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The Sheldon Museum of Art opens its exhibitions in the fall semester | Announce

Works by Ron Gorchov, Dan Christensen and Anish Kapoor are exhibited at the Sheldon Museum of Art in the exhibition “Point of Departure”.

The Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has opened four new exhibitions for the fall semester. Each draws on the museum’s collection of nearly 13,000 objects to provide a thematic presentation that fosters inquiry, discovery and opportunities for students, faculty and staff, alumni and visitors to engage with. art and with each other.

Until December 31, Sheldon presents the exhibitions: “Point of Departure: Abstraction 1958 – Present”, “The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds”, “Framing a Legacy: Gifts from Ann and James Rawley” and “Sheldon Treasures. “

“Point of Departure: Abstraction 1958 – Present” examines the evolution of abstraction from the late 1950s – after the first wave of artists associated with Abstract Expressionism – to the present day.

The title of the exhibition is taken from a 1958 jazz recording by Andrew Hill that both illustrates and defies its time. Hill’s music has its roots in a post-Monk, hard-bop style, pushing it to the edge of free jazz and, as the title suggests, into new territory. Abstraction in the visual arts, like Hill’s music, continues to evolve.

Abstraction is one of the strengths of the Sheldon collection. The founding funds of early Modernism in America inspired key postwar acquisitions of works associated with Abstract Expressionism. With perseverance, this concentration has continued until now. Recent additions to the collection offer an inclusive presentation of diverse voices and perspectives that lead to deeper and more focused discussions of abstraction. To this end, Point de Départ includes six recent acquisitions and four loans from local collections.

“The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds” presents a holistic investigation of waste streams, examining works of art that draw inspiration from our scraps, leftovers, trash, rubbish, scarcity and ruins. With subjects ranging from 19th-century ragpickers to today’s eco-critical practices, the works highlight the complex relationship of waste to colonialism and industrial production.

This exhibition was curated by Katie Anania, Assistant Professor of Art History at the School of Art, Art History & Design. Support for the exhibit is provided by the Hixson-Lied Endowment, the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Sheldon Art Association, and the Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Framing a Legacy: Gifts from Ann and James Rawley” is a celebration of the artwork donated to the museum by longtime supporters Ann and James Rawley. This not only underscores their affinity for the collection of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, but also Ann’s meticulous practice of framing.

James Rawley (1916-2005) was Carl Adolph Happold Professor Emeritus of History here at the university. He has taught courses and published books in his areas of specialization: the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and the Atlantic slave trade. His significant contributions to the study of American history are recognized by the James A. Rawley Prize (OAH), awarded in his memory by the Organization of American Historians for the best book on race relations, and the James A Prize. Rawley (AHA), awarded by the American Historical Association for the best Atlantic history book.

“Sheldon Treasures”, an ongoing exhibition that changes every semester, highlights some of the museum’s most important and well-known objects. The works presented in the fall 2021 edition of “Sheldon Treasures” demonstrate the breadth of approaches taken by artists to represent the human figure. Throughout art history, the representation of the human form has provided expressive possibilities for stylistic innovation, social commentary, and storytelling.

For more information on the museum’s exhibits and programs, visit sheldonartmuseum.org.

More details on: https://sheldonartmuseum.org/


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Maine Gardener: Why Maine Audubon added non-native plants to its sale

When I read on the Maine Audubon Society website that the organization had started selling non-Maine plants, I was surprised.

I was sure the environment mainstay hadn’t given up on its commitment to the plants that Maine’s birds, insects, and other species need to survive. But I wondered what caused the change.

The added non-natives are good plants. One of them, Liatris scariosa or the northern flaming star, is native to York County but not the rest of the state, by the standards used by Audubon. Audubon had therefore previously excluded him from the sale of plants.

Eric Topper, explaining the change, said some birds, insects and other animals, as well as some plants, have extended their historical range, mainly north and east as the climate has warmed. So why wouldn’t Audubon sell plants whose historical range is somewhat south and west of Maine.

The change was not an instant decision.

“Since we’ve been in the world of native plant restoration six or seven years now, we’ve struggled to define our definition of native plants,” Topper said in a telephone interview.

When sales began, Maine Audubon opted for the list, also used by state officials, called BONAP, the Biota of North America program, which has long studied native plants. Audubon also consulted with state officials, and if the state thought a factory shouldn’t be on the list, it was removed, Topper said.

As a result, the list of native Maine Audubon plants for sale (mainenativeplants.org) was among the most restrictive of the native Maine listings.

Over the years, with real life experience, those in charge have started to question boundaries. Audubon staff have noticed how much hummingbirds love Monarda didyma, with the common names scarlet bee balm or red bergamot.

While working in greenhouses to water the plants, bumblebees (which are native) cover and worship Liatris spicata.

So, Audubon added these plants, which are not strictly native according to the definition she chose to use, because of their enormous benefits to birds and other wildlife that Maine Audubon’s mission is to protect.

Topper said his organization did not make the decision without outside help. He received help from Dan Jaffe, now a horticulturist at the Norcross Wildlife Foundation in Massachusetts, who co-authored the book “Native Plants for New England Gardens” while with the Native Plant Trust.

In addition to Liatris spicata, Monarda didyma, and Liatris scariosa, other non-native plants added to Audubon are Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower, and Coreopsis lanceolata or lanceleaf coreopsis – both native to the northeastern United States but not Maine.

