Save Ocean Coral reef

Coral reef

Struggling Ocean Reefs

In an article published in the Christian Science Monitor last month, one scientist has been working to find ways that would protect coral reefs. Mary Hogedon who works as a marine biologist, is planning on using liquid nitrogen
together with freezers to provide life-saving condition and preservation methods to the exquisite lives of coral. But what makes her project more interesting to the public is that she’s using a relatively new process called cryopreservation, to do so. And so far- due to rapidly changing climatic condition, it’s a race against time.

Mary’s hope is to prevent another of our ocean- residents from extinction. The work of saving corals from human actions and from the effect of global -warming and rising sea level, have become a painful reality for most people including myself. This happened after completing a ten- week course this fall, in Oceanography. Here’s the painful truth of our world. If humanity continues on in its present path, there’s a chance that the next generation of human beings and their offspring are more likely to witness what could be the beginning of the disappearance of the countless other marine lives which depend largely on coral communities in the ocean for their own survivor.

Yellow Coral

Mary Hagedon and her team of scientists whom I have dubbed the “Visible Helpers, are designing means that would help them develop a “reef sperm bank” or something very similar to it, which would then be able to freeze reproductive cells of coral, algae, including other habitats such as fish- which make their home among coral reef. This selfless goal these scientists are trying to achieve is to maintain the genetic diversity of ocean coral reef through Cryopreservation. The fear though is that there could be extinction due to changing weather patterns and human actions on the world oceans. And so, they are hoping that, with this new idea, they would be able to maintain the blueprint which in the future could help them repopulate the ocean from this bank of frozen coral gametes.

The article also points out that though there is consensus amongst coral researchers concerning the danger that threatens ocean reefs existence, they differ widely on a whole range of issues including on how best to achieve this goal. For some, the question is; “at what level should human even interfere in trying to preserve the ocean ecosystem?” But some researchers, including Ohio State University marine scientist Andrea Grottoli, who believes that “it’s not a question of should we save reefs – they have to be save- it’s a matter of how do we do that and how much of it can we save?” Still, some of these conservationists are split on issue like whether it’s even important to give each individual threatened species the life-saving attention or simply focus on how to minimize the overarching threats which both human and climate change are causing.

People like Terry Hughes, the director of the” Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, “believes that Small-scale restoration projects aren’t the best way to save coral reefs. Terry’s argument is that, such a method can only do so much, given the immense size of the ocean. Contrary to Terry’s argument, however, other prominent researchers in the field, who, for example, have delved deep into the breathtakingly colorful environment of the ocean ecosystem, feel otherwise. They think the idea that “if you can’t save all, then don’t save any,” is a poor judgement for someone like Mary who is painfully aware of the “back-to-back mass bleaching of coral reefs in recent years. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; coral reefs are giant “economic resource at nearly 30 billion in annual revenue. You must stop and think about that, and about the positive impact this can have on local economy.

In another article published in the New York Times, by Justin Gillis, Scientists have recorded that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, beating a record set only a year earlier. Based on the finding, scientists noticed that it’s the first time in recent history for global warming data to get blown past previous record three years in a row. Scientists are now convinced that the global temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose significant threat to the natural world and to human civilization.

I drove right up to the Oregon Coast last month along with two other students, who were very helpful in gathering data on the geology of the Oregon’s magnificent coastline. We took pictures of Whales, Seals, Sea lions, Sea anemones and mollusks on the beaches and beneath the many huge boulders scattered all over in the tidal zone. The headlands in certain areas along the beach, I noticed appear very steep and threatening. Beaches along the Pacific North West, for example, show obvious signs of active margins.

