Desert Solitaire

[“Wilderness preservation, like a hundred other good causes, will be forgotten under the overwhelming pressure of a struggle for mere survival and sanity in a completely urbanized, completely industrialized, even more crowded environment,” Abbey warned. “For my own part I would rather take my chances in a thermonuclear war than live in such a world….

The arches themselves, strange, impressive, grotesque, form but a small and inessential part of the general beauty of this country. When we think of rock we usually think of stones, broken rock, buried under soil and plant life, but here all is exposed and naked, dominated by the monolithic formations of sandstone which stand above the surface of the ground and extend for miles, sometimes level, sometimes tilted or warped by pressures from below, carved by erosion and weathering into an intricate maze of glens, grottoes, fissures, passageways and deep narrow canyons….”

Outdoor recreation was Abbey’s rebellion against the decaying and overcrowded cities. In the 1980s, as a succession of Reagan-era appointees sought to weaken protection of federal lands, “Desert Solitaire” became a must-read for environmentalists and Abbey found himself speaking to crowds of hundreds, denouncing money-grubbers who willy-nilly looted the public domain. His death in 1989 silenced his outraged voice, but no one will ever be able to silence the power of “Desert Solitaire,” his wild-goat cry to leave it as it was. “A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original,” Abbey warned, “is cutting itself off from its origins.”]



A Body, Only a Body. And Nothing More

[I came across Mr. Nygard’s ode to human endurance three years ago while beginning research on a novel about a woman who can’t die, and watching that video allowed me to experience something close to life extension. As Mr. Nygard compared himself to Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin while dancing with a bevy of models — or as a voice-over explained, “living a life most can only dream of” — nine minutes of YouTube expanded into a vapid eternity, where time melted into a vortex of solipsism.

But men who hope to live forever might pause on their eternal journey to consider the frightening void at invincibility’s core. Death is the ultimate vulnerability. It is the moment when all of us must confront exactly what so many women have known all too well: You are a body, only a body, and nothing more.]

The Mapping of Massacres

[… So far, it includes more than a hundred and seventy massacres of Indigenous people in eastern Australia, as well as six recorded massacres of settlers, from the period of 1788 to 1872. She estimates that there were more than five hundred massacres of Indigenous people over all, and that massacres of settlers numbered fewer than ten. (Ryan has not yet researched any massacres of Torres Strait Islander people, who are culturally distinct from mainland Aboriginal groups but share their history of colonization.] Ceridwen Dovey is the author of the novel “Blood Kin” and the short-story collection “Only the Animals.” 

The Mapping of Massacres | THE NEW YORKER 



What Borders are Indigenous Americans Crossing?

If You Respect Native American Culture Then Help Actual Native Americans Cross the Border | DALLAS NEWS

When I mention American Indians in Mexico and Latin America, don’t be confused. Indian bloodlines do not stop at the present-day U.S.-Mexico  border. Genetically and by looks, there is little difference between a Navajo or Aztec, or Mayan and Opòn of Venezuela, or Inka and Cherokee. Or between them and the average Mexican or Guatemalan or Chilean.

My scholar cousin needed to bury a woman in a proper way.

That is, the remains of a woman who died 1,100 years ago. The Native American’s remains were found last year buried in downtown Fort Worth. Perhaps the woman was related to me and my cousin, Eddie Sandoval. Related, as in American Indian genetics.

Not long ago, Sandoval was asked by anthropologist Dana Austin to help return the woman’s remains to the earth. For this woman, lost to oblivion, he crafted tools to perform rituals he learned decades ago. Sandoval is a scholarly man who, as a youth with the American Indian Movement, took part in a Lakota Sun Dance. Always a resolute son of the southwest, his most recent honor is induction to the Trail of Fame in Fort Worth….

Photograph by Styliani Giannitsi | @2017



John Brown

Brown helped finance the publication of David Walker’s Appeal and Henry Highland’s “Call to Rebellion” speech. He gave land to fugitive slaves. He and his wife agreed to raise a black youth as one of their own. He also participated in the Underground Railroad and, in 1851, helped establish the League of Gileadites, an organization that worked to protect escaped slaves from slave catchers.

On October 16, 1859, he set his plan to attack Virginia when he and 21 other men — 5 blacks and 16 whites — raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown was wounded and quickly captured, and moved to Charlestown, Virginia, where he was tried and convicted of treason. He was hanged on December 2, 1859. (read more: John Brown | PBS )

More about John Brown:

John brown in Wikipedia  |  Jon Brown’s Day of Reckoning | SMITHSONIAN  |  Jon Brown | Civil War Trust

Photograph: Wikipedia

Photograph: Wikipedia

Israel: “Anti-terrorism” fantasy camps for tourists appear in Occupied West Bank

While most of those signing up are American visitors, there have also been tourists from China, Japan, India and South America, keen to experience Israeli-style security training in an attraction condemned by the Palestinian mayor of the nearby town and an anti-settlement group.

The facility opened in 2003, running courses for security guards during a Palestinian uprising that included suicide bombings and shooting attacks and which was met by Israeli military operations across the West Bank. After the intifada subsided, tourist visits began in 2009. read more: Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’ a tourist attraction in occupied West Bank | REUTERS

Today, about half a dozen facilities around the country offer tourists the opportunity to learn from Israeli combat officers, in most cases graduates of elite units….

At Caliber 3, the two-hour “shooting adventure” – for which the group from Hong Kong has signed up – includes a simulation of a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem marketplace, immediately followed by a stabbing attack, a live demonstration with attack dogs and a sniper tournament. The cost of this basic package is $115 per adult and $85 per child, with discounts available for large groups.
read moreAnti-terror Fantasy Camps Are Popping Up Throughout Israel and the West Bank | HAREETZ

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his family visited the Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy during their visit in Israel, revealed Caliber 3 in a Facebook post on Monday.

“Finally we are allowed to tell you!! The legendary Jerry Seinfeld and his family were at (sic) Caliber 3 during their visit to Israel last week, they came to us for shooting training with displays of combat, Krav Maga, assault dogs and lots of Zionism. It was great,” said the post. (This Facebook post is no longer available. It may have been removed or the privacy settings of the post may have changed.) read more: Jerry Seinfeld and Family Visit Anti-terror Fantasy Camp in West Bank | HAREETZ

The Economic, Social, and Emotional Toll of Removing Temporary Protected Status for Immigrants

[The Trump administration continues to take steps to remove protections from certain immigrants groups. Today, it announced that it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain nationals of El Salvador, affecting ~200,000 immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than 15 years. They will be returning to a country that has one of the highest murder rates in the world as well as a rampant gang problem. Many of the immigrants facing deportation have U.S. born children who now face the possibility of seeing their families torn apart.

Many of these same immigrants play a huge role in farm labor. Farmers are concerned how this, and the loss of other immigration protections, will negatively affect their ability to find laborers to work their crops.]

See the article here | University of California BLOG