under the façade of nominal independence. 
Filipino cacique, or elite democracy is built on the parasitic dependency of the local clients on U.S. milit


By E. San Juan, Jr.

      The election of Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte was believed to signal, at first glance, a much needed change in neocolonial traditional politics in the Philippines. His brutal campaign to rid the country of endemic drug addiction (implicating “drug lords” in prison as well as generals, mayors, bureaucrats and corrupt legislators) was initially greeted with approval, including by leftwing organizations like BAYAN. His announced desire to make peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army (branded as terrorist by the U.S. State Department) has run aground, with his failure to release hundreds of political prisoners and his kowtowing to Washington’s behest and the U.S.-supplied and advised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Populist aura has quickly mutated into oligarchic terrorism, with the National Police killing hundreds of suspected drug-pushers and the AFP rampaging in killing community leaders of indigenous communities (Lumad) right in his Mindanao backyard. This conjunctural phenomenon offers an ideal case-history for scholars interested in analyzing a postcolonial formation, especially given the smoldering geopolitical controversy over the rights in exploring the resources of the South China Sea after the recent Hague Court decision in favor of the Philippines’ claims (San Juan 2015).

But orthodox Cultural Studies of EuroAmerican vintage has become problematic with its poststructuralist penchant for aporia, radical skepticism, and end-of-ideology resignation to the diktat of the neoliberal marketplace. We need to find an alternative weapon of critical appraisal and judgment. Filipino followers of Derrida, Foucault, Zizek and Agamben can only decry the Hobbesian world of Duterte, betraying ignorance of Hobbes’ own affirmation of the natural right to rebellion against tyranny. Meanwhile, the oligarchic Establishment is maneuvering for a coup d’etat either via impeachment or
popular discontent, waiting for Washington to give the signal. All the archaic institutions are still in place, functioning to maintain the status quo ante Duterte. This is the occasion for public intellectuals to intervene with a historically specific diagnosis of the local and international roots of Duterte’s pettybourgeois Caesarism, a parody of the Marcos dictatorship of 1972-86, with Duterte himself allowing the burial of the embalmed Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani against widespread public protest. Contradictions abound, making this crisis of the solitary U.S. neocolony in Asia a perfect example of the perverse mutation of postcolonial hybridity. Can Filipino critical sensibility rise up to the occasion to vindicate the long, durable tradition of revolutionary resistance against imperial terrorism and white-racial supremacist barbarism? The speculations below are designed to stimulate dialogue on the convergence of the disciplines, the dialectic of audience and author, and exchanges between master-narrators and the Others of Fanon’s “wretched of the earth” party in the contested domain of an ideal public sphere, wherever it may be discovered or set up.

Prologue to Interrogation

“Cultural Studies” (CS) originating from UK and North America focuses on the complex relations of “power” and “knowledge” (knowledge-production) at a specific historical conjuncture (Seventies and Eighties). Its axioms include the rejection of Enlightenment modernity/progress, metanarratives (paradigms; world-views), premised on the rational subject. Symptomatic of the alienation of Western intellectuals from technocratic market-society during the Cold War, CS reflects the crisis of finance/ monopoly capitalism in its imperialist stage. It seeks to transcend reified systems by way of privileging the differend,differance (Lyotard; Derrida), diffuse power (Foucault; Deleuze), life-world or everyday life (Habermas; de Certeau) inspired by Nietzsche, Heidegger, Freud, and Saussure.

Orthodox CS identifies modernity with capitalism, hence its postmodernist temper. Despite acknowledging the historicity of the discipline, postmodernist academics (Geertz, Grossberg, Clifford) give primacy to “the flow of social discourse”
and the “essentially contestable” genealogy of culture. Engaged with the singularity of events centering on love, sentiments, conscience, and the existential or ethical moment in order to “bring us in touch with strangers,” with Others, postmodern CS seeks to interrogate the foundational aims of linguistics (Jackobson), psychoanalysis (Freud), philosophy (Kant, Hegel) and political economy (Marx) by substituting the ambivalence, contingency, and hybridity of “lived experience” for labor/social praxis as the focus of investigation. Focused on what escapes language and thought, CS has fallen into the dualism it ritualistically condemns, complete with the mystique of a neoliberal individualism enabled by presumably value-free, normative “free market” absolutism.

Anti-foundationalism and anti-metanarratives distinguish orthodox CS today. Rejecting classical reason, CS refuses any grounding in political or social action as a perversion of knowledge for the ends of power. Valuing negative critique as an antidote to ideology, CS leads up to a fetishism of the Void, the deconstructive “Sublime” as a substitute for a thoroughgoing critique of the authority of received values and institutions. By various ruses of irony, uncanny cynicism and “sly mimicry,” It ends up apologizing for the status quo. Anti-authoritarianism is trivialized in careerist anecdotes, and CS becomes reduced to conferences and publicity about fantasies of revolutionary social movements.
Submerged and eventually displaced, the critical dimension of CS drawn from Western Marxism (Gramsci, Althusser, Lukacs) has disappeared in the neoconservative tide that began with Reagan/Thatcher in the Eighties. This neoconservatism continues to this day under the slogan of the “global war on terrorism.” Meanwhile, attention to racism, gender, sexism and other non-class contradictions, particularly in the colonized and peripheral formations, sharpened with the Civil Rights struggles in the US, the youth revolt, and the worldwide opposition to the Vietnam war and the current if precarious hegemony of the Global North.

From Orthodoxy to Heterodoxy

Mainstream CS today still focuses on consumption, audience response, Deleuzian desire, affects, irony, avoidance of the critique of ideology, the culture industry, and unequal division of social labor. However, some versions of CS invokes Simone de Beauvoir, Fanon, CLR James, W.E.B.Du Bois, Rosa Luxemburg, Paulo Freire and other “third world” activists in an effort to renew its original vocation of contributing to fundamental social change. Its Foucaultian notion of “specific intellectuals” addressing a “conjunctural constituency” may call attention to the need to address state violence and hegemonic apparatuses of public control and repression.

Like any global trend, CS can be “filipinized” by the creative application of its original radical critique to our conditions. Various forms of CS, as mediated by “subalternists” and other “third world” conduits, have influenced such historians concerned with the marginalized Others (peasants, women, religious and ethnic communities, etc.). But except for the Latin American “theology of liberation” as a form of CS, they have all wrongly assumed that the Philippines is no longer a neocolonial, dependent formation, replete with diverse contradictions centering on the oligarchic- comprador domination of the majority of the people (workers, peasants, OFWs, Moros and other indigenous groups). The question of a singular Filipino modernity—genuine national sovereignty, autonomous individuals free from Spanish or American tutelage, a bourgeois public sphere—has been conflated and transmogrified by insidious postmodern mystifications legitimized by the illusory promise of emancipation by avid consumption epitomized in megamalls, Internet/Facebook celebrity culture, and a predatory commodifying consumerist ethos.

     The examples of what I consider the inventors of Filipino cultural studies—Jose Rizal (in “The Indolence of Filipinos” and “The Philippines a Century Hence”), Isabelo de los Reyes (folklore and ethnic studies), counteless vernacular novelists, poets, and playwrights; and memoir-writers (Mabini, veterans of 1896 and the Huk uprising)— applied criticial principles derived from Europe to the specific political and socioeconomic situations in the colony/neocolony. In the process, the power/knowledge
complex acquired concrete elaboration in terms of how “everyday life”—culture as ordinary habits or patterns (Raymond Williams)--cannot escape its over-determination by the historical institutions and practices imposed by the colonial powers and mediated by regional/local ruling bloc. Time and space offer intelligible meanings by way of the contradictions between the colonial/neocolonial hegemonic institutions and the acceptance/resistance of the colonized natives. Such meanings can be found in the narratives of individuals/collectives in which the notion of subjectivity defined by various levels of contradictions (Filipino versus American, patriarchal power versus women, “civilized” versus indigenous,etc.) can be discerned embedded in the totality of social relations at specific historical moments. I am thinking of a “knowable community” with institutions and habitus, structure of power relations, not just a “structure of feeling” constituted by heterogeneous experiences

In Philippine CS, the question of language assumes primacy because intellectual discourse and exchanges cannot sidetrack the problem of communicating to the larger public. Democratizing the means of communication is apart of the process of overthrowing the oligarchic elite and the reproduction of class and gender inequality. Such a public needs to be developed by the pedagogical program of a developing CS curriculum. The prevalence of English as an elite marker/imprimatur of privileged status will prevent this public sphere from emerging. Linked to this is the position of popular culture which has always radicalized CS by eliminating the divide between the elite/ canonical culture and the proletarian/mass culture. Control of the means of communication needs to be addressed as well as the participation of a wider public in dialogues and exchanges.

CS, if it aspires to actualize its critical potential and transformative, needs to always address the major and minor contradictions of each society within a globalizing planet. The neoliberal market ideology that pervades everyday life/consciousness militates against the growth of a critical sensibility and the development of the faculties/ powers of the species, hence CS needs to focus its analytic instruments on the commodification of the life-world and everyday life by the oligopolistic capitalist order. In
the Philippines, the unprecedented diaspora of domestics and overseas contract workers (OFWs) constitute the prime specimen for study and critique. This involves not only the symbolic violence of language use but also the material violence of hunger, disease, State torture and extrajudicial killings.

Problematizing Knowledge-Production

In a critique mainly focused on the aborted promise of CS in the Global North, it is neither strategic nor propitious to describe in detail what the adaptation--or indigenization, if you like--of a Eurocentric CS paradigm would look like attuned to the needs and demands of neocolonized subjects in the Global South. Parts of that description may be found in my previous works (San Juan 1996, 2000, 2008). It would certainly require a longer, sustained mapping of the sociopolitical terrain of six decades after the 1946 formal independence. A political economy of group consensus and habits of belief such as, for example, the inventory of contradictions drawn up by social scientist Kenneth Bauzon (1991) would be useful to calculate the scale and degree of continued Filipino mimicry of inhumane models to perpetuate inequity and underdevelopment.

My task here is circumscribed: to indicate in broaf strokes the limitations and inadequacies of that paradigm for subjugated or dependent constituencies of the Empire. It is foolhardy to undertake this task until we have cleared up crucial theoretical hurdles. The first is the problem of naming the subaltern agency. Obviously the identification of "Filipino" and "Filipino nation" remains contentious, unsettled, intractable. At best we can only handle the "interpretants" (both denoted and connoted items) of those signifiers provisionally, given not only the existence of heterogeneous components of that ethnic signified "Filipino" but also the fact that the whole ethos (moral, aesthetic, evaluative) of Filipino culture, not to speak of its cognitive and existential aspects, remains suspended in the undecided battlefields of the national- democratic revolution. Mutating modes of inclusion and exclusion of group actors prevail. We can only stipulate our parameters of discourse in the light of what has been
accomplished so far in liberating ourselves, neocolonized subjects, from imperialist political, sociocultural, economic strangleholds.

For now, suffice it to remark on the need to adhere to the axiom of historical specificity (Korsch 1971) and a measure of philosophical rigor in defining such parameters. Above all, the question of ideology and the political economy of knowledge- production cannot be ignored. We cannot escape both the rules of our own communities and that of the totalizing diplomatic-technological state apparatuses of empire that modifies, coopts and sublimates those rules. The dialectical laws of motion of interlocked asymmetrical nation-states cannot be dismissed as simply reactive or aprioristic. In this light, Virgilio Enriquez's project of inventing sikolohiyang Pilipino during the nationalist resurgence of the 1960s and early 1970s may be symptomatically read as a culmination of all previous decolonizing initiatives (from Rizal and the Propagandistas to Recto, Constantino, and Sison) to articulate a program and world- view for the masses struggling for social justice, popular democracy, and genuine independence. It was institutionally predictable but also serendipituous.

An analogous clarification can be offered for the roles that Filipino historians adopted before, during, and after the Marcos dictatorship. While inspired by Indian subalternist historians (laboring under the aegis of Foucaultian/post-structuralist thought) to de-center what was perceived as bourgeois-oriented chronicles such as those by Teodoro Agoncillo and Renato Constantino, Rafael Ileto (1998) succeeded to some extent in assaying the value of popular culture (the pasyon, etc.) and other marginal practices in the construction of a “non-linear” narrative of Filipino events before and after the 1896 revolution. It is doubtful whether Agoncillo or Constantino really pursued a linear, one-directional bias. Nevertheless, the revisionist method is not an original “native” discovery. Even before the late-twentieth century diaspora, the Filipino intelligentsia has been open-minded, highly susceptible to global influences. Subalternist historiography is the product of a long record of countering the positivist, Comte-Rankean version of historicism, from the British social-history tradition (Samuel 1981) to the French Annales school and its evolutionist/functionalist offshoot in the
Alfred McCoy-Ben Kerkvliet interventions in re-writing Philippine history in a more sophisticated way than Stanley Karnow's apologetic product, In Our Image (1989). Meanwhile, the Marcos Establishment historian Zeus Salazar tried to retool Enriquez's sikolohiya by purging it of its liberatory impulse and anchoring a populist version of the past in an evolving Filipino idiom via his pantayong pananaw scheme. It may be premature to judge the reformist efficacy of this effort in renewing or rehabilitating the fields of local historiography and moribund anthropology. Salazar’s disciples seem resigned to the neoliberal dispensation of the post-Marcos order, ensconced in the academic commerce of fabricating idiosyncratic terminology for archaic ideas.

We Versus They?

The problem of thematizing local knowledge offers both theoretical and political conundrums. Ramon Guillermo (2003) has provided us a useful inventory of Salazar's heroic effort, together with proposals for improving its method and scope. But both Salazar and Guillermo have so far sidestepped the fundamental issue (which transcends the old emic/etic binary) of how the notion of rationality--communicative action, in another framework--central to the intellectual metier of a global community of scientific inquirers to understand and appraise cultures can be surpassed or transcended. This issue has been elaborated in the volume Rationality (Wilson 1970)— just to cite one compilation--in which a survey of the conflicting arguments prompted Alasdair MacIntyre's observation that "the understanding of a people in terms of their own concepts and beliefs does in fact tend to preclude understanding them in any other terms" (1970, 130).

MacIntyre does not fully endorse the functionalist view that institutions must be grasped not in terms of what they mean for the agents, but in terms of what necessary needs and purposes they serve; however, he does not fully agree with Peter Winch's untenable belief that communities can only be properly understood and judged in terms of their own internally generated norms and beliefs--a proposition that pantayong pananaw advocates seem to favor, despite earnest denials (see Sta. Maria 2000). But even assuming that isolated communities in a capitalist-gobalized world is possible,
long after Max Weber took time off from “value-free” pursuits to distinguish explanation from interpretation, proponents of the primacy of hermeneutic understanding still need the benefit of analytic explanation if they want to avoid circularity and self-serving solipsism. After all, why bother understanding Others? Oppositional American thinkers such as Marcus Raskin, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, Susan Buck-Morss and others have begun to engage with the antinomies of knowledge-production faced earlier by the British in the context of the challenges of the postmodern era (Raskin 1987), an engagement coopted by the debates on terrorism, Islamophobia, and other alibis of Empire.

My own position strives to be a dialectical-materialist stance that privileges historical specificity and counterhegemonic imperatives on the question of adapting ideas originating from other sources (San Juan 2007). In my view, language is only one of the criteria for hypothesizing the nation as "imagined community,” to use Benedict Anderson’s formula. However, the quest becomes more problematic when the language at issue, "Filipino," is still a matter disputed by other participants of the polity such as the Cebuanos, the various Moro groups, and by the English-speaking intelligentsia and bureaucracy. More seriously, it is not possible to conceive of the notions of "pantayo" and "pangkami" without the whole dynamic network of differences first outlined by Saussure but complicated by the wide-ranging semiotic principles explored by C.S. Peirce, Lev Vygotsky, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, and Roman Jakobson, far beyond the findings of Whorf, Sapir, Humboldt, Frobenius, etc. The linguistic symbol, as Jakobson reminds us, is not only a vehicle of the sedimented past (icons) or the present (indices) but also of the future. He quotes Peirce's speculation premised on the triadic theory of the sign: "The being of a symbol consists in the real fact that something surely will be experienced if certain conditions be satisfied....The value of a symbol is that it serves to make thought and conduct rational and enables us to predict the
future" (1987,427).

Language is, to be sure, only one signifier of national identity, not an absolute qualifier, whose correlation with other practices and collective actions needs delicate orchestration (Yinger 1976, 200-02). Earlier (San Juan 2008), I registered my discomfort with the logocentric tendency in Enriquez's otherwise conscientious indigenization
attempt. In the total program of liberating the majority of Filipinos (workers, peasants, women) from market exploitation and alien oppression, a nationalist ideology as such should prioritize the act of foregrounding democratic national rights and collective welfare. Hence we need an internationalist worldview such as that provided by Marxism (articulated, of course, to our specific conditions) with its universalistic, critical position grounded on a "concrete universal," with all the richness of the particular social- formation in the Philippines, in creating a sense of Filipino nationhood (Lowy 2000). 

Filipinizing CS thus requires not merely linguistic readjustment but, more importantly, reconceiving the sense of rationality, justice, equality and democratic participation that cannot be hermetically encapsulated within the bounds of a single Filipino language-in- the-making. My firm conviction is that no indigenization project will fully succeed unless it includes a program of systematic decolonization, particularly an uncompromising indictment of U.S.  colonialism/neocolonialism in its totality, together with its complicit transnational allies. Neither postcolonial hybridity, modernizing technocratic pragmatism, nor transnational flexibility will do; we need dialectical cunning and a bricoleur’s resourcefulness in taking advantage of what our forebears--Rizal, Recto, Agoncillo, Constantino, Hernandez, and others--have already won for us. After all, the enemy can also speak in Filipino and even dance the tinikling and sing "Dahil sa Iyo" in more seductive, innovative, postmodernist ways. We need to combine specifics and universals in both strategic and tactical ways that precisely cannot be learned at this time from orthodox CS and its postcolonial. transnationalist variations.

Unconcluding Postscript

To recap: Conceived as a reaction to capitalist high culture in the late twentieth century, CS initially challenged Cold War norms and Western hegemony. It promised a democratic, even radical, renaissance of thought and sensibility inside and outside the academy. Its early practitioners drew heavily from the Marxist and socialist traditions. But when it became institutionalized in the Eighties and Nineties, CS distanced itself rapidly from mass political struggles in the metropoles and the “third world.” It reverted to ethical individualism, aestheticism, Nietzschean performative displays, and the
fetishism of differences/hybridity, becoming in the process a defensive ideology for predatory finance capitalism and technocratic globalization. If we want CS to be meaningful to the majority of Filipinos, it needs to address the urgent realities of our society and contribute to the democratic and egalitarian ideals of our history.

In the Philippines and other subordinated formations, CS can be regenerated by renewing its anticolonial, popular and democratic inspiration and re-engaging in a radical, transformative critique of oligopolistic corporate power, the political economy of global finance capital and its commodified/commodifying culture. It can challenge US imperialism and its subalterns in its current modality of warring against “terrorism”or extremism (codewords for anti-imperialists) by returning to, first, the primacy of social labor; second, the complex historical articulations of the mode of production and social relations; and, third, the importance of the materialist critique of norms, assumptions and premises underlying existing inequalities, injustices, and oppressions.

To Filipinize CS is to reconfigure the modality and thrust of Western CS in order to address the persistent and urgent problems of the exploitation of Filipino labor worldwide, the lack of genuine sovereignty and national independence, and the profound class, gender and ethnic inequalities that have plagued the country for so long. In short, intellectuals engaged in CS need to situate their practice and vocation in the actual society that underwrites their labor and provides it some measure of intelligibility and significance. Otherwise, they will continue to serve the interests of global capital and undermine their own claims to integrity and independence, not to speak of “academic freedom,” humanistic ideals, and scientific objectivity.


Bauzon, Kenneth. 1991. “Knowledge and Ideology in Philippine Society,” Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 19 (1991): 207-234.

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Enriquez, Virgilio. 1992. From Colonial to Liberation Psychology. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.
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          On E. San Juan's BALIKBAYANG MAHAL by Charmaine Bramida   

A Critique Paper by Charmaine Bramida

E. San Juan’s poetry collection, “Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile”, as suggested by the title, was birthed through the many travels of the poet. This work is a collection of old and new poems and also includes a long essay on exile and diaspora entitled “Sa Loob at Labas ng Bayan Kong Sawi: Emergency Signals from a Filipino Exile.” It gives the impression of a travelling journal of some sort, especially with some of his poems entitled like a journal entry (Tag-sibol sa Den Haag, Nederland, 25 Marso 2007;  Biyernes ng Hapon, Oktubre 1, 2005).

The author’s sweeping knowledge of geography, history, politics, religion, and literature blossoms in this poetry collection. Most of San Juan’s work, including his poetry, is political and looks outward upon the world (most evident probably in his poem “Spring in Den Haag, Nederland, 25 March 2007”, among others).

As you go along, page by page, his poems are explicitly and implicitly suggesting different places. The poet, in his exile, somehow finds himself in these places and comes to an almost nostalgic state of his homeland’s history. Wherever he goes, his country seems to follow him. It almost appears like it pays (an ironic) homage to the Greek epic, Illiad, where Oddyseus sailed for a homeward journey yet ends up in a twenty-year exile. But, instead of being lost on his way home, the poet, in his exile, meets his homeland somewhere along in his consciousness.

The diversity of language used in translation of the poet’s poems in this collection emphasizes not only the journey he is going or have gone through but also reflects him as a person. Someone who speaks an array of foreign languages impresses us that this person must have done a lot of travelling in his lifetime, or have lived in different places, or is simply well-versed as product of a privileged education. The poet is in fact all of the aforementioned. However, the bevy use of language does not exactly celebrate the multilingualism of the poet in exile. The variety of language may as well serve as a mapping device as to the whereabouts of the poet. However, it may primarily be that, although the majority of the poems in the collection were written in Filipino, but their translation into English, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, and French underscores the universal dimension of the struggle in the homeland of the poet. The poet might have intended to have his poems translated and transformed, to make the vernacular international, not particularly language wise, but the things addressed by his poems, the content–-his motherland. The poet wants the world to experience whatever it is that his motherland is going through, and this want makes him consciously or subconsciously think of the Philippines wherever he goes.

Travel, Diaspora, and Double Consciousness

The first poem of the collection, entitled “Voyages”, is very fitting as an opening for this collection. It conditions our sensibilities that we are about to set sail on a journey across lands through the pages, a poem steeped in classical mythology which starts in a memorable line: “To exile I ride on the bountiful surf. And foam-flowers/ of her dreams gather to waylay my anchors.”

The form of the poem at a distance mimics the waves through its enjambments and indentations. The image of the poem is relaxed and it gives us the experience of being in the middle of a sea on board a moving ship. Although travelling is the first thing that may come to mind once the first poem is read, the collective work is not necessarily a travel literature, but focuses more on the history and the going-ons of the poet’s motherland.

As one reads though most of the poems, you can encounter conflict between locations. W.E.B. Du Bois coined the term double consciousness, which is defined as the two-ness of a person’s identity. Double consciousness describes the individual sensation of feeling as though your identity is divided into several parts, making it difficult or impossible to have one unified identity (the conflict of being African and European/American discussed in Dub Bois’s book, “The Souls of Black Folk”, written in 1903). The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term as the removal or conveyance from one person, place, or condition to another.

The poet, with the juxtaposition of his thoughts, most evidently found in his poem, “Balikbayang Mahal” (which could be identified as the main piece of his collection), we come to this idea that the poet is not really from that place but comes from or lives elsewhere and is very nostalgic and is internally coping with his chronic travels from one place to another. The epigraph chosen by the poet for this poem is from Dante Alighieri’s reputable, “Paradiso”: “You will leave everything you love; this is the arrow first released by the bow of your exile….” Excerpts from the first part of the poem shows the idea of this epigraph: You’ve flown to Rome and London…You’ve flown to Riyadh and Qatar…You’ve flown to Toronto and New York…You’ve flown to Chicago and San FranciscoYou’ve flown to Hong Kong and TokyoYou’ve flown to Sydney and Taipeh…” The lines under these statements of the (seemingly) itinerary of the poet expresses a sense of longing for what he is about to leave behind at that moment: You’ve flown to Rome and London/ Anxiously looking back to clouds loaded with dreams wandering/ Sunk in memories of tomorrow slowly drowning” … “You’ve flown to Hong Kong and Tokyo/ “I’ll never forget you”—the temptation of a farewell unclenched/ soars”.

One of the concluding lines of the first part confirms that feeling of nostalgia of the speaker: “You’ve flown, O beloved sweetheart, but on whose bosom/ will you land?” Wherever the poet is headed or has been, he feels that he have been set free, that he has the freedom of being a citizen of the world through the power of travel and is able to pursue his ambitions, but this question connects us to his feeling of uncertainty as to where he will end up at the last league of his worldwide journey. The last line of the first part shows how the poet have invested himself into every place he has ever been: My soul cut up and scattered to all the corners of the planet”.

The above mentioned excerpts come from the first part of the poem. Obviously, it speaks of departure. However, in the second part of the piece, it offers a parallel, yet opposite and contrasting situation, thus, the double consciousness that is being shown in this piece. The lines directly show a mirror of the first part of the poem, that instead of departing, someone is: Late, they said everything is late. It’s gone, that train loaded with/ memories and dreams,” … “Late, we’ve been left behind by the airplane headed for Tokyo/ and Los Angeles”, … “Already departed/ So distant now is the ship sailing toward Hong/ Kong and Singapore”. Throughout the second part of the poem, the speaker is expressing his feelings of regret over lost time, “Taking a chance that the telegram will reach—what a pity, no/ kidding, a terrible waste”.

Apparently, the poet is addressing someone which is confirmed in the line: “You’re late—your promises rotting with anxiety and doubts…/ Finished!”  The unnamed persona that the poet is addressing in these statements is confusing. Is he addressing himself? Is he speaking for a wider demography? His countrymen, maybe? The proceeding lines of the poem presents us the image of the persona that the poet is addressing: Wilder than desire struggling to escape—where did you come/ from? Where are you going?/ Hoarse, exhausted, starved, elbows and knees bruised, crawling/ on all fours from the abyss…” These lines seem to give us an image of the struggle of what the Filipinos underwent through the different colonizers and how they battled for freedom. Yet, with this freedom, the poet continues to question where they are headed.
Basically, the most evident issue that the poet is embodying in his poems in this collection is his homeland. Despite him being in other places, or in “exile”, he cannot tear away from the reality of where he come from. However, one may also think that the poet is addressing the colonization of the Philippines. The line, My soul cut up and scattered to all the corners of the planet,” also seems to suggest that the Filipino identity has become a mixture of the different countries that have colonized the Philippines, or rather, it gives us the idea of the Filipino people inhabiting (almost) all places in the world.

The concluding line of the poem enlightens us and confirms as to who is the addressee of the second part of the poem, Beloved foreigner, let’s catch what’s left inside, waiting for joy in/ abeyance, nothing ahead or behind, endless….” As confusing as it may seem, but the persona that the poet named as a “Beloved foreigner” may refer to his countrymen, the Filipinos. The contrasting idea given through this label shows us the reality of the Filipino lifestyle. We travel. We migrate. We build our homes not in the lands of our mother country. The Filipinos have become citizens of the world. The home of Filipinos have become “endless”, so to speak.

The above excerpts embodies diaspora. Diaspora in the Philippines is very much palpable. His essay that concludes the collection ratifies that fact. This may be the reason for his double consciousness because of bilocation. 

Allusion and Free Verse in a socially driven poetry

The most consistent features of the poet’s poems are the use of free verse and allusion. Some of his poems heavily use allusion as a device. The poetry reminds one of T.S. Eliot in its overflow of allusions. This could be expected since his theme is very historical and political. An example of this is his poem “Spring In Den Haag, Nederland, 25 March 2007”, where the poet alludes to Arroyo and the socio-political happenings in his country. It commemorates the Permanent People’s Tribunal’s verdict of “’Guilty!’ for the U.S.-Arroyo regime”. The poem also mockingly contrasts the peacefulness of the Dutch city of The Hague with the “murders and abuses”, still found in the Philippines despite the findings of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, the subtle point being that the sense of satisfaction the speaker receives from the verdict does not translate into action in his homeland — the verdict does not stop the suffering half a world away. Although, the poem ends with hope: through continued and renewed struggle, justice will be found: “Your lips breaking apart the chains binding the morning’s/ sunburst —”, suggesting that The Arroyo regime will be defeated, and peace will prevail.

This poem, once again, shows evidence of double consciousness as most of his politically themed poems are. Such as the discussed poem above, it is springtime in The Hague and the poet thinks of political detainees in Muntinlupa. Or again, as dusk descends, for instance, on the Italian town of “Punta Spartivento” (the title of the poem), the poet-exile is haunted by names of the dead — Juvy Magsino, Benjaline Hernandez, Eden Marcellana, Rafael Bangit, Alyce Claver, as shown by the following lines: “Souvenirs of the future—/ what tidings are trumpeted by the turbulent winds?/ They killed Juvy Magsino, Benjaline Hernandez, Eden Marcellana,/ Rafael Bangit, Alyce Claver…./ On the shores of Punta Spartivento, the waves encounter each other/ and separate—/ right or left, here and there—as if without any/ decision, pushed to the right/ or pulled to the left/ divided by fate or fortune?” His bilocation between where he is physically and his consciousness straying towards his motherland is shown. The poet-exile remembers the Moslem insurgency in Mindanao as night falls in the land of the Pequot Indians in his poem “Friday Afternoon, October 1, 2005, In Willimantic, Connecticut, USA” with the lines: “My cigarette stubb I interred beside the Bridge of Frogs while the/ traffic procession headed for the Foxboro Casino now owned by the/ Pequots./ But why does the Abu Sayyaf sneak into the mind”.
In his poem “Megamall in Metro Manila” (Megamall sa Metromanila), with the use of statements, it becomes evident that the poet is addressing the different problems of the Philippines; from commoditization: Your vision is shrouded by Stateside goods galore even though you/ don’t know the signification of commodity fetishism.”; to politics: No more barricades even though crocodiles continue to scavenge the/ shores./ The odor of Pasig River snakes its way up to the boudoir of/ Malacanang Palace”; to the Westernization of his countrymen: We watch on the movie screen the fantastic rumbles of/ Schwarzenegger, James Bond, Bruce Lee and Sigourney Weaver.” The poem somehow exploits how dense the Filipinos have become, Your dreams are now on motorcycles.” 

In the same way, his poem “Wanderlust in Makat”i (Lagalag sa Makati) touches on the socio-political issues looming over his country, specifically, poverty. The poem set at the darker side of the streets of Makati–-the great metropolitan city of Manila, which is “Whirling in the maniacal traffic”. The person addressed by the speaker of the poem explains to us the situation: “…you’re still jobless and traipsing/ here and there./ Counting posts and stars, you arrive at “nirvana”/…” The persona of the poem is a representation of the many jobless Filipinos in the country, a country ran by the machinations of capitalist society”, as the poet puts it. Jobless. No stable path. Hungry. The last line of the poem offers no hope. As in its original Filipino version – kumapit na lang sa patalim.”

The poet’s poem also touches the subject of industrialization where he alludes to Valdimir Mayakovsky. Valdimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky was a Russian and Soviet poet, playwright, artist and stage and film actor. He is among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism. As it appears, Mayakovsky, being a futurist, adores and worships the age of technology and the speed, efficiency and noise that comes with it, which is evident in the poem, “Vicissitudes of The Love and Death of Valdimir Mayakovsky”. The poet uses strong images that creates the idea of the noise and chaos brought about by these advancements and the fascination of Mayakovsky towards these things. Even the form of the poem imitates disarray. It also appears the poet creates a fusion of the physicality of Mayakovsky together with a machine in order to heighten Mayakovsky’s regard for technology: Your torso rocketed beyond the Eiffel Tower/ Now your lobster-red tongue spits Pentecostal vodka… / But neon x-rays from your submarine catacombs/ kicked them in the loins—…” 

The poet’s use of statements

According to the principles of poetic content, a poetic idea is best expressed through the use of special images and situations that dramatize the idea. The poet, clearly, with his use of free verse and allusions, used statements in most of his poems in this collection. However, these direct statements were not used merely literal facts and assertions, but were used to embody the idea of the poem. His poems include situations, details, and characters that satisfies the conclusion (see: Wanderlust in Makati, Vicissitudes of the Love and Death Of
Valdimir Mayakovsky, Punta Spartivento, among others).

Lyrical poems

Although the poet’s poems in this collection is more evident of free verse and allusion, his poems such as Voyages, The Three Temptations, The Way Things Are, and Hail and Farewell, and others, show a lyrical side. Perhaps the most lyrical poem is “The Way Things Are,” which is made of five quatrains with images of birds hovering in old buildings; yet even here “We wait for miracles / With daggers to console / Us,” and a metaphor for circling birds — of angel droppings that “May nourish the exchange / We are possessed of and by” — suggests a vision to console “Every animal that dies.”

As discussed earlier, the poems begin on a lyric called “Voyages”, with the line, “To exile I ride on the bountiful surf”. The same as the collection is introduced, the poetry ends on a lyric called “Hail and Farewell,” with a closing quatrain still alluding to Mayakovsky: “But Mayakovsky is our kin — / We also reek / Of incense / And formalin.” wherein the poet sanctions the attitude of the Filipinos towards industrialization, Westernization, and the technology of the new age as he suggests that we are in the same fascinated consciousness to that of Mayakovsky.

Away from the political outlooks and looking inwards

Although most of the work is heavily political and looks outward upon the world, “Mask of the Poet” is one of the few poems in this collection that looks inward. The poet speaks of solitude: No self, none at all; I exist alone”.  The voice of the poem is the poetic inspiration itself. It’s paradoxical and metaphysical message being that in randomness and aloneness, we find ourselves connected to the world: In one’s vision and hearing/ In the soul and love of every creature/ Moves and dances every organic being.”

Conclusion: Essay on Exile

The collection ends with an almost twelve-thousand-word essay entitled, “Sa Loob at Labas ng Bayan Kong Sawi: Emergency Signals from a Filipino Exile”.  This essay addresses aspects of many types of exile and many diasporas, but it begins and ends with the complexities and consequences of what it means to be a Filipino far from home. In this sense, the diaspora of the Filipino race, which usually tends to gear towards the West, is an evidence of Orientalism (Edward Said, 1978). It may seem that Filipinos are still, hypothetically, colonized by the Westerners through political forces. Filipinos, being Orientals, are, in a way, seen as people who exist for the West. However, on the contrary on the thought that the diaspora of Filipinos towards these parts of the globe embodies a different kind of colonization, yet still a colonization in that sense, these migrations actually is a liberating moment for the Filipinos, that this time, they get to be the colonizers.

The poems and the concluding essay confront injustice—the ways, for instance, in which oppressors colonize even time and space. From labourers to domestic helpers, caregivers, entertainers, and professionals around the planet today, the Filipino, as a subject, shares the history of slaves, refugees, detainees, war veterans, and immigrants. These are the communities in motion that the poet-exile is addressing on behalf of Filipinos everywhere–-the kinship.

It seems that this collection of San Juan marks an important break in the Filipino literary tradition. From Francisco Balagtas to Jose Rizal, the homeland has been imagined as a bounded territory where people cannot go beyond their motherlands.

In this work of the poet-exile, a new conception of homeland is heralded. The poet may be dreaming of returning to Manila (as suggested by his poem Balikbayang Mahal), but the place is not a final destination for him. Instead, it is a portal to other places where homeland is without boundaries: “endless”. It is not an essential place, but a set of kinships that Filipinos everywhere and other people with similar fates can embrace and connect. The poet presents us that the planet has become the homeland of the Filipinos.

The poems in “Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile” are mostly about the sorrows of migration and exile and the history and struggles of the poet-exile’s homeland, to be sure, but they are also about the hope of connections and with this, the poet-exile, E. San Juan Jr., of Balikbayang Mahal is, in the best sense of the word, the translator of the many Filipinos in the different corners of the world.R E F E R E N C E S

Bruce, Dickson D. Jr. (June, 1992). W. E. B. Du Bois and the Idea of Double Consciousness. American Literature. Vol. 64, No. 2. pp. 299-309: University Press

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. (1903). New York, Avenel, NJ: Gramercy Books; 1994

Brown, E. J. (1973). Mayakovsky: a poet in the revolution. Princeton Univ. Press

Oxford English Dictionary. (1989). Second Edition.

San Juan, E. Jr. (2007). Balikbayang Mahal: Passages from Exile. Morrisville, North
Carolina: Lulu Enterprices, Inc.

Said, Edward. (1978). Orientalism. Post-colonial studies at Emory. 2012.

by E. SAN JUAN, Jr.

Rizal is both Ibarra and Elias.... Rizal himself is the spirit of contradiction, a soul that dreads the revolution, although deep within himself he consummately desires it.... Rizal is a man who constantly pivots between fear and hope, between faith and despair. All these contradictions are merged together in that love, his dreamlike and poetic love for his adored country, the beloved region of the sun, pearl of the Orient, his lost Eden.
--MIGUEL DE UNAMUNO, “Rizal: The Tagalog Hamlet”*

The only justification for national self-government is the restoration of the dignity of the people. And this dignity will continue to elude us as long as abject poverty, rampant corruption, oligarchs, and landlords remain stark realities of our society. These evils will not be defeated until we liberate ourselves from the chains of mental incarceration. Only upon such release can we recover our own virtues and be, in the words of Rizal, “once more free, like the bird that leaves the cage, like the flower that opens to the air.”
--ANWAR IBRAHIM, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia**
Last July 26, concurrent resolution No. 218 was filed at the 109th session of the U.S. House of Representatives and passed on December 13. It mandated the government to celebrate the centennial of Filipino “sustained immigration” to the U.S. since 1906. About sixty-thousand Filipinos arrive
here every year, adding to about three million Filipino residents who have now supposedly crossed all barriers to earn their “well-deserved place” in the Homeland Security State. The inaugural event was the 1906 arrival of 15 contracted laborers for the Hawaii sugar plantations, together with 200 pensionados sent to earn assimilationist credentials in order to serve the colonial bureaucracy.

Actually, after the subjugation of the revolutionary forces of Aguinaldo’s Republic in the war of 1899-1902; after the slaughter of 1.4 million Filipinos and the hanging of Sakay and other “bandits” who resisted U.S. aggression; after the genocidal massacre of thousands of Moros in the first two decades of U.S. rule, Filipinos were colonized subjects, or “nationals,” not immigrants of a sovereign nation. Filipinos were not immigrants, strictly speaking, until 1934 when, after the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, entry of Filipinos to the U.S. was restricted to a quota of fifty a year—until 1946.

We need to correct the stereotyped impression of would-be “model minority” Pinays/Pinoys. Despite the survival in Louisiana of a few descendants of “Indio” fugitives from the Spanish galleons that visited Mexico, Filipinos had no real, effective presence in the consciousness of U.S. citizens until 1899, the outbreak of the Filipino-American War. The name “Filipino” refered to Spaniards born in the Philippines, superior to the brown-skinned “indios.” It was not until the U.S., having “bought” the Philippines after the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, had to send at least seventy thousand troops to “pacify” the islands, suffered over 8,000 dead and killed over a million natives, that Filipinos will appear in the public mind in various guises. Taft’s patronized “brown brothers” soon became the new contingent of recruited cheap labor for the Hawaiian plantations, the Alasakan canneries, and West Coast agribusiness. They replaced the excluded Chinese and other “barred” “Orientals.” The orientalized “immigrant story” of which Filipinos would be one of the characters will not begin until the sixties, with the change in the immigration laws and the demise of the “Manongs,” among them

Philip Vera Cruz, one of the leaders in the resurgent labor movement that led to the founding of the United Farm Workers of America.
After 9/11, despite the Congress Resolution, protesting OFW domestics and suspected “terrorists” from Abu-Sayyaf land would soon preoccupy Anglo fear and exacerbate white supremacy.

Ten years before the explosion of the battleship Maine in Havana, Cuba, Rizal left Manila for Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.S. He had no inkling of the Lousiana “Manilla men” (surfacing in Melville’s Moby Dick as devious pirates) nor the likes of Pablo Manlapit and militant comrades who would disturb the Hawaii plantation scenario. This episode of the “Pacific crossing” would merit only two pages in Austin Coates’ 1968 biography of Rizal, five pages in Gregorio F. Zaide’s Rizal (1984), and only a paragraph or two in Rafael Palma’s The Pride of the Malay Race (1949). But it is instructive to reflect on this episode as a point of departure for re-assessing our fraught relation with this hegemonic power behind the unrelenting corporate globalization of the planet. Despite nationalist gains in expelling the U.S. occupation of Clark Field and Subic Naval Base in the nineties, the Philippines remains a U.S. neocolony subservient to the Washington consensus and its militarist blueprint for a “New American Century.”

Let us not forget the specific milieu we are inhabiting today: a barbaric war waged by the U.S. ruling elite against any people or nation- state opposing its imperial will—the exploited and oppressed majority of the world. For over a century now, the Filipino people, particularly peasants, Moros, women, and the indigenous communities, have paid an exorbitant price to support the affluence, freedom, and liberalism of this racial polity. Given the total subservience of the current regime to the dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization (all servicing global capital and primarily U.S. corporate business), as well as the puppetry of previous regimes, any change toward “electoral democracy” has proven to be empty ritual. This seems a banal truism.

