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Category Archives: Rationalism

Interrogating the False Narratives of Faux Pan Africanism – The News

Posted: August 28, 2021 at 11:51 am

Ademola Araoye

By Ademola Araoye

In its essence, pan-Africanism was not state-centric. The following is an excerpt from The Ghettos of Pan Africanism repudiating the conceptual deflections of revisionists to hollow out the authentic tenets of this historic radical philosophy for the holistic emancipation of black humanity.

Addis Ababa: May 1963 remains a red-lettered month. Lest we forget, from 23 to 25 May 1963, the summit of all leaders of what ought to have been tentative statehoods just emerging from colonial struggles in Africa took place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The vision of a truly concretized expression of Pan-Africanism in a united continental African Republic was however dissipated at this gathering of those assumed to be the catalytic agents of a new glorious African millennium. But this was not to be as the pan-African vision was effectively repudiated. The rejection, including consequential antagonisms that emerged, was papered over in the politeness of euphemisms and rationalizations. Such was the animosity between the progressive camp, which advocated immediate birth of the United States of Africa, and the Monrovia group, the conservative group of states that ostensibly preached gradualism in substantive repudiation of unity, that Africa was split apart. Makonnen Ketema notes that the views and policies of the two groups were so antithetical as to make it impossible for them to work together as partners in an enterprise to which all are mutually devoted. Yet indeed, philosophically and in practical terms, the chasm between the two visions was a bridge too far.

Further, Ketema observes that the Casablanca group, led by the charismatic leader, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and the Monrovia group, led by veteran politicians, such as President William Tubman of Liberia and President Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, had become sworn enemies. By the decision to repudiate the birth of the Republic of Africa and the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Monrovia group turned out to be Africas wounding fathers. The 32 supposed statesmen and leaders of the struggle for independence across the continent that gathered in Addis Ababa did not heed the prescient warnings not to let slip by the grand and historic opportunity to unite Africa. If they did otherwise, the masses of the people of Africa would not forgive them. But they seemed oblivious of the harsh judgment of history. In the fullness of time, it has turned out that the rejection of political consolidation of the continent was for the personal aggrandizement of the leaders. Again, with the benefit of hindsight of over 60 years, as predicted the unfortunate outcome of Addis 1963 represents historic infamy and an inglorious watershed for black humanity.

In May 1963 the thirty-two men holding the destiny of Africa, and by extension of all black humanity, in their hands derailed the consolidation of emerged embryonic states into the continental United States of Africa. Such a continental Republic could then have been the launching pad of black humanity on a projected natural trajectory to the authentic pan African destination: a vision and mission of African continental political unity with a mandate of an emancipation thrust for global black humanity. The projected continental unity had its roots in the valiant and gallant struggles of the black race for emancipation over the centuries. The struggle for the potential dividends of continental unity that was, hopefully temporarily, repudiated in Addis Ababa 1963 go as far back as the late 18th Century in the Caribbean or to the revolt in Philadelphia of Absalom Jones and Cyril Allen or even to the bold sacrifices of other numerous unsung forces. The horrendous cost to Africa of this unmitigated betrayal in the six decades of instituted contingent statehoods is self-evident. Black humanity is mired in crisis everywhere. The crisis is expressed in distorted identities, associated with new false and incongruous nationalities as well as numerous fictive sovereignties are incalculable: in material, fiscal, cultural, spiritual and in the totality of the endeavors of black humanity. The most damning has been the complete loss of a sense of racial dignity at all levels. There is open jostling to reject black identity and to acquire of new identities. That includes the impositions of strange spiritualities across all strata throughout the continent and the black Diaspora. Black communities, including factions of the Igbo in Nigeria, now proclaim Jewish antecedents without a shred of evidence. The Lemba community in Zimbabwe also accentuates its Jewish heritage. The thriving temple and enclave of a Guru Maharaji in Ibadan, the heart of Yoruba land in Nigeria, reflects the evolved eclectic spirituality of black Africa. These quotidian imponderables define the deep crisis and the associated existential predicaments of black humanity. In terms of economic development, the World Bank highlights that growth rate of GDP of about 3 per cent in 2019 of sub Sahara Africa barely improved on the 2.7 per cent recorded in 1961 and 2.781 in 2015. In the Human development Index of the United Nations Development Program, a statistic composite of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank 189 countries on human welfare, 33 of the 56 African countries were classified as in the low human development category in 2019. The continent is thus lagging in different aspects of human wellbeing when, some have noted that Africa is richly endowed with an abundance of natural resources as well as human capital. The existential crisis is replicated in the black Diaspora. Kofi Awoonor sums the predicament of Africa as deluded of his speech and his African religious system, denied entrance into the world of the civilized white man, disillusioned by early hopes of liberty and equality during those post bellum years, he sought solace in Christianity and when the going was hard in desperate acts of rebellion that were put down with ferocious intensity.

The existential predicaments of black humanity are critically manifest in the massive disaffect and total alienation of the deprived mass from its own humanity. The process of self- repudiation has been expressed in a comprehensive defection at all levels from any and everything black and African; physically, psychically, spiritually, and metaphorically. Self- repudiation of black humanity may be contextualized at various levels of their manifestations. At a first level is the generally roguish environment. The environment is contrived to perpetuate the unsavoury agendas of the appropriation of the totality of the space, economic and political, by the scions of the very traitors of the pan-African vision. Having consolidated the stranglehold,the leadership ominously seek to effectively extricate themselves, or so they imagine, from the grating daily realities of the continent that they have manufactured. They facilitate their defection by siphoning or appropriating the totality of national treasuries to build comfortable escape redoubts and well-feathered nests outside Africa. These are physical and psychological hide-outs from the constantly looming potential fury of the dispossessed. Defection is, as well, a dead end survival mechanism to hibernate from the overwhelming stench of the traumatic dispositions of the African homestead. It is against this backdrop that the beleaguered disaffected mass of Africans also tries to defect from the impositions of pervasive harsh realities. They make near-certain choices to perish in rickety boats in the Mediterranean en route real and imagined greener pastures outside the patchwork of dilapidated establishments that pretend to direct the affairs of the many unviable enclave-states that are directly the outcome of the tragedy of Addis Ababa of May, 1963. The disoriented masses of Africans effectively denounce the continent when they drown their collapsed spirits in tumultuous seas to end the travails of African existence. They do this in and to the glare of global ignominy. Home, Africa, and implied blackness, is a treacherous ghetto to exit.. There is a mass exodus to whiteness, yellowness or just about anything that is not black, given the anti-black concept of beauty. Women in Africa bleached their skin in order to fit into the prevailing idea that whiteness is synonymous with beauty, in spite of the health risks associated with transitioning from black skin to a false whiteness. Anne Locke estimates that twenty five per cent of all Senegalese women, like other Africa women, deploy bleaching creams to tone, tweek, squeeze and alter their bodies into whiteness. In the Diaspora, the defection is in psychological, spiritual, emotional distancing from Africa and the black skin, including the creation of new identities such as American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS), differentiating blacks from the African homelands and descendants of slaves