 

Thanksgiving, a special mindset

Built in the middle ages

This was at the close of another difficult century in Europe. The continent was beginning to re-emerge from losses as a result of the Crusades. By this time all over Western Europe up to Cordoba and beyond, the middle class was now re-establishing itself. Emperors were still licking their wounds, great halls of learning were just beginning to open their doors to pupils. And these were Institutions which would go on to pronounce laws and orders for a rapidly changing European  continent. Indeed this was an age of intellectualism. But the Eastern knowledge, such as Aristotelian and Platonism were now gaining ground, too, as a force for good on the continent. And although the Byzantine empire was weakened, Christianity and Christendom would go on to gain huge followings.
Medieval Europe, Germany

Just a few block away, under the shadow of the castle of a mighty emperor lived a farmer, his wife,  his sons and daughters. They were poor. It’s Thanksgiving and they have just gathered for the Thanksgiving dinner. But earlier  that day, his wife, a hardworking woman and mother of his children, has gone to work to prepare a wild turkey dish, using the family’s favorite spaces like; ground black pepper, rosemary,  dried sage, some garlic powder and much more to bake the turkey. Then the food was ready. The children who were now grinning with anticipation could no longer mask their impatience. Let’s bow in prayer, the poor father finally announced. They were mostly a happy family.
Cordoba, Spain.

Meanwhile, in the nearby Castle, the great Emperor has been pacing up and down through the long corridor. All day the great man has been deep in thought about questions and dangers surrounding his sovereignty. But the Emperor has also forgotten it’s Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Visiblehelpers, on this Christian Holiday.

Boudicca, a woman with heart of steel

 

 

 

Statue of Boudicca, warrior queen of the Iceni,

Boudicca was indeed a famous queen by all measures, and her fame she earned by virtue of her own will. She was shrewd, she was fierce and she was strong and bold. Boudicca’s rebellion was a crucial moment in early British history. This is especially so in light of Romans’ occupation- which she challenged- that radically altered its course over many centuries. Boudicca’s strong inclination to confederacy of Briton tribes had taken the placid Roman occupiers totally by surprise. The Romans, for their part, assumed that the “Celtic barbarians were far too disorganized to mount any insurrection.”

 

This open challenge by a female, on so many accounts, to me, was a huge defeat to the Romans honor in war- and to their titanic ego. Before this battle, the Romans have gone largely unchallenged in Britain since its conquering. And so, the ability and the military organizations of these tribes who were not even allowed to have weapons during Romans’ rule, and yet were able to rise up and sack three defended cities was astonishing. And through this amazing feat, Boudicca’s place in history was established, and thereby became a Visible Helper of her tribes.

 

“We British are used to women commanders in war, …. But I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom….”  Here, it’s evident that this was a fearless female commander giving a passionate battle-cry speech before her loyal army, and saying that she wasn’t going to war with the Romans for any other reason except for her own freedom. Thinking of that, how can such a lofty goal not be worthy of honor, even by modern standard?  “And Though she lost her battle and her cause, Boudicca is celebrated today as a national heroine and a universal symbol of the human desire for freedom and justice.

Boudiccastatue
Statue of Boudicca, warrior queen of the Iceni, London.

Boudicca’s war achievement should speak volumes about role of women in early British’s society. The fact that a woman commander was at the war-front, accentuate the great difference between these two opposing kingdoms. Boudicca’s’ version of history, however, could be what gave modern military planners any inkling to what role women are capable of playing in war. Overall, it might have set the precedence of what today we called gender equality in the civilized world. Tacitus writes that Britons made no distinction in the sex of their leaders but were used to women commanders in war.

 

Yes, the Romans’ only disadvantage might had been of the size of their small army. Still, the Romans had the strategic advantage- they were better equipped with powerful machineries of war. Plus, they, too, were geared up by the same kindred spirit that powered their opponent against them. And so it may be arguable to say that the Romans fought the war out of national pride and with great technology in defense of something still higher which they held most precious. The Romans were also encouraged by ideas about the afterlife. Boudicca and her people, on the other hand, had all the right reasons to go to war! They fought for their freedom. They fought for their honor. And like any other noble race of that generation, they stood so firm before the most formidable army of the day, to defend their own. And, for them, these reasons were enough that they became the moving force which powered the Britons’ army to do battle.

 

Though the Romans might have had a better and well-armed fighting force, when it came to spirituality, I believe that the Romans were not superior to those of the mysterious tribesmen, the Celtic.  Especially the Druids were no strangers to the doctrine on transmigrations and to the secrets of nature. Some Celtic’s value, by degrees, I believe, became Romans’ values. The Druids, as an Order, is still more related to the Egyptians in the mystery than are the Romans, to it. Therefore, the Druids or Celtic people couldn’t have been inferior to Romans morally. And though the Romans were more or less sophisticated technology-wise, I see them not as far apart as it appears.