This is no longer news today. We remain a neocolonial dependency of the United States, with the comprador bureaucracy and military beholden to the Washington Consensus and its current authoritarian program enabled by the now fiercely disputed USA Patriot Act.

We need not recount the hundreds of Filipinos summarily deported, without fair hearing or civil treatment, after 9/11. Nor the continuing intervention in Philippine sovereignty through the presence of thousands of U.S. troops in “Balikatan” exercises, and in reported complicity with the Philippine military in fighting against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front, and others designated as “Abu Sayyaf” terrorists.

Racialized “white supremacy” prevails with the Rescission Act of 1945 which deprived Filipino veterans of World War II from enjoying the rights and benefits of those who served under the command of the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East. It prevails with the barbaric treatment of Filipina domestics and caregivers in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Asia and elsewhere, while the minority elite, rallying around the corrupt Arroyo regime and the brutal military, perpetrates an unprecedented murder campaign against dissenting citizens amid the widespread poverty suffered by millions forced to send fathers, mothers, sisters or brothers, to work abroad as domestics or recruited contract workers, hailed as “bagong bayani” or ignored as unheroic corpses that arrive three-to-five a day at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The record OFW remittance of over $8 billion this year has apparently given the Arroyo regime breathing space to regroup. But how long will millions of Filipinos sacrifice themselves to a corrupt and decadent elite?


It is not certain whether Rizal knew or met Aguinaldo—we have no desire to implicate Rizal (as has been done by those sectarians who blindly
follow Renato Constantino—see my Rizal For Our Time, 1997) with those who betrayed Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, and others. After the polyphonic novels toying with plural alternatives, Rizal decided on one path: the Liga Filipina and its eventual surrogates.

Rizal of course met or was acquainted with Bonifacio and others in the Katipunan who were involved earlier in the Liga. Despite his exile to Dapitan, he was still playing with utopian projects in British Borneo. Historians from Austin Craig to Rafael Palma, Gregorio Zaide, Carlos Quirino, and Austin Coates have already demonstrated that despite Rizal’s reservations about the Katipunan uprising, his ideas and example (all susceptible to a radical rearticulation) had already won him moral legitimacy and intellectual ascendancy--what Gramsci would call “hegemony”-- whatever differences in political tactics might exist among partisans in the anti-colonial united front.

Pace Constantino, we need understanding before we can have genuine if fallible appreciation. The mythification of Rizal in the popular imagination, as discussed by Reynaldo Ileto in his “Rizal and the Underside of Philippine History,” need not contradict or lessen the secular, libertarian impact of Rizal’s writing and deeds on several generations of organic intellectuals such as Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, Isabelo de los Reyes, up to the seditious playwrights in the vernaculars, the writer/activists such as Lope K. Santos, Amado V. Hernandez, Salvador P. Lopez, and nationalist intellectuals such as Ricardo Pascual, Claro Recto, Angel Baking, Renato Constantino, and others. What is needed, above all, is a dialectical grasp of the complex relations between the heterogeneous social classes and their varying political consciousness—peasantry, workers, petty-bourgeois ilustrado, artisans, etc.—and the struggle for an intelligent, popular leadership of a truly anti-colonial, democratic, mass revolution. A one-sided focus on Rizal as a sublimation of Christ or Bernardo Carpio, or Rizal as “the First Filipino” (Leon Ma. Guerrero, Nick Joaquin), fails to grasp the “unity of opposites” that conceptually subtends the dynamic process of decolonization and class emancipation traversing different modes of production in a sequence of diverse social formations.

We need a historical materialist method to grasp the concrete totality in which the individual finds her/his effective place. After all, it is not individuals or great heroes that shape history, but masses, social classes and groups in conflict that would release, in the process of unpredictable transformations, the potential of humanity’s species-being from myths, reified notions, and self-serving fantasies partly ascribable to natural necessity and partly to the burdensome nightmare of historical legacies.
Can this materialist approach explain the limitations of Rizal’s thinking at various conjunctures of his life? Numerous biographies of Rizal and countless scholarly treatises on his thought have been written to clarify or explain away the inconsistences and contradictions of his ideas, attitudes, and choices. The Yugoslavian Ante Radaic is famous for a simplistic Adlerian diagnosis of Rizal based on his physical attributes. This at least is a new angle, a relief from the exhibitionist posturing of Guerrero and the retrograde obsessions of Nick Joaquin. Radaic, however, failed to honor somehow Rizal’s own psychoanalytic foray into the phenomena of the manggagaway, aswang, and kulam, and other subterranean forms of resistance. How can a person be afflicted with an inferiority complex when he can write (to Blumentritt) a few hours before his death: “When you have received this letter, I am already dead”?

The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno and the American realist William Dean Howells have recognized Rizal’s subtle analysis of human character and totalizing social critique. For his part, Jose Baron Fernandez’s Jose Rizal: Filipino Doctor and Patriot provides us an updated scenario of late nineteenth-century Spain for understanding the predicament of the Propagandistas in building solidarity, cognizant of Retana’s disingenuous apologia. With tactful lucidity, Palma’s classic biography, The Pride of the Malay Race, has demonstrated the fundamental secular humanism of Rizal, the inheritor of Spinoza’s Ethics and the Enlightenment’s legacy (Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant). Rizal shared this
secular humanism with other propagandistas, a humanism whose utopian thrust was tempered by scientific rigor, self-critical distance, and fin-de- siecle disenchantment.

In effect, Rizal personified Filipino modernity in the making, an alternative oppositional modernity, to be sure. For how else could one interpret the exchange between Rizal and Fr. Pastells, Fr. Florentino’s reflections in El Filibusterismo, and the rationalist critique of self-deception and mass hysteria in most of his writings? Ambeth Ocampo has forcefully contributed to the demythologization of Rizal (see his Rizal Without the Overcoat) as well as to the discovery of Rizal’s third novel (on this, more below). Each author responds to the pressure of the historical moment and the inertia of the past. However, it seems unquestionable that the conventional appreciation of Rizal tends toward an indiscriminate glorification of his mind, his ideas, his “Renaissance” versatility, and so on. Scholastic pedagogy and the opiate of the masses have both contributed to this idealizing, nominalist tendentiousness.

Rizal was a product of his place and time, as everyone will concur. But due to desperate conditions, others credit Rizal with superfluous charismatic powers that he himself will be the first to disavow. We do not need the pasyon or folk religion to illuminate this mixed feudal-bourgeois habitus (to borrow Bourdieu’s term). We are predisposed by our inescapable bourgeois socialization to focus on the role of the individual and individual psychology (indexed by symptoms of nostalgia and mourning) so as to assign moral blame or praise. This is the self-privileging ideology of entrepreneurial neoliberalism. But there is an alternative position that only a few have entertained so far.

As I have tried to argue in previous essays, Rizal displayed an astute dialectical materialist sensibility. One revealing example of concrete geopolitical analysis is the short piece on Madrid and its milieu excerpted in Palma’s The Pride of the Malay Race (pp. 60-62). Rizal was neither an environmental determinist nor social Darwinist. While gauging the force of
social circumstances, he did not succumb to mechanical determinism — although the weight of his familial and religious upbringing may be said to condition the limits of possible variations in his thinking and actions. This materialist intuition is leavened with praxis-oriented realism, as glimpsed from this passage in a letter to Fr. Pastells:

“It is very possible that that there are causes better than those I have embraced, but my cause is good and that is enough for me. Other causes will undoubtedly bring more profit, more renown, more honors, more glories, but the bamboo, in growing on this soil, comes to sustain nipa huts and not the heavy weights of European edifices....
As to honor, fame, or profit that I might have reaped, I agree that all of this is tempting, especially to a young man of flesh and bone like myself, with so many weaknesses like anybody else. But, as nobody chooses the nationality nor the race to which he is born, and as at birth the privileges or the disadvantages inherent in both are found already created, I accept the cause of my country in the confidence that He who has made me a Filipino will forgive the mistakes I may commit in view of our difficult situation and the defective education that we receive from the time we are born. Besides, I do not aspire to eternal fame or renown; I do not aspire to equal others whose conditions, faculties, and circumstances may be and are in reality different from mine; my only desire is to do what is possible, what is within my power, what is most necessary. I have glimpsed a little light, and I believe I ought to show it to my countrymen.
.... Without liberty, an idea that is somewhat independent might be provocative and another that is affectionate might be considered as baseness or flattery, and I can neither be provocative, nor base, nor a flatterer. In order to speak luminously of politics and produce results, it is necessary in my opinion to have ample liberty.”

A dialectical process underlies the link between subjective desire and
objective necessity/possibility traced in this revealing passage. Its working can be discerned in most of Rizal’s historical and political discourses. They are all discourses on the permanent crisis in the condition of the colonial subject, a crisis articulating flashes of danger with glimpses of possibility. The virtue of Rizal’s consciousness of his own limitations inheres in its efficacy of opening up the horizon of opportunities—what he calls “liberty”-- contingent on the grasp and exploitation of those same limits of his class/national position in society and history. In short, the value and function of human agency can only be calculated within the concrete limits of a determinate, specific social location in history, within the totality of social relations in history.
Granted Rizal’s strategic wisdom, how can we explain his failure to predict the role of the United States in intervening and colonizing the Philippines? In his otherwise perspicacious analysis of the past, present, and hypothetical future in “Filipinas dentro de cien anos” (“The Philippines within a century,” published in La Solidaridad, 1889-1890), Rizal reflects on the United States as a possible player in international geopolitics:

“If the Philippines secure their independence after heroic and stubborn conflicts, they can rest assured that neither England, nor Germany, nor France and still less Holland, will dare to take up what Spain has been unable to hold... Perhaps the great American Republic, whose interests lie in the Pacific...may some day dream of foreign possession. This is not impossible, for the example is contagious, covetuousness and ambition are among the strongest vices... the European powers would not allow her to proceed... North America would be quite a troublesome rival, if she should once get into the business. Furthermore, this is contrary to her traditions.”

There is a curious breakdown of dialectics, if not knowledge of history, in this hypothetical musing. How can Rizal be so blind? Maybe blindness is a function of insight, as academic deconstructionists conjecture. It may be that Rizal had been reading too many eulogistic accounts of the United States circulated in Britain, France, Germany—too much de Tocqueville, perhaps?
In the quoted passage, Rizal’s prophetic stance allows him to moralize on the “strongest vices” of “covetousness and ambition,” but somehow his vision will not permit the “traditions” of the “Great American Republic” from being contaminated by the imperialist virus. He mentions Samoa and the Panama Canal, but seems oblivious of the Monroe doctrine and the nightmarish fear of the Haitian revolution, the first successful revolution of slaves in history. He settles on the fact that U.S. territory was not yet congested; and besides, the European powers will check any imperial ambition the U.S. might show.

In his recent treatise A Nation Aborted, Filipino scholar Floro Quibuyen re-emphasizes Rizal’s ultimate objective of national liberation, even though Rizal’s prediction about the U.S. failed to revise Feodor Jagor’s speculation (Rizal as a student read Jagor’s 1873 Travels in the Philippines) about the positive effect of U.S. imperialism. Although impressed by New York’s “concepciones grandes” and conceding with grace that the U.S. “offers a home to the poor who wish to work,” Rizal did not meet anyone resembling O-Sei-San, the Japanese woman who seduced his soul for a month prior to his landing in San Francisco—there was no time nor occasion for libidinal adventure. Nor was he attracted by the immense panorama of mountains, waterfalls, and the urban landscape, so annoyed was he by the Yankee “craziness” about quarantine and “severe customs inspections.” Shades of current Homeland Security surveillance? In fact Rizal was more impressed by the largest liner in the world, the City of Rome, which he boarded for Liverpool after three weeks in the U.S.

What happened to this universalist historian and globalizing
polymath? Was Rizal a victim of temporary amnesia in discounting his non-memorable passage through the United States, still haunted by nostalgic images of Pagsanjan Falls while visiting Niagara, in his second trip to Europe?

It is indeed difficult to understand how Rizal failed to draw the necessary lessons from his brief passage through the United States. Perhaps he was too engrossed as a tourist in novelties, enthralled by the Golden Gate Bridge, the Indian statues everywhere “attired in semi-European suit and semi-Indian suit,” Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, and New York City where (to quote his words) “everything is new!”. Unlike his adventures in Europe, he did not find any inamorata—didn’t have time for dalliance. His travel diary was, in Ocampo’s judgment, sparse and hasty; but his letter to Mariano Ponce (dated 27 July 1888 two months after his passage) reveal a somewhat traumatic experience:

“I visited the largest cities of America with their big buildings, electric lights, and magnificent conceptions. Undoubtedly America is a great country, but it still has many defects. There is no real civil liberty. In some states, the Negro cannot marry a white woman, nor a Negress a white man. Because of their hatred for the Chinese, other Asiatics, like the Japanese, being confused with them, are likewise disliked by the ignorant Americans. The Customs are excessively strict. However, as they say rightly, American offers a home too for the poor who like to work. There was, moreover, much arbitrariness. For example, when we were in quarantine.

They placed us under quarantine, in spite of the clearance given by the American Consul, of not having had a single case of illness aboard, and of the telegram of the governor of Hong Kong declaring that port free from epidemic.
We were quarantined because there were on board 800 Chinese and, as elections were being held in San Francisco, the government wanted to boast that it was taking strict measures against the Chinese to win votes and the people’s sympathy. We were informed
of the quarantine verbally, without specific duration. However, on the same day of our arrival, they unloaded 700 bales of silk without fumigating them; the ship’s doctor went ashore; many customs employees and an American doctor from the hospital for cholera victims came on board.
Thus we were quarantined for about thirteen days. Afterwards, passengers of the first class were allowed to land; the Japanese and
Chinese in the 2nd and 3rd classes remained in quarantine for an indefinite period. It is thus in that way, they got rid of about 200 [actually 643 coolies, according to Zaide] Chinese, letting them gradually off board.”

Evidenced by this and other works, Rizal definitely understood racism in theory and practice. But it is not clear to what extent he recognized how the absence of “real civil liberty” extends beyond the everyday life of African Americans, beyond the Asians—it is not even clear whether Rizal then considered himself Asian, though in his reflections on how Europeans treated him, he referred to himself as “dark skinned,” a person of color, especially in relation to European women. Rizal never forgot that in spite of being a relatively privileged Chinese mestizo, the Spaniards uniformly considered him an “Indio.”

The term “Indio” casts a subliminal shadow approximating that of the witch, or manggagaway, which Rizal diagnosed thus: the witch is the “she-ass of ignorance and popular malevolence, the scapegoat of divine chastisements, the salvation of the perplexed quacks.” Rizal considers this persona “the diagnosis of inexplicable sufferings,” an idea that would illuminate the logic of “los indios bravos” as a therapeutic ruse, a guerilla maneuver of rectifying names and (like the Noli and Fili) unveiling the cancerous anatomy to the communal gaze.


Was Rizal so magnanimous or charitable that he expunged the ordeal
of being quarantined soon after? Not at all. In his travel diary concerning a train ride from Paris to Dieppe in 1889, Rizal encountered an arrogant American taunting his other companions (an Englishman and two Frenchmen). His comments indicate that he never forgot the quarantine, surveillance, and exclusionist procedures he went through in his swift passage through the U.S.:

“I was beginning to be annoyed by the fury of the traveler and I was going to join the conversation to tell him what I have seen and endured in America, in New York itself [Rizal doesn’t disclose what he “endured” in New York], how many troubles and what torture the customs [and immigration] in the United States made us suffer, the demands of drivers, barbers, etc., people who, as in many other places, lived on travelers....
I was tempted to believe that my man’s verbosity, being a good Yankee, came from the steam of a boiler inside his body, and I even imagined seeing in him a robot created and hurled to the world by the Americans, a robot with a perfect engine inside to discredit Europe.... (quoted in Ambeth Ocampo, Rizal Without the Overcoat, 1990; see also Gregorio Zaide and Sonia Zaide, Jose Rizal, 1984).

What can we infer from this hiatus between Rizal’s anger in being quarantined and his belief that the “great American Republic” dare not engage in the brutal adventure of subjugating the natives of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines? Two years after his visit, in Brussels, Rizal replied to Jose Alejandrino’s question what impression did he have of America: “America is the land par excellence of freedom but only for the whites.” This insight is quite remarkable for a Filipino traveler then and today. It exceeds the intelligence of Filipino American pundits who boast of 200% “Americanism,” of Filipinos as hybrid transnationals or transmigrants capable of besting white supremacy. But Rizal, as far as the record shows, did not pursue any consequential inference from his insight.

In his diary, Rizal noted the exhibitionist ubiquity of Indians—once in Reno, Nevada, where he saw “an Indian attired in semi-European suit, and semi-Indian suit, leaning against a wall.” In Chicago, he observed that “every cigar store has an Indian figure, and always different.” That sums up his awareness of American Indians—until the Paris Exposition of 1889 (more on this later). While recognizing the denial of civil liberties to “Negroes” and the degrading treatment of Chinese and Japanese in San Francisco, Rizal was unable to connect these snapshots and observations to the history of the United States as one of expansion, genocidal extermination of Native Americans, slavery of Africans, violent conquest and subjugation of indigenous Mexicans in Texas, California and the territory seized after the Mexican-American War of 1845-48.
What is the historic context surrounding Rizal’s tour of the U.S. in 1886? A historic violent railroad strike had already occurred in 1877; in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act effectively barred the Chinese from entry, a move which did not prevent twenty-eight Chinese from being massacred in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in the summer of 1885.

Meanwhile, in the post-bellum South, the basis for segregation was being laid by Ku Klux Klan raids throughout the 1860s and 1870s following the Compromise of 1877 and severe economic depression. In 1886, two years before Rizal’s travels, the Haymarket riot in Chicago led to the prosecution of eight anarchists and the execution of four of them innocent of the crimes they were charged with. It was the era of robber barons, workers’ strikes, immigrant rebellions, and ferocious class wars (as detailed by Howard Zinn in A People’s History of the United States). In 1890, the massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee marked the culmination of the genocidal campaign against the original inhabitants and the closing of the internal or Western frontier.

Rizal seemed not to have followed U.S. history along these tracks, isolating only the puritan revolt against religious persecution and the colonial, quasi-feudal imposition by the British monarchy. So this tradition
of struggling for liberty, for separation from European feudalism and the authoritarian English monarchy, was what Rizal associated with the U.S. as an emerging nation-state when he was preoccupied with demanding Filipino representation in the Cortes in 1889-90. The United States stood for Rizal as an example of a country or people that demanded representation —“no taxation without representation” was a slogan that must have appealed to the ilustrado assimilationists, not an Anglo state whose “Manifest Destiny” was already nascent from the time of the massacre of the Pequot Indians in 1636, through the institutionalized slavery of Africans, to the savage subjugation of Mexican territory in 1848. White supremacy acquired its slogan of “Manifest Destiny” in the U.S. victory over Mexico and its annexation of substantial territory once owned by Spain.


To recapitulate the logic of our rehearsing this narrative: Rizal traveled through the United States from April 28 to May 16, 1888, a quite hectic flight through the continent of the “New World.” Although he experienced briefly if intensely the violence of white supremacy in transit, he clearly manifested no understanding of the plight of the American Indians then. Rizal was sensitive to the discrimination shown to African Americans, but not to the indigenous folk that he would soon notice a year after, this time as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in the Paris Universal Exposition of May1889. When he and other propagandistas watched some Indians riding their agile horses, elegantly sporting war feathers and other colorful regalia, they were—judging from the tone of their praise--enchanted at the proud and dignified bearing of these performers.

The modernity of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show registered its aura in the sensibility of these Malayan ilustrados. Thereafter Rizal confided to his friends: “Why should we resent being called Indios by the Spaniards? Look at those Indios from North America—they are not ashamed of their
name. Let us be like them. Let us be proud of the name Indio and make our Spanish enemies revise their conception of the term. We shall be Indios Bravos!” (Zaide, Rizal, p. 156). Analogous to the revisionist “black is beautiful” symbolism of the sixties, Rizal’s re-signifying of “los indios bravos” signifies a bold paradigm-shift, a transvaluation of meanings and values, linked to a wider political-cultural movement of change among subject-peoples.

By no stretch of the imagination can this be interpreted as nostalgia for the ghostly ancestors haunting the transcribed pages of Morga’s Sucesos. Nor can it be plausibly construed as redolent of the “rhetoric of mourning,” loss, and melancholia that, for neoFreudian analysts, animate texts such as “El Amor Patrio” or Rizal’s letters to his mother. It displays what Christine Buci-Glucksmann (in La raison baroque, 1984) calls the operations of a modernist aesthetics of novelty, fragmentation, unexpectedness, play of artifice, theatricality, etc., that one can also discern in the transgressive allegories of El Filibusterismo and Makamisa, Rizal’s unpublished, incomplete third novel.
And so, when Rizal and his compatriots (Del Pilar, the Luna brothers, Mariano Ponce, and others) witnessed a rousing performance of the “U.S. Wild West” managed by Buffalo Bill Cody, according to biographer Leon Maria Guerrero, they were all inspired by the “plumed warriors of the prairies” to the point of organizing “Los Indios Bravos,” a mutual aid association devoted to promoting intellectual and physical prowess (manly sports using sword, pistol, judo and other arts of self- defense). This anticipated the Liga Filipina that he would set up in January 1892 on his return to the Philippines—the catalyzing agent for the formation of the clandestine, Jacobinic Katipunan led by Andres Bonifacio.

The famous 1890 photograph of Rizal, Luna and Ventura posing with their fencing swords has been read as an “image of masculine solidarity” presumably because Luna’s wife, Paz Pardo de Tavera, was cut out from the photo and marginalized. On the other hand, it can be read as a
parable, an instance of rest in motion, bodies pausing during a sequence of action. It thus evokes the contrived theatrical pose of the American Indians in the Wild West Show, precisely the bearer of a futurist, not backward- looking, trajectory the significance of which is intimated by Buci- Glucksmann: “The theatricality of desire or history therefore accomplishes the project of modernity as representation, while destabilizing it towards the vanishing-point of the non-representable Other.” This Other is none other than Rizal (borne from our own re-inscribing ordeal of representation) traversing perilous U.S.A. territory.

Historians inform us that “Los Indios Bravos” replaced the ephemeral “Kidlat” Club which Rizal organized when he arrived in Paris from London on March 19, 1889. It seems that within “Los Indios Bravos,” a dissident underground cell of cadres existed with the coded designation “Redencion de los Malayos” (Redemption of the Malays), a society inspired, among others, by Rizal’s acquaintance with the Dutch author Multatuli (E. D. Dekker) who wrote Max Havelaar (1860), a famous exposure of the miserable conditions of the Malay inhabitants oppressed by Dutch colonizers in the Netherlands East Indies. “Los Indios Bravos” would then extend to primarily dark-skinned peoples in the continents dominated by European/Western powers.
The Eleventh U.S. Census in 1890 declared the Western frontier closed. Three years earlier, in 1887, the Dawes Act provided for the settlement of pacified Indians on homesteads. A year after the Paris Exposition, on December 29, 1890, 146 Indians (including 44 women and 18 children) were massacred at Wounded Knee. This was one of the many ways in which the religious Indian revival pivoting around the Ghost Dance and its vision of the Promised Land for dispossessed aborigines in militarized reservations, a progenitor of twentieth-century national liberation struggles of third world peoples, was suppressed by an industrializing U.S. empire.

We do not know yet whether any of the Filipino propagandistas
acquired any knowledge of this part of U.S. history, a suppression that would be replicated at home in the bloody onslaught on the Colorums, assorted Rizal cults, revitalization movements like the Lapiang Malaya, and others with their improvised, provocative local “ghost dances.”

Some American scholars claim that this appreciation of the spectacularized Indians by Rizal and his comrade-partisans functions as the positive “American factor” in which the U.S. was not just a negative but a usable instrument for the reformists. The performance of the commodified Indians was supposed to have stimulated the “masculine solidarity” of the Filipinos in exile, reinforcing their rebellion against the androgynous friars who ruled their homeland. (This argument should not be confused with Howard Dewitt’s view that the Rizal cult helped Filipinos assimilate into mainstream California.) Which “America” is being invoked here? The problem may be located in the confusion of the plight of the subjugated indigenous communities with the Anglo-Saxon Republic and its racializing mission of “Manifest Destiny” that led to the genocidal brutality against the natives themselves as well as against the internally colonized Mexicans, Filipinos, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Hawaiians, and numerous communities in the peripheral dependencies once called the “third world.”
First of all, those Indians participating in the commerical exhibitions were victims of the 1889 military campaign against ghost dancers who were sentenced to a choice between prison or joining the Wild West Show (Ian Frazier, On the Rez, 2000). They were not exactly untamed bodies with free spirits. Moreover, these naive Americanists have also ignored the long Eurocentric tradition (from Montaigne to Rousseau, Chateaubriand, and the romantic writers of Germany and England) of exalting the “noble savage,” a compensatory binary to the demonizing opposite, to which Rizal and his comrades responded sympathetically.

Thus Rizal’s (and other propagandista’s) temporary identification with the “plumed warriors” cannot be understood without this deeply implanted romanticizing framework of mind or sensibility which can
mobilize energies for self-emancipation or self-denegation, depending on the political program which it advances. In this case, however, the image of the American Indian was quickly sublimated or absorbed into the larger, more potent Malay subject which became paramount to Rizal during his exile in Dapitan in 1892 when his Borneo project of a “new
Calamba” (Rizal’s extrapolation of the “promised land”) was prohibited by the Spanish Governor Despujol.

Ignoring the mechanistic “novelty” of the American experiment, Rizal was truly a man of his time. He preferred Europe and its familiar protocols and decorum —even if he tried to re-live and eulogize the past of his ancestors through his annotations of Judge Morga’s history of pre- Spanish Philippines. It was proof that he had decided on a protracted guerilla strategy: to burrow underground like the “old mole” in enemy territory. We surely cannot fault Rizal for not being able to foresee the slaughter of 1.4 million Filipinos in the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, nor the massacre of 600 Muslim men, women and children at Mt. Dajo, Jolo, in 1906, and 3,000 Muslim women, men and children at Mt. Bagsak in 1913.

Today the Bangsamoro Nation remembers all these in their struggle for secession, for the right of self-determination, which Rizal himself would support, even though while in Dapitan, Mindanao, he (given his Catholic indoctrination and later his Masonic freethinking) rarely paid attention to his Moro brothers and sisters nearby. Surveilled constantly by spies during his scientific and displinary labors, Rizal was unable to render homage to the Moros’ “free spirit” an instance of which he glimpsed in the packaged spectacle of Buffalo Bill’s American Indians, already a symptom of self-aggrandizing Eurocentrism, self-deceptive decay, and death.


We can understand this omission of the U.S. from the
consciousness then—unless selected aspects of its “progress” is transported to Europe and other parts of the world as commodified spectacles (via Hollywood movies, Internet ads, etc.). So concentrated were the energies and time of Rizal and his compatriots Marcelo del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Mariano Ponce, and others on stirring up the conscience of the Spanish public in Madrid and Barcelona that they neglected studying closely the political and economic history of the United States. In their heroic perseverance, they missed the uncanny “signs of the times.” It could not be helped.

And so little did Rizal suspect that the “great American Republic” would be the next executioner of Filipino nationalists and radical democrats, the global gendarme terrorizing subversives such as the New People’s Army combatants, the Moro separatists, Fidel Castro, Zapatistas in Chiapas, the Maoists in Nepal, Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, and so on.
For Rizal and his compatriots, Europe was the fated arena of battle, more specifically Spain. During Rizal’s first sojourn in Europe (1882-1887), social ferment was quietly taking place between the dissolution of the First International Working Men’s Association in 1881 and the founding of the Second International in1889 with Marxism as its dominant philosophy. Marx died in 1883. Meanwhile two volumes of Capital have been published and were being discussed in Europe during Rizal’s first visit to Paris. The second volume of Capital was published in 1885 when Rizal moved to Paris after finishing his studies at the Central University of Madrid.

Engels was still alive and active, residing in London when Rizal was annotating Morga’s Sucesos at the British Museum in 1888-1889. During his second sojourn (1888-1891), Rizal completed El Filibusterismo published in Ghent, Belgium, in 1891. Meanwhile Engels’ writings, in particular Anti-Duhring (1877-1878), have been widely disseminated in German periodicals and argued over.

The Second International Workers’ Congress organized by Marxists was held in Paris in July 1889. May Day demonstrations for an eight-hour work day started in Europe in 1890. German Social Democracy was thriving. Given his numerous visits to Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, England, and Spain, and his contacts with intellectuals (Blumentritt, Rost, Jagor, Virchow, Ratzel, Meyer, aside from the Spaniards Morayta, Pi y Margall, Becerra, Zorilla, and others), it was impossible for Rizal to escape the influence of the socialist movement and its Spanish anarchist counterpoint. Indeed, a letter (dated 13 May 1891) by his close friend, the painter Juan Luna, conveyed Luna’s enthusiasm over Le socialisme contemporaine by E. de Laveleye, “which is a conflation of the theories of Karl Marx, La Salle, etc; Catholic socialism, the conservative, evangelical,...which stresses the miseries of contemporary society.”

Based on an inspection of Rizal’s library in Calamba and citations in the Epistolario, Benedict Anderson concludes that Rizal had no interest, or awareness, of socialist currents except those filtered through Joris Karl Huysmans. Rizal’s singular modernity, in my view, cannot be so easily Orientalized by U.S. experts like Anderson, Karnow, Glenn May, and their ilk. On the other hand, Anderson’s uncouth refe

by E. San Juan, Jr.
Polytechnic University of the Philippines <>

     Except during the sixties when the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902 was referred to as “the first Vietnam,” the death of 1.4 million Filipinos has been usually accounted for as either collateral damage or victims of insurrection against the imperial authority of the United States. The first Filipino scholar to make a thorough documentation of the carnage is the late Luzviminda Francisco in her contribution to The Philippines: The End of An Illusion (London, 1973).

This fact is not even mentioned in the tiny paragraph or so in most U.S. history textbooks. Stanley Karnow’s In Our Image (1989), the acclaimed history of this intervention, quotes the figure of 200,000 Filipinos killed in outright fighting. Among historians, only Howard Zinn and Gabriel Kolko have dwelt on the “genocidal” character of the catastrophe. Kolko, in his magisterial Main Currents in Modern American History (1976), reflects on the context of the mass murder: “Violence reached a crescendo against the Indian after the Civil War and found a yet bloodier manifestation during the protracted conquest of the Philippines from 1898 until well into the next decade, when anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000 Filipinos were killed in an orgy of racist slaughter that evoked much congratulation and approval....”

 Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (1980) cites 300,000 Filipinos killed in Batangas alone, while William Pomeroy’s American Neo-Colonialism (1970) cites 600,000 Filipinos dead in Luzon alone by 1902.

The actual figure of 1.4 million covers the period from 1899 to 1905 when resistance by the Filipino revolutionary forces mutated from outright combat in battle to guerilla skirmishes; it doesn’t include the thousands of Moros (Filipino Muslims) killed in the first two decades of U.S. colonial domination.

The first Philippine Republic led by Emilio Aguinaldo, which had already waged a successful war against the Spanish colonizers, mounted a determined nationwide opposition against U.S. invading forces. It continued for two more decades after Aguinaldo’s capture in 1901. Several provinces resisted to the point where the U.S. had to employ scorched-earth tactics, and  hamletting or “reconcentration” to quarantine the populace from the guerillas, resulting in widespread torture, disease, and mass starvation.

In The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (2003), Prof. Gavan McCormack argues that the outright counterguerilla operations launched by the U.S. against the Filipinos, an integral part of its violent pacification program, constitutes genocide. He refers to Jean Paul Sartre’s contention that as in Vietnam, “the only anti-guerilla strategy which will be effective is the destruction of the people, in other words, the civilians, women and children.” That is what happened in the Philippines in the first half of the bloody twentieth century.

As defined by the UN 1948 “ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” genocide means acts “committed with intention to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” It is clear that the U.S. colonial conquest of the Philippines deliberately sought to destroy the national sovereignty of the Filipinos. The intent of the U.S. perpetrators included the dissolution of the ethnic identity of the Filipinos manifest in the rhetoric, policies, and disciplinary regimes enunciated and executed by legislators, politicians, military personnel, and other apparatuses. 

The original proponents of the UN document on genocide conceived of genocide as including acts or policies aimed at “preventing the preservation or development” of “racial, national, linguistic, religious, or political groups.” That would include “all forms of propaganda tending by their systematic and hateful character to provoke genocide, or tending to make it appear as a necessary, legitimate, or excusable act.” What the UN had in mind, namely, genocide as cultural or social death of targeted groups, was purged from the final document due to the political interests of the nation-states that then dominated the world body.

What was deleted in the original draft of the UN document are practices considered genocidal in their collective effect. Some of them were carried out in the Philippines by the United States from 1899 up to 1946 when the country was finally granted formal independence. As with the American Indians, U.S. colonization involved, among others, the “destruction of the specific character of a persecuted group by forced transfer of children, forced exile, prohibition of the use of the national language, destruction of books, documents, monuments, and objects of historical, artistic or religious value.” The goal of all colonialism is the cultural and social death of the conquered natives, in effect, genocide.

In a recent article, “Genocide and America” (New York Review of Books, March 14, 2002), Samantha Power observes that US officials “had genuine difficulty distinguishing the deliberate massacre of civilians from the casualties incurred in conventional conflict.” It is precisely the blurring of this distinction in colonial wars through racializing discourses and practices that proves how genocide cannot be fully grasped without analyzing the way the victimizer (the colonizing state power) categorizes the victims (target populations) in totalizing and naturalizing modes unique perhaps to the civilizational drives of modernity.

 Within the modern period, in particular, the messianic impulse to genocide springs from the imperative of capital accumulation—the imperative to reduce humans to commodified labor-power, to saleable goods/services. U.S. “primitive accumulation” began with the early colonies in New England and Virginia, and culminated in the 19th century with the conquest and annexation of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippines.

With the historical background of the U.S. campaigns against the American Indians in particular, and the treatment of African slaves and Chicanos in general, there is a need for future scholars and researchers to concretize this idea of genocide (as byproduct of imperial expansion) by exemplary illustrations from the U.S. colonial adventure in the Philippines.

What happened in 1899-1903 is bound to be repeated with the increased U.S. intervention in the Philippines (declared “the second front” in the “war against terrorism”) unless U.S. citizens protest. Hundreds of U.S. Special Forces are at present deployed throughout the islands presumably against “terrorist” Muslim insurgents and the left-wing New People’s Army. Both groups have been fighting for basic democratic rights for more than five decades now, since the Philippines gained nominal independence from the U.S. in 1946. There is unfortunately abysmal ignorance about continued U.S. involvement in this former Asian colony—except, perhaps, during the 1986 “People Power” revolt against the Marcos “martial law” regime universally condemned for stark human-rights violations.
As attested to by UNESCO and human rights monitors, the situation has worsened since then with hundreds of killings of journalists, lawyers, women activists, and union organizers. 

The current crisis of the Arroyo regime, ridden with corruption and exposed for blatant vote rigging, is renewing alarm signals for Washington, foreboding a repeat of mass urban uprisings sure to threaten the comprador agents of global capital that abet the misery of millions—10 million of 80 Filipinos work as domestics and contract workers abroad—caused by World Bank, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund policies imposed on a neocolonial government.

The revolutionary upsurge in the Philippines against the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986) stirred up dogmatic Cold War complacency. 

With the inauguration of a new stage in academic Cultural Studies in the nineties, the historical reality of U.S. imperialism (the genocide of Native Americans is replayed in the subjugation of the inhabitants of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Cuba) is finally being excavated and re-appraised. But this is, of course, a phenomenon brought about by a confluence of multifarious events, among them: the demise of the Soviet Union as a challenger to U.S. hegemony; the sublation of the Sixties in both Fukuyama’s “end of history” and the interminable “culture wars,” the Palestininan intifadas; the Zapatista revolt against NAFTA; the heralding of current anti-terrorism by the Gulf War; and the fabled “clash of civilizations.”

Despite these changes, the old frames of intelligibility have not been modified or reconfigured to understand how nationalist revolutions in the colonized territories cannot be confused with the nationalist patriotism of the dominant or hegemonic metropoles, or how the mode of U.S. imperial rule in the twentieth century differs in form and content from those of the British or French in the nineteenth century.

Despite inroads of critical theory here and there, the received consensus of a progressive modernizing influence from the advanced industrial Western powers remains deeply entrenched here and in the Philippines. Even postcolonial and postmodern thinkers commit the mistake of censuring the decolonizing projects of the subalternized peoples because these projects (in the superior gaze of these thinkers) have been damaged, or are bound to become perverted into despotic postcolonial regimes, like those in Ghana, Algeria, Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere. The only alternative, it seems, is to give assent to the process of globalization under the aegis of the World Bank/IMF/WTO, and hope for a kind of “benevolent assimilation.”

What remains to be carefully considered, above all, is the historical specificity or singularity of each of these projects of national liberation, their class composition, historical roots, programs, ideological tendencies, and political agendas within the context of colonial/imperial domination. It is not possible to pronounce summary judgments on the character and fate of nationalist movements in the peripheral formations without focusing on the complex manifold relations between colonizer and colonized, the dialectical interaction between their forces as well as others caught in the conflict. 

Otherwise, the result would be a disingenuous ethical utopianism such as that found in U.S. postnationalist and postcolonialist discourse which, in the final analysis, functions as an apology for the ascendancy of the transnational corporate powers embedded in the nation-states of the North, and for the hegemonic rule of the only remaining superpower claiming to act in the name of freedom and democracy.

The case of the national-democratic struggle in the Philippines may be taken as an example of one historic singularity. Because of the historical specificity of the Philippines’ emergence as a dependent nation-state controlled by the United States in the twentieth century, nationalism as a mass movement has always been defined by events of anti-imperialist rebellion. U.S. conquest entailed long and sustained violent suppression of the Filipino revolutionary forces for decades.

The central founding “event” (as the philosopher Alain Badiou would define the term) is the 1896 revolution against Spain and its sequel, the Filipino- American war of 1899-1902, and the Moro resistance up to 1914 against U.S. colonization. Another political sequence of events is the Sakdal uprising in the thirties during the Commonwealth period followed by the Huk uprising in the forties and fifties—a sequence that is renewed in the First Quarter Storm of 1970 against the neocolonial state. 

While the feudal oligarchy and the comprador class under U.S. patronage utilized elements of the nationalist tradition formed in 1896-1898 as their ideological weapon for establishing moral-intellectual leadership, their attempts have never been successful. Propped by the Pentagon-supported military, the Arroyo administration today, for example, uses the U.S. slogan of democracy against terrorism and the fantasies of the neoliberal free market to legitimize its continued exploitation of workers, peasants, women and ethnic minorities.

Following a long and tested tradition of grassroots mobilization, Filipino nationalism has always remained centered on the peasantry’s demand for land closely tied to the popular-democratic demand for equality and genuine sovereignty.

For over a century now, U.S.-backed developmentalism and modernization have utterly failed in the Philippines. The resistance against globalized capital and its neoliberal extortions is spearheaded today by a national-democratic mass movement of various ideological persuasions. There is also a durable Marxist-led insurgency that seeks to articulate the “unfinished revolution” of 1896 in its demand for national independence against U.S. control and social justice for the majority of citizens (80 million) ten percent of whom are now migrant workers abroad. 

Meanwhile, the Muslim community in the southern part of the Philippines initiated its armed struggle for self-determination during the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986) and continues today as a broadly based movement for autonomy, despite the Islamic ideology of its teacher- militants.

Recalling the genocidal U.S. campaigns cited above, BangsaMoro nationalism cannot forget its Muslim singularity which is universalized in the principles of equality, justice, and the right to self-determination. In the wake of past defeats of peasant revolts, the Filipino culture of nationalism constantly renews its anti-imperialist vocation by mobilizing new forces (women and church people in the sixties, and the indigenous or ethnic minorities in the seventies and eighties). It is organically embedded in emancipatory social and political movements whose origin evokes in part the Enlightenment narrative of sovereignty as mediated by third-world nationalist movements (Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Mao) but whose sites of actualization are the local events of mass insurgency against continued U.S. hegemony.

The Philippines as an “imagined” and actually experienced ensemble of communities, or multiplicities in motion, remains in the process of being constructed primarily through modes of political and social resistance against corporate transnationalism (or globalization, in the trendy parlance) and its technologically mediated ideologies, fashioning thereby the appropriate cultural forms of dissent, resistance, and subversion worthy of its people’s history and its collective vision.—(Drafted 1/15/2006)

E. SAN JUAN, Jr. was recently Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and visiting professor of literature and cultural studies at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, and fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University. He was a fellow of the Harry Ransom Cenrwe, University of Texas and is currently professorial lecturer at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. His most recent books are Working Through the Contradictions (Bucknell U Press), US Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines (Palgrave) , In the Wake of Terror: Class, Race, Nation,Ethnicity in the Postmodern World (Lexington), and Between Empire and Insuregency; The Philippines in the New Millennium (University of the Philippines Press). Forthcoming by September 2016: Learning from the Filipino Diaspora (University of Santo Tomas Press).