Yet, in the face of and against this seemingly immovable dolorous background, the discredited collective continental establishments decree chroniclers on putting out Afro-optimistic narratives; bolstered with phantoms of statistical data, surreal analyses and synthetic lies to make them look good. In this conspiracy to deodorize the narratives of the toxic realities of black existence consequential to the abdications of 1963, the conspirators take the world for blind. That nebulous conspiracy is preposterous in a globalized world of around the clock newsreel. To set out on a mission of surreal afro-optimistic narration, even in the glaring context of the opposing stark factual, is a political enterprise that corrupts everyone involved. It is politically expedient in asserting that there is no alternative to the current conglomeration of unviable states and the personalized political-entreprenueurial (poliprenueral) patrimonial structures and institutions that litter Africa. They call it Afro-optimistic narratives aimed at countering what is perceived as globally institutionalized negativity on African affairs or Afro pessimism. Yet, we protest in firm denunciations that this implied paradigm of polarity, optimism or pessimism, on African narratives is itself a false discourse. It is founded, funded and propagated by the delegitimized political elites. This elite has numerous and gargantuan skeletons to hide from the world as beneficiaries of a depraved continental order and regimes. Consistent with the need for a radical negation of the dolorous existent in Africa, we deploy a philosophy of Afro-realism in our intercourse with ourselves as Africans and the External order. Afro-realist narratives would advance and be guided, in the context of the existing torment of black humanity, by the existential realities and interests of the communion of African peoples, in contradistinction from the advancement of the questionable interests of states of dubious phenomenological integrity. Afro-realism would be directed by a radical rationalism of knowledge committed to rolling back, through intense focus on the intentionality of the lived reality, the historic and contemporaneous immobility of the continent, from both endogenous and exogenous forces.

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Opinion/Chaput: The culture wars and the politics of history – The Providence Journal

Posted: August 22, 2021 at 3:23 pm

Erik J. Chaput| Guest columnist

Erik J. Chaput teaches in the School of Continuing Education at Providence College and at Western Reserve Academy. He is the author of "The Peoples Martyr: Thomas Wilson Dorr and His 1842 Rhode Island Rebellion" (2013).

Over the last 30 years, the politics that surrounds the teaching of American history has from time to time burst into the mainstream. For U.S. History teachers preparing to work with students in the classroom in the coming weeks, there will be no shortage of political minefields to navigate.

As historian Matthew Karp noted recently in Harper's magazine, the study of history is a battleground where we must meet the vast demands of the ever-living now. Our culture wars are not only about the rough and tumble surface of cultural life. They also deal with the clash over public symbols, discourse, and the enduring myths of society. Though todays warring political factions are guilty of flattening multidimensional stories, often about race in America, each side believes that they have a hotline to Clio, the muse of History, making the teachers job that much more challenging.

As a nation, sitting on knifes edge, we have been here before. The debate over how to teach, to celebrate, and be critical of American history has been a perennial part of the culture wars. The question of whether the chronicles of the American past in textbooks should fall on the celebratory or condemnatory spectrum is nothing new. In 1993, a public battle was waged over new national history standards.

Lynne Cheney, then chair of the National Endowment of the Humanities, led a charge against historical standards drafted by the late historian Gary B. Nash and several others. According to Cheney, the end product lacked a patriotic element that was necessary in the classroom. Of course, one can find similar sentiments expressed as far back as the 1920s. Recently this debate has played out in controversies surrounding the New York Times 1619 Project and the Trump administrations counter-effort, the 1776 Commission and its connected report.

Sociologist James Davidson Hunters landmark study, "Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America," should be required reading for teachers as they prepare for the fall semester. Hunters work, which is enjoying its 30th anniversary this year, remains a must read for those looking to further their understanding of the fault lines that have developed in modern America.

Hunters "Culture Wars" chronicles the fundamental alterations in America since the 1960s and how they have led to a greater level of division. According to Hunter, by the end of the 20th century, a battle was raging between conservatives who were committed to an external, definable, and transcendent authority, and liberals who were defined by the spirit of the modern age, of rationalism and subjectivism. The competing visions, and the rhetoric that sustains them were threatening to become the defining forces of public life.

In one of his last major essays in The New Republic in the early 1990s, Irving Howe, the prominent literary critic, noted that a serious education must assume, in part, an adversarial stance toward the very society that sustains it … But if that criticism loses touch with the heritage of the past, it becomes weightless, a mere compendium of momentary complaints.

This is indeed the balancing act that classroom teachers must perform. If teachers paper-over complexity and nuance, if they shut down debate and dismiss opposing views, they lose the ability to explain anything that happens over time, relying on weak and ineffectual metaphors. We must not be, as the abolitionist Frederick Douglass noted after the Civil War, apostles of forgetfulness.

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Akash Kapur: "We are all searchers, in our own way…we all envision alternative lives" – Moneycontrol.com

Posted: at 3:23 pm

Representational image of a tree at Auroville.

Personal "letters, postcards, pages from diaries, and wrinkled old photographs" can be arich source for piecing together a broader history - of a place, a time, an idea. This realisation becomes sharper - inescapable - as you turn the pages of Better to Have Gone: Love, Death and Quest for Utopia inAuroville by Akash Kapur.

At the book centre of the book are the deaths of two people - John Anthony Walkerand Diane Maes - in the mid-1980s in Auroville. Kapur places these in the broader context of Auroville's founding and its history.

Kapur grew up in Auroville. And as such, he brings a kind of insider's view into the experimentto build a new societyat Auroville.

Sample this paragraph near the end of the book: "There's a place in Auroville I haven't yet told you about. I've saved it for last. Maybe that's because the place is special, or maybe because it's the most difficult to explain. That's saying a lot: so much of what goeson in this town,has gone on, is difficult to explain." (The place he goes on to describe is the Matrimandir or Inner Chamber at Auroville.)

In an email interview, Kapur talked about his research for the book, and responded tocritics whofeel that the book glazes over the colonial aspects in Auroville's history.

Tell us about the title of the book: is it referring to your return to Auroville in some way?

No, actually the title comes from a letter written by John Walker Sr., who is the father of John Anthony Walker, one of the main characters in the book. The father was a conservative establishment man, very much at the heart of power structures in Washington, DC. His son renounced his entitled birth and moved to Auroville, where he sought to build a new society. In many ways, the sons life was a repudiation of his fathers, and a source of great bafflement to the family. And yet while researching the book, I came across a letter the father had written to his son, late in the fathers life, in which he expresses admiration for the sons pilgrimage in India, and tells him its better to have gone on it than to have stayed quietly in America. To me, this was a striking reminder that we are all searchers, in our own way, and that we all envision alternative livesno matter how outwardly conformist and traditional our existences may appear.

Of course, theres a note of irony, or questioning, in the title too. A couple years after receiving this letter, the son dies. So was it really better to have gone? Readers will judge for themselves.

Critics have said that your book doesnt engage with the postcolonial history of Auroville.

To an extent, I find it a surprising critique, because there are two characters in the book who actually refer to the possibility that Auroville is a reiteration of colonialismand, more generally, I very deliberately included a fairly long section that explores the complicated and sometimes troubled relationship between Auroville and the surrounding villages.

