Toco The Cat And His Human: Growing Up Together
A tabby cat and her little human both turned two this year. They have been growing up together since birth. The two share a very special friendship and are completely inseparable. The parents have documented their special bond on instagram. It’s evident that kitty loves his little human and the little girl adores her furry best friend.
Via Love Meow
the bajau laut are some of the world’s last true sea normads, living as they have for centuries almost entirely in the waters of the coral triangle (“the amazon of the seas”) on long boats known as lepa lepa.
hunters of fish, pearls and sea cucumbers, the bajau people free dive to depths of 20 meters, hold their breath for up to three minutes, and spend up to 60% of their time in the water submerged - the equivalent of a sea otter. it is a common practice amongst bajau people to intentionally burst their ear drums at an early age to deal with the problem of equalizing.
as photographer james morgan explains, “traditional bajau cosmology - a syncretism of animism and islam - reveals a complex relationship with the ocean, which for them is a multifarious and living entity. there are spirits in currents and tides, in coral reefs and mangroves.” the bajau people, for example, will not spit in the ocean.
in the last few decades, increasingly depleted fish stocks and government efforts have forced many to settle permanently on land and abandon a life of self sufficiency known as cari laut, or ‘searching the ocean’. a dwindling few, however, still choose to live the majority of their lives at sea
here is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.
MAKE IT SCREAM…
B.B. King doing his labor of love
This is pathetically reductive, and it is shameful to see it coming from “Egyptian Atheists”, or what I would assume to be a non-Western source. The argument made is that these nations used to be free and democratic before Islam “took over”. Such arguments are ignorant, malicious, and do nothing but further negative misconceptions of Islam and people in Southwest Asia.
First, here is a history lesson on Afghanistan. From 1933 until 1973, Afghanistan was ruled under a man named Mohammed Zahir Shah. While he was a devout Muslim, he had a Western education in France. His reign marked four decades of peace and stability. With the introduction of a constitution Afghanistan progressively developed into a modern democratic state with free elections and a parliament, as well as a massive push for women’s rights, universal suffrage, education, worker’s rights, and civil rights. So yes, Afghanistan was doing well in the 60’s as this photo suggests. However, the photo doesn’t give you context for what went wrong.
During this period in time, the Soviet Union had a strong influence in Afghanistan. They supported modernization and education in the Afghan state. The United States, not wanting to risk their hegemony in the region, clearly had a major problem with this. They were terrified of the spread of Communism and quickly developed a plan. Afghanistan would become the Cold War’s chessboard. In the late 80’s, the Saudis, Pakistanis, and the Americans brought in radical Islamists from around the world. They armed, trained, and directed them into a militant force, and they were called the mujahideen. They became the US’ main offense against the Soviets. It wasn’t to defend the Afghans against the Soviets who were ready to pull out, but to deliver as much harm against them imaginable. Carter wanted Afghanistan to be the Soviet’s “Vietnam”. And it was. When they finally retreated Afghanistan spun into chaos and a civil war ensued under the militant mujahideen warriors. Within this framework we saw the rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and of course Osama bin Laden. All under the auspices of the United States security forces and American tax-payer monies. Clinton’s bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan was directly responsible for their rise. Oh, and then in what was most likely the greatest immoral injustice of the 21st century the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 only further driving the besieged nation further into turmoil.
What does this mean? The mujahideen, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda do not represent thousands of years of Afghan culture and Islam. They are a direct reaction to Western imperialism. The root cause for the disparity between the two pictures is foreign intervention. Not Islam, and certainly not Afghan people.
Second, here is a history on Iran. Before 1953, Iran was ruled under a democratically elected man called Mohammad Mosaddegh. Under his reign Iran saw a progressive movement of social and political reforms. During this time Britain tried to establish an oil company (British Petroleum) on Iranian soil, and promised to share profit and technology with the Iranian government. However the British, as usual, didn’t honor their agreement. They, and the United States, began to steal Iran’s oil. Prime Minister Mosaddegh would not stand for this and demanded the seizure of the oil fields and the ouster of the British. In response, the British and the United States overthrew him in a coup and installed the Shah who was a brutal tyrant and ruled the nation under an absolute monarchy. The women in this picture did live well, but that was because they were members of a very small minority and in the Shah’s social circle. Everyone else in Iran lived under harsh conditions. The economy was failing, education was abysmal, and the entire nation was rural and very religious.
Today, Iran’s health care is better. They have more political freedom. Education is improving, and the country is slowly globalizing. The economy is slightly better off, however that is quickly changing with the Western world’s sanctions against Iran in midst of their nuclear propaganda campaign at the behest of Israel.
What does this mean? Essentially, the Islamic Revolution had little to do with the rise of an Islamic state; it was the resistance of Western imperialism. Almost every social and political group was united in resisting the Shah, from the communists to the secularists to the Islamists. They demanded Iranian sovereignty and political freedoms. Is the current regime in Iran perfect? Absolutely not, and I’m passionately against it. But this picture is extremely distortive of the truth.
Unfortunately, we have gone full circle. Today, the United States is supporting terrorist cells in Iran in an attempt to oust the current Iranian regime. They want to establish another pro-Western government like the Shah and “try again” where they failed. They have been doing this for decades and it hasn’t been working well. That is why we are now seeing media hysteria against Iran, and their false quest to achieve nuclear power and bomb Israel. Iran is a peaceful nation, and always has been. They have never attacked another nation, and have absolutely no intention of attacking Israel or anyone else for that matter. The United States’ war against Iran is rooted solely to seek revenge for their failed foreign policy in the 70’s and to once again take control of their natural resources.
In conclusion, if you think you can understand decades of history in Iran and Afghanistan, or anywhere for that matter, by looking at a photograph or two, you have absolutely no right to engage in intellectual discussion or give your opinion on anything. Ever.