          "What Kind Of (Submarine Officer) Is Best?"   
Lots of links to share since I last posted:

1) USS Providence (SSN 719) launched a UAV! The media made sure to call it a "drone" to scare people.

2) In skimmer news, a Chinese LST violated the Rules of the Road in trying to ward off USS Cowpens (CG 63) from collecting intel of a local OPAREA exercise involving the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning. I suggest that since the Chinese PLAN has demostrated a desire to play at the varsity level, we take them up on it. I'm gonna guess that Chinese skimmers will collide with each other before anything bad happens to one of our ships. And, in 10-15 years, once the Chinese Navy gets a lot better, maybe we'll need an INCSEA agreement with them like we had with the Soviets.

3) Here's a great 10 minute video on leadership from a Submariner; it's well worth your time.

4) Word on the street is that there are lots of good jobs for former Navy Nukes at the Hanford Vitrification Plant in Richland, WA.

5) The budget agreement will, if it passes the Senate and is signed by the President, reduce the rate of increase for military retirement pensions for those of us under 62 years old and non-disabled. While it'll cost me money and does feel like a "unilateral after-the-fact" modification of the original enlistment contract I signed, I figure that since I support a reduction in the rate of increase of future Social Security payments as part of a "grand compromise" on entitlement reform, it would be hypocritical of me to get too NIMBY with this proposal. YMMV.

6) An article (membership required) in the December issue of Proceedings by a young LT is discussed over at the USNI blog. The article posits that the move to require more (85%) of NROTC scholarships be given to those who will pursue technical degrees is misguided. Excerpt:
The tier system was developed in 2009 as a result of fewer NROTC and U.S. Naval Academy graduates entering the nuclear-reactor community. The Regulations for Officer Development and the Academic-Major Selection Policy direct that a minimum of 65 percent of NROTC Navy-option scholarship midshipmen must complete a technical-degree program before receiving their commissions. A technical degree refers to Tiers 1 and 2, which comprise all STEM majors. Tier 1 includes most engineering majors, and Tier 2 refers to majors in biochemistry, astrophysics, chemistry, computer programming/engineering, civil engineering, physics, and mathematics. All other academic majors are non-technical, or Tier 3.
As a result of the new policy, a high-school senior’s best chance of obtaining a Navy scholarship is to apply for Tiers 1 and 2, since CNO guidance specifies that not less than 85 percent of incoming offers will come from this restricted pool. In fact, an algorithm decides the fate of hopeful midshipmen, balanced in large part with their proposed major selection annotated in their applications.
The post goes on to provide anecdotal evidence of all the History and English and Gender Studies majors who have done fine as Navy Nuclear officers. Most of us know one or two who have done fine. The underlying assumption seems to be that people who get engineering or chemisty or physics degrees only care about science, and are unlikely to be able to find Afghanistan on a map. The good LT goes on to say: "If less than 35 percent of our unrestricted line officers have developed the ability to think comprehensively through critical reading and reflection, what will the force look like in 20 years?"

Despite clear evidence that us guys with technical degrees can read charts and discuss the differences between Shi'a and Sunnism and understand that even though "eye" and "symmetry" don't rhyme it's OK for Blake to pretend like they do, the "we need a critical mass of submarine officers who didn't take Statics and Dynamics in college" mindset is, frankly, silly. I haven't seen the numbers in years, but back in the day the vast majority of Ensigns who made it through Nuke School and got their fish were technical majors, and we've done fine. Yes, there are plenty of Poli Sci majors who made it through, but there's no evidence that they make better overall officers -- they might be more popular with the crew and, when they leave, contribute to the "all the best JOs get out after 5 years" mindset, but that doesn't mean they were the best officers with the most long-term command and flag potential. A young officers job during his or her JO tour is to learn the boat, get qualified, learn something about leadership, and not make any huge mistakes. Based on my experience, officers with technical degrees have an easier time doing the "learn the boat" and "get qualified" parts of those, giving them more time to work on the other stuff. It's not like JOs are going to decide whether the interaction we're watching through the 'scope near the Straits of Malacca is piracy or smuggling based on study of the Dutch colonization of Indonesia in the 17th century; that's up to the Captain. And most of what officers learn about how the world works doesn't happen doing keg stands at some frat house; it happens throughout one's career.

Have dumbass COs slipped through the cracks who were great nukes but were flummoxed by references to Montague and Capulet in a Wilson Phillips song that somehow got played in the wardroom? Sure. Does that mean we need to give up populating our Force mostly with officers who are most likely to be able to get qualified and start down the road through the proven winnowing process that generates the COs and flag officers who run the Navy? I don't think so. But I look forward to the discussion.

7) Go Navy, Beat Army:

          Sex, Death, and the End of the World: Thoughts on The Windup Girl   
There has been a lot of ink spilled (real and virtually) about Paulo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. A few months back, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and ordered a copy.

This was a dense book, the type you don't see mass marketed very often, in large part because it throws you right into the story and expects you to catch up. There's no popcorn here along the way. No, "As you know, Bob," just "Here's what I'm doing, ha ha figure it out."

I pushed through the first twenty or so pages thinking I was going to end up putting it back down again. The characters aren't particularly likable. There's really nobody to root for. Toward the end of the book, I realized I wasn't terribly invested in who "won" or died.

That said, the characters are interesting, and that makes all the difference. Exiles and outcasts, expatriates and profiteers... they're all here. Bacigalupi is a great evocateur of worlds, and he captures the heat and stink and chaos of this future Bangkok with great force. This is a book that's very much about the world, the re-emergence of colonization after a spectacular collapse, civil war, and above all, exploration of the world after the terrible repercussions from too much genetic meddling with our food stuffs and our environment.

The host of characters include a scheming expatriate employed by a "Calorie Company" - big ConAgra-like companies that literally control every edible thing that comes on the market. The entire economy is based on calories - fossil fuels have been used up, and energy is measured in literal human calories. Genetically modified animals and people help pick up where fossil fuels let off, but it's been a long climb back into industry.

Part of what seems to have made this book so popular - besides the fact that it's well-written, evocative, and engaging - is that so much of it is so here-and-now newsworthy, which people love. I felt the same thing when I read his take on how big-business-controlled seeds had aided in toppling the world. I'd just finished watching a smattering of documentaries about the monopoly on corn seed and fertilizer of some big companies today, how farmers weren't even allowed to harvest their own corn for planting, because the seeds themselves are patented. Yes, the seeds are patented. They are owned by a corporation.

In the Windup Girl, we get an answer to the question, "What happens when all the seeds are patented, and then there's a blight, and no alternatives around anymore?" We also get an answer to the "What happens if we continue on like we are and the oil runs out" question, too. These are both big concerns. Science fiction has never really been about the future so much as it is about exploring answers to today's questions and concerns. We write our future fiction (and our fantasy fiction) in reaction to what we're experiencing now. The Windup Girl is right there at the forefront.

Big stuff aside, I did want to take a minute to share some thoughts on The Windup Girl herself (the blog's titled Brutal Women, afterall). The whole Asian sex slave robot/genetically tailored pleasure girl slave thing has been done to death. The minute she comes on the scene I was like, "Tra-la, whatever."

But Bacigalupi makes some very interesting choices, here. Though she is created by and owned by men, it's a woman who is her primary on-stage abuser, and the person you hear spewing the most hate at her. As a Windup Girl, she's outcast, hated, feared, and can't walk outside alone without fear of being recycled. Not only that - her flawless skin means she has pores so small that she doesn't regulate heat properly. This is a big problem in sweltering Bangkok at the end of the fossil fuel age, when things like ice and air conditioning are for the super rich... and she's an rich guy's abandoned companion who's been taken up into a petty brothel. That means she's utterly, completely dependent on others. Physically, and genetically. Because she's been bred to be submissive, dependent, with an overwhelming desire to please.

What makes her different that other robo-women? She knows exactly what she's been bred for. She has a painful knowledge of her dependence, even as submitting to her masters' desires fulfills her dog-like need to please, she hates herself for it. She knows it for what it is: bad programming.

And she fights it.

How many times have you done something for somebody that was against your principles? How many times have you done something you were uncomfortable with, or that you didn't really like, but that made somebody else happy? And then afterward you were like, gah, why did I do that?

That's her whole life. It's knowing what free will's like, but never having it.

All that said, she does work hard at rebellion, and in the best of all girl-power stories, she does in fact get weaponized... and the whole place goes to hell. She has been slowly battering against the cage of her genetics for some time, so when she bursts out, it's pretty spectacular, and unpredictably violent (after yesterday's post about women getting weaponized in response to sexual violence, I should have found this more predictable, but the way Bacigalupi sets it up, it's actually not. It felt like an interesting instead of a predictable choice).

everybody's getting stepped on by everybody else.

Overall, this was a good read. If you can get through those first few initial pages without going, "Fuck this, I don't know what the hell is going on!" you'll be fine.  Things pick up. Things make sense. Sometimes they make too much sense. And you start to wonder just how fun the world is going to be in 50 years unless we get some electric cars and high-speed trains and stop corporations from controlling the genetic makeup of our foodstuffs.

Which, of course, is exactly what a good SF novel should be doing... freaking me out about the future.
          DELHI: The Saga Continues   
I can hardly believe that we’ve barely been in Delhi for 72 hours! Texas seems like ages ago, and I’m feeling pretty well acclimated to the culture. . . as long as I’m with someone who knows what he or she is doing! I do have to admit to experiencing a complete and total culture shock for a few hours after arriving. We didn’t make it to bed until around 5:30 a.m. and then had to be ready to leave the hotel again at 1:30 p.m. That sounds like plenty of time, but Elizabeth (who had managed to sleep some on the planes) got herself up at 8:30 to have breakfast and head out and check out the city. I stayed comatose in my fluffy white bed for a few more hours (I intended to get up at 9:30 to exercise away some of the stiffness of travel, but in my half-sleep I must have slapped the alarm until it turned off without even realizing it). I finally pulled myself from bed around 11:00, looked out over the misty, overcast Delhi skyline (we have a huge picture window with a beautifully sweeping view) and got ready to head down to lunch in the hotel restaurant. When the elevator opened, there I was, the only American person in sight and one of the only women in sight, wearing brightly colored clothes among men in blacks and whites and tightly wrapped turbans sitting lounging and chatting on plush furniture perched on beautifully ornate rugs, feeling completely self-conscious and entirely out of place. I walked over to where I thought lunch should have been and looked around for any familiar faces, but I didn’t see anyone from my group or from the math and science cohort. Normally, lunch alone at a hotel would be no big deal for me, and maybe even a relief because it would mean I could read or write without being rude or having to make small talk. However, in a totally foreign environment, I felt something I’ve never experienced before. . . . I sort of panicked. Instead of having lunch, I got back on the elevator and went back up to the room, where I sat down (trying not to cry) to write and eat an apple and a granola bar for my lunch. I was trying to calm myself down when the doorbell rang (yes, the rooms have doorbells) and a hotel employee asked me if he could clean my room. I wanted to say no, but I had to say yes, so there I was feeling panicked and out of place and needing to be alone but instead trying not to be in the way while my room was being cleaned and things were being moved around me. Finally Elizabeth walked in, and we stood there talking quietly until the room had been cleaned and reorganized. I was glad to see her and she definitely made me feel much better. I had missed everyone at lunch because I was looking in the wrong place, but the experience helped me to realize the extent of my own necessary dependence on others during this trip.
After the miniscule amount of sleep we had all had, and considering it felt to us like the middle of the night (Baltimore is 9 ½ hours behind Delhi), we were all looking like zombies as we walked into our first set of lectures at USEFI’s headquarters. We started out with a session on pre-service teacher training and teacher professional development in India. Although the content was interesting, and although I very much wanted to listen respectfully and to be alert and awake, my eyes had a mind of their own and were heavier and heavier by the moment. We had tea in the USEFI café in the mid-afternoon (apparently tea is a very solidly established remnant of British colonization), which perked us all up just a bit. Our afternoon session was about Indian culture, and included some information about ancient art that I found really fascinating. We learned a little about the Harappan civilization, which was uncovered in India and Pakistan and which dates back more than 5,000 years. We saw slides of cave painting depicting musical instruments, dance and different types of animals and saw slides of sculptures showing dances and, of all things, an ancient stone sculpture of a SQUIRREL (this one’s for you, Carlin!). I actually saw a whole set of tiny Harappan squirrel sculptures yesterday at the National Museum, and managed to snap a picture before I was told by the security guard that I wasn’t allowed to take photographs in that particular section of the museum (check out this photo of the sculptures!). 

Ancient minature Harappan squirrel sculptures. . . . Carlin will DIE when he sees this!
After a long afternoon of lectures, we attended a somewhat extravagant welcome reception, held on the USEFI lawn under a beautiful tent surrounded by a Hollywood-style red carpet and set up with tables covered in delicate white lacey tablecloths and purple accent chair covers. It looked like a wedding! We talked for a few hours with guests from a variety of backgrounds (religious leaders from several communities, Fulbrighters here in India to work on other types of projects, someone from the Library of Congress, some of the speakers we have heard from, and will hear from, while in Delhi, and etc.). We enjoyed a big buffet of Indian food, including excellent papadam (a thin, crispy flatbread that reminds me a tiny bit of Pringles chips, weirdly enough), which ranks up there as one of my favorite Indian foods. 

Elizabeth Heisner with me at the opening reception

The India-Sri Lanka Group!  From the back, left to right, Joan, 
Aimee, Samantha, Daniel, Elizabeth, Ally, me, Karen, (next row), 
Mary, Kathy, Diane, Yael, Angela, (front), Jill, Julie

When we finally boarded the bus, we were feeling fairly awake, considering that, by that time, it was early evening in the U.S. and still the 4th of July. I checked out the very nice hotel gym, which I toured with another member of my group, and saw all of the massage rooms, the weights and machines, the mini-fridge of chilled mini water bottles, the complementary fruit, the sauna and Jacuzzi and pool and etc. I spent a good hour on the elliptical machine in a very comfortable, familiar state of mind – on the same brand of machine I’m used to at my home gym, plugged into the fast-paced and energizing electronic music mix on my ipod, reading my book to kill time. It felt good to really be moving, though it was strange to have so much service around me (the attendants kept coming over to ask if I needed a towel or some water or juice or the TV channel changed). One of my colleagues went for a swim and was followed around while she swam, constantly being asked if she needed a towel or was ready to get out. We were joking that the next thing she knew, she would be asked whether she wanted someone to do the swimming for her, too!
Saturday night was another short night’s sleep, as I got up early to practice my Ashtanga (I worked it out with my friend the gym attendant the night before that he would find me a private room in the gym for practice, which was GREAT!). After practicing and showering I made my first trip to the ridiculously comprehensive hotel breakfast buffet. The buffet at the Taj Mahal hotel is absolutely astounding. Every morning they have, among other things: eggs, chicken sausage, quiche, French toast, waffles, pancakes, dozens of varieties of cereal, milk, soy milk, yogurt in five different varieties (including a delicious baked yogurt in little terra cotta cups with figs cooked into the bottom. . . . mmm!), dozens of types of high quality cheeses, at least two or three dozen types of breads, muffins, coffee cakes and rolls, six or seven types of cut and uncut fresh fruit (today they had lychee fruit, which looks like a spiky red and green curly-ended koosh ball when whole), chicken in sauce, smoked salmon, various cold meats, cooked vegetables, teriyaki tofu, couscous, yogurt smoothies, several types of fresh juice (including fresh watermelon juice, which is delicious!), and then there are the traditional Indian breakfast dishes, as well. There are also very attentive waiters who come over to ask if there’s anything else they can get us (this morning I ordered a plain dosa – which is a delicious south Indian sort of crispy huge crepe that tastes a little to me like cooked cheese, although there is no cheese in the dish at all, as it’s made from pounded lentil and rice flour combined with liquid of some kind, and the dough is left to ferment overnight). Mom emailed me to say that she had a dream the other night that I was not being well-fed on this trip and was hungry all the time. I am so far from starving that I’ll likely come back having packed on a few extra pounds unless I start to be a little more careful!
After breakfast we had an insightful morning lecture at USEFI with a brilliant professor (who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. to found the School of Social Change near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) on media in Indian society. I was interested to learn that, while the prominence of newspapers and other print media is declining substantially in the U.S. (think about the Tribune’s recent slashing of newsrooms all over the country, including our own Baltimore Sun, which is being redesigned to better match what they think “readers want” by including less news, shorter articles, and more pictures and graphs), newspaper circulation in India is on the rise. Part of this is due to the fact that there is nowhere for circulation numbers to go in the U.S. but down, as we’ve already reached a point of approximately 90 percent distribution in our country, while distribution in India is close to 35 percent. The whole thing is interesting, especially considering that India also has more than 30 different TV news channels, while we’re down to only a few (which are all biased, corporate puppets, as far as I’m concerned). Their society is on the rise in so many ways while ours is definitely in intellectual (not to mention economic) decline. I’m amazed at our country’s blind patriotism sometimes.
Anyway, before lunch on Monday we made a trip to the National Museum for a guided tour of ancient and religious art with Dr. Shobhita Punja, who was an amazing speaker. Frankly, I could easily have taken a whole course with her if I’d had the time. She explained some interesting theory behind Buddhist and Hindu art and also showed us a wide variety of miniature sculptures from the ancient Harappan civilization. That was especially intriguing because it is a great contrast when compared to the larger than life style of pyramids and temples in other ancient societies. One of the most interesting things at the museum, however, was the bones of the Buddha, which (much to the professor’s chagrin) were moved from there original resting place and put on display in a glass jar in the museum in India. There are only a few bones left, truth be told, and now the jar of fragments is housed in a small red and gold pagoda built as a gift by the Thai government a couple of years ago. It’s strange how we memorialize people when they’re gone (it harkens back to the dried heart that we saw in Mexico at a monastery we visited. . . . It belonged to the monk who had founded the place and was in a clear box inside a black case in the dark). 

Sorry this photo's a little jacked up. . . . 
I didn't want to take a million pictures of 
such an amazing artifact.  However, Buddha's 
bones are definitely in there!
After the museum trip and lunch back at the hotel (in the Chinese restaurant inside the hotel, which was unique because it was Indian Chinese) we had a little time for what they’re calling “individual pursuits.” A few of us went for a muddy, rainy walk to try to locate an ultimately elusive mango festival. In the end, we haggled with a confused auto-rickshaw driver to get back to our hotel, drenched and tired, to pack up for yet another excursion, this one to the Red Fort. 

My first auto-rickshaw ride (At least my driver wasn't smoking weed,
like Joan and Mary's first driver!)

The Red Fort was essentially a massive, opulent palace built by the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan. 

Here's the proof that I made it!  Check out how the photographer
made it look like the building is totally one with my hairdo!

Detail of the inside of the Red Fort

Probably the most interesting part of the trip to the Red Fort was that it was in Old Delhi, which is VERY different from where we are staying, which is in New Delhi. Old Delhi is where you see the streets packed to overflowing with huge crowds of mostly lower class/ caste Indians. A little girl with knotty hair and a dirty dress waved at our bus incessantly and made repetitive practiced motions of putting food into her mouth until she convinced Daniel (our token male) to wave back. When we got off of our bus a block later, there was that same little girl (she had run after the bus), grabbing Daniel’s hand and begging him for money. Against his better judgment, he gave her 100 rupees, and for that he had her following him around for a while. She even pinpointed him in the crowd later on and begged him for more money, which left him sort of incredulous.
We took a dinner break after wandering around the Fort (where we began to realize that we are constantly stared at), and we were released in small groups to check out the older part of the city. We set out from an Indian McDonald’s, which I went into in spite of my distaste for the corporation. The McDonald’s in Delhi doesn’t serve beef, but does serve chicken sandwiches, something called “veg surprise,” which are essentially veggie burgers, and (of course) fries. There were other items that were more culturally specific, but somehow the Mickey D’s menu has slipped my mind! I went with three other Fulbrighters and one of our USEFI guides, who rushed us through the overcrowded streets and to Haldiram’s, a vegetarian restaurant that he described as an Indian fast food chain. We ordered and split a variety of dishes, including nan, dosas, paneer, rice and dal. After eating, we stopped at the sweets counter downstairs, where I ordered a small box of mixed Indian sweets, including burfi and barfi, which are mildly flavored and covered with edible silver leaf on top, which makes them really fun to look at and to eat. 

Indian sweets (LOVE the fat yellow ones!  I'm not sure what it's called
or what it's made of, but it sure is tasty!)
Walking back to the group’s meeting spot was an experience that was overwhelming for many of my colleagues, though for some reason I took it in stride. The streets were dirty, sometimes radiating the strong scent of old urine, and the buildings were dingy. They seemed piled on top of each other and squished together and were covered with a spider web of power lines. There were street vendors, of course, brewing large pots of chai tea or cooking various types of fried Indian snack foods. There were people sleeping on the sidewalks and women with children sitting begging here and there. There were occasionally skinny, unhealthy-looking, sand-colored dogs (often sleeping in the middle of the path), and one group claimed to have seen a cow. We moved fast, weaving swiftly through and around crowds of people, and made it back to the Red Fort in time to see the “sound and light show,” which was essentially a primer on 500 years of Indian history condensed into an hour. It was outside and the buildings on the palace grounds were lit up in turn, as they appeared in the stories. We didn’t make it home that night (due to weird standstill middle of the night Sunday traffic) until after 11:00, when I hit the gym and stumbled to bed. Thus far, I have only had three or four hours of sleep per night, which, when coupled with lingering jet lag, has made it tough to be as attentive as I’d like to be in our lectures. I’ve tried to make it to bed earlier, but it takes time to really process so much new knowledge, to be able to talk with Elizabeth to decompress for the day, to work out after sitting still and stiff for so much of the day, to write these blog entries. It’s much like living during the school year, when I often jettison hours of sleep here and there in order to devote time to other pursuits, however, there is no weekend to use in order to catch up. Every morning is early and every day is absolutely packed!
Monday was an extra early morning (gigantic breakfast at 6:30 this time), and then we boarded the bus to visit Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar, which were both interesting historical and religious sites. 

Inside Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's Tomb (outside looking in - 
this was BEFORE I learned I wasn't
supposed to take pictures of the inside
of the building

Token postcard-quality shot (though
the weather really wasn't cooperating
all that well)

We spent much of the rest of the day an hour away at the Center for Cultural Research and Training, where we learned more about the economy, about art, about religious diversity and about Indian dance. All of the sessions were informative and interesting, though there was an uncomfortable moment during the religious panel when one of my colleagues decided to inquire at the last minute about how the religions view homosexuality. Of course, their responses were totally negative. The professor speaking about Hinduism was especially outspoken about how unnatural homosexuality is, and about how there are animals who practice homosexuality, “but that’s the difference between people and animals – we have the ability to control our desires.” I thought the question was altogether unnecessary, considering that it was totally unrelated to the topic at hand. I was also a little annoyed that my colleague didn’t have the forethought to consider that it doesn’t feel good to hear about how unacceptable you are in this culture if you’re sitting there listening to this conversation as a person who is gay. She is Jewish, and I wondered how she would have felt if I had asked in front of her, in a socially conservative culture, about the acceptance of Jews. The whole scenario makes me consider how we communicate about various types of diversity and how the things we say can affect others. Another interesting point in the panel discussion was when the speakers were asked about conversion. The Hindu community representative very strongly expressed that there is no reason for anyone to convert. Everyone, in his opinion, should continue the traditions they were born into. This is an interesting viewpoint, as it is both very accepting of other faiths and also very closed to outsiders all at once. I wonder what he would have said if I had asked his feelings about conversion in the case where someone was raised without a prescribed religion, or what he thought about westerners’ fascination with Hindu. 
After lunch at the CCRT, we were treated to an absolutely amazing presentation about Odissi dance by renowned Odissi dancer Mrs. Kiran Segal, her two of her teenaged students and their three musical accompanists (one on a drum and another on violin). The music and the dance were both mesmerizing – the dance costumes brightly colored and the girls made up with traditional makeup, the music of their jingling silver jewelry (covered in tiny bells), the amazing beat of Mrs. Segal’s singing (choppy and sort of clicking, like “tik-a-tik-a-tah”). I’m hoping I can find a CD of the music at some point before I come home, as I’d love to share it with all of you.

Young Odissi dancers (jumoring shutterbug teachers after 
their performance)
We returned to the hotel exhausted at 9:30, with a few of us feeling sick (they call it “Delhi belly,” and I’ve had a mild case of nausea myself on and off for the last 24 hours). I managed to make it to bed around 1:00 (another late night), and got up early this morning to practice my Ashtanga before a light breakfast and then the bus back to USEFI. We looked for the hotel’s resident monkey this time as we pulled out of the hotel driveway. Apparently the story is that he is chained to the tree in the back of the hotel in order to fend off a plague of other monkeys. There are two kinds of monkeys, we’ve been told, black faced monkeys and white faced monkeys. The white faced monkeys are apparently very even-tempered, while the black faced monkeys are nasty and mischievous (I wonder if there are racial implications here). Keeping one black faced monkey fends off all other monkeys in the vicinity. A waiter told one of my colleagues a story of a biscuit factory he used to live near, where there was a rash of monkey-related trouble. The monkeys would apparently break into the factory and steal biscuits right off the conveyor belts. To solve the problem, the factory decided to chain one black faced money behind the building (they fed him well and took care of him), and as a result, suddenly, there were no more monkeys within a two and a half mile radius! Crazy, right?!
Okay, so that’s the next installment of my novel for now (feels like that, huh?). I debated about letting this get so long, but I feel like it’s as much for me as for any of you, and you can feel free to skim when you’d like (if you make it this far!). If you’re reading this, please do comment or shoot me an email, as I’d really love to have some feedback and to “hear” a voice from home. So far I’ve only heard from my mom (thank you, mom!). I wish this thing had a counter on it, actually, so I’d know if anyone is looking. In the absence of a counter, let me know!
Tomorrow we head to Agra to see the Taj Mahal (not the hotel version this time!). I’ll write more, of course, when there’s more to tell!
Love and butterflies,
Callie/ Ms. Cook

          Shoving elephants out the airlock.   
To round off Jose's debate with Charlie about whether or not we should be pursuing manned or unmanned expeditions in space I wanted to consider the incentives driving the push outward. During the first period of space exploration the incentive was that of national pride, of competition between the two sides during the cold war to get the first satellite in orbit, the first man in space, the first to walk on the moon. Science at this stage, the search for knowledge, was a marginal incentive at best. After the Apollo program became prohibitively expensive (and boring for the viewers at home) science began to provide the primary incentive; our desire for discovery and exploration, to find out what is up there, (and also to spy on what is down here) started to drive the space program, but it was always and will always be at the mercy of those who control the purse strings. The third set of incentives, which started with the first commercial telecommunications satellites and has continued with G.P.S.(Yes I know it was a military project at first, but it is one of the few that has repaid its initial investment) etc., was the commercial incentive; the desire to make money out of space, and it is this I would argue, which will drive the next phase in the space programme, the exploitation, rather than exploration, of space.

On the blog Joe Haldeman mentions that it is only when "cislunar space offers goods and services that can't be had more cheaply on Earth," that we will see the next phase in technological development, such as space elevators or their equivalents, thus allowing us to lift large masses cheaply and truly begin the manned exploration of the solar system. Well what type of goods and services can we expect space to offer us? On the services side the nascent space tourism industry provides an incentive for research into manned space flight. There are an awful lot of jaded billionaires and multi millionaires out there who will gladly pay for the chance to see the curvature of the earth and while this will undoubtedly be a minority pursuit for quite some time, the need to make money out of such ventures will help guard against the traditional bureaucratic excesses and wastages of which NASA is famously guilty. While scientists may shudder at the thought of the ISS being used as a glorified hotel for the hyper rich, if we are honest is it currently being used for anything more worthwhile?

The question of goods however is a tricky one. There has been much speculation over the years about whether or not zero G manufacturies might be able to produce goods that are simply impossible to make on earth, such as novel drugs or crystals whose molecular structure requires a freefall environment. While this is perfectly possible, the thought that these could be produced in large enough quantities to justify the time and expense of setting up such manufacturies and providing them with raw materials from earth is rather dubious at the moment. So what are we left with? The debate about where to go next has tended to focus on the nearest planets, the Moon and Mars, and while the moon's gravitational well doesn't pose too much of a problem to a returning expedition, Mars's does, not to mention the time it would take to get there and back.

Why not first explore and exploit Near Earth Asteroid's (NEA's)? These are resources that are easy to get to, easy to return from, and which potentially contain extremely valuable resources. In addition if a space elevator were ever to be built, the logical thing to do would be to grab an NEA, move it into earth orbit, and then spin out the elevator from it. While this process was ongoing the asteroid could be mined, used as a space station and base for instruments and telescopes, and could be studied, telling us a lot about the formation of the solar system. The key here is bootstrapping, finding ways to make each step along the path towards the ultimate goal of man's colonization of the solar system as profitable, or at least less unprofitable, as is possible. The desire for knowledge about our solar system or national pride will only take us so far, and as long as the desire for knowledge or national pride, is what drives the space program, it will always be a political football, kicked hither and yon by the powers that be. But as soon as someone finds a way to make money out of space, and especially out of manned space exploration, then we will see a massive acceleration in the rate of technological progress and the scientific discoveries that go along with it.
Perhaps therefore instead of asking whether we should invest in manned or unmanned space exploration at the moment perhaps a better question is, what is the best way of making money out of space? If we concentrate our investment in those areas, providing seed money and incentives such as the X-Prize, to those who think they can make a profit from the void, then perhaps we can accelerate the current glacial progress of technological progress when it comes to launchers and finally move beyond von Braun to something a little more efficient.

While the desire to make a fast buck may not be as noble a motive as the desire to expand the sphere of human knowledge, we should not forget that the history of exploration and colonization here on Earth is the history of mercantilism and exploitation, albeit often with savage consequences for those who have been exploited. At least in space we shouldn't have that problem. Manned and unmanned space exploration go together, hand in glove, and we shouldn't rule out one in favour of the other. The real question is what is the most efficient way of getting out there, and the answer to that is to take the project out of the hands of the bean counters, bureaucrats and politicians and into the hands of those driven by that most basic of human desires, greed. While businessmen and corporations may not be paragons of human virtue, at least they have a tendency to get things done, because if they fail they cannot hide behind walls of bureaucracy and political manoeuvring, instead they go bust, and the technology and patents they have developed are snapped up by their competitors to be used again, rather than disappearing into the governments' archives, never to be seen again. We will get out there someday, but as long as the space program is a slave to the whims of government, of national expediency, of the military, and indeed of science, it will be a long, long road with many switchbacks, reversals and pauses, and I for one could do with rather less white elephants sitting in the middle of the road.

          Purchasing Whiteness: Pardos, Mulattos, and the Quest for Social Mobility in the Spanish Indies
- Ann Twinam   
The colonization of Spanish America resulted in the mixing of Natives, Europeans, and Africans and the subsequent creation of a casta system that discriminated against them. Members of mixed races could, however, free themselves from such burdensome restrictions through the purchase of a gracias al sacar—a royal exemption that provided the privileges of Whiteness. For more than a century, the whitening gracias al sacar has fascinated historians. Even while the documents remained elusive, scholars continually mentioned the potential to acquire Whiteness as a provocative marker of the historic differences between Anglo and Latin American treatments of race. Purchasing Whiteness explores the fascinating details of 40 cases of whitening petitions, tracking thousands of pages of ensuing conversations as petitioners, royal officials, and local elites disputed not only whether the state should grant full whiteness to deserving individuals, but whether selective prejudices against the castas should cease. Purchasing Whiteness contextualizes the history of the gracias al sacar within the broader framework of three centuries of mixed race efforts to end discrimination. It identifies those historic variables that structured the potential for mobility as Africans moved from slavery to freedom, mixed with Natives and Whites, and transformed later generations into vassals worthy of royal favor. By examining this history of pardo and mulatto mobility, the author provides striking insight into those uniquely characteristic and deeply embedded pathways through which the Hispanic world negotiated processes of inclusion and exclusion.
          Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City
- Vera S. Candiani   
Not long after the conquest, the City of Mexico's rise to become the crown jewel in the Spanish empire was compromised by the lakes that surrounded it. Their increasing propensity to overflow destroyed wealth and alarmed urban elites, who responded with what would become the most transformative and protracted drainage project in the early modern America—the Desagüe de Huehuetoca. Hundreds of technicians, thousands of indigenous workers, and millions of pesos were marshaled to realize a complex system of canals, tunnels, dams, floodgates, and reservoirs. Vera S. Candiani's Dreaming of Dry Land weaves a narrative that describes what colonization was and looked like on the ground, and how it affected land, water, biota, humans, and the relationship among them, to explain the origins of our built and unbuilt landscapes. Connecting multiple historiographical traditions—history of science and technology, environmental history, social history, and Atlantic history—Candiani proposes that colonization was a class, not an ethnic or nation-based phenomenon, occurring simultaneously on both sides of an Atlantic, where state-building and empire-building were intertwined.
          With Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru, 1550-1700
- Karen B. Graubart   
Based upon substantial new research, this book investigates the heterogeneity of experiences of rural and urban indigenous women in Peru during the first two centuries of Spanish colonization. Using wills, as well as other notarial and legal documents, it discusses changes in their working lives and how their identity as "Indians" as well as women was shaped in a multicultural society. From their utilization of colonial law to seek redress, to their creation of urban dress styles that reflected their new positions as consumers and as producers under Spanish rule, the early colonial period witnessed a dramatic upheaval in indigenous women's lives. By analyzing the migration from rural to urban areas, interaction with Spanish as well as African society, and the lives of both plebeians and elites, the author provides a thorough picture of this transformational period.
          The Forbidden Lands: Colonial Identity, Frontier Violence, and the Persistence of Brazil’s Eastern Indians, 1750-1830
- Hal Langfur   
The Forbidden Lands concerns a pivotal but unexamined surge in frontier violence that engulfed the eastern forests of eighteenth-century Brazil's most populous region, Minas Gerais. Focusing on social, cultural, and racial relations, it challenges standard depictions of the occupation of Portuguese America's vast interior, while situating its frontier history in the broader context of the Americas and the Atlantic world. The author argues that the key to understanding the colony's internal consolidation—ignored and misconstrued by scholars fixed on coastal events and export-led development—resides in the incompatible ways in which Luso-Brazilians, Afro-Brazilians, and seminomadic indigenous peoples accused of cannibalism sought to territorialize their distinctive societies. He demonstrates that cultural conflict on the frontier was a defining characteristic of Brazil's transition from colony to independent nation and a fundamental consequence of its relationship to a wider world. The study moves Brazil to a prominent place in our understanding of the hemispheric sweep of internal colonization in the Americas. Essays based on material in this book have won the 2006 CLAH Prize and the 2005 Tibesar Prize.
          The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810-1821
- Eric Van Young   
Mexico’s movement toward independence from Spain was a key episode in the dissolution of the great Spanish Empire, and its accompanying armed conflict arguably the first great war of decolonization in the nineteenth century. This book argues that in addition to being a war of national liberation, the struggle was also an internal war pitting classes and ethnic groups against each other, an intensely localized struggle by rural people, especially Indians, for the preservation of their communities. While local and national elites focused their energies on wresting power from colonial authorities and building a new nation-state, rural people were often much more concerned about keeping village identities and lifeways intact against the forces of state expansion, commercialization, and modernization. Conventional wisdom says that Mexican independence was achieved through a cross-class and cross-ethnic alliance between creole ideologues, military leaders, and a mass following. This book shows that this is not only an incomplete explanation of what went on in Mexico during the decade of armed confrontation that led to Mexico’s independence, but also a distortion of Mexican social and cultural history. The author delves deeply into life histories, previously unexamined texts, statistical social profiling, and local historical ethnography to examine the dynamics of popular rebellion. He focuses especially on Mexico’s Indian villages, but also considers the role of parish priests as insurgent leaders; local conflicts over land, politics, and religious symbols; the influence of messianism and millenarianism in popular insurgent ideology; and the everyday language of political upheaval.
          Suomen muinaishistoria on Euroopan historia - Finnish ancient history archelogy Viewpoints 2017 Finland   


Most North and middle American Indians and Finnic genes are near relatives.
Keski-Amerikan intiaaniheimoissa on täysin suomalaisia heimoja. Katso makrotutkimuksen tulos - tämä on vallankumous kulttuurien leviämisestä:

Myös Neanderthaaleja 2014 tutkinut ja kirjan tehnyt suomalainen ryhmä myönsi että löysi Pohjois-Amerikan intiaaneilta selviä suomalaisia geenimarkkereita.

Missä on kuohunta ja keskustelu?  Miksi sensuuri jatkuu?

Finnic line, original "Nordic" genetic native roots of Europe         
- Spanish cave "Nordic" ancestor-skeleton,  BBC   

Geenilinjan todisteet 6000 vuoden suomalaisesta kulttuurista

Tällä luennolla tunnustetaan vihdoinkin se mitä moni arkeologi, antropologi ja uskontotieteilijä ovat vuosia sanoneet minulle sangen vihaisesti että on mahdotonta - kuitenkin kulttuuritutkimus, jopa satututkimus ja muiden kulttuurien kymmenet viittaukset Pohjolaan, Pohojoisten kuninkaiden Hyperboreaan ja Arkadiaan ovat viitanneet tähän: 

Suomalainen geenilinja on paikallisesti, lokaalisesti suomalainen 6000-vuotta, yksi suurista äitilinjoista. Eli myös kulttuurilinja ja kielilinja, eheä identiteettilinja on erittäin mahdollista lokaalisesti. Tämä on siis Euroopan vanhin paikallinen jatkuva pysyvä geenilinja ! Ottaen huomioon merkittävät löydöt kivikaudelta, Suomi on todennäköisesti kivikauden kulttuurikeskus ja nimenomaan vahvalla kulttuuri- ja shamaanilinjalla astronomisten temppeliraunoitten (jätinkirkot 35 kpl Stone Henge esikuvina)  ja tuhansien silloisten muualta Euroopasta tuotujen kiviesinelöytöjen todistamana.  

Professori Mika Lavento: Suomalaisuuden alkuperän tutkiminen monitieteisyyden näkökulmasta (johdanto) Dosentti Petri Halinen (Helsingin yliopisto): Esihistorian näkemys Suomen väestöhistoriaan. Dosentti Päivi Onkamo (Helsingin yliopisto): Mitä geenit kertovat suomalaisten alkuperästä? Filosofian tohtori Outi Vesakoski (Turun yliopisto): Uusia näkökulmia suomalaisuuden kielelliseen alkuperään 

Finnic line - native line

  • "Scandinavians" are the earliest Europeans

November 19, 2014    
Scientists have sequenced a 37,000-year-old genome. The results show that present-day Scandinavians are the closest living relatives to the first people in Europe.

  • Tohmajärveltä löytyi yli 2000 vuotta vanha vedenalainen muinaislöytöalue - kyseessä Suomen merkittävin löytö

                ---- MORE  news after prologue -----

 Factual Archeology and History of Finland
* Updated  Sivua päivitetty XXii  26.12. 2016

Visit Finland - White Night Magic from Timo Kaukolampi & Tuomo Puranen on Vimeo.

Swedish colonization rulers and Vatican forbid taming the Muses for Finnic tribes year 1260 

image from Norway archelogy institution

Lyhennelmä tästä tekstistä ja mini-linkkikokoelmasta tällä sivulla: 



 There was no separate  ancient "Scandinavian" Nordic culture at all.  It has straight line in Finnic tribes. 
We are speaking only about ancient Finnic/Finnish shamanistic and socially advanced democratic tribal culture all around Norden, Nordic and baltic area, also in Scandinavia, England, Ukraine, Germany, Siberia and before that - all over Europe.  Read ahead more and choose English from right side of the page.  

  •         NEW theory 2106:    About Finnish and Sumerian origin - Read in English 


Jokainen suomalainen, joka ei tahdo oppia ruotsia ja käydä kirkossa, on hän jokaisen ruotsalaisen edessä henkipatto "  
" Every Finn can be killed if he doesn't want to go to the church and learn Swedish language " 
       - Year AD 1622, käräjäoikeuden pöytäkirja

Suomen vanha heimo, Euroopan natiivit, joka joutui paavin ruhtinaiden miekan ja kolonisaation alle. Kolonisaation kohteeksi - ja kolonisaatio jatkuu massamediassa, joka räikeästi on ottanut retoriikkaan länsimaiset arvot perustelemaan utta kolonisaatiota ja Suomen heimon alistamista tyhjästä luodun velan orjaksi. 