Buyers seem to have agreed with Audubon’s choice. Scarlet Bee Balm, Spearleaf Coreopsis, and Purple Echinacea are already sold out for this year.

Topper encourages people to research these species – not cultivars of those species, which would have a brand name with single quotes at the end – at local nurseries, and plant them.

I asked Topper if selling plants that might not be strictly native to Maine amounted to assisted migration. There has been some concern, which I spoke about in 2018, that plants might go extinct because their natural habitats are getting too hot for them to live. And these plants cannot naturally migrate as fast as climate change moves their ideal climate further north.

Topper said the sales could help with the migration, but that was not the group’s intention. He thinks the species got to Maine anyway, because people love them and planted them in their gardens.

One thing Topper said towards the end of our interview surprised me. Despite Maine Audubon’s emphasis on native species, he realizes that non-natives also have a great advantage in wildlife. He had just spent a week in the heart of nature, places where the forest has taken over from abandoned farms. Apple trees – native to Kazakhstan – in these woods still thrive and are a huge boon to wildlife, he said, giving just one example.

By the way, the Maine Audubon plant sale has gone well this year, and although three of the new introductions have sold out, there are still many good native plants in stock.

And he says, and I agree, that September and early October are great times to plant shrubs and perennials in Maine. Plus, buying them will help Audubon staff.

“We don’t want to take care of these plants in the winter,” he said.

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer who gardens in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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How the US withdrawal from Afghanistan threatens Russia

The departure of the United States from Afghanistan marks the culmination of the long turbulent period that began with the Soviet invasion of 1979. During this time, the Afghan Islamists became the adversaries of the United States and the USSR. Russia, and the discord between them helped them survive and persevere. While some Russian observers might view the US withdrawal as a defeat and a weakness, this development could lead to more problems for Moscow than benefits.

The US-led war in Afghanistan began in October 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks organized by Al Qaeda. Photo: internationalaffairs.org.au.

US-Russian competition and the emergence of the Islamic threat

The consequences of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan must be understood in the context of the history of Moscow-Kabul relations. Afghanistan has been a volatile place for a long time. In 1973, following a Rebellion organized by pro-communist rebels, the monarchy, led by Mohamed zahir shah, the only legitimate force accepted by most Afghans of diverse ethnicities, was overthrown, sparking a civil war. As internal fighting ravaged the country, Moscow first observed from a distance, but then decided, in 1979, to intervene in what became the USSR’s first foreign invasion outside its sphere of influence. . The ensuing guerrilla warfare lasted for years, with Afghanistan turning into a “bloody wound” for the Soviet Union, in the words of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev.

It is generally assumed that the Soviet invasion was doomed, as the British had been before and the Americans after. This was not the case. Unlike the United States and even the British Empire, the USSR was prepared for a conflict that spanned several generations. It should be remembered that it took almost a hundred years for the Russian Empire to conquer the Caucasus, while the Soviet war with Basmachi, the Islamic rebels of Central Asia, lasted more than a decade, until early 1930s. But Gorbachev’s unexpected rise to power weakened the Soviet state, and by 1989 Soviet troops had left Afghanistan.

In the context of the Cold War rivalry, the United States was understandably content with the Soviet situation and actively supported the Afghan resistance, portraying its members as heroic freedom fighters. But with the departure of Soviet troops and the Afghan government left to its own devices, the Taliban, an Islamist movement and a military organization, have taken control of the country. In 1995, the Talibs enter Kabul, assassinate the Afghan president Mohamed najibullah, and created the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Since Najibullah was installed by the Soviets, Washington was not disturbed by his demise, and the Taliban did not subsequently emerge as a problem for the American political establishment, for various reasons. This perspective, however, was primarily defined by the United States’ relationship with post-Soviet Russia. Undoubtedly, some American policymakers and observers believed that Russia would transform into a democratic capitalist state, marking this Francis Fukuyama called “the end of the story”. But, paraphrasing George orwell, “All ‘endings of the story’ are equal, but some are more equal than others. In this sense, Russia’s “end of history” in the form of the Soviet collapse differs greatly from that of the United States. resistance, even if some of its members were Islamists, in the Chechen wars for independence, on the assumption that they were the enemies of Russia. At the same time, the Russian elite have continually tried to extend an olive branch to Washington, even as the geopolitical honeymoon seemed over, especially after the 1999 attack between the United States and the United States. NATO against the former Yugoslavia.

The “Scythian” grievances of the West and Russia

Vladimir PoutineRussia’s succession to the presidency in 2000 did not bring about an immediate change in Russian attitudes: the new elite was not yet ready for a direct confrontation with adversaries and underestimated the danger of Islamism global. When he came to power, Putin sent mixed signals to the United States. On the one hand, he hinted that Russia would be more assertive, visiting North Korea and canceling a Chernomyrdin-Gore Commission deal that had cut off Russian arms sales to Iran. On the other hand, he was the first foreign leader to express full support for Washington after 9/11. He also made no objection to US bases in Central Asia, likely expecting geopolitical rewards. When none followed, Putin’s position hardened.

In his Munich speech in 2007, the Russian president accused the United States of striving for unchecked world domination, referring to its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. By then, Russian-American cooperation had waned and Moscow was pushing Kyrgyzstan to close American bases in Manas. Still, Putin did not want to completely sever ties. In 2012, for example, he agreed that the United States could use the air base near the Russian city of Ulyanovsk as a “multimodal” transit facility to “transport goods and personnel to and from Afghanistan” .

Perhaps one of the best glimpses of Russia’s position on Afghanistan comes from a 2010 editorial for the New York Times co-written by the general Boris Gromov, former Soviet commander in Afghanistan, and Dmitry Rogozin, then Russian Ambassador to NATO. The article suggested that the United States and Russia should work together, as the two countries have a lot in common, at least when it comes to jihadists. The authors noted that Soviet troops in Afghanistan had defended “Western civilization,” which was, in a way, a reference to an idea first expressed in 1918 by the Russian seminal poet. Alexandre blok in his poem “The Scythians”.

In the poem, Blok explains metaphorically that the “Scythians” or Russians, while having “slanted eyes” to Asians, were in fact closer to Europeans, their “white brothers”, than to Asians. The “Scythians” had protected their “white brothers” for centuries from the “Mongols”, the barbaric Asian hordes, and expected gratitude. But instead, the “white brothers” waged endless wars against the “Scythians” (Russians). As such, the “Scythians” launched a final appeal to their “white brothers”, calling on them to make peace and unite together, otherwise they would simply let the countless hordes of “Mongols” and “Huns” pass. to Europe. and attack their “white brothers”, who, despite their technological advances, would not be able to resist these multitudes. If that were to happen, the “Scythians” (Russians) “will not budge” when the “frenzied Huns… roast their white-skinned fellows alive”.

In a way, these ideas were reflected in the thinking of a considerable section of the Russian elite, not just General Gromov and Rogozin, who hinted in the editorial that America should reconsider its views on Russia, and if the former were to follow his advice. , Moscow would help him deal with Afghanistan. The Kremlin was clearly prepared to compromise with the United States in the name of visible geopolitical cohesion, but nothing was achieved. In addition, with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Donbass War, US-Russian relations deteriorated almost to the level of the Cold War era, and any hope of cooperation between the two countries faded. practically extinct – even direct conflict could not be ruled out. Marking a new low, last year it was reported that members of a Russian military intelligence unit (GRU) offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US and Allied soldiers in Afghanistan.

“Defeat” of the United States and Russian fears

Yet after the president Joe biden announced in April 2021 that US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan to end a war that had lasted around two decades – a move that sparked heated discussions over America’s crushing ‘defeat’, the Kremlin changed of your. Moscow probably realizes that it was the “white brothers” who protected Russia from the Asian hordes and Islamic extremists, and not the other way around. With the US withdrawal and the emergence of a power vacuum, these hordes could potentially spill over into Central Asia and head further north, to the borders of Russia, reactivating radical Islamism in the Caucasus regions of the North and the Volga.

This is an old Russian fear, envisioned in the 1990s by the late general Alexandre lebed, which at one point was considered Boris Yeltsinthe successor of. While the Taliban assures everyone, including Russia, that it has no appetite for overseas expansion – and the Taliban elite might in fact say it – the movement cannot control all of them. its factions: some of them surely dream of a world Islamist revolution. To add to the concerns of the Russians, there are groups of radicalized Tajiks and Uzbeks currently operating in Afghanistan who may attempt to bring extremist ideas back to their home countries, near Russian borders. Finally, the very vision of the Taliban beating the powerful “infidel” – America – could incite Islamists everywhere, including in the backyards of Russia. If history is any indication, the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War spurred revolutionary movement around the world. All these factors alarmed not only the Russian leadership, but also the countries of Central Asia. In May, the Tajik president Emomali rakhmon arrived in Moscow for consultation and assurance, becoming the only foreign leader to participate in the annual Russian Victory Day parade in 2021.

The decline of the Roman Empire opened the doors for hordes of barbarians to invade unprotected territories and destroy Rome’s traditional enemies in the process. After (and even before) the January 6 Capitol uprising in Washington, some observers have drawn parallels between the United States and the declining Roman Empire. There is an analogy to be drawn: a decline in resources and social cohesion has led to the withdrawal of Rome (and now Washington) from the periphery of the empire. In both cases, many tribes and nations initially applauded this release. But let’s not forget that the end of Roman rule did not lead to universal peace, but to the long dark ages, strewn with chaos and subsequent decline.

Surely the Kremlin realizes that this scenario is likely to happen. And if chaos ensues after the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, the American imprint in that country and the Middle East may well be remembered with nostalgia, as Roman rule once was in a darkened plunged Europe. in the dark ages.


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Dixie Fire explodes into the largest fire in California history; Forest fires continue to ravage Greece

In northern California, the Dixie Fire exploded over the weekend to become the largest blaze in California history – with half a million acres burned. California Governor Gavin Newsom visited Greenville, a gold rush-era town north of Sacramento, its downtown area almost completely destroyed by the Dixie fire on Saturday.

Governor Gavin Newsom: “Extreme weather conditions, extreme droughts lead to extreme conditions and forest fires like we have never seen in our history. And therefore, we have to recognize, right now, that these are climate-induced forest fires. “

There are currently 11 major wildfires raging in California and over 100 fires in 15 states – with over 2 million acres burned. Denver, Colo. Experienced the worst air quality of any major city in the world on Saturday as smoke from western fires filled the sky with a thick yellow-brown haze.

Meanwhile, fires continue to rage in southern Europe, which is experiencing a prolonged heat wave. In Greece, thousands of people fled their homes on the island of Evia, some of them escaping aboard coast guard ships, as a massive forest fire turned the night sky red .

Vasilikia: “I am very angry. Most of the people here are very angry. The catastrophe, you can see it, isn’t it? It’s huge. Our villages are destroyed. Nothing remains of our houses, our properties. Nothing. Nothing. “


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Residents of the third quarter worry about gentrification, think it could lead to a loss of culture and history

THIRD ROOM – Residents who live in the historic Third Quarter said this is changing.

A quick drive around the neighborhood will reveal new developments in the form of luxury townhouses and vacant lots. According to Assata Richards, a third generation resident, this is the demolition of affordable housing for those who live in the neighborhood.

Richards said without affordable housing, longtime residents are displaced, which she says will result in the loss of the rich history and cultural heritage of predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

“My parents met in this block, in this street (rue des Emancipations). And when I see these institutions disappear, it breaks my heart, ”said Richards.

Richards said his family moved to the neighborhood in the 1950s and called him from home.

The changes in the neighborhood prompted her to become a founding member of the board of directors of the Economic Development Council of Emancipation.

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She said the organization is focused on combating gentrification and preventing it.

“Specifically, the displacement of African American residents and the history and culture of the neighborhood,” Richards said.

Dr. DZ Cofield, senior pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Third Ward, leads a congregation of over 2,500 people.

He tells KPRC that he has seen the effects of gentrification with his own eyes.

“Some of our older members chose to sell, and in some ways I understand. If you paid $ 100,000 for a house 50 years ago and someone offers you 900,000, and you’re already struggling with taxes or whatever, it’s like – I’m maybe be older but i’m not stupid. I will sell, ”said Dr Cofield.

One of the most notable aspects of gentrification, according to locals, is development.

For this reason, community organizations have formed the Emancipation Community Development or ECDP partnership to reduce displacement.

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A report from the ECDP Strategic Implementation Framework shows that investors owned 37% of the vacant land in the third quarter.

Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, conducted a separate study identifying neighborhoods at risk of gentrification.

According to the study, gentrification often eliminates affordable housing options, deep-rooted social networks and long-standing conveniences.

Land prices will also increase, just as they are in Third Ward.

“So if you want to develop a new building in the third quarter, what happens is that it has to be basically high-end townhouses so that the developer can make their money. So what we see before actual gentrification is often land speculation and the price of land going up dramatically, ”Fulton said.

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Fulton said the development is raising property taxes and longtime homeowners are struggling to pay their bills or maintain their homes, but he believes there may be a solution.

“Create a property tax system where long-term owners in places like this pay less in taxes,” he said. “There are property tax exemptions and reductions for all kinds of things, right? There is certainly a way to do this for long-time residents of gentrifying neighborhoods. “

Affordable housing for tenants is also needed.

According to an ECDP report, 27% of households in Third Ward paid more than half of their income in rent in 2017, which is comparable to 25% for the city of Houston, but is likely due to the high percentage of housing. community. households benefiting from a 25% housing allowance.

The report also pointed out that the median household income in Third Ward was $ 23,325, less than half that of the city of Houston, which is $ 47,493.

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Libby Viera-Bland, neighborhood development project manager at Project Row Houses, said organizations that provide affordable housing or are essential in keeping residents in communities.

“We have built affordable housing over the past decade in half an hour,” said Viera-Bland.

She said that so far, the organization has built 80 affordable housing units and is building 12 more units this year.

Richards believes that providing affordable housing will help residents of the community stay in their beloved neighborhood, but also preserve the history of the neighborhood, which is why she said she continues to fight for Third Ward.

“This community enabled me to obtain a doctorate. as a single mother. It has enabled me to achieve all of my aspirations as a first generation student, so I know what this community is all about, ”said Richards.

Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.


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The continuation of Kurdish oppression in Turkey

EDMONDS, Washington – The Kurdish ethnic populations have resided in parts of Asia Minor and the Middle East for centuries. Various nations have forcibly drawn lines across their native territories over time. After World War I, the establishment of Turkish borders limited the possibility of a formal and cohesive Kurdish state. In modern times, there are around 30 million ethnic Kurds in the world. This makes the Kurdish people “one of the largest groups of people without […] a nation-state ”or a land of their own. Much of the total Kurdish population resides in Turkey, where Kurds face violence, discrimination and social ostracism.

Kurdish oppression in Turkey

Ethnic Kurds and ethnic Turks have had particularly strained relations in recent history. According to The Kurdish Project, a non-profit rights advocacy and education organization, Turkey’s modern borders run directly through Kurdistan. Kurdistan, a historically Kurdish region that is not a country, has territories in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Since the founding of Turkey, Kurdish culture, language and expression of identity have come under fierce repression, with tensions having increased dramatically over the past 40 years. In an interview with The Borgen Project, retired US diplomat Fred Lundahl said: “What the Kurds had to face in order to do something, to gain a sense of respect, has always been difficult. Lundahl spent 30 years in embassies around the world for the State Department.

The Turkish government has a history of oppression against Kurdish culture, even suppressing the names Kurdish families give to their children. In 2003, the Turkish national authorities passed a reform law aimed at limiting names using the letters x, q, and w – letters traditionally found in Kurdish names. ” Because they are [Kurds] immediately noticed by their names […] they’ve been fundamentally oppressed all this time, ”Lundahl observed.

In a court case around the same time, authorities attempted to prosecute seven parents in the southern Turkish town of Diyarbakır for giving their children Kurdish names. The prosecution argued that the names were secret codes in a Kurdish terrorist ploy against the Turkish government. Although a judge ultimately dismissed the case, resistance to Kurdish expression continued.

Kurdish reprisals

Continued oppression and exclusion from Turkish political, cultural and social landscapes has resulted in the ostracization of the Kurds. According to Lundahl, “government after government has missed the boat in trying to calm that sentiment. This led to the tensions that still persist today.

The Kurdish oppression exercised by the Turkish government has directly and indirectly generated a committed nationalist movement. This manifestly manifested itself in the form of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the 1970s. Until his capture in 1999, Abdullah Öcalan, a Kurdish Turk, led the PKK, which was widely referred to as an organization. terrorist. Before Öcalan’s capture, the actions of the PKK resulted in the deaths of around 30,000 people. The group initially worked with the goal of establishing a Kurdish region in southern Turkey, although this goal has changed over time.

In its early years, the PKK appealed to many Kurds of all stripes. In particular, he tried to attract Kurds from poor and disadvantaged areas. A major conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government in 1984 resulted in the government’s forced expulsion of around one million Kurds. Mass unrest and the destruction of Kurdish communities accompanied these expulsions. The Kurdish Project suggests that organizations like the PKK provide the Turkish government with the justification to oppress and terrorize everyday Kurds.

The politics of the Turkish majority and the Kurds

Over the past 20 years, the majority political party in Turkey has risen: the Justice and Development Party, or AKP. The AKP’s growing power has led to even fewer attempts at inclusion in Turkey, according to Lundahl. At the forefront of this struggle are the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the AKP, and the organization’s conservative values. “What [Erdoğan] in fact, it is to serve the Islamic people, more fundamentalist, in the small towns of central Turkey, it is its base. And this base feels threatened by the Kurds, ”Lundahl said.

Particular movement against the Kurds in Turkey, in addition to political persecution and imprisonment, has come in the form of Turkey’s hydroelectric efforts in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. Since the early 2000s, when the AKP came to power, the government has exercised significant control over a campaign of roadblocks in Turkey’s southeastern provinces. This has disproportionately affected Kurdish communities and infrastructure, as well as neighboring regions heavily dependent on controlled water supplies.

“There have also been major development projects in eastern Turkey that revolve around these dam systems […] for electricity and water for irrigation, ”Lundahl shared. “These projects were peddled because ‘it will bring economic development to the Kurdish regions of Turkey.’ In fact, the Kurds did not take advantage of it. The Kurds lost land, Turkish companies arrived with big agricultural companies. All of these things… are getting worse and worse.

The Kurdish role in the Syrian civil war

Other factors of Kurdish oppression are the war on terrorism and the involvement of the United States in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria. The main US allies in the fight against Islamic extremism, the Kurdish Protection Units, or YPG, have played a crucial role in helping US forces fight groups like ISIS.

Turkey, on the other hand, treats the YPG with significant hostility. When former President Donald Trump withdrew US forces from Syria, the YPG lost significant support and resources that the United States provided, paving the way for Turkish forces in the region to resume their efforts to counter them. Kurds and others in the area.

In Turkey, the conflict in Syria has also shaped the social landscape. According to Lundahl, “He [were]large number of Syrian refugees that the Turks had allowed in, and what was interesting about it was that this was allowed by the [Turkish] government, it was to keep them away from the war zones, which happened to be Kurdish zones.

Lundahl now owns Music for the Eyes, a boutique specializing in cultural objects in Langley, Washington. He recalled his last trip to Turkey to visit suppliers: “Many shops in downtown Istanbul were run by Syrians… so there was a whole other social problem that arose because they were taking the relay of the urban Turks. Lundahl further suggested that Kurdish businesses in Turkey had been affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. It also further ostracized the Kurds.

Outlook

Despite the Turkish government’s best efforts to subdue the Kurds, many still have hopes for cultural, social and political freedom. “We have been following for years the struggle of the Kurds to emerge from their second-class status [… as well as] the wonderful things the Kurds did in Iraq to get their own country, indeed, ”Lundahl said. Kurds in cities in southern Turkey revive the ancient oral practices of Dengbej, a musical storytelling tradition that dates back 5,000 years. His return represents the preservation of heritage in the face of oppression.

Although the situation carries a complex diplomatic weight and serious humanitarian concerns, it is not hopeless either. Organizations like The Kurdish Project strive to make Kurdish oppression, history and struggles known to everyday Kurds. Their work continues to advocate for the rights of Kurds in Turkey and beyond.

– Maddie Youngblood
Photo: Unsplash


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A Q&A with The Wilderness Society’s New Mexico Deputy Director – High Country News – Know the West

Kay Bounkeua discusses Lao-Chinese childhood in the state, its connection to the landscape, and the future of the conservation movement.

In the mid-1980s, when Kay Bounkeua was a toddler, her family moved to Northeast Heights, a historically white-only neighborhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her parents had moved to the city from a refugee camp in Thailand more than a decade earlier, after war flooded their landlocked home Laos. When neighbors learned that a Lao-Chinese family was moving in, they signed a petition warning that immigrants would bring the crime with them and devalue local real estate. It was one of the many incidents of racial harassment that plagued Bounkeua’s childhood.

Growing up the way she did, worried about discrimination, financial hardship, and feelings of not belonging, Bounkeua enjoyed biking and hiking in the Sandia Mountains with her family. There they could just be themselves. She fondly remembers speaking with her parents in Lao and Mandarin while contemplating the desert landscape. They all found solace outside, she said. They didn’t worry about “speaking bad languages” and “eating bad food”.

In 2010, Bounkeua joined the Asian Family Center in New Mexico, where he later served as Executive Director. She has led initiatives to provide language access to newcomers and has championed community concerns in local and national politics. But over a year ago, she changed careers: she became the New Mexico deputy director of the Wilderness Society, focusing on working with underrepresented communities in the outdoors and in conservation. .

Heidrich photography

Recently, High Country News spoke with Bounkeua about his transition from social work to conservation, and what it’s like to be one of the few Asians in conservation in the South West. Now that the Biden administration is committed to the “30×30” plan and an inclusive and sustainable future, she believes this is the perfect time to bring diverse community perspectives into the mainstream of conservation. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

High Country News: Can you tell me a bit about your past work with the Asian community in New Mexico?

Kay Bounkoua: In 2010, I came to the Asian Family Center as a program coordinator. At the time, it was primarily a direct service provider, providing intervention services to victims of domestic violence. Four years later, I became the managing director. As the organization grew and I dealt with what my family had been through, we created culturally appropriate programs. Just think of those who go from moving to relocating and trying to figure it all out as you build a new home.

I also thought about the future of the organization more from a social justice perspective. As young people who have felt, seen and experienced oppressive actions against our community became more politically engaged, the center has done more organizational and civic engagement work to help members of the Asian community. to exercise their right to vote. We have also started to discuss access to languages ​​in New Mexico. In this way, the Asian Family Center not only provided services to people in the community, but also implemented change at the system level.

HCN: Why did you join the Wilderness Society?

KB: Because I had my daughter, who is now 2 1/2 years old. This shift to parenthood got me thinking about the kind of life I want her to have and the kind of world we leave for our children. And I think this connection to land and place is critical.

As for my relationship with the land and what it means, I think a lot about Laos. When I visited Laos when I was little, before even going up a mountain road, we visited a shrine that people created at the bottom of the mountain, where you pray that the mountain spirits ask permission to cross the country. and guides you throughout your journey. This kind of spiritual connection reminded me that so many do have that spiritual connection with places here in New Mexico.

My dad always told me that the landscape of New Mexico is similar to that of Laos in that it is landlocked and warm. This vivid landscape made me feel connected to my parents’ homeland when I was young – but I’m afraid it will fade away and the ways I connected across the land of New Mexico are no longer. available so that I can share them with my daughter.

Kay Bounkeua and her young daughter hiked the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico last winter.

Courtesy of Kay Bounkeua

HCN: How has your past community work inspired your conservation efforts at the Wilderness Society?

KB: To do conservation work, you cannot separate it from community work. We should consider the environment and its impacts on the health of communities as an ecosystem. For example, neighborhoods that have been marked in red have fewer trees and are more affected by heat waves. A higher urban heat index is also correlated with higher rates of violence. All of these contribute to the negative effects on the health of our communities.

HCN: What would you like to see changed in the Wilderness Society under your leadership to address the history of exclusion and discrimination in the mainstream conservation movement?

KB: I hope that we will continue to recognize the deep trauma suffered by communities while proposing solutions found within these communities. How can we examine environmental racism, environmental degradation and the root causes of these problems in our community? How do we invest money in Indigenous, Asian, Latin and other colored communities? For those who continue to be most impacted by climate and extinction crises, I think this is where the magic will happen. And a big part of that job is building trust and relationships, which takes a long time.

There is a lot of harm when we do not include people of color in the decision making process. So we began to conduct a series of 25 different hearing sessions with Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx and other people of color leaders and organizations to understand what “conservation” means to them and how to make conservation into the realm. New Mexico could be in a respectful relationship with them.

To do conservation work, you cannot separate it from community work. We should consider the environment and its impacts on the health of communities as an ecosystem.

HCN: To achieve a fair and sustainable future under “30×30”, what should policymakers and environmental organizations in the West do to involve more people of color in the movement?

KB: It is important to note that traditional knowledge and science can coexist. But so many times it feels like you can only do one or the other. If we create policies by looking only at Eurocentric science, it is a huge disservice to things that people have known for generations that could potentially support something that we are working on. And we need to welcome people who have been historically excluded from the environmental conservation movement so that they can give their opinion.

There are so many amazing indigenous led organizations across the state and across the country that we should just follow suit as they were the original and continuing stewards of this land. We can also learn from emerging groups, such as Outdoor Afro, Outdoor Asian and Latino Outdoor. They are so culturally based and understand these issues from a racial equity perspective and can provide many solutions to the issues that we are all trying to solve.

Wufei Yu is an editor at High Country News. Send him an e-mail To [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor.



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PH lockouts: a brief history

Police checks, like last year’s one, have become commonplace when the lockdown is enforced. FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ​​ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — The latest looming lockdown in the National Capital Region (NCR) is believed to be the fourth in the capital, which accounts for more than half of the Philippine economy.

As more than 12 million residents wait for the latest round of restrictions that will begin on August 6 and end on August 20, they are told that limiting their movement is the price to pay to avoid a greater tragedy: coronavirus infections get out of hand.

The measures appear to tilt in favor of one aspect of the crisis – health – and neglect the other: the economy and livelihoods. Some experts say that protecting people from disease and the loss of their livelihood is not necessarily a choice proposition.

Disease experts have shown that keeping people separate is an effective way to slow down the transmission of the virus for one basic reason. Humans are the main carriers of the virus.

“The primary mode by which people become infected with SARS Cov2 is exposure to respiratory fluids carrying infectious viruses,” the United States Centers for Disease Control has said in its numerous COVID-19 advisories.

According to the CDC, people are mainly infected with:

  • Inhalation of microscopic respiratory droplets and virus-carrying aerosol particles
  • Getting the virus into the mouth, nose, or eyes from a splash or spray of virus-laden particles from an infected person
  • Touching mucous membranes or contaminated surfaces

There are still inconclusive studies indicating that the virus is suspended in the air, which could be alarming, but it has not been shown to be certain.

Experts are sure of one thing, however. Close human contact increases the risk of infection, which would make containment an essential weapon in the fight against SARS Cov2.

During one of his briefings on the government’s response to COVID, President Rodrigo Duterte blurted out how difficult it would be to keep people at a safe distance in a place as populated as Metro Manila.

On this point, Duterte was right. Metro Manila is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. In Manila alone, there are at least 71,263 people per square kilometer, according to 2015 census data. In Mandaluyong city, the density is 41,580 people per square kilometer. In Pasay City, it’s 29,815 people per km².

Locking down these densely populated areas could mean keeping people locked in very tight spaces, which could defeat the goal of preventing transmission of the Delta variant.

Delta, who was previously known as Indian, was as contagious as chickenpox, according to the US CDC. To get an idea of ​​how contagious Delta is, a person with chickenpox is 90% likely to pass the infection on to people close to them who are not immune, the CDC said.

Why resort to confinement in places where you cannot separate people like in congested poor urban communities? According to Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in a statement last year, the lockdown or strengthened community quarantine would prevent 323,262 additional COVID cases, of which 9,698 are serious or critical.

But the blockages have taken place and will happen soon. They are now part of the package against COVID-19 around the world.

NCR lockdown episodes would show numbers that may or may not lead to a conclusion about the effectiveness of restriction of movement as a measure to slow the transmission of the virus.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

When the first lockdown, or Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), was imposed from March 14 to April 30, 2020, according to the World Health Organization, there were 196 cases of COVID on the second day of the lockdown, March 16. On March 23, there were 768 cases. As of March 30, there were 2,019 cases. As of April 6, two days after the expiration of the ECQ period, there were 1,334 cases.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

During the second lockdown, which moved to the modified ECQ (MECQ) from August 4 to 18, 2020, the WHO said there were 2,463 cases of COVID on August 10, six days after the start of the locking. On August 17 or a day before the MECQ expired, there were 29,305 cases.

A third cycle of ECQ was implemented from March 29 to April 4, 2021. On the day the ECQ went into effect, there were 71,606 cases of COVID, according to the WHO. As of April 5, the day after the ECQ expired, there were 69,164 cases.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

It is not yet clear to what extent blockages in the NCR have been successful in achieving its primary goal of protecting people from infection. But it has come at a cost.

Unemployment in 2020 climbed to 17.7 percent, or 7.3 million people, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority’s April 2020 Labor Force Survey.

In the results of a survey carried out in November 2020, Social Weather Stations (SWS) said 48% of the Filipino population considered themselves to be poor. At least 12 million families have declared themselves poor, according to the SWS poll. The striking figure is that 2 million of these families are considered “newly poor”.

This next ECQ from August 6, millions of families are again facing an uncertain outcome. Duterte had asked the Ministry of Budget and Management to identify sources of funds for cash assistance after repeatedly saying in the past that the government lacked funds for this purpose.

The Department of Labor and Employment, quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, has forecast the loss of more than 167,000 jobs.

Senatorial Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and several other senators, call on the government to stop fundraising and simply turn to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-Elcac), which in 2021 alone gets more than 19 billion pesos in funding.

The task force had already released billions of pesos in villages, supposedly for development projects that would pit communities against communist rebels. An audit of the projects is requested although the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which transferred the funds to the villages, has provided a list of project descriptions.

If funding was found, the government planned to distribute P 1,000 in cash per person and up to P 4,000 per family during the two-week ECQ August 6-20.

It was, according to Bayan chief Renato Reyes, misleading to give hope for help but not to be sure of the source of funding.

Meanwhile, people with cash have formed long lines at grocery stores and supermarkets to stock up on supplies. Shopping centers, with the exception of stores considered essential, have turned dark again, restaurant after restaurant closed on August 1.

Millions of people hope there will be light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel.

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Salinas students stand up for ethnic studies – Voices of Monterey Bay

Zaira Hernandez testifies at school board meeting | Zoom screenshot

| YOUTH BEAT

By Karen Dorantes

On June 22, parents and grandparents arrived at a meeting of the Salinas Union High School District Governing Board to express their disapproval of the ethnic studies program currently taught in high schools in the district.

That night, no student was there to defend him.

Mike Lipe, one of the adults who came forward to oppose the curriculum, told the board that “there is absolutely no room for activists in our school boards and administrations. . These principles are deeply rooted in radicalism and racism. They promote division and hatred within society.

But the board members who voted for ethnic studies as a condition for a one-semester graduation in 2019 – to be implemented for the class of 2024 – held on.

The council’s support for ethnic studies contrasted with a 2012 decision in Tucson, Arizona, where one of the most popular and successful Mexican-American ethnic studies courses was banned by a law banning any course that ” advocates ethnic solidarity ”.

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Diego Puga Escobar speaks at school board meeting | Zoom screenshot

Carissa Purnell, who has taught ethnic studies in Salinas for the past six years, defined ethnic studies as “courses that use an interdisciplinary approach to analyze historical and contemporary issues and experiences associated with race, class and genre “.

She said ethnic studies were first introduced in the fall of 1968, when the Black Student Union led a student strike at San Francisco State University to demand more representation on campus.

School board president Phillip Tabera said it took five years of discussions to approve the district’s one-year ethnic studies course in 2018. It has become an option for all five high schools in Salinas this year. -the. The council approved a one-semester ethnic studies course in 2019 that will become a graduation requirement for the freshman class of 2024. District officials said the curriculum was developed with input from students. teachers, parents, students and the board.

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CarissaOffice provided-by-Alisal-Union-School-District

Carissa Purnell | Photo provided

Students defend ethnic studies

After the controversy at the June 22 meeting, about half a dozen young people came to the July 13 board meeting to express their support for the ethnic studies program. Many other students attended the meeting, hoping to speak, but public testimony was limited by the council. The most notable group of students was from La Cosecha, a youth organization that is part of the Building Healthy Communities initiative. (Disclosure: I am a member of La Cosecha.)

Seeing a group of students come together and stand up against adults telling them what they should and shouldn’t study in schools is something new to this generation.

Young people in La Cosecha, who are mostly Latino, said they supported ethnic studies because they wanted professionals to teach them about their own history. “My story should be taught, my story should be shown in these schools,” said Diego Puga Escobar, a member of La Cosecha and entering his last year at Alisal High School.

Escobar said after the meeting that he chose to speak to the board because he wanted to be the voice of those who might have been afraid to stand up for ethnic studies. Without ethnic studies, he said he believed there was a much bigger “gap” between people of different cultures, nationalities or ethnicities.

“If we are constantly taught a [side of history], then we’re going to be made to believe that there is only one truth, ”Escobar said. “All we’re trying to do is provide the resources to our people and be able to see that there are many truths on one side. “

Maraly Escalante introduced herself but was unable to speak at the July 13 meeting due to lack of time. She recently graduated from North Salinas High School and took an Ethnic Studies course at Hartnell College. She said the class allowed her to see Mexicans and Latinas in history, but she also learned about the history of other ethnicities and races.

Escalante said she believes ethnic studies gives students a better understanding of where members of their community come from, what their cultures are like, and what challenges they may have.

“I feel like ethnic studies unites us more because we have a new understanding,” she said. “A friend of mine used to tell me that throughout his school career he was ashamed of being African American and he didn’t know why he should be ashamed of it. In a way, ethnic studies help us understand why certain stereotypes exist in our communities and how to correct them.

To those who oppose ethnic studies, Escalante replied, “Yes, a lot of people can identify as Americans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they see themselves everywhere. [the version of] American history they teach in high schools.

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Philip-Tabera-supplied-by-Carlos-Castro

Philippe Tabera | Photo by Carlos Castro

Meaningful conversation

Alma Cervantes, regional education equity manager for Building Healthy Communities, said her goal is to give young people a platform and “critically challenge a system that has prevented them from learning truth about this country, a system that has not provided a space for them to talk about their history, their history, their cultures.

Cervantes said ethnic studies creates a transformative space where students can engage in meaningful conversation not only with teachers, but with each other as well.

“Ethnic studies is beyond a curriculum,” she said. “It’s a transformative way for students to feel like they belong to the class. It supports their self-esteem, it supports their academics, good attendance and it allows us to see each other in the classrooms. “

Purnell cited three articles that support Cervantes’ point. She said research shows ethnic studies have been “proven to increase grade points, credits, attendance, graduation, and college education, as well as lead to better test scores,” she said. grades, math, reading, writing, science and social studies ”.

Zaira Hernandez, another La Cosecha member and recently graduated from Alisal High School, who spoke at the July 13 board meeting, said: “These young students are supposed to know who they are. , where they want to go and what they want. do for the rest of their lives, but how can you expect them to know who they are, who they are, without taking a course like this, which shares their history and culture? “

Beyond Salinas, on July 17, Gov. Gavin Newson signed a bill requiring freshmen at California State University to take an ethnic studies course to graduate.

Hernandez said pursuing ethnic studies has helped her discover people who may be more like her, not only in terms of race or ethnicity, but also gender. She disagrees with the claim that the program encourages hatred.

In fact, she says, it helps students respect others better. “It’s not trying to divide people.”

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The Space Collectibles Display and Sale takes place August 14 at the Sands Space History Center at the Cape Canaveral Space Station

the ree event is open to the public and features memorabilia related to space

The annual Space Collectibles Display and Sale is scheduled for Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sands Space History Center, outside the Cape Canaveral Space Station. The free event is open to the public and features space-related memorabilia including unique and historical pins, badges, models, toys, mail envelopes, artwork and more.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – The annual Space Collectibles Sale is scheduled for Saturday, August 14 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Sands Space History Center outside the Cape Canaveral Space Station.

The free event is open to the public and features space-related memorabilia, including unique and historical lapel pins, patches, models, toys, mail envelopes, artwork and more.

The US Air Force Space and Missile Museum Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization, hosts the event and proceeds are donated to museum programs and activities.

The Sands Space History Center is located just outside the main entrance to the Cape Canaveral Space Station at the end of State Road 401 on the north side of Port Canaveral at 100 Spaceport Way in Cape Canaveral.

For questions or more information, contact Sharon Rodriguez at 321-698-5854 or by email at [email protected]


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