The Virtue of Jewish Culture

Jewish Women 2

 

The debate between Nicholas of Autrecourt and his friend, on whether it is possible to ever achieve certain knowledge, is something I have considered. But coming to the defense of an ancient people has never been an easy task, and yet, it’s no heroic task. Still-  I will try. And my apology to historians—for wanting to discuss this humble profession for being the wise fool which can only point fingers at evidence, but never talks.

Looking at the ancient Hebrew culture through the heart, and having had some uncommon acquaintance with the nature of some of their secret writings, It then becomes hard to put down that noble race solely on the basis of past records which suggest that Jewish women were treated more like slaves.  The problem with this idea is that, when it comes to ancient history, nothing can be more unreliable than it, and perhaps this is true because it’s very difficult to try to weave together accurately what has happened many centuries back.  Painting past Jewish societies as full of men who were cruel to women, is indeed very much troublesome.  Perhaps the perception that men had of women in ancient times, could have been something much more patriarchal, or more fatherly, so that at the end of the day,  instead of being something negative, it became for them more of a love affair than of a bunch of wicked men who enjoyed taking swings at their wives.

Only few other nations on the face of the Earth, in those days  that could’ve had a strong enough religious culture just as good as compared to that of the Hebrew culture, — where submission to divine will, ruled the day. For example, Jewish holy men, who were actually Visible Helpers, in the truest sense of the word, could do anything that God asked them to do—no questions asked.Jewish Life

The ancient Greeks knew this, and with all their knowledge, and with all their philosophies, they were still no equal to the mysterious nature of the Hebrews. And by historicizing Greek’s achievements for all it’s worth, will do no better.  Hebrew women were amongst the most submissive of women in those days. And because of this, they were able to bring joy and happiness into their household. And it was there alone that the Lord chose to find a mother for himself. The women of Islam also exemplify this subservient lifestyle, a religion which by the way, is a derivative of both Judaism and Christianity.

Jewish women 3

Perhaps one might say that religious life in ancient Israel was one dominated by Temple visits and daily religious rites and ceremonies, and all of these were “men only jobs.” Therefore, it was just necessary for the men and not for the women who actually handled the harder tasks, which helped their men stayed focussed, as they performed Temple duties in order to bring God’s blessing to their households. In this sense then, it was bliss—not bondage, for the ancient women of Israel.

In Layers of Gears, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia

Ebola protective gear

This blog was researched from several  online Journals, including The New York Times’s article; “In Layers of Gear, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia,” originally written by Sheri Fink. In here I chronicled some of the terrible agonies the Ebola Virus is capable of causing. This version however, is an excerpt from a paper I wrote during the summer, in which I shed light upon the great sacrifices of aid workers and international volunteers who rushed over to Africa to help save those dying from the Ebola disease. The original version from which this article draws heavily upon, is itself among a chain of several works I did that involved lab experiments, including real-time handling with different types of microbes. In some cases, I had to use several Petri dishes taken from campus to culture microbes and then incubate them under different types of temperatures. I had to use my refrigerator to culture  certain samples swabbed from inside my mouth and my nose.  Many other microbes were simply captured just by leaving the Petri dishes opened for as little as 10 minutes, and with in several hours, the microbe had already formed colonies that became visible to the naked eye.

I did my best however, to describe in here some of the deadly symptoms of Ebola, after the virus takes hold of its victims.  As a matter of fact, I only followed the New York Times’ author’s original description by listing the types of precautions that volunteers and Medical Aid Workers, including ordinary local citizens living in Liberia, put in place to make sure that the deadly disease didn’t spread any further. In conclusion, I briefly reinforced the main objective which was to educate more people about the disease. While doing this, I managed to delve into the morbid interactions between the disease and those it infects in those final days of death and recovery.