1600-1250 years old Finnish/Finnic mythical object, Finnic Novgorod-culture
Laukon kartanon edustalla Vesilahdella sijaitsevalta maineikkaalta. Pohdonsaarelta on tehty merkittävä muinaislöytö. Täysin ainutlaatuinen mytologinen kolmipäinen kotkakoru 

          Luistari year 600-800

    "Suomi on kolonnialismin tunnistamisen takapajula"                                - Vadén

      "  Elonkehä 1/16 lehdessä on mainio Tere Vadénin juttu alkuperäiskansaistumisesta. Siinä kiinnittää erityisesti huomiota väliotsikointi 
        "Kolonisoitu suomalaisuus"
    Vadén kirjoittaa siitä, kuinka kolonisoidun aseman huomiottajättäminen millä tahansa hengen elämän alueella on yhä edelleen ns. "sivistyneen" suomalaisen kunnia-asia. Koetaan kunniakkaaksi kärsiä hyvällä statuksella mutta alistetussa asemassa. Onhan aateliset asemat aina kuninkaan myöntämiä ja "Suomessahan ei kuninkaita ole omasta takaa". Tekstijakso on täynnä hyviä ja tuoreita huomioita tyyliin: "Samaan aikaan ei-eurooppalainen henkinen perintö on laiminlyöty, ellei aktiivisesti nujerrettu ja tuhottu". Tähän täytyy huomauttaa, että koko eurooppalainen kulttuuri on itsessään tätä aktiivista nujertamista ja mustaa magiaa muistuttavaa tuhoamisrituaalia täynnä. Eurooppa on itse tuhonnut valtavan osan itsestään ja henkisestä lajirikkaudestaan. Ja tuon häviölle jääneenkin eurooppalaisen hengenilmapiirin pelastaminen Suomeen on tabu. 
    "Juha Pentikäinen on todennut, että Suomesta tunnetaan varmuudella 43 karhunkallosaarta, joista yhtäkkään ei ole arkeologisesti tutkittu. Samaan aikaan museovirasto suojelee ja ylläpitää jokaista kivirakennelmaa, jonka ruotsalainen tai venäläinen aatelisto on pystyttänyt." 
    On tuskin liioiteltua sanoa että Suomen museovirasto harrastaa aktiivisesti vieraan vallan toimesta mustana magian tuhoamisrituaalia suomalaisuutta vastaan. Tämä tilanne saa jatkua vapaana kenenkään puuttumatta, koska kaikki tärkeät valtapoterot on miehitetty kansalliselle edulle vihamielisellä aineksella. Toisaalta tässä on vastakkain hyvin energinen ja ylenpalttisesti resursoitu kolonnialismi ja toisaalta poliittisesti täysin neuvoton alkuperäiskansaisuus.  "

    "Matti Sarmelan Perinneatlas "tietää kaiken"
    – 580 sivua ilmaista sivistystä pdf-muodossa:



    Blue eyed Finns (these original "Scandinavians","Nordic people") were first "homo sapiens" in Europe, literally first true Europeans in Europe 44000 years ago cultural and genetic base for later European pahases. They were dark skinned and blue eyed race first but got light skin genes 5000 years ago from some other tribes who had been with neanderthals before that. Maybe Finnic-tribes did come directly from Africa. European head profile characteristics and light eye and hair comes from Finnish line. Finnish language is oldest language in Europe. Vikings were originally part of Finnish tribes. 

     All Nordic/"Scandinavians" were Finnish tribes speaking Finnish still year 300.

    Finnish/Finnic original "Nordic" genetic roots of Europe         
    - Spanish cave "Nordic" ancestor-skeleton, BBC   

    Scandinavians are the earliest Europeans

    November 19, 2014   
    Scientists have sequenced a 37,000-year-old genome. The results show that present-day Scandinavians are the closest living relatives to the first people in Europe.

             The most biggest secret in European history 
    Early Medieval Finnish "Kven" (Kaleva) rulers of Europe is well recorded but ignored by university scientists

    • Queen-word is from Kven-tribal word, Kainuu
      - True history of Finland in a valiant attempt to eradicate an unhealthy stigma the country has suffered through the distorted lenses of a biased press.  -- Matias Falk
    • 20 cultures have mentioned first European base culture, Hyperborea

         -  more in English  after News section  -

          Alkusanat  in Finnish


          Tässä Euroopan geenilinjan uutisoinnissa on taas vakava virhe yleissolostuksessa. 

    Tässä ei kerrota, kuinka europpalaisten piirteiden taustalla eli muilla eurooppalaisilla on runsaasti alkuperäisten eurooppalaisten "karjalalaisia" vaaleita geenejä (hiukset/silmät). Isolaatio merkitsee siis vain sitä että karjalalaiset, todelliset viikingit, merikansa, eivät ottaneet heimoonsa indo-geenejä mutta indo-kansa Eurooppaan tulleena on saanut karakteerisesti merkittäviä vaikutteita alkuperäisiltä eurooppalaisilta, joita indus-kansa kutsui vaaleiksi aryaneiksi.  


    Kaikilla eurooppalaisilla on suomalaisia geenejä mutta vaaleilla "itä"-suomalaisilla ei ole indo-geenejä.


    Tarvitsee vain lukea ja kuunnella kertomuksia vuosien varrelta tapauksia kuinka museovirasto torjuu, tuhoaa ja vähättelee arkeologisia löytöjä systemaattisesti. Sekä väärintulkitsee yhä systemaattisesti, tahallisesti, ideologisesti vähätellen.

    Kulttuurina, kielenä ja geneettisenä jatkumona Suomi on vanhin jatkumo ja keskittymä Euroopassa, vaikka Vatikaani ja ruhtinaat onnistuivat tuhoamaan sitä mutta selvästi suora kulttuurijatkumo kivikaudelta alkuperäisen eurooppalaisen heimokulttuurin jäljiltä.

    Käräjäoikeudetkin selvästi haukkuvat erillistä suomalaista kulttuuria, heimoa ja asennetta vuosisadasta toiseen eivätkä näe kulttuurisesti Suomea Vatikaanin absorboiman Ruotsin mentaalisena tms osana muuta kuin verotuksen ja kolonisaation kohteena.

    Suomalaisten kohtalo oli kauhea saksilaisten kirkkoruhtinaiden (3 linnaketta 1200), sitten kauheampi Tanskan, Ruotsin ja edestakaisin Tanskan vallan alla.

    Tutkijoiden uskomaton vähättelevä ideologinen retoriikka suomalaisten kohtalosta ja Ruotsin ryöstökolonisaation seuraamuksista.   
    Miksi korkeasti koulutetut yhä tukevat väärennettyä historiaa ja luovat satua ihanasta Ruotsin kolonisaation ja nälänhätien ajasta?

    "Jos suomalainen pikkutyttö tai –poika olisi todella päätynyt Persiaan hallitsijan käsiin, hänen elämänsä olisi mullistunut – eikä välttämättä huonoon suuntaan." "... Luksusorja"  

    Tutkijan mukaan omasta heimosta, kulttuurista, kielestä, metsistä, luonnonhenkien vuorovaikutuksesta pois joutuminen seksiorjaksi "ei ollut hassumpaa". Ja SEKSIORJA-sanaa ei käytetä tässä asennetta muokkaavassa narratiivissa koska noudatetaan suomenruotsalaista vähättelevää ja ivallista historiantulkintaa, jossa suomalaisille ei saa osoittaa sääliä vaan suomalaisten on "metsäläisinä" oltava kiitollisia kolonisaatiokulttuurin seuraamuksille ja oman kulttuurinsa tuhoamiselle. Tämä halveksiva narratiivi manipulaationa on juuri nyt iso elementti suomalaisten itsehalveksunnassa ja poliittisessa passiviisuudessa oikeiston terrorille. Alamaisidentiteetistä pidetään narratiivina kiinni koska pappi ja eliitti niin käskee traumahistorian voimalla. "Luksus-orja"? Mikä nimike. Ole saatanan pakana kiitollinen ruotsalaisten raiskaavasta kolonisaatiohistoriasta ja nälkään tappavasta verotuksesta Tukholmaan ja Turkuun, joka tuhosi suomalaisten heimojen tuhansien vuosien puolustuskulttuurin orjakauppiaitakin vastaan sekä käänsi Novgorodin viholliseksi ruotsalaisten kaappaamia suomalaisia vastaan. 

    Ruotsalaiset kielsivät suomalaisilta metsästämisen jopa nälkävuosina "aatelisten ja kirkkoherrojen metsistä". Olkaamme kiitollisia tästä sivistyksestä.

    "Keskiajalla ja vielä uuden ajan alussa useita tuhansia suomalaisia joutui orjuuteen. Erityisen haluttuja olivat vaaleahiuksiset, sinisilmäiset suomalaiset pikkutytöt- ja pojat. "

    Great shift is going on in perception of History: 

    500 new archeological places
    - thousands more not mapped in Finland

    Suomen historia on paljon laajempi kuin nyt käsitetään,

    Huge stone & bronze age culture area in new mapping:
    Metsistä löytyneet sadat muinaiskohteet

    muokkaavat Suomen asutushistoriaa uusiksi 2016 
    -Metsähallitus löysi satoja uusia muinaisjäännöksiä viiden vuoden tutkimusprojektissaan. Inventointien myötä esimerkiksi lakisääteisten… YLE.FI  ENSIO KARJALAINEN

              Miekat  Finnic Swords

    Museovirasto on 100 vuotta valehdellut että suomalaiset eivät kyenneet valmistamaan miekkoja - vaikka museoviraston varastot ovat täynnä suomalaisia miekkoja myös pronssikaudelta.

    Myös 14 kpl
     +ULBRECHT+ miekkaa - Swords in Finland 

    YLE:n toimittajat valehtelivat useassa otteessa 2015 mennessä YLE:n ohjelmissa ettei Suomessa olisi Ulbrecht-miekkoja.  
    Törkeää historian vääristelyä. 
    Kulttuurin vähättely on ideologinen ase,
    jolla tuetaan suomenruotsalaisten hegemonian narratiivia suomalaisten alistamisen ja kulttuurin tuhoaimisen välttämättömyydestä, "Suomalaisten sivistäminen".  Kun kouluhistoriassa mm. syytetään Venäjää suomalaisten orjien ottamisesta niin moni oppilas ei ymmärrä että Ruotsi aloitti sodan hyökkäämällä Venäjää vastaan pakottamalla suomalaiset sotilaat tappaamaan Tukholman sotaretkillä.

    Muinaisessa kreikassa ja sen esikuvassa muinaissuomalaisessa kulttuurissa puolueet oli kielletty. Jos pidit suljetun puoluekokouksen tai suunnittelukokouksen tai lobbauskokouksen, sinut tapettiin tai karkoitettiin. Kaikki oli avointa mikä olisi demokratian ehto. * Ukrainan alueella ym sinisilmäisten suomalaiskaupunkeja kutsuttiin nimellä "Ne joilla ei ole kuningasta" gelunit (skyyttien nimike) - kreikkalaisten esikuvina. ** Heloniitit, heetit voi olla sama historiallisesti kuin gelonit. Merirosvot omaksuivat 1:1 viikinkien eli kvenien, suomalaisen kulttuurin 100% demokratiana päätösten teossa ja johtajan valinnassa.

    Vähättelyn narratiivi on kolonisaation, elitismin ja Vatikaanin narratiivi kulttuurin tuhoamisen välttämättömyyden hegemoniana, jotta suomenruotsalaisen eliitin suomalaisilta ryöstämät maat eivät olisi varkaiden ja tappajien sukuperintöä vaan sivistäjien "palkkio". Historian väärentäminen on tärkeä osa eliitin vallan, rikkauksien ja kolonisaation kulttia, vanhan rahan sukujen ihailun kulttia ja yhteiskuntaluokkien politiikkaa - suoraan poliittisesti veroprogressiota, hyvinvointivaltiota ja vahvaa omaa kansallisvaltiota vastaan.  
    Vähättelyn narratiivi tukee ruotsalaisten ylistämisen narratiivia. Massamedian satumaailmassa ruotsalaiset ovat maailman suvaitsevaisimpia ja sosiaalisimpia ihmisiä. Ruotsissa työskennelleet työläiset kertovat sinulle toisen tarinan.

    Mentaalihistorian polttoleima

    Propagandam Ruotsi

    Kun meidät on upotettu valheeseen ja suomenruotsalaisten fantasiaan hyvistä ja sivistyneistä ruotsalaisista "metsäsuomalaisten" ihanteeksi 900 vuoden ajan niin koettakaa tajuta, eliitti on aina elänyt omaa elämäänsä ja heidän nokkimisjärjestyksensä on hyvin julma, seksuaalisesti alistava ja se näkyy eliittikouluissa ja piireissä aivan suoraan, on aina näkynyt. Ruotsalainen eliitti on aina ollut rasistista vihakulttuuria eikä aijo muuttua feodaali-ihailunsa kanssa, kuningaskulttinsa ja kolonisaatioaikeittensa kanssa. Ei ruotsalainen eliitti liiku maahanmuuttajien kanssa mutta se rajojen aukaisu väestönsiirrolle on loistava kulissi ja ase suvaitsemattoman eliitin ja taktisen hierarkian suojaksi:   Vatican's Sweden  

    Students came forward with the reported abuses to a teacher at a literary festival in Kalmar, Sweden - IBTIMES.CO.UK|HENKILÖLTÄ JAMES TENNENT

    Kolonisaation mekanismit tänä päivänä Suomessa

    Suomalaiset orjina ja halveksunnan narratiivin kohteena

    Tämä sivu ja tietopaketti kertoo suomalaisten historian avautumisesta systemaattisen sensuurin ja uskonnollisen kulttuurihegemonian, pakkouskonnon "kulttuurikuvan" alta. 

          News - Uutisia  2017 


          Finnic Native Europe


        Suomalaisten alkuperästä uusia todisteita

              Waters to Caetano: your resolve to perform in Tel Aviv will dissolve in a sea of tears and regret   

    Dear Caetano, 
    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my letter. Dialogue is truly important. I will respond to the points you have raised. I fear you may be viewing Israeli politics through rose tinted spectacles. The fact is that for the many decades, since the Nakba, (catastrophe, dispossession of the Palestinian people) in 1948, Israel’s colonialist and racist policies have devastated the lives of millions of Palestinians. 
    The BDS movement, which I am asking you to join, is a global movement that demands Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality. It is growing rapidly because of increased international awareness of the oppression the Palestinians have had to endure these last 67 years. Netanyahu’s current extreme right­wing regime is just the latest government perpetrating cruel acts of injustice and colonization. But this is not just a right wing problem. It was, in fact, the left­wing Labor party that founded the illegal settlement program and also failed to end the occupation of Palestinian land and make peace. 

    In your letter you say that Jean­Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir believed in Israel before they died. That maybe so, but that was then and, maybe then, they didn’t know about or understand the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and subjugation of its people. But, I do know this, the wine and coffee splattered floorboards of the Café Flores and Les Deux Magots would today reverberate with the sound of Jean­Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir turning in their graves to hear their names taken in vain and nailed to the mast of the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. 
    You mention Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, he is among those embracing BDS, as he has observed Israel’s actions and has deep empathy for The Palestinian People. There is, as he noted to you, apartheid in the occupied territories that is just as definite and dehumanizing as it was in apartheid South Africa when the infamous and racist pass laws were in place. As in South Africa, Palestinians and their legal rights are defined by their racial and religious background. Can you imagine such a thing in Brazil or England or the USA or Holland or Chile, or? No. Why not? 

    Because it is unacceptable, that’s why not. 

    Caetano, if I may pose a question, why would you not reject complicity with such injustice now, just as surely as you would have rejected white racism against South Africa’s black population back in the eighties? Your letter suggests you believe your upcoming gig in Tel Aviv can help change Israeli policy. I would suggest this is a naïve proposition. Sadly, it is not just the Israeli government that needs a change of heart. Polls indicate that a staggering 95% of the Jewish Israeli public supported the 2014 bombing of Gaza,(561 dead children), 75% do not support a Palestinian state based on the long­negotiated ’67 borders, and 47% believe Palestinians citizens of Israel should be stripped of their citizenship. 
    No, Caetano, playing a gig in Tel Aviv will not move the Israeli government or the majority of the Israeli people one jot, but it will be seen as you giving tacit approval to the status quo. Your presence there will be used as propaganda by the right and will provide cover and moral support for the Israeli government’s outrageously racist and illegal policies. 
    It is a dilemma I know, but, if you really wish to influence the Israeli government, you will join us on the BDS picket line. We are having a powerful effect, as we can see from their reaction, the bullies coming out in full force to try to crush the voices of dissent and silence us. 
    We will not be silenced, we are strong, and together we can help free not just the Palestinian people from the yoke of Israeli oppression, but also the Israeli people from the oppression of their own exceptionalism and dogma, which is deadly to both peoples. 
    I implore you not to proceed with your engagement in Tel Aviv, instead take the opportunity to visit Gaza and the West Bank and see for yourself what Sartre and de Beauvoir never lived to see. I believe your resolve to perform in Tel Aviv will dissolve in a sea of tears and regret. 
    Caetano, I do not know you, we have never met, but, I believe you mean well and I bear you no ill will. If you go to Tel Aviv in spite of our heartfelt entreaties, and if you visit Gaza or the occupied territories, you may well experience an epiphany. If you do, please reach out to us, all of us, not just in the Palestinian and Jewish communities, but all of us in solidarity in Brazil and elsewhere, all of us in BDS all over the world working for justice and equal rights in the Holy Land We will embrace you. 

    I thank you again for joining this conversation. Please go and see things for yourself, but without performing there, without crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line. Maybe UNWRA can help, they certainly helped me when I was looking for the reality. Go and see for yourself, you will not have to use your imagination. The reality is devastating beyond anything you could possibly imagine. Obrigado, 
    Your colleague, 
    Roger Waters

              OPEN LETTER: Roger Waters asks Neil Young to Support the Boycott of Israel   
    "Enough is enough".
    In January this year I wrote a private letter to Neil Young, it was sent via his manager Elliot Roberts' email, I never received a reply of any kind.
    More recently I spoke openly about The Rolling Stones performing in Tel Aviv.
    In light of the appalling recent events in Israel and Gaza and my dismay at the the lack of any response from our governments and in a final appeal to Neil's possible attachment to the rights of all human beings, not just the disenfranchised natives of North America, but all human beings all over the world, I am publishing that letter now.
    Here it Is.

    Dear Neil Young.

    There are rumors flying about that you are considering doing shows in Tel Aviv this year.

    The picket lines have been crossed in this last year by one or two lightweights from our community but no one of your stature. Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave. Neil Young! You are one of my biggest heroes, you are one of a very short list, you, John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Huddy Ledbetter, Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday and, like some others, but not many, your songs have always been redolent of love and humanity and compassion for your fellow man and woman. I find it hard to believe that you would turn your back on the indigenous people of Palestine. That you would lend support to, and encourage and legitimize, with your presence, a colonial apartheid regime, largely settled from Europe, that seeks to confine the native people of the land, either in exile or in second class status in reservations and ghettos. 

    Please, brother, tell me it ain't so.

    As I recall, back in the day, along with the rest of us (Stevie van Zandt, Bruce, Led Zep etc etc etc etc)  you would not "Play In Sun City" I am asking you to stand on the same moral ground now. The late, great, Nelson Mandela lives on in us, we cannot let him down. He was explicit in his position and I quote, " We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians".  It is time for "Rock Against Racism" to show some of it's muscle by refusing to lend our names to the whitewashing of the illegal colonization of Palestinian land and the systematic oppression of its indigenous people. Unfortunately the opposition lobby has a lot of muscle too. They spend millions on their "Hasbara"(If like me you have no Hebrew)”Explaining” or to you and me "Propaganda". The propaganda machine is well oiled and ruthless. We, on the other hand, have only our commitment to non-violent resistance to lie down in front of the IDF caterpillar tractors that would raze the native people from the land of Palestine. We stand with those people, and with all the brave people of Israel and Palestine, Jewish and Arab alike who oppose The Israeli Governments brutal policies. We stand with Rachel Corrie, the young American woman who gave her life under the caterpillar's tracks. Please join me and countless other artists all over the world in solidarity with the oppressed and the disenfranchised. It is time to heed the peoples call. People like The Bedouin, the nomadic people of the Negev in the arid south of Israel, please research their plight, one village, Al-Araqib has been destroyed 63 times by IDF Bulldozers. If you are in doubt about any of this, I will go with you to Palestine, and Israel, if they’ll let me in, you will see what I have seen, and then let us figure out the right thing to do.

    By the way I watched your Bridge School concert on YouTube last year, it was very moving, you were, of course magnificent. You had asked me to perform, and as I explained to your management, I would have gladly done so had I not already been committed to The Wall Tour in Europe and Stand Up For Heroes in New York. This year I will be pleased and proud to come and support you if you call. 

    With respect, and love.

    Roger Waters.

    Fyi. Nice Christmas present.

    Bedouin Village Demolished For 63rd Time
    Thursday December 26, 2013 18:18 by Chris Carlson - 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group

    For the 63rd time, Israeli forces have demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Negev, Thursday morning.

    A Ma’an reporter in Beersheba said that bulldozers, escorted by 25 police patrols, raided the village at 9 a.m. and demolished all of its steel houses.

    “Forces of demolition and destruction raided our village in the morning and demolished our houses, for the 63rd time. This is a barbarian assault, as they left residents homeless during wintry weather,” local resident Aziz Sayyah al-Touri told Ma’an.  He highlighted that the assault has come following the Israeli announcement to abandon the Prawer Plan in displacing Negev Bedouins. Bedouins claim the are as their ancestral lands, while Israel considers al-Araqib and all Bedouin villages in the Negev illegal. There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev, in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities, with many living in extreme poverty.

    Google “Prawer plan” and follow a few links, you may catch a glimpse of the tip of an extremely large and terrifying iceburg.

    Neil, we’re talking about the occupation, subjugation, dispossession, eviction, ghettoization and possible eventual eradication of a nation.

    You, more than most should find this, taboo, story, more than a little disquieting. 


              Indignez Vous!   
    If There is any sort of food for thought worth reading, this is it.
    INDIGNEZ-VOUS! GET ANGRY! CRY OUT by Stéphane Hessel

    Stéphane Hessel, author of Indignez-vous!
    After 93 years, it is almost the final act. The end for me is not very far off any more. But it still leaves me a chance to be able to remind others of what acted as the basis of my political engagement. It was the years of resistance to the Nazi occupation -- and the program of social rights worked out 66 years ago by the National Council of the Resistance!

    It is to Jean Moulin [murdered founder of the Council] that we owe, as part of this Council, the uniting of all elements of occupied  France -- the movements, the parties, the labor unions -- to proclaim their membership in Fighting France, and we owe this to the only leader that it acknowledged, General de Gaulle. From London, where I had joined de Gaulle in March 1941, I learned that this Council had completed a program and adopted it on March 15th, 1944, that offered for liberated France a group of principles and values on which would rest the modern democracy of our country.

    These principles and these values, we need today more than ever. It is up to us to see to it, all together, that our society becomes a society of which we are proud, not this society of immigrants without papers -- expulsions, suspicion regarding the immigrants. Not this society where they call into question social security and national retirement and health plans. Not this society where mass media are in the hands of the rich. These are things that we would have refused to give in to if we had been the true heirs of the National Council of the Resistance.

    From 1945, after a dreadful drama [WWII], it was an ambitious
    resurrection of society to which the remaining contingent of the Council
    of the Resistance devoted itself. Let us remember them while creating
    national health and pensions plans such as the Resistance wished, as its
    program stipulated, "a full plan of French national health and social
    security, aimed at assuring all citizens the means of existence whenever
    they are unable to obtain them by a job; a retirement allowing the old
    workers to finish their days with dignity."

    The sources of energy, electricity, and gas, mines, the big banks, were
    nationalized. Now this was as the program recommended: "... the return
    to the nation of big monopolized means of production, fruits of common
    labor, sources of energy, wealth from the mines, from insurance
    companies and from big banks; the institution of a true economic and
    social democracy involving the ousting of the big economic and financial
    fiefdoms from the direction of the economy."

    General interest must dominate over special interest. The just man
    believes that wealth created in the realm of labor should dominate over
    the power of money.

    The Resistance proposed, "a rational organization of the economy
    assuring the subordination of special interests to general interest, and
    the emancipation of 'slaves' of the professional dictatorship that was
    instituted just as in the fascist states," which had used the interim
    [for two years after the war] government of the Republic as an agent.

    A true democracy needs an independent press, and the Resistance
    acknowledged it, demanded it, by defending "the freedom of the press,
    its honor, and its independence from the State, the power of money and
    foreign influence." This is what relieved restrictions on the press from
    1944 on. And press freedom is definitely what is in danger today.

    The Resistance called for a "real possibility for all French children to
    benefit from the most advanced education," without discrimination.
    Reforms offered in 2008 go contrary to this plan. Young teachers, whose
    actions I support, went so far as refusing to apply them, and they saw
    their salaries cut by way of punishment. They were indignant,
    "disobeyed," judging these reforms too far from the ideal of the
    democratic school, too much in the service of a society of commerce and
    not developing the inventive and critical mind enough. 2

    All the foundations of the social conquests of the Resistance are
    threatened today.

    The motive of the Resistance: indignation (Indignez-vous!)

    Some dare to say to us that the State cannot afford the expenses of
    these measures for citizens any more. But how can there be today a lack
    of money to support and extend these conquests while the production of
    wealth has been considerably augmented since the Liberation period when
    Europe was in ruins? On the contrary, the problem is the power of money,
    so much opposed by the Resistance, and of the big, boldfaced, selfish
    man, with his own servants in the highest spheres of the State.

    Banks, since privatized again, have proved to be concerned foremost for
    their dividends and for the very high salaries of their leaders, not the
    general interest. The disparity between the poorest and the richest has
    never been so great, and amassing money, competition, so encouraged.

    The basic motive of the Resistance was indignation!

    We, the veterans of the resistance movements and combat forces of Free
    France, we call on the young generation to live by, to transmit, the
    legacy of the Resistance and its ideals. We say to them: Take our place,
    "Indignez-vous!" [Get angry! or Cry out!].

    The political, economic, intellectual leaders, and the whole society do
    not have to give in, nor allow oppression by an actual international
    dictatorship of the financial markets, which threatens peace and

    I wish for you all, each of you, to have your own motive for
    indignation. It is precious. When something outrages you as I was
    outraged by Nazism, then people become militant, strong, and engaged.
    They join this current of history, and the great current of history must
    continue thanks to each individual. And this current goes towards more
    justice, more freedom, but not this unbridled freedom of the fox in the
    henhouse. The rights contained in the UN Universal Declaration of Human
    Rights of 1948 are just that, universal.

    If you meet somebody who does not benefit from it, feel sorry for them
    but help them to win their rights.

    Two visions of history

    When I try to understand what caused fascism, what made it so we were
    overcome by Hitler and the Vichy [French government that collaborated
    with Hitler], I tell myself that the propertied, with their selfishness,
    were terrifically afraid of Bolshevik revolution. They were allowed to
    lead with their fear.

    But if, today as then, an active minority stands up, it will be enough;
    we shall be the leavening that makes the bread rise. Certainly, the
    experience of a very old person like me, born in 1917, is different from
    the experience of the today's young persons. I often ask professors for
    the opportunity to interact with their students, and I say to them: You
    don't have the same obvious reasons to engage you. For us, to resist was
    not to accept German occupation, defeat. It was comparatively simple.
    Simple as what followed, decolonization. Then the war in Algeria.

    It was necessary that Algeria become independent, it was obvious. As for
    Stalin, we all applauded the victory of the Red Army against the Nazis
    in 1943. But already we had known about the big Stalinist trials of
    1935, and even if it was necessary to keep an ear open towards communism
    to compensate against American capitalism, the necessity to oppose this
    unbearable form of totalitarianism had established itself as an
    obviousness. My long life presented a succession of reasons to outrage

    These reasons were born less from an emotion than a deliberate
    commitment. As a young student at normal school [teachers college] I was
    very influenced by Sartre, a fellow student. His "Nausea" [a novel],
    "The Wall," [play], and "The Being and Nothingness" [essay] were very
    important in the training of my thought. Sartre taught us, "You are
    responsible as individuals." It was a libertarian message. The
    responsibility of a person can not be assigned by a power or an
    authority. On the contrary, it is necessary to get involved in the name
    of one's responsibility as a human being.

    When I entered the French Ecole Normale Superieure, Ulm Street, in Paris
    in 1939, I entered it as a fervent adherent of the philosopher Hegel,
    and I adhered to the thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. His teaching
    explored concrete experience, that of the body and of its relations with
    the senses, one big singular sense faced with a plurality of senses. But
    my natural optimism, which wants all that is desirable to be possible,
    carried me rather towards Hegel. Hegelism interprets the long history of
    humanity as having a meaning: It is the freedom of man progressing step
    by step. History is made of successive shocks, and the taking into
    account of challenges. The history of societies thus advances; and in
    the end, man having attained his full freedom, we have the democratic
    state in its ideal form.

    There is certainly another understanding of history. It says progress is
    made by "freedom" of competition, striving for "always more"; it can be
    as if living in a devastating hurricane. That's what it represented to a
    friend of my father, the man who shared with him an effort to translate
    into German "The Search for Time Lost" [novel] by Marcel Proust.

    That was the German philosopher Walter Benjamin. He had drawn a
    pessimistic view from a painting by the Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    "Angelus Novus," where the face of the angel opens arms as if to contain
    and push back a tempest, which he identifies with progress. For
    Benjamin, who would commit suicide in September 1940 to escape Nazism,
    the sense of history is the overpowering progression of disaster upon

    Indifference: the worst of attitudes

    It is true the reasons to be indignant can seem today less clearly
    related or the world too complex. Who's doing the ordering, who decides?
    It is not always easy to differentiate between all the currents that
    govern us. We are not any more dealing with a small elite whose joint
    activities can be clearly seen. It is a vast world, of which we have a
    feeling of interdependence.

    We live in an interconnectivity as never before. But in this world there
    still are intolerable things. To see them, it is well and necessary to
    look, to search. I say to the young people, Search little, and that is
    what you are going to find. The worst of attitudes is indifference, to
    say "I can do nothing there, I'll just manage to get by." By including
    yourself in that, you lose one of the essential elements that makes the
    human being: the faculty of indignation and the commitment that is a
    consequence of it.

    They [young people] can already identify two big new challenges:

    1. The huge gap which exists between the very poor and the very rich and
    that does not cease increasing. It is an innovation of the 20th and 21st
    centuries. The very poor in the today's world earn barely two dollars a
    day. The new generation cannot let this gap become even greater. The
    official reports alone should provoke a commitment.

    2. Human rights and state of the planet: I had the chance after the
    Liberation to join in the writing of the Universal Declaration of Human
    Rights, adopted by the United Nations organization, on December 10th,
    1948, in Paris at the palace of Chaillot. It was as principal private
    secretary of Henry Laugier, the adjunct general-secretary of the UN, and
    as and secretary of the Commission on Human Rights that I with others
    was led to participate in the writing of this statement. I wouldn't know
    how to forget the role in its elaboration of René Cassin, who was
    national commissioner of justice and education in the government of Free
    France in London in 1941 and won the Nobel peace prize in 1968, nor that
    of Pierre Mendès-France in the Economic and Social Council, to whom the
    text drafts we worked out were submitted before being considered by the
    Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the General
    Assembly. It was ratified by the 54 member states in session of the
    United Nations, and I certified it as secretary.

    It is to René Cassin that we owe the term "universal rights" instead of
    "international rights" as offered by our American and British friends.
    This [universal versus international] was key because, at the end of the
    Second World War, what was at stake was to becomeereignty," which a
    nation can emphasize while it devotes itself to crimes against humanity
    on its own soil. Such was the case of Hitler, who felt himself supreme
    and authorized to carry out a genocide. This universal statement owed
    much to universal revulsion towards Nazism, fascism, and totalitarianism
    -- and owes a lot, in our minds, to the spirit of the Resistance.

    I had a feeling that it was necessary to move quickly so as not to be
    dupes of the hypocrisy that there was in the UN membership, some whom
    claimed these values already won but had no intention at all to promote
    them faithfully -- claimed that we were trying to impose values on them.

    I can not resist the desire to quote Article 15 of the Universal
    Declaration of Human Rights (1948): "Everyone has the right to a
    nationality." Article 22 says, "Everyone, as a member of society, has
    the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through
    national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the
    organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and
    cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development
    of his personality." And if this statement has a declarative scope, and
    not statutory, the Declaration nevertheless has played a powerful role
    since 1948. It saw colonized people take it up in their fight for
    independence; it sowed minds in a battle for freedom.

    I note with pleasure that in the course of last decades there has been
    an increase in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and social movements
    such as ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions);

    also FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and Amnesty
    International, which are active and competitive. It is obvious that to
    be effective today it is necessary to act in a network, to use all
    modern means of communication.

    To the young people, I say: Look around you, you will find topics that
    justify your indignation — facts about treatment of immigrants, of
    "illegal" immigrants, of the Roma [aka Gypsies]. You will find concrete
    situations that lead you to strong citizen action. Search and you shall

    My indignation regarding Palestine outrages by Israel [Indignez-vous!]

    Today, my main indignation concerns Palestine, the Gaza Strip, and the
    West Bank of Jordan. This conflict is outrageous. It is absolutely
    essential to read the report by Richard Goldstone, of September 2009, on
    Gaza, in which this South African, Jewish judge, who claims even to be a
    Zionist, accuses the Israeli army of having committed "acts comparable
    to war crimes and perhaps, in certain circumstances, crimes against
    humanity" during its "Operation Cast Lead," which lasted three weeks.

    I went back to Gaza in 2009 myself, when I was able to enter with my
    wife thanks to our diplomatic passports, to study first-hand what this
    report said. People who accompanied us were not authorized to enter the
    Gaza Strip. There and in the West Bank of Jordan. We also visited the
    Palestinian refugee camps set up from 1948 by the United Nations agency
    UNRWA, where more than three million Palestinians expelled off their
    lands by Israel wait even yet for a more and more problematical return.

    As for Gaza, it is a roofless prison for one and a half million
    Palestinians. A prison where people get organized just to survive.
    Despite material destruction such as that of the Red Crescent hospital
    by Operation Cast Lead, it is the behavior of the Gazans, their
    patriotism, their love of the sea and beaches, their constant
    preoccupation for the welfare of their children, who are innumerable and
    cheerful, that haunt our memory. We were impressed by how ingeniously
    they face up to all the scarcities that are imposed on them. We saw them
    making bricks, for lack of cement, to rebuild the thousands of houses
    destroyed by tanks. They confirmed to us that there had been 1400 deaths
    — including women, children, and oldsters in the Palestinian camp —
    during this Operation Cast Lead led by the Israeli army, compared to
    only 50 injured men on the Israeli side. I share conclusions of the
    South African judge. That Jews can, themselves, perpetrate war crimes is
    unbearable. Alas, history does not give enough examples of people who
    draw lessons from their own history.  [The author, Stéphane Hessel, had
    a Jewish father.]

    Terrorism, or exasperation?

    I know that Hamas [party of Palestine freedom fighters], which had won
    the last legislative elections, could not help it that rockets were
    launched on Israeli cities in response to the situation of isolation and
    blockade in which Gazans exist. I think, naturally, that terrorism is
    unacceptable; but it is necessary to acknowledge (from experience in
    France) that when people are occupied by forces immensely superior to
    their own, popular reaction cannot be altogether bloodless.

    Does it serve Hamas to send rockets onto the town of Sdérot [Israeli
    town across the border from Gaza]?

    The answer is no. This does not serve their purpose, but they can
    explain this gesture by the exasperation of Gazans. In the notion of
    exasperation, it is necessary to understand violence as the regrettable
    conclusion of situations not acceptable to those who are subjected them.

    Thus, they can tell themselves, terrorism is a form of exasperation. And
    that this "terrorism" is a misnomer. One should not have to resort to
    this exasperation, but it is necessary to have hope. Exasperation is a
    denial of hope. It is comprehensible, I would say almost natural, but it
    still is not acceptable. Because it does not allow one to acquire
    results that hope can possibly, eventually produce.

    Nonviolence: the way we must learn to follow

    I am persuaded that the future belongs to nonviolence, to reconciliation
    of different cultures. It is by this way that humanity will have to
    enter its next stage. But on this I agree with Sartre: We cannot excuse
    the terrorists who throw bombs, but we can understand them. Sartre wrote
    in 1947: "I recognize that violence in whatever form it may manifest
    itself is a setback. But it is an inevitable setback because we are in a
    world of violence. And if it is true that recourse to violence risks
    perpetuating it, it is also true it is the sure means to make it stop."

    To that I would add that nonviolence is a surer means of making violence
    stop. One can not condone the terrorism, using Sartre or in the name of
    this principle, during the war of Algeria, nor during the Munich Games
    of 1972 the murder attempt made against Israeli athletes. Terrorism is
    not productive, and Sartre himself would end up wondering at the end of
    his life about the sense of violence and doubt its reason for being.

    However, to proclaim "violence is not effective" is more important than
    to know whether one must condemn or not those who devote themselves to
    it. Terrorism is not effective. In the notion of effectiveness, a
    bloodless hope is needed. If there is a violent hope, it is in the poem
    of William Apollinaire "that hope is violent," and not in policy.

    Sartre, in March 1980, within three weeks of his death, declared: "It is
    necessary to try to explain why the world of today, which is horrible,
    is only an instant in a long historical development, that hope always
    has been one of the dominant forces in revolutions and insurrections,
    and how I still feel hope as my conception of the future." [Note 5]

    It is necessary to understand that violence turns its back on hope. It
    is necessary to prefer to it hope, hope over violence. Nonviolence is
    the way that we must learn to follow. So must the oppressors.

    It is necessary to arrive at negotiations to remove oppression; it is
    what will allow you to have no more terrorist violence. That's why you
    should not let too much hate pile up.

    The message of Mandela and Martin Luther King finds all its pertinence
    in the world that overcame the confrontation of ideologies [e.g.,
    Nazism] and conquered totalitarianism [e.g.,Hitler]. It is also a
    message of hope in the capacity of modern societies to overcome
    conflicts by a mutual understanding and a vigilant patience. To reach
    that point is necessarily based on rights, against es, such as the
    military intervention in Iraq.

    We had this economic crisis, but we still did not initiate a new policy
    of development. Also, the summit of Copenhagen against climatic warming
    did not bring about a true policy for the preservation of the planet.

    We are on a threshold between the terror of the first decade and the
    possibilities of following decades. But it is necessary to hope, it is
    always necessary to hope. The previous decade, that of 1990s, had been a
    time of great progress. The United Nations had enough wisdom to call
    conferences such as those of Rio on environment, in 1992, and that of
    Beijing on women, in 1995. In September 2000, on the initiative of the
    general secretary of United Nations, Kofi Annan, the 191 member
    countries adopted a statement on the "eight objectives of the millennium
    for development," by which they notably promised to reduce poverty in
    the world by half before 2015.

    My big regret is that neither Obama nor the European Union has yet
    committed themselves to what should be the provision for a useful forum
    bearing on the fundamental values.


    How to conclude this call to be indignant? By saying still what, on the
    occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the program of the National
    Council of the Resistance, we said on March 8th, 2004 -- we veterans of
    the resistance movements and combat forces of Free France (1940-1945) --
    that certainly "Nazism was conquered, thanks to the sacrifice of our
    brothers and sisters of the Resistance and United Nations against
    fascist barbarism. But this threat did not completely disappear, and our
    anger against injustice is ever intact." [Note 6] Also, let us always be
    called in "a truly peaceful insurrection against means of mass
    communication that offer as a vista for our youth only the consumption
    of mass trivia, contempt of the weakest and the culture, a generalized
    amnesia, and the hard competition of all against all."

    To those who will make the 21st century, we say with our affection:


              Oh What a Slaughter: Massacres in the American West: 1846-1890 by Larry McMurtry   
    Americans do not know much about our Indian Wars.

    Think about it. Many of us know so much about the American Revolution, the Civil War, the world wars, and the Vietnam Conflict (war never being proclaimed in Congress). These wars are revisited often in books, movies, and television documentaries. My library has many shelves of books about these wars because we have reader demand.

    What about the Indian Wars in our history, starting on the East Coast at the time of colonization and working their way west. If the shelves of my library and the reports of book circulation are an indication, we are not thinking about native tribes and the wars of their displacement. There are books a couple of shelves about the conflict but few are new. The readers are also few. Even our local schools seem to have dropped their Native American assignments. Some of the books have not been out in years.

    In a way, the Indian Wars are hard to know. They stretched over centuries and involved many different tribes in many remote places. There was no concentrated focus of place and/or time as there was in World War I or World War II. Many of the battles have been forgotten nationally. What memory remains of many of the battles is often local and like legends.

    I also think that many of us do not want to think about the Indian Wars. They do not show our ancestors in a favorable light. Subsequently, we are often surprised by what we learn when we visit historical sites or read a book like Oh What a Slaughter: Massacres in the American West: 1846-1890 by Larry McMurtry. Though I have read a handful of other books on the forced displacement of the tribes, I did not know half of what I read in the popular novelist's compact book.

    McMurtry has often written about the West, publishing many novels, essays, and histories. As always, in Oh What a Slaughter he is forthright and compels the reader to hear him out. It is a fine introduction to the history of the Indian Wars about which we should be reading more.

    McMurtry, Larry. Oh What a Slaughter: Massacres in the American West: 1846-1890. Simon & Schuster, 2005. 178p. ISBN 9780743250771.

