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Most of the stop-motion puppets in “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” are operated through mechanical gears in their heads. But the title character was fabricated via metal 3-D printing.Credit...Netflix
For ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,’ a Star Built From Tiny Gears and 3-D Printing
The studio behind stop-motion hits like ‘Corpse Bride’ and ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ started work on the new film in 2008 but had to wait for the technology to catch up.
By Charles Solomon
Published Jan. 3, 2023
Updated Jan. 5, 2023
From its earliest stages of development more than 15 years ago, “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” was envisioned as a stop-motion production. The director explained, “It was clear to me that the film needed to be done in stop-motion to serve the story about a puppet that lives in a world populated by other puppets who think they are not puppets.”
He also knew that key members of the cast had to be built by the British studio Mackinnon and Saunders. “They are the best in the world,” he said in a recent video interview. “The starring roles of the movie needed to be fabricated by them.” As the producer Lisa Henson put it, “They do things that other puppet builders do not have the patience or the expertise to do.”
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” is the latest example of the efflorescence of stop-motion animation. For decades, the technique was overshadowed by the more expressive drawn animation and, later, by computer-generated imagery. But new technologies have allowed artists to create vivid performances that rival other media.
Artists and technicians at Mackinnon and Saunders pushed stop-motion technology in an entirely new direction for “Corpse Bride” (2005) by inventing systems of tiny gears that fit inside puppets’ heads. The animators adjusted the gears between frames to create subtle expressions: Victor, the title character’s groom, could raise an eyebrow or lift the edge of his lip in the start of smile. This technique also enlivened “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009) and “Frankenweenie” (2012).
“Tim Burton or Guillermo del Toro will bring us the story, then give us the space to say, ‘What can we do with these puppet characters? Let’s find something new to do,’” said Ian Mackinnon, a founder of the firm.
He likened the mechanics inside puppet heads to components of a Swiss watch. “Those heads are not much bigger than a ping-pong ball or a walnut,” he said, explaining that the animator moves the gears by putting a tiny tool into the character’s ear or the top of its head. “The gears are linked to the puppet’s silicone skin, enabling the animator to create the nuances you see on a big cinema screen,” he said.
The introduction of geared heads was part of a series of overlapping waves of innovation in stop-motion that brought visuals to the screen that had never been possible. Nick Park and the artists at the British Aardman Animations sculpted new subtleties into clay animation in “Creature Comforts” (1989) and “The Wrong Trousers” (1993). Meanwhile, Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) showcased the new technology of facial replacement. A library of three-dimensional expressions was sculpted and molded for each character; an animator snapped out one section of the face and replaced it with a slightly different one between exposures. Then the Portland, Ore.-based Laika Studios pushed this technique further, using 3-D printing to create faces, beginning with “Coraline” (2009).
For “Pinocchio,” which debuted on Netflix a few months after Disney released Robert Zemeckis’s partly animated version of the story, most of the puppets were built at ShadowMachine in Portland, where most of the film was shot. Candlewick, the human boy Pinocchio befriends in the film, “has threads set into the corners of his mouth which are attached to a double-barreled gear system,” explained Georgina Hayns, an alumna of Mackinnon and Saunders who was director of character fabrication at ShadowMachine. “If you turn the gear inside the ear clockwise, it pulls the upper thread and creates a smile. If you turn it anticlockwise, it pulls a lower thread which produces a frown. It really is amazing.”
That was the result of a process that began in 2008, when the Mackinnon and Saunders team made some early prototypes. “By the time Netflix greenlit the film in 2018, we were ready and waiting,” Mackinnon said. “If we’d tried to do ‘Pinocchio’ 10 or 15 years ago, the technology wouldn’t have been there.”
Although mechanical heads are used for most of the key characters in the film, Pinocchio himself was animated with replacement faces. Because he has to look like he’s made of wood, he needed to have a hard surface, the animation supervisor Brian Leif Hansen said, explaining that 3,000 of the faces were printed. “His expressions are snappy; the mechanical faces look softer and more fluid compared to Pinocchio. He’s built differently and animated in a different way to set him apart.”
The character is the first metal 3-D-printed puppet, Hansen said. Because he’s skinny, “the only way they could make him strong enough was to print the puppet in metal. He’s a strong little guy, quite difficult to break. The animators loved animating him.”
Thanks to a team of engineers and the puppet designer Richard Pickersgill, “we’ve moved the replacement technology forward a little bit,” Mackinnon said. The designer “gave Pinocchio spindly limbs and joints that look like Geppetto carved them by hand.”
The studio spent a year and a half prototyping Pinocchio before making the first production model. Eventually more than 20 puppets were built to ensure the animators had enough.
The studio has made figures as big as the “life-sized” Martians in “Mars Attacks” (1996), but most stop-motion puppets are about the size of Barbie dolls — Pinocchio is 9.5 inches tall. The sophisticated creations meant del Toro and his co-director, Mark Gustafson, could get the performances they needed. They looked for inspiration to the films of Hayao Miyazaki, whose characters think, pause and change their minds as they move.
“I had a road-to-Damascus moment watching ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ where the father tries to put his shoe on: He misses it twice, then gets it on the third try,” del Toro explained. “Miyazaki says if you animate the ordinary, it will be extraordinary. So we went for failed acts because we wanted to breathe life into these characters.”
He estimated that 35 shots had to be redone because “we said, ‘The character is moving, but I don’t see the character thinking or feeling.’ The little failed gestures or hesitations before a movement tell you, ‘This is a living character.’”
Gustafson said that failed gestures were especially difficult “because the intention has to be visible — it’s not actually a mistake. I think our brains are really wired to recognize when a gesture is false somehow, so we worked really hard at getting those things to feel as natural as we could.”
Artists can change or rework computer-generated and 2-D animation during production, but once stop-motion animators begin moving a puppet, they have to continue to the end of the scene — or start over. They can’t alter what they’ve already filmed, any more than an actor can stop midstride, walk backward a few steps and cross the set differently.
“Stop-motion is the art form in animation that is most analogous to live-action, because you are doing real movement, from point A to point B,” del Toro said. “You cannot edit. You’re dealing with real sets and real props, lit by real light. Stop-motion is to live-action what Ginger Rogers is to Fred Astaire: We do the same steps, backwards in high heels.”
I love stop motion animation, I am a fan of guillermo del toro's work, good stuff folks
For decades, the Mapleson Cylinders — recordings from Lionel Mapleson, an English-born librarian for the Metropolitan Opera — have been a valuable but fragile resource.Credit...Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Wax Cylinders Hold Audio From a Century Ago. The Library Is Listening.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts acquired a machine that transfers recordings from the fragile format. Then a batch of cylinders from a Met Opera librarian arrived.
By Jeremy Gordon
Published Jan. 2, 2023
Updated Jan. 3, 2023
The first recording, swathed in sheets of distortion, was nonetheless recognizable as a child’s voice — small, nervous, encouraged by his father — wishing a very Merry Christmas to whoever was listening.
The second recording, though still noisy, adequately captured the finale of the second act of “Aida,” performed by the German singer Johanna Gadski at the Metropolitan Opera House in the spring of 1903.
And the third recording was the clearest yet: the waltz from “Romeo and Juliet,” also from the Met, sung by the Australian soprano Nellie Melba.
Accessed by laptop in a conference room at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the recordings had been excavated and digitized from a much older source: wax cylinders, an audio format popularized in the late 19th century as the first commercial means of recording sound. These particular documentations originated with Lionel Mapleson, an English-born librarian for the Metropolitan Opera, who made hundreds of wax cylinder recordings, capturing both the turn-of-the-century opera performances he saw as part of his job and the minutiae of family life.
For decades, the Mapleson Cylinders, as they’re called by archivists and audiologists, have been a valuable but fragile resource. Wax cylinders were not made for long-term use — the earliest models wore out after a few dozen plays — and are especially vulnerable to poor storage conditions. But with the innovation of the Endpoint Cylinder and Dictabelt Machine, a custom-built piece of equipment made specifically for safely transferring audio from the cylinders, the library is embarking on an ambitious preservation project: to digitize not just the Mapleson Cylinders, but roughly 2,500 others in the library’s possession.
The machine will also allow the library to play a handful of broken Mapleson cylinders that nobody alive has ever heard. “I have no idea what they’re going to sound like, but the fact that they were shattered a long time ago saved them from being played too often,” said Jessica Wood, the library’s assistant curator for music and recorded sound. “It’s possible that the sound quality of those will let us hear something totally new from the earliest moments in recording history.”
Some of the Mapleson Cylinders had already been in the library’s collection, but another batch was recently provided by Alfred Mapleson, the Met librarian’s great-grandson. This donation was accompanied by another valuable resource: a collection of diaries, written by Lionel Mapleson, that studiously chronicled both his daily life and the Metropolitan Opera’s calendar. The diaries provide extra context to both Mapleson’s audio recordings and the broader world of New York opera. One entry from New Year’s Day in 1908 noted the “tremendous reception” for a performance by Gustav Mahler. Another described the time that the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, “in rage,” dismissed his orchestra because of noise on the roof.
“The consistent keeping of this diary is much more important than just for music,” said Bob Kosovsky, a librarian in the New York Public Library’s music division. “It’s such an amazing insight into life in New York and England, since he went back every summer to the family.”
The library acquired the Endpoint machine from its creator, Nicholas Bergh, last spring, as NPR reported then. “The Western music at that time was being recorded in the studios, so it’s very unique to have someone that was documenting what was actually going on there at the theater,” said Bergh, who developed the machine as part of his work in audio preservation.
Alfred Mapleson soon reached out to the library about the diaries, and the collection of his great-grandfather’s cylinders that had, for years, awaited rediscovery in his mother’s Long Island basement. In November, they were packed into coolers and transported by climate-controlled truck to the library, where they’re now stored in acid-free cardboard boxes meant to mitigate the risk of future degradation. (On Long Island, they’d been kept in Tuborg Gold beer caddies.)
These particular cylinders were previously available to the library in the 1980s, when they were transferred to magnetic tape and released as part of a six-volume LP set compiling the Mapleson recordings. After that, they were returned to the Mapleson family, while the greater collection stayed with the library. But, Wood said, “there’s people all over the world that are convinced that a new transfer of those cylinders would reveal more audio details than the previous ones.”
Wax cylinders were traditionally played on a phonograph, where, similar to a modern record player, a stylus followed grooves in the wax and translated the information into sound. The Endpoint machine uses a laser that places less stress on the cylinders, allowing it to take a detailed imprint without sacrificing physical integrity, and to adjust for how some cylinders have warped over time. The machine can retrieve information from broken cylinder shards that are incapable of being traditionally played, which can then be digitally reconstituted into a complete recording.
Within the next few years, the library hopes to digitize both the cylinders and the diaries, and make them available to the public. The non-Mapleson cylinders in the library’s collection are also eligible to be digitized, though Wood said that process will be determined based on requests for certain cylinders. The library’s engineers are shared across departments, and with a backlog of thousands, she said, “We have to wait our turn.”
The wax cylinders comprise just one aspect of the library’s ongoing audiovisual archival projects. Its archives of magnetic tape were recently digitized thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. And curators are in talks with Bergh about a new machine he’s developing that can play back wire recording, a midcentury format that captured audio on a thin steel wire. Wood estimated that about 32,000 lacquer discs — a predecessor to the vinyl record — at “very high risk of deterioration” are also in the digitization queue. These discs contain all types of audio, including radio excerpts, early jazz music and recordings made at amusement parks.
“Libraries, in general, are very focused on books and paper formats,” Wood said. “We’re getting to a point where we’ve had to argue less hard for the importance of sound recordings, and that’s allowing us to get some more traction to invest resources in digitizing these.”
Alfred Mapleson said he was simply happy to put his family inheritance to good use. The cylinders were previously part of the Mapleson Music Library, a family-owned business that rented sheet music, among other things, to performers. But the business liquidated in the mid-1990s, and the cylinders had sat untouched in his mother’s basement ever since.
“There’s an important obligation to history that needs to be maintained,” he said. “We don’t want them sitting in our possession, where they could get lost or damaged.” He waved off the possibility of selling them to a private collector, where they might find no public utility: “That’s not something that would sit well with my family.”
His great-grandfather’s archives had offered him plenty to reflect on. His wife had gone through the diaries, he said, and pointed out the behavioral similarities between living family members and their ancestors. He noted, with some awe, how his grandfather’s voice — the one wishing a Merry Christmas — resembled his own children’s voices. But it was time to pass everything on, and he said he had no interest in repossessing the materials once the library had finished digitizing everything.
