Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How cruel was the Slavery

While calls for an apology for the slave trade are growing louder in the Netherlands, a Dutch historian has drawn an unpopular conclusion: overseas slavery was less cruel than people think. Dutch Professor Henk den Heijer believes the cruel image of slavery that has developed over the centuries is too moralistic.
Slaves spent weeks at sea, shoulder to shoulder chained up in the ship’s hold without fresh air. They were beaten and fed poorly. Women were sexually abused and there was no medical care.
“This cruel image formed in around 1800,” says Professor Den Heijer, “during the debate to abolish slavery. You mainly see interviews, books and pamphlets written by people who supported the abolition of slavery and emphasised the bad side of the trade. Those sources have become the standard for its history.”
Doctor at hand
Professor Den Heijer has uncovered a different image by looking in the archive of a shipping company, the Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie (MCC). It was the largest shipping company to transport slaves in the Netherlands in the 18th century with 113 ships. The archive is unique, painting a picture of life on board the ships which took slaves from Africa to America.
The ships’ logs in the archive reveal a different story: on board the ships slaves were treated as well as the crew. A doctor was at hand for both the crew and the slaves and they were fed well. It was logical from a commercial point of view to treat slaves well.
“They were considered to be valuable. A good trader tried to get his slaves to the other side of the ocean in good condition to sell for a good price. Slavery is still morally objectionable, but that does not mean they were abused.”
Slave revolts
Abuse was the exception and officers would be punished by losing pay or being dismissed according to the ships’ logs.
Nevertheless there were slaves who revolted on board. But out of a total of 1500 trips by the MCC, this only happened 53 times. And the situation was probably the same for other counties involved in slavery like Great Britain.
Heated debate
The professor hasn’t had many reactions from his colleagues, but there are heated discussions on internet forums. On a Surinamese site one blogger wrote:
"If people are made into slaves and transported to a foreign continent, if you rob them of their language, culture, family and belief and then you say we have to see it in the light of the time, then there is something wrong with you.”
However, Surinamese sociologist at the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy Aspha Bijnaar says she is open to Professor Den Heijer’ s conclusions.
“It is too easy to say ‘he is trivalising the matter’. I am not able to check his sources myself, but he is a historian and I assume he has good arguments.”
Mr Den Heijer was recently appointed professor at the University of Leiden and is working on a television series on slavery to be broadcast in the Netherlands from September.
(About the slave trade of the Artabs - which went hand-in-hand with Jihad...another article)

Day Opening - May 10

spring...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sex in Pakistan

No sex education at your school in Pakistan? Can’t talk to your parents about it? See a doctor or get a book to learn about sex, says Dr Syed Mubin Akhtar.

But steer clear of quacks, porn sites and prostitutes, he warns.
Sex education can save you from sexual problems and “a life of sin and disease”, according Dr Syed Mubin Akhtar, Pakistani psychiatrist and sex ed author. The problem is that teachers and parents in his country are often too embarrassed to talk about sex.

Books are the best way to fill the information gap, says Dr Akhtar’s. Not surprisingly he’s quick to plug his own book, Sex education for Muslims - one of the few published on the topic in Pakistan.
You can also ask a doctor for advice, says Dr Akhtar. But you’ll need to look for one who’ll respect you’re privacy, he warns – not all doctors in Pakistan will keep your confidential queries to themselves.
Some may also feel too embarrassed to talk about sex. To keep embarrassment to a minimum, girls should go to female doctors and boys to male doctors, he suggests.


Many people in Pakistan think that hakims – traditional herbalists – are a better option for help with sexual problems than doctors, says Dr Akhtar. Even doctors sometimes refer their patients to them, and they’re easy to find.
But hakims have some muddled ideas about sexual matters, according to Dr Akhtar.
“They say that drops of semen coming out is a very serious disease that saps your bones and body strength,” he says. Only when he went to medical school did the doctor find out that such stories were myths.
Some people go to hakims because they think modern medicine is Western and unethical, says Dr Akhtar. “Hakims follow an old type of medicine,” he argues. “What type of houses would we have if we still built them like people did a thousand years ago?”

Friends and parents aren’t usually great sources of information on sex in Pakistan, says Dr Akhtar. “Friends are often not educated themselves, and parents would be shocked if you brought it up with them.”
You won’t learn much about normal sex from porn movies either, he reckons. “They show abnormal sex most of the time.”
You might be tempted to go to a prostitute to experiment with sex and get in some practice, the doctor says, but it’s not something he would recommend. “You may catch diseases and get feelings of guilt and fear. And of course it’s a sin in Islam.”
Porn is the most google word in Pakistan and Day Opening November 21 2009 is the most 'read article' here on Internations...

Day Opening - May 9

An aurora

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day Opening - May 6

View from the Montserrat (church) in Bogota, Columbia. Many pilgrims walk all the way up...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Columbia

Yesterday, Wednesday we flew to Panama City with Copa Airlines Columbia. Fantastic flight and Panama an interesting city, one skyscraper after the other. We stayed in a nice comfortable 5 star hotel but due the time not able to visit the Panama Canal. Today we flew with Copa Airlines Columbia to Bogota. And again a full service flight. Copa Airlines is not a huge airlines but one of the best I ever flew with, and that are many...
Even with and 1 1/2 flight you get food, drinks and water. Do you want a whiskey sir?.)
Anyway, we are in Bogota Columbia. Safe and well and enjoy a very nice hotel in the centre.
Both the people in Panama and Columbia, so far, are incredible helpful and nice. And Columbia changed with 10 years ago. It's safe!

Day Opening - May 5

Brickell, Miami (here I lived from 2000-2002

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

From Miami to Panama and to Bogota, Columbia

Today we will fly to Panama and leave 5 beautiful days in Miami behind us. A short stay (1 night) in Panama City to visit the Panama Canal and tomorrow allready on our way to Bogota, Columbia for the last part of our trip. Next posting is from there.

Day Opening - May 4

44

Hair in Avanos

HAIR MUSEUM OF AVANOS

The Hair Museum of Avanos is a bizarre installation crafted by Turkish potter Chez Galip. The way the idea of this museum came to be is truly a unique story. 30 years ago, Chez Galip had a close friend who had to leave the town Avanos, and this made him very upset. To leave him something to remember her by, the woman left Galip with a piece of her hair.
Today the Hair Museum of Avanos features the hair of over 16,000 woman who have visited this one-of-a-kind hair haven. Each piece of hair a woman leaves behind also features an address to identify the piece.
Entrance to the Hair Museum of Avanos is free, and if you happen to be traveling to Turkey, it’s a site you can’t miss.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hamas and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood condem the 'illegal killing of Osama Bin Laden'

The news of the killing of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden has been received with mixed feelings in the Middle East. In many countries where al-Qaeda is active, the news has been received with a sigh of relief, but there were no open signs of rejoicing. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda sympathisers lament the great loss for the Islamic Jihad.

No official comment has been heard yet from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden’s homeland, but a senior sheikh, known to be close to the ruling family, appeared on Al-Arabiya satellite TV condemning bin Laden as ruthless killer who tainted the name of Islam. He encouraged good Muslims to show their satisfaction about his killing.

In Yemen, which has been fighting al-Qaeda for more than a decade, a spokesman for the presidency, who preferred to remain anonymous, welcomed the attack on bin Laden and expressed the hope that his death would bring an end to terrorism.
But, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, based in Yemen, lamented the loss of the spiritual leader of Jihadists throughout the world. The organisation told AP that it does not trust US President Barack Obama and that it would wait for independent confirmation of the sad news from Mujahidin brothers in Pakistan. The al-Qaeda spokesman in Yemen said a detailed statement would be made later on the plans of the organisation and the future of Jihad.

Omar Baker, the Syrian pro-Jihad Muslim fundamentalist who was expelled to Lebanon from London five years ago, expected young Muslims in Europe to carry out revenge attacks in Europe. He said that “the region has lost a great leader, I am sad that we have lost bin Laden, but also happy that he attained his wish of dying as a martyr.”
There was a high state of alert in the Iraqi capital Baghdad where security and police leaders fear retaliatory attacks and bombings after the killing of bin Laden. Iraq is the third country where al-Qaeda is widely active and responsible for hundreds of bloody attacks on both civilians and military personnel.
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan seized the opportunity to call upon the country’s Islamist Taliban rebels to learn a lesson and stop the violence. He called the killing of Osama an important event for his country.

Israel also expressed its satisfaction at the death of bin Laden. Both president Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu consider it a great victory for democracy and the fight against terrorism worldwide. Meanwhile 
On the internet, fierce battles have been going on since the early morning between friends and foes of bin Laden via websites where al-Qaeda has a considerable influence and following. But many participants also reject bin Laden, arguing that he is an American-made puppet who was killed by the same guys who made him because he wasn’t needed any more. We will have to wait a little longer for responses from other mainstream Islamist movements and political figures in the region.
 

Day Opening - May 2

Port of Miami bridge