    Existen 2 fuentes de las cuales podemos obtener información:

    -El Árbol Genealógico Familiar
    -La Historia Familiar

    Otras fuentes de las cuales podemos obtener información son:
    -Los familiares: que nos pueden contar parte de la historia familiar
    -Las fotos: que son parte importante de la historia familiar
    -Los Registros Civiles: que registran los nacimientos, los matrimonios y los fallecimientos.
    -Los Cementerios

    Registros Genealógicos en Buenos Aires:
    -AMIA:Posee informatizados los nombres de las personas enterradas en el Cementerio Judío (Ashkenazí) de Tablada y de Berazategui. La información se puede obtener ingresando el nombre de la persona fallecida o el año de su fallecimiento.Si es hombre, en la “matzeibá”, monumento en el cementerio, podemos ver grabado su nombre y el de su padre en hebreo.Los Judíos Sefaradim tienen su cementerio en Avellaneda y en Ciudadela.

    Se poseen listas de las personas arribadas al país en:
    CEMLA: En Independencia 20, donde abonando se pueden obtener los datos requeridos, si es que existen.
    MUSEO JUDÍO “S. KIBRICK”: En Libertad 769. Allí poseen listas de los pasajeros que vinieron a las colonias de la J.C.A (Jewish Colonization Association)
    ASOCIACIÓN DE GENEALOGÍA JUDÍA DE ARGENTINA (AGJA): Allí poseen listas de pasajeros arribados a la Argentina en el barco Wesser, Tokio, Lisboa, y otros barcos.
    CÁMARA NACIONAL ELECTORAL: Allí están registrados todos los ciudadanos argentinos vivos o fallecidos desde que se implantó la Ley Electoral.
    ARCHIVO GENERAL DE LA NACIÓN: Allí se pueden encontrar registros de los inmigrantes arribados al país antes de 1882.
               Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island Motmot, in its caldera lake. IV. Colonization by non-avian vertebrates    
    Cook, S., Singidan, R., and Thornton, I.W.B. (2001) Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island Motmot, in its caldera lake. IV. Colonization by non-avian vertebrates. Journal of Biogeography, 28 (11-12). pp. 1353-1363.
               Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island, Motmot, in its caldera lake. III. Colonization by birds    
    Shipper, Clinton, Shanahan, Mike, Cook, Simon, and Thornton, Ian W.B. (2001) Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island, Motmot, in its caldera lake. III. Colonization by birds. Journal of Biogeography, 28 (11-12). pp. 1339-1352.
               Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island, Motmot, in its caldera lake: VII. overview and discussion    
    Thornton, I.W.B., Cook, S., Edwards, J.S., Harrison, R.D., Shipper, C., Shanahan, M., Singadan, R., and Yamuna, R. (2001) Colonization of an island volcano, Long Island, Papua New Guinea, and an emergent island, Motmot, in its caldera lake: VII. overview and discussion. Journal of Biogeography, 28 (11-12). pp. 1389-1408.
              Healthcare Workers’ Hand Microbiome May Mediate Carriage of Hospital Pathogens   
    One function of skin microbiota is to resist colonization and infection by external microorganisms. We sought to detect whether the structure of the hand microbiota of 34 healthcare workers (HCW) in a surgical intensive care unit mediates or modifies the relationship between demographic and behavioral factors and potential pathogen carriage on hands after accounting for pathogen exposure. We used a taxonomic screen (16S rRNA) to characterize the bacterial community, and qPCR to detect presence of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus spp., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Candida albicans on their dominant hands. Hands were sampled weekly over a 3-week period. Age, hand hygiene, and work shift were significantly associated with potential pathogen carriage and the associations were pathogen dependent. Additionally, the overall hand microbiota structure was associated with the carriage of potential pathogens. Hand microbiota community structure may act as a biomarker of pathogen carriage, and modifying that structure may potentially limit pathogen carriage among HCW.
              Alessandro Petti   
      “Decolonizing Architecture: The Future Archeology of Israel’s Colonization”   Alessandro Petti teaches Urban Studies in the al-Quds-Bard Honors College in Abu Dis, and is one of the founders of […]
              THE CHEMICAL VALLEY PROJECT Comes to Summerworks 2017   
    Premiering at the 2017 Summerworks Festival, The Chemical Valley Project is an innovative documentary-theatre solo-performance that investigates Canada's energy infrastructure and the role of all Canadians in reconciliation. The show focuses on the efforts of the Aamjiwnaang land defenders Vanessa Gray and Lindsay Gray to protect their community's land, air, and water against the negative impacts of Canada's petrochemical industry.

    Created by Broadleaf Theatre's Julia Howman and Kevin Matthew Wong - and performed by Kevin Matthew Wong - the show incorporates a unique blend of documentary footage, projection design and miniature object puppetry. As Canada gears up to celebrate its 150th birthday, The Chemical Valley Project questions the foundations of 21st century Canada in light of ongoing environmental racism and the experiences of indigenous people. The Chemical Valley Project runs from August 3 - 13, 2017 at the Pia Bouman-Scotiabank Theatre as part of the 2017 Summerworks Festival. Tickets $15 - $35, available at the Summerworks box office and online.

    Located outside of Sarnia, Ontario, the Aamjiwnaang First Nations reserve and its 800 residents are smothered by one of the country's largest petrochemical corridors: The Chemical Valley. Siblings Vanessa Gray and Lindsay Gray have dedicated themselves to fighting the pollution threatening their community's health, safety, and future. In The Chemical Valley Project, theatre makers and friends Julia Howman and Kevin Matthew Wong document Vanessa and Lindsay's journeys as land defenders and water protectors and their battles against environmental racism and colonization.

    In a production that bridges the gap between documentary film and theatre, co-creators Kevin Matthew Wong and Julia Howman stage conversations between Kevin, Vanessa and Lindsay using recorded audio and video footage. A workshop performance of The Chemical Valley Project won Theatre Passe Muraille's fall 2016 Crapshoot! receiving praise for its captivating projections, visual magic, surprising theatricality, and vital message.

    Since 2014, Broadleaf Theatre has produced original theatre productions that explore local, national, and global environmental issues from a Canadian perspective. Broadleaf Theatre creates immediate, accessible, and engaging theatre to raise awareness about local and little known environmental issues.

              Brittle Stars that Steal Food From Jellyfish!    
    Ophiuroids on Jelly in Mozambique. Photo by Andrea Marshall, Daily Mail,
    And a HAPPY NEW 2017 to everyone! Yes. Obviously everyone has noticed the Echinoblog has gone to an "irregular" publication schedule. This is one of those "be careful what you wish for" issues- a lot of museum travel = a lot of new discoveries and thus papers and more work!  And so, like a lot of artisan comic books.. I'll be publishing when good topics and/or when the inspiration strikes me.

    Today, is a NEW paper (published just last year) by Brooke Ingram, Kylie Pitt from Griffith University and Peter Barnes from the Australian Dept of Parks and Wildlife in the Journal of Plankton Research!  

    Their work presents NEW data on the relationship between the "jellyfish hitchiking" brittle star Ophiocnemis marmorata (on the moon jelly Aurelia aurita)! The species occurs widely throughout the Indo-Pacific from Japan to India. I previously wrote about this phenomena back in 2009! here.

    1. How many different types of Jellyfish species does Ophiocnemis marmorata occur ON??
    The paper reports at least five or six, including at least 3 species of Rhopilema, Cephea cephea (the cauliflower jellyfish), Netrostoma and Aurelia aurita. But other internet records  and social media show further hosts.. such as this hydrozoan, Aequorea from Thailand..
    From Chaloklum Diving in Singapore,

    And here's a blog that documents this brittle stars on the "hairy" jellyfish. Lobocnema

    2. Where/How many are present on a jellyfish host? 
    Based on their sample of 92 Aurelia aurita, the authors, found that 79% of them (n=73) hosted brittle stars! quite a large number. Most of them were present under the bell or on the "oral arms" (the lobes hanging down from the bell)
    Image by Thomas Peschak,
    The authors observed that brittle stars ranged widely in size (1.0 to 6.0 mm) but MOST had a disk diameter of greater than 3.0 mm.  Medusae with MORE brittle stars were LARGER than those medusae without brittle stars. 
    The largest number of brittle stars recorded (n=14) occurred on a medusae with 155.0 mm bell diameter. 

    Its also worth noting that the brittle stars stay on the medusae ONLY within their home range. Many of these jellies, such as Aurelia (i.e. moon jellies) actually go beyond tropical settings and they really aren't seen on jellies in cold to temperate waters.. 

    3. So, what are the brittle stars EATING??
    The authors used a novel new method which basically breaks down the organic components of specific isotopes (Carbon and Nitrogen) and looks for how much of those isotopes is present in the subjects versus that which is provided by the environment.

    Long story short: The data indcates that most of the food sources in Ophiocnemis seems to come from PLANKTONIC SOURCES! (i.e. the mesozooplankton) and NOT from the medusae itself and there were not any observations of Ophiocnemis filter feeding (i.e. arms up in the water).

    And so the authors suggest that they are what's called KLEPTOPARASITES (a great word-really!). In other words, they take food directly away from the jellyfish out of the mouth or the oral arms, stealing or scavenging food from the jellyfish which are known as big pelagic predators.. What would be called "indirect food sources"...

    There are several reports of other brittle stars that practice "kleptoparasitc" behavior.. i.e. moving down into the feeding arms or near the mouth and stealing food directly from the host. Some of it might not be a big deal to the host.. scraps and etc.. but meaningful to the ophiuroids..
    Image by Ron Yeo at Tidechaser,

    4. Growth and Settlement..aka Living on a Changing Jellyfish World
    Although its not entirely clear HOW these brittle stars get up onto the jellies, one reasonable hypothesis is that they settle there as swimming larvae. Many of the brittle stars observed were tiny (smallest =1.0 mm disk).

    Larger medusae seemed to carry a higher "brittle star load" than smaller ones. Its not clear exactly how/WHY certain species are chosen. Whether it is simply the physical dynamic of having a larger  medusae that facilitates more larvae to settle or if perhaps there are other cues??

    It also turns out, based on further obsevations by others,  that this species DOES occur on the sea bottom on its own. So, its possible that as they get larger.. the brittle stars fall/jump/ or otherwise "settle" away from their floating substrate.

    Or perhaps the jellies themselves die, as we see here on this unfortunate jelly in Singapore! 
    Image by Ron Yeo at Tidechaser

    5. Why go to all the hassle?? 
    Well, one must ask, WHAT does a brittle star get OUT of basically jumping onto a jellyfish as a freshly settled larvae and living on it until it gets too big and falls off??

    Obviously, they are getting FOOD. So that's one thing. And to a certain extent they are being PROTECTED..because what better thing to live on that a giant stinging gelatinous mass that eats fish! 

    but perhaps the most important benefit is DISPERSAL.. that is the species is carried wide and far.. 
    It was suggested that some medusae could carry these brittle stars up to 1000 kilometers from their point of colonization! 

    The apparent range of possible hosts adds further questions about the life mode and just HOW many different types of Ophiocnemis are present? And how do the different jellies affect how the brittle stars diversify and spread?  

              Unravelling the secret diversity of Psychropotes! A global sea cucumber mystery!    
    via the NOAA photo library
    Today we look at one of the most bizarre deep-sea echinoderms (if not deep-sea ANIMALS) that I know of! the sea cucumber Psychropotes!!  I briefly discussed these in an earlier post on deep-sea sea cucumbers.. but have not had the pleasure of writing something up about them in detail..

    Here's some video to give you an idea of what it looks like/how it moves, etc. (I would watch without sound to enjoy the zen of the animal)
    IF the name doesn't sound familiar, the animal's distinctive appearance definitely stays glued in your head after you've seen one! Imagine a big blobby sea cucumber with what looks to be a HUGE LOBE sticking out of its hind end!

    Note the image above contrasted to this diagram showing mouth (top) and anus end (with lobe-bottom).

    The genus Psychropotes is derived from the Greek for Psychros which means "cold or frigid" and "potes" which honestly, I could not find a definitive translation for...   One root translated to "flight"? possibly alluding to the ability of this species to swim...And another colleague tells me it might mean "dweller". Ah well, one mystery at a time!!

    Psychropotes includes 11 species which occur widely, all around the world in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Southern (but not in the Arctic) oceans in the deep abyss of the world's oceans! That means roughly 2000 to 6000m. They are the deepest of the deep! Considered "classic" deep-sea inhabitants they were collected and described from the HMS Challenger's historic mission.

    These can be pretty BIG animals!! as this image from a recent MBARI expedition demonstrates. (with deep-sea biologist Greg Rouse for scale!)
    From MBARI

    But there is ONE species in particular, P. longicauda (the species name "longi-" means long and "caudex" refers to 'trunk or stem" and alludes to the posterior lobe in the same way that caudal fin refers to the end of a fish) that is of interest.
    Individuals all identified as this species, P. longicauda have been observed from oceans all around the world and varies rather widely in many ways. Sea cucumber species are identified based on tiny calcite bits called sclerites which seem to be highly variable.. with differences in sclerite shape varying between different regions.  But do all of these differences amount to different species?  Or variation within ONE species?? 

    Here for example was one seen from the recent tropical Pacific Okeanos Explorer cruises. Note that the "lobe" is a different shape. Separate species? Damage? 
    This turns out to be a pretty important question to deep-sea biologists. Can there be ONE species present at such a huge scale? Or are there species present that are CRYPTIC or hidden from us by body characteristics alone???

    Note the one above with the shorter, forked "lobe" Is it the SAME species as the purple one shown earlier? Is this variation? (such as what we might see in humans who live in different parts of the world) Or are these separate species?

    Their study explored the widespread occurrence of this species based on 128 specimens of Psychropotes longicauda collected from THREE different oceans over a 34 year period, from 1977 to 2011!
    This represented an INTERNATONAL team of experts from not only the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom but also the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Russia, the American Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Scripps Institute of Oceanography and many, others!! 

    They sampled tissue for two genetic markers (COI and 16S for those who need to know) across all the sampled individuals in order to compare populations from all around the world. 

    The Global Colors of Psychropotes
    So, here's the result. Scientists use diagrams to show a basic outline of relationships between different populations. Roughly speaking, the greater the distance between the circles the larger the distance between the populations and the greater chance they are separate species...

    In the first diagram, the LARGER the circle, the larger the sample size. So the bigger circle represents the largest number of samples. Which were all from the Atlantic Ocean.  

    Note the helpful color key so you can tell apart the populations you are seeing below:

    Dark Blue= North Atlantic (east)                      
    Light Blue= North Atlantic (west)
    Yellow= South Indian Ocean
    Green= South Atlantic
    Red= Northeast Pacific 
    Dark Purple= Northwest Pacific
    Pink= South Pacific                                                                                               
    Their figure 2 here shows what is basically the number of "steps" away from one another each population happens to be... The size of each circle represents the sample size. The big patch of BLUE reflects the LARGE sample of ATLANTIC specimens..but note how they are all clustered together. 

    Some closer, some farther away.. This means they are all more closely related to one another than to those the others.  But note how many different subgroups are present away from the big blue circle in the middle?  That suggests lots of 

    The Red (Northeast and Northwest Pacific) therefore seem to display a somewhat closer relationship to those in the North Atlantic than to those in the Southern hemisphere (yellow, green, pink, etc.)
    Figure 2 from Gubili et al. 2016
    Their figure 3 below, shows all of the populations in more of a "family tree" (i.e. phylogenetic), not only do we see that all of the Atlantic and Pacific members are "close" but they all occur on a single lineage, which means they were all MUCH more closely related

    Two major lineages are most evident in the phylogenetic tree below, Lineages 1 and 2 each with subgroups:  Lin 1A, Lin 1B and Lin 2A and 2B, respectively. 

    The pattern is kind of unclear..but there's definitely an Atlantic cluster (Lineage 2) with members that occur in the Indian and Pacific but this seems very separate from the Lineage 1 which seems to include members from all over, including the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific.

    Figure 3 from Ghibili et al. 
    Ultimately, the two lineages (Lineages 1 and 2) showed > 5% divergence from one another. When compared with other echinoderm species, that much population genetic divergence is enough to recognize a separate species (as opposed to simply a population with structure).

    So, YES. One lineage, is the "proper" Psychropotes longicauda species, but there's at LEAST one more which has been "hidden" by the taxonomic definition of Psychropotes longicauda. That is, they all LOOK like the described species but in fact, the differences are FAR more subtle than we had previously recognized! More diversity (i.e., further species) will likely be discovered as more data is collected..

    Some of these further subgroups will be so-called "cryptic species" because morphology does not immediately distinguish them. Thus, their status as species is "hidden" by external morphology (but subsequently discovered by genetics).  But now that we are looking, many, MANY more characters that could help distinguish these species could conceivably be discovered.

    Other Interesting Observations/Questions..
    One interesting factoid was that Psychropotes, and many other deep-sea sea cucumbers only occur in areas of high productivity (i.e. marine snow). Could these nutrient rich regions be related to speciation? and diversity within the species? 
    The authors were able to note changes in the genetic diversity and abundance of the Atlantic lineage across a temporal series! Based on the extensive collections at the National Oceanography Collection at Southampton University, they they observed an uptick in the abundance of small individuals but also a change in the amount of genetic diversity  in relation to an increase in organic flux called the "Amperima Event" in 1996!

    They found that there were MORE individuals which belonged to the "Atlantic population" and fewer of those which shoed affinities to other oceans. This might explain why the Atlantic "genetic type" was so well established.  They cautioned that although they didn't have enough of a dataset to show changes over time, they DID say that there WERE changes in the genetic makeup related to the nutrient availability. 

    That is a pretty snazzy thing to record from a collection of deep-sea sea cucumbers! 

    Is there an Antarctic origin for Psychropotes longicauda
    The authors argue that the combination of Southern Indian Ocean lineages was consistent with other hypotheses arguing for an Antarctic origin for this widely occurring deep-sea sea cucumber. 

    Repeated colonization events from the Antarctic via the Southern Indian Ocean (yellow colored in the figures above)  might explain the many lineages of Psychropotes present throughout the world's oceans as well as the presence of multiple lineages of Indian Ocean Psychropotes versus the derived and consistent clustering of Atlantic and Pacific populations.

    (Coincidentally this picture of a Southern Atlantic Psychropotes is yellow!! )

    What further mysteries does Psychropotes have in store? I anxiously await the next paper! if I could only figure out what the "potes" part of Psychropotes means!
    And just because, here are some FANTASTIC Psychropotes Bonuses! 

    Here was an AWESOME Psychropotes cake by Elizabeth Ross, one of the authors of the study...
    And of course Psychropotes stuffed animals.. from Japan of course!! 
    from ebay

              الموافقه على تغيير موضوع رسالة الماجستير الخاصه بـ ط.ب/ شيماء يوسف السيد   
    andnbsp;موافقة مجلس قسم الميكروبيولوجيا الطبية والمناعة على تغيير موضوع رسالة الماجستير الخاصة بطبيبة بيطرية/ شيماء يوسف السيد المعيدة بقسم الميكروبيولوجيا والمناعة والمقيدة لنيل درجة الماجستير في العلوم الطبية البيطرية (الميكروبيولوجيا والمناعة) بناء على الطلب المقدم من السادة الأساتذة المشرفين على الرسالة. " الكشف الجزيئى فى عصيات القاولون النموذجيه المنتجه للسموم وعامل الاستعمار 22 المرتبط بها فى الالبان ومنتجاتها" "Molecular detection of enterotoxigenic E.coli and associated colonization factor 22 (CS22) in milk and milk products." " الكشف الجزيئى عن عصيات القاولون المعويه المنتجه للسموم وعامل الاستعمار 6 المرتبط بها فى الالبان ومنتجاتها" "Molecular detection of enterotoxigenic E.coli and associated colonization factor 6 (CS6) in milk and milk products."
              Mapping pastoralists’ women’s roles: colonial and post-colonial impact   

    A new study published in the SpringerOpen journal Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice explores the impact of colonization on pastoral women’s roles in Northern Kenya using archival documents. Here, Dr. Fatuma Boru Guyo tells us about the Borana people and how their social organization changed with colonization from the British, specifically in relation to women’s roles.

    The post Mapping pastoralists’ women’s roles: colonial and post-colonial impact appeared first on BioMed Central blog.

              Comment on Mathematics, Decolonization and Censorship: C. K. Raju by C. K. Raju   
    @Rama. A lot of research has already been done, as anyone with even a little research background would have immediately noticed. Two books and several articles are cited in the post itself. Rama has not gone through them, for he raises no specific objection to even a single sentence in my 500 page tome Cultural Foundations of Mathematics or my book Euclid and Jesus. Had he seen at least the censored article, he would have found it cites a longer list of my books and papers posted at Does he contest my statements about Ptolemy in my booklet Is Science Western in Origin? Then there are my statements about Archimedes, also found in my recent lectures at the University of South Africa on "Not out of Greece", posted at Or my statement about Aristotle in my article on logic for the Springer encyclopedia? Then there are my numerous articles on decolonising education. Or is he challenging the physics which results from decolonized math? Say my theory of Lorentz covariant retarded gravitation which arises by debunking Newton's and the formalist understanding of calculus and correcting the consequent error in Newtonian physics. BTW, the latest on that is at Rama passes a sweeping judgment without being able to contest even one sentence, in the thousands of pages of research I have published, so Rama's opinion has no value. It is exactly the attitude of the censors: we don't know, we don't need to know, we reject because it doesn't fit our beliefs. Basically, he seems deeply uncomfortable that the grand myths of "Ancient Greece" with which he was indoctrinated have collapsed like a house of cards. He imagines they have more solidity. But, on my research, and as stated in the post, there is less than nil evidence for these myths. Hence, after a decade of attempts to debate my research, I offered a 2 lakh prize for serious (primary) evidence on Euclid. The prize is standing for seven years. Since Rama says I have not done adequate research he should quickly claim the prize. If he does not then his actions speak louder than his words. Think of it. Is it ethical to teach these lousy church/racist/colonial myths to gullible school children if no expert in the world can produce evidence for them? Rama makes a desperate attempt to suggest that Protestants were fundamentally different from Roman Catholics. But both are part of the Nicene creed, and both accept Augustine and also Aquinas' theology of reason which came before the split. Both used education to breed missionaries. As for math, these myths were very much taught also in Protestant Britain; for example in Cambridge, where the norm was blind imitation of "Euclid" until 1887, after which some latitude was permitted, though not in "Euclid's" definitions or common notions or the order of propositions. And there was no secular education in Britain until 1871, when it came only at the primary level, but "Euclid" continued to be taught for and in Cambridge. As for convincing the indoctrinated, I have long maintained that it is harder to convince the colonised mind of its superstitions than astrologers. My key concern is to prevent indoctrination of the next generation. So, debate if you can, but ONLY on specific issues, or write a counter article and I will respond appropriately.
              Comment on About the Podcast by Ryan   
    Jamie, I'm starting to become seriously concerned with the pace the podcast is currently on. At the rate you are currently going, we will literally die before the Anglo-Saxon era is over. Do you plan to reach 1066 in twenty or thirty years' time? I long for the day when Edward, his successor, finally forges England. I wish to reach the crusades; to discuss the Magna Carta; to learn of the events in Ireland (part of the British isles); to read of the Protestant Reformation; of Queen Elizabeth and the era of colonization. I understand that the Anglo-Saxon era is important, but other eras are important too, and it now seems like you actively avoid progressing. I would appreciate a projection for the near future.
              Prologue: Last Supper   
    The 'Last Supper' is a direct prequel to Alien: Covenant. Set aboard the Covenant, a colonization ship on its way to a remote planet to form a new human settlement, the main crew (all ...
    Prologue: Last Supper

              Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan's Imperialism, 1895-1945   

    Mark Driscoll, an associate professor of Japanese and International Studies at the University of North Carolina, here presents a very thorough reassessment of Japanese imperialism of Asia in the first half of the twentieth century. Driscoll focuses his attention on the fringes of the colonized Asian peoples, writing about the Chinese coolies, Korean farmers, Japanese pimps and trafficked women of various Asian nationalities that moved Japan's empire along and provided the behind-the-scenes energy that created such an empire. Japan's rise to a capitalist power—and its expansion of its empire—is identified by Driscoll as happening in three distinct phases, each marked by exploitation of people, land, life, and labor: biopolitics, neuropolitics, and necropolitics.

    Driscoll's reading of biopolitics as it applies to Japanese imperialism and capitalism is the same as Michel Foucault's: faire vivir (improving life) and laisser mourir (letting die off). Biopolitics most often involves public health, disease prevention, maternity clinics, and hygiene campaigns. It directly ties in to the concept of laissez-faire capitalism, its aim being for some lives to be improved and for others to be left to fare for themselves. In neuropolitics, the exploited worker in the capitalist society has a life that no longer belongs to him but to the object into which he puts his life (often his job); therefore, he must try to buy back his own life in the form of “commodity substitutes.” (Think of Fight Club and its message of “the things you own end up owning you.”) Citizens in a neuropolitical state are “shocked into stupefaction,” and then tricked into buying a “second life” back from the capitalist regime in the form of consumable goods. Necropolitics, the third phase of Japan's capitalist imperial expansion, is defined as the state in which workers, forced laborers, and colonized persons are aware of the constant threat of omnipresent death, and perceive life as a constant struggle against this threat of death. The imperialistic powers over the colonized peoples subjugate their lives with the power of death.

    Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque is a highly fascinating book, though occasionally dry and academic. This is no fault of the writer or subject matter, but simply my own Western/Caucasian mind not having these lingual-neural pathways, but I had trouble keeping up with the many Asian names sprinkled liberally throughout the text. There is plenty in here to intrigue those with an interest in twentieth century world politics, Marxism, sex workers, the failures of capitalism, the deplorable treatment of women in war conditions, poverty, gender, race, political corruption, and the swift rise and fall of empires. Driscoll also covers pornography and drugs in Japan's colonization of Asia, and includes some grisly photographs from “erotic-grotesque” magazines, the idea of these being that the two concepts were not so different from one another.

    Written by: Natalie Ballard, December 4th 2010

              Los mejores juegos de estrategia   
    Los videojuegos de estrategia ofrecen al jugador el placer de comandar y liderar grandes batallones de todo tipo, y organizar de forma perfecta y orquestada una batalla y lograr destruir al enemigo con la menor cantidad de bajas posibles. Eso, o fracasar en el intento. Un tipo de videojuegos muy emocionantes y donde el jugador debe calcular los pasos y acciones que tomarán sus enemigos para adelantarse a ellas.
    mejores juegos de estrategia

    Y eso es quizás el mayor atractivo de los juegos de estrategia, lo que exigen al jugador. Concentración, análisis, orden al mover tus batallones y más, para lograr una victoria casi perfecta donde tu enemigo nunca tuvo oportunidad. es hora de hablar de un tipo de juegos que no todos disfrutan, pero quienes lo prefieren suelen ser personas muy detallistas, que analizan cualquier tipo de situación y se tratan de adelantar a los acontecimientos. Deben serlo, ya los que son requisitos básicos de los juegos de estrategia, donde debes analizar todo un enorme campo de batalla, tus posibilidades, tus movimientos y todo lo que pueda o no hacer tu enemigo, para poder triunfar. Como todo un comandante de guerra, o el mejor jugador de ajedrez.

    Por supuesto, no todos disfrutan largas partidas de más de una o dos horas (especialmente en modos multijugador cooperativo, quizás la mejor forma de disfrutar estos juegos). Pero si eres fanático de este tipo de videojuegos, te recomendamos los mejores juegos de estrategia que puedes jugar hoy en día. Como aclaración, por razones obvias me saltaré algunos grandes clásicos del género, y la lista no está en ningún orden específico.

    Age of Empires II

    Para muchos, el mejor juego de estrategia o mejor RTS de la historia. Age of Empires II llegó al mercado en el año 1999, desarrollado por los ahora extintos Ensemble Studios y revolucionó la forma een la que jugábamos a esta clase de títulos. Un juego que exigía mucho del jugador, concentración y acciones rápidas e incluso improvisar en algunas situaciones, digno de cualquier fanático de las batallas épicas en la historia del mundo.
    Hace poco Valve lanzó una nueva versión de este clásico en HD a través de Steam, y aunque el juego tuvomuchos fallos en su lanzamiento, poco a poco ha mejorado y ofrece mucho placer a los nostálgicos.

    Company of Heroes y Company of Heroes 2

    Otro juego de estrategia en tiempo real revolucionario. En el año 2006 nació el primer Company of Heroes bajo la responsabilidad de la ahora extinta THQ y desarrollado por los Relic Studios. Un trabajo maravilloso que ofrecía una campaña en solitario espectacular, llena de grandes batallones alemanes, norteamericanos e ingleses, y cuyas dos expansiones añadían aún más diversión y horas de juego al modo solitario.
    Pero es en el modo multijugador donde está la magia del primer CoH. Un modo de juego impecable que ofrece largas batallas en compañía de tus amigos contra la computadora o contra otros jugadores (hasta 4 contra 4), incluso con batallas grupales. Personalmente, una de mis dos sagas de juegos RTS favoritas. CoH te exige enfocarte en la batalla más que en ninguna otra cosa, por lo que aquí el jugador se olvida de la extracción de recursos típicos de estos juegos, para solo combatir y administrar los que automáticamente se generan cada minuto, dependiendo de nuestras habilidades de juego.
    Y el juego que parecía inmejorable, fue en gran parte superado por su sucesor, el Company of Heroes 2que aquí en ALT1040 reseñamos y nuevamente nos ofreció un modo multijugador impecable, ahora se suma el ejército ruso (dado que la batalla, que ocasionó polémica en Rusia, se basa en la historia y las batallas de este frente). CoH 2 vuelve a ser desarrollado por los Relic Studios, aunque esta vez bajo la responsabilidad de SEGA.

    Rise of Nations

    Rise of Nations y su expansión Thrones and Patriots es uno de los juegos RTS más popular durante la última década. Llegó al mercado en el año 2003, creado por el reconocido Brian Reynolds (uno de los creadores de Civilization II y Colonization, junto con Sid Meier; además del popular Alpha Centauri). Su modo de juego se basa en expandir territorio construyendo más ciudades (y conquistando), lo que también da opción a más avances tecnológicos en el juego.

    Civilization V

    La más reciente entrega de una espectacular saga de juegos de estrategia, creada por el reconocido Sid Meier, Civilization V ofrece una gran experiencia en un juego enorme, lleno de contenido y cosas por hacer, y un sistema de combate bastante peculiar basado en un mapa de hexágonos. Lleno de problemas y temáticas religiosas, diplomáticas y mercantiles, que lo complementan y ayudan a hacerlo uno de los juegos más difíciles del género.

    Total War: Shogun 2

    Desarrollado por los talentosos chicos de The Creative Assembly y distribuido por SEGA, Shogun 2 es parte de la reconocida saga Total War, que une enormes batallones épicos en mapas aún más grandes y con un tipo de juego único y espectacular. Lanzado en el año 2011, nos lleva al Japón del siglo XVI donde las espadas samurai serán el arma más blandida por los diferentes clanes con intenciones de hacerse con el dominio del imperio.

    Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War II

    Otra gran creación de los estudios de Relic (mismos creadores de Company of Heroes), pero que esta vez nos presentan una trama futurista, ya que está basado en el exitoso juego de mesa llamado "Warhammer 40.000". A diferencia de su antecesor, este juego contaba con una campaña bastante abierta y flexible, nada lineal. Las decisiones del jugadores son vitales para el avance en las misiones o incluso en la campaña, y cuenta con muchísimos elementos RPG que fascinarán a los amantes del género.

    Empire Earth

    Otro clásico de inicios de este milenio, Empire Earth llegó al mercado en el año 2001 y fue creado nada menos que por Rick Goodman, el diseñador principal del primer Age of Empires. Se basa en la construcción de imperios y ofreció muchas novedades al género para su época, como los llamados "héroes". Además, el jugador puede desplazarse desde la edad media hasta el futuro en las campañas y partidas.

    Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

    Una de las más famosas entregas parte de la exitosa y reconocida saga Command and Conquer. Red Alert 3 salió al mercado en el año 2008 y su trama se basa en un universo paralelo donde la segunda guerra mundial nunca sucedió, pero Rusia y Japón se elevaron como máximas potencias militares. Al igual que muchos clásicos, se debe construir una base, recolectar recursos y crear un ejército, pero las batallas tienen muchos elementos (además de la historia) que lo hacen muy divertido.

    Total War: Rome y Total War: Rome 2

    Este título fue el tercero de la saga Total War de The Cretive Assembly, en la época que el distribuidor no era SEGA como ahora, sino Activision. El primer Rome ofrece al jugador la posibilidad de tomar el control del imperio romano a través de una de las familias más poderosas e influyentes de su historia, con diferentes objetivos y misiones cada una pero con el mismo fin, el auge del imperio. Un juego sencillamente impecable y una saga que, junto al Company of Heroes, son mis favoritas.
    Sin embargo, Total War: Rome II mejora por completo a su antecesor. Lanzado hace apenas una semana, en pleno año 2013, ofrece un mapa de juego enorme, el más grande jamás creado en un Total War, según sus desarrolladores. Esta vez el jugador podrá elegir cualquiera de las tres más poderosas familias romanas, o en lugar de ello optar por otra facción como los espartanos, griegos, galos u otra, ya que el juego en realidad ofrece al jugador la posibilidad de reescribir la historia, una idea fascinante. Sin duda, un juego impecable e imperdible, cuya reseña a fondo estará disponible aquí en ALT1040 durante los próximos días.

    Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos

    En julio del año 2002 Blizzard lanzó este espectacular juego de estrategia en tiempo real, siendo el tercero basado en el mundo de Warcraft, y antes de que este universo pasara a ser parte de quizás el MMORPG más exitoso de la historia, el popular WoW.
    Reign of Chaos nos ofrecía gráficos en 3D, cuatro razas jugables y en teoría todo lo básico de un juegoRTS, pero con tantas bondades que lo convirtieron en uno de los juegos de estrategia más exitosos y populares de todos los tiempos, aún hoy en día.


    Una de las más grandes sagas de juegos de estrategia de todos los tiempos. Starcraft fue lanzado por Blizzard en el año 1998 y suma una cantidad de fanáticos increíble en todo el mundo. También es considerado un juego que revolucionó el género RTS y no solo esto, esta saga es una de las principales responsables del nacimiento de los eSports como los conocemos hoy en día. Su trama se basa en varias razas de seres, incluyendo humanos, que batallan por hacerse control de parte de la galaxia.
    StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty es una de las mejores entregas posteriores de la saga y recientemente lanzaron Heart of the Swarm, segunda parte de la trilogía que compondrá StarCraft II. En general, esta es de las sagas más exitosas y reconocidas de juegos RTS que todo fanático del género debería jugar y que nos cansamos de ver en infinidad de debates y discusiones sobre ¿cuál es el mejor juego de estrategia de la historia? ¿StarCraft o Age of Empires? El debate sin fin.
    Por supuesto, existen varios clásicos que se quedan fuera de esta lista, pero hoy por hoy estos son los mejores juegos de sigilo que puedes conseguir, disfrutar y jugar en solitario o (mejor aún) con algunos amigos, para saber quién es el mejor comandante de un batallón espacial, militar o de la antigua Roma.

              The Solution is… European Union/Multiculturalism/Communism… Name your poison!   
    Well, I don't get much time to do quality writing, so I rant instead...)

    Anything can be a good and productive thing… in moderation. A bit of unity, a bit of multiculturalism, a bit of socialism, a bit of democracy. But the problem comes when the goal becomes all encompassing. Too much of anything is… a bad thing.

    It is amusing, and terrifying, to see successive generations of politicians and theorists fall for successive bad ideas, which they then defend to the death… long after historical realities have kicked in to prove that such overly-simplistic guff is in fact overly-simplistic dangerous guff. Such stupidities have included Internationalism, European Union, Socialism, Multiculturalism, Communism, and… Democracy. All overly simplistic solutions, to problems that have been carefully misread to allow such solutions to seem reasonable.

    The European Union for instance, is founded on the ridiculous, and incorrect, 1950’s assumption that all Europe’s problems can be traced back to Nationalism.

    This was a knee jerk reaction to World War II, where the problem was supposed to be Fascism, which was supposed to be a Nationalist version of Socialism (literally the National Socialist Workers Party in the Nazi case).

    It conveniently ignores the fact that the Communists were just as territorially aggressive and expansionist – in the name of ‘internationalism’ – as the fascists were – in the name of nationalism. In fact Stalin’s deal with Hitler to divide up Eastern Europe under the Molitov-Ribbentropp pact was what actually started the Second World War. (A factor swept under the carpet when, at the end of the war, Finland – one of the victims of Communist aggression in 1940 – was prosecuted for the ‘War Crime’ of resisting Soviet occupation, by the Soviet Empire that had been expelled from the League of Nations for its unprovoked invasion of peaceful and democratic Finland 5 years earlier…)

    So when the delusional Social Democrat types in the decades after the war were looking for something to blame that could be phrased in such a way as to hide their share of the guilt: they picked the term ‘nationalism’ and launched the ‘ever closer union’ concept for Europe as ‘the one ideal way to end all future troubles’. Possibly the most idealistic stupidity since… well, since the same type of people launched Communism as ‘the one ideal way to end all future troubles’ thirty or forty years earlier.

    In fact, so carefully do such people hide the truth from themselves, that it would probably come as a surprise to them to learn that European conflict did not start with the modern nation state!

    You will no doubt be amazed to learn that there was not ideal peaceful harmony in Europe before the rise of modern Nationalism. Frankly, Europeans have never needed much excuse to slaughter each other. Some the reasons over the centuries since the Ancient World have included: forced and voluntary migration; droughts, floods and famines (most of the above as results of variants of what we now call ‘climate change’ issues); religious and political movements; social changes and class civil-warfare; trade issues; international exploration and colonization and de-colonisation; dynastic conflicts and treaty obligations; slavery and attempts to end slavery; blatant territory grabs at other people’s expense; conquests, reconquista’s and ‘liberations’; and plain simple ‘prestige’ conflicts (such as the War of Jenkin’s Ear).

    The decision – by people who want to hide their share of any guilt – to throw all the blame onto something carefully chosen to exclude them from any blame (and to carefully fit a requirement for a solution that would require their own preferred world order to save everyone), is an unfortunately common one in history.

    The tendency of such idealogues to then defend to the death such stupidity, is even more common.
    Thus we have Angela Merkel announcing that ‘Germany’ will take all refugees who want to come, and then telling anyone else in Europe who is unhappy with this idea that European Unity means they have to accept whatever quota’s her pet European bureaucrats decide to assign. Also, while we’re at it, that open borders in Europe mean that anyone that Germany does accept can be immediately encouraged to move to the UK or France or Sweden anyway. Her defence of such stupidity merely coming down to the European ideal, and to the concept of nationalism being evil. Therefore anyone who argues her plan is stupid, an evil racist, and probably a fascist.

    Well guess what? Nationalism is going to save Europe from such stupidity.

    Unfortunately, because all the Social Democrat types have spent so long ignoring and belittling such thinking, the nationalism that the long ignored average voter in Europe is going to turn to may well be as extreme as the nationalism that the European project was trying to avoid in the first place. In other word’s Merkel and her idealogues will do more to bring fascism back into fashion than any number of Beer Hall fanatics.

    Which brings us to the problem of Democracy. The sort of real democracy that European Unionist loonies hate, because it is expression of common people trying to get their idealogical rulers to listen to their real world concerns. The sort of democracy that inevitably leads to dictatorship… (or at least to a different dictatorship than that of Merkel and the European Union dictats).

    Democracy is supposed to be a wonderful thing, unless of course the majority of your population do not want to go where the political and chattering classes believe they must take them. In which case it is something to be ignored, or outflanked. Preferably by non democratic routes such as the European Union, but if necessary by the simple expedient of ignoring the electoral result and trying to install someone who fits your preferences better… see Portugal after the last election.

    So the great ideal of democracy is ignored by the idealogues, until the electoral swingback gets so extreme that protest voters start electing people who hate democracy… Extreme parties of the left and right across Europe come easily to mind, and can be compared with other popularly elected lashback responses by irritated and frustrated voters  – Fascism and Nazism spring to mind.

    The modern ideal of Democracy, is founded on the ridiculous, and incorrect, 1700’s assumption that all Europe’s problems can be traced back to Monarchy.

    Thus we get the ‘Revolutions’ in America and France, where educated and newly politicised chattering classes try to find a simplistic solution to all the world’s problems. Their solution being to adopt a system which fits their preferred world order, and seems to give them an advantage that will allow them to force people into their way of thinking.

    Humans being what they are, it didn’t work of course.

    The American Revolution, supposedly about ‘equality for all’ – if you want to fall for idealistic propaganda – was actually a tax rebellion by Northern states (who also wanted to get rid of the English governments treaties that kept them out of Indian land), and the Southern states (who wanted to block the English anti-slavery legislation from spreading to their nice comfy system). It was never really about equality, and all the exclusions of people from voting on the basis of colour, race, sex, religion, immigration status, etc, should have made it clear to anyone that what was being considered was really an Oligarchy. Similar in fact to the Ancient Greek and Roman slave based societies, where some special and limited classes shared rights no one else had.