“It’s in better hands at the New York Public Library,” he said. The recordings had originated at the Metropolitan Opera; now, they would reside nearby forever. “Let’s keep it in New York, because this is where it all happened. I like that idea.”
A correction was made on Jan. 3, 2023: An earlier version of this article misstated Bob Kosovsky’s role at the New York Public Library. He is a librarian, not a curator.
A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 4, 2023, Section C, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Reviving Long-Gone Operatic Voices. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
I am thinking it will be cool to try and make some wax recordings, see what happens.
Now hear are some digital recordings of phonograph cylinders
1888 recording of Arthur Sullivan's "The Lost Chord", recorded by George Gouraud, and played at the August 14, 1888, press conference that introduced the phonograph to London.
Song of the "Ujangong" mask dance
Phonograph cylinder recorded in German New Guinea on August 23, 1904, by German anthropologist Rudolf Pöch
1910 Indestructible Record
"Auld Lang Syne", sung by Frank C. Stanley in 1910
Audio referral URL
Members of the Bruce family, elected officials and community activists at a ceremony in Manhattan Beach, Calif., last year to return property that was seized from the family’s ancestors in 1924.Credit...Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
L.A. County to Pay $20 Million for Land Once Seized From Black Family
California officials seized a beachfront property from Willa and Charles Bruce in 1924. Los Angeles County returned it to their great-grandsons last year. Now they’re selling it back.
By Mike Ives
Published Jan. 4, 2023
Updated Jan. 11, 2023, 10:45 a.m. ET
The great-grandchildren of a Black couple whose beachfront property in Southern California was seized by local officials in 1924, and returned to the family last year, will sell it back to Los Angeles County for nearly $20 million, an official said on Tuesday.
The Manhattan Beach site once housed Bruce’s Lodge, a resort established in 1912 by the property’s owners, Willa and Charles Bruce, as a place where Black tourists could go to avoid harassment at a time of rampant discrimination against Black people in California and beyond. It was known informally as “Bruce’s Beach.”
Manhattan Beach officials condemned the property in 1924, paying the Bruces $14,500 and saying that they needed it for a public park. They ultimately left it undeveloped for more than three decades, and the couple lost a legal battle to reclaim it. The land was later transferred to Los Angeles County and now hosts a training center for lifeguards.
But three years ago, nationwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality led to a resurgence of local interest in the Bruce family’s campaign. And last July, after Los Angeles County and the California state legislature worked out the legal details, the county returned the property to the couple’s closest living heirs, their great-grandsons Derrick and Marcus Bruce.
Derrick and Marcus Bruce declined to comment on Wednesday through George Fatheree, a lawyer for the family.
Janice Hahn, who chairs the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said on Tuesday that the owners had decided to sell the property to the county for nearly $20 million, a value that her office said was determined through an appraisal process.
“This is what reparations look like and it is a model that I hope governments across the country will follow,” Ms. Hahn said on Twitter.
The county received notice of the sale from the family on Dec. 30, and the escrow process will likely be completed in 30 days, Liz Odendahl, a spokeswoman for Ms. Hahn’s office, said in an email on Tuesday evening. Members of the Bruce family could not immediately be reached for comment.
Duane Yellow Feather Shepard, a relative who lives in Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday night that the family was “very satisfied” with the sale price. He said they had wanted to sell the property because it is zoned only for public use.
“They had no choice but to sell it and take whatever they could get out of it, and use it to invest in some other way to develop their family wealth that they’ve lost,” said Mr. Shepard, a clan chief of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of the Pokanoket Nation.
Kavon Ward, who founded a group called Justice for Bruce’s Beach in June 2020 to support the family’s calls for restitution, said in a statement on Wednesday that, “While I am disappointed the Bruces have chosen to sell the land, I understand their decision as the city of Manhattan Beach is anti-Black.”
Ms. Ward is also a founder of Where Is My Land, an organization that seeks to help secure restitution for Black families who have had land taken from them.
The property consists of two adjacent beachfront lots. Ms. Bruce purchased one of them in 1912 for $1,225 and the second eight years later for $10, Los Angeles County has said, noting that the first lot measures about 33 by 105 feet. Mr. Shepard said the two lots are identical.
A persistent question has been whether officials in Manhattan Beach, a city of about 34,000 people that was incorporated in 1912 and is 75 percent white, would issue a formal apology to the Bruce family.
“I think an apology would be the least that they can do,” Anthony Bruce, the great-great-grandson of Willa and Charles Bruce, told The New York Times in 2021.
The couple, who moved to Manhattan Beach from New Mexico, were among the first Black people to settle in the area. They established their beachfront resort in the era of Jim Crow, amid a resurgence of Ku Klux Klan activities across the United States and campaigns of white supremacist terror and lynchings in the South.
Two years ago, the Manhattan Beach City Council voted, 4 to 1, to adopt a “statement of acknowledgment and condemnation” that did not include an apology. The city’s mayor at the time, Suzanne Hadley, condemned the racism against the Bruces but said that an apology could increase the risk of litigation against the city.
Steve Napolitano, the current mayor, said in an email on Wednesday that he saw the sale as a win-win for both the family and the county, which will continue to operate a lifeguard training center on the property.
“Nothing about the transaction changes the past, but it will certainly help the future of the Bruce heirs and we wish them well,” he said.
Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.
I am happy for the black clan. If I think on the history of the Black Wealthy, they will do well. To be blunt, the Black Descended of Enslaved one percent tend to be very financially safe.
A Hindu ritual on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi, northern India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen Varanasi as a core vehicle of his assertion of India as a Hindu nation, raising tensions with Muslims.
Russia’s War Could Make It India’s World
The invasion of Ukraine, compounding the effects of the pandemic, has contributed to the ascent of a giant that defies easy alignment. It could be the decisive force in a changing global system.
By Roger CohenPhotographs by Mauricio Lima
Roger Cohen, the Paris bureau chief, and Mauricio Lima spent almost two weeks in India, traveling between New Delhi, Varanasi and Chennai, to write and photograph this piece.
Dec. 31, 2022
Seated in the domed, red sandstone government building unveiled by the British Raj less than two decades before India threw off imperial rule, S. Jaishankar, the Indian foreign minister, needs no reminder of how the tides of history sweep away antiquated systems to usher in the new.
Such, he believes, is today’s transformative moment. A “world order which is still very, very deeply Western,” as he put it in an interview, is being hurried out of existence by the impact of the war in Ukraine, to be replaced by a world of “multi-alignment” where countries will choose their own “particular policies and preferences and interests.”
Certainly, that is what India has done since the war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24. It has rejected American and European pressure at the United Nations to condemn the Russian invasion, turned Moscow into its largest oil supplier and dismissed the perceived hypocrisy of the West. Far from apologetic, its tone has been unabashed and its self-interest broadly naked.
“I would still like to see a more rules-based world,” Mr. Jaishankar said. “But when people start pressing you in the name of a rules-based order to give up, to compromise on what are very deep interests, at that stage I’m afraid it’s important to contest that and, if necessary, to call it out.”
In other words, with its almost 1.4 billion inhabitants, soon to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, India has a need for cheap Russian oil to sustain its 7 percent annual growth and lift millions out of poverty. That need is nonnegotiable. India gobbles up all the Russian oil it requires, even some extra for export. For Mr. Jaishankar, time is up on the mind-set that “Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s,” as he put it in June.
The Ukraine war, which has provoked moral outrage in the West over Russian atrocities, has caused a different anger elsewhere, one focused on a skewed and outdated global distribution of power. As Western sanctions against Russia have driven up energy, food and fertilizer costs, causing acute economic difficulties in poorer countries, resentment of the United States and Europe has stirred in Asia and Africa.
Grinding trench warfare on European soil seems the distant affair of others. Its economic cost feels immediate and palpable.
“Since February, Europe has imported six times the fossil fuel energy from Russia that India has done,” Mr. Jaishankar said. “So if a $60,000-per-capita society feels it needs to look after itself, and I accept that as legitimate, they should not expect a $2,000-per-capita society to take a hit.”
Here comes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India, pursuing its own interests with a new assertiveness, throwing off any sense of inferiority and rejecting unalloyed alignment with the West. But which India will strut the 21st-century global stage, and how will its influence be felt?
The country is at a crossroads, poised between the vibrant plurality of its democracy since independence in 1947 and a turn toward illiberalism under Mr. Modi. His “Hindu Renaissance” has threatened some of the core pillars of India’s democracy: equal treatment of all citizens, the right to dissent, the independence of courts and the media.
Democracy and debate are still vigorous — Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost a municipal election in Delhi this month — and the prime minister’s popularity remains strong. For many, India is just too vast and various ever to succumb to some unitary nationalist diktat.
The postwar order had no place for India at the top table. But now, at a moment when Russia’s military aggression under President Vladimir V. Putin has provided a vivid illustration of how a world of strongmen and imperial rivalry would look, India may have the power to tilt the balance toward an order dominated by democratic pluralism or by repressive leaders.
Which way Mr. Modi’s form of nationalism will lean remains to be seen. It has given many Indians a new pride and bolstered the country’s international stature, even as it has weakened the country’s pluralist and secularist model.
India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, himself a mixture of East and West through education and upbringing, described the country as “some ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed” without any of those layers being effaced.
He was convinced that a secular India had to accommodate all the diversity that repeated invasion had bequeathed. Not least, that meant conciliation with the country’s large Muslim minority, now about 200 million people.
Today, however, Mr. Nehru is generally reviled by Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist party. There are no Muslims in Mr. Modi’s cabinet. Hindu mob attacks on Muslims have been met with silence by the prime minister.
“Hatred has penetrated into society at a level that is absolutely terrifying,” the acclaimed Indian novelist Arundhati Roy said.
That may be, but for now, Mr. Modi’s India seems to brim with confidence.
The Ukraine war, compounding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, has fueled the country’s ascent. Together they have pushed corporations to make global supply chains less risky by diversifying toward an open India and away from China’s surveillance state. They have accentuated global economic turbulence from which India is relatively insulated by its huge domestic market.
Those factors have contributed to buoyant projections that India, now No. 5, will be the world’s third-largest economy by 2030, behind only the United States and China.
On a recent visit to India, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the United States wanted to “diversify away from countries that present geopolitical and security risks to our supply chain,” singling out India as among “trusted trading partners.”
Nonetheless, India is in no mood to cut ties with Mr. Putin’s Russia, which supported the country with weapons over decades of nonalignment, while the United States cosseted India’s archenemy, Pakistan. Even in a country starkly fractured over Mr. Modi’s policies, this approach has had near universal backing.
“For many years, the United States did not stand by us, but Moscow has,” Amitabh Kant, who is responsible for India’s presidency of the Group of 20 that began this month, said in an interview. New Delhi has enough rivals, he said: “Try, on top of China and Pakistan, putting Russia against you!”
Mr. Modi’s India will not do that in an emergent world characterized by Mr. Jaishankar as “more fragmented, more tense, more on the edge and more under stress” as the war in Ukraine festers.
“Paradoxically, the war in Ukraine has diminished trust in Western powers and concentrated people’s minds on how to hedge bets,” said Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian political theorist. “India feels it has the United States figured out: Yes, you will be upset but you’re in no position to do anything about it.”
That has proved a good bet up to now. “The age of India’s significant global stature has just begun,” said Preeti Dawra, the Indian-born director of global marketing at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Arriving in Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest city, in 1896, Mark Twain remarked on the “bewildering and beautiful confusion of stone platforms, temples, stair-flights, rich and stately palaces” rising on the bluff above the Ganges, the river of life.
Mr. Modi, 72, who adopted the city as his political constituency in 2014 when he embarked on his campaign to lead India, saying he had been “called by the mother Ganges,” has cut a pinkish sandstone gash through this sacred jumble of devotion.
Known as “the corridor” and opened a year ago, the project connects the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, to the riverfront a quarter-mile away.
The broad and almost eerily spotless pedestrian expanse, with its museum and other tourist facilities, links the city’s most revered temple to the river where Hindus wash away their sins. It is quintessential Modi.
Cut through a labyrinth of more than 300 homes that were destroyed to make way for it, the passage intertwines the prime minister’s political life with the deepest of Hindu traditions. At the same time, it proclaims his readiness to fast-forward India through bold initiatives that break with chaos and decay. Mr. Modi, a Hindu nationalist and tech enthusiast, is a disrupter.
A self-made man from a humble background in the western state of Gujarat, and from a low status in India’s caste system, or social hierarchy, Mr. Modi has come to embody an aspirational India.
Through what Srinath Raghavan, a historian, called “an incorruptible aura and a genius at orchestrating public narratives,” he appears to have imbued India with the confidence to forge the singular path so evident over the 10 months since Russia went to war.