The Virus

ebola

Image Credit:/ Getty’s

The Ebola Virus overtakes its host by disarming the immune responses, leading to whole range of symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle pain, sore throat, fever and eventually dehydration.  But according to the article, majority of the survivors were among those receiving supportive care, including oral or intravenous re-hydration, which helped delay the disease long enough for the body to fight off the infection. In one particular case, according to the article, which involved a sick man who lived outside the city.  The man began sweating profusely before collapsing, and according to one eyewitness, health workers imagined “every inch of his body was covered with billions of Ebola particles, a remark, I supposed, helped kept emergency medical workers on high alert.

Typically when a person is affected by the Ebola virus, it takes up to a couple of weeks before symptoms start showing themselves.  Treating the disease at this early stage is imperative but difficult. In Emergency: Mass Casualty: Ebola, Anna Easter explains why: “Early diagnosis is difficult because the presenting symptoms include those evident in differential diagnoses such as influenza and sepsis. Differential diagnosis is time consuming and extremely costly”.

E

Health workers had to rely on bleach solutions and chlorinated water throughout the outbreak in Liberia, to combat the spread of the disease, and it worked.   The methods used for precautions are straight, plain and simple. For those at the full-front; zip-up in a special suit made of rubber that contains layers upon layers of protective material from feet to head, equipped with goggle, gloves and face-mask. Even after this measure of care, one had to still be sprayed with the bleach solution before actually entering the contaminated zone. On your return trip from the contaminated zone, you go through an equally thorough decontamination face before leaving the facility.

Using bleach solution for disinfection, played a very important role combating the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and this aspect of the article enriched my own understanding about the effect of bleach as a powerful disinfectant chemical cleaning agent even in our homes. For instance, when I used the household bleach with active yeast during one of my labs, I noticed that the result was almost immediate. The process of life seemed to had ceased entirely. The budding process of yeast-cells that at first was going on rapidly seemed to had been interrupted when the bleach was introduced. What was going on here inside the experimental container became quite obvious to me; the bleach was inhabiting and destroying the yeast-cells. This powerful illustration, for instance, shows how extremely potent a chemical cleansing agent bleach is.

The importance of the Ebola story cannot be over-exaggerated since it involves several people with different backgrounds who have had first-hand experience of the deadly disease while living and breathing among those infected with it. It shows us, for example, the level of bravery and sacrificed of the men and women who were there in the heavily impacted zones of the Ebola outbreak to help those awaiting death.  Their stern determination in the face of danger to risk their own lives must have revealed again the indomitable nature of the human spirit. The willingness of volunteers to intervene and wrestle with death to help other men, indicates that man– for the most part– is good-by nature. It clarifies the point that the soul in man is infinitely compassionate, and that nothing can ever stand  before the soul in its onward path to altruism—Indeed I am convinced that all men are helpers, they are Visible Helpers.

Perhaps more than anything else, their story set a plain guideline about how to protect oneself and those we love from most disease outbreaks like the Ebola virus. Following the simple but effective methods that those health-workers put in place to ensure their own safety, is something that’s worth remembering in any viral disease outbreak.

In a split-second, the article shows readers that in the final days of the outbreak, those that survived, for the first time, began to see a glimmer of hope again, and for those who died, for them, their agony was greatly lessened with the help of hundreds of empathetic health workers—further proof that man’s only hope is in man.

 

 

The Secret World of Monuments

The Sun God Surya

god shiva

Man is neither kind nor respectful, say I, of the strong among us to ever care whether this act or that act is just or unjust, whether to love whether to serve, all the same, they just don’t care! Give man a chance I ask, and see if he wouldn’t haul his God from out of the heavens and bring him down here on the Earth, and then make of him a public exhibition, thinking little of the need for such a venerable one. Thinking still less whether that’s what the saints and the prophets of ancient time had ever wanted, fame it’s called,- when they walked the Earth. Profane, profane I shout ….isnt’ this all that man cares about; fame- this fleeting experience? He then blinds himself into thinking that he can still make the life of those great ones still greater, and so he goes and built a whole monument of some poor saint, some tired soul, some loving heart who had died a long, long time ago trying to change the world. I pray you please tell me, what more do such a pure soul, one who had seen it all, heard it all, and therefore understands it all, can ever again want from man? The making of those great ones standing guard in the center of our  immoral cities, please tell me, is this not unkind?

This magnificent statue of the Sun god, sits here in eternal meditation at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi. Known all over India as Surya, he soon caught my attention while heading towards the passenger lounge.  What a pity, I thought, that man, in his conceit should bind even a god in this public of squares.

As I moved passed the sculpture, I couldn’t help but wonder what this mute statue would say to the world if for the first time it were allowed to talk. “What would it say?” I asked myself before finally disappearing among the people “It’s pure arrogance for man in his bliss, to think that this does me any good,” was the last thought I heard inside my quiet mind.

In a country that is home to a whopping 17 percent of the world’s population, this famous statue literally sees millions of passengers coming in and out of the country.

 

Guruda,  The Humble Giant

Garuda image

Behind me on a pedestal, stands Garuda, the lustrous legendary bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. This very humble giant is indeed the “vahana” or vehicle of Lord Vishnu. This is Durbar Square, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Exhausted from many days of road travel, and looking gaunt, I decided to shake it all off with a visit to this famous square, to learn something more about this really great culture.  Here, I was able to get involved in some cultural diplomacy with non-beings.

Unlike many western sculptures, in the east, the people provide more than maintenance for their sculptures, they bring gifts of all kinds, such as beautiful roses and money offerings  to these stone gods on a daily basis. To add even more flavor, the Hindu faith believes that every form for that matter, has something of a consciousness of its own.  I could imagined that this beautiful form behind me was saying; “Why wouldn’t this guy ask me before posting to take a picture.

Join by thousands of ordinary Nepalese, everyday this Garudar sculpture partakes in a rather playful atmosphere regularly. Nepaleses consider the square like this one, a shopping mall.

The Homeless Jesus

S. Francis, Public Figure

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hand and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist, says .” (St. Francis of Assisi)

In considering the world’s contemporary history in light of saints, especially those saints who most recently walked the Earth, St Francis is one I often find in my thoughts. But in downtown Manhattan, sits the bronze statue of the “Homeless Jesus,” in front of the St. Francis Church, on 31 St. The statue looks entirely pensive, and it’s also shameful. Even I, with my poor self, I couldn’t help but stick a quarter in the Lord’s hands. But does he have need for it, or is this just another condescending behavior of the human race?

Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to want to know what this rather benign sculpture of the lord, if it could talk at all, would be its voice. ” To man, it was never enough after they impaled me on the cross, after they beat me, and cursed me, and put on displayed my naked body, now here, in the public of squares they have turned me into a beggar, and they have dressed me into rags and have assigned me here, under rain, under sun and under snow !

This is New York City, and as you know, it’s home to almost nine million Americans, and this section of town, which is very near Pan Station, on 34 St, serves as New York City’s most populous transit district. Therefore, apart from the hundreds of churchgoers, my guess is that this statue sees it lot more people  from its roadside canopy than anyone can possibly count.

    The Heroic Rosa Park

Rosa Park, image

Walking by this demure figure, one would have to wonder about that moment on the bus. What was she thinking? What could have been the source of her motivation? What type of courage is that, to ask for certain death?” So, this then brings me to what a great man once said; “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Who then was that someone that loved Ms. Rosa Park so deeply? Who was that someone whom Ms. Park had loved so deeply? Was Rosa Park, herself just a bunch of love? But if there are no answers to these questions, perhaps this stern expression, frozen on her face is the very epitome of courage motivated by love, the reflection of an inner war–the spirit of that one virtue which when once awakened, when once whispered, it becomes an echo throughout the corridor of time.

My thoughts were that perhaps this woman  who sits here frozen forever in time, and is holding in her bosom my water bottle, that maybe her last wish was for everyone who passes by her shrine, she hope would take with them a little of her courage, a portion of her will, and then  add to it, and then eventually each can change something of the world.

Every single day, Rosa Park sits here quietly watching thousands of pedestrians passedby. But once in a while someone would stop to study the small-looking statue of this Civil Right icon, and perhaps ask quietly about the dept of her courage, the power of the human spirit, the elements of her dauntless will which stood firm before the whiteman’s army.

Israel and the Two-State Solution

 

Israel Security Image

Image Credit: New York Times

Samuel Collins

Israel built security fence in the West Bank to barricade itself from Palestinian suicide bombers, but such effort has been met with as much resistance as you would expect. Both Arab Palestinians and Israeli Jews claimed entitlement to Jerusalem, and to the West Bank. The city is important to three of the world’s major religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And for centuries, all parties to the dispute have been unable to come to any peaceful understanding. The U.N. and many western nations, including the Obama administration argued that the Two-State Solution would be the only viable pathway to a peaceful coexistent. Many Jews however, remained skeptical of the idea of a Two-State solution. They fear that if the idea is fully put into practice, it would result into Israel’s insecurity, and that in addition to that, Israel might risk losing its unique Jewish identity.

There are several ‘bedrock demands between the two parties that, in practice, often appear to be mutually out of touch.” For example, on border issue, there is no agreement about where exactly to draw the line. Palestinians demand that any negotiation regarding the Two-State Solution must include provision for Israeli military to withdraw entirely from the West Bank, in order for such negotiation to gain legitimacy. But the Israeli government do not have any obligation to do so, they argued that these territories were won over during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, and during other arm conflicts in the region.  They insist that the State of Israel is for these reasons has no legal obligation to give back lands it once captured. As of this writing, Israel is still building Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and in other areas– an action that many analysts, including some far-right Israeli citizens feel may stall the peace negotiations and make it much more difficult to reach any agreement.

 Security concern: To the ordinary Palestinians, security means an end to the Israeli military occupation. For the Jews however, security means not abandoning the West Bank, for fear that the vacancy would be immediately occupied by rogue group like Hamas, and this would then threaten Israel’s national security. Each party to the conflict remains firm about what it wants.

Many western experts also believe that the current security wall which Israel built to contain the violence from the Palestinian side, would do little to address Israel’s longtime security needs. According to Mr. Fisher, a Jerusalem-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, told me last year, “perpetuating the status quo is the most frightening of the possibilities,” by which he means, that by maintaining the border wall in the West Bank, is only worsening the problem.

Today, as a direct consequence of the ongoing territorial dispute between Israel and the Palestinian, the people of Palestine are states-less people. They have no independent access to electricity, no hospital, no army, no credible institution of learning. Many Palestinians suffer from depression, according to inside sources.  But nothing remains more needed than is peace for the Palestine people.

As the only country that practices democracy in the Middle East, Israel thus strategically becomes a geo- political advantage to the U.S. and to other major democracies around the world. Israel’s very past is one that’s marked by constant land disputes and wars with nearby countries. But despite these challenges, the country had emerged as a modern industrial nation– equipped with a full army, and a thriving economy.

Israel ranks 37 on the Transparency scale, and its past record shows that, as a country, Israel seems to be moving back and forth on the scale. Between 2012 to 2014, she moved from 60 to 51 on the Transparency scale and back to 60 again. She however, maintains the 37th place.

This report is just one of many examples that shows what is going on around the world since the twentieth century with regards to land-border conflicts. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds, too are State-less people. They don’t have full control over the resources in places where they inhabit.  Many research analysts on internatinal crisis and conflict zones have come to the realization  that great and powerful nations are conquering weaker nations without the use of force.  They are using the forces of their economies  to gain powerful influence over relatively economically less powerful countries. For example, take a look at Mongolia and China. See what type of relationship is going on between the two. One TED Talk speaker described it as the “Chinese style” refering to those particular methods which China is using to spread out influence.

 

 

India’s Water Crisis

India's Water Crisis

 

By degrees, water is increasingly becoming one of the scarce resources in some parts of the world. The government of India and many other Asian countries have begun finding ways to circumvent the pending water crisis in their countries, while some remained desperate. But it’s in India, a country that seems to have several uses for water than perhaps any other country in the world, where water shortage is  more pressing. The tens of millions of Temples, spread out all over India, depend on the use of groundwater. Each major Temple in India must have its own man-made lake or resevoir which it uses for many things, including for purification during ceremonies and rituals, and this is just one of many ways that Indians have involved over the centuries with the use of water. But part of the blame is on India for its ambition to become a major economic power, thereby welcoming the influence of globalization, and the result is that; more and more Indians are now using efficient means to exploit more groundwater in a short period of time than they did in the past, which helps exacerbates the water crisis.

The last two decades of the twentieth century helped propelled India well up the rank of an industrial giant on the Indian subcontinent.  With the impact of open-market economics, fair-trade deals and booming domestic high-power manufacturing plants tconstantly dumping capital goods on local markets, for the first time, more and more Indians are investing in capital, and millions of people are taking the leap from a relatively small subsistant farmings to large scale commercial farming.  Because more and more farmers are upgrading their farming capacity by drawing upon ideas of agribusiness and other Western methods– all of which in some form, needs more and more water to grow crops–  by the time the last quarter of the 20st century could see itself through, India had started to notice changes within its groundwater systems.

Much more than this, India is home to a whopping 17% of the world’s total population, and majority of the population are people who still live off the land. Most villages in India depend on groundwater to grow their own food and to feed their animals. Proper sanitation continued to be rare in India, and many homes lack indoor toilets, so  It’s very common to see people attending to nature in open spaces. Whole rivers have turned into debris of soups, filled with human remains and all sort of unimaginable filth. These elements along with poor management by local government officials, guaranteed a sustaining water problem for the country, and is surely a serious economic barrier for this emerging economy.

In 2012, India sent a special delegation to Israel, to gather information from the Israelites; about the way they have been able to successfully manage their own water crisis. India and Israel, before that year, signed an agreement to support cooperation on urban water system.  But at home in India, other steps have been put into practice in big cities, some in the form of public restrictions on water usage, but also the use of state-of-the-art technologies that can monitor and record where and how the water is being used at any given location, are at the moment under consideration.

In the meantime, according to Parthasarathy, in the New York Times, even “the Mullapreriyar Dam, a 112- year-old reservoir, located on the Periyar River in Kerala, is no different. The dispute over the dam, distinct as it may be in its historic makings, is ultimately symptomatic of a festering federalist crisis.” The mention of this truely historical Indian landmark, explains a lot more than it seems. The water crisis has sprout into a dispute between two major southern states; Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and then to the federal government. It has now become an issue of whether federal officials would consider the eminent domain clause as an option.

You often hear people refer to India as a Sub-continent, or the Indian subcontinent, but what they are referring to is a southern region of Asia that is situated on the Indian plate, and extends southward into the India Ocean from the Himalayas. The country India, is in southern Asia, and it borders the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan. The country also ranks 7th in the world in terms of size, and second, in terms of population. Indian borders six countries, China, Burma, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Both Nepal and Pakistan are in the northern part of the country. The Bay of Bengal, where Kolkata lies, is the part of India that borders the four other countries, including Bangladesh. The entire northern part of the country is home to the great Himalayas mountain ranges.

India is perhaps the most religious country in the world today. For thousands of years, religion has continued to play primary role in the lives of most Indians. Even today in modern day India, almost every home you enter there’s an altar, which is kept sacred, and is approached only for puja, or prayer. Some families set aside a special room in their home for this purpose. When it comes to religion, India has a long history of religious tolerance. For ages, the Hindus live alongside other religious groups peacefully. But there have been cases of violence sparked by religious sentiments. The most recent ones have been between adherents of the Islamic faith and members of the Hindu religion.

More than 79% of the population goes to Hindu Temples.  Islam is only 14% of the population. Christianity makes up little over 2% in this great country, and the most Christians adherents are found in Kerala; India’s southernmost State. City like Punjab and Kashmir are predominantly Muslims. The Sikh and Jain religions are perhaps the smallest religious groups in India. Buddhism is almost missing in the south, but there are few Buddhist Temples in places like Sikkim, Ladakh and Dhamasala, where the Dalai Lama stays. The government of India has no religious restrictions in place in the country, though most politicians, including the current prime minister,  belong to the Hindu faith.

 

Swedish Immigrants- A Bumpy Stay

By Samuel Collins

Utopia Challenged.  Sweden's Relationship With Refugees

 

Rinkeby, as they call it, is a small suburban immigrant enclave, located somewhere near the Mediterranean Sea, just 13 km northwest of Stockholm, and about 18 minutes subway ride to center city. Here, more than 80% of Rinkeby’s residents are immigrants from places like Iraq, Syria, Somalia, South America and Eastern Europe. But the once lovely immigrant community has become notorious for crimes, riots, police brutalities.  According to Mr. Hoge, a resident, just a mere mention of the name Rinkeby, would get people to shrink back.

 

A Pew Research Center study conducted in “2016 found that over 46 percent of Swedes believed that refugees are responsible for most of the crimes than other groups,” even though an earlier study carried out by a popular local newspaper, the Dagens Nyheter, analyzed crime statistics in the same area and came to the conclusion that refugees were responsible for only 1 percent of all incident. For a country like Sweden, where unemployment rate has alway been almost non-existent, the unemployment rate remains high within the Rinkeby immigrant neighborhood , and this is just one of many indications that immigrants in Sweden are being targeted with workplace discrimination and other related issues. Most residents from this community connect the high unemployment rate there to direct public reaction to the presence of refugees and other migrants  elsewhere in the country.

 

The city of Rinkeby has a population of approximately 48.700, with roughly even male and female residents.  The birth rate here is 16.1%, and the death rate is at 4.9%. The population pyramid of Rinkeby displays almost a perfectly shaped beehive structure, with relatively many children and adolescents. The city has a high working population between the ages of 21 to 64, and less age-dependency of people between the ages 65 and 79, and between the ages of 14 and below- all of which are positive signs that residents here should be thriving economically. For refugees, however, the recent Syrian crisis has brought enormous stress upon the country’s ability to host refugees.

 

Looking at the Rinkeby story carefully, one would see that there are a number of correlations between what happened here in the U.S. in the 1800s, during the first and second waves of Irish and Chinese immigrants. For example, the methods used here in the U.S, which included race-sensitive immigration laws which were meant to keep in check Chinese immigrant workers from becoming U.S. citizens, appear to look much like what the Swedes seem to be implementing. For instance, in Sweden, immigrants are always immigrants. If you’re an immigrant, this attitude completely ignores whether you have received your citizenship, or whether you were born in the country, they still see you as either a migrant or an immigrant.  By being born in Sweden doesn’t confer citizenship status to children of foreigners.

 

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With world population on the increase, and globalization rapidly uniting every corner of the world in ways that our ancestors couldn’t have imagined,  rich and powerful countries would have to  preparation for these types of cultural diffusions which are often the result of wars, natural disasters.  And it’s made more urgent due in part to fresh crisis now erupting throughout the world.  These new problems, in their term help to supply a constant flow of refugees from  places like Asia , Africa, including eastern Europe.The newcomers then bring along with them their own cultural elements which before didn’t exist in their host country.

Italy  is added to the list of countries which have started to see increase in the number of migrants. The country has straight laws making it illegal to enter Italy without proper papers, but the law has so far done little to stop the number of illegal migrants from coming into the country.  Unlike Sweden, which has mostly legal immigrants, and well-vetted refugees, Italy has high illegal migrant population, and this has become a subject for debate in Parliament. Critics of the new law argued that the law is in violation of basic human rights. Some politicians argued that majority of migrant workers are honest people who are willing to work for lower wages which in many cases, Italian citizens are not willing to do for the same amount. Some low income families in big cities in Italy rely heavily on  migrant workers to take care of  their ailing relatives.

And the country’s rapidly aging population has opened up a new area of employment which most migrants seek.  Still, most Italian citizens continue to exhibit strong prejudices for people of immigrant ancestry, and this gives us just one more reason to believe that hatred against people of color is alive and well on the European continent. In Mr. Hoge’s story; “A Swedish Dilemmas: The Immigrant Ghetto” he writes about how “the town has become stigmatized in Sweden as a haven for welfare cheats and a center of criminal activity.” Even though this seems to not be the case, based on credible sources.