ANGLO BLOG POST ONE: MARCH, 2017

The first forty days of the Trump presidency have been marked by characteristic mean-spiritedness, chaos, mismanagement and general confusion. An executive order banning the entry into the US of travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries was nullified by the courts, and promises to unveil a new plan have yet to occur, is just one of many examples of a general cluelessness with how to govern on the part of the new president and his staff.

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The propensity toward mendacity is quite alarming, his spokespeople and even Trump himself inventing things and that are blatantly incorrect, outright false, or simply didn’t occur, like a terrorist attack in Sweden. This disregard for the truth is swatted away by the administration by claims that the mainstream news media, which had of course been wildly biased against him, just printed lies and fake news. Since there is a deep distrust in the country at this elitist, mainstream media, these kinds of accusations resonate with his supporters. Trump’s barring of correspondents of CNN, the Guardian, BBC, The New York Times and others from the latest White House press briefing demonstrates his willingness to take them on. Perhaps this will be his undoing.

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The world is on egg shells to see what this new administration will bring. At times bellicose, at times more conciliatory but always incoherent, Trump’s foreign policy agenda is basically unknown. On the bright side, this presidency has been a boon for comedians.

Obama for President

A letter from French voters, distraught over their choices for the French election this year, has been sent to former US president Barak Obama asking him to run. This is of course impossible, since Obama is not a French citizen, but reflects the dismal reality that could see French elect a proto-fascist in the face of Marie le Pen, whose National Front party advocates policies deeply hostile to immigrants and nationalist in the aggressive way many had hoped to have been abolished with the defeat of Nazism. The left is in disarray and the center-right candidate considered most able to compete with le Pen, Francois Fillon is embroiled in a scandal in which his wife is alleged to have been paid hundreds of thousands of Euros of public money in a non-existent job.

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Fascists looking civilized

Le Pen, whose father Jean Marie le Pen ran for president in 2002 and lost in a landslide, has tried to put a civilized face on her uncivilized values. She appeals to the same nationalist electorate who feel marginalized by globalization and that immigration is altering (negatively) the character of France. The resurgence of ultra-right parties in Europe is one of the many worrying phenomena that seem to be sweeping the globe at the moment.

Suing the state of mistreatment

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The Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who went on a rampage in 2011 killing a total of 76 people, was suing the Norwegian state for human rights abuses while in jail. The Norwegian state ruled against him. Norway is always top or near the top of the world’s most attractive countries to live, but even in this, one of the world’s most enlightened societies, monsters can emerge.

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Goalkeeper Bruno to be released from jail

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Former Flamengo goal keeper Bruno Fernandes, who in 2010 was convicted of killing his former girlfriend, has been released after serving six and a half years in jail. A body was never found, though Bruno now admits his error and said “he paid a steep price.” If Bruno had committed the same murder in many other countries, he would either be in prison for many years, or in the US he could have received the death penalty.

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Anglo Blog Post Eleven, September 11 to October 12, 2016

War in Syria

 
Despite hope that negotiations between the US and Russia would find bring some relief to the beleaguered country of Syria, racked by civil war since 2011, which has caused the death of over 400,000 civilians. As the ceasefire was about to start, the Americans, by accident according to them, bombed Syria and in the process killed 62 Syrian soldiers. A few days later, Syrian and Russian forces were accused of bombing and destroying a convoy of dozens of trucks carrying aid and ready to enter Aleppo.

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An aid convoy apparently bombed by the Assad regime and the Russians. Earlier, the US had bombed Syrian positions and killed 62 Syrian soldiers and with it the cease fire

This essentially torpedoed the ceasefire and fighting has been raging ever since, with hundreds more victims and others fleeing the country and contributing to Europe’s already precarious refugee situation. Future generations will wonder why the major global actors let this carnage continue right under their noses, seemingly indifferent to the massive suffering and resulting instability that could lead to a more widespread global conflict the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades.

US Presidential Debates

 
There have so far been two presidential debates, one on September 24, the other on October 9 between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. In the first debate, Trump appeared unprepared and took Clinton’s bait with a certain predictability. He at one point suggested that the fact he had paid no taxes showed how intelligent he was. In the second debate, Trump after half-heartedly apologizing for a tape recording where he boasts about being able to grope woman because of his fame, went on the attack. He claimed that, among other things, Clinton was the devil and she should be in jail.

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When they were friends at Donald Trump’s wedding in 2005

The first debate performance resulted in a precipitous drop in approval ratings for Trump, especially among suburban women, a key voting bloc. His lewd taped comments further damaged his standing with that group. What is difficult to fathom is how Trump’s support has not crumbled, given the outrageous things he has been saying. It shows how much ire there is among certain groups of people (basically the white working class) toward the system whose much touted globalization has left them behind.

 
First Baby Born with DNA from Three People

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First baby born from the DNA of three people

For the first time in history, a baby has been born with the DNA of three people. A new procedure has been launched, namely the removal of the nucleus of a woman’s egg, which contains the code for horrendous congenital diseases, can be replaced with the uncontaminated nucleus from another woman’s egg. Advances in medical research are astounding and often the ethical implications of these new breakthroughs are not considered at the time, or at all. Nonetheless, this will be welcome news for mothers who carry devastating congenital conditions that would inevitably be passed on to their offspring without this treatment.

 
Colombia’s President Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

 
Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after the population voted in e referendum to repudiate the peace accord he negotiated with the FARC and for which he was being honored by the Nobel Committee. For the last 60 years, Colombia has suffered from brutal internecine political violence resulting in perhaps 500,000 deaths. Under the auspices of Cuba, a peace accord was finally achieved between Santos’ Colombian government and the FARC rebels, who in exchange for amnesty and guaranteed political participation, would give up their armed struggle. The country narrowly rejected this, those voting in favor unhappy at crimes perpetrated by FARC going unpunished.

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There have been controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners such as former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, apparently for his efforts to negotiate a peace accord between the US and North Vietnam. Kissinger has been accused of war crimes for his secret bombing campaign in Cambodia in 1969-70. Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres were also controversial choices, recipients for the Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993 that have since collapsed, who themselves were responsible for acts of violence against the other side. Barak Obama got the prize for no apparent reason except winning the US presidential election, such was the symbolism of the US having a black president less than fifty years after formal segregation was ended.

 
Yet another referendum

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Refugees walking across Europe

In Hungary, results from the country’s referendum on whether to shut out refuges completely in defiance of the European Union insistence that the refugees fleeing terror and other conflict areas be distributed throughout the EU. Many attribute Britain’s decision to leave the EU to voters wanting immigration restrictions, and not having to abide by the Shengen Treaty guaranteeing free movement of people within the 27 countries of the trading bloc. The Hungarian vote was declared null due to the failure to reach the minimum threshold for voter turnout of 50%. According to the country’s Prime Minister, Viktor Oban, who orchestrated the referendum, “The arriving masses from other cultures are a threat to our way of life, culture, our habits and our Christian traditions.”
It was thought fascism was felled with the defeat of Hitler and the creation of the supra-national European Union. With right wing parties tapping into their citizens’ anxieties about immigration, poisonous views are once again circulating, as they tend to when humans feel insecure.

 
Hapless Haiti

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Widespread destruction in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew, just what the country doesn’t need

The poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti seems to be constantly castigated by nature, compounding its many social, economic and political problems. The latest pummeling came from Hurricane Matthew, and although the death toll was 800, small in comparison to the 200,000 thought dead in the 2010 earthquake, physical destruction has been massive. This has led to another outbreak of cholera, the disease having arrived with Nepalese United Nation’s workers in the aftermath of the earthquake six years ago, and absence of clean drinking water could greatly exacerbate the situation.

Haiti, despite becoming the first independent nation of Latin America in 1804, the result of a decade long slave revolt, was from the start forced to pay a massive illegal debt the French calculated for their losses of slaves and land during the revolt of around US$15 billion, only paid off in 1947. It has had a checkered political history, with a brutal father and son duo, Baby Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier, misruling and fleecing the national treasury for 29 years between 1957 and 1986. Most people are mired in poverty and these intermittent national disasters accentuate their hardships.

Anglo Blog Post Ten: August 15-September 10, 2016

Hong Kong and China

Elections were held in Hong Kong on September 4 for its Legislative Council where candidates advocating independence from China made significant gains. China quickly made known that it was “resolutely opposed to independence.”

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Hong Kong and China: different and tied

Hong Kong is one of the more curious places in the world. It is one of the Asian tigers (the others are Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, whose independence China refuses to recognize) which have dramatically grown their economies in the last 30 years. Up until 1997, Hong Kong had been a British colony, the spoils of the British Empire’s humiliation of the Chinese in the Opium Wars between 1839 to 1860, for 150 years.

As a British colony, it thrived and was a showcase for capitalism while mainland China was going through mass starvations and cultural revolutions after Mao tse Tung and the Communists took power in 1949. Even as China liberalized its economy, it has a remained a one-party dictatorship where opposition to the regime is not tolerated.

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Ever since the devolution to China in 1997, the relationship between the Honk Kong population and their new masters in Beijing has been in flux. For China, it is a golden goose, and not in the country’s interest to change the way it works, so it has adopted a “one country, two systems” approach. Economically this works well, politically it has been problematic.

Used to having some political autonomy under the British and with functioning democratic institutions, a power struggle over how much say China has in Hong Kong’s internal political events has been ongoing. In September 2014, the “umbrella protests” against Chinese meddling lost steam and China conceded to none of the protester’s demands.

Pro-independence candidates have been warned by China. If they stay quiet, China will likely let things run the way they have been. If not, the Chinese regime is never afraid to bring out the tanks.

Money in the US Presidential Election

The two candidates running for president of the US, Democratic former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Republican businessman and reality television star Donald Trump, have between them raised over one billion dollars, the equivalent to the annual budget of the city of Salvador which serves 3 million people.

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Despite this spending, both candidates are mistrusted and not generally liked. Donald Trump has been advised to tone down some of the more outrageous things he says, but this lull is unlikely to last. Hillary Clinton’s political expediency and the wealth she and her husband have accrued from giving speeches to other wealthy people hardly make her appealing to middle class people feeling the pinch. The debates are coming and could determine the election.

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At the moment, the odds seem to favor Hillary simply because she seems less bad than Trump. But her victory in November is by no means a given.

Mother Teresa Made a Saint

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born as Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje, the capital of present day Macedonia (she was ethnically Albanian) in 1910 and after a life devoted to helping societies castaways, was made a saint by the Catholic Church 19 years after her death in 1997.

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Mother Teresa administering to the poor

She founded The Missionaries of Charity to help lepers, HIV victims, orphans and the desperate poor of Calcutta and today the organization has 4500 sisters and is active in 133 countries around the world. For her works, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
There were some detractors who claimed that Mother Teresa’s fundamentalist Catholic ideology whereby she spent her life opposing the empowerment of woman, and her assertion that suffering was a gift from God besmirched her character and make her inappropriate for sainthood.

Proxima B

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A new planet, named by MASA Proxima B, has been discovered orbiting the nearest star to the sun. Slightly bigger than earth, scientists also believe it might have similar characteristics to our planet and the possibility that water exists there. Even if it turns out to be habitable, however, based on the current space technology, it would take 70,000 years to travel the 4.2 light years of distance between Proxima B and Earth.

Anglo Blog Post Nine: July 26-August 14, 2016

The Olympics

 
This unique global sporting/cultural event has been taking place over the last two weeks, bringing the global audience to Brazil, whose marvelous city, Rio de Janeiro, has been the games’ host. The exuberant opening ceremony showcased Brazil at its best, this effervescent country much admired in the rest of the world.

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The Rio Games, 2016

Despite some of the disdainful coverage of the foreign press, the Games so far have been a great success, with sporting legends such as Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps living up to their status with magnificent wins on the track and in the pool. While it is extraordinary that Brazil is not among the global sporting power houses, given the huge talent available in the country, there have nevertheless been memorable performances by Brazilian athletes and the medal count should be respectable.

Staging the Olympics is a massive logistical challenge and the gleeful sneering and predictions of disaster by some international observers should be rebuked with pride as, so far at least, no major disaster has besieged these games, a tribute to the Brazilian organizers.

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Jesse Owens in Berlin, 1936

This has not always been the case when international politics has featured prominently at several Games. The Berlin Games of 1936 were presided over by the burgeoning Hitler, getting ready to invade his neighbors and establish German domain over the rest of Europe. Unfortunately for him, the African-American athlete Jesse Owens won five individual gold medals, debunking the myth of Aryan racial superiority.

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Tommy Smith and John Carlos doing the Black Power salute in Mexico City, 1968

The US Civil Rights movement appeared in full regalia at the 1968 Mexico City Games, when the 200 meter gold medal winner, Tommy Smith, put up his hand in a Black Panther salute, joined by his third-placed team mate John Carlos. This caused a stir in the US, where racial tensions were boiling from Martin Luther King’s death on April 4 of the same year.

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A hooded kidnapper negotiating with authorities in Munich, 1972

The most tragic event occurred at the 1972 Munich Games when 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and later murdered by members of the Palestinian Black September group during a botched rescue operation. The smoldering Israeli-Palestinian conflict has yet to be solved, many thousands of deaths on.

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New Zealand’s rugby team’s tour of South Africa caused many African countries to boycott the games in Montreal, 1976

Politics once again intervened in the 1976 Montreal Games, where 20 African countries boycotted the games due to New Zealand’s rugby tour of South Africa that had occurred earlier in the year. Apartheid secured South Africa’s pariah status in the world and due to this brutal system of racial oppression, was excluded from the Olympics from 1964-1988 and suffered a sporting boycott.

Cold war politics shaped both the 1980 Moscow games and the 1984 Los Angeles games. After the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US and 66 other countries, including Argentina and Chile, then under brutal, US supported right-wing dictatorships, boycotted the games to protest the Russian action. Four years later, the Russians and 19 other countries boycotted Los Angeles, citing security concerns and the anti-Soviet hysteria then sweeping the US.

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Olympic boycotts 1976, 1980, 1984

Sports and particularly the Olympics were where the superpower enemies could square off against each other to prove the worth of their respective economic systems. But a look at results would suggest that the Socialist countries had a more successful system of producing athletes. From 1948–1992, the Soviets topped the Olympic medal tables 6 times, compared with four times the US occupied the top spot. The dismantling of the Soviet Union now leaves China as the US’s biggest rival for medal hauls.

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Florence Griffith Joyner and Ben Johnson, the stars of Seoul in 1988

Since then, doping has come to hover over the sport, most notably in the 1988 Seoul Olympics when the men’s 100 meter sprint winner, Ben Johnson of Canada, was stripped of his gold medal for doping. Another star of those games, Florence Griffith-Joyner, whose 100m and 200m sprint world records still stand, died of kidney failure at 39 years–old. All Russian track and field athletes were banned from competing in Rio due to evidence of systematic doping involving government authorities.

The political and economic mess Brazil finds itself in has not impacted the Olympics as might have been expected. Rigid laws to restrict protests against the government has made it difficult to get those appalled by the current situation message out to a global audience largely ignorant and insouciant about Brazil’s rotten politics.

Anglo Blog Post Eight: July 12-July 25, 2016

Coup attempt in Turkey
On July 15, 2016, factions within the Turkish army attempted to overthrow the elected government of Recep Erdogan by staging a coup d’état. It was unsuccessful and within six hours was crushed by members of the army loyal to Erdogan and opposition in the streets. The plotters made two serious blunders in their execution of the coup; not taking over the presidential palace (instead they shot up the parliament) and not taking over any media outlets which would have allowed them to divulge their message.

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Turkey is the bridge between Europe and Asia, west and east, Christianity and Islam (and there is literally a bridge connecting Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Straits

A series of mass arrests followed, with an estimated 50,000 people, including 12,000 teachers, being hauled in for questioning. For many opponents of Erdogan, they see this as the perfect opportunity for the authoritarian president to criminalize any dissent against him within the society. Erdogan has ruled Turkey for the past 12 years and has sought to consolidate his power by imposing more aspects of Islam onto this traditionally strongly secular country. He has called for the execution of the coup leaders, which if carried out would make Turkey’s desired entrance into the European Union almost impossible since to become a member of the EU, countries with the death penalty are not welcome.

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Turkey is a vital country, a bridge between East and West, Christianity and Islam and its stability is of paramount importance for the world. It has taken in almost two million refugees fleeing the war in Syria, and also confronts an internal threat from separatist Kurds seeking more autonomy. The country is also a member of NATO, the western military alliance. All eyes will now be on that country which seems very divided at the moment between those wanting a secular, modern and liberal state and those desiring more conservatism, traditionalism and a wider role for Islam in the population’s daily life.

Donald Trump officially the Republican candidate for president
After four days of a tumultuous and often chaotic Republican Convention, Donald Trump was finally officially crowned as the Republican candidate for president on July 21st in Cleveland, Ohio. He will now begin to campaign against the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton until the election on the first Tuesday of November.

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Melania Trump appears to have plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech from eight years ago

The convention started off with anti-Trump delegates making a last-ditch rally to impede his path to the nomination, which was unsuccessful. Then Trump’s ex-model wife, originally from Slovenia, made a speech a good portion of which turned out to have been plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s Democratic convention speech in 2008. To top it off, Trump’s main primary rival, Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas, gave a speech during which he refused to endorse Trump.

All these factors, and a slew of accusations of Trump being a racist, unethical, a bully, a narcissist, a megalomaniac and generally temperamentally unfit to be president, seem to have zero effect on his supporters. Trump has cleverly tapped into deep anger and resentment of working class whites who feel left behind by globalization and who make barely enough money to get by. Ironically, many of the policies Trump advocates are traditionally made by Democrats (protectionism, defending union workers, etc.) and have made the Democrats look like the party advocating naked neo-liberalism and having been bought by Wall Street. Since Trump can finance his own campaign, he can portray himself as an outsider, unsullied by the corrupt workings of Washington.

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Maybe the future President Trump

In this writer’s view, this is an extremely dangerous situation and the prospect of a Trump presidency is quite terrifying. For those of us who think this way, our hope is that the demographics of the US have changed enough so that there are not enough angry white men to elect a president. We shall see.

Anglo Blog Post Seven: May 15-May 30, 2016

Vietnam receives US presidential visit:

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Americans and their Vietnamese allies fleeing

 

US President Barak Obama made his first state visit to Vietnam on May 23, to lift the US arms embargo on the country in place since the Vietnam War, in which Vietnam is estimated to have lost 2-3 million people while the US lost more than 58,000 soldiers and the war itself. Obama’s agreement to sell weapons to the ostensibly Communist regime reflects a strategic move to counteract Chinese moves which the US considers militarily expansionist. This includes the occupation by China of disputed islands in the South China Sea and construction of military infrastructure on them. China and Vietnam have historical enmity dating back to before Christ. This is another diversion from orthodox US diplomacy of the last thirty years, in line with Obama’s intent to tackle old taboos such as reestablishing relations with Cuba and achieving a nuclear deal with the Iranians. He spent six dollars on a meal at a local restaurant which caused a media sensation. The world will miss Obama.

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Saigon in 1975

Venezuela in Meltdown:

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Empty shelves in Caracas

 

The situation in Venezuela seems at a breaking point (no beer can be found in Caracas)and the rule of Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the Hugo Chavez initiated Bolivarian socialism, is being severely tested. There have been weeks of protests and to purchase anything requires waiting in interminable lines for basic necessities that sometimes quickly run out. A reporter recently back from the country found cases of even middle class people having to cut down on calorie intake due to shortages and economic chaos. Despite having the world’s largest oil reserves, a rich territory with a relatively small population, there has always been widespread poverty in Venezuela, with a small elite wholly hoarding the revenues from oil (Venezuela was an original founder of OPEC in 1960.) This explains the rise of Chavez, a charismatic army colonel who had tried to overthrow the government in a 1992 coup, but won the presidential election in 1998.
He articulated a socialism for the 21st century and the fact that the price of petroleum steadily climbed from US$6 a barrel in 1998 to over US$100 in 2008 helped finance an extensive reorganization of the economy encapsulating the socialist principles espoused by Chaves and his Chavista colleagues. This benefitted the poorer sectors of society, which being the majority would elect him president repeatedly. Chavez’s death and the radical drop in oil prices exposed this economic model, this time overseen by the uncharismatic and seemingly incompetent Maduro, as well as its ultimate inability to sustain itself. Things will change there one way or the other.

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Venezuela’s Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall at 979 meters

Europe sleepwalking towards fascism:

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The sweet smiling face of fascism

The runoff in the Austrian election pitted an establishment politician formerly a member of the country’s Green Party, Alexander Van der Belien against the far-right Austrian Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer which the former won by a mere 0.6% on May 23. This caused relief since it would have been the first time since the Second World War that a far-right politician led a European country. Austria mirrors the rise of right wing parties in other countries of the continent, feeding on economic uncertainty and an influx of Arab immigrants escaping the chaos engulfing most of the Middle East. Vowing to shut their borders and prioritize Christian Europe, these leaders stoke the anger felt by those workers left out of the global economy whose formerly well-paid manufacturing jobs have been shipped to China or Mexico. With false promises and nationalistic rhetoric, leaders such as Marine Le Pen in France (likely to win the first round of the French presidential election next year) try to sanitize their bilious ideology in terms that sound reasonable to certain sectors of the population. It is good to remember that Hitler was considered a joke in the beginning.

Anglo Blog Post Six: April 25-May 15, 2016

The shame of the ivory trade
On April 30, the Kenyan government burned 100 tons of ivory in a gesture against the continued clandestine trade of this luxury item. In the last three years, according to World Wildlife Fund, 100,000 elephants have died in Africa, feeding a malicious trade of ivory, mostly emanating from Asia, and China in particular. If this rate of killing continues, the future of one of the last remnants of the mega fauna that once roamed this land is greatly imperiled. All for an item to satisfy man’s greed, this time an aesthetic one where the creation of beautiful art causes the demise of a living species, and such an elegant one as the elephant.

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Wholesale slaughter of other fauna, some of it endangered, also persists where no necessity is present. Animals such as minks and foxes are gratuitously killed to satisfy the vanity of people who think a fur coat validates their station in life. Countries such as Japan, Russia, Iceland and Norway continue to hunt whales for their meat, considered a delicacy in local culinary tradition but one which leads to the slaughter of the king of the seas.

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It is time consumers reacted by boycotting items related to these practices. This has worked before, in the case where dragnet fishing for tuna resulted in the killing of thousands of dolphins entangled in the nets. Consumers stopped buying tuna fish that came from dragnet fishing and the pressure on the tuna industry caused them to alter their methods of acquiring their good.

Muslim mayor in London

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Lately, there seems to have been a maelstrom of bad news about Muslims in Europe. This is particularly due to the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, and the rise of intolerant and extreme right wing groups that can attract up to 20% of support in some European countries. For the last sixty years, Europe has seen itself as a bastion of tolerance and the center of a new form of multicultural societies, expunging the ghosts of fascism and racism which marked much of its history. However, atavistic tendencies seem to be re-emerging, spawning the kind of exclusionary, ‘nativist’ policies that have immigrants and their offspring, many of whom have been in Europe for decades, feeling vulnerable and scared.

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But the recent mayoral election in London, where Sadiq Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, was elected mayor of one of the most important cities in the world, is a piece of good news against all the recent negativity. His campaign emphasized tolerance and common human values, and despite being defamed by some opponents as being a radical Islamists, the people of London saw through these base claims and elected him anyway.

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This year’s Academy Awards provoked controversy for the failure for any person of color being nominated for the principal acting categories. Much soul searching was conducted aiming to discover why it was that black actors were so often overlooked and the reasons for such a dearth of female or African American directors. The conclusion was that the almost entirely white male composition of the Academy board had led to this lamentable situation.

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Brazil’s recent political turmoil culminated in the temporary removal of President Dilma Rousseff from office on May 12. Her replacement, Michel Temer, assures the country that the legacy of the PT, of bringing sectors of the Brazilian population into the economy and political world from where they had been historically excluded, would be maintained. Such words rung slightly hollow when he announced his cabinet, made of exclusively of white males. Not a single woman or person of color.

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African American film director Spike Lee says that when he comes to Brazil and watches television, he forgets that he is not in Scandinavia, so miniscule is black representation in the media here. Viewers outside Brazil, who have been exposed to a lot of coverage concerned with the impeachment process, might be forgiven from not realizing that half the Brazilian population is black. The same occurred during the World Cup, projected worldwide, where it was difficult to spot a single black spectator in the Brazilian stadiums.
Some Brazilians insist that what occurs here is classism rather than racism, that darker people are discriminated against because they are assumed to be poor. People say this with a straight face. To this author, it’s an absurd argument. It’s time for Brazil to face up to its race problem, which is unfortunately deeply embedded in the culture. Temer’s ministerial choices merely affirm this.