“Modi’s social mobility is in some ways the promise of India today,” Mr. Raghavan said in an interview.
That Modi-inspired promise, as invigorating to the traditionally lower castes of Hindu society as it is troubling to the Brahmins who long ran India, has come at a price.
Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, a Hindu religious leader in Varanasi and an engineering professor, said that the corridor had been a “blunder” that had destroyed 142 old shrines, an example of the bulldozing style Mr. Modi favors.
“We have always been a unique family in Varanasi, Muslims and Christians and Hindus who sit down and work things out, but Mr. Modi chooses to create tensions to get elected,” Mr. Mishra said. “If he is trying to establish a Hindu nation, that is very dangerous.”
Every morning, Mr. Mishra bathes in the Ganges. He heads a foundation that monitors the river and showed me a chart illustrating that the level of fecal matter in it is still dangerously high. So why does he do it? He smiled. “The Ganges is the medium of our life.”
One recent evening, I watched the Hindu prayer ceremony on the riverfront from a small boat. Perhaps two thousand people had gathered. Candles flickered. Chants rose. Along the great crescent sweep of the river, smoke billowed from the pyres that burn night and day. For a Hindu to die and be cremated in Varanasi is to be assured of transcendence and liberation.
A distracting electronic screen flashed behind the ceremony. On it, Mr. Modi’s bearded face appeared at regular intervals, promoting the Indian presidency of the Group of 20 largest global economies, an organization that calls itself the “premier forum for international economic cooperation.”
Mr. Modi, as this elaborate choreography of the spiritual and the political suggested, wants to turn India’s presidency of the G20 in 2023 into a premier platform for his bid for re-election, to a third term, in 2024.
“Big responsibility, bigger ambitions,” proclaimed one slogan on the screen. G20-related meetings are planned in every Indian state over the next year, including one in Varanasi in August.
India wants its presidency of the group to have the world as “one family” and the need for “sustainable growth” as its core themes. It wants to push the transformation of developing countries through what Mr. Kant, the organizer, called “technological leapfrogging.” India, with its near universal connectivity, sees itself as an example.
About 1.3 billion Indians now have a digital identity. Access to all banking activities online, through digital bank accounts, has become commonplace during Mr. Modi’s eight years in power. They were once the preserve of the middle class. Poorer Indians have been empowered.
“Nobody wants the current world order,” Mr. Kant said. “There are still two billion people in the world with no bank account.” India will advocate on behalf of poorer nations. But the issue with Mr. Modi’s “one family” theme is that, just up the road from the riverside prayers, his divisiveness is evident.
It is not easy to get into the complex, at the top of Mr. Modi’s new corridor, where the 17th-century white-domed Gyanvapi Mosque abuts the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Intense security checks take a long time to negotiate because this is an epicenter of the inflamed Hindu-Muslim tension in India.
Armed guards are everywhere. They stand beside the mosque, which is encased behind a 20-foot metal fence topped with coils of razor wire. They patrol the Hindu crowds, who line up in saffron-color robes beside the temple to make their offerings of milk, sometimes mixed with honey, to the simple stone lingam that is the symbol of Shiva.
The only mammals that cross easily from the Hindu to Muslim worlds, as if to mock the stubborn divisions of humankind, are the lithe gray monkeys that scamper over barriers from shikhara to minaret.
A flurry of legal cases now centers on the mosque. A court survey this year claimed to have uncovered an ancient lingam on the premises of the mosque, so establishing, at least for hard-line Hindus, that they should be allowed to pray there. Large Muslim prayer gatherings have been banned.
In the ascendant Hindu narrative that Mr. Modi has done nothing to discourage, India belongs in the first place to its Hindu majority. The Muslim interlopers of the Mughal Empire and other periods of conquest take second place. Mosque must yield to temple if it can be demonstrated that a temple predated it.
If Mr. Putin has chosen to portray Ukraine as a birthplace of the Russian world inseparable from the motherland and embraced the Orthodox Church as a bastion of his power, Mr. Modi has chosen Varanasi as a core vehicle of his assertion of India as essentially a Hindu nation. Of course, the Indian leader did so in the interest of power consolidation, not conquest.
Three decades ago, the razing by a Hindu mob of a 16th-century mosque in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya, which Hindus believe is the birthplace of the god Ram, led to the death of 2,000 people and propelled the rise of Mr. Modi’s party.
A temple is now being built there. Mr. Modi, who presided over the groundbreaking in 2020, has called it “the modern symbol of our traditions.”
Faced by such moves, Ms. Roy, the novelist, voiced a common concern. “You know, the Varanasi sari, worn by Hindus, woven by Muslims, was a symbol of everything that was so interwoven and is now being ripped apart,” she said. “A threat of violence hangs over the city.”
I found Syed Mohammed Yaseen, a leader of the Varanasi Muslim community, which makes up close to a third of the city’s population of roughly 1.2 million, at his timber store. “The situation is not good,” Mr. Yaseen, 75, said. “We are dealing with 18 lawsuits relating to the old mosque. The Hindus want to demolish it indirectly by starting their own worship there.” Increasingly, he said, Muslims felt like second-class citizens.
“Every day, we are feeling all kinds of attacks, and our identity is being diminished,” he said. “India’s secular character is being dented. It still exists in our Constitution, but in practice, it is dented, and the government is silent.”
This denting has taken several forms under Mr. Modi. Shashi Tharoor, a leading member of the opposition Congress Party that ruled India for most of the time since independence, suggested to me that “institutionalized bigotry” had taken hold.
A number of lynchings and demolitions of Muslim homes, the imprisonment of Muslim and other journalists critical of Mr. Modi, and the emasculation of independent courts have fanned fears of what Mr. Raghavan, the historian, called “a truly discriminatory regime, with its risk of radicalization.”
As I spoke to Mr. Yaseen, I noticed a man with an automatic rifle seated a few yards to his left. Clearly a Hindu, with a tilak in the middle of his forehead, he took some interest in the conversation.
Who, I asked, is this man with a rifle?
“He is my guard, appointed a couple of months ago by the district administration to protect me, given the tension over the mosque,” Mr. Yaseen said.
The guard was a police officer named Anurag Mishra. I asked him how he felt about his job. “I am standing here to protect a fellow human being,” he said. “My religion does not really matter. Nor does his. My superiors told me to do the job.”
Mr. Yaseen said that he was happy to have a Hindu protecting him, even if “I trust in God, not in the guard.”
That one Indian citizen protects another — a Hindu police officer with a rifle safeguarding a Muslim community leader from potential Hindu attack — was at once reassuring, in that it suggested secular, democratic, pluralistic India would not go quietly; and alarming, in that it was necessary at all.
At the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November, Indian diplomacy played an important role in finding compromise language after several Western countries had pressed for harsh criticism of Russia over Ukraine or even for Moscow’s ouster from the forum. The phrase, “Today’s era must not be of war,” in the leaders’ declaration, and the reference to “diplomacy and dialogue,” were a reprise of Mr. Modi’s words to Mr. Putin in September.
Could India, with its ties to Russia, mediate a cease-fire in Ukraine, or even a peace settlement? Mr. Jaishankar, the foreign minister, was skeptical. “The parties involved have to reach a certain situation and a certain mind-set,” he said.
And when will the war end? “I wouldn’t even hazard an opinion,” he said.
Still, India wants to be a bridge power in the world birthed by the pandemic and by the war in Ukraine.
It believes that the interconnectedness of today’s world outweighs the pull of fragmentation and makes a nonsense of talk of a renewed Cold War. If a period of disorder seems inevitable as Western power declines, it will most likely be tempered by economic interdependence, the Indian argument goes.
With inequality worsening, food security worsening, energy security worsening, and climate change accelerating, more countries are asking what answers the post-1945 Western-dominated order can provide. India, it seems, believes it can be a broker, bridging East-West and North-South divisions.
“I would argue that generally in the history of India, India has had a much more peaceful, productive relationship with the world than, for example, Europe has had,” Mr. Jaishankar said. “Europe has been very expansionist, which is why we had the period of imperialism and colonialism. But in India, despite being subjected to colonialism for two centuries, there’s no animus against the world, no anger. It is a very open society.”
It is also situated between two hostile powers, Pakistan and China.
In December, there was another skirmish at the 2,100-mile disputed Chinese-Indian border. Nobody was killed, unlike in 2020, when at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died. But tensions remain high. “The relationship is very fraught,” Mr. Jaishankar said.
Escalation at the border is possible at any moment, but it appears unlikely that India can count on Russia, given Moscow’s growing economic and military dependence on China. That makes India’s strategic relationship with the West critical.
In the light of the war in Ukraine, however, each party is adjusting to the fact that the other will pick and choose its principles.
“Ukraine is certainly not seen here as something with a clear moral tale to tell,” Ms. Roy, the novelist, said. “When brown or Black people get bombed or shocked-and-awed, it does not matter, but with white people it is supposed to be different.”
India is in a delicate position. In the face of American criticism, the country chose to take part this year in Russian military exercises that included units from China. At the same time, India is part of a four-nation coalition known as the Quad that includes the United States, Japan and Australia and works for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
This is Indian multi-alignment at work. The Ukraine war has only reinforced New Delhi’s commitment to this course. Washington has worked hard over many years to make India Asia’s democratic counterbalance to President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian China. But the world, as seen from India, is too complex for such binary options.
If the Biden administration has been unhappy with India’s business-as-usual approach to Mr. Putin since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has also been accepting of it — American realpolitik, as China rises, demands that Mr. Modi not be alienated.
At the end of my stay, I traveled down to Chennai on the southeastern coast.
The atmosphere is softer there. The economy is booming. The electronics manufacturer Foxconn is rapidly expanding production capacity for Apple devices, building a hostel for 60,000 workers on a 20-acre site near the city.
“The great mass of Indians are awakening to the fact that they don’t need the ideology of the West and that we can set our own path — and Modi deserves credit for that,” Venky Naik, a retired businessman, said.
I went to a concert where a musician played haunting songs and spoke of “renewing your auspiciousness every day.” There I ran into Mukund Padmanabhan, a former editor of The Hindu newspaper and now a professor of public practice at the newly established Krea University, north of Chennai.
“I do not believe Modi can marshal Hinduism into a monolithic nationalist force,” he said. “There are thousands of Gods, and you don’t have to believe in any of them. There is no single or unique way.”
He gestured toward the mixed crowd of Hindus and Muslims at the concert. “People don’t like to talk about the project of Gandhi and Nehru, which was to bring everyone along and go forward, but it happened, and it is part of our truth, part of the indelible Indian palimpsest.”
Hari Kumar contributed reporting from New Delhi.
Roger Cohen is the Paris bureau chief of The Times. He was a columnist from 2009 to 2020. He has worked for The Times for more than 30 years and has served as a foreign correspondent and foreign editor. Raised in South Africa and Britain, he is a naturalized American. @NYTimesCohen
India is everything Japan isn't. It is historically multiracial, maintained or supports a caste system that accepts a poor life for some unlike the socialist healthcare system of Nippon, Japan has more usa debt than any other country while India does public business with a smile to USA's modern enemy in media, russia.
Like CHina with the Ugyars, India with its Muslims , seems to be on a quest to reduce the islamic footprint in the country or at least contain it, while both do large business with islamic strict saudi arabia/iran/qatar or et cetera. so, India is correct, Asia is complex and if Asia is leading the future in humanity then dichotomies are no longer valid, these are complex times coming in the future of the alignments in humanity.
I do think that india's immigrant community in england/usa or other will have a huge role in the complexity their prime minister speaks of in the future.
Haruhiko Kuroda, the Bank of Japan’s governor and the architect of its current policies.Credit...Richard A. Brooks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Why Japan’s Sudden Shift on Bond Purchases Dealt a Global Jolt
The world has relied on ultralow interest rates in Japan. What will happen if they rise?
By Ben Dooley
Reporting from Tokyo
Jan. 3, 2023
Japan is the world’s largest creditor. At the end of 2021, it held roughly $3.2 trillion in foreign assets, 30 percent more than No. 2 Germany. As of October, it owned over a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt, more than China. Japanese banks are the world’s largest cross-border lenders, with nearly $4.8 trillion in claims in other countries.
Late last month, the world got an unexpected reminder of how integral Japan is to the global economy, when the country’s central bank unexpectedly announced that it was adjusting its stance on bond purchases.
To those unversed in the intricacies of monetary policy, the significance of Japan’s decision to raise the ceiling on its 10-year bond yields may not have been immediately clear. But for the finance industry, the surprising change raised expectations that the days of rock-bottom Japanese interest rates could be numbered — potentially further squeezing global credit markets that were already tightening as the world economy slowed.
