Daily Archives: August 28, 2021

21 Eugenics Movement Supporters That Might Shock You

Posted: August 28, 2021 at 12:51 pm

Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and other revered historical figures who supported the eugenics movement at the height of its pre-WWII popularity.

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Theodore Roosevelt was a proponent of the sterilization of criminals and the supposedly feeble-minded. In 1913, Roosevelt wrote a letter to eugenics supporter and biologist C.B. Davenport, saying that society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind."Wikimedia Commons

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Telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell helped lead the First International Eugenics Conference in 1912. Bell also published a paper in which he bluntly listed the steps that would prevent the proliferation of the deaf: (1) Determine the causes that promote intermarriages among the deaf and dumb; and (2) remove them."Kentucky Digital Library

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Even Helen Keller, surprisingly enough, advocated for the eugenics movement. She once stated, Our puny sentimentalism has caused us to forget that a human life is sacred only when it may be of some use to itself and to the world."Wikimedia Commons

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Winston Churchill advocated for compulsory labor camps for mental defectives in 1911. The year prior to this, Churchill wrote a letter advocating for sterilization saying, "The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the Feeble-Minded and Insane classes ... constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate."levanrami/Flickr

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Activist Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic and she aligned her fight for contraception with the eugenics movement. She stated that birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit [and] of preventing the birth of defectives."Wikimedia Commons

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Harvard-educated sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois was a leading African-American activist and writer who called for dividing the black community into four groups. He promoted marriage and reproduction within the most desirable group, the talented tenth, and wanted to breed out the lowest group, the submerged tenth."Library of Congress

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However, in 1926 he wrote an essay called "The Eugenics Cult", in which he condemned the theory.

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Celebrated writer George Bernard Shaw explored the biology of eugenics in his political writing. He is quoted as saying, "We should find ourselves committed to killing a great many people whom we now leave living, and to leave living a great many people whom we at present kill." He added, "A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people's time to look after them."Wikimedia Commons

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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932, wrote the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision that allowed for compulsory sterilization of the "unfit" in the U.S., stating, It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. ... Three generations of imbeciles are enough."Library of Congress

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The famous French explorer Jacques Cousteau was in favor of population control saying in an interview, Worldpopulation must be stabilized and to do thatwe must eliminate 350,000 people per day.This is so horrible to contemplate that weshouldn't even say it. But the general situation in which we are involved is lamentable."Marka/UIG via Getty Images

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Doctor, nutritionist, and the inventor of Corn Flakes, John Harvey Kellogg also ran a sanitarium. He wrote in the 1913 issue of the Journal of Public Health, "Long before the race reaches the state of universal incompetency, the impending danger will be appreciated ... and, through eugenics and euthenics, the mental soundness of the race will be saved." Library of Congress

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Long before the eugenics movement, Greek philosopher Plato wrote, "The good must be paired with the good, and the bad with the bad, and the offspring of the one must be reared and of the other destroyed; in this way the flock will be preserved in prime condition."Wikimedia Commons

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Prominent British economist William Beveridge remarked in 1909, "Those men who through general defects are unable to fill such a whole place in industry are to be recognized as unemployable ... with complete and permanent loss of all citizen rights including not only the franchise but civil freedom and fatherhood."Wikimedia Commons

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Alice Lee Moqu was an American newspaper correspondent, photographer, and suffragist. She also supported sterilization of certain genetic undesirables, such as those with hereditary illness in their bloodline.Wikimedia Commons

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Co-founder of the London School of Economics, Sidney Webb carried out research in the 1890s confirming the high fertility of the improvident whom he described as "degenerate hordes unfit for social life."Library of Congress

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British biologist Francis Crick is quoted as saying, "in an attempt to solve the problem of irresponsible people and especially those who are poorly endowed genetically having large numbers of unnecessary children ... sterilization is the only answer."Wikimedia Commons

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Neurologist Dr. Robert Foster Kennedy stood up before the American Psychiatric Association in 1941 and told them, "I am in favor of euthanasia for those hopeless ones who should never have been born-Natures mistakes."Wikimedia Commons

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English economist Thomas Malthus, who died before the eugenics movement truly took hold, believed in eugenics because he was concerned about food shortages. He once noted, "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man."Wikimedia Commons

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In the American Child Health Associations Childs Bill of Rights, Herbert Hoover made the statement, There shall be no child in America that had not the complete birthright of a sound mind in a sound body."U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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Scientist and peace activist Linus Pauling was forced to defend his eugenics position in 1972, well after the height of the eugenics movement, when a woman at Michigan State accused him of promoting racism. (Pauling had said carries of genetic diseases shouldnt procreate.) He replied, "It's alright for her [a mother] to be allowed to determine the extent to which she will suffer, but she should not be allowed to produce a child who will suffer. This is immoral. It is wrong to produce a little black child who will lead a life of suffering. I would say this is not racism. I advocate the very same thing to ... all kinds who carry these abnormal genes."Oregon State University/Flickr

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Even after World War II, economist John Maynard Keynes supported eugenics, population control, and migration restrictions as Director of the British Eugenics Society. He asserted that eugenics was, "the most important and significant branch of sociology."International Monetary Fund/Wikimedia Commons

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The eugenics movement will forever be associated with Adolf Hitler, whose quest to build an Aryan master race during the 1930s and '40s culminated in the extermination of millions.

However, Hitler wasn't the first to champion the idea of wiping away humans deemed to be unfit. In large part, he actually took inspiration from the United States. As Hitler remarked in 1924's Mein Kampf, "There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States."

The popularity of eugenics and related ideas in the U.S. (as well as Western Europe) at the time was in part a reactionary response to increased industrialization and immigration. The latter was on the rise and cities became more crowded as people moved to be closer to work. And with supporters of the early eugenics movement believing that people inherited traits like feeble-mindedness and poverty, this meant to them that society had an obligation to thin this growing herd.

Moreover, Western eugenics was an outgrowth or racist and colonialist ideologies. Pseudosciences (like phrenology, for example) allowed some whites to "scientifically" justify their bigotry and then take things a step further by claiming that "lesser" races needed to be phased out. In this way, Social Darwinism became a means to construct a supposed hierarchy of race and ensure that white people (and their genes) remained the ideal.

Fittingly enough, eugenics actually has some of its roots with Charles Darwin. His theories about "survival of the fittest" inspired his cousin, Francis Galton, to start the eugenics movement as the world would come to know it (and coin the word "eugenics" itself) in the late 19th century.

From there, eugenics actually enjoyed a period of mainstream popularity in both Darwin and Galton's native England as well as the U.S. and elsewhere in the late 19th century and early 20th. Both abroad and in the United States, proponents of the eugenics movement believed it a Caucasian responsibility to Westernize other civilizations. This was coupled with the idea of producing fewer, better children who would create a better race, and cure many economic and social problems.

Before Hitler took eugenics to its deadly extremes, more people than you might think considered at least some eugenics-related ideas to be completely legitimate despite their serious moral implications. Eugenics was something that many prominent people once supported, whether vocally, financially, or politically. Presidents, economists, activists, and philosophers many of which you'd never think would be supporters all once spoke out in support of the eugenics movement.

See for yourself in the gallery above.

Next, dig deeper into the ugly history of American eugenics. Then, learn about how Hitler's eugenics efforts as part of the Lebensborn program.

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21 Eugenics Movement Supporters That Might Shock You

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Pitts | Opinion | heraldbulletin.com – The Herald Bulletin

Posted: at 12:51 pm

They told them they had bad blood.

What they actually had was syphilis, but the U.S. Public Health Service never shared that diagnosis with the almost 400 African-American men, most of them poor and undereducated sharecroppers, they recruited for a secret study at Tuskegee Institute in 1932. Indeed, health officials did little for those men for 40 years, except watch the progression of the disease.

That was the goal of the study: to see what happens when syphilis is left unchecked. And they did see. Syphilis is a venereal disease that can lead to paralysis, blindness, deafness, dementia, heart trouble, brain damage and death.

People often point to the so-called Tuskegee Experiment to explain why African Americans tend to mistrust the medical establishment, but while what happened in Alabama was obscene, it was hardly unique.

To the contrary, from experimental procedures on the vaginas of enslaved women to grave robbers stealing Black bodies for use in medical schools, to forced sterilization in the name of eugenics, to studies revealing that white doctors think black people feel less pain, to new mother Serena Williams having to battle doctors and nurses who ignored her as she suffered a life-threatening medical emergency, Black people have been routinely betrayed by this profession whose prime directive is, First, do no harm. So the mistrust is grounded in hard experience.

I can speak to this at firsthand. In recent years, Ive lost a brother-in-law and a cousin after they declined to follow medical advice. Another brother-in-law has heart issues and trusts his doctors about like he would a $4 bill.

I also have two sons and a grandson who refuse to take the COVID vaccine. I am scared to death for them.

Most of the public discussion of vaccine hesitancy is dominated by Republicans behaving badly, the clownish people who think vaccines will magnetize them or let Bill Gates track their movements. But beyond political party, race (along with age) has emerged as a major predictor of skepticism.

A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that less than half of Black and Hispanic adults have been fully vaccinated, compared with well over 60% percent of white ones. And mistrust is a major reason, though not the only reason, for that disparity.

My boys and I, we do this dance. They give me their reasons for not getting the shot, I give them rebuttals.

It was developed too fast, they say. Its called an emergency, I say; you get out of the house faster when its burning.

I dont know whats in it, they say. You dont know whats in Cheez Whiz, I say, but that doesnt stop you from eating it.

There may be side effects to taking it, they say. Well, the side effect to not taking it could be death.

They nod and promise to think about it, but they dont. Its just a dance we do.

And while we dance, 616,000 Americans lie dead, a disproportionate number of them people of color.

Theres nothing wrong with skepticism. Skepticism can be healthy, can even save your life. But skepticism can also make you blind. So this is me begging my sons and all our sons and daughters: Just take the damn shot.

Look around. People whove done that are not dying. People who havent are. Thats a fact. Please dont be so skeptical that you cant see what might save your life. Im not asking you to trust your doctor.

I am asking you to trust your eyes.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, Fla., 33172. Readers may contact him by email at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

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Titans happy with progress on 3rd downs in camp and preseason – Titans Wire

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After posting the worst third-down stop rate in the NFL last season, a point of emphasis for the Tennessee Titans this offseason has been improving in that area.

So far, so good, as not only has the third-down defense looked good in camp, but the Titans have held their opponents to 4-for-26 (15 percent) on third downs in preseason play.

Of course, we cant put a ton of stock in exhibition games, but well take any progress we can get after the horror show the defense was last season.

Titans safety Kevin Byard notes that communication has been better, and he acknowledged that the team was pretty terrible at challenging receivers in 2020, but feels the defense is making strides there as well.

Communication has definitely been there, urgency, all that stuff you talked about Byard said. Last year I feel like we were pretty terrible as far as challenging receivers, being tight. It was a big thing where we were playing off on third-and-7 or whatever, guys is nine yards off, stuff like that. That has been a big difference this year, but weve got to go out there and put it all together when real ball starts.

Byards acknowledgement that the defense wasnt aggressive enough against receivers on third downs in 2020 should be music to Titans fans ears. After all, it was a major point of contention throughout the campaign.

Linebacker Rashaan Evans also believes that the teams third-down defense has improved in practice and during the preseason, but understands that doesnt mean much if Tennessee cant carry it into the regular season.

I think its that sense of urgency, Evans said. I think each individual person on the defense feels that we can be a lot better from last year. I think going from practice and doing the things that were doing in the preseason, you see the results Like I always say, the consistency and the things that were doing, it has to transition into the regular season.

Evans notes that the defense having a year under its belt with defensive coordinator Shane Bowen has helped build confidence, which is playing a big role in the team making strides.

Last year was already crazy enough, COVID and all those different things, and Shane (Bowen) coming in and being our defensive coordinator, Evans said. There was a lot of different things that were changing and moving. Now that we have another year, just a year under our belt, now going into some of the things, the schemes that hes trying to run and things hes trying to do, we have a lot more confidence now.

All signs point to Tennessees defense improving overall in 2021, although it must be said that it really has nowhere to go but up from here.

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NFL first-round pick progress reports: How all 32 rookies performed in training camp, plus outlook for 2021 – ESPN

Posted: at 12:50 pm

Aug 27, 2021


First-round picks in the 2021 NFL draft, at least the healthy ones, have played in two preseason games at this point and probably won't see action in the final game. So it's a good time to see where they are in their development.

The quarterbacks have gobbled up much of the attention in the class, which stands to reason with QBs going at pick Nos. 1, 2, 3, 11 and 15. It looks like at least two -- Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson -- will start their openers, and the other three have acquitted themselves well enough to at least remain in the conversation to start in Week 1.

The wide receivers don't seem to have quite the footing that the QBs have. But they'll be afforded a little more time to adjust to the NFL. On the defensive side, the cornerbacks and linebackers have looked good and have made the teams that chose them feel that they did so wisely.

We asked our NFL Nation reporters to detail what their first-round picks have and haven't done well. Here's what they told us:

Lawrence has had the normal ups and downs of any rookie quarterback but overall has been impressive. He has thrown 35 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 7-on-7, 11-on-11 and the two preseason games and has been the best QB on the roster by far. He has done that despite splitting first-team reps with Gardner Minshew II because Urban Meyer said Lawrence hadn't earned the starting job.

The offensive line has played poorly in the first two preseason games, and Lawrence got battered a bit against New Orleans. But Meyer ended speculation he could opt to go with Minshew on Wednesday, announcing Lawrence will start the opener. -- Michael DiRocco

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Ceremony to Celebrate the City of Clearwater’s Progress on Imagine Clearwater Plan | News List | City of Clearwater, FL – myclearwater.com

Posted: at 12:50 pm

CLEARWATER, Fla. The city of Clearwater invites the public and media to an Imagine Clearwater kick-off ceremony at 9 a.m. Sept. 3, at the Clearwater Main Library overlooking Coachman Park, to celebrate the highly anticipated project.

Imagine Clearwater is an investment in the redevelopment of Downtown Clearwater and its waterfront including construction of a new 4,000-seat covered amphitheater in Coachman Park that will be a must-see destination point in the Tampa Bay area.

Imagine Clearwater is a generational project, one that we believe will serve Clearwater families and guests for decades to come. Finally, we will be taking full advantage of our unique downtown waterfront, said Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard.

City elected officials, leaders, local dignitaries, and members of the citys Imagine design firm, Stantec, and construction firm, Skanska, will be in attendance at the library, located at 100 N. Osceola Ave., Clearwater.

Designed to connect the waterfront and the Downtown Clearwater community, Imagine Clearwater includes an expansive park and recreational spaces, a gateway plaza and bluff walk that connects the park to downtown, a bay walk promenade overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, a lake area with picnic shelters, and an ocean-themed play area with an interactive pop-jet water feature.

The additions to Coachman Park also include the amphitheater which will accommodate a year-round performance schedule that promises to continue the city of Clearwaters reputation as a premier location for diverse live entertainment.

The public is encouraged to attend the event where parking will be free in the library lot. For more information, contact Public Communications Director Joelle Castelli at 727-562-4881, or joelle.castelli@myclearwater.com.

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Bennett Fire progress slow and steady – The Union of Grass Valley

Posted: at 12:50 pm

Firefighters continued to make headway against the Bennett Fire on Friday, although progress slowed somewhat in part due to the persistence of hot spots, authorities said.

As of Friday morning, the Bennett Fire had burned 59 acres and was 75% contained, according to Cal Fires Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit.

Authorities said no one was injured. Building damage is being assessed.

The fire continued to recede but at a somewhat slower rate than the previous two days, largely because of the challenges posed to firefighters by hot spots in the heavily wooded region near Bennett Road and Whispering Pines Lane, where the fire is still active, according to Mary Eldridge, Cal Fire public information officer.

The large quantities of easily flammable lumber in the area, including downed logs, trees, and stumps, have created hazardous conditions for crews attempting to mop up hot spots, Eldridge said. After extinguishing a blaze in a particular part of the woods, firefighters have often had to go back and extinguish a reignited hot spot. Unpredictable and often high winds have also made progress difficult, as the winds often blow lit embers around, potentially creating new fires, she added.

In the foothills you have both up and down canyon winds, and with the topography of this particular fire theres a lot of both of these windsone area of the fire versus another will have different physical characteristicsthe wind will depend on that.

Despite such complications, Eldridge emphasized that firefighters were still making slow but steady progress throughout the day, tearing apart and wetting downed logs to prevent more hot spots from reigniting.

Theres definitely still been progress todaywe have a containment line, were bringing in bulldozers to helpits just a matter of these hot spots, it just takes time to tear apart the downed logs and prevent more from flaring up.

On Wednesday, Eldridge credited the quick and effective response of numerous law enforcement and fire agencies, as well as the high level of coordination between different departments, in allowing authorities to bring the Bennett Fire under control so quickly.

While the fire expanded rapidly, initially threatening densely populated areas close to downtown Grass Valley, firefighters were able to achieve a 60% level of containment over the blaze just several hours after it started.

The answer to how this happens has to do with the outstanding relationship Cal Fire has with Nevada County Consolidated Fire, Grass Valley Fire, Ophir Fire, and others, Eldridge said. You also have to thank the Nevada County Sheriffs Office and the Office of Emergency Services for coming into this thing so quick and getting information about zone haven (Nevada Countys evacuation notification portal) out there.

Because of the quick and effective communication about evacuation areas that was relayed by law enforcement to Grass Valley residents, the evacuation process not only went smoothly but allowed for crucial air support to immediately come in and drop fuel retardant to slow the fires advance, Eldridge said, pointing out that this would have been much more difficult if residents were not evacuated from these areas where air units were deployed.

The cause of the Bennett Fire is still under investigation, she added.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at swyer@theunion.com

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OL Jesse Davis seeing signs of progress from Dolphins’ run game – Dolphins Wire

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Doubt around the Miami Dolphins in 2021 is likely going to come from one of two places: skepticism of the size of a leap that second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is capable of making in his first full season as the teams starter and the offensive line. Theres plenty of unknown up front for the Dolphins, but theres also plenty of youth and ample potential available to the Dolphins, too.

Some early preseason frustrations against the Chicago Bears appeared to prompt some to push the panic button and the Dolphins themselves did go out to secure more offensive tackle depth in the days that followed, trading for third-year tackle Greg Little.

But those in the trenches seem to be encouraged by Miamis progress over the course of the last month since the start of training camp. Veteran offensive lineman Jesse Davis, currently penciled in to start at right tackle, included.

Davis met with the media after practice on Thursday and offered an encouraging assessment of the growth Miami has put on display, particularly in the run game, thanks to their heavy-hitting interior trio.

Right now I think our run blocking has come alive a lot. I think with Rob Hunt and Solomon Kindley at guard and (Michael) Deiter at center, those guys can move some guys and set up some good blocks for our tackles. I want to say we are pretty balanced but right now I cant tell, said Davis.

This unit was never going to be an instant product. Only left tackle Austin Jackson entered camp pencilled in to play the same role as hed filled the year prior. And while joint practices and preseason games have helped speed the development up, were still in the infancy stages of the 2021 season. And Davis sees that alongside the progress, too.

Its hard to tell with only playing limited reps with the guys. I think, right now, we are still growing obviously. I think we are headed in the right direction, thats for sure.

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Afghan Film Progress Obliterated By Taliban Takeover Special Report From Afghanistan – Deadline

Posted: at 12:50 pm

Editors Note: Over the horrendous last couple of weeks as America began its final withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban zealots took control again after two decades, veteran foreign affairs correspondent and Only Cry for the Living: Memos from Inside the ISIS Battlefield authorHollie McKayhas been back in the South Asian nation to see history sadly repeat itself.

In another special report for Deadline, coming after the fatal terror attack of Thursday, McKay focuses on the burgeoning film industry that emerged since the Taliban was tossed out by American forces in 2001, and the dark days ahead for Afghani cinema and filmmakers.

An Afghan man his face of map of exaggerated agony runs from his Kabul home, picking up the blood-drenched body of the woman he loves most in this world.

Related StoryAfghan Filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat Escapes Kabul With French Government Help

My wife, preeminent actor Salim Shaheen wails in Dari, the native Afghan dialect of Farsi. Who did this to you?

His female co-star, pale-faced and mouth agape in his arms, pauses dramatically then bursts with a kind of uncontrollable laughter.

You ruined my scene, Shaheen laments, firing off a few expletives. And now my hands are dirty with this stage blood!

But the moment, a behind-the-scenes snapshot of a 2012 television series Kabul At Work, is more than just a blooper. It was a moment of brevity and a symbol of just how far Afghanistans film industry had come amid the U.S.-led occupation of the country following the 2001 invasion and ousting of the Taliban regime from power.

However, as soon as the insurgency took control of Kabuls Presidential Palace and declared themselves the rightful leaders last weekend those hard-earned gains were shattered in an instant. The steadily evolving and critically acclaimed Afghan film and television industry now belongs to the graveyard of memories.

Great terror has been spread in the streets and back alleys of our country. The Taliban are hostile to educated people including journalists, arts, filmmakers and poets, a leading Afghan moviemaker who asked only to be identified as Sharafat as he attempts to leave the country with his family, told me Wednesday.

Our language is closed. Music is not allowed, let alone filmmakers in Afghanistan.


The offices of the once passionate and budding film and television production companies cloistered in tiny office spaces in the once-bustling nucleus of Kabul are shuttered and abandoned.

The artists and occupants have deleted their social media accounts and gone underground. Some have gone into anguished hiding; others have fled far and wide leaving behind their lifes work and the country they helped compel from the dark ages over the past 20 years.

Of all the content creatives I have spoken with over the past week, there is no point for them in trying to stay to document this blood-spattered moment in the history books. The stakes are to stay and die or survive and run.

Many in the film industry are old enough to remember that under the Taliban who ruled from 1996 and 2001 such mediums of entertainment are strictly forbidden. Cinemas were bombed and burned, television sets battered and broken by insurgents. Moreover, those caught secretly watching the banned content faced severe punishment such as flogging.

On the flip side, many are young enough not to know anything different than a country brimming with art and culture, finding its feet through freedom of expression.

Cinemas are closed, and filmmakers are frightened and hiding in their homes, and at least half have already fled, Sharafat continues. We cannot live under the Taliban.


Despite the grim five-year Taliban rule of the past, Afghans have long had a zestful history with the small screen, dating back to the 1920s when the government funded an array of different feature film projects through to the 1970s.

The state-funded Afghan Film was founded in the late 1960s to support emerging content creators. After invading Afghanistan in 1979, the Soviets offered cultural training initiatives to students, setting off a string of new creatives. Color films and television seeped through into the Afghanistan mainstream in the 1980s, despite the civil war that crushed vast swaths of the country. Yet, many emerging faces in filmmaking were then forced to flee to neighboring Iran and Pakistan so that they could actually continue to work as the conflict escalated.

Then in the early days of the Talibans first sweep to power, dedicated Afghans took it upon themselves with great risk to smuggle and cleverly hide the most significant remnants of the films and entertainment arena they treasured so much. Some reels were buried deep into the earth, others into walls and camouflaged into floorboards.

But the arrival of U.S. forces almost 20 years ago brought the industry back from the dead.

In addition to an array of initiatives and programs to foster the next generation of storytelling, it also saw the somewhat dissemination of pirated movies into the wide-reaching rural provinces with exceedingly high illiteracy rates. Nonetheless, poorly dubbed bootlegs of the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster Titanic became a household staple in the early-2000s in Kabul and the more isolated areas, exposing scores to the notion of western moviemaking for the very first time and was affectionately referred to as Titanic fever.

The stage was set and Afghans could not get enough.

There was this huge rush in seeking entertainment. We even saw reality television. Afghans were successfully making their own films and shows and were just so proud of what they were able to put out. Filmmakers including women were so proud that they no longer had to dub foreign films, they could actually make their own, notes Jake Simkin, who ran the Development Pictures film company in Kabul between 2010-2015.

Thus up until the government collapse last Sunday, the day that marked the beginning of the end of Afghan artists, prominent film director Sahara Karimi presided over the Afghan Film board and its intricate archiving process.

For the archivists, who had managed to digitally savior upwards of 15,000 movies from both 16mm and 35mm reels, it was a long labor of love that began years ago but has stammered and re-started amid funding cuts. But with the Taliban power-grab this time, there was no time to step in and save and smuggle anything that was left given how sudden and unexpected the nations fall proved to be.

So what is left of that endeavor is unknown.

The almost two-dozen movies in production have gone dark.

Now, its safe to say the industry is pretty much over, Simkin says somberly.

The videographer/producer predicts that there may be some form of Taliban-controlled entertainment going forward, which will be religious-based content and with the use of vocals and no instruments.

The days of drama and soap operas and programming of adventure sports are no more, he reflects.


In my own experience of being stranded in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif which was taken over by the Taliban the night before the outfit assailed through the gates of Kabul movies, music and entertainment were the first commodities to instantly vanish under the new governance.

What had previously endeared me most about the ancient city, nestled inside the vast and fertile plains of Balkh province, was the way everyone from shopkeepers and students to street vendors and professionals, spent hours on the sidewalks sipping tea and watching films from old laptops, square-box television sets and dated model smartphones. Music constantly blared from the ocean of yellow cabs clogged on the narrow roads and even from the small donkey carts with bells that jingled as they bumped along.

Yet on the day after the dramatic fall, soundlessness was the first thing that I observed. The soundtrack of vitality was gone, replaced by only a few melancholic male faces sitting on the sidewalk saying nothing and fearful to even pull an electronic or a basic flip phone from their pocket.

As the days stretched on, a few more locals eventually stepped out into the sunshine. Still, there was no more entertainment, and I realized that the country I had come to know and love had catapulted back to a place from which it may never return.

There is only so much peril creatives can face and the elastic band of risk versus reward has now effectively snapped.

Despite the broad acceptance and desire among the Afghan population for all stripes of film and television, filmmakers, writers and creatives still undertook their work at great peril to their personal safety inside the volatile country in recent years. The handful of Afghanistan movie theaters were often subject to bomb blasts and threats by Taliban sympathizers and hardline Islamist extremists; famed faces were put on hit lists and in some cases tortured, executed, maimed and mutilated.

And in now what seems like a dreaded prophecy, Karimi herself cautioned in an open letter just days before the Taliban takedown what would happen if they took the helm.

I and other filmmakers could be next on their hit list, she wrote, begging the world not to turn its back. We need your support and your voice on behalf of Afghan women, children, artists, and filmmakers. Please help us before Kabul Taliban comes to power. We only have a few days.

Time has run out. And Karimi like almost all those leading the creative charge have absconded to countries far away.

This new rule is not just the end for filmmakers; we are now back to two decades ago, Sharafat added with a whisper, as if afraid the enemy could hear. We have lost our achievements. We have lost everything. We are just so very sad.

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Cultural backlash: Is LGBTQ progress an attack on Christianity? – Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom

Posted: at 12:50 pm

Is Christianity under attack in the United States? It depends on whom you ask. Some church leaders and politicians claim recent LGBTQ progress such as the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing same-sex couples the right to marry is an attack on Christianity.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis sought to understand whether that sentiment is widely shared by other Christians. Their findings from five separate studies conducted over 3 years shed light on the root causes and consequences of such zero-sum beliefs a belief that social gains for one group necessarily involves losses for the other about Christianity and the LGBTQ community, and offer possible interventions to reduce such all-or-nothing beliefs.

The findings are published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a leading empiricalsocial psychology journal. They show that zero-sum beliefs (ZSBs) are most common among conservative Christians, and are shaped by their understandings of Christian values, the Bible and in response to religious institutions.

Many Christians have come to see themselves as being on the losing side of the culture wars, said Clara L. Wilkins, principal investigator and associate professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences. Christians may perceive that an America where same sex marriage is legal is one in which they have lost their sway and are now victimized.

This is especially common among conservative Christians, who also are more likely to believe that Christianity is a defining feature of being American. As a result, they see themselves as being at odds with LGBTQ individuals, who are perceived as having increasing social influence.

Wilkins and Lerone A. Martin, co-principal investigator and director of American culture studies at Washington University, conducted five studies between July 2016 and December 2019 to explore the extent to which Christians endorse ZSBs about their relationships with LGBTQ individuals. For four of the five studies, they surveyed approximately 2,000 self-identified, heterosexual, cisgender and predominately white Christian Americans.

The February 2019 United Methodist Church (UMC) vote on language regarding human sexuality provided an opportunity for Wilkins and Martin to examine the role of church authorities in shaping attitudes. For this naturalistic experiment, they collected data in a sample of 321 United Methodists recruited at churches in St. Louis County and at the UMC General Conference.

The research was funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and as part of the Self, Virtue, and Public Life Project, a three-year research initiative based at the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma.

Key findings from the studies include:

The church is a strong moral authority with the potential to shape norms and attitudes toward sexual minorities like court rulings have shifted attitudes on same sex marriage, the authors wrote.

We found this take-away very interesting in light of how religion, evangelicalism in particular, is often associated with strict definitions of civic belonging. Our research found that biblical faith can also lead to broad civic acceptance, said Martin, who also is an associate professor in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

Our research found that biblical faith can also lead to broad civic acceptance.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has reversed bans on transgender peoples participation in the military and has reaffirmed protection for LGBTQ federal employees. He also made historic appointments, including Pete Buttigieg as the first openly gay secretary in the presidential Cabinet and Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender federal official. In Delaware, Sarah McBride also made history as the first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history.

Applauded by LGBTQ people and advocates, these momentous changes have sparked outrage by opponents. They argue that the growing acceptance of LGBTQ individuals impedes the ability of Christians to practice their faith as if gains for one group necessarily involved losses for the other. For example, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions described the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling as an effort to secularize the country by force and intimidation.

That outrage has political implications. While the number of white evangelical Christians has decreased significantly in recent years from 23% in 2006 to 14% in 2020, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey their political influence continues to grow.

The politicalinfluence of white evangelicals goes beyond their numerical representation, in part because of their historic willingness to Americanize Christianity through mass media, laissez-faire capitalism and pragmatic political partnerships. This blending of Christianity and Americanism has helped white evangelicals create abroad community that extends beyond their stated theological and institutional commitments, Martin said.

Whether with the phonograph, radio, television or the internet, whiteevangelicals have traditionally used mass media as a bullhorn. Theseelectric pulpits have enabled white evangelicals to disseminate their messages of Christian nationalism, culture wars and cultural grievances and political conservatism to afar-reachingconstituency.

These gospel seeds often find fertilegrounds amongst politicalpartners beyond the narrow theological confines ofwhiteevangelicalism.Politicians, many of which are not evenevangelicals or committed toevangelical theology, pick up the cause andtrumpet evangelicalcultural andsocialconcerns during theircampaigns in an attempt to cater to whiteevangelical voters.These voters in turn crown such political actors as their leaders in a political bargain where the ends justify the means. In this way, the numbers of self-proclaimed evangelicals may be small, but their political influence issizable. The election of President Donald Trump, the January insurrection and the increase in anti-LGBTQ legislation are just a few examples.

Indeed, recent social advancements have spurred an increase in anti-LGBTQ legislation fueled in part by conservative Christian groups. According to Wilkins and Martin, the Human Rights Campaign predicted that this will be a record-setting year for anti-LGBTQ legislation with as many as 250 bills introduced in state legislatures in 2021 alone.

While the research may seem disheartening at first glance, Wilkins and Martin insist it contains a hopeful message.

In particular, our data suggests that perceived conflict between groups is not inevitable, they said. In fact, we were able to successfully lower the extent to which mainline Christians perceive that LGBTQ gains come at a cost for Christians by having them reflect on biblical acceptance. According to recent analyses, mainline Christians now outnumber more conservative groups.

In other words, we identified an intervention to successfully lower ZSBs formostChristians.

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Cultural backlash: Is LGBTQ progress an attack on Christianity? - Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom

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Progress on level of water stress – Global status and acceleration needs for SDG indicator 6.4.2 – World – ReliefWeb

Posted: at 12:50 pm


One of the key premises of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is leaving no one behind. To achieve this, the interlinkages between all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals must be articulated well and appropriate actions undertaken for the benefit of all.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is supporting the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life - leaving no one behind. The transformation of agri-food systems is at the heart of FAOs mandate and at the core of FAOs Strategic Framework 2022-2031.

Water is the essence of life and central to agri-food systems. This report addresses the importance of reducing water stress, which is a measure of the pressure that human activities exert on natural freshwater resources, and provides an indication of the environmental sustainability of the use of water resources. The path to reduce water stress passes through sustainable agri-food systems.An important novelty of this report is the presentation of the disaggregation of the indicator by major basins, providing better insights on the sustainability of agricultural systems that may be at risk due to human pressure on land and water.

Alternative water sources such as wastewater, storm run-off and desalination, as well as measures such as water harvesting, can help relieve water stress. Safe wastewater reuse and recycling is a significantly untapped resource for industry and agriculture, but its use must overcome political and cultural barriers.FAO joined the Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) in 2015, coordinated by UN-Water, which has gathered experiences and resources aimed at ensuring a coherent monitoring framework for water and sanitation by 2030. Such a framework will help countries achieve progress through well-informed decision-making on water, based on harmonized, comprehensive, timely and accurate information. FAO, predominantly through its AQUASTAT database, remains committed to improving the quality and quantity of data produced and analysed, in close partnership with the relevant national authorities of our Members.

In coordination and collaboration with other stakeholders, FAO will continue supporting Members to achieve this target by providing scientific and technical assistance.

Qu DongyuFAO Director-General

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Progress on level of water stress - Global status and acceleration needs for SDG indicator 6.4.2 - World - ReliefWeb

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