    Actually all ‘successful’ democracies in history have always been Oligarchies. The 1000 year old ‘Sublime Republic of Venice’ – on which large parts of the US constitution were based – for instance, being limited to a certain number of families that had the vote. Similarly the ‘Republics’ of Ancient Greece or Rome, and modern Switzerland or Israel, being based on vote by military service – another way of ensuring the voters might put national interests above selfish ones.

    The first few French republics (those squeezed in around the inevitable dictatorships and emperors that are the result of such systems) were also based on a limited franchise. In their case not a race or religion or sex one like the US, but a straight property qualification that saw a small percentage of both sexes as voters.

    Unsurprisingly the Oligarchical Republics of the 18th and 19th centuries were some of the most internally violent (US Slavery, Civil War, Indian Wars, the Terror, multiple revolts and 'communes', Lynchings, Jim Crow laws, etc), and externally aggressive (Napoleonic Wars, Spanish –American Wars, ‘Interventions’ in Central America, Occupations of Hawaii, Philippines, etc) governments in history. Rivaling the Greek and Roman republics for their aggressive expansionism by land and sea, and certainly being no less effective than more traditional military (Russia and Germany) or trade (Britain and Netherlands) expansionist states.

    (And here I would note that the one of the mitigating factors in the idea that German Nationalism was a problem in WWI, was that the populist Navy Leagues and Colonial Leagues of the newly enfranchised voting classes did in fact push Nationalism to dangerous extremes. The Kaiser was a dangerous loon, but he was a dangerous loon responding to the fervor of the dregs of the petti bourgeois who had been enfranchised in his nation, not a man with Napoleonic capabilities in his own right.)

    Fortunately the idealogues had a solution to overcome these minor imperfections of limited franchise democracy… universal franchise.

    The more recent concept of Universal Franchise Democracy, is founded on the ridiculous, and incorrect, early 1900’s assumption that all Europe’s problems can be traced back to a limited voting Oligarchy.

    Clearly if the ‘ruling classes’ in a state are the rich and powerful – ie, the naturally conservative propertied elements who make the economy work and provide the productive jobs – then the chattering classes who want change will need to enfranchise the not rich and not powerful, so they can ride the wave of demand tor change into their ideal world. In fact so they can direct it to provide taxpayer funding for non productive jobs…. For people like them.

    It is certainly no accident that the modern ‘ruling class’ is the nouveau-rich chattering classes – and the power base they have established in the completely unproductive taxpayer supported lawyers and civil servants and union officials –  who lead inevitably to ‘leaders’ who have the right and duty to lecture their stupid populace’s for not being politically correct enough… People like Merkel, Obama, and the European Union President. (Go on, name him? He has more practical power to interfere in his ‘citizens’ lives than either of the other two. Who is he?)

    It is not just the Australian Union Movement of which we can say ‘they used to consist of the cream of the working class, now they consist of the dregs of the middle class’. All the petty tyrants who gorge in the taxpayers trough, and who try and force the ignorant peasants under their care down the correct path – whether medieval monks selling indulgences, or modern human rights lawyers banning free speech on issues they disapprove of – tend to be the dregs. 

    The dregs, of the intellectual fervor, of the previous generation, of wrong thinkers.

    The dregs of any intellectual movement eventually have to accept that their ideal is hogwash. Even Marxists have started to admit that after a century of promoting Communism, they can no longer hide the hideous nature of Communism. Still, they are not going to give up their world-view just because the evidence against it is so overwhelming that continued attempts to argue in favour of it become ridiculous. Instead they move smoothly to supporting another, equally ridiculous ideaology that they think will support their world view. Say Environmentalism, or Multiculturalism.

    Multiculturalism is founded on the ridiculous, and incorrect, 1970’s assumption that all ‘the West’s’ problems can be traced back to integrating immigrants into a corrupt western society, when clearly their pure original society was better. (After all, that’s why they were trying to move to the West, wasn’t it? To go from a superior society to an inferior one?)

    Well where’s the point of making integrated citizens? How can lawyers and social workers (any more than the union officials of the previous generation), make ever increasing demands on the public purse, if they can’t create the conflicts that drive the need for their services?

    The rule that the amount of social work needed increases at a faster rate than the number of social workers available to do it is just the Sir Humphrey Appleby principle of civil service management. If you want to be overpaid by the taxpayer to do unproductive work, you have to create a need for the work to be done. This can be best done by promoting policies that cause the frictions you want to be paid to control. Simples!

    So we have ever greater education costs that result in ever decreasing literacy; for the same reason that we have ever greater family law divorce and settlement processes that result in ever greater ‘family’ violence problems.

    The simple fact is that the more incentive given to taxpayer funded people to do whatever they want to do, the more problems they help to manufacture that will lead to more funding.

    (Let’s not even talk about climate change ‘scientists’ who need ever greater funding to overcome the fact that their fancy models do not remotely resemble the facts. If anything was as simple as ‘we can solve the world’s problems by limiting one insignificant natural chemical by one insignificant %’, then we would not need to pay billions to explain why none of it adds up. If they could stop defending the indefensible for a few minutes, we might be able to look at the myriad intersecting issues that cause real pollution and environmental degradation…. But no, limit carbon dioxide growth by 1% and all the world’s problems will be solved! Hallelujah!!!)

    So why do the silly chattering classes fixate on stupid oversimplifications?
    Because they are too lazy or limited to explore wider I suppose.
    But why do they defend them to the death even when it is proved they are crap?
    Well, it would seem, because we let them make vast amounts from doing so.
    Follow the money… that will explain all.

    This is even more the case of idealistic socialists who live on the public purse, than it is for the evil capitalists they despise.

              Hemorrhoids - About Urinary Tract Infection - Prevention And Treatments   
    Hemorrhoids: Urinary tract infection, or UTI, is colonization of microorganisms in the urinary tract in such an amount and such a way that damages or symptoms are produced. When only the urethra and the bladder is affected, it is called lower urinary tract... Hemorrhoids
              your comment suggests that   

    In reply to "many people who are adept in

    your comment suggests that you are more interested in obfuscation than contributing discursive value. but just in case, i will clarify the intent in my above comments, that you have distorted;

    (1.) through inquiries into the ‘anatomy of organizing’, together with others and linked to the findings of Mach, Poincaré and others, and, as well, to the observations of sapir, whorf et al, that the architecture of our language-constructs shapes our ‘view’ of organizing, some insights have emerged that i am trying to share [because i am convinced that these insights can be valuable to our collective effort which for me is best described as ‘decolonization’].

    (2.) i am participating in this forum since ‘organizing’ is common to discussions on ‘anarchism’; e.g. how organizing works in nature and how it is distorted by politics and used to enslave the masses, and how we, with our diverse perspectives and experiential situations, can co-cultivate ‘de-colonizing’.

    (3.) the insight, available to any of us, identified by Mach and others, is that ‘outside-inward organizing-sourcing influences’ are physically real. the second ‘half’ of this insight [sapir/whorf] is that standard european language constructs deliver a mental model of organizing-sourcing that ‘drops out’ the outside-inward organizing-sourcing influence and gives the impression that organizing is sourced fully and solely by inside-outward asserting influence. this leads directly to the notion that ‘hierarchies’ are essential for constructing and sustaining ‘organization’. this leads directly to the perceived need for a ‘common belief’ that can be dictated top-down through the hierarchical layers to create and sustain ‘organization’.

    (4.) the net effect of (3.) is that the supporters of hierarchical control- and politics-based ‘organization’ have a huge advantage, thanks to the discursive medium being european language-based, to convince people of the inevitable need of hierarchy and politics to sustain ‘organization’ in the social dynamic.

    (5.) what is ‘different’ about european languages, from aboriginal languages, is their implicit ‘euclidian space’ framing that results in mental models of dynamics in terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’. only in euclidian space can there be ‘things-in-themselves’. ‘things-in-themselves’ DO NOT EXIST in relational space, the space of our physical experience according to modern physics. as both mach and poincaré point out, ‘things-in-themselves’ are convenient abstractions [e.g. the ‘hurricane’, the ‘convection cell’, the ‘continent’, the ‘island’, ‘the mountain’, the ‘valley’ [‘crest’ and ‘trough’] as things-in-themselves]. it is convenient to construct a mental model of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ over time and thus to avoid having to address the physical interdependent connectedness of relational space. “Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought” –Ernst Mach”

    (6.) politicians, even in the anarchist community, use european languages such as english to make convincing arguments as to ‘what can be done’ in [euclidian space-framing] terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ [all-inside-outward organizational sourcing, no outside-inward organizing sourcing]. the notion of a ‘national economy’ is a case in point. in a relational space, mach’s principle would apply; “the dynamics of the inhabitants [U.S., EU, China etc.] are conditioning the dynamics of the global habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the global habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants [U.S., EU, China etc.]” In a relational space, dynamics are understood in terms of an interdependenent connectedness or ‘relational web’ or ‘resonance-feature’ wherein the ‘dynamic form’ [aka ‘thing’], rather than being a ‘thing-in-itself’ is the nexus of outside-inward orchestrating influence and inside-outward asserting influence [i.e. the mediating milieu or ‘transforming relational spatial-plenum is the primary dynamic]. in other words, political rhetoric portrays a national collective as a collection of ‘things-in-themselves’ that are their own local jumpstart source of causal agency that delivers results; i.e. as a powerboat whose power and steerage is fully and solely inside-outward sourced, rather than a sailboat whose power and steerage derives from the dynamic milieu in which it is situationally included. politicians talk about ‘what we are going to do’ in the sense of ‘make happen’ as if the power and steerage were all ‘on-board’.

    (7.) the systems sciences have made clear that every ‘system’ is included in a ‘suprasystem’ and that mainstream science commonly errs in using analytical ‘in-and-back out again’ inquiry to explain the behaviour of the system in terms of its internal components and processes, when all systems are, in physical reality, ‘gatherings’ or ‘organizings’ within a larger suprasystem. since european languages are architected for expressing dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, they are tuned to delivering mental models in terms of analytical ‘in-and-back-out-again’ – ‘what things-in-themselves do’ representations. what gets ‘dropped out’ in this analytical ‘inside-outward-only’ view is the ‘outside-inward orchestrating influence’ that is continually gathering and sustaining the ‘organizING’ feature [aka ‘system’] within the suprasystem.

    Summary: this ‘bias’ built into european language, that drops out acknowledgement of outside-inward organizing influence gives the supporters of hierarchy-and-politics sourced organizing an advantage in their rhetorical arguments. the one-sided, inside-outward asserting only view of organizing has also been embodied in western institutions of justice and commerce, so that no matter how much abusive [or other] outside-inward orchestrative sourcing of behaviour there may be [e.g. by relentless monopolization of access to land], the actions of a protestor are still seen to be solely inside-outward sourced, as if there were no outside-inward inducing [provocation] of his actions.

              Bushrod Washington and Slavery   

    My research on what will be my next book continues.  An important part of the story will involve slavery. There is a delicious irony in the fact that Justice Washington, who owned slaves all of his life and inherited America’s most famous plantation, wrote the opinion (Corfield v. Coryell) that was later seen as a defining text for Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment. Complicating that narrative was Washington’s leadership of the American Colonization Society, which advocated the freedom and deportation of slaves to Africa, at the same time that he was selling many of his own to pay the...

              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Updates on the Ongoing CPS Overhaul   
    I continuing to update the CPS, including a complete overhaul of the data structure of the non-player factions, the implementation of the expeditions and backstories, and the overhaul of the CPS itself including the objectives.

    It is useless to say that all parts (and there are many) of the code concerned by these updates are a real mess, at least for now.
    But the transition is ongoing, I already cleaned up the previous and deprecated colonization modes and the hardcoded CPS objectives.

    I implemented the new data structures for the CPS objectives database and the in-game objectives.
    Part of the CPS objectives is now contained into a new XML file and processed like any other asset of the game, like the infrastructures. It contains 3 basic data for any objective and the complete list SPM weight that can influence each objective.

    As a reminder, each policy and meme of the SPM can affect a CPS objective on how it will be set and chosen during the dynamic setting of the player's objectives.
    I put these data in a XML file, because it will be more convenient to update the amount of data through it than directly in the code.
    This database is always loaded by default into FARC, regardless if the player set a new game or load an existing one.

    The part of each objective that will be coded will be all the calulations and tests that will occur when the score of an objective will be updated. It's too complicated and not efficient to put that into a XML file.

    So that's it. Since the CPS, like for many system in the game, affect other parts of the game, the whole need to be updated each time that I remove an old data or add a new one, it is a painful but necessary process in this case. You can see that as bad design but, it is often difficult to keep a long view of parts of the code, and how you will use it, on a time span of many years.

    At least these ideas that I implementing are final (really! :) )

    I will not make any post until this mess become a finally finished unicorn and is running. It will take again some time but I will keep you in touch for sure!
    As usual I underestimated the amount of work that will be necessary, especially in the dependencies of the CPS code.

    Enough ranting, have a great day and thanks for your interest!

    CPS: Colonization Phase System    SPM: Socio-Political Matrix
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Implementation Done; Multiracial / Multiethnic Framework   
    FARC is now supporting officially a multiracial population, at least in its data structures. That will pave the way for the alpha 11. I finished the last lines of code during my lunch break (I always stating it, in case a co-worker read this post...).
    So tonight I will start to implement the unique type of expedition for the Magellan Unity (see a previous post here), and two of its backstories. That include of course the many update necessary in the user's interface to setup a new game and also the updates of the non-player factions' data structures and how they are initialized.

    Once it is done, I will be finally able to complete the implementation of the CPS objectives and all the changes necessary in this system.

    The last part of the development of this iteration will be about the end of the colonization phase that needs a big stack of work and fleshing-up.

    That's all, stay tuned.

    CPS: Colonization Phase System
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Multiracial / Multiethnic Framework Implementation   
    I overhauling and updating many parts of the code to implement these expeditions and backstories, because it has changed a lot since the old Colonization Modes and the resulting code will be final, out of future expansion.

    In this optic, I reworking completely the data structure of the non-player factions and how the data of expeditions and backstories will be managed, and that include the setting up of the populations.
    Since the populations in FARC will be multiracial and multiethnic in the future (until now only the humans are present), I decided to implement already the data structure of this future expansion.
    So in clear, the population's data structure will support already multiples races and ethnicities but will be only fully managed when I will code and release the alpha 11.
    So by this way this avoids to have to redo, one time again, part of the code in these data when the time will come.

    That's all for now, thanks for your interest!
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Colonization Phase System - Entire Reverse Engineering Done, Start of Overhaul   
    Sorry for the lack of news, as usual on spring and summer I tend to work "a bit less".
    But my main development vector was to reverse engineering the entire CPS to finally overhaul it with the new structures and management of the CPS objectives.
    During this reverse work I found useless code, some repetitions and ... errors. Yes! Surprising isn't it?

    So now I'm starting to implement the new iteration of this particular system which will be a bit less of a mess of code. Not that this system was stellar by itself, especially since the few objectives already in the game were basic and hardcoded, but its implementation was convoluted or at least not clear.
    I had to draw,  UML-like, the entire structure of the system and the linked calls between the routines.

    Well, now it is done so it is time to develop the final version (out of any future expansion) of this system.

    I will make a post when the entire overhaul will be done, including the generation of the objectives, the data structures, and the relations with the expeditions and backstories.
    It will take some time so don't worry if you don't see any news before some weeks.

    Thanks, have a great spring and summer and, stay tuned :)

    CPS: Colonization Phase System  
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: CPS Objectives + Main Site Updates   
    The XML database, storing the basic data for each CPS objective and their SPM weights used for their generation, is done.

    Now the most of the work consist of the code itself to generate and manage these objectives, including their proper rules.
    It is some kind of work since I do a sort of overhaul compared to how the objectives were (badly) managed in the game, until now.

    Aside that, I also working onto updating the main site, ; the gallery page is fully updated, and the recent screenshots are linked. I also added a contact form to send me emails if you feel the need (you can keep hate mails :).

    I also building a knowledge base, the basics of it is at, built with HelpNDoc.
    For now there is not much but in the near future I will update it with the basics of introduction (About, Requirements, Glossary, FAQ), the Mechanics and Context of a New Game, the Background, the Space and Universe in the Game and the Game Interface.

    Yep a real documentation, who could knew that.

    I will switch completely to my main site @ June 1st. I will let a last post on this blog to inform any viewer to update their bookmarks.

    So that's it for now, stay tuned!

    CPS: Colonization Phase System    SPM: Socio-Political Matrix (memes and policies)
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: CPS Objectives Linking Done - Resuming of Dev   
    The linking is finally done.

    Now I resuming completely the development and I will begin today to implement the new data into the CPS objectives' data structure, the generation rules for the objectives, and the new objectives.

    Tthanks for your interest!

    CPS: Colonization Phase System
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Linking of CPS Objectives with SPM Update + Updates on the Main Site   
    I added a wiki page on my main site,, for future documentation purpose. But I need to set it up first.

    In the near future I will complete the setup of the main site,, and I will completely switch the news on it.
    I will keep this blogspot page active, for a while, to display a post warning to switch to the main site.

    So by this way anything will be centralized on the same location.

    On the dev side I'm at about 50% in my work to link the SPM memes and policies with the CPS Objectives.
    Once done I will begin the complete development of these objectives and their generation.

    I haven't done further development on the online update tool yet, but it is working and the required work left is only about informations and cosmetic. so it will be done before the release.
    I continue to hope to release this iteration by the end of June, but for this time I prefer to not confirm anything until all is done, no more bad schedule for 2017 and beyond! :)

    That's all, thanks for your interest.

    CPS: Colonization Phase System     SPM: Socio-Political Matrix
              Blog Update: About / FAQ & Contact + Download Pages - Small Dev Notice   
    I finally updated these two pages of the blog:

    About / FAQ & Contact: I updated a bit the FAQ and also put a contact information with a email.

    Download: this page is now fully updated and link to the files hosted in

    There is no special news on the dev in comparison of the previous post; I continuing to link the SPM and also I work on the final update in the design of the dynamic system to setup the CPS objectives.
    Each of them will receive a weight, if compatible with the SPM settings of the faction of allegiance and the chosen backstory by the player, calculated also from the SPM and backstories and will determine the chance to a specific objective to appear in a new game.

    I also attacking the final part of the code audit of the CPS since tonight.

    I will implement the objectives only after the entire pass of SPM linking for all the policies, memes, and linked objectives that will be implemented is done.

    That's all, stay tuned.


    Sorry for the small parts of text I forgot to complete.

    CPS: Colonization Phase System - the system that manage the first phase of the game
    SPM: Socio-Political Matrix - the system that manage the policies and memes of the game
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: FARC Updater is Working (but WIP yet)   
    I passed all the evening and part of the night to build a very basic updater and backtest it with the hosted files, through some scenarios, and it was fully working at the end of the session.

    It needs some additional work to be fully presentable, like to have information on the new build, saved game files comptability, the display of the last changes and the progress of downloading / updating, but it is on the right path.
    The third-party tool helps a lot since I'm not too much into networking

    Today I will work only on the CPS objectives by continuing to process all the possible linking and incomptabilities with the SPM memes and policies, and the backstories.

    That's all for now.

    CPS: Colonization Phase System     SPM: Socio-Political Matrix
              Online Update + Alpha 10 - It. #08: Linking of CPS Objectives with SPM and Backstories   
    I finally registered to a host service, DreamHost, because the dropbox solution wasn't working.
    Now, the future files for online updating have finally a home and I also registered, which will be pretty simple to find.
    I also started to develop the updater, it will not be a big thing but will contains certain info like which build is online, what are the current and previous changes and if the saved game files, of the version of FARC currently installed, will be compatible or not.
    This last point will induce an update in the code to save/load saved game and include version numbers.

    For now I will continue to use this blog, but all the files, ie the online and offline ones, will be hosted on the private host. I will update the download links of this blog once the domain is fully registered and the setup of this online service is full done.
    It is certainly a commitment but it is time that FARC has its own home.

    On the development side I nearly completed the rules and calculation of the CPS objectives and I started yesterday to link the SPM memes and policies to them, when something is correlated.
    That's mean that the selection and the setup of objectives, even if a bit random, will keep a certain coherence between the faction of allegiance, its SPM setup and the backstories.

    Talking of backstories I made a good amount of overhaul, for all the playable factions, to include the expeditions and their possible backstories by design. Of course for now, since only Magellan Unity is implemented, the development itself will concern only this faction but the design is global.

    So many things progress in the same time and it is pretty fun.

    A last thing, all these changes, even if I remove myself from GiHub, will not change the status of FAR Colony.
    So it will stay free as air until I die and beyond, and since I started the code under GPL 3, FARC will stay released under this same license and so will stay open to modifications and such.
    The assets stay under their own and proper licensing and credits, in accordance to the choices of their creators and contributors.

    Thanks for the reading and... stay tuned :)


    CPS: Colonization Phase System
    SPM: Socio-Political Matrix

              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Expeditions + Backstories Design and Web Updater On the Way   
    On the design side I'm working on the expeditions and backstories.

    Expeditions are the old colonization modes, and backstories are background stories in which the player will pick one and will serve as a sort of starter story, for the future faction and colony of the player, but also will affect the gameplay for the Colonization Phase. They will be implemented, at least for the only one faction in the game for now, in this iteration since they are important parts of the game system.

    Also I'm going to buy today, after my job, @TMS the third-party tool to make a file/web updater. I wanted to wait until April but my budget is pretty green so why waiting one month?
    The web updater will be an independent executable from the one for FARC and the player will be able to launch it via a standard shortcut or directly through a FARC's menu item.
    I don't know if I will release it before the release of this iteration of the game, but in any case it will be part of the iteration's package. And since it will be an external application, I will also deliver it in its own package for those who don't want to download and install the new iteration by themselves.
    As said in a previous post, I will use dropbox to store and distribute the updated files and the updater will take the required files from it.
    Maybe I will drop completely Github, since my last misadventure with the open source community, I will see it by the time to release the stuff.

    Don't worry FARC will stay free as air whatever happen.

    Anyway for now I have real work and dev work to do, so stay tuned. :)
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Resuming of Development; End of Audit, Objectives Implementation   
    As usual I shouldn't talk about duration of development, but I will finally resume the development of FARC tonight.

    Not all the objectives will be implemented since certain of them requires more advanced development in certain part of the game, but in total 10 objectives will be present in the game; 5 for the Economic status, 4 for the Social status and 1 for the Military level.

    The rest requires some data and assets not yet implemented like additional infrastructures, the rules for the control system of the regions, more data for the SPM memes and policies (especially the requirements), the full implementation of space units, and the game events.

    In total, 12 aren't implemented, but they will once the required parts become present in the game.

    So in a first part I will complete the audit of the CPS, and in a second part I will fully implement these ten objectives.

    Also for the online updater; I will use finally Dropbox, the host provider I wanted for a FTP doesn't support multiple distribution of files. So since apparently I can interface the third-party tool via HTTP, I can use the public folder of a Dropbox to distribute online updates for FARC. Of course I will need to make the updater first and test this "theory". I'm not a pro at all for networking stuff, but this thing seems straightforward.
    As said previously I plan to buy the tool in March or April, developping the updater itself will not take a lot of time, thanks to the tool.

    Oh, and finally, talking about third party tools; FARC has been ejected from a certain open source gamedev community, because I use a non-free third party tool to develop it (among other addons) and I don't provide compilation procedures. It is an outcast since January, but I just seen it some days ago, because of warning has been sent.
    Since the years I was in this community, some "activists" juste woke up and said that my project is "misguiding" people.
    Needless to say that I ejected myself from this community.

    This kind of first world drama isn't much my thing; I only develop FARC of passion for space and game design as a hobby, and my only concern is to share it, including its source code, with anyone around this world that can be interested and have some fun with it.
    I don't do politics ala GNU Software Foundation and the like, even if I respect people that make awesome assets on their free time and provides them under open licenses. I always crediting them correctly when due.
    Finally my free time, as for anyone, has value and if I can use any tool, even a commercial one, to speed up the process and make it easier, I do it.

    These people don't like it, it's OK, that doesn't change anything for me; FARC stay free and open source.

    OK, enough of ranting and sorry for that part but it needed to be said.
    Thanks for the reading and stay tuned.

    NB: CPS = Colonization Phase System     SPM = Socio-Political Matrix (system for the memes and policies)
              Notice About Online Update and Deadline for the Design of Objectives   
    I want to inform you that I haven't abandonned the idea to provide to the players the possibility to update the game directly online via FTP.
    It is just that I wait for March, or April, to have the money to subscribe to a FTP storage service and also to buy the third party tool that will allow me, relatively easy, to implement an online updater in FARC.

    I already chosed which provider I will take, it will be ExaVault since it is the best feature/price I found.
    FTP services in my country (Canada) cannot compete with the US ones in the bang for the buck section :)
    Especially for the download limits.

    So that's it, it is on the way slowly but surely as usual.

    I provide you also a deadline for the completion of the design of the colonization objectives; before the end of this month.
    So I will resume the development from there by finishing the code audit of the CPS and by implementing the new objectives, and modifying the ones already in the game.

    Stay tuned.
              Alpha 10 - It. #08 - Design: Colonization Objectives, Reserves and Races   
    The design of the calculations, as explained in the previous post, continue its course.

    This "forced" me to update the design of the reserves, in oxygen food and water, of a colony. Especially by clarifying the rules for the oxygen (and how it is used).

    I also updated the part of the multiracial population in regard of reserves, that will be implemented for the future 0.6.20a11 as announced in this post. For example the Artificial Intelligences will not use any, but they will use additional energy.

    That's all for now, sorry if it takes a bit of time but it is a certain work to complete the whole.

    Stay tuned.
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Colonization Objectives - Design Phase Two   
    I have now a fair amount of objectives; 7 for the Economic status, 9 for the Social status and 6 for the Space & Military status.

    I must now complete the rules and calculations for each of them and link the SPM memes and policies to them, when appliable.
    It is the phase two of the design; I already updated the spreadsheets of the SPM to keep track of the linking and future implementations.

    Stay tuned.

    FYI: SPM = Socio-Political Matrix
              Alpha 10 - It. #08: Colonization Objectives - Dynamic Settings   
    The work of design on the objectives of the Colonization Phase System (CPS) continues.

    There will not be as much of them as I said in the previous post, because I changing de mechanics on how they will be set when a new game is created.

    From now, CPS objectives are fixed by design and stored in the XML data structure of each faction.
    The updated and final system will set them dynamically, that means:
    • Their number will varies for each game
    • The type of objectives that will be chosen will be picked semi-randomely according to the faction of allegiance and it Socio-Political Matrix (SPM)
    • The same framework of an objective can be used for multiple data, like for example "Keep Colony's #Data at the  Level of the Allegiance Faction". #Data can be Cohesion, Health, Tension and so on
    • The calculations of the values used as objectives (like X units of a product to produce by month)  can be affected by the possible backstories of the colonists of the player's faction, and by the SPM of the faction of allegiance.
    • The calculation of the objectives' scores themselves can be affected by the possible backstories of the colonists and the SPM of the player's faction.
    The main goal is to provide variations from one play to another, even if the player select the same faction of allegiance and the same backstory.

     I let down the development a bit, until the objectives are entirely completed by design. I will resume the audit of the code once it is done.
    The rationale is because the system itself already exists and most of the work to do on the CPS is to implement all the new objectives, update those already existing, implement the code to set them up at the start of a new game (and removing the legacy code and XML data) and finally working on the end of the colonization phase to complete it.

    That's all for now.
              FreeCol - - New   
    FreeCol is a turn-based strategy game based on the old game Colonization, and similar to Civilization.
              Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1945-1962
    - Edited by Christopher E. Goscha and Christian Ostermann   
    Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia draws on newly available archival documentation from both Western and Asian countries to explore decolonization, the Cold War, and the establishment of a new international order in post-World War II Southeast Asia. Major historical forces intersected here—of power, politics, economics, and culture—on trajectories East to West, North to South, across the South itself, and along less defined tracks. Especially important, democratic-communist competitions sought the loyalties of Southeast Asian nationalists, even as some colonial powers sought to resume their prewar dominance. These intersections are the focus of the contributions to this book, which use new sources and approaches to examine some of the most important historical trajectories of the twentieth century in Burma, Vietnam, Malaysia, and a number of other countries.
              Between Assimilation and Independence: The Taiwanese Encounter Nationalist China, 1945-1950
    - Steven E. Phillips   
    Taiwan's relationship with mainland China is one of the most fraught in East Asia, a key issue in the island's domestic politics, and a major obstacle in Sino-American relations. Between Assimilation and Independence explores the roots of this conflict in the immediate postwar period, when the Nationalist government led by Jiang Jieshi took control of the island after fifty years of Japanese rule. It is the first in-depth examination of how the Nationalists consolidated their rule over Taiwan even as they collapsed on the mainland. During the 1945-50 period, the Taiwanese experienced disappointment with Nationalist misrule; struggles over decolonization and the Japanese legacy; a violent uprising and brutal government response; and the chaos surrounding Jiang Jieshi's retreat with his mainlander-dominated authoritarian regime. This book, based on archival materials newly available in Taiwan and the United States, shows how the Taiwanese sought to place the island between independence—becoming a sovereign nation—and assimilation into China as a province.
              An End of Winter Avalanche of Mini Book Reviews   
    As the dark days of winter draw to a close (at least, in theory — we've been hit with snowstorms twice this weekend, and this is supposed to be the Lower Mainland!), I've discovered in the course of reorganizing my library that my pile of books to be reviewed before they can be shelved has been, well, piling-up! To get them to the safety of the shelves, and to give you a few titles to think about if you're looking for something to read, I figured it was high time to sit down and babble a bit about what I've been devouring for the past several months.

    In this edition of the Mini Book Reviews, we'll take a look at:

    Wild Cards — High Stakes                 edited by George RR Martin & Melinda Snodgrass

    Seveneves                                            by Neal Stephenson

    A Desolate Splendor                           by John Jantunen

    Last Year                                             by Robert Charles Wilson

    The Goblin Emperor                           by Katherine Addison

    Lovecraft Country                               by Matt Ruff

    The Mongoliad — Book One               by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo,
                                                                 ED deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey & Cooper Moo

    The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk     edited by Sean Wallace

    Clockwork Canada                              edited by Dominik Parisien

    Mother of Eden                                    by Chris Beckett

    As usual, spoilers ahead.


    Wild Cards — High Stakes edited by George RR Martin & Melinda Snodgrass

    This latest addition to the Wild Cards series explodes out of the gate right where its predecessor, Lowball, left off: a lethal underworld fightclub and gambling ring in Kazakhstan that's been kidnapping Jokers off the streets of New York has been busted open. Markus "The Infamous Black Tongue" Morgan, a snake-centaur vigilante who was taken for the games, is now on the run with a Russian woman he befriended while in captivity, looking to get home any way he can. Officer Francis Black, a normal human serving in New York's Jokertown police precinct, has also been caught overseas in the battle at the fightclub, and now finds himself in the strange position of having to team-up with the elderly Ace gangster who was running the operation just to try to stay safe as the city of Talas begins to erupt into horrific violence. With the end of the death matches, a strange force has spread throughout the city, driving people to kill each other, and transforming them into nightmare creatures. The chaos is being generated by a Lovecraftian entity forcing its way in from another dimension to spread its malevolence across our world. Back in New York, the UN's team of Ace peacekeepers, The Committee, gathers to go to Kazakhstan to make a stand against the darkness.

    As with the rest of the series, High Stakes is immensely entertaining. The plot thunders along like an out-of-control freight train heading for a stalled school bus. The characters are well-rounded and interesting — even those who aren't likeable are still people who I couldn't take my eyes off and wanted to see more of. Each individual character arc was well-crafted and, while functioning perfectly independently, meshed with the others to form a cohesive and believable overall story. The real sign of the book's quality was the level of frustration it created at the end of each chapter: I wanted to stay with that chapter's character to find out what happened to him/her next, but at the same time I couldn't wait to find out what was happening to the next protagonist in the chapter ahead.

    For all of the violence and depravity splashing through these pages, what's often most brutal is the impact of it on the minds and emotions of those who are forced to witness, battle, or endure it. Even with the help of a local wildcard-powered healer, no-one escapes unscathed. Not really. What was most surprising though, was that the authors pulled back a bit from the horror at the end. Which is not to say that I was surprised by the ultimate conclusion of the story, but rather that the plot seemed unavoidably pointed towards a truly awful sacrifice that would have had to be made to save the day, and then that didn't happen. Perhaps the authors stepped back from that brink because it would have been a pyrrhic victory, because it would have left the characters too soiled. And, you know, I'm okay with that.

    If you haven't read it yet, go out and buy or borrow Wild Cards — High Stakes.


    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

    I find myself shocked to say this about a Neal Stephenson book, but here goes: Seveneves is a novel that wants to be superb, but turns out to be merely adequate.

    The story begins in the near future, when a mysterious object shatters the Earth's moon. With months before the debris field begins to rain down, scouring life from the surface of the Earth, the world unites to channel all of its resources into building a fleet of mini arks to join the International Space Station (now attached to a captured iron asteroid) in orbit to house as many young scientists as possible. The goal is to keep humanity alive in space for a few thousand years until the Earth can be made habitable again. But while "in space, no-one can hear you scream", it's also true that no-one can escape politics and the darker side of human nature. And these factors come into play again millennia down the road when it's time for the new species' descended from humanity to go home.

    Something that struck me (and no, it wasn't a rogue chunk of the moon) during the opening act of Seveneves was how the destruction of the moon reminded me of the opening credits of the early 80s cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian — except there would be no lightsabers, wizards, or Wookiee ripoff Ookla the Mok when the dust settled. Not much of anything at all, in fact. It also reminded me of the scene in the first half of Simon Wells' 2002 remake of The Time Machine, where the moon is blown apart (by overzealous mining). The efforts of a (mostly) united world to pool resources to save humanity (one way or another) also harkens back to Firstborn, the third volume of Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's Time Odyssey series.

    On the positive side, Seveneves offers a cast of well-rounded characters who react in a believable way to the gigantic challenges they face, in terms of the construction project, personal relationships (especially having to deal with saying goodbye to loved ones who wouldn't be part of the offworld evacuation), politics, and survival. Stephenson also offers a (mostly — but I'll get to that in a sec) believable response to a crisis sparked by a mega-scale natural catastrophe. And the overall story is one that should be gripping, with moments of real tension. I also appreciated the fact that the book is as an argument for the plausibility of the space ark or generation ship, at a time when stories like Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora (which, don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed) seek to label this old trope of sf as unworkable.

    But Seveneves is dragged down by some significant faults. The first is infodump. I mean a shocking, brutal, unforgivable level of infodump. Now, I know there are hard science fiction fans out there who love, nay, insist on, stories deeply, strongly anchored in known scientific fact; who want to see the equations; who get off on detailed, jargon-heavy explanations of technical minutia — and they probably enjoyed the hell out of this book's tidal wave of hard science. I didn't. I don't mind some level of technical exposition, but what I'm really looking for in a story is a good story. Story is king. No. Story is god. And when the formulae or physics or chemical analysis or whatever gets in the way of the story, then the author hasn't done his/her job. And the technical details most certainly get in the way of the story here. There are countless pages — frequently consecutive pages — where Stephenson overexplains orbital mechanics and course calculations, to the point where opportunities for character and story development are ignored — no, smashed underfoot — and pacing is sacrificed bloodily on the alter of obsessive jargon. And nearly all of it is unnecessary. Single sentences could have summed up what it takes the author pages to do. It's technical masturbation. Seveneves is a book that's more than 850 pages long, but it probably could have been 600 or 700 pages — and much more intellectually and emotionally satisfying — if the infodump and other, occasional instances of repetition in the writing, had been hacked out. Yeah, Stephenson's known for writing door-stopper-sized tomes these days, but this one didn't have to be this big.

    And speaking of unnecessarily big, Seveneves also should have been smaller because it should have been split into two books. The third act, set in the far future, is so completely different from the initial how-do-we-survive-a-meteor-shower-apocalypse-and-not-subsequently-kill-each-other-in-orbit story in terms of tone, type of plot, character interactions, and character goals (and lower levels of infodump), that it should have been flushed-out and made into a sequel.

    Lastly, as much as I'll give Stephenson credit for being realistic in his portrayal of how inevitable human politics and personal greed, and instinct-level animal viciousness, can lead to projects started with the best intentions (like saving humanity) running into serious trouble; and as much as I'll give him credit for, as an American writer, making an American politician one of the prime causes of trouble in the story, I don't think the author gives the reader a broad enough look at the different ways governments and individuals would behave in the desperate scramble to survive in the face of extinction. Going back to Clarke & Baxter's Firstborn, we're told that even as most of humanity works to prepare to withstand the coming solar blast, some of the super-rich build their own luxury space stations in orbital safe spots to ride-out the disaster. While Stephenson tells us in Seveneves about one politician violating the evacuation rules, and of one family company's attempts to dig a deep shelter (which, admittedly, leaves the door open for others having done the same), what he doesn't get into (probably because he didn't leave room for plot while cramming the book with infodump) is the likelihood that various governments or powerful individuals would also have gone rogue to get into the orbital arklet swarm and take control, or built outward-bound colony ships, or dug deep shelters to emerge much sooner to establish a larger, stronger control over the surface before the orbital descendants could, well, descend in their re-colonization plan.

    I wanted to love Seveneves. I really did. It had all the elements I want out of a story. But the infodump  and other failings killed it as surely as a bombardment of moon fragments.


    A Desolate Splendor by John Jantunen

    If you grabbed John Jantunen's A Desolate Splendor off the shelf and flipped to a random page, there's a good chance you'd think you'd found yourself in the middle of a typical CanLit pastoral. You might find yourself drifting along amidst the slow rhythm of life on the farm, interspersed with the occasional challenge from nature, but where, really, the biggest challenges are in the relationships between family members. But then you'd turn the page and find something very different. Maybe the adventures of a teenager exploring the wilderness on this own. Or the story of a teenaged girl finding her own path after escaping brutality. Or the story of two young First Nations men trying to make a name for themselves with a daring raid. Or the experiences of a small gang of former soldiers and other stragglers living hand-to-mouth, day by day, preying on whomever they come across and revelling in retelling their old war stories as some kind of way to hold onto a non-existent past and justify their continued existence. Or the account of a group of women looking for an opportunity to escape a bleak existence of rape and enslavement at the hands of a horde of mute, self-multilating, cannibalistic men —the Echoes — who exist solely to burn, kill, and destroy. And as you spiralled down this black hole of increasingly grim plot threads, you'd quickly realize that, far from being a naval-gazing pastoral or a pioneer-era frontier adventure, this is a hard tale about hard-scrabble life in a post-apocalyptic world.

    Jantunen paints a picture of a future far enough down the road from its disaster that the old world (while remembered by some) is entirely irrelevant. The remains of a highway are a curiosity in the distance rather than a trade or travel route. A car is nothing more than a dusty, dead amusement in a barn. What concerns the people of this deceptive rural tranquility the most is having enough food to survive after they've paid-off the protection racket of the roving gangs. Their crops are threatened by flocks of ravenous birds, and even the rain. Farmers and their dogs have to fight off packs of huge, vicious bear-wolves. And sometimes the Echoes come avalanching through at night to take the women and kill, eat, and burn the rest. Civilization is gone, and it often looks like humanity — referring both to our species and to the ability of people to demonstrate kindness, mercy, and understanding to one-another — may not be far behind.

    And yet, for all its horrors, the world of A Desolate Splendor is not so unremittingly bleak as that of Cormac McArthy's The Road, and this saves the book from corrupting the experience of reading into a form of torture. Here, strangers met in the wild are not automatically enemies — some help those in trouble. There's a chance for redemption and a moment of peace, to build new family units instead of just watching as they're torn apart. And there's room for hope. Because of this, the characters remain interesting. We get to see them grow as individuals, form new relationships, and experience the world in different ways.

    But this is still the post-apocalypse. Even in the protagonists' moments of triumph, there's still the lingering, nagging, vague fear, like a scream bouncing off the walls of an enclosed room again and again, that the Echoes might still be out there and about to come sweeping in once more. As much as they are a literal menace in the story, the Echoes are a metaphorical representation of humanity's current, active, seemingly unthinking (or at least indifferent) embrace of behaviour that could leave the real world desolate. Perhaps even more frightening are the members of the soldiers' gang, who are every bit as predatory and brutal as the Echoes, but operate behind friendly smiles and chit-chat with the farmers under the thin venire of providing a necessary service. And so even as the story leaves us with the splendour of a new family unit growing together, and of two young people possibly making a future for themselves, neither the characters nor the reader can sit entirely comfortably.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that a copy of this book was sent to me by the author. But that doesn't affect my opinion at all. A Desolate Splendor is an absorbing, smart read and worth picking up.


    Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson

    Robert Charles Wilson's newest novel, Last Year, is the love child of Hell on Wheels and Escape from LA, midwifed by The Time Tunnel. And I enjoyed the hell out of it.

    Set in the late 1800s, the story is about Jesse Cullum, a man born in a rough part of San Francisco, who's led a life as an itinerant worker across the American West, and is now a member of the security staff at the City of Futurity, a tourist resort for people of his era — and ours. He's also a man who just wants to own a good pair of Oakley sunglasses, a goal in life that's made more difficult when his current pair is broken while saving President Grant from a would-be assassin.

    Futurity is the creation of a 21st-Century billionaire who's exploiting technology that can create gateways to the pasts of alternate timelines (not the past of his own specific timeline, thereby avoiding paradoxes). The facility only runs for a few years before it's closed down, and a new one is constructed to bridge to another, similar timeline. In addition to giving tourists from the present the chance to visit the Old West, tourists from the past are invited to pay to stay at the resort and see museums hinting at the wonders of the future, and take rides on helicopters. An important part of the business also involves selling cheap, supposedly harmless technology of the future to the locals in exchange for gold (a currency that's good in any timeline).

    The problem is, someone on the inside has been selling dangerous technology — like Glock handguns — to the locals. Worse, the culprit has been sharing details about civil rights advances of the future, offending the stodgy beliefs of the people of the past and throwing the country into chaos, and putting Futurity itself at risk. Having proven his toughness and reliability, Cullum is partnered with Elizabeth DePaul, a security officer and military veteran from the future, and sent to investigate the technological and historical leaks. Over the course of their assignments together, Cullum comes to the realization that just doing his job and owning a pair of Oakleys might not be enough in life, and that finding your place in the world sometimes means changing worlds entirely.

    If you read enough of Wilson's work, you soon learn that he likes to switch back and forth between stories about big, galaxy-spanning, high-concept philosophical material exploring man's place in the universe (if humanity even has a place amidst the grand workings of things ancient and unfathomable), and smaller, more intimate stories about individuals trying to figure out their place in their own lives. And he does both very well. Last Year is one the latter types of stories. It's not about time travel or paradoxes, or the mysteries of where this technology comes from. Even the question of the ethics of the use of the time gate technology by the owner of Futurity is very much on the sidelines. This is an in-depth exploration of a person figuring out what's most important to him, realizing that he wants to go through life with someone who he cares about and who cares about him, rather than just going through the motions alone, and deciding what he has to do to have important relationships with other people. He transforms from being just another commodity that Futurity has at its disposal to a full person who takes an active role in what he's going to do and what happens around him. Which makes it more interesting that throughout the story, two worlds — the past and the future — revolve around Cullum, but in the end, he takes the position of "the world be damned". He really doesn't care what happens to his own world (the past) or the ramifications of Futurity's collapse on the future, as long as he's able to be with Elizabeth and ensure the safety of his sister. Which ultimately puts the reader in the same position: by the end of the novel, it doesn't matter what happens to the owner of Futurity or his daughter, or what the company will do next either in the 21st Century or the past of any alternate timeline, or what the mystery of the time-travel technology is really all about; all the matters is that Cullum's shot at finding happiness.

    Make some time to go out and read Last Year.


    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

    Try to recall everything you've read about goblins and elves. Now forget it. That's your homework before reading Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor.

    You'll find no sweeping medieval-style battles between armies of light and soldiers of darkness over the fate of the world. There's a total absence of conjuring of fae magic in glades under the stars. And there won't be any torchlit monstrous blood rites sating the hungers of old gods in the stygian darkness of deep caverns. No, this is a book about courtly manners, the occasional bit of intrigue, and municipal infrastructure proposals. Which makes The Goblin Emperor wholly refreshing.

    Set in a fantasy world that's advanced to a Regency or Victorian era equivalent of technology and society, the story follows Maia, the exiled son of the elven emperor's fourth wife — a goblin princess — who finds himself catapulted to the throne and ultimate power after an airship crash kills his father and older brothers. Taken to the imperial capital, Maia must establish his authority over headstrong members of the bureaucracy and his extended family, learn to conduct himself like a cultured noble and good ruler, avoid overthrow and assassination, and, perhaps most challenging of all, find a wife. Then there's the matter of whether to approve the construction of a bridge. And that's pretty much it.

    On one hand, I enjoyed all of the ways that Addison has bucked the usual fantasy trends when writing stories about elves or goblins. As much as I like tales in medieval-analogous settings, there's always a point when I wonder about the apparent technological and social stagnation that's present in these worlds, and wish that authors could show us what it would be like if they evolved towards something more modern. The Goblin Emperor does that, giving us airships right off the bat, and a large elven nation that has a modern type of diplomatic relationship with its goblin neighbour, focussed on maintaining peace and profitable commerce. Another difference is the approach to appearance and behaviour. Normally, we're presented with pointy-eared beauties (although Addison's elves are pointy-eared and never described as average-looking or ugly) and twisted monsters locked in unrelenting hatred and coming together only to slaughter one-another in an eternal holy war. This time, the elves and goblins are described as being kindred species physically, or, more likely, simply different ethnicities of the same race, with differences in skin tone and hair and eye colour. And, as the varieties of skin tone and eye colour in the imperial palace demonstrate, intermarriage at all levels of society is not uncommon. These elves and goblins may be hobbled socially by varying degrees of racism, differences in customs, and distrust no doubt founded in disputes or wars of the past, but they enjoy some of the same activities, like dancing and horse breeding and riding, and, ultimately, want the same things out of life. Like humans, they're more alike than not. And the decision to centre the story around life at court, instead of a grand adventure abroad to save the world, was a nice change of pace.

    But a story focussed entirely on the minutia of courtly manners, broken only by the occasional kidnapping and threat of usurpation and death, is of limited appeal. There's also no real depth to the writing — it's not a story with especially juicy metaphors to decipher; or where a reader can pay attention to different aspects and learn new things on a second or third pass; or fun enough to go on the reread rollercoaster again. And speaking of writing, the frequent use of quasi-antiquated language like "canst do nothing for thyself" is clumsy and distracting. As a worldbuilding technique designed to illustrate the difference in the elvish culture from ours, or the language and culture of the imperial court from that of the common citizens, it's over-the-top, unnecessary (given the lavish descriptions of court customs, dress, etc), and distances the reader from the story.

    I didn't dislike The Goblin Emperor, I just can't see any reason to read it again.


    Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

    It's no stretch to say that HP Lovecraft and his works have been the subject of a lot of the conversation in the world of speculative fiction in recent years. Check out the sf shelves in any bookstore and you'll see novels and collections of short stories both inspired by (and sometimes drawing directly from his characters or worlds) and reacting to his work. Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country is one of the latest comments in that conversations, and one that's definitely worth paying attention to.

    The novel is a mosaic of interconnected stories focusing on former soldier Atticus Turner and the members of his extended family and their friends. As if being African-American in the racism-plagued US of the 1950s wasn't hard enough, the family is dragged into the schemes of a group of cultists trying to draw on the dark powers of a Lovecraftian netherworld to increase its members' wealth and influence. Again and again, the cultists use blackmail and other tricks to try to force the family members to become their tools, though sometimes they run afoul of the group simply through sheer bad luck. Through their love for and loyalty to one-another, determination, intelligence, and courage, the family members survive everything from encounters with ghosts, trips to other worlds, missions to recover arcane objects, and ceremonies to tap ancient godlike power. In fact, they do more than survive: they triumph.

    I've read a few Lovecraft stories over the years, and while I'm not a fan of his work, I am a fan of Matt Ruff's, and it only took a couple of pages to make me a big fan of Lovecraft Country. Each character is well-crafted: three dimensional and believable. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are people you'd love to hang out with; others aren't that likeable. Either way, you get a good understanding of why they do what they do, and see how each grows throughout their experiences. Each of the stories is well put together too — as unique in their own ways as the characters are, whether they're action-oriented, or leaning more towards quieter journeys of self-discovery. Each is both frightening and inspiring. And all of them fit together perfectly, like the members of the family, to form a greater whole.

    In terms of what the novel as a whole, is saying, it's obviously a critique of America — both for the racism of its past (where Jim Crow laws in the South made life for blacks into Russian Roulette, and tacitly accepted discrimination and violence frequently made other parts of the country not much better), and for the fact that despite some social advances, the legacy of that racism remains today.

    Ruff is also using the novel to hold Lovecraft and his writing to account on a number of levels. In terms of the mechanics of storytelling and the patterns of the plots, Lovecraft's tales are universally bleak, frequently involve powers and entities beyond human comprehension, and end in death, or at least the loss of one's mind or part of one's soul. And yet here, confronted by similar situations, we see that the forces involved are, in fact, pretty comprehensible to our protagonists. The members of the family are smart people who quickly grasp the situations their faced with, the stakes, the tools, and the implications, and they then move on to deciding how best to survive what's happening, and possibly counteract the people who seek to exploit them. Rather than bleakness, as bad as things get, the family tenaciously hangs on to hope — hope that they'll be reunited with each other, that they'll be free of the machinations of the cult, that their businesses will thrive, that they'll have good lives, and that America will change to become a nation of truly equal people. Far from losing things like their lives, sanity, or souls, the protagonists save each other's lives, and gain everything from new homes to stronger family bonds and a better understanding of one-another.

    The Lovecraft stories that I've read also tend to lack any real action: someone goes someplace old and evil and just kind of hangs out, they feel a terrible presence, and death ensues, or sanity or souls are lost. In Ruff's story(ies) though, there's a lot of action: detailed descriptions of searches for missing family members, escapes from race riots, attempts to recover arcane objects from booby-trapped rooms that might exist in other dimensions, researching safe travel tips for African-Americans, and sometimes they take a break from dealing with the forces of evil to have fun at parties. While these stories do take their time for the protagonists to think about what's happening, or to discuss things with other characters, the plots are never slow for long.

    Lovecraft also wasn't known for including women in his stories. Here, female protagonists headline many of the stories, and loom strongly in the background of those lead by the men.

    Lovecraft Country is also a response to HPL's racism. All of the protagonists here are African-American. All are educated, strong, hard-working, self-determining people. Some run businesses, all support their family, friends, and community, and preserve their history as they openly work to make a better future. And, as noted above, all come out on top when faced by challenges, whether they're supernatural or man-made racism or greed. By contrast, it's the rich, well-connected, white cultists and their minions who are ultimately brought down — destroyed when their arcane experiments go awry, or disempowered (literally, one of the prime manipulators loses his magical powers, as well as his influence within the cult), and their group is broken-up (though the cult never really had much cohesion, as its members seemed to always be scheming against each other one way or another). The cultists are always operating in secret — even keeping secrets from one-another. They come in from a position of having lost their history, and finish the story having lost their future, both as individuals with power, and as a group able to engineer grand projects and schemes.

    In the end, I found myself asking a dangerous question: Is Lovecraft Country better than the real America of the 1950s? I know that, as a white Canadian, I'm treading on thin ice exploring this train of thought, and could very well be missing perspective important to interpreting this book. But it seems to me that for all the supernatural horror present in the fictional world of the novel, at least the odds are somewhat evened: the intelligence, loyalty, and determination of the Turners and their family and friends gives them an advantage in dealing with said supernatural horrors that the white cultists, for all their monetary and political/social advantages, don't have. In Lovecraft Country, when it comes to overcoming supernatural horrors, it's the African-American protagonists who come out on top, and do so immediately — they don't have to labour for years to get on an equal footing. In the America of the real world, on the other hand, that equal footing would be decades of hard work and sacrifice away, and some might argue that it still hasn't arrived.

    Next time you're in the bookstore or library, take a trip to Lovecraft Country.


    The Mongoliad — Book One, by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, ED deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey and Cooper Moo

    In the middle of 13th Century, the Mongols are preparing for an invasion of Europe. As he waits for the right moment to attack, the general in charge of the invasion stages a medieval version of Mortal Kombat, inviting warriors from across the known world to come and battle one-another in death matches to show off their prowess. But these gladiatorial games are more than just entertainment: they're a means for the general to evaluate the abilities of his potential enemies, a political diversion to lull the leaders of Europe into thinking they have more time than they actually do, and a way to show off the strength of his own forces. A group of knights from the monastic Ordo Militum Vindicis Intactae, otherwise known as the Shield Brethren, are on their way to the tournament, but the event is a diversion tactic for them as well. While they try to draw the Mongols' attention to themselves at the games, another contingent of Shield Brethren, aided by the female scout Cnan, makes its way east on a secret mission: to assassinate Ogedei, the Khan of Khans. Meanwhile, in the Mongol capital of Karakorum, a young warrior, Gansukh, is sent to the imperial court to protect Ogedei. But Gansukh soon learns that the great khan may need to be protected from himself more than assassins — suffering from increasing depression  as he chafes at administrative life rather than being in the saddle at war or hunting, Ogedei has become a drunk who behaves erratically. If dealing with a temperamental khan and palace intrigues weren't enough, Gansukh faces the challenge of learning the manners and customs of the court from Lian, a Chinese slave, to become a political operator himself.

    As much as I should have enjoyed The Mongoliad, with its melees, descriptions of varied medieval European and Asian fighting styles, court intrigues, and cultural details, the whole thing just felt flat. None of the characters were particularly interesting, the plot seemed to drag, and even the action sequences failed to have any real emotional impact. Maybe it's a case of too many chefs spoiling the sauce. I don't know.

    I'll give the authors credit: they've done an excellent job of researching the arms and armour, fighting styles, cultures and dress of the period. But none of it was enough to make me want to see the series through.


    The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk edited by Sean Wallace

    If you're looking for a one-stop introduction to dieselpunk (sf set between the end of the First World War and the end of World War II, or on worlds with an analogous level of technology and set of cultures) that examines this sub-genre from a variety of perspectives, The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk is for you.

    This door-stopper of a collection roars to a start with Jay Lake and Shannon Page's butt-stompingly fun "Rolling Steel: A Pre-Apocalyptic Love Story" and, for the most part, keeps up the smokey, greasy noir-era coolness all the way through. Along the way, it shifts gears from time to time, slowing down for stories like Jeremiah Tolbert's "Instead of a Loving Heart" or AC Wise's "The Double Blind", before hitting the gas again for an entry like Dan Rabarts' "Floodgate".

    Sometimes the anthology's engine sputters, or the thing blows a tire: not every story is good. One or two would have done just as well on the scrap heap. But that's to be expected in a collection of this size, and overall the thing is shiny and rolls along nicely.


    Clockwork Canada edited by Dominik Parisien

    I've been waiting for a Canadian-centred steampunk anthology for a long time. While the country's history is much older than Queen Victoria's era, stretching back thousands of years to the time when First Nations people came over from Siberia, to several hundred years ago when the first Europeans, Africans, and Asians began arriving, and while some of the key moments in our history predate her as well (such as the British victory over France in the Seven Years' War, or the successful driving-back of American invaders in the War of 1812) and others wouldn't come until decades after she was gone, the British North American colonies did get their official start as a country under old Vicky's watch. And personally, spending the first half of my childhood in south-western Ontario, the legacy of the Victorian era was all around me: many neighbourhoods were still graced with its big red brick homes, those homes were filled with furniture and other antiques from those days, and people gathered in parks on chilly May nights for Victoria Day fireworks displays. Canada is a country that's perfect to celebrate this past — and to hold it accountable — and there's no better form of literature to do that than speculative fiction. Which brings us to Clockwork Canada, edited by Dominik Parisien.

    Like the various regions of Canada, the stories in this anthology are very much a matter of personal taste. Taken together, they form a workable tapestry that showcases the many different interpretations of who we are. Individually, they're very hit and miss, depending on what you're looking for. I enjoyed Holly Shofield's "East Wind in Carrall Street" with its clockwork lion and two kids trying to bridge their cultures, Brent Nichols' steampunk superhero yarn "The Harpoonist", and the female-James-Bond-esque Klondike adventure "Strange Things Done" by Michal Wojcik. While some of the other stories could have used some work, or could have been replaced with better fare, overall, Clockwork Canada is a collection worth reading.


    Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett

    Eden is a planet with no light other than the bioluminescence of its plants and animals. The thousands of humans who live there are descended from just two survivors of a spaceshipwreck many generations before. They've now spread across their world, founding a number of different cultures, each based on the specific beliefs, stories, and teachings of some of the people involved in a violent schism generations before. Starlight Brooking — a member of a peaceful, isolated island commune following the tenants of Jeff, a crippled inventor and dreamer — takes part in a trading expedition to a town on the mainland (founded by followers of a brutal thug who took control of the original Eden society, in part prompting the great schism) where she meets Greenstone Johnson, a young prince from a subterranean settlement on a continent on the other side of the ocean (founded by supporters of John, the strong-willed young hunter and inventor who was also partly responsible for the split in the original society). The two are attracted to each other, and Starlight goes with him across the sea, where they're married and she is given the role of Mother, or spiritual leader, of his people. Starlight quickly sees inequalities in her new culture, and begins using her influence to push through changes. But some of the nobles feel threatened by this new, more gentle way of doing things, and Starlight and Greenstone find themselves facing a revolution.

    Mother of Eden is the sequel to Chris Beckett's magnificently-crafted Dark Eden, and, while it's a fundamentally different story, it's every bit as good as its predecessor.  There's a clear biblical allusion running through the series, with the first novel being a mixture of Genesis and Exodus, casting John as a combination Cain and Moses, while Mother of Eden casts Starlight as a New Testament-style messiah — minus the divinity and miracles. Like the original, the protagonists and supporting characters of MOE are well-rounded and believable, each possessing their share of flaws.

    The various cultures that have evolved from the schism are also believable, with each having its own variation on the original tribe's hybrid founder-worship and cargo-cult religion, its own laws and politics, styles of clothing, levels of technological achievement, manner of speaking, and rivalries with and tolerances for the other nations.

    The plot moves along briskly and yet leaves time for characters to process what's happening to them, and at the end of each chapter I was torn between wanting more of that section's character, while being eager to see what the protagonist occupying the next segment was doing.

    While Mother of Eden was wholly satisfying on its own, I can't wait to see what Chris Beckett has in store for readers in the third book.


              Gemini Wars - SKIDROW | Mediafire Links   

    Gemini Wars is a real time strategy game set in space, where the player controls fleets of ships, space stations and Planetary bases. The game takes place in the year 2178, in the Gemini sector - Relatively calm but a contested region of space. An ongoing war the between two factions - Federation and United Space Alliance of Free Worlds - has reached a stalemate, until new events unravel Action can be fought in one single star system, or in multiple star systems - each with its own set of planets - where traveling is done through StarGates. Players have the power to attack and destroy enemy fleets and structures, colonize and invade planets, build outposts and orbital stations, and execute actions using marine special forces boarding. • Control ships, space stations and Planetary bases • Research tree leading to powerful units and upgrades • Cinematic camera battle • Providing a refreshing twist Unique gameplay to the RTS genre • Planetary colonization and invasion • Boarding actions • Multiple star system action CGI cinematics • During the campaign • Achievements • Over 1 hour of professional voice acting

    Minimum System Requirement

    OS: Windows XP/ Windows Vista/ Windows 7
    Processor: Intel Pentium D 3.0GHz / Athlon LE-1660
    Memory Ram: 2 GB
    Hard Disk Space: 3 GB
    Video: 512 @ nVdia GeForce GT 230 / ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670
    ound Card: DirectX Compatible
    DirectX: 9 

    Install Notes: 

    1. Rename .CTIT to .RAR
    2. Unpack the release 
    3. Mount or Burn image 
    4. Install 
    5. Copy everything from the SKIDROW into the game installation folder 
    6. Play the game 

    Mediafire Download Link 200mb
    Click Image to Download

    Status: Working

    If you have game errors like xlive.dll or other errors go to this page

              A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World from Prehistory to Today   
    A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World from Prehistory to Today
    author: William J. Bernstein
    name: Andy
    average rating: 4.10
    book published: 2008
    rating: 4
    read at: 2016/01/09
    date added: 2016/03/03
    shelves: economics-and-finance, history, nonfiction
    Solid book on the history of trade that at times reads a little too much like an encyclopedia article. Almost all pre-20th century; modern times do not get very much treatment. The flow of the book is broadly: pre-Islam, Islam, European exploration and colonization, and 18th/19th-century internationalization of trade with a side of the Industrial Revolution and tariff laws.

    It starts off slowly but improves once we reach the Islamic period. The pre-Islam chapters feel the most encyclopedia-like, and I got the sensation that he learned about it right before writing the book to fill that gap in his narrative. The Islamic and Age of Exploration chapters were my favorite, with lots of great facts I did not know, particularly: the mechanics of ocean trade routes and how long ago trade across the Pacific was happening; the relative peace of the Indian Ocean; the competition and economically-driven alliances of Venice and Genoa and the sacking of Constantinople; the role of Malacca in its heyday.

    The later parts of the book are decent but at times dry (excepting some very amusing segments on coffee). They focus on tariffs, protectionism, and the spread of Smith/Ricardo's ideas, and I thought I mainly got a description of events rather than a closer look into the economic motivations, personalities, and geopolitical considerations in the legal battles involved. By omitting the 20th century, I think a great opportunity to discuss the role of the oil trade (which is only very lightly touched on) was lost. E-commerce is perhaps too young to be covered, but maybe in a future book it should be.

    I appreciate survey books like this one - I think the academic bias towards original theses unnecessarily dissuades people from the important task of summarizing and arranging existing knowledge.

              International law   

    United Nations

    General Assembly Adopts Declaration

    The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in an historic vote September 13, 2007. The Declaration was adopted by a substantial majority of nation states, with 143 voting in favor, 4 against, and 11 abstaining. The Declaration was forwarded to the General Assembly by the Human Rights Council last year. Center staff have worked with the many indigenous nations, tribes and communities we represent for over 30 years toward the adoption of this historic human rights instrument.
    see the folleing articles for latest amendment in international law for human rights....

    United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
    The Human Rights Council General Assembly
    Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and good
    faith in the fulfilment of the obligations assumed by States in accordance with the Charter,
    Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right
    of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,
    Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and
    cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,
    Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority
    of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin, racial, religious, ethnic or cultural
    differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,
    Reaffirming also that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from
    discrimination of any kind,
    Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter
    alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing
    them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs
    and interests,
    Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous
    peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures,
    spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and
    Further recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples
    affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States,
    Welcoming the fact that indigenous peoples are organizing themselves for political,
    economic, social and cultural enhancement and in order to bring an end to all forms of
    discrimination and oppression wherever they occur,
    Convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their
    lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions,
    cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and
    Recognizing also that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices
    contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment,
    Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and territories of
    indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress and development, understanding and
    friendly relations among nations and peoples of the world,
    Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and communities to retain shared
    responsibility for the upbringing, training, education and well-being of their children, consistent
    with the rights of the child,
    Recognizing that indigenous peoples have the right freely to determine their relationships
    with States in a spirit of coexistence, mutual benefit and full respect,
    Considering that the rights affirmed in treaties, agreements and constructive arrangements
    between States and indigenous peoples are, in some situations, matters of international concern,
    interest, responsibility and character,
    Considering also that treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, and the
    relationship they represent, are the basis for a strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples
    and States,
    Acknowledging that the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on
    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    as well as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, affirm the fundamental importance
    of the right of self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their
    political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,
    Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny any peoples their right
    of self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law,
    Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will
    enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on
    principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith,
    Encouraging States to comply with and effectively implement all their obligations as they
    apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments, in particular those related to human
    rights, in consultation and cooperation with the peoples concerned,
    Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing role to play in
    promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,
    Believing that this Declaration is a further important step forward for the recognition,
    promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and in the development
    of relevant activities of the United Nations system in this field,
    Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination
    to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective
    rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples,
    Recognizing also that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from region to region
    and from country to country and that the significance of national and regional particularities
    and various historical and cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration,
    Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
    Peoples as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect,
    Article 1
    Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of
    all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.
    Article 2
    Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals
    and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in
    particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.
    Article 3
    Indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely
    determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
    Article 4
    Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to
    autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways
    and means for financing their autonomous functions.
    Article 5
    Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal,
    economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so
    choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
    Article 6
    Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.
    Article 7
    1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty
    and security of person.
    2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as
    distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence,
    including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.
    Article 8
    1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced
    assimilation or destruction of their culture.
    2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
    (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct
    peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
    (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands,
    territories or resources;
    (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or
    undermining any of their rights;
    (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life
    imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
    (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination
    directed against them.
    Article 9
    Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or
    nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No
    discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.
    Article 10
    Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No
    relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples
    concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option
    of return.
    Article 11
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions
    and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future
    manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs,
    ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
    2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include
    restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural,
    intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or
    in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.
    Article 12
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their
    spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have
    access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their
    ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.
    2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and
    human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in
    conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.
    Article 13
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future
    generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures,
    and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
    2. States shall take effective measures to ensure this right is protected and also to
    ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and
    administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other
    appropriate means.
    Article 14
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems
    and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their
    cultural methods of teaching and learning.
    2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of
    education of the State without discrimination.
    3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in
    order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their
    communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in
    their own language.
    Article 15
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures,
    traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public
    2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the
    indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote
    tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of
    Article 16
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own
    languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
    2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly
    reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of
    expression, should encourage privately-owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural
    Article 17
    1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established
    under applicable international and domestic labour law.
    2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific
    measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work
    that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the
    child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their
    special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.
    3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory
    conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.
    Article 18
    Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would
    affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own
    procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.
    Article 19
    States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned
    through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent
    before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
    Article 20
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic
    and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence
    and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.
    2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are
    entitled to just and fair redress.
    Article 21
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of
    their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment,
    vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.
    2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to
    ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall
    be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons
    with disabilities.
    Article 22
    1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders,
    women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.
    2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that
    indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of
    violence and discrimination.
    Article 23
    Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for
    exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively
    involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes
    affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own
    Article 24
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their
    health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals.
    Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and
    health services.
    2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
    standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to
    achieving progressively the full realization of this right.
    Article 25
    Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual
    relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters
    and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this
    Article 26
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they
    have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
    2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands,
    territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional
    occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
    3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and
    resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land
    tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.
    Article 27
    States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a
    fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous
    peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of
    indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were
    traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to
    participate in this process.
    Article 28
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or,
    when this is not possible, of a just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and
    resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been
    confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
    2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall
    take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary
    compensation or other appropriate redress.
    Article 29
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the
    environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall
    establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and
    protection, without discrimination.
    2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of
    hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their
    free, prior and informed consent.
    3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for
    monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and
    implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.
    Article 30
    1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous
    peoples, unless justified by a significant threat to relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed
    with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned.
    2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned,
    through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to
    using their lands or territories for military activities.
    Article 31
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their
    cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the
    manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources,
    seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs,
    sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain,
    control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional
    knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
    2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to
    recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.
    Article 32
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies
    for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.
    2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples
    concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed
    consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources,
    particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of their mineral, water or
    other resources.
    3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such
    activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic,
    social, cultural or spiritual impact.
    Article 33
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in
    accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous
    individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
    2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the
    membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.
    Article 34
    Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional
    structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the
    cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights
    Article 35
    Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their
    Article 36
    1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the
    right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual,
    cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples
    across borders.
    2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective
    measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.
    Article 37
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of
    Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements concluded with States or their
    successors and to have States honour and respect such Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive
    2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as to diminish or eliminate the rights
    of Indigenous Peoples contained in Treaties, Agreements and Constructive Arrangements.
    Article 38
    States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate
    measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.
    Article 39
    Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from
    States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this
    Article 40
    Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to and prompt decision through just and
    fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to
    effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision
    shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous
    peoples concerned and international human rights.
    Article 41
    The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other
    intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this
    Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance.
    Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be
    Article 42
    The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and
    specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States, shall promote respect for and full
    application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.
    Article 43
    The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and
    well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.
    Article 44
    All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female
    indigenous individuals.
    Article 45
    Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights
    indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.
    Article 46
    1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people,
    group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of
    the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would
    dismember or impair totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign
    and independent States.
    2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and
    fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this
    Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law, and in accordance
    with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and
    strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and
    freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic
    3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with
    the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good
    governance and good faith.

               Molecular mechanisms underpinning plant colonization of a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium    
    Moon, C.D., Giddens, S.R., Zhang, X.-X. and Jackson, R.W. (2008) Molecular mechanisms underpinning plant colonization of a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium. In: Ahmad, I., Pichtel, J. and Hayat, S. (eds.) Plant-Bacteria Interactions. Strategies and Techniques to Promote Plant Growth. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmBH & Co., KGaA, Weinheim, Germany, pp. 111-128. ISBN 9783527319015
              Indigenous protesters in Ottawa erect teepee on Parliament Hill to counter Canada 150 celebrations   
    After initially being met with resistance from police, dozens of indigenous protesters erected a large teepee overnight in front of Parliament Hill's East Block. The demonstration was part of what was described as a "reoccupation" ceremony to counter Canada's 150th anniversary. Between 50 and 60 protesters stood their ground, even after several were detained by RCMP. Police later said none of the protesters would be arrested.  Ottawa police Duty Insp. John Medeiros said the protest started at the Human Rights monument around 6 p.m. Wednesday. He said once the group got the teepee polls at the monument, they came to Parliament Hill to erect it. After initially being prevented from erecting the teepee by police, it went up in the early hours of Thursday morning. [caption id="attachment_1029784" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Protesters erect a teepee on Parliament Hill.[/caption] There was cheering when the teepee was fully up. "These types of demonstrations need to take place," said Isadore Day, an Ontario regional chief. Candace Day Neveau, a spokeswoman for a group called the Bawating Water Protectors that arrived in Ottawa from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday, said 10 people were briefly held in custody before being released and ordered to stay away from Parliament Hill for six months. Organizers said Indigenous Peoples have little reason to celebrate colonization as Canada marks its sesquicentennial. Jessica Bolduc, who was with the Sault Ste. Marie group, said they wanted to build a teepee on what is unceded Algonquin territory. Bolduc said it is also about recognizing there is much work to do before anyone can say Canada had achieved reconciliation. “I think Canada has one sort of view and way in which they engage with the world around them and then there is the Indigenous experience,” said Bolduc. [caption id="attachment_1029786" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] People hold up a sign during a demonstration on Parliament Hill, as a crowd gathered to erect a teepee as part of a four-day Canada Day protest, in Ottawa on Thursday, June 29, 2017.[/caption] “We talk about this smart and caring nation, but don’t acknowledge that those privileges aren’t afforded to indigenous peoples in the same way that they are to folks who have settled here, whether that was 200 years ago or to people who we are welcoming here today in a ceremony of becoming Canadian,” she said. The demonstration was being held across from the former Langevin Block, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had renamed as the Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council on June 21. He said the change reflected what he called the “deep pain” felt by indigenous communities over having the building named after Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation and an architect of the residential school system. Elsa Hoover, an indigenous activist who came from the United States to take part in the protest said the group planned to gather people together there to discuss how different human rights "are staged differently." Kyle Chiblow, another activist, said their intention was to pray and that was what they did. Medeiros said people have the right to demonstrate. "We get lots of demonstrations in the City of Ottawa over the course of a year," he said. "This group has a view and they're passionate about it." With files from The Canadian Press    
              Ca si altii... (de Unu-2 [utilizator])   
    Ca si alti americani organizati intr-o societate civica ce acum peste 100 de ani au ales sa plece in Sierra Leone si Liberia - Bine au ales ... visul de libertate al afro-americanilor. Apropo de Soros, nu-i ca stie lucruri pe care altii nu le stiu, e doar ca altora le e frica sa le spuna in gura mare in fata presei. Unele lucruri trebuie totusi spuse in gura mare.
              KEK LAPIS SARAWAK   

    It is said that the layered cakes were commercially introduced by Indonesians about 20 years ago. Originally the Kek Lapis was during the Dutch colonization in Indonesia. But of course, kek Lapis Sarawak has been modernized and uniquely designed by the Sarawakians, as it is traditionally the main staple for the Malays as they celebrate Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. The cakes are interesting and beautifull and it is almost always colourful. It can be kept stored in the refrigerator and can last for six months.

              Other December 2016 Announcements   
    Ceremony for the Deceased

    Two winters ago a dozen of us gathered to recite the Ceremony for the Deceased from Plum Village and remember our loved ones who have passed away by sharing a photo and a story.  We would like to get in the habit of doing this together on a regular basis.

    Please save the date of Saturday, January 7th.  1 - 3 pm
    Meeting place to be announced.  For more info, contact Chris Phillips, skunkowl@yahoo.com585-305-6949

    Buddhist Peace Fellowship national conference call

    You are invited to a meeting this Wednesday, Dec 7th, 8:00 pm to 10 pm at the home of Chris Phillips, 364 Merchants Rd. to join in a national conference call from BPF.

    Please rsvp to Chris at or 845-264-700, 585-305-6949

    The announcement from BPF headquarters:

    We've been deeply moved by how many of you have reached out to us in recent weeks, seeking refuge in Buddhist community in light of this election. We have tremendous resources in the BPF community, and we're eager to connect all of you to your spiritual-political comrades.
    Please join us December 7 from 5:30 - 7 pm Pacific time for a community Zoom call to learn from Buddhist supporters at Standing Rock. 
    We all have many questions about how best to keep organizing for spiritual and political freedom in the Trump era. On this call we will:
    • Hear a report back from BPFers who are on the ground at Standing Rock, putting their bodies on the line for indigenous sovereignty and #NoDAPL
    • Reflect on what keeps us steady, smart and ready during periods of sustained resistance
    • Highlight our comrades in current movements for racial- and eco-justice rooted in spirituality
    • Learn how to help grow BPF's ongoing work in 2017
    This globally significant, peaceful, prayerful movement raises so many issues critical to our times. The wisdom of buddhadharma is by no means the only good way to approach these issues, but it can offer some resonant frameworks for raising questions.
    How to collectively avow, and truly endeavor to heal, all the ancient, twisted karma of colonization?
    How to compassionately confront the greed, hatred, and delusion manifesting in police lines, water cannons, and rubber bullets protecting a pipeline?
    And particularly for non-indigenous people,... how to practice true solidarity and spiritual friendship, centering indigenous power and leadership, and striving to contribute more than we deplete?
    The most important questions defy easy answers. Please join us this Wednesday from wherever you are, to reflect in community.

    More Info on BPF

    You may like to get acquainted with the work of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship --

    BPF public statement on the Standing Rock Water Protectors and the Dokota Access Pipeline --

    Mindfulness Trainings as a Roadmap for Times of Social Challenge 

    Do you have questions or strong feelings about social issues or communicating with friends and family after the divisive presidential campaign?  You may wish to join our regular meetings to explore Thich Nhat Hanh's Mindfulness Trainings.

    first Sunday   5 Mindfulness Trainings

    We recite these Trainings together every first Sunday after the 4:00 group meditation. They are based upon the 5 codes of ethical conduct found in all schools of Buddhism.  At the end of retreats or special periods of group practice, people will chose to "receive" the 5 Mindfulness Trainings.  Those who "take the trainings" wish to make a public commitment to the extended community of Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village and our tradition.  In doing so they ask for the support of fellow practitioners, spiritual ancestors, bodhisatvas and teachers.  They commit to begin again continually in a journey to understand and manifest the suggestions found in the 5 Trainings.

    fourth Thursday   14 Mindfulness Trainings

    The 14 Trainings are a tool to support those who want to deepen their formal mindfulness practice, and broaden the way they embody mindfulness informally in daily life, through relationships, possessions, lifestyle, livelihood, consuming, communication, and conflict.  There is an aspirant formation process supported by local sanghas, mentors and dharma teachers.  

    Students of the 14 Trainings follow in the footsteps of Thich Nhat Hanh's lineage of Vietnamese Buddhism, particularly the 6 leaders who came together 50 years ago to apply core principles of the Dharma to modern challenges such as mounting a peaceful and compassionate response to the war raging around them in Vietnam.  (More info here   They commit to build or serve community and support mindfulness in others and in society.  They wish to make the dharma relevant to all circumstances, and to protect and keep intact the teachings in the minds of modern people.  Those who follow the 14 Trainings also  find ways to set aside substantial time for days of mindfulness or reteat every week and all year -- to keep their actions for others rooted in a personal experience of Compassion and Wisdom.

    For more information about the monthly recitation and study, contact Laurie Brewer,

    The 5 and the 14 Trainings do not set one apart from others, but turn the mindfulness towards others in a spirit of quiet service and continual learning.  Trial and error, plus beginning again are crucial.  They are not a tool for comparing or judging ourselves or others.  More like a safety net for travelling through the unknown; guidelines by which to navigate.  The Trainings can support a deep investigation of relationships, work, war, economics, oppression, and the environment. 

    Joanna Macy's Work that Reconnects

    One of the most exciting Buddhist teachers of our time is Joanna Macy, who herself is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh.  Joanna has lead countless group process trainings for activists and others who care about community at local or global scales.  Her work combines the essence of the world's wisdom traditions, systems theory, despair and empowerment, ceremony, and the intrinsic heartfelt sense of connection and belonging which we all share.  Plus it is downright FUN!!!!

    If you are involved with an organization or circle of friends who want to share questions of a skillful and compassionate response to society's pressing challenges, who may struggle with burnout, or who are looking for a safe and supportive venue to explore strong feelings of grief, fear and love for our world, please check out these workshops inspired by Joanna's leadership.  Mary Gleason and Chris Phillips are available to provide small or large group process experiences to empower your work in community.

    Mary  482-0763,
    Chris  305-6949,
    Joanna's website:

    Earth Holder Sangha Position on Standing Rock

    A Dharma Response to Climate Change

    "Lord Buddha,.... I am one with the sunlight, the rivers, the lakes, the ocean, and the clouds in the sky. The four elements in my body and the four elements in the bodies of the cosmos are not separate. I vow to return and take refuge in Mother Earth to see her solid and resilient within myself. "   Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching the Earth

              Canada 150 protesters erect teepee on Parliament Hill   

    OTTAWA—A large teepee erected by Indigenous demonstrators to kick off a four-day Canada Day protest was standing in front of Parliament Hill early Thursday just hours after their initial attempt was thwarted by police.

    Police had blocked the group just inside the gates to Parliament Hill on Wednesday evening as demonstrators carried wooden poles on their shoulders to erect a teepee.

    Both sides had refused to budge and a spokeswoman at the scene said 10 people were briefly held in custody before being released. Demonstrators initially said about 15-20 people had been taken into custody.

    Candace Day Neveau, from a group called the Bawating Water Protectors that arrived in Ottawa from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Wednesday, said those arrested were ordered to stay away from Parliament Hill for six months.

    Videos posted on social media showed RCMP officers dragging away at least one person as others chanted “shame” and “let our people go!” Police had also erected a barricade to prevent anyone from going further up the Hill.

    However, Day Neveau later said demonstrators intended to carry through with their plan to erect a teepee. Photographs on social media early Thursday showed a large tan-coloured teepee had been erected inside a barricade in front of the Parliament buildings.

    Organizers say the demonstration marked the first day of a “reoccupation” ceremony to counter Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations because Indigenous Peoples have little reason to celebrate colonization.

    Jessica Bolduc, who was with the Sault Ste. Marie group, said they wanted to build a teepee on what is unceded Algonquin territory.

    Bolduc said it is also about recognizing there is much work to do before anyone can say Canada had achieved reconciliation.

    “I think Canada has one sort of view and way in which they engage with the world around them and then there is the Indigenous experience,” said Bolduc.

    “We talk about this smart and caring nation, but don’t acknowledge that those privileges aren’t afforded to indigenous peoples in the same way that they are to folks who have settled here, whether that was 200 years ago or to people who we are welcoming here today in a ceremony of becoming Canadian,” she said.

    The demonstration was being held across from the former Langevin Block, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had renamed as the Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council on June 21.

    He said the change reflected what he called the “deep pain” felt by indigenous communities over having the building named after Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation and an architect of the residential school system.

              Orion 7 1.0   
    The game is mixture of Civilization and Colonization.
              Orion 7 1.0   
    The game is mixture of Civilization and Colonization.
              Orion 7 1.0   
    The game is mixture of Civilization and Colonization.
              Orion 7 1.0   
    The game is mixture of Civilization and Colonization.
              Orion 7 1.0   
    The game is mixture of Civilization and Colonization.
    Nnamdi Kanu

     By Moses Agbo Obinna
    For Family Writers.

    The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu has dismantled all the slavery antics imposed on Biafrans by Britain in collaboration with the Hausa/Fulani in the name of one Nigeria.  The relentless effort by Biafrans to restore  the kingdom of Chukwu Okike Abiama {GOD} on earth (BIAFRA) is overwhelming. Many have been dumbfounded with the support and follower ship the Biafran quest has gained within this short period. They are still lost at the pace of  call  for freedom.

    However, it will be of interest  to let all and sundry  know that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his sparkling IPOB is the sun that shone at the right time. Just like an English man would say, there is no good time that is late. Some people  may not understand what divine course is all about; those who are beginning to question or have   speculations in every given destiny should inculcate  into their memory that  Nnamdi Kanu came at the right time.

    Hence, questioning why the total dismantling of the unholy union called Nigeria and the absolute restoration of the nation of Biafra, is like asking God why he created his people and made them to live on the surface of the earth. Come to think of it, between Biafra and Nigeria, which one is an organic creation? Nigeria as an entity of fraud, was  forcefully created by a British called Frederick Lord Lugard and Flora Shaw his wife in the year 1914 without proper consultation with the various nationalities while Biafra/Biafrans as an organic creation, created by God has been in existence and recognition for thousands of years recorded with all the dominance traced to be Jewish by ancestral lineage .

    It is also pertinent  to remind humanity that what makes up one people is far beyond geographical creation or political space, but strictly people's ideological resemblance, cultural similarities, traditional heritage and other numerous way of life that constitute their way of life.

    In the case of Biafra and Nigeria,  none of all these can be considered as one with each other. It is like violent wild animals living with humans. And that is why Biafrans and  Nigerians can never in any way be one in any way whatsoever.

    Take for instance, in the Northern part of today Nigeria, the people living over there who are predominantly Muslims, do not believe in dialogue. They hate civilization in the sense that whenever they see anyone  civilized , they will rather choose  to broadly brutalize the person than to welcome them.  Biafrans are  civilized in nature. Our immune system constitute natural freedom and abhors  injustice.

    History points to the fact that since the creation of the fraudulent one Nigeria, Biafrans have never been in support of it. They  know the huge differences between the Arewa, Oduduwa and Biafrans. And that was the reason why we earlier resisted the colonial masters in the earlier 80s. Our fore fathers tried  to resist that atrocious barbarism  called colonization/amalgamation and the British  handed us over to Hausa/Fulanis who are naturally bound to shed blood. As a result, Biafrans have been murdered in millions for no just cause by those  who believed that Nigeria is the estate of their grandfathers as opined by the late Saraduana of Sokoto;Alhaji Tafewa Balboa.  These killings and dehumanization have been going on even without provocations.

    The brutality meted on Biafrans has never stopped and can never stop because, killing is in their DNA. If we stay at home they kill us, if we travel to other parts of the country they massacre most  of us. Even in  worship places, they destroy, kill and litter our blood in the streets. We do not  have freedom of worship anymore  or do we talk of political right? Political right is  deprived of us. Every good policy  is  turned against us. So, for how long does any sane person thinks we are going to continue enduring, watching our men and women being brutalized?  Can anyone really endure all these wrongs  seeing his or her mothers raped in  broad day light?

    We do not need to force anyone to believe that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s led IPOB, as a relentless freedom fighter, is fighting for the absolute restoration of the ancient kingdom. Biafra is the "Sun that rose at the right time" . The freedom that Biafrans desire is sacrosant and can never be exchanged for any other thing.


    Edited by Ogbuanya Chikezie N.
    For Family Writers
              Israel may be able to confiscate our money, but it cannot confiscate our dignity By: Issa Qaraqe’   
      It seems that Israel, having completed its racist colonization project, began to arrange the details of the lives of the Palestinian people on the path of the destruction drama of the Palestinian national identity and of the Palestinian liberation project. The ratification by the Israeli ministerial committee on June 14, 2017 of the draft …
              Orion 7 1.0   
    The game is mixture of Civilization and Colonization.
              Combined effects of thinning and decline on fine root dynamics in a Quercus robur L. forest adjoining the Italian Pre-Alps   
    <span class="paragraphSection"><div class="boxTitle">Abstract</div><strong>Aims</strong> Oak decline is a complex phenomenon, characterized by symptoms of canopy transparency, bark cracks and root biomass reduction. Root health status is one of the first stress indicators, and root turnover is a key process in plant adaptation to unfavourable conditions. In this study, the combined effects of decline and thinning were evaluated on fine root dynamics in an oak forest adjoining the Italian Pre-Alps by comparison of acute declining trees with non-declining trees, both with and without thinning treatment of surrounding trees.<strong>Methods</strong> Dynamics of volumetric root length density (RLD<sub>V</sub>) and tip density (RTD<sub>V</sub>), root tip density per unit length of root (RTD<sub>L</sub>), diameter, branching index (BI) and mycorrhizal colonization were monitored by soil coring over 2 years as possible descriptors of decline.<strong>Key Results</strong> At the beginning of the experiment, the relationship between canopy transparency and root status was weak, declining trees having slightly lower RLD<sub>V</sub> (–20 %) and RTD<sub>V</sub> (–11 %). After a 1 year lag, during which the parameters were almost unaffected, BI and RLD<sub>V</sub>, together with tip density, tip vitality and mycorrhizal colonization, became the descriptors most representative of both decline class and thinning. Thinning of declining trees increased RLD<sub>V</sub> (+12 %) and RTD<sub>V</sub> (+32 %), but reduced tip mycorrhizal colonization and vitality over time compared with non-thinned trees, whereas the opposite occurred in healthy trees, together with a marked decrease in branching. After thinning, there was an initial reduction in the structure of the ectomycorrhizal community, although recovery occurred about 10 months later, regardless of decline severity.<strong>Conclusions</strong> Decline causes losses of fine root length, and a moderate recovery can be achieved by thinning, allowing better soil exploration by oak roots. The close correlation between root vitality and mycorrhizal colonization and their deterioration after thinning indicates that decline does not benefit from reduced root competition, excluding the hypothesis of limited water and nutrient availability as a possible cause of the syndrome in this forest.</span>
              [World History] 500 Mock Questions on Colonization, Decolonization; Revolutions: French, American, Russian; Unification: Italy, Germany, World Wars & More   

    Prologue Imperialism and Colonization Industrial Revolution Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, Revolutions France, America, Russia China, Japan Germany, Italy, World Wars Decolonization Post WW2 Prologue From 2013, UPSC has introduced world history as a syllabus topic for General studies paper 1. There is lack of good quality mock questions on this topic for practice. Therefore, I’ve collected […]

    The post [World History] 500 Mock Questions on Colonization, Decolonization; Revolutions: French, American, Russian; Unification: Italy, Germany, World Wars & More appeared first on MP Study.

              Tourist spot in Cebu (PHILIPPINES)   


    Lapu Lapu Monument (Mactan Shrine):

    Lapu-Lapu is thrilled as the 'first' Philippine national hero. It  is also the name of the grouper fish in the Philippines. Lapu-Lapu (Kaliph Pulaka)- Muslim (born 1491, died 1542) known as the first indigenous of the archipelago to have resist Spanish colonization, he is now regarded as the first National hero of the Philippines. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu and the men of Mactan, carrying weapons with spears and kampilan, faced 49 Spanish soldiers led by Portuguese captain Ferdinand Magellan. He crossed the constricted channel to Mactan Island in an effort to widen the Catholic faith. he was killed by island chieftain Lapu Lapu leading his army of men during the encounter for supremacy and freedom on April 27, 1521. Magellan's body was never recovered and in 1866 a marker was erected as a monument to this great explorer, marking the spot that Magellan was slain. Lapu-Lapu's Monument in Mactan Island was erected in honor of the first Filipino Chieftain who fought for his people's freedom. It bordered in myth and legend. However this is a nice place to visit the grounds are very well kept and you can have a great seafood meal in one of the several fish restaurants next to the shrine. Why not check out the shell vendors just outside the shrine and marvel at the delicate design made merely from shells.

              Internal Hemroid Symptoms - About Urinary Tract Infection - Prevention And Treatments   
    internal hemroid symptoms: Urinary tract infection, or UTI, is colonization of microorganisms in the urinary tract in such an amount and such a way that damages or symptoms are produced. When only the urethra and the bladder is affected, it is called lower urinary tract... internal hemroid symptoms
              CRE Endemic in DC Healthcare Facilities   
    Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) colonization is prevalent in 15 of the 16 healthcare facilities tested in Washington, DC.
    Reuters Health Information
              Dersh blows it, big time   
    At the Herzliya Conference, no less.

    Per Ha'aretz:

    Dershowitz said he feared that the boycott movement had become so entrenched that even if Israelis and Palestinians were to strike a peace deal, its supporters would not back down.

    "I do think that a combination of factors - the occupation, the settlements - were the cause of it, but the BDS movement now questions the legitimacy of Israel's very existence," he said. "My great fear is that tomorrow, if Israel were to end most of the settlements and make peace, the BDS movement might be weakened a little bit in some parts of the United States. But I don't think it would have any impact in Europe. I don't think it would have any impact on the hard hard left. I think that they have become so wedded to Israel's demonization and delegitimization that nothing Israel does can change that effectively today."

    For an extremely intelligent man, this guy has an amazing penchant for shooting himself in the foot and his allies in the back.  Seriously.  "The occupation, the settlements - were the cause of it?"  Of course he's dead right about the rest but his fixation on "occupation" and "settlements" is truly pathological.  Let's focus for just a sec on the original "mission statement" of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement:

    1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
    2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
    3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

    There's no disputing what "all Arab lands" refers to.  It's every inch of ground between the (Jordan) river and the (Mediterranean) sea, a battle cry echoed in many a BDS demonstration.

    For reasons unknown but widely debated and disputed within the BDS community, it appears that in some quarters the first element of that mission statement has been revised in the past two years to refer only to "Arab lands occupied in June 1967.  But many BDS factions, including their prime campus column, "Students for Justice in Palestine") continue as of today to cite the original formula (e.g.,

    The question remains ... if it's "the occupation, the settlements [stupid]," that were the "cause" of the BDS movement, why did it take that movement more than ten years from its founding (at the infamous 2001 Durban "Conference Against Racism") to figure that out?  And why do its goals and rhetoric continue to demonize and dehumanize all of Israel, within any borders, on any land at all?

              The Forgotten Great War: World War One in Africa   
    German colonial troops in German East Africa


    I often say that in some ways, World War One is a largely forgotten war here in the United States. Our troops were only in combat for the final nine moths or so of the war and our casualties, though high for such a short time, were nowhere near as high as the European powers. However, it was a world war and as such there were other theaters. Imagine: cavalry riding zebras instead of horses, columns of men marching through the jungles or plains, gunboats steaming up and down the great African lakes. That sounds like something from a Tarzan movie! But it all really happened. I wish I could dive into the subject and tell you all sorts of tales of midnight raids and pitched gunboat battles while soldiers and sailors dodge crocodiles, snakes, and hippopotami, but time and space prevent me from hitting this subject with anything more than a glancing blow. I can't fully tackle this subject, but I can give it a flesh wound.

    World War One was in many ways a colonial war. Competition for overseas colonies was a big contributing factor to the growing antagonism between Germany and England. When Germany unified in 1871, they set out to become an overseas power since they equated, just like the United States would do, colonies with economic and military power. The problem for the Germans is that much of the world was already spoken for. The British got into the game early and established themselves as the dominant colonial power. Remember the old adage: "The sun never sets on the British empire". (It is, of course, because God doesn't trust the British in the dark.) The resulting "Scramble for Africa" in the late 19th Century resulted in Germany carving out a piece of the only real continent with any territory up for grabs. When it came to imperialism, native peoples were never consulted as to their wishes, of course. The Europeans came to Africa to "civilize" them and to "Christianize (ie: Protestantize) them. This was done without regard to existing tribal cultures. But that's always been the dark side of imperialism. 

    Sengalese troops in the Sudan

    In his masterful work ( is history that reads like an adventure novel), Byron Farwell notes that though Irishman Earnest Thomas is credited as firing the first British shots of World War One, that is, in fact, incorrect. The first shot was fired by an unknown black soldier in a British uniform in Togoland a week earlier. While a marker notes the spot where Thomas fired his shot, no marker commemorates the actual spot where the first British shot of the war was fired. In other words, Africa was in the war from the beginning. Both sides used African troops and the British also used other colonial troops from India during their campaigns. There were several full scale military operations that took place. The warring powers considered this theater important enough to devote substantial resources to it. There are some really great pictures out there of black soldiers wearing German uniforms, Indian troops marching through the jungles, men on zebras, etc. I was always a fan of the old Tarzan movies (mainly because Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane) was not only hot but she had a great Irish name. 

    The main German commander in East Africa was General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. He was, quite possibly, Germany's most able commander of the entire war. With his invasion of British territory, he was the only German commander to invade sovereign British soil. The thing is, he never really lost! He only surrendered upon being informed of the armistice. His operations are considered one of the best (and most successful) examples of guerrilla warfare in history. After the war, he returned to Germany to a hero's welcome. In the 1930s, Hitler offered him an ambassadorship. The General's response was fairly blunt. He is alleged to have said "Go f---k yourself." In the 1960s, a reporter asked his nephew if he really said that to Hitler. The nephew replied "Yes, but I don't think he put it quite so nicely." 

    General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck

    The human cost of the Great War in Africa is difficult to gauge. Since both sides used colonial troops and also civilian carriers, their record keeping was not up to the same standards as elsewhere. It is estimated that somewhere around 350,000 (perhaps more) people were killed or wounded during the fighting. This includes both military and civilian casualties. When you add in deaths due to indirect causes of the war (starvation, disease, etc), the numbers are probably much higher. The war laid waste to large parts of German East Africa and also some of the British territories as well, just as it did in France and Belgium. In our current centennial celebrations relating to World War One, we must remember to think of the brave African troops who fought on both sides in far away and forgotten campaigns.

    German troops hanging out with executed "thieves".

    German colonial troops in Tanzania

    British artillery firing in Cameroon


    Beware the Zebra cavalry!

    And friends, if you will allow me a moment to editorialize, I would like to point out that there is still a war raging in Africa. The Great Congo War (also known as the African World War) has been ongoing (off and on) since 1998. MILLIONS have died in the Eastern Congo and the world has paid no attention to it. If this had been happening in a country full of white people......well, it would never have been allowed to happen in the first place. Though Africa was far from peaceful before the Europeans showed up (tribes fought tribes on a regular basis), the decolonization process in Africa has been very rough in some areas, though it has gone well in others. Remember, it was in the same Congo which sees so much violence today that the Belgians waged what can only be called a genocidal campaign in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Our government cares so much about ISIS yet pays no attention to Boko Haram in Nigeria other than passing references. We stepped in to stop ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, but cared little about the slaughter that took place in Rwanda. Africa and all her people matter, regardless of what the Western Governments might think.

    Here are some GREAT books on World War One in Africa.

    The Great War in Africa by Byron Farwell
    World War One: The African Front by Edward Paice
    Hell, CNN even wrote an article here.
    Check out the World War 1 in Africa Project here. (It has a great story about a WW1 German gunboat that is now being used as a ferry!)

    And last but not least, if you want to raise your awareness of colonialism in Africa in general, take a look at The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham. For a great look at the current "world war" in Africa, read Africa's World War by Gerard Prunier.

    My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Half A$$ Historian who would so ride a zebra if I had a chance.

              Introducing a special Vanilla Spiced Mauritius Rum - Pink Pigeon    

    Introducing the Pink Pigeon Rum, a vanilla spiced Rum made by Medine Distillery in Mauritius.

    During the early days of the spice route and the colonization of the Indian Ocean Islands, Mauritius was the main exporter of premium sugar and vanilla pods to the UK and Europe. Today with our knowledge and expertise of the sugar cane and its distillation, we have produced a unique rum made in Mauritius, embellished by the flavour of Bourbon vanilla from orchids that grow in the rainforest canopy of Madagascar and the rich volcanic soil of the Reunion Island.

    If you are looking for a new rum experience, whether you prefer to sip with some ice or to create amazing cocktails, then the Pink Pigeon Rum is what you are searching for. But how can we speak about this product without acknowledging the essence of its name? It comes from the most protected and one of the rarest birds on the planet: “The Pink Pigeon”, which can be found in many parts of the island today thanks to the continuous efforts of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation (MWF) to preserve this specie.

    Check this link for an amazing video and cocktail recipe –

    If you are visiting Mauritius or want to travel to our island through a drinking experience, then the Pink Pigeon Rum has to be an ingredient of your trip.

    Pink Pigeon Rum is available on the local and international market. Ask your local bottle store for a Pink Pigeon Rum bottle.

    For more info please visit our website and facebook page.

    Thank you for sharing and your comments.

    The Pink Pigeon team (Mauritius)

              Minnesota Is Not Arizona!   

    (From the event information)

    "On May 1st, over 6,000 immigrants and allies marched in Minneapolis against the racist Arizona law SB1070 and for a just immigration reform. We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who joined us, and helped make the event such a success!

    Unfortunately, it seems not everyone got the message. Just a few days later Republicans introduced a copycat bill in Minnesota; just like Arizona's, it would turn racial profiling into law.

    The time has come for the next step.

    May 29th is the national day of action against SB1070 and immigrants rights advocates around the country will be taking to the streets to demand an end to hateful policies that criminalize our communities.

    Immigrants and Allies to Kick Off Boycott Arizona – Minnesota! (BAM!)

    An alliance of Minnesota immigrants and their allies are launching a campaign to Repeal SB1070 by encouraging individuals, organizations, and businesses to boycott Arizona, and to show the right wing extremists that we will not tolerate hateful Arizona style laws here in Minnesota.

    WHEN: 12pm, May 29th, 2010

    WHERE: The Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building
    1 Federal Drive St Paul, MN 55111
    (Just off the Fort Snelling light rail stop)
    Google Map:

    Afterwards we will march to nearby Fort Snelling to unite with our indigenous Dakota brothers and sisters in solidarity with their demand to stop funding and take down the fort-which was a Dakota concentration camp-in the middle of an economic crisis.

    515 years of resistance to colonization!"

    Facebook it.

              Comment on Asian Men and White Women Produce Healthier Children by Monique Desir   
    Hello. I'm new to your blog. I found it while researching information for my books. If you have the time, please visit my blog and my thoughts regarding race and/or colorism. I'm sorry for your struggles in life regarding your parents. I think any nation or group of people that have a past affair with colonization from European nations such as France, Great Britain, or Spain has severe wounds and scars due to oppression from the heavy heel of white hegemony. For example, a lot of the problems that you mentioned are similar to the systemic self-hatred of Caribbean people (West Indian people).
              Things to Do This Weekend: June 30-July 2   
    by Mercury Staff

    What genius put the Fourth of July on a damn Tuesday!? That's just screwing everything all the hell up. Is this our long-awaited Fourth of July Weekend? I mean, I guess it can be, if you want it to be. There's enough Independence Day flavor sprinkled over the calendar to treat it as such: The Waterfront Blues Fest is a sure signifier you've made it, the Red, Whites & Brews fest is another; all day drink, dance, and BBQ parties like The Day Fade sure help make it feel like the holiday is happening. But it's also far enough away from the Fourth that if you'd rather ignore the 'splosions & revelry (if you can), you can instead hear Roxane Gay talk, or Gaytheist rock, or Bob Saget shock—or you can do the most patriotic thing possible, and join an Impeachment March. It's a really busy weekend ahead, whether or not it's July 4th flavored. Hit the links below and load your plate accordingly.

    Jump to: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

    Friday, Jun 30

    Roxane Gay
    After widely acclaimed works like Bad Feminist and Difficult Women, Gay’s Hunger tells the story of what it’s like to live more than 20 years in a fat body, and without the triumphant weightloss narrative that society practically demands. If her discussion with Phoebe Robinson (Sooo Many White Guys podcast), and her interview with The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah is any indication, Roxane Gay will offer an insightful and honest book talk while simultaneously filling a void the literary world. JENNI MOORE
    7:30 pm, Powell's City of Books, free

    Waterfront Blues Festival
    The Waterfront Blues Festival is a Fourth of July tradition, a weekend-long gathering on the river to celebrate all styles of American music (not just the blues). With performers like Booker T, Chubby Carrier, Cory Henry, Fantastic Negrito, Eric Gales, and countless others performing under the sun for the fest’s 30th year, it’s the best way to be reminded that our crazy, conflicted country has birthed some pretty wonderful music. NED LANNAMANN
    Jun 30-Jul 4, see for full daily schedules, 11 am, $10-50, all ages

    Portland Craft Beer Festival
    The Fields hosts this grand kickoff to Oregon Craft Beer Month with a three-day celebration of Portland's (many) contributions to the art of brewing. $25 admission includes a cup and 10 beverage tickets, while $35 VIP tickets will net you a souvenir mug and 15 tickets. Come down and enjoy delicious food and beverage offerings from Base Camp, Lompoc, Migration, Natian, Occidental, Pints, Bridgeport, Coopers Hall, Cider Riot, and many more.
    Jun 30-Jul 2, 12 pm, The Fields, $25-35

    Animal Collective, Stephen Malkmus
    Animal Collective is one of those bands you just come to know, whether that’s through constant radio play or their soundtracking of your own quarter-life avant-garde awakening. Blending the right amounts of pop, indie, electronic, psychedelic, and experimental, Animal Collective is enough of everything to appeal to virtually everyone—which means you can totally bring your Tinder date to the show without worrying about whether or not they’ll like it. To those “real fans” who might complain about this, I say sit back, relax, and enjoy both the concert you paid for as well as the kinda funny, kinda cringey dates happening around you. DELANEY MOTTER
    8 pm, Roseland, $26-30, all ages

    Queer Migration Stories and Panel
    Unite Oregon’s Last Friday event will kick off with a panel featuring members of Resilient Connections, a program for refugee, immigrant, and trans queer people, as they illuminate the affects colonization and white supremacy have on the migration of queer people of color. EMILLY PRADO
    5:30 pm, Unite Oregon, free

    Lithics, Tender Age, Mattress, Media Jeweler
    Lithics minimalist post-punk pulses and chirps, manically pushing forward and pulling back, while building insistent loops before pretending to fall apart, as vocalist Aubrey Hornor brings an understated, bordering-on-spoken-word nonchalance. This restraint, at least on record, keeps the tension high, while also keeping something bubbling below the surface, waiting. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON
    9 pm, The Fixin' To, $7

    Bob Saget
    Fresh off his appearance on Netflix's Full House reboot, Fuller House, Bob Saget takes his raunchy stand-up routine back to Helium giving you the opportunity to take in an evening of jokes told by TV's renowned "Dirty Daddy."
    7:30 pm, 10 pm, Helium Comedy Club, $35-45

    Improvisation Summit of Portland 2017
    The Creative Music Guild presents a two-day event celebrating Portland's improvisational and experimental music scene, in collaboration with dancers, film, and visual artists. Featuring performances from Bobby Previte, Andrea Kleine, Lori Goldston, Jonah Parzen-Johnson, Sarah Hennies, Wobbly, and more.
    Jun 30-Jul 1, see for a full list of performers and showtimes, $15-30

    Eat Skull, The Renderers, Woolen Men
    The husband-and-wife duo of Brian and Maryrose Crook front the Christchurch, New Zealand-hailing psych-rock band, The Renderers. Catch them tonight when they return to Mississippi Studios to headline a stacked show alongside Portland noise-pop and skuzz-rock outfit Eat Skull and local jangle punks the Woolen Men.
    9 pm, Mississippi Studios, $5

    Streetlight Manifesto, Jenny Owen Youngs, Ogikubo Station
    Everything Goes Numb, the 2002 debut LP from New Brunswick outfit Streetlight Manifesto, is hailed as a ska masterpiece in circles where that phrase isn’t an inherent contradiction. No matter how many waves you think there have been—really, who can keep track—ska’s always had a way of sounding instantly dated. In the decade and a half since the band’s well-received debut, Tomas Kalnoky & Co. haven’t done much to avoid their genre’s uniquely fraught aging process. The list of chin-scratchers includes the 2006 re-recording of their old band Catch 22’s beloved Keasbey Nights, and 2010’s 99 Songs of Revolution Vol. 1 (a collection of covers that might more accurately be titled 11 Songs That Don’t Really Need Ska Interpretations). If I sound dismissive, that’s probably because ska has always been so easy to mock, but it’s precisely that full-throated embrace of their own aesthetic that makes bands like Streetlight Manifesto so fun to begin with. NATHAN TUCKER
    8 pm, Crystal Ballroom, $20, all ages

    Senator Ron Wyden Discusses Net Neutrality
    Net neutrality is the concept that internet access is akin to a utility and should be available for equal consumption by all. Senator Ron Wyden, a longtime advocate of net neutrality, will highlight the implications of the FCC’s vote to roll back legality and allow cable companies to engage in net neutrality voluntarily. EMILLY PRADO
    12:15 pm, Sentinel Hotel

    Azizi Gibson
    Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Azizi Gibson is an up and coming rapper signed to Flying Lotus' record label, Brainfeeder. Catch him tonight when he hits the Hawthorne Theater for the Portland stop on "The Protein Shake Tour."
    8 pm, Hawthorne Theatre, $18.50-22, all ages

    Dynamite PDX
    This special edition of Curious Comedy's improv session features Portland's much-loved J Names troupe taking the stage.
    9:30 pm, Curious Comedy Theater, $10-12

    Saturday, Jul 1

    The Day Fade
    Some Saturdays, you ignore the creeping growth of your dandelion lawn and put any thoughts of self-betterment out of mind. Some Saturdays, you get out of bed late and head to the bar, where there will be drinks, and dancing, and DJs spinning really, really good tunes. The soul needs such Saturdays, and lucky for you this is one of them. DIRK VANDERHART
    2 pm, White Owl Social Club, $5

    Gaytheist, Nasalrod, Drunk Dad
    Gaytheist plays the kind of rock music that’ll pummel your eardrums with the force of a thousand fiery asteroids (in a good way). Tonight the Portland band celebrates the release of their new album, Let’s Jam Again Soon—14 furiously fast tracks that bring new meaning to the word “heavy.” CIARA DOLAN
    8 pm, The Know, $10

    Bombay Beach, Wave Action, Craig Brown Band
    After more than a decade spent fronting various garage punk bands (Terrible Twos, the Mahonies, Liquor Store), Craig Brown is a legitimate Detroit city personality. For instance, the trailer for Drunk History’s Detroit episode features Brown’s ruminations about the city’s lawlessness, punctuated as he yells, “Judas Priest is better than Iron Maiden!” into the cold night. Brown is a funny and memorable character, and that likability translates onto his debut album, The Lucky Ones Forget, from his Third Man Records-backed country project, the Craig Brown Band. It’s a love letter from a punk rocker to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a surprisingly smooth marriage of Brown’s cut-the-shit songwriting, nasally punk vocal tricks, and honky-tonk slide guitar—all filled out by the warm backing vocal harmonies of the band’s Drinkard sisters. SUZETTE SMITH
    8 pm, Turn! Turn! Turn!, $5

    Mark Battles, King Kap, Young Tom, Ty Spacely, Kid Jone$, Falling Atmosphere
    The fast-rising Indianapolis-hailing rapper, songwriter, producer, and founder of independent record label, Fly America, swings back through Peter's Room at the Roseland for another all ages show supporting his 2016 studio album, Before The Deal.
    8 pm, Peter's Room at the Roseland, $20-35, all ages

    Gran Ritmos
    Portland’s favorite Pan-American dance party Gran Ritmos is kicking off summer’s dog days by inviting Riobamba to headline their next showcase. One of Brooklyn’s most fire DJ acts, Riobamba is a multitalented artist with Ecuadorian and Lithuanian roots who delivers energetic sounds from around the world. In addition to producing her own mixes, she founded the label and creative agency APOCALIPSIS in 2016 to empower the voices of other Latinx artists. Riobamba spent a year in Bogota studying the connections between politics, identity, and digital music production through a Fulbright Scholarship. Her sets integrate a wide variety of audio sources ranging from YouTube clips to underground Panamanian bass to urban field recordings as a means of intentional disruption. Lace up your dancing shoes and get ready for a night of the unexpected. EMILLY PRADO
    9 pm, Holocene, $10

    Teen Daze, Sam OB
    If in some bizarro parallel universe Grouper and Leon met while playing Minecraft, Teen Daze would most likely be the outcome. With EPs like 2010’s Four More Years and Beach Dreams, British Columbia recording artist Jamison Isaak’s building a body of work similar to other young but prolific artists like Alex G or Frankie Cosmos. Since Isaak’s early slow-mo drum-and-bass EDM, Teen Daze has truly developed into mellower but more expansive take on dance music. All of the releases are paired with naturalist album art that could decorate a sleek minimalist coffee shop or the default screensavers for the next generation of Windows. The music itself doesn’t try to stray from this aesthetic, and instead embodies a postmodern simplicity. Though Teen Daze’s fifth LP, Themes for Dying Earth, has a pretty fatalistic name, it moves at a snail’s pace. All of the vocals are awash in reverb, and the keyboard riffs sound like springtime walks through city gardens—secluded enough, but surrounded by the bustle of metropolitan life. CAMERON CROWELL
    8 pm, Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, $10-12

    Skull Diver, The Dead Ships, Pacific Latitudes
    Last month Portland rock trio Skull Diver released Chemical Tomb, an unapologetically dark sophomore album that wanders with a zombie's sinister drive between proggy riffage, pop swagger, and stoner metal haze, exploring shadowy corners while never quite settling into a groove. The record is united not just by this densely curated sense of disquiet, all fuzzy guitars and cavernous organs, but by a gripping melodicism and singer Mandy Payne's nimble voice floating over the darkness—less ethereal and more a foreboding siren's call. Two covers round out the second half, Nick Drake’s “Parasite” and the Violent Femmes’ “Good Feeling,” both evidence of Skull Diver’s flexible mastery over their expansive sound. It’s not the most cohesive album, but anyone who likes their music on the heavy side will find something to enjoy. NATHAN TUCKER
    9 pm, Bunk Bar, $7

    Reds, Whites & Brews
    Breakside’s new Slabtown brewpub hosts a Fourth of July weekend kick-off party with help from some of their buddies in the beverage industry. Enjoy live music from the Kinky Brothers, wine from Archery Summit, A-Z Winery, Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Clay Pigeon, Patton Valley, Chehalem, Elk Cove, and Ponzi Winery, and brew from the likes of pFriem, Culmination, Commons, Deschutes, Double Mountain, Great Notion, Upright, Migration, Occidental, Gigantic, Ninkasi, Widmer, and Portland Cider Company, all while supporting the Children’s Cancer Association & New Avenues for Youth.
    2 pm, Breakside Brewery, $15, all ages

    Pink Martini
    Pianist Thomas Lauderdale and his legendary Portland-based jazz and classical pop ensemble, featuring co-lead vocalists China Forbes and Storm Large, return to the Edgefield lawn for a picturesque evening show in the setting Summer sun.
    7 pm, Edgefield, $35, all ages

    Avenue Q
    Triangle Productions brings back their staging (tonight's the last night!) of the Tony Award-winning comedy/musical about racism, homophobia, homelessness, unemployment, and finding the purpose to life, but with puppets. No children under 17 admitted unless accompanied by adult due to all of the puppet fucking.
    7:30 pm, The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, $15-35

    Fit for an Autopsy, Moon Tooth, Tombs
    Read reviews of Moon Tooth’s 2016 album Chromaparagon and you’ll find lots of references to prog-minded metal (or hard rock) bands like Rush, Mastodon, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, and Tool. Far less often do critics cite the New York band’s irrepressible interest in funk- and jazz-metal, which is on full display on Chromaparagon’s eye-popping opening track, “Queen Wolf.” Here, Moon Tooth sounds like Living Colour and (gulp) the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Add in the quartet’s interest in whiplash rhythms and highly technical playing, and you’ve got quite a concoction of influences widely considered “uncool” in the 21st century. But Moon Tooth makes it work by playing its showy, shifty jazz-funk-prog-thrash-metal with such absolute power and awe-inspiring precision, you just can’t help but be impressed. (The band’s knack for finding a melody in its maelstrom doesn’t hurt, either.) BEN SALMON
    6 pm, The Analog Cafe & Little Theater, $13, all ages

    Timbaland + Pharrell: A Tribute
    A DJ night dedicated to two of the most unique hip-hop producers of the late '90s and early 2000s, featuring Duncan Gerow, B Hammer'd, and Anechoic touching on all the best beats that both Timbaland and Pharrell turned out in their heyday.
    9 pm, O'Malley's Saloon & Grill, $3

    Death of Glitter: Island of the Misfits!
    This month, the "Genderf#ck Cabaret for a Cause" benefits Brave Space with misfit-themed performances from Anastasia Euthanasia, Darcy Blows, Draven, Marla Darling, Prince Peanut-Butter, Lioness, Miss Pamela Voorhees, Mars, Clare Apparently, Poly-Amithyst, The Glam King, BeElzzaBub Doll, and more. Featuring dance music from DJ Cat Lady.
    9 pm, Paris Theater, $7-10

    Sunday, Jul 2

    The Thermals
    Portland pop-punk stalwarts the Thermals aim to spice up your Fourth of July weekend on the cheap with a 5-dollar show at the Doug Fir Lounge. Deathlist and Loveboys provide support.
    9 pm, Doug Fir, $5

    Impeachment March
    In case you’ve missed the past dozen protests, you have yet another chance to call for the impeachment of the fascist Cheeto at this nationwide march. Feel free to peruse the event page for details on the six bids for impeachment. EMILLY PRADO
    1 pm, Tom McCall Waterfront Park

    Ralph Lawson, Tripwire
    With a career spanning two decades and an influential off-kilter style that stays ahead of the curve, Jay Tripwire never fails to impress. He’s one of the most prolific house and techno producers around, with over 200 vinyl releases to date. His versatile mixes reveal keen sensibilities that can make a believer out of even the harshest of dance music critics. Ralph Lawson is a legend in his own right, and widely regarded as one of the best house music DJs in the world. His record label, 2020Vision, showcases a well-rounded catalog that gives interesting insights into electronic music’s ever-changing landscape over the last 20 years. These two heavyweights will perform an outdoor daytime concert at the White Owl Social Club to allow for maximum sunshine fun time. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD
    2 pm, White Owl Social club, $10

    Music in the Schools: 10 Year Anniversary & Farewell Show
    Local non-profit Music in the Schools is celebrating 10 years of of all ages music and music education fundraising with a bittersweet event that doubles as a farewell show for the organization. The evening will feature an all-youth line-up of live music, including a reunion set by MITS' all-stars The Castaway Kids. All proceeds will benefit Portland Public School Music programs.
    8 pm, Holocene, $5

    Ice Queens, And And And, Ah God
    Local indie rock shredders Ice Queens return to Rontoms for their second Sunday Session of the year, this time in celebration of the release of their self-titled debut album.
    8:30 pm, Rontoms, free

    Cold Cube Presents
    A release party for Cold Cube Press' latest comics publications, Lindsay Anne Watson's Well at the Very Least and Ross Jackson's Sticky Sweets.
    6 pm, Floating World Comics

    Gardener, On Drugs, Monsterwatch, FLRT
    The Chicago-based Gardener trucks in equally hazy and often beautiful melodies that take cues from early electronic pioneers like Charles Wuorinen and Tangerine Dream, while giving some of his work an extra layer of distance between the listener and the heartfelt creator by recording onto hissy cassettes and using noisy, shortwave-radio-frequency tones. ROBERT HAM
    9 pm, Twilight Cafe & Bar, $8

    Don't forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to do!

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              Review: Terra Formars:: Gaming Bits: Terra Formars Review   

    by MillicanDarque

    Terra Formars is a game by Nicolas Badoux, published by Japanime Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game based on the Terra Formars anime and manga series, players take on the role of a genetically modified warrior sent to Mars to eliminate the giant cockroaches that were originally sent to heat up Mars' atmosphere to make it suitable for colonization. Players will need to kill as many cockroaches as possible. When the last cockroach dies, the player with the most victory points will be declared the winner.

    To begin, players choose a Hero card, taking the corresponding Hero Marker and 2 Support cards. These cards create the player's starting hand. The remaining Support cards are shuffled together and placed face down in the middle of the play area. The top 3 cards of the deck are drawn and placed in a row next to the deck. The Cockroaches deck is shuffled together and placed face down below the Support cards. A number of cards are removed from the deck when playing with less than 4 players. A number of cards, equal to the number of players, are then drawn and placed in a row next to the deck. The Special Die, Victory Point tokens, Star tokens and Injury tokens are all placed near the play area within reach of all players. The first player is chosen. Beginning with the first player and continuing in turn order, each player will place their Hero Marker on an empty Cockroach card. The first player is given the 6 Combat dice. Play now begins.

    The game is played in turns. Beginning with the first player, each player will take a turn following 4 steps. On a player's turn, they will start off by rolling the 6 Combat dice. Once the dice are rolled, the player is then able to use the symbols on the dice to pay for actions. The player can spend 3 serums to roll the special die. They can use serums and stars to activate their hero's technique. This should not be confused with the player's talent, which is able to be used for free once per turn. They can also use the stars and serums to acquire a support card by paying the card's cost. A new card is drawn to replace any cards bought this way. There are 2 types of cards, equipment and squad. Equipment cards are placed beside the hero when acquired. They will constantly help the hero until destroyed. The squad cards are placed in the player's hand and may be played at any time. Once resolved, the card is discarded. Injuries shown on the dice can be used to attack the cockroaches. The player can place as many injury counters on the cockroach as they have injuries showing on the dice. Once the injury counters are equal or greater than the cockroaches health, it's destroyed. The player that inflicts the final injury follows a series of 4 steps. First the player takes the number of Victory Point counters shown on the cockroach card. They will then hand out any spoils provided by the cockroach to any other player that had a hero marker on the card. The player is able to distribute the spoils however they choose. The cockroach card is then removed and a new card is drawn to take it's place. The player then moves their hero marker to a new cockroach followed by any other heroes that had a marker on that card in turn order. It should be noted that each cockroach has a talent just like the heroes do. It must be activated during the player's turn if their marker is on it. Usually this only happens when a danger symbol is rolled. Once a symbol is spent on a die, it is locked and can not be re-rolled for any reason during that turn. Any symbols not used during the turn, are lost. Once the player finishes any actions or attacks, they must then pass the combat dice to the next player in turn order.

    The game continues until a dead cockroach can not be replaced from the deck. At this point, players add up their victory points and the one with the most is the winner.

    This game has some pretty nice looking components. First off there are plenty of thick cardboard tokens for the injury, star and victory points. These are quite nice and copy the same look as the symbols on the dice. Speaking of dice, there are 6 white dice and 1 green special die. These appear to be screen printed or something of that nature. I have a feeling that with repeated plays, the symbols may start to wear off. However that hasn't happened yet. The hero markers are thick hexagonal plastic tokens with a creature design carved into it. I'm not exactly sure what some of these are supposed to be, so it's a bit odd for me. The game comes with 4 originally but there is a promo set that adds an additional green token and a couple of extra cards. Speaking of cards, these are gorgeous. They each have a glossy finish and some amazing looking artwork. The iconography takes a bit of getting used to but thankfully there's a really nice reference card in 6 different languages to help you remember what does what. Of course the best looking cards are those of the various crew members. I think some of the images of the other cards were taken from the anime which tends to be a bit dark and sometimes blurry. Even so, I think that for the most part everything looks good. Overall, I'm rather pleased with the design.
    8 out of 10

    As I mentioned earlier, the reference card is written in 6 different languages. That's because the game includes 6 different rulebooks, each written in a different language. There's English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. The book has plenty of pictures throughout. There's even a full page example of gameplay that takes you through a player's turn. Every phase and step of the game is explained quite well. I didn't see anything that was difficult to understand in any way. Of course the best part of the rulebook is the 3 pages of card details. Each card is numbered and that number is referenced in the book with explanations of what each symbol means on the card. This is a HUGE help when playing the game, especially the first few play throughs. I quite like the design of the rules. I think they did a great job overall.
    9 out of 10

    Let me start off by saying that before this game, I knew absolutely nothing about Terra Formars. Once I realized it was based on an anime and manga series, I started reading the story online. Needless to say, I haven't gotten very far. The story is rather dark and kind of weird. However the game is a little less dark, apart from some of the visuals on a few of the cards. To be honest, I kind of expected the game to be a bit more harsh with the cockroaches really doing some damage to you. Instead the game is more about you taking it to them and attacking them. I could have also seen this game going the way of being a co-op survival game with players winning or losing as a team. However neither of these were the case with this one, which might lead fans of the series to be a bit put off. Seeing as I only have a little knowledge of the source materials, it seemed fine to me. The overall game plays like a deck builder as you'll be using different icons provided by the dice to add new cards to your hand. In other ways, it's all about rolling those dice to attack those cockroaches and gain victory points. It's also about positioning yourself in the right place to score those spoils from a defeated cockroach. As I mentioned earlier, the game takes a bit of getting used to with the symbols on the cards. Thankfully the rulebook is more than adequate at helping understand each card. I think fans of the series might enjoy it. For those with little to no knowledge of the materials, it's pretty good. Either way, I would recommend giving it a try.
    8 out of 10

    Terra Formars is a dice rolling game based on the original anime/manga series. It's fairly quick to play. Most game sessions last about 30 minutes. The artwork on the cards look ripped right from the anime series. Many of the cards are quite gorgeous. The hero tokens are a bit odd and the dice seem like the symbols on them may wear off over time, but overall the game looks good. The rulebook is great. I'm especially thankful that the designers saw fit to include details for every card in the game including it's reference number for ease of play. The game itself has a lot of deck building and dice rolling feeling to it. I don't think that it completely hit the mark for the dark and grittiness of the series, as the game tends to feel more of a race to get the most points with little repercussions. I think that fans of the series may like this one. I think my lack of knowledge lead me to like it a bit more than I think I would have. Overall I like the game. I would recommend giving it a try. Of course you might want to grab a can of Raid first. Cockroaches...YUCK!
    8 out of 10

    For more information about this and other great games, please check out Japanime Games at their site.