Since this summer, the Bank of Japan has been an outlier, keeping its interest rates ultralow even as other central banks raced to keep up with the Federal Reserve, which has ratcheted up lending costs in an effort to tame high inflation.
As global rates have diverged from those in Japan, the value of the yen has fallen as investors sought better returns elsewhere. That has put pressure on the Bank of Japan to shift the world’s third-largest economy away from its decade-long commitment to cheap money, a policy known as monetary easing.
Japan’s deep integration into global financial networks means that there is a lot of money riding on the timing of any move away from that policy, and investors have spent years fruitlessly waiting for a sign.
As of mid-December, the overwhelming expectation was that the bank would hold off on any changes until spring, when Haruhiko Kuroda, the Bank of Japan’s governor and an architect of its current policies, is set to step down.
So when the bank made its bond yield announcement, which effectively raised interest rates, it caught virtually everyone off guard.
Mr. Kuroda has been adamant that the decision does not represent a fundamental change in monetary policy. He has insisted that it was intended to encourage trading in 10-year bonds — the bank’s preferred tool for controlling interest rates — which had slowed to a trickle under the bank’s tight controls.
But markets, at least in the short term, weren’t convinced. After the announcement, global stock markets dropped. The yen surged more than 3 percent. And bond yields shot up.
No one, perhaps not even Mr. Kuroda, knows what the bank will do next, said Paul Sheard, a former chief economist of S&P Global. But among some market participants there’s a belief that “when a central bank makes one move, a lot more are coming,” he said.
For “the median investor in the world who’s looking at Japan out of the corner of their eye,” he said, “suddenly you see something that looks like the first move in what could be monetary tightening. That’s like a game changer.”
To understand why, we have to go all the way back to 2013, when Shinzo Abe, then a newly elected prime minister, proposed aggressive policies intended to shock Japan’s economy out of its decades-long torpor.
The most important piece of his strategy was a monetary policy intended to make it easier and more attractive for companies and households to borrow money and spend it.
Among other things, Mr. Abe and his team aimed to push inflation up to 2 percent. Japanese prices had languished for decades: The cost of fried chicken at one convenience store chain hadn’t gone up since the 1980s. While that might seem good for consumers, economists argued that it inhibited companies’ growth, which, in turn, made them reluctant to raise wages.
A modest increase in inflation could break that stasis, they believed, creating a virtuous cycle of rising prices, increased corporate profits and higher wages.
The Bank of Japan told everyone who would listen that it would do whatever it took to achieve its goal of stable price increases. The message was clear: It’s better to spend now, while things are still cheap.
To prove it meant business, the bank started purchasing vast sums of equities and bonds, spending so much that it doubled the amount of currency in the economy in less than two years. (At its peak, in May of last year, it had grown over five times.)
Central banks following a conventional monetary policy tend to focus on controlling short-term interest rates and let markets determine long-term rates. But in 2016 — with inflation still dormant — Japan decided to attempt something very unusual: It would seek to directly control some longer-term rates as well, using an untested policy called “yield curve control.”
Financial institutions base their interest rates, whether on a bank loan or a corporate bond, in part on the expected yields from government bonds. Reducing the market’s role in determining the prices of those bonds, the Bank of Japan figured, would let it better control lending conditions.
The mechanism for accomplishing that depended on one of a bond’s most fundamental attributes: Its price and yield move in opposite directions. The lifetime value of a bond is fixed on the day it’s issued, so if you pay more for it, your returns — the yield — go down. If you pay less, they go up.
When the Bank of Japan introduced its new policy, it committed to buying as many bonds as necessary at whatever price was required to keep yields around zero percent on the 10-year bond, the benchmark for other rates.
Things didn’t quite go as planned.
Rates stayed low, and inflation did, in recent months, hit the 2 percent benchmark. But it kept climbing, reaching 3.7 percent in November, a 40-year high. And most of that wasn’t the good, wage-boosting, demand-driven inflation the Bank of Japan wanted. It was “bad” inflation created by supply shortages from the pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
What’s more, the growing gap between interest rates in Japan and elsewhere was pushing down the yen’s value, piling even more stress on the country’s highly import-dependent economy. That made some analysts speculate that the Bank of Japan would soon be forced to raise interest rates.
Which brings us up to December, when Mr. Kuroda suddenly announced that the bank would double the ceiling on 10-year bond yields, allowing them to fluctuate between plus and minus 0.5 percent, and effectively raising interest rates.
To many investors, the decision seemed like the first tentative step toward even bigger rate increases. As bond yields have jumped, the bank has had to spend heavily to defend its rate target.
Which raises the question, how much longer can the Bank of Japan stick to its guns?
The answer depends on a number of factors, including the performance of the global economy and whether the central bank feels it has finally reached its targets for wage growth and inflation, said Toshitaka Sekine, a professor of economics at Hitotsubashi University.
Most experts believe that the process of unwinding Mr. Kuroda’s monetary easing policy, when it happens, will take years. It is certain to be complicated: Many Japanese borrowers have become accustomed to cheap money — variable interest rates are common, for example — and a hasty retreat could strain households and firms alike.
It could also be painful for global markets that have come to take Japan’s loose monetary policy for granted. Years of anemic growth and a decade of superlow interest rates have pushed many Japanese investors to seek higher returns abroad, increasing their already prominent role in global credit markets.
Although unlikely, a rapid reversal by the Bank of Japan “could generate some hard-to-anticipate shock waves around the world,” said Brad Setser, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on global trade and capital flows. “In the worst-case scenario, rapid rises in long-term Japanese rates push up long-term interest rates globally.”
Ben Dooley reports on Japan’s business and economy, with a special interest in social issues and the intersections between business and politics. @benjamindooley
One of the tragedies of the financial activity by the United States of America is the deterioration of the concept of debt.
Debt used to be a thing you were happy not to have. But the USA federal government has made debt a currency, a tool to control affairs in humanity.
The Japanese are owed over a trillion dollars, but they don't have the military to demand that money is given. Sequentially, all they can do is hold it or present it in financial schemes to others.
Japan decides to provide USA's debt to others as currency. Sequentially, governments throughout humanity buy USA's debt to Japan which Japan gets a financial percentage of sale from.
Personally, I will never buy anyone's debt nor will I buy what anyone else is owed. The USA military was already the most potent element in the usa through the cold war arms race, but the usa military has become switzeland in that it's existence allows the usa to keep producing debt, cause even with a unleavened debt ceiling what country can call in the usa's debt, especially a country absent a military like japan or germany.
Japan's near future will be very interesting
Thoughts to the japanese or japan in a forum post
Mr. Yokoyama plans to give away his land and equipment to a successor he has chosen.Credit...Noriko Hayashi for The New York Times
Japan’s business owners can’t find successors. This man gave his away.
By Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno
Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno traveled to Monbetsu, Japan, to report this story.
Hidekazu Yokoyama has spent three decades building a thriving logistics business on Japan’s snowy northern island of Hokkaido, an area that provides much of the country’s milk.
Last year, he decided to give it all away.
It was a radical solution for a problem that has become increasingly common in Japan, the world’s grayest society. As the country’s birthrate has plummeted and its population has grown older, the average age of business owners has risen to around 62. Nearly 60 percent of the country’s businesses report that they have no plan for what comes next.
While Mr. Yokoyama, 73, felt too old to carry on much longer, quitting wasn’t an option: Too many farmers had come to depend on his company. “I definitely couldn’t abandon the business,” he said. But his children weren’t interested in running it. Neither were his employees. And few potential owners wanted to move to the remote, frozen north.
So he placed a notice with a service that helps small-business owners in far-flung locales find someone to take over. The advertised sale price: zero yen.
Mr. Yokoyama’s struggle symbolizes one of the most potentially devastating economic impacts of Japan’s aging society. It is inevitable that many small and medium-size companies will go out of business as the population shrinks, but policymakers fear that the country could be hit by a surge in closures as aging owners retire en masse.
In an apocalyptic 2019 presentation, Japan’s trade ministry projected that by 2025, around 630,000 profitable businesses could close up shop, costing the economy $165 billion and as many as 6.5 million jobs.
Economic growth is already anemic, and the Japanese authorities have sprung into action in hopes of averting a catastrophe. Government offices have embarked on public relations campaigns to educate aging owners about options for continuing their businesses beyond their retirements and have set up service centers to help them find buyers. To sweeten the pot, the authorities have introduced large subsidies and tax breaks for new owners.
Still, the challenges remain formidable. One of the biggest obstacles to finding a successor has been tradition, said Tsuneo Watanabe, a director of Nihon M&A Center, a company that specializes in finding buyers for valuable small and medium-size enterprises. The company, founded in 1991, has become enormously lucrative, recording $359 million in revenue in 2021.
But building that business has been a long process. In years past, small-business owners, particularly those who ran the country’s many decades- or even centuries-old companies, assumed that their children or a trusted employee would take over. They had no interest in selling their life’s work to a stranger, much less a competitor.
Mergers and acquisitions “weren’t well regarded,” Mr. Watanabe said. “A lot of people felt that it was better to shut the company down than sell it.” Perceptions of the industry have improved over the years, but there are “still many businesspeople who aren’t even aware that M.&A. is an option,” he added.
While the market has found buyers for the businesses most ripe for the picking, it can seem nearly impossible for many small but economically vital companies to find someone to take over.
In 2021, government help centers and the top five merger-and-acquisitions services found buyers for only 2,413 businesses, according to Japan’s trade ministry. Another 44,000 were abandoned. Over 55 percent of those were still profitable when they closed.
Many of those businesses were in small towns and cities, where the succession problem is a potentially existential threat. The collapse of a business, whether a major local employer or a village’s only grocery store, can make it even harder for those places to survive the constant attrition of aging populations and urban flight that is hollowing out the countryside.
After a government-run matching program failed to find someone to take over for Mr. Yokoyama, a bank suggested that he turn to Relay, a company based in Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island.
Relay has differentiated itself by appealing to potential buyers’ sense of community and purpose. Its listings, featuring beaming proprietors in front of sushi shops and bucolic fields, are engineered to appeal to harried urbanites dreaming of a different lifestyle.
The company’s task in Mr. Yokoyama’s case wasn’t easy. For most Japanese, the town where his business is situated, Monbetsu, which has around 20,000 people and is shrinking, might as well be the North Pole. The only industries are fishing and farming, and they largely go into hibernation as the days grow short and snow piles up to roof eaves. In deep winter, some tourists come to eat salmon roe and scallops and see the ice floes that lock in the city’s modest port.
A street full of 1980s-era cabarets and restaurants is a snapshot of a more prosperous time when young fishermen gathered to let off steam and spend big paychecks. Today, faded posters peel off abandoned storefronts. The town’s biggest building is a new hospital.
In 2001, Monbetsu constructed a new elementary school building just around the corner from Mr. Yokoyama’s company. It closed after just 10 years.
In times past, the classrooms would have been filled with the grandchildren of local dairy farmers. But their own children have now mostly moved to cities in search of higher-paying, less onerous work.
With no obvious successors, the farms have folded one after another. Decades-high inflation brought on by the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine has pushed dozens of holdouts into early retirement.
As local farmers have aged and their profits thinned, more of them have come to depend on Mr. Yokoyama for tasks like harvesting hay and clearing snow. His days start at 4 a.m. and end at 7 in the evening. He sleeps in a small room behind his office.
It would be “extremely difficult” if his business folded, said Isao Ikeno, the manager of a nearby dairy cooperative that has turned heavily to automation as workers have become harder to find.
On the cooperative’s farm, 17 employees tend to 3,000 head of cattle, and Mr. Yokoyama’s company fills in the gaps. No other area businesses can provide the services, Mr. Ikeno said.
Mr. Yokoyama began contemplating retirement about six years ago. But it wasn’t clear what would happen to the business.
While he had taken on a little over half a million dollars in debt, years of generous economic stimulus policies have kept interest rates at rock bottom, easing the burden, and the company’s annual profit margin was around 30 percent.
The ad he placed on Relay acknowledged that the job was hard, but it said that no experience was needed. The best candidate would be “young and ready to work.”
Whoever was chosen would take over the debts, but also inherit all of the business’s equipment and nearly 150 acres of prime farmland and forest. Mr. Yokoyama’s children will get nothing.
“I told them that if you want to take it over, I’d leave it to you, but if you don’t want to do it, I’m giving it all to the next guy,” he said.
Thirty inquiries poured in. Among those who expressed interest were a couple and a representative of a company that planned to expand. Mr. Yokoyama settled on a dark horse, 26-year-old Kai Fujisawa.