Nonetheless, I can understand that if someones overriding impression of Auroville is as a colonial enterprise, then my treatment of the subject will seem insufficient, as I tend to see the situation as somewhat more nuanced. I think part of the problem is that Auroville is many things, and has many tendencies and strands. There are elements of the communitys history (and perhaps present too) that could undoubtedly be seen through a prism of colonialism; other aspects of the communitys relationship with India and the surrounding villages are far more salutary. Auroville and the villages have often worked together in pursuit of economic development, and they have also collaborated in the remarkable ecological restoration of the land (a collaboration I discuss in the book). I understand that visitors to Aurovilleespecially casual visitorsmay be a bit taken aback by all the foreigners they see driving around in the heart of South India, but actually, around half of the communitys population is Indian (including part of my own family). So I think simply characterizing Auroville as a colonial project is quite unfair (to Auroville, not to me).

At the same time, I do very much think this issue is an important one, and one thats essential for Auroville to keep in mind as it develops and grows. And so in some ways, I actually welcome the critique - as a way of fostering a necessary conversation, and ensuring that Auroville does not repeat historical injustices and racial imbalances that remain so persistent despite the formal end of colonialism.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I used some letters and diaries, especially those written by the two main characters, John and Diane. But most of the research was conducted through interviews; I was essentially reconstructing history through oral narratives, which was quite challenging at times. I spoke to a wide variety of people, many of whom were still living in Auroville, but some who had moved away, and some who had never lived there in the first place.

Because the story takes place in multiple locations and across time, I also visited a number of places in the world. NYC was of course a major area of research, as John had spent time there and thats where my wife moved after the deaths I describe in the book. I also visited Ravena, in Italy; Washington, DC, where John grew up (and where the National Gallery of Art, which his father managed, is located); and I spent a night in a monastery in Rhode Island, where John had spent some time. Some of these places occupied relatively little time in the final narrative, but they were essential to help me understand the broader landscape upon which the story takes place.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Thats a difficult question that I could answer in many ways. I guess one thing I would mention is that I tried very hard, while researching and writing, to remain open to different points of view and what we might think of as different frameworks of reality. Someone who read a draft commented that parts of the book read almost like a fairy tale, and I think what she meant is that there are some things that happen that seem pretty outlandish and simply unreal when seen from a traditional framework. I dont necessarily condone or endorse all those things, but I dont quite condemn or dismiss many of them, too.

One thing Ive learned growing up in Aurovilleand thats been reinforced while thinking about this bookis that there are many different versions of reality, and many different versions of the right way to live. While we may not personally subscribe to them all, its a good idea to remain open to alternatives. Faith and spiritual belief are complicated phenomena; while we often focus on the dogmas of faith, we should also be mindful of the dogmas of rationalism.

Your previous book, 'India Becoming', spoke about liberalisation and the Americanisation of India. Now that youve been back in India for a few years, do you think this Americanisation is still ongoing?

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Akash Kapur: "We are all searchers, in our own way...we all envision alternative lives" - Moneycontrol.com

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Statehouse Report NEW for 8/20: On vaccination language, civility and kites – Statehouse Report

Posted: at 3:23 pm

STATEHOUSE REPORT | ISSUE 20.34 | AUG. 20, 2021

NEWS

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | A national study highlights tested ways to communicate effectively with groups of Americans who tend to be more hesitant to be vaccinated against COVID-19 younger women, younger African Americans, rural residents and younger Republicans.

The divides along racial, urban-rural, political and generational lines are significant when it comes to vaccine acceptance, but weve learned that there are certain words and phrases that will work for all audiences, said pollster Frank Luntz about his study for the de Beaumont Foundation. In the 1990s, Luntz served as a pollster for House Speaker Newt Gingrich to rebrand Republicans via messaging. His work was used with Gingrichs Contract with America and, many have observed, helped to increase polarization in American politics.

Luntzs new work with the foundation illustrates how the use of language can help improve vaccine acceptance. For example, leaders should talk about the benefits of taking the vaccine, versus the consequences. Or how getting the vaccine keeps people safe, versus getting the vaccine is the right thing to do. It also suggests talking about Americas leading experts as opposed to the worlds leading experts.

The poll also found that appealing to family was a powerful vaccine motivator.

Significantly more Americans said theyd be most willing to take the vaccine for their family as opposed to your country, the economy, your community or your friends.

The poll suggested the three most convincing reasons to get the vaccine were:

As of this week, data show more than 360 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the U.S. with 170 million Americans (51.7 percent) being fully vaccinated.

In South Carolina, like other red Southern states, the vaccination rate is lower. As of Aug. 17, 46.1 percent of eligible South Carolina residents 12 and older (1,979,845 people) have been fully vaccinated. Another 363,000 residents have had one dose, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

According to Luntzs research, done between December and March, four groups are among the most hesitant to get vaccinated. Different messages appear to work to reduce each groups hesitancy.

Republicans, ages 18-49. Republican voters in this category have a top priority of returning to normal. Safety-related messaging doesnt work as well, the poll said. Interestingly, these voters said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if their doctor endorsed it.

When asked if theyd be more likely to get vaccinated if their doctor or Trump recommended it, 81 percent chose their doctor, according to Luntzs research. This and other findings reveal that like other Americans, Trump voters see vaccination as a personal issue, not a political issue, and they want unbiased facts from doctors and other trusted, nonpolitical sources.

Black Americans, ages 18-49. More than 40 percent of respondents said they were worried about unknown or potential short- or long-term effects from the vaccine. Messaging about safety and benefits of vaccines seemed to be more persuasive, according to results.

Women, ages 18-49. These respondents, most of whom are of child-bearing age, were most worried about damage from lockdowns and the potential for family/friends to become ill. Keys to breaking hesitancy among them are to stress language that highlighted the importance of the vaccine addressing both issues, according to the poll.

Rural residents. Almost two in five rural residents have little confidence in the safety of vaccinations, suggesting that messages highlighting how vaccines can keep families safe may help reduce hesitancy.

Words can save lives, said Brian C. Castrucci, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. Our ability to boost confidence in COVID-19 vaccines will depend largely on the language, the messengers and methods we use to communicate to Americans that the vaccine will help keep them and their families safe and healthy.

NEWS BRIEFS

Staff reports | A Tuesday afternoon opinion published by S.C. Supreme Court unanimously rejected interpretations by state Attorney General Alan Wilson that a state budget proviso would prohibit state colleges from enacting mask mandates.

The two-sentence item folded into the state budget says vaccinations cannot be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be on campus without a mask, but makes no mention of universal mask requirements.

Despite the fact that the proviso is, as stated by the Attorney General, inartfully worded and very poorly written, the proviso clearly does not not prohibit a universal mask mandate, the justices wrote.

Soon after the ruling, colleges such as the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina, moved forward with a mask mandate. More: Associated Press, The State, The Post and Courier, Charleston City Paper.

In other recent news headlines:

Pressure increases to repeal states mask mandate. Lawmakers are facing increasing pressure this week to repeal a ban on the wearing of masks in public schools. School districts and counties have defied the ban as cases of COVID-19 have soared. Colleges now can require masks following a state Supreme Court decision.

Wilson sues Columbia over mask mandate. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson sued the states capital city Thursday over a school mask mandate that officials allege violates state law. The city earlier enacted an emergency ordinance to require masks for students 14 and younger to promote public health. Meanwhile, the pandemic has come back with vengeance. State health officials reported 2,116 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Thursday alongside 43 new deaths. Of the 18,525 tests reported, 14.6 percent were positive. The state passed more than 700,000 cases this week. More than 75 percent of hospitalizations and reported deaths in South Carolina are those who are not vaccinated, according to reports.

Greenville Co. Republican leader dies from COVID-19. Pressley Stutts, a tea party Republican who recently helped turn over the party leadership in Greenville County, died from complications of COVID-19 Thursday. Stutts had previously said people should take the disease seriously, but stood against mask mandates and pressuring others to get the vaccine.

Myrtle Beach seeks 2024 GOP candidates. An October conference by the SC GOP is said to be the first to feature an array of rising GOP stars who may want to run for president.

Sellers to have new childrens book. Bakari Sellers, the former state House Representative who has become a fixture on cable TV news announced today hell release a new childrens book next year, entitled, Who Are Your People? The book, illustrated by Reggie Brown, was created as a tribute to communities who come together and develop young people and remembers those who came before, and set the pathway for the current generation. The book will be released in January.

S.C. disabilities director fired again after judge rules against previous vote. The board of South Carolinas disabilities agency fired its director for a second time, a day after a judge ruled she was illegally fired earlier this year.

Ports Authority sets container volume record. The S.C. Ports Authority reported another record-setting month with the highest July container volumes in history.

LOWCOUNTRY, by Robert Ariail

Cartoonist Robert Ariail always has an interesting take on whats going on in South Carolina. His weekly Lowcountry strip is originally drawn for our sister publication, the Charleston City Paper. Love the cartoon? Hate it? What do you think: feedback@statehousereport.com. Check out the Best of Charleston 2021.

COMMENTARY

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Politics has always been an occasionally nasty business. Alexander Hamilton died in an 1804 duel with Aaron Burr. A South Carolina congressman caned and nearly killed a Massachusetts senator in 1856 over slavery. A mob of zealots upset by presidential election results stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this year in an attack that led to five deaths.

Fortunately in America, these bloody internal conflicts arent the norm. Unfortunately, todays polarized and charged political environment is making it harder for leaders to govern particularly when the leaders seem to be more worried about the next election than governing.

Just look at local meetings that should be routine. Political party meetings are being hijacked more often by partisans who want to wrest control of their faction from another. In the S.C. General Assembly, theres far less personal interaction among elected officials on different sides of the aisle, leading to rancor and lack of trust. And in Charleston this week, a city council meeting over an equity report and mask mandate turned into a five-hour embarrassment of emotional outbursts.

The Charleston meeting led four state officials to make a statement decrying appalling behavior directed at doctors and health professionals who spoke about the need for more masking to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19.

We can disagree with each other without losing our civility, said state Sen. Marlon Kimpson and Reps. J.A. Moore, Marvin Pendarvis and Deon Tedder, all Charleston Democrats. Shouting insults and going so far as to spit on someone who has a different view than you is barbaric and disgusting.

We need to lift up doctors and healthcare professionals in our community. We need to surround them with support and show our appreciation for the sacrifices theyve made throughout this pandemic.

Unfortunately, we live in times of incivility. We all need to chill out and take a breath. Wasnt there someone long ago who said, Love thy neighbor as thyself?

Two former state senators on different sides of the aisle say civility is a key to getting things done. When people with different opinions can work together to hammer out compromises in which everyone might lose a little bit, what generally emerges is something a little bit better for everyone.

Columbias just becoming a mini-version of Washington in a lot of respects, said Larry Martin of Pickens, a Republican who served in the state House and Senate from 1991 to 2016. Its just harder and harder for folks to get along.

The state Senate, he said this week, once prided itself on the ability to work together to get things done.

You couldnt run over the minority, he said. You had to negotiate and you had to reach across the aisle.The danger to democracy is that people are willing to throw the law and the Constitution to the wind to get what they want. We saw that January 6. The sheer willingness to ditch the normal to get what you want that just makes no sense to me.

He urged newly-elected officials to try to get to know their colleagues in other parties to develop personal relationships and build trust.

Former state Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter, reflected that doctors spend thousands of hours learning their profession and gaining expertise. But in politics, too many people run roughshod over learning issues and developing the expertise to participate intelligently in public debate.

They think it is a participatory sport and that they dont need any background because they know theyre right, he said. If they want to participate, they have to actually understand the playing field.

One thing that would help, Leventis said, is if people would focus less on the liberties offered to citizens and more on their responsibilities as citizens.

They get so hopped up about their liberties that they forget what their obligations are to the system and the process.

Hear, hear.

SPOTLIGHT

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This weeks spotlighted underwriter is the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of South Carolina is dedicated to preserving the civil liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Through communications, lobbying and litigation, the ACLU of South Carolina works to preserve and enhance the rights of all citizens of South Carolina. Foremost among these rights are freedom of speech and religion, the right to equal treatment under law, and the right to privacy.

MY TURN

Editors note: Former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican who represented the Upstate for six terms between 1993 and 2011, visited Afghanistan about a dozen years ago as part of his congressional duties. After the fall of the country this week to the Taliban after a 20-year war, he posted the following on Facebook and gave us permission to republish. We thought youd appreciate his perspective.

By Bob Inglis, reprinted with permission | I keep seeing a kite on the roof of our embassy in Kabul and the eyes of an Afghan staff member at an evening event at the rooftop garden. I noticed the kite, and the handsome, young Afghan went to retrieve it for me. As he brought it to me, I asked if he grew up flying kites as I had seen that day in a neighborhood of Kabul.

Inglis

Oh, yes, he told me in flawless English, It was lots of fun.

And you had contests, flying at each others kites, cutting the string?

Oh, yeah! he said.

Have you seen the movie, The Kite Runner? I asked him.

Instantly, tears appeared in his 21-year old eyes. They did terrible things, he told me. I was in the stadium when they shot a woman in the head at halftime of the soccer game.

He told me that the Taliban had locked all the exits. Armed Taliban walked through the stands, requiring everyone to watch what was about to happen. If you tried to look away or close your eyes, you were yelled at. They took the woman accused of some crime against their code out to the middle of the field and shot her in the head.

I went home and locked myself in my room, the staff member told me. I wouldnt talk to anyone, not even my mom. I couldnt eat. I couldnt sleep. I cried and cried for days. I was just a boy.

The next day, the ambassador presented me with a couple of kites. The staff member had gone out to get them for me to take home to my kids in America.

If hes lived, that staff member is now 33 or so. I pray that hes safe. I pray that hes made it to America. I pray that hes not among the abandoned.

Bob Inglis is the executive director of republicEn.org, a growing group of conservatives who care about climate change.

FEEDBACK

To the editor:

Regarding Andy Bracks 8/14/2021 editorial titled What Happened to Courage and Pride in SC?, I would like to say thank you to Mr. Brack for hitting the nail on the head! I hope all of the selfish people in South Carolina who havent been vaccinated, as well as our nonchalant governor, will read this editorial.

I just dont get it. I have had restaurant owners tell me they have lost plenty of business because they require masks and gloves. Eventually, it forces the restaurant owners to relax their requirements, creating a less than safe atmosphere for all customers.

What in the world is so bad about wearing a mask into a restaurant and mask and gloves to a buffet? I have not felt any pain from doing that, and I just dont understand. Again, I thank Mr. Brack for this editorial, and I just hope and pray it gets circulated around and falls into the hands of people that need to read it. I am going to start by posting it on Facebook.

Donna Rabon, Marion, S.C.

To the editor:

You are a disgrace to journalism. You are nothing more than a fake news reporter who wishes to sway the public to your rationalism, and belief. Your column is full of misinformation. Did you bother to verify your fatcs [sic]? Obviously not. Lie number 1. You stated vaccines work. If true then why are so many who have been vaccinated, are now being tested positive with covid? Lie number 2. Masking works. Where did you obtain this fact from? CNN? Let me now state a fact. That you, and your idiot followers ignore. The flu has killed more people than covid, and unfortunately will continue to do so. Why is there no urgency to demand the same mandates as covid?

Carmine Moschella, Seneca, S.C.

Send us your thoughts. We receive a few comments a week and look forward to publishing. But often we cant because we cant verify the identity of the writer. To be published, youve got to provide us with contact information so we can verify your letters. Verified letters to the editor are published weekly. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. Comments are limited to 250 words or less. Please include your name and contact information.

MYSTERY PHOTO

Heres a South Carolina house with an interesting background. Where is it and whats the history? Send your guess to feedback@statehousereport.com and remember to include your name, home city and contact information.

Last weeks mystery, Brick and glass building by Charleston photographer Ashley Rose Stanol, shows a courtyard and the Stern Student Center at the College of Charleston.

Congratulations to those who identified it: Wayne Beam of Clemson; Elizabeth Jones and Jay Altman of Columbia; and Allan Peel of San Antonio, Texas. Jacie Godfrey of Florence got the general location correct.

Peel shared, The building was built in 1974 and was named after Theodore Sanders Stern (1912-2013), who served as the colleges 16th president from 1968 to 1974. The garden depicted in the mystery photo is in a courtyard behind the building, and it is a favorite escape for students who want some quiet studying time or wish to eat their lunch in peace. Because of its peaceful setting, some classes have been known to meet here as well.

350 FACTS

ORDER NOW: Copies are in Lowcountry-area bookstores now, but if you cant swing by, you can order a copy online today.

Statehouse Report, founded in 2001 as a weekly legislative forecast that informs readers about what is going to happen in South Carolina politics and policy, is provided to you at no charge every Friday.

Were proud to offer Statehouse Report for free. For more than a dozen years, weve been the go-to place for insightful independent policy and political news and views in the Palmetto State. And we love it as much as you do.

But now, we can use your help. If youve been thinking of contributing to Statehouse Report over the years, now would be a great time to contribute as we deal with the crisis. In advance, thank you.

Now you can get a copy of editor and publisher Andy Bracks We Can Do Better, South Carolina! ($14.99) as a paperback or as a Kindle book ($7.99). . The book of essays offers incisive commentaries by editor and publisher Andy Brack on the American South, the common good, vexing problems for the Palmetto State and interesting South Carolina leaders.

Mailing address: Send inquiries by mail to: P.O. Box 21942, Charleston, SC 29413

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Russia will not change its position to please US; Washington to step up pressure expert – TASS

Posted: August 14, 2021 at 1:15 am

MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. Moscow will not reconsider its stance on a number of key international issues to meet Washington's expectations. This will entail tighter US sanctions, the general director of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrei Kortunov, told TASS in an interview.

He stressed that after the Russian-US summit in Geneva US President Joe Biden called for waiting for several months until the moment it would be possible to say something more specific about the outlook for Moscow-Washington relations.

"One has an impression that he gave [Russian President Vladimir] Putin several months to make corrections. During these several months Russia is to show that it has done its homework and its policy has changed," Kortunov said. "If the US side really thinks so, then such expectations are futile, of course, because the Russian leadership has no wish or readiness to make any fundamental changes to its policy."

Kortunov predicts that the US side will be strongly disappointed by Moscow's refusal to drop its intentions to match Washington's expectations.

"Then we will most probably see more sanctions and other repression towards the Kremlin. Many in Biden's America have been calling for this," he said. He believes that ahead of the election in Russia Moscow's rhetoric and stance towards the West would be getting harsher.

The analyst stressed that both countries were interested in continuing the strategic stability dialogue, but even here quite a few questions remained regarding its format and the aspects to be discussed. Also, Russia and the United States had many unresolved regional disagreements, from Ukraine and Iran to Libya, Kortunov said.

"Regrettably, we see no major positive shifts for the better. The sole achievement, and a very odd one in a sense is that Russia has become the second largest supplier of oil to the United States after Canada. This is somewhat surprising, bearing in mind the sanction policy and competition on the energy market," Kortunov said.

"It will be wrong to underestimate the importance of the restoration of some channels of communication, of the consultations that are already in progress and of the greater predictability and rationalism of US policies. Nevertheless, Moscow-Washington relations remain relations of rivalry and not cooperation. And there are no indications in sight something may begin to change in a more positive direction," Kortunov concluded.

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‘The Chosen’ dares to imagine stories about Jesus and the disciples that aren’t in the Gospels. It’s a revelation. – America Magazine

Posted: at 1:15 am

It used to be that telling stories around the edges of faith was what faithful people did. Jews call this midrash, or aggadah: the tales that extend the stories of Torah and other scriptures, that fill the gaps between the lines. It is here, not in the holy writ, that Abraham smashed idols, that Lilith was Adams first wife, that the hand of Pharoahs daughter miraculously stretched to reach baby Moses as he floated down the Nile.

Early Christians told stories too, prodigiously. They fleshed out many stories about Jesus only alluded to in the canon, like the descent into hell we refer to in the Apostles Creed and wonderful details of his childhood. In the Renaissance, St. Ignatius Loyola taught his followers to practice imaginative self-immersion, filling enough gaps in the sparse scriptural narratives to feel like they were there. From Pentecost to the verses of Dante, Christians made the faith their own by riffing on it.

The Reformation seems to have put an end to a lot of this. Protestants banished the storytelling spirit with their turn to sola scriptura, to only what can be found in the canonical books. In response, Catholics doubled down on doctrine, on the magisterium's role in promulgating law and teachingas if to outdo the competition in literalism. Even as the church later elevated the Immaculate Conception, it did so less as a story than as a logical outgrowth of doctrinal propositions.

U.S. Christians have taken literalism of all sorts to new heights, particularly in Protestant evangelicalism: the Bible, no more and no less. American Catholics adopt many of the same habits of mind with our strenuous legalism.

All this is to underscore my surprise that the major creative achievement of American evangelicalism in recent yearswith a Catholic in the starring roleis essentially midrashic.

The Chosen is a TV show about Jesus, told through the lives of his followers and others caught up in his ministry. Jesus himself and his Red Letter lines appear only briefly, while the Gospels tiny snippets about his followers explode into the foreground. Why was Simon Peter fishing when Jesus found him, and what were the women disciples doing all day while the Gospel accounts were ignoring them? Why did the disciples argue so much? The answers require conjuring a lot of stories.

For the internet Christians who have criticized The Chosen, the problem is precisely its willingness to imagine what the Bible leaves out. But from what I can tell from the internet, most viewers simply love it.

An older woman I know told me she loves Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in The Chosen, even though she isnt Catholic. We realized we could talk for an hour about Mary Magdalenes relapse on the show, whether Jesus saw Judas before the Sermon on the Mount, and everything else. We only slowed down when she came to tears at the thought of Roumies kindness as Jesusespecially his first words to Mary Magdalene at a tavern: That is not for you. You see, my acquaintances marriage was in trouble. She was planning to leave town. Things were not so good. She seemed of the sort the Lord especially comes for, and The Chosen was ministering to her.

People like the two of us are more than an audience, more than a fandom. The show has bypassed conventional studios with the most successful media crowdfunding campaign in history, which included both donations and equity investment. It follows a long tradition of Christians pioneering cooperative economies, going back to the Book of Acts. In this and other ways, The Chosen directs our focus outwardto the enabling role of the audience, in addition to the lives of the disciples.

In the Bible and screen adaptations past, Jesus is the center of attention. He is always the one preaching, the one healing, the one leading the action, over and over to the point that it can get old. But when we dwell more fully on the lives into which Jesus appearedthe years of disability, misery and confusion that preceded his simple words, the knowing smile his face betrays right before astonishing someonethe text grows closer to the freshness that the Gospel writers must have felt when they set about telling the stories of this man who felt so incredibly important to them.

The freshness is what religious art and stories are for. We fallen creatures, so inclined to backsliding and forgetfulness, need it. We are not God, and we can see best through other mortals experience. This is why we need the saints. Earlier Christians clever and contradictory tales may strike modern rationalism as backward and odd, but they recognized that faith takes root in imagination. Perhaps the best thing about The Chosen is that somebody else can still tell these stories and others all over again in entirely different ways.

The shows Jesus trusts those he chooses for who they areall that they areand what they will make of him.

Dallas Jenkins, the director of the series, is a voluble presence on the shows YouTube channel, where he presents as an energetic youth pastor, more muscular and assertive than the subtle, playful Jesus of The Chosen. His all-Americanness contrasts with the ancient Jewish otherness of the show, where the only people with American accents are the occupying imperial soldiers, a kind of mirror on the Middle East today. I have not been able to withstand much of the hours of talking-head time he has logged to fundraise for the show, but God bless him. He has taken on a mighty task and done so with a once-in-a-generation achievement.

Mr. Jenkinss father is Jerry B. Jenkins, best known as co-author of the Left Behind novels, an also-midrashic mashup of campy sci-fi and the end-times prophecy of the Rapture. The novels evangelizing strategy is more scared straight than the greatest story ever told, and there was a certain safety in placing its interpretive storytelling in the future, especially for fundamentalist-inclined audiences anxious about any liberty-taking with Bible-times. The differences are all the more reason The Chosen stands out as courageous.

I am grateful for that courage. I confess to have been a Christ-more-than-Jesus sort of Christian, closer to the cosmic Word than the incarnate guy. The Chosen has gotten me more into balancean abstract way of saying this show is heart-melting, that Jonathan Roumies Jesus has fearsome power to open the Scriptures to us and that the women and men who follow him are people in whom we can find traces of ourselves. It helps me love the Lord like I never have before.

At the risk of committing artistic sacrilege, the closest experience I can remember to watching The Chosen was visiting the tender, visceral frescos of Fra Angelico in the monks cells of San Marco in Florence. Those frescos are at a centuries-long disadvantage of cultural relevance and fading paint. I am not claiming the show will hold up for as long as they have.

It is only two seasons into what is supposed to be a seven-season run; the heart-melting could cool down. But as soon as I made it to the end of Season 2, I did what I hope more will: added my share to the crowdfunding collection plate for Season 3.

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How The Octopus Conquered Humanity – Worldcrunch

Posted: at 1:15 am

PARIS James Reed was devastated by a work-related burnout and in desperate need of someone to guide him. The wildlife documentary filmmaker was exhausted by film shoots, unable to take care of his son and felt like a dried-up spectator watching the world fly by. It was the early 2010s and in a last-ditch attempt to find existential meaning, he turned to his childhood passion for diving. Floating among the underwater kelp forests, he met an unexpected mentor and his life took an unlikely turn. While gradually beginning to feel alive again, Reed crossed paths with a small, fearful octopus."I felt that this creature was really special, it could teach me something, it had a particular trick. So I had this crazy idea: What if I went there every day... every day without exception?"

Which is exactly what he did, always in the company of his video camera. My Octopus Teacher, co-directed with Pippa Ehrlich and released on Netflix in 2020, is the purposely uplifting tale of an encounter between a human being with nothing to cling to and an octopus with many suckers.

"It taught me to feel that we're part of this place, that we were not just visitors," narrates the voice of Reed, who has fallen in love with a creature in perfect symbiosis with her environment.His film, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary on April 25, is an invitation to recognize other forms of intelligence. When presented with these emotionally-charged images, it seems incontestable that this strong-armed and cunning being knows how to play and strategize. This animal intelligence is all the more humbling as the little octopus, whose mother dies shortly after its birth, must learn everything by itself without the natural transfer of social knowledge.

"In Jules Verne's time, the octopus was an evil beast. This was because it was morphologically very different from us, a frightening prospect. Today, we realize that it's closer than we thought," says neurobiologist and philosopher Georges Chapouthier, author of Sauver l'homme par l'animal ("Saving Man Through the Animal World"). "There are already similarities when it comes to its aptitudes, vision and prehension. She [the octopus] is able to unscrew a jar, to reach her goal by way of a detour and to use coconuts as a shield. While we have long thought that intelligence was the prerogative of vertebrates, the observation that complex cognitive abilities can be developed in other groups invites us to put things into perspective."

Navigating troubled waters at the confluence of reality and myth, this blue-blooded animal is, as writer and art historian Pierre Pigot points out in his book Le Chant du Kraken ("The Song of the Kraken"), "a creature of the rift and the threshold," which "reappears when civilization becomes afraid of its reflection in the mirror." As humans begin to understand that their hegemonic rationalism is leading them straight to catastrophe, the need to re-establish an intimate dialogue with other living beings arises. For this, we need tutors and mediating entities. Consequently, the furious squid that haunted the imaginations of the 19th century has given way to a kind of "octobuddy" that we would gladly invite to drinks.

As a means of reconciliation between the human and the animal world, our slimy new friend is suddenly everywhere. Is it a coincidence that we've started playing Squids Odyssey on our smartphones a game whose heroes are adventurous little cuttlefish and that our subway neighbor is reading Erin Hortle's novel, L'Octopus et moi ("The octopus and I")? Is it just a coincidence that our children are watching the Octonauts, an animated series in which one of the main characters is an anthropomorphic, oceanographer octopus? Is it a coincidence when our colleagues have been embellishing their messages with tentacle emojis for weeks, or teleworking at the Parisian bistro Le Poulpe?

"Through education, what we have learned above all are the abstract and technological cognitive aspects, which we find in languages or mathematics and are carried out by the left hemisphere," says Chapouthier. "But humans also have emotional aptitudes leading to altruism and empathy, which we do not develop as much and is perhaps one of the defects of our societies. However, the essence of an animal thought is a thought without language, a thought of emotion, something that should be within our interest because it allows us to reconnect and leave the moral bankruptcy of the human species behind."

James Reed, Pippa Erlich (left) and Marlee Matlin with the Oscar for Documentary Feature Photo: Matt Petit/AMPAS/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com

Today, talking about octopi on LinkedIn is not an aberration. Quite the contrary: it is now inspiring, just as the late Steve Jobs' turtlenecks were in their time. "It immediately creates sympathy and adds value," says Caecilia Finck-Dijoux, 50, who specializes in business consulting. "When I founded my company with my partner, we were looking for a name related to the sea. As we are both divers, the octopus appeared an obvious choice to us. But, in French, the word has a soft side. So we chose the English term and we called ourselves 'Octopus Marketing'. It seemed interesting to us to identify ourselves with this animal that has several tentacles because, through our consulting activity, we bring additional arms to the client. In addition, like the octopus, which is forgotten in its environment, I love to blend into the processes of companies where I intervene."

But what does the octopus have to teach us or reteach us anyway? Perhaps, quite simply, how to believe. Where our species only sees dead ends, this contortionist becomes a master of escape driven by "An almost Kafkaesque conviction: there is always a way out," says philosopher Vinciane Despret, author of Autobiographie d'un poulpe ("Autobiography of an octopus"). They possess an admirable drive for life that expresses itself through a singular way of inhabiting the world, based on camouflage, behavioral mimicry and the science of dodging. If the octopi suddenly start to write, it would not just be propelled not by their poetic nature but rather due to a new threat forcing them to evolve.

"The question of extinction has been haunting me for some time, and that's what I've been trying to unfold in a non-tragic fictional mode. All these animals that are disappearing, that we won't see anymore, how are we going to leave something of them? This is what haunts me," confides Despret. Her octopus-fiction is all the more disturbing considering that, in reality, the genre's animal muse is not really in the process of disappearing. In fact, the population of cephalopods has increased immensely in the last sixty years.

Surfing on the expressive potential of ink and foraying into other mediums the octopus acts as a muse for another species, creatures who produce creative output on a massive scale in order to ward off their fear of extinction. We'll let you guess which one.

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Covid lockdown reminded us of how nature is both an artistic and intellectual inspiration Annie Broadley – The Scotsman

Posted: at 1:15 am

During lockdown, the ability to go for short walks was for many a source of solace, as earlier in the year we saw the spring flowers appearing and the trees beginning to bud. Now with most restrictions lifted, we return to Scotlands hills, lochs and wild places, delighted to be among them once again.

When writing about nature in the third decade of the 21st century however, it is hard to experience its beauty and to delight in the pleasure that it gives us without also thinking about all the threats to its survival.

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Our harmful impact on it became quickly apparent during lockdown when, in the absence of normal human activity, we saw how quickly nature began to regenerate itself.

Ecologist and author Richard Mabey summed this up perfectly when he said that nature is doing marvellously well without us. It is vital that we cease to treat nature as an infinite resource which is at our disposal and ours to use at will. We should take from it only what it can sustainably give.

The beginning of the 19th century saw a flowering of the Romantic movement in the arts. It was a response to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on logic and intellect, which preceded it.

Nature became vitally important particularly in art and poetry and writers such as Wordsworth and Thoreau wrote of the spirituality that arose from the affinity they found in nature.

In art, landscape painting became important both here and on the Continent. In Scotland, Alexander Nasmyth began to paint landscapes and is considered to be the 19th-century initiator of a tradition which has continued down to the present day.

In fact, nature is a common theme in both Scotlands art and poetry. I look forward to visiting the Turner watercolours which are exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery in January each year.

No matter how many times I return, I still stand in awe before them. In one work, nature is all movement, wildness and drama with its endlessly shifting shapes, while another draws me into the serenity at its heart.

From the lyrical 18th-century Epistle to Davie In days when daisies deck the ground, And blackbirds whistle clear, With honest joy our hearts will bound by Robert Burns through to poets of the present day, nature is a recurrent theme.

In the introduction to the 2005 anthology of his poetry, Norman MacCaig is quoted as saying landscape is my religion and animals, birds and reptiles make frequent appearances.

In the poem Stars and Planets, he describes the beauty of the night sky, then subverts the poetic imagery in the last verse: Its hard to think that the Earth is one , This poor sad bearer of wars and disasters, Rolls-Roycing round the sun with its load of gangsters, Attended only by the loveless moon.

Music too looks to the natural world for inspiration. Orkney-based composer the late Peter Maxwell Davies spent three weeks on the British Antarctic base at Rothera.

Afterwards he composed his Antarctic Symphony, distilling the essence of what he called this terrible, hostile wonderland into the piece. I visited Antarctica in 2011 it truly was the experience of a lifetime and something I will never forget. I loved the remoteness the silence broken only by the wind, the penguin cries, the sea breaking on the rocks and the occasional crack of splintering ice, with sea, snow, ice and sky spreading as far as the eye could see.

That there are creatures here which have managed to make such amazing adaptations in order to survive these extreme conditions fills me with wonder and makes me feel how very insignificant human beings are by comparison.

I have tried to convey these feelings in my paintings of the landscape as well as the more intimate studies of the Antarctic wildlife. On an ecological note, current ice loss in Antarctica is seen as a key indicator of climate change.

For me, a connection with nature is fundamental to my own well-being and my work as an artist. The changing seasons with their colours, scents and sounds have a unique impact upon my moods, thoughts and feelings.

Stilled by sitting by a gently flowing river or overawed by the majesty of a thunderstorm, I find that nature communicates with an immediacy unparalleled by anything else.

The infinite variety of shape and form within nature fascinates me, like the curve of a leaf, the complicated twisting of roots, the patterns made by falling leaves. Much of my work is based on an observation of nature in one form or another as my starting point for a painting often grows out of drawings from my sketchbooks.

The experience of lockdown when we had little contact with nature served only to emphasise its importance. In the scheme of things, this was a relatively short period to be out of touch with nature. How much worse will this be if it is lost forever?

Annie Broadley is an Edinburgh-based artist. To see more of her work visit her website, anniebroadley.com.

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World View: Dont be so sure that Covid will change the world – The Irish Times

Posted: July 16, 2021 at 1:02 pm

How we remember the pandemic will depend on how it ends. Yet there is one assumption that is already taken as self-evident: that the crisis will change the world. It seems perverse, given how Covid-19 has so violently shaken the planet, to imagine that things could simply revert to how they were. We assume that a world-historical moment such as this must reverberate for decades if not centuries. But what if its effects really are fleeting? What if the old order quickly reasserts itself? What if we forget?

It is not that far-fetched a proposition. The 1918 flu pandemic, at least until a resurgence of interest among historians and artists in the past 10 years, was largely written out of the history of the 20th century, its sweeping impact between 50 and 100 million dead customarily relegated to a footnote in the story of the World War with which it coincided. It receded quickly from public discourse in the 1920s and in the absence of memorials, museums or even a neat narrative arc that might have attracted novelists and film-makers, its place in collective memory quickly faded.

Even allowing for the capriciousness of public remembering, however, the Covid-19 pandemic is unlikely to slip as easily from the mind. Thanks to its scale and the technologies at our disposal, it is probably the most extensively chronicled crisis in human history. While the larger ecological disaster we know is coming will shape our memory of this one, it will surely leave a mark on those who lived through it. So the question is less whether we will remember it than how.

To say that there can be no going back to business as usual is, for the moment, wishful thinking. We may wish for cities to become more liveable, for daily life to slow down and for the crisis to usher in a new era of co-operation and solidarity. It is certainly easier to imagine these things today than it was a year ago. But change on that scale would require the crisis to produce a fundamental shift in how people think, whereas much of the evidence so far suggests that, rather than forging a new sensibility, it has merely reinforced peoples existing views.

The liberal internationalist sees the horrendously unequal effects of the crisis as proof of the need for global institutions, whereas the nationalist looks at the competition for medical supplies and vaccines and finds an argument for nimble states free from the strictures of supranational bureaucracies. The left cheers the state for living up to its responsibility through large-scale interventions to keep people safe and supported, whereas the right looks at the development of life-saving vaccines by profit-chasing pharma companies as proof of the genius of free-market capitalism.

The budding autocrat observes Chinas swift top-down suppression of the virus with admiration. The democrat sees how Beijing has ramped up surveillance and shut down questions on the origins of the virus and feels nothing but fear. In much the same way, Covid-19 denialists are not recent converts from the school of scientific rationalism; they had clocked well before the pandemic that everyone was out to get them.

If this one follows the pattern of previous crises, it is more likely to accelerate trends that were already under way than to mark an abrupt rupture in itself. The world was turning inward before the pandemic struck. After the financial crisis, the growth in global trade had slowed and protectionism was spreading. Democracy was in retreat, autocrats were emboldened. Technology was enabling more and more people to work alone in front of their screens. In politics, the pandemic may (with any luck) have finished the careers of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, but it will have done so only by highlighting pre-existing incompetence.

It seems counterintuitive to think that a crisis like this, which so clearly underlined the need to remove barriers to transnational co-operation, could instead produce new ones. But so far that has been the pattern. Authoritarian regimes have seized on the crisis to crush dissent and develop more intrusive ways of spying on their citizens. Democratic states, including the United States and Hungary, have used it as a pretext to tighten broader controls and admit fewer immigrants. Across Europe, governments have sought to limit exports of food and medical products, to seal borders and assume once unthinkable powers over peoples lives.

For a case study in how crises can be wasted, their lessons quickly forgotten, we need only look back to 2008 and the shock that was supposed to herald a fundamental rethink of the market economy. The rebalancing that many hoped for never materialised; instead most governments simply slashed their spending on public services. Viewed from the top floor of a Wall Street skyscraper, the world that emerged 10 years on looked reassuringly familiar.

The pandemic may not be forgotten, but to remember is not necessarily to learn, still less to change.

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"Karaiskakis: The Misunderstood Hero" at the Petra Theater on July 25 – 9.84

Posted: at 1:02 pm

The Artistic Company "Creatists" having in its assets a series of important music and theatrical producers, presents the theatrical performance "Karaiskakis: The Misunderstood Hero", the historical drama of Giannis Kostaras directed by Manos Antoniou, which tours in Attica and selected stations region.

First stop in Attica at the Petra Theater on Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 21:30.

A few words about the project

The play concerns the life and work of Georgios Karaiskakis, the pioneer of the Greek Revolution. The peculiarity of the work is that the main character, Karaiskakis, is presented in writing without any mood of beautification and heroism, but his approach is based on sociological and psychological elements, a result of months of research on his face, which gave the project the opportunity to include scenes that bring to life real events with the originality of the dialogues written in the spoken language of the Revolution.

The play collaborates with other arts besides acting, which in full agreement with the direction of Manos Antonios balances between symbolism and realism. From the form of the narrator in the work, the character "Karaiskakis" is created, who sometimes as "angel" and sometimes as "devil" combines black and white, light and darkness. The direction analyzes the second and third semantic levels of the work, without standing on a superficial form of the hero, but traveling the viewer from 1821 until today through semantic concepts and atmospheric lighting. The music and songs of the show are signed by the internationally renowned accordion musician and soloist Zoe Tiganouria.

The play "Karaiskakis - The misunderstood hero" by Giannis Kostaras, is published by Papadimitropoulos Publications.

Directional note

The play "Karaiskakis - The misunderstood hero" has been built on a triple axis: the value, the historical and the sociological-dramatic. Initially, there was a written will to capture and transmit some values, as well as the "fearless" character of Karaiskakis to the people of today, which is based on nihilism and debauchery.

Then, due to studies and interests on the part of the creator, weight was given through and careful study of sources of that time, to the revival of events and sounds, whether it is the language or the songs included in the plot, which have become almost unknown today. .

Of course, because the main goal was not from the beginning ethics, rationalism or the "hollow" national uprising, additionally unknown aspects of the Greek Revolution are revealed, but also of Karaiskakis' life so that they end up through his phrase that haunts the whole work "Whenever I want I am an angel, whenever I want I am hell "in the dipole of this character, of the Greeks as a nation, as of each individual, one would say; in order to reconcile in part the national liberation and only views of the Revolution by some historians with those on the other , and as the predominant one of Kordatos, which gave a more social tone.

The identity of the show

"Karaiskakis: The Misunderstood Hero"

Historical drama

Duration: 100 minutes

Credits

Writing- Historical research: Giannis KostarasDirected by: Manos AntoniouMusic editing: Zoe TiganouriaDance teaching: Mika StefanakiSets: MarceloCostumes: Magda KalemiAssistant director: Thanasis Skopas

The actors interpret: Makis Arvanitakis, Konstantinos Bazas, Konstantinos Zografopoulos, Giannis Kostaras, Konstantinos Spyropoulos, Iordanis Kalesis, Elias Menagier, Thanasis Skopas.

In the role of narrator o Costas Arzoglou and in the role of Karaiskakis o Manos Antoniou. In the role of Golf is Ioanna Pilichou and in the role of Mario the Filitsa Kalogerakou.

Day and time of the showSunday 25 July 2021 on 21: 30Watch Time: 20: 30

Ticket priceNormal: 15 euroReduced (Unemployed, Disabled, Student, Large Children): 12 euroTickets pre-sale: Ticket Services

Petra TheaterRomilias 1, St. Petersburg

The show is held in collaboration with "EXALEIPTRON", Piraeus Women's Group, for the Arts, Letters, Culture and Sciences and is under its auspices.

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"Karaiskakis: The Misunderstood Hero" at the Petra Theater on July 25 - 9.84

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