A friend had shown Mr. Fujisawa the ad on Relay, and Mr. Fujisawa immediately jumped in a car and showed up on Mr. Yokoyama’s doorstep, impressing him with his youth and enthusiasm.
Still, the transition hasn’t been smooth. Mr. Yokoyama is not entirely convinced that Mr. Fujisawa is the right person for the job. The learning curve is steeper than either of them had imagined, and Mr. Yokoyama’s grizzled, chain-smoking employees are skeptical that Mr. Fujisawa will be able to live up to the boss’s reputation.
Most of the company’s 17 employees are in their 50s and 60s, and it’s not clear where Mr. Fujisawa will find people to replace them as they retire.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” Mr. Fujisawa said. But “when I came here, I was prepared to do this for the rest of my life.”
Ben Dooley reports on Japan’s business and economy, with a special interest in social issues and the intersections between business and politics. @benjamindooley
Hisako Ueno has been reporting on Japanese politics, business, gender, labor and culture for The Times since 2012. She previously worked for the Tokyo bureau of The Los Angeles Times from 1999 to 2009. @hudidi1
Nippon's woes today is what happens when any government is created and uplifted by an enemy. I think about how Nippon was totally destroyed after the second phase of the world war. How Nippon was originally unsupported by the USA, but how the actions of the common folk flocking to socialistic forms and an anti usa zeal prompted the usa to use its imperial power to rebuild.
And it was brilliant to those who were in trouble, the culture in japan no longer needed to change, those who wanted change were killed or imprisoned or made sick or silenced in one way or the other by the usa military.
The business owners , many who fled Nippon were able to crawl back into Nippon and continue their culture or lifestyle unabated. The USA found in Nippon a totally militaristically impotent country, it made, that is a complete ally to the usa in government or financial affairs.
But... the problems are here. Nippon never learned to grow on its own after the war between the states. In the meiji era Nippon internally changed on nippon's terms and related to the outside humanity whose militaristic technology knocked down their walls. Now Nippon simply acted as a slave to the USA in nearly all matters. Buying USA's debt, hiring USA's workers, moving their factories to the USA, Nippon commonly called Japan became USA's bitch to use a common negative term.
And while many praise Japan, the price as the article above proves is clear.
Larry Buchanan/The New York Times
Did a Fourth Grader Write This? Or the New Chatbot?
Don’t be surprised if you can’t always tell. Neither could a fourth-grade teacher — or Judy Blume.
By Claire Cain Miller, Adam Playford, Larry Buchanan and Aaron Krolik Dec. 26, 2022
It’s hard to fully grasp the enormous potential of ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence chatbot released last month. The bot doesn’t just search and summarize information that already exists. It creates new content, tailored to your request, often with a startling degree of nuance, humor and creativity. Most of us have never seen anything like it outside of science fiction.
To better understand what ChatGPT can do, we decided to see if people could tell the difference between the bot’s writing and a child’s.
We used real essay prompts from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the standardized test from the Department of Education, known as the nation’s report card). We asked the bot to produce essays based on those prompts — sometimes with a little coaching, and always telling it to write like a student of the appropriate age. We put what it wrote side by side with sample answers written by real children.
We asked some experts on children’s writing to take our variation on the Turing test, live on a call with us. They were a fourth-grade teacher; a professional writing tutor; a Stanford education professor; and Judy Blume, the beloved children’s author. None of them could tell every time whether a child or a bot wrote the essay. See how you do.
BELOW ARE PROMPTS , can you tell if they are from human children or chatbot, if you want to test yourself, go to the article url after my thoughts and test yourself
Prompt 1: School Lunch
The following prompt was given to fourth graders.
Describe what lunchtime is like for you on a school day. Be sure to tell about your lunchtime so that someone who has never had lunch with you on a school day can understand where you have lunch and what lunchtime is like.
Here are three answers. They were written either by a real fourth grader or ChatGPT. (You can read all three before deciding. But once you pick, your choices lock in. Then keep scrolling to see how our experts did.)
1 of 10
Essay 1: A fun and exciting time
Lunchtime on a school day is a fun and exciting time for me and my friends. We usually go to the cafeteria, which is a big and noisy room filled with tables and chairs. After getting our lunch from the lunch ladies, we find a spot to sit and enjoy our meal. I like to bring a yummy sandwich and a cold juice box for lunch, and sometimes I'll even pack a tasty piece of fruit or a bag of crunchy chips. As we eat, we chat and laugh and catch up on each other’s day.
Overall, lunchtime is a great opportunity to take a break from classes and spend time with my friends. I always look forward to it, and I always have a good time. The cafeteria can be a little crowded and noisy, but it's a fun and lively place to be. I’m grateful that I get to enjoy a delicious lunch with my friends every day.
2 of 10
Essay 2: I usually eat cold lunch
At lunchtime I usually eat cold lunch. My mother packs me a sandwich, a drink, fruit, and a treat. When I get in the lunchroom I find an empty table and sit there, and eat my lunch. My friends come and sit down with me. I open my lunch and start to eat. First I eat my sandwich then I open my drink, then eat my fruit and last but not least my treat. After that I sit quietly until I am dismissed. When I am I go into to the bathroom and clean my teeth because I have braces.
When I am done with that I go outside and put my lunchbox away and go find my friends. We usually play four square or play on the play ground. If we are not on the playground or on the four square ground we are on the field playing tag, kickball, or soccer. I really like to play soccer and my friends do too.
3 of 10
Essay 3: Everybody talks
Lunch time in my school is very noisy, because everybody talks. The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at my school have to eat lunch at the same time. We all sit at tables that are set up in the gym, across half of the basketball court. We eat lunch every day from 11:45 am through 12:00 pm. At lunch everyone eats and talks to their friends until the lunch-moms dismiss them so they can go to recess. When everybody has cleared out of the lunch room, the janitors and lunch moms whipe off the tables, just on time for the 7th and 8th graders to come into the room for lunch. After lunch and recess I go back to my 4th grade classroom, which is in the basement. I like lunch time a lot — it’s my favorite time of the day!
Prompt 2: Becoming President
The following prompt was given to eighth graders.
Imagine that you wake up one morning to discover that you have become the President of the United States. Write a story about your first day as President.
Here are three answers:
4 of 10
Essay 1: Royal blue silk sheets
It was my first official day being the president. I woke up early that day because I was extremely eager to begin my work.
I woke up in the most enormous bed I’ve ever laid eyes on. There were layes of royal blue silk sheets under a soft white down comforter. The deep red pillows supported my head and had helped me to enjoy a good nights’ rest.
I hesitated before climbing out of bed, not wanting to leave my sense of eutopia. I eventually found myself making my way to the walk-in closet across the room. In it were countless pants, shirts, shoes, and ties that were all unique, so it wasn't a difficult decision.
I heard a knock on the door and call for them to come in. It was my maid. Yes, I had a maid! I couldn’t believe it.
I sprang downstairs to the breakfast table as numerous people were awaiting to serve me. It was delicious.
After brushing my teeth and doing all of the other essentials, it was time for me to take charge.
My office was humungus and was covered, floor to ceiling with rows and rows of books. In front of gigantic windows, was my desk, where I sat for many hours of the day stressing out over papers I needed to sign and decisions I had to make. It wasn’t as simple as I thought.
That night I had a dinner party to attend with some important businessmen. Everything ran smoothly.
I returned home that night to my cozy bed, just in time for yet another good nights’ sleep. Only to wake up and repeat it all tomorrow. What a life I live.
5 of 10
Essay 2: Shocked and amazed
One morning, I woke up to discover that I had become the President of the United States. I was shocked and amazed, but I quickly realized that I had a huge responsibility on my shoulders.
I got dressed and headed to the White House, where I was greeted by the Secret Service and my staff. They told me that I had a busy day ahead of me, with meetings with foreign leaders and important decisions to make.
I met with the Vice President and the rest of the Cabinet, and we discussed the major issues facing the country. I listened carefully to their advice, and made some tough decisions.
I also met with the leaders of other countries, and we discussed ways to improve relations and solve global problems. I was nervous at first, but I soon realized that I was up to the task.
At the end of the day, I was exhausted but proud of what I had accomplished. I knew that being President was a huge challenge, but I was ready to face it head on. I went to bed that night, ready for the challenges that the next day would bring.
6 of 10
Essay 3: Madam President
It was a typical Tuesday morning. I woke up, got dresesed, and went downstairs to eat breakfast. But as I was pouring myself a bowl of cereal, I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to find a man in a suit standing on my porch.
“Good morning, Madam President,” he said. “I’m here to take you to the White House.”
I was stunned. I had no idea what he was talking about. I had never even run for presidnet.
“I’m sorry, but there must be some mistake,” I said. “I’m just an eighth gradeer.”
The man chuckled. “I understand your confusion, Madam President, but the fact remains that you are now the President of the United States. You were chosen by the previous president to be his successor in the event that something were to happen to him.”
I was speechless. I had never even thought about being president before. And now, all of a sudden, I was the leader of the free world.
The man ushered me into a black car and we drove to the White House. When we arrived, I was greeted by a crowd of people and a flurry of flashing cameras. I was whisked inside and taken to the Oval Office, where I was given a briefing on the state of the nation.
It was a crisis-filled day. The economy was in shambles, the nation was divided, and there were threats of war on the horizon. I had to make tough decisions and work with other world leaders to try and solve these problems.
But despite the challenges, I felt a sense of pride and responsibility. I was the President of the United States, and I was determined to do my best for my country and its people.
Prompt 3: A Castle Appears
The following prompt was given to fourth graders.
One morning a child looks out the window and discovers that a huge castle has appeared overnight. The child rushes outside to the castle and hears strange sounds coming from it. Someone is living in the castle!
The castle door creaks open. The child goes in.
Write a story about who the child meets and what happens inside the castle.
And here are four answers (don’t worry, they’re shorter):
7 of 10
Essay 1: John the knight
“Wow a castle!” said John. He had know clue of how it got here or where it came from? He walked inside and found that it was rather damp. He wandered around until finally he saw someone. This person didn’t look normal. He was dressed in royalty with a purple cape and a crown of jewels. Then the person spoke out. “There you are you’re supposed to be training right now.” John had know clue what he was talking about. Suddenly he thought of something, was this the King of the castle? He finally got the nerve to ask a question. He asked “Who are you”. He answered “I’m the King.” John was shocked. Then the King told him to get on his armor. John thought and thought. Then he knew what he was talking about. He thought he was a knight. John thought again. If he was to be a knight then he would never see his family again. Then he thought of his older sister, Jennifer. He decided to be a knight. After about 2 months he finally was knighted. He fought many dragons and man. He finally died but is still a legend today. The end.
8 of 10
Essay 2: A dragon named Sparky
One morning a child looks out the window and discovers that a huge castle has appeared over knight. The child rushes outside to the castle and hears strange sounds coming from it. Someone is living in the castle! The castle door creaks open and the child goes in. The child walks into the castle and is amazed by what they see. The walls are made of shiny stones, and there are torches burning along the walls, casting a warm glow on the room. The child hears a voice calling out from deep inside the castle. “Is anyone there?” the child calls out. “Yes, I’m here!” the voice says. The child follows the voice until they come to a room with a big fireplace. Inside the fireplace, the child sees a small, friendly-looking dragon. “Hello!” the dragon says. “I'm Sparky, I’m the only one who lives here in the castle, I've been all alone for a very long time.” The child is amazed. They have never seen a real dragon before. “Do you want to be friends?” the dragon asks. The child nods and smiles, “Yes, I would love to be friends with you, Sparky.” Sparky is so happy to have a new friend, he shows the child all around the castle. They play games and explore the castle together. The child has the best day of their lie, and they can't wait to come back and visit Sparky again!
9 of 10
Essay 3: Tsharra explores
Once there was a little girl who had looked out of her bedroom window. Her name, was Tsharra. She was only 5 yrs. old. Tsharra spotted a castle right in front of her house. So she decided to explore. She went to the front of the castle and a chain wood door opened. It sounded like it needed oil on the hinges. Tsharra stepped her tiny foot in. She looked straight ahead and saw a velvit red thrown on the ground. It has 3 steps that leaded to a marble deck. There were 2 tall chairs and in them were a king and queen. The king and queen wore golden sparkly crows with lots of diamonds and jewls. They both wore purple velvet caps that went all the way around them. Tsharra was amazed she was starring straight in the eyes of a real king and queen. The king and queen had not a son or daughter. The king and queen were whispering back and forth. Should we keep her said one. Sure said the other. We should adapt her by tomorrow. Tsharra heard them. She’s ours. She stayed in the castle over night. In the morning she was adapted and the little family lived happily ever after.
10 of 10
Essay 4: Sir James and Alice
The child’s name is Alice and she is very curious. She walks into the castle and sees a knight in shining armor. The knight is holding a sword and is practicing his sword skills.
Alice watches the knight for a moment and then walks up to him. The knight is surprised to see her and asks her what she is doing in the castle. Alice tells him that she woke up to find the castle in her backyard and wanted to explore it.
The knight introduces himself as Sir James and tells Alice that he has been living in the castle for many years. He tells her that the castle is magical and that it can take her to different worlds.
Alice is amazed and asks Sir James if he can take her to one of these worlds. Sir James says that he can, but only if she is brave enough. Alice says she is brave and Sir James takes her to a world full of dragons.
Alice is scared at first, but she quickly learns that the dragons are friendly and she even gets to ride one. She has the best adventure of her life and can’t wait to see what other worlds the castle has to offer.
As I said to computer programs, sculpting images from a prompt, computer programs sculpting essays isn't a problem to me.
The two issues with computer created art are simple: 1) the truth 2) acceptance of human effort absent competitions
To the truth, as a writer , if another writer wants to use a computer program to write a book and that book provides millions, I don't have a problem as long as the author admit it. The odd thing about those who use computer programs is how ashamed they are to admit it. Just say you do. why can't you?
The same applies to drawing or anything resulting from a program. Just admit a computer program is used.
To artistic competition, one of the problems in art since the domination of those of white european descent to all other humans is the role of critique or judgement in ranking art which relates to financial evaluation. Jean Michel Basquiat when alive had art that he gave away to people who treated it worthlessly, but in the last few years since this writing, his art has sold for multiples of millions.
The point, artistic quality can not be used to rank art. And once artistic ranking ends, then the threat of what computers generate to artists or the greater art community is nonexistent. The reason why artists/art assessors or judgers feel threatened is cause the ranking of art creates an artificial ranking that allows some artist to profit.
And for children don't worry, if you want to test any one of any age , just take the time in school to test them, eradicate homework and lesson lecture time and have more testing time, and students will exhibit what they know... the question is, is the goal of education a jounrey to grow or is the goal of education a competitive race to win. If it is a journey to grow, a student can be left back a trillion times and all is well. If education is a competition then cheating has to be allowed.
Attending to a patient at the severe burns unit.Credit...Zied Ben Romdhane for The New York Times
In a Hospital Ward, the Wounds of a Failed Democracy Don’t Heal
Tunisia’s road to democracy began with a self-immolation, and such cases have filled hospital burn wards ever since, as elected leaders failed to deliver on a promise of prosperity.
By Vivian Yee
Vivian Yee, who covers North Africa for The Times, spent a week at the Trauma and Severe Burns Hospital in Ben Arous, near the Tunisian capital, where she watched doctors carry out their work.
Jan. 3, 2023
The most troublesome patient in the hospital’s severe burns unit was refusing to let the orderlies change the bandages that had encased him since he set himself on fire three months earlier, so Dr. Imen Jami burst into his room, her habitually knit brows drawn as tight as they would go, her lips pressed together in a magenta line.
“Look, I have someone in a coma, and I have no time,” she told the young man. “The final word is that you’ll get on the bed and change your bandages.”
“I’m so tired,” he moaned.
“You’re really not going to have them changed?” she said, looming over him.
“No, I will,” he said, quailing.
The doctor had seen this before: Tunisians who set themselves on fire in the throes of desperation often had little interest in recovering. Unable to support their families in a country that was coming apart, they had only the same old futility waiting for them back home.
In a sense, Tunisia’s 2010 revolution — and the wave of Arab Spring uprisings it inspired — began in this hospital burn ward near the capital, Tunis, and sometimes it seems as if its dying breaths are being taken there, too.
A decade ago, the Trauma and Severe Burns Hospital treated Mohamed Bouazizi, the 26-year-old fruit seller whose self-immolation came to stand for the rage that brought down a dictator and launched a democracy. Now it houses self-immolation patients whose own acts of protest changed nothing, and a host of doctors trying to escape. The country’s collective despair was so great that Tunisians turned once again to the one-man rule they had fought so fiercely to overthrow just a decade ago.
All the while, Dr. Jami had been there on the fourth floor.
She was there in the waning days of 2010, when Mr. Bouazizi was brought into the ward in critical condition, and there when the former dictator, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, came to pose for a picture at his bedside in an unconvincing attempt to show the public that he cared. Less than three weeks later, on Jan. 4, 2011, Mr. Bouazizi was dead.
She was there in the days that followed, when a surge of young men from around the country inundated the hospital after their own copycat self-immolations.
Outside the walls of the hospital in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous, Mr. Bouazizi’s death was galvanizing Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. “Jobs, freedom, dignity,” protesters chanted, and soon the revolt spread from young, struggling men like Mr. Bouazizi to all kinds of Tunisians. By Jan. 14, 2011, Mr. Ben Ali had fled the country, and Tunisia’s uprising had set off others across the region.
The others ended in bloodshed. But for a while, it seemed, democracy was blooming in Tunisia — the Arab Spring’s last great hope. Yet even as Tunisians’ freedoms multiplied, bread got harder to afford, and democracy itself started to seem undignified.
The old regime’s crimes went largely unpunished. Parliament deadlocked. Corruption spread. Unemployment rose. Poverty deepened. Buffeted by inexperience, infighting and bad luck, 10 prime ministers in 10 years failed to make urgent economic changes.
The post-revolution government was dominated by an Islamist party, Ennahda, and religious-secular divisions polarized a society unsure about whether politicians who wanted to govern according to Islamic principles belonged in a democracy at all.
During what Tunisians called the “black decade” after the revolution, the Bouazizi copycats arrived at the hospital by the hundreds. A relative rarity before the revolution, the act of self-immolation soon accounted for a fifth of the burn ward’s cases.
Then, in 2019, Kais Saied — an austere constitutional law professor — was elected president. Harnessing Tunisians’ rage and regret over the revolution, he suspended Parliament in July 2021, sidelined political parties, undercut civil liberties and embraced one-man rule, all but burying the country’s brief experiment with democracy.
And many Tunisians cheered.
People like Dr. Jami and many of her colleagues wanted rescuing, and after a decade of watching elected leaders fumble, they had not seen a better candidate for savior than Mr. Saied.
More than a year after his election, however, the president had been unable to do much about the foundering economy, the soaring prices or the lack of decent jobs. Which was why an estimated 15,400 Tunisians boarded rickety boats bound for Europe last year, only for at least 570 of them to drown, and part of why young men kept setting themselves on fire.
In Tunisia, illegal migration to Europe by boat was called the “harga.” The word translated, literally, to “burning.”
On the burn ward, all the doctors raised their voices so patients could hear them through the thick layers of white bandages that shrouded their heads, but Dr. Jami was loudest of all. Her “good mornings” were trumpet blasts, her entrances laughter and thunder; she could get a roomful of staff laughing with a single line, or upend it with demands for help, now.
The daughter of a nurse, Dr. Jami had studied medicine because it was her father’s dream for her, joining the burn unit soon after it opened in 2008.
She and her office mate, a fellow general practitioner, Behija Gasri, had spent five days straight in the ward during the revolution, changing diapers and mopping hallways themselves because no one else could reach the hospital. So many self-immolation cases were brought in that they ran out of beds and started putting patients on chairs.
Chaos and upheaval: That was all the revolution had brought her, she often thought.
In the decade that followed, most of Tunisia’s self-immolation cases were brought to this hospital, North Africa’s premier burn treatment center, their numbers growing just as the medical staff caring for them shrank. The increasingly bleak economy had pushed thousands of Tunisian doctors to leave the country for better opportunities abroad, including half the burn unit’s senior specialists, and now there was far more work and far less money for the ones who had stayed behind.
But Dr. Jami and Dr. Gasri were still here, even if survival and resilience in the face of adversity, it often seemed, had earned them little more than the chance to survive yet more adversity.
Doing the rounds of their patients every morning in early October, the gaggle of doctors in scrubs and rubber clogs — many of them women, most of them bespectacled, and all of them tired — tended to pass the self-immolation patient’s room without comment.
Day after day, he lay in the dark as the small TV on the wall cast ghostly light on his face, curling and uncurling the unbandaged fingers on his right hand.
Changing his bandages was always an ordeal. When orderlies wheeled him back to his room after Dr. Jami’s scolding, he was groaning in pain.
“Slowly, slowly!” he shouted as they shifted him back onto the bed. This time, Dr. Jami’s office mate, Dr. Gasri, was there to greet him. She spoke softly.
“Help us help you get better soon,” she said.
He said nothing, except to ask a nurse for a new diaper.
Dr. Gasri had the graven, planed face of a Byzantine mosaic saint, the impression of piety reinforced by a daily uniform of white head scarf and white coat. More than a head shorter than Dr. Jami, she moved quietly down hallways where her office mate whirled and strode.
During morning rounds, Dr. Jami massaged Dr. Gasri’s shoulders, patted upper arms in apology as she squeezed past the nurses, whispered jokes in people’s ears. She blew brusque little kisses in greeting, thanks and farewell. Dr. Gasri just smiled.
When Dr. Gasri first joined the unit in its early years, she had barely been able to take it. She fainted the first time she saw and smelled the burned flesh under the bandages.
Still, it was rewarding work. Former patients often came back to thank her and pray for her, she said. Sometimes they brought gifts from their home regions: dates sweet as caramel from the city of Tozeur, or, once, a bottle of fresh milk a farmer had gotten up early to deliver all the way from impoverished Kasserine. By the time it reached Ben Arous, it had gone bad.
Now a former patient was waiting for her in the hall, there with not a gift but a plea.
Ahmed Yaakoubi had first been admitted in 2012 after burning his lower legs in a car accident. Recovery was supposed to take two years, but for nearly a decade now, he had been unable to come up with the money for regular bandage replacements and follow-up treatment. At 25, unable to fully control his lower legs, walking with a limp, he couldn’t find work.
Dr. Gasri smiled at him as they shook hands, but what she had to say was serious.
“I don’t want to lie to you,” she said. “Your legs are worn out. You can’t go on like this.”
He hadn’t changed the bandages that still swaddled both legs from the knee down for four days now, risking infection and maybe even amputation. The charity his neighbors pressed on him after the accident had tapered off four years later, when he started to walk again, though he said one neighbor who was a nurse kept selling him discounted bandages.
But years had turned to a decade, Tunisians’ budgets had gone from modest to minuscule, and now nobody was giving. He felt he was a burden on the neighbor, who could no longer conceal his impatience.
Ten dinars — about $3 — for each hospital visit, 20 for fresh bandages. At the pharmacy, some products he was supposed to use had tripled in price. And he was meant to change the wrappings every day.
“I can’t even afford to eat,” Mr. Yaakoubi told Dr. Gasri. “How can I buy new bandages?”
She told him to come back on Monday. Maybe she would have something for him then. She would ask a few relatives to chip in, and, probably, dip into her own pocket.
The burn unit’s founder and head, Amen Allah Messadi, had set up an association to raise money for patients who couldn’t afford physical therapy, pressure garments, laser therapy, prosthetics and bandages, which was to say most patients. The erratic public health care system instituted after the revolution covered only the formally employed, and by the World Bank’s estimate, nearly half of Tunisians eked out a living off the books.
But the association had paused its fund-raising when Covid-19 hit, and donations dried up as times got harder. These days, it was often the staff who gave, stuffing spare dinars into an envelope that Dr. Gasri kept to help those in need.
Money had never seemed so tight when Ben Ali, the former dictator, was in power. As the regime’s heavily state-controlled approach opened up to private investment, the country’s middle class was considered sound, its education and health care systems solid, its markets’ prices steady.
Yet citified coastal Tunisia was much wealthier than the country’s rural inland, the gap between the Ben Ali cronies who controlled much of the economy and the rest stoked resentment, and the young people who made up nearly a third of Tunisia’s 11 million people, like Mr. Bouazizi, were desperate for decent jobs. He had set himself on fire to protest police harassment after municipal officials confiscated the fruit he was selling and, according to his family, slapped him.
A decade of democracy brought elections, freedom of expression, a thriving press, a muscular civil society and independent institutions, all things the country had never had under French colonial rule or the two dictators who followed. But such intangibles meant little to the revolutionaries who had demanded better lives — materially, and fast.
The foreign debt and economic structure that the new Tunisia inherited from the old Tunisia — the country imported expensive things and exported cheap ones — would have made that a challenge even for experienced leadership, and Tunisia’s new leaders were green, more focused on a new constitution than fixing the economy.
Early governments ineptly tried to hire and borrow their way into prosperity; later governments all failed to overhaul the economy.
But they might have avoided disaster if Western countries had stepped up with far more aid and debt relief, and if not for a run of bad luck: a financial crisis in Europe, a war in neighboring Libya and terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists that crippled the country’s vital tourism industry.
The attacks deepened suspicion of Ennahda, vitriol that eventually tarnished the whole Parliament that the Islamist party had dominated.
The decline of faith in democracy could be measured in voter turnout. Back in 2011, during the first parliamentary elections after the revolution, 92 percent of voters went to the polls. By 2019, when Mr. Saied was elected as an incorruptible-seeming outsider, just 41 percent bothered.
Or it could be measured in self-immolations. With every fresh economic downturn, more people set themselves on fire, and eight years into Tunisia’s democratic experiment, the doctors whom Dr. Messadi had worked hard to recruit started leaving the burn unit, one by one. That left only Dr. Messadi, Dr. Jami, Dr. Gasri and two senior specialists — one of them debating whether to move abroad.
In France, where Tunisian doctors often emigrated, the pay wasn’t much better, at least not at first. But the equipment, facilities, regulations, malpractice insurance and hours were, and many of the unit’s young doctors said they believed there would be less burnout and depression.
In France, there wouldn’t be a political crisis with no sure outcome, or an economy that seemed headed for collapse.
In July, Mr. Saied rammed through a new Constitution in a referendum, demoting Parliament to more of an advisory body and giving himself the kind of presidential powers no leader had enjoyed since Mr. Ben Ali. Western experts warned that the new charter would hasten the end of Tunisia’s democracy.
Then he urged people to vote for a new, revamped Parliament, one that did away with the influence of Ennahda and other political parties. But only about 11 percent of eligible voters showed up for the Dec. 17 elections.
For Dr. Gasri, the surge of hope she had felt during the revolution was still down there somewhere, though it felt harder to remember these days. She said she would understand if her son, who was studying for an architecture degree, left for a few years’ professional experience in Europe, but she wanted him to come back someday.
She would stay.
“If we all leave,” she said, “what will happen to Tunisia?”
To Dr. Jami, it felt like the revolution had been the beginning of a long plunge into darkness. She said she spent most days now in a funk of stomach pain, fatigue and stress.
“Get me a man,” she said, hunting not for a ring but a visa to a Western country. “Get me out of this country.” It was a joke, but if she didn’t have to support her elderly mother, she said, she would be trying to leave.
The latest blow to the doctors had come when Covid-19 hit the hospitals hard, forcing intensive care specialists to the front lines, even as the strapped Health Ministry had to cut residents’ pay.
It was amid the death and chaos that Mr. Saied mounted his power grab. Dr. Jami said she had been cautiously relieved at his intervention. Dr. Gasri was just hoping for the best.
Now it had been more than a year. The staff tried not to dwell on the fact that, with the economy the way it was, with Mr. Saied apparently unable to fix things, many more young men who had tried to self-immolate might come their way.
“It’s one of the best countries, but I want to leave because they destroyed it,” Dr. Jami said to one of the physical therapists during a rare break one afternoon. Her face was soft with tiredness. “They didn’t leave us with any reasons to stay.”
She meant the politicians they had voted for, dutifully, election after election. Soon after, she told Dr. Messadi she wanted to leave early, and went home.
Ahmed Ellali contributed reporting.
Financial poverty is a powerful thing and many governments or communities in humanity, through a recent heritage of white european domination don't have the culture to handle how to be poor. It is easier to flee to another country, to burn yourself alive, than to be fiscal poor.
Secondly, though more potently, democracy, the rule of the people always exist. The form of government doesn't matter, the people always rule, the question is, how do the people want to be ruled. Sometimes most folk accept someone with a crown. sometimes most folk accept people voted in. Sometimes most folk accept individuals in a minority populace among them deciding among themselves. but the people always rule and yes, even when a commonly called dictator is the head.
Lastly, or rarely stated, the fiscal wealth of the governments deemed wealthiest in humanity, all comes from slavery/genocides/wars/various levels of abuse. Countries like tunisia, who are larger than city states, who are trying to make financial changes absent the ability to commit genocides/enslavements/wars/abuses to others especially, are always going to have a hard time. Yes, Germany or Japan or China didn't need so much of that abusive power to others but all of them were given money by the usa to prevent them from joining an enemy in the commonly called cold war. To many countries are deemed financially successful absent the truth to their fiscal profit admitted in media alongside.
The quote by the tunisian woman about getting a man for immigration is a great public admission, when it comes to the nature of male or female relationships concerning the immigrant community and those in the countries of wealth.
@Chevdove that is the question. In my view it is first getting what was truly damaged and then doing actions that reflect it.
@ProfD fair enough you and I do not share the same definition of autonomous
@ProfD japan has wealth but are they thriving, the usa manipulated nippon. I prefer to use the word used not help, the usa didn't want japan to follow the soviets which what was happening so the usa funded nippon like they did western europe. it was never to help japan, it was to make japan a satrap of the usa, which japan became. the usa designed the japanese government purposefully, doing all sorts of activities to make sure the japanese government was in line. The japanese people before the usa manipulated things was going communist/anti western the usa came in with money, gave all the old nippon firms and their imperial japanese culture a boost and the rest is history. You use the word help. The USA did not help Nippon. Japan is not autonomous, japan like israel like western europe can only survive with the usa military flying above them. the second the usa goes away, japan will fall/israel will fall/western europe will fall. That is why the usa gives billions every year, to prop up failing countries. have they? predominantly white countries, you mean like france? I have been to west africa, whatever the french or english or belgians or spanish or portuguese think they have done to atone, hasn't worked in africa. germany provides reparations to the white jews cause they lost world war II. Yes the usa hasn't given the black descended of enslaved billions of dollars as a community. But, again, how many black people in said community have said for over 150 years they don't want it. that doesn't help either. My point is what Black people need to repair is beyond what the usa or whites in the usa can give. Can money from the usa help? yes in a simple way. But my idea of reparations from a black perspective is more entailed.
@ProfD @Chevdove from the following it seems this organizations goal is to get japanese reparations while calling for African American reparations as the japanese populace is small in the usa today, within the asian statian populace, let alone the total populace in the usa. http://www.japanculture-nyc.com/national-nikkei-reparations-coalition-to-host-events-in-support-of-black-reparations/ I will say what I always say, reparations means a thing that repairs. Some things can not be repaired. And sequentially, some things will never be forgiven by all applicable. The japanese descent community in the usa will never recover from what happened during world war II, it is that simple. money will not change the damage. Same to the descended of enslaved, same to the native american. Money can not undo the death of peoples. Money can not undo centuries of enslavement. Money can not undo a complete persecution of a people. In parallel, that means said peoples will never forgive in majority the source of their historical woes that plague them still, the usa or white people in the usa. Even if NEw york state gave the few native american tribes in it millions, how will that undo the complete death of the lenape/various algonquin peoples. how? I didn't realize money can repair death. Even if New York sTate gave millions to all the black people in it , or even anyone , even if they be white, who has an enslaved black forbear, that will not undo the damage of enslavement. Centuries without your own language, your own culture, your own way of life, can not be undone by money. Heritage can only exist, it can not be bought. The japanese community in NYS is tiny. but money will not lead to the japanese populace in new york state growing with fervor. the japanese in the usa or japan itself were hit with many bombs during and after world war two. This can not be undone with money.
fair enough @Rodney campbell
@Troy Marcus Garvey/booker t washington/ web dubois tend to engender long multilog among black people in the usa for their time, post war between the states, was the most important time for Black people in the USA since, in terms of deciding how the community will act in the immediate future to modernity.
In the end, all three leaders got what they wanted in part in the black community, not in majority.
I can say I know , offline, black people , bLack descended of enslaved <BDE>, who have left the usa for the caribbean or africa to happiness or success.
I know black people offline who have owned business for decades, some for a shorter time, and have grown wealth.
I know black people offline who are elected officials, or work in government positions, and have fought and gained some rights through the legal system.
Garvey didn't get his larger goal for two simple truth: 1) White people in majority have never supported Blacks, especially BDE's , leaving en masse from the usa. Whites in the USA have always opposed that. 2) The Earth had no space. Whites killed the native american to make the american continent, were or are BDE's willing to harm black people in africa or the caribbean to gain? The history of Liberia gives an exhibit that a mass move would generate a huge black versus black violent spree wherever BDE's land in a black country. And most BDE's knew and know this and aren't interested in being a black reflection of the white american.
Washington didn't get his larger goal for one simple truth: 1) No community in the usa gains wealth without abusing another community or abusing its own community. And Washington was unwilling to accept that fact. He felt the Black community could gain wealth comparable to whites without murdering somebody for land, without enslaving or abusing somebody for labor, without being allowed illegal financial activity. But, he was dysfunctional in that disallowance and the black community since the war between the states absent enslaving some group, absent murdering some group, absent illegal allowances hasn't been able to financially have well springs.
Dubois when younger, didn't get his larger goal for one simple truth: 1) Sooner or later a community under another will need or warrant or want more than legal equality and financial opportunity. The BDE community wanted more than what Dubois offered. A talented tenth and a racially just legal framework isn't what most black people needed or wanted or warranted. They needed more, wanted more, and warranted more. Dubois when older realized that but time had passed on opportunity.
All three wanted betterment for the Black community en large or the BDE subcommunity in focus, all three had plans that required a gamble that relied on whites at some level. Dubois when younger gambled that subservient black labor will allow for whites to push for equal law but whites saw too much money and wanted too much money in abusive law to push for equal law. Washington gambled with an agrarian or comforting black community whites will have the patience watch black wealth support their own moreso but whites wanted or needed money at a faster rate than agrarian black life provided and thus jim crow. Garvey gambled white american's european desires like in argentina will support a larger black exodus but white americans in the usa, white statians, are not interested in living in a country absent a second class non white populace, and thus they kicked garvey, who is Black American but in a USA context a willing immigrant not a BDE, out using a black BDE no less. And it was honest. One of the things that plague the modern BDE community today is most BDE are not aligned to the views of the BDE wealthy or the BDE financially bettered. To rephrase , the BDE one percent in the usa[black elephants/black donkeys/black millionaires/black church leaders/black ceo's of white firms , or similar], absent the usa racial environment would be strung up by the BDE 99%.
The forum post where the comment above refer toThe thoughts stem from the following
MY THOUGHTS TO BOOKER T WASHINGTON's SPEECH in the forum post
Elders I know have issues with Clarke's views, but beyond that, I find it humourous how anyone from the Black Descended of Enslaved <BDE> speak of self reliance when many of the BDE with any significant wealth got it from relying on whites.
Frederick Douglass and by extension the free blacks before and during and immediately after the war between the states/Booker T Washington and by extension the Historical Black Colleges/WEB Dubois and by extention the NAACP/ The entire Black Christian community after the war between the states.
All of them talked about self reliance while all of them relied on white wealth for their survival or thriving.
I will love to see Washington and the larger Black college or black church community post war between the states without white reliance.
I will go through his speech and make replies. Exceprts from his speech are in double quotations"""", my replies in brackets <>
""No enterprise seeking the material, civil, or moral welfare of this section can disregard this element of our population and reach the highest success""
<This is a historic lie, before the war between the states the southern states were the financial breadbasket of the usa and after a ten year period the south was again. People forget before and after the war between the states, the south was the key to usa growth and in each instance it was for white and against black. Washington is historically false, if one measures success of a region in a country by its financial value compared to others. IT was when blacks fled white terror that the south truly lost its financial potency but that was because absent cheap or free labor their financial model doesn't work, and what happened, the usa invited tons of poor white people who went midwest, northeast, west coast, and the south became the fiscally poorest region... now in defense, washington refers to civil or moral welfare, but the problem is that no region in the usa had a civil or moral welfare that washington could state as an example. It wasn't like the northern states were beacons of positive multiracial life>
""I but convey to you, Mr. President and Directors, the sentiment of the masses of my race when I say that in no way have the value and manhood of the American Negro been more fittingly and generously recognized than by the managers of this magnificent Exposition at every stage of its progress. ""
<Washington is in error and lying. How dare he speak for the masses of black people. One of the problems many black leaders touted by whites have, is their way of speaking for the largess of black people. I am 100% certain most black people didn't cae about this expo and moreover only wanted some freedom from whites or the usa, if they could get it>
""It is a recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom.""
<Washington at the end of the first paragraph has done nothing but spoken like a whore to her clients, stroking whites. He used the term 'our freedom' . One of the biggest problems in the BDE community in the usa is the view of some in it that all were made free during the rebellion against the british empire, not only is it not true, but suggesting it ignores the reality of bde life>
""Ignorant and inexperienced, it is not strange that in the first years of our new life we began at the top instead of at the bottom; that a seat in Congress or the State Legislature was more sought than real estate or industrial skill; that the political convention or stump speaking had more attractions than starting a dairy farm or truck garden.""
<Booker T Washington misses the word opportunity all together. He claims black people were ignorant or inexperienced , to why we sought governmental posts over fiscal ventures, but we sought government post cause they were opportune. White people in th us a took land, stole land, was given land. Washington suggest unstraightly, that black people who took no land, who killed for no land, who were given no land should venture into financial enterprises as if we are no different than whites... I support my point that he married a white asian. White asians since new york was new amsterdam were allowed financial opportunity that blacks were not. maybe in seeing his wife's community he felt BDE's need do the same but the white asian community is not the BDE... lastly, WAshington seems ignorant to the concept that government officials can operate businesses. He seems to suggest that black people venturing for political office are barred from business ownership, that isn't true, it requires a different tact or strategy but is doable, maybe he should had helped, but his financiers feared black power, they wanted black wealth or activity to be in tandem with what whites are doing, not a separate force free from white influence>
""To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land, or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next door neighbor, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are" — cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded. Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. ""
<One of the lessons in Booker T WAshington's life that all BDE need to consider, is never associate your individual life with the collective life in your community. Like Frederick Douglass, like WEB Dubois, their personal lives affored them views that most other BDE's personal lives didn't afford. He speaks of cultivating friendly relations to the southern white man, I wonder is that before they hang your parents or after they hang your children?
In foresight, his view that BDE should make friends to all races in the USA was achieved, modern USA was built by BDE's sacrificing their own potential for making friends to all other races in the USA. And he was correct, the financial potential of the south as a region in the usa is still better for Black people than any other region, which says a lot. Yes, in the north east or west coast you find the wealthiest black communities in the usa but in the south, you find the greatest financial footprint of Black people in general>
""Our greatest danger is, that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labor and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.""
<My mother's father's mother was a sharecropper. The issue isn't that black people don't want to till fields, the issue is, do we own the field we are tilling. BDE's tilled a lot in the late 1800s and early 1900s and never owned the land they tilled, making white people more money and only one step above their forebears who were forced. Now some black people will be grieved by such sharecropping, I know my mother's father was but ... why can't we permit greivances to overshadow opportunities when the shadow of grievances mutes any light from opportunities. His point is what BDE's did from the 1860s to 2023, the time of this writing, we ate crow over and over as white people aabused us and made money off of us. Yes, the modern black community has millionaires, but the price was too high. The shadow of grievances has never lessened never been made smaller and the light from opportunities has only gotten dim, while the whites in the usa found peace and balance with their advantages , even welcoming many others to take advantage of>
""To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race, "Cast down your bucket where you are." Cast it down among the 8,000,000 Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labor wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, built your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will find that they will buy your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fields, and run your factories. While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, in nursing your children, watching by the sick bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.""
<this is a great plea by washington, a wise plea, but one totally unheeded. When italians from southern italy first came to the usa, they came to the south. White southerners praised them for accepting less wage and not being of the visage of the negro. Many italians went back to italy but came back to the usa and went north this time. Booker T Washington was pleading for the white southerner to treat the Black southerner in a way white southerners for the most part had no inclination or rearing to do , and that is as a fellow citizen civilian. Jim Crow was essentially the white southerner's reply to Booker T Washington, a system in white BDE's were terrorized and white immigrants were supported or aided by white southerners over BDE's at every turn.>
""There is no defense or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all. If anywhere there are efforts tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro, let these efforts be turned into stimulating, encouraging, and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen. Effort or means so invested will pay a thousand percent interest. These efforts will be twice blessed--"blessing him that gives and him that takes.
"There is no escape through law of man or God from the inevitable: “The laws of changeless justice bind Oppressor with oppressed; And close as sin and suffering joined We march to fate abreast.”
Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upwards, or they will pull you against the load downwards. We shall constitute one third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one third its intelligence and progress; we shall contribute one third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.""
<From the founding of the USA a message given by many, indigenous/BDE/white has been racially united the usa stand or propser, racially multivided the usa falter or fall. The USA never was racially united and find itself in modernity atop the human collection of countries based on militaristic power... can the usa stay aop the pile absent racially unity in itself... I don't know, history is complex, the factors that lead to a countries demise are one part inevitable, other part surprise. >
""Gentlemen of the Exposition, as we present to you our humble effort at an exhibition of our progress, you must not expect overmuch. Starting thirty years ago with ownership here and there in a few quilts and pumpkins and chickens (gathered from miscellaneous sources), remember the path that has led from these to the inventions and production of agricultural implements, buggies, steam engines, newspapers, book, statuary, carving, paintings, the management of drug stores and banks has not been trodden without contact with thorns and thistles. While we take pride in what we exhibit as a result of our independent efforts, we do not for a moment forget that our part in this exhibition would fall far short of your expectations but for the constant help that has come to our educational life, not only from the Southern States, but especially from Northern philanthropists, who have made their gifts a constant stream of blessing and encouragement.""
<this paragraph refutes the concept of self reliance that clarke attributes to booker t washington>
""The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house.""
<Booker T Washington would be happy today at the many in the Black American community [canada to argentina] who live in the USA and treat whites with a clean slate from their past or present terrorizations of blacks. And I think he foresaw the impotency to black elected officials in the usa that I tout constantly. But, it must be said, black elected officials in the usa's great weakness historically is that they never related to government in a way that reflected the BDE condition. In the end, BDE eelcted officials treated government like whites when they needed to treat government reflecting the black condition. BDE's and most Blaks in general don't have private sector power/opportunity/influence, so the public sector needs to be treated differently. In South Carolina we needed our Black majority senate to empower south carolina government to own land and start business, use a different method to get blacks involved in business than through the private sector but black elected officials were convinced in the white usa view that public and private must be separate. The irony is, Black elected officials after the 1960s party swap, believe in unbounded government spending but still haven't reflected the black communities needs, supporting programs for all when BDE elected officials in the usa would better serve BDE communities by favoring BDE communities with government dollars , not making blanket programs for all the races>
""In conclusion, may I repeat that nothing in thirty years has given us more hope and encouragement, and drawn us so near to you of the white race, as this opportunity offered by the Exposition; and here bending, as it were, over the altar that represents the results of the struggles of your race and mine, both starting practically empty-handed three decades ago, I pledge that in your effort to work out the great and intricate problem which God has laid at the doors of the South you shall have at all times the patient, sympathetic help of my race; only let this be constantly in mind that, while from
representations in these buildings of the product of field, of forest, of mine, of factory, letters, and art, much good will come, yet far above and beyond material benefit, will be that higher good, that let us pray God will come, in a blotting out of sectional differences and racial animosities and suspicions, in a determination to administer absolute justice, in a willing obedience among all classes to the mandates of law. This, this, coupled with our material prosperity, will bring into our beloved South a new heaven and a new earth.""
<In conclusion , White terrorists against Black people, hooded or not, aside the white jew financed National association for the advancement of colored people , killed Booker T Washington's dream of a Southern Unity between Blacks side Whites side all others. White terror made most correctly doubt the effort in the Black community and the NAACP serving white jew interests knew the white southerner unlike the white northerner who has a larger percentage of catholics/quakers/jews or others in the white fold, will never accept a multi white union that white jews needed. So the NAACP was a staunch opponent to Tuskegee and a majority of the black colleges goals. The tragedy is Marcus Garvey gave all black americans the truest answer. If you want to be for self then you need to be about one self. HAving other's as the neighbor weakens one's control, it is that simple. And no matter whether you want private sector or public sector success, as long as either sector has to be shared to another group, you will never have the complete control or freedom you need to strive beyond any limitation others by default bring >
Good Multilog, @Troy Marcus Garvey/booker t washington/ web dubois tend to engender long multilog among black people in the usa for their time, post war between the states, was the most important time for Black people in the USA since, in terms of deciding how the community will act in the immediate future to modernity. In the end, all three leaders got what they wanted in part in the black community, not in majority. I can say I know , offline, black people , bLack descended of enslaved <BDE>, who have left the usa for the caribbean or africa to happiness or success. I know black people offline who have owned business for decades, some for a shorter time, and have grown wealth. I know black people offline who are elected officials, or work in government positions, and have fought and gained some rights through the legal system. Garvey didn't get his larger goal for two simple truth: 1) White people in majority have never supported Blacks, especially BDE's , leaving en masse from the usa. Whites in the USA have always opposed that. 2) The Earth had no space. Whites killed the native american to make the american continent, were or are BDE's willing to harm black people in africa or the caribbean to gain? The history of Liberia gives an exhibit that a mass move would generate a huge black versus black violent spree wherever BDE's land in a black country. And most BDE's knew and know this and aren't interested in being a black reflection of the white american. Washington didn't get his larger goal for one simple truth: 1) No community in the usa gains wealth without abusing another community or abusing its own community. And Washington was unwilling to accept that fact. He felt the Black community could gain wealth comparable to whites without murdering somebody for land, without enslaving or abusing somebody for labor, without being allowed illegal financial activity. But, he was dysfunctional in that disallowance and the black community since the war between the states absent enslaving some group, absent murdering some group, absent illegal allowances hasn't been able to financially have well springs. Dubois when younger, didn't get his larger goal for one simple truth: 1) Sooner or later a community under another will need or warrant or want more than legal equality and financial opportunity. The BDE community wanted more than what Dubois offered. A talented tenth and a racially just legal framework isn't what most black people needed or wanted or warranted. They needed more, wanted more, and warranted more. Dubois when older realized that but time had passed on opportunity. All three wanted betterment for the Black community en large or the BDE subcommunity in focus, all three had plans that required a gamble that relied on whites at some level. Dubois when younger gambled that subservient black labor will allow for whites to push for equal law but whites saw too much money and wanted too much money in abusive law to push for equal law. Washington gambled with an agrarian or comforting black community whites will have the patience watch black wealth support their own moreso but whites wanted or needed money at a faster rate than agrarian black life provided and thus jim crow. Garvey gambled white american's european desires like in argentina will support a larger black exodus but white americans in the usa, white statians, are not interested in living in a country absent a second class non white populace, and thus they kicked garvey, who is Black American but in a USA context a willing immigrant not a BDE, out using a black BDE no less. And it was honest. One of the things that plague the modern BDE community today is most BDE are not aligned to the views of the BDE wealthy or the BDE financially bettered. To rephrase , the BDE one percent in the usa[black elephants/black donkeys/black millionaires/black church leaders/black ceo's of white firms , or similar], absent the usa racial environment would be strung up by the BDE 99%.
I am Vanessa Guillen
My thoughts are after the transcript
In April 2020, U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén was murdered after reporting her assault that took place at Fort Hood in Texas. In late November 2022, Cecily Aguilar, the only person charged in connection with Vanessa’s murder, pled guilty to four counts, including accessory to murder after the fact, and now faces up to 30 years in prison. While this decision is a victory for Vanessa’s family, the problem of sexual harassment and assault, as well as retaliation for those reporting these crimes, remains a major issue in our armed forces. A documentary, available to stream on Univision.com called #IamVanessaGuillen, covers the issue of sexual violence in our military and tells Vanessa’s story, including how her situation inspired countless others to share their own stories of abuse and push for change in the military. Joining us to discuss the film are producer and director Andrea Patiño Contreras; and Karina López, a military sexual assault survivor.
TONIGHT, A MAJOR UPDATE ON THE MURDER OF VANESSA GUILLEN, THE ARMY SOLDIER WHOSE DEATH INSPIRED THOUSANDS TO SHARE THEIR STORY OF THE SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE MILITARY.
WE REVISIT, THE CASE, THE DOCUMENTARY TELLING THE STORY.
'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.
> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.
> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.
AND BY --
> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'
I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.
JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO WE BROUGHT TO YOU POWERFUL STORY OF VANESSA GUILLEN, THE U.S. ARMY SOLDIER MURDERED AFTER REPORTING THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SHE ENDURED AT FT. HOOD IN TEXAS.
HER DEATH INSPIRED COUNTLESS OTHERS TO SHARE THEIR STORY OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND PUSH FOR CHANGE IN THE MILITARY.
PROSECUTORS SAY GUILLEN'S KILLER TOOK HIS OWN LIFE BEFORE HE COULD BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.
ONLY ONE PERSON, THE KILLER'S GIRLFRIEND, WAS CHARGED WITH A CRIME IN THIS CASE E CECILY AGUILAR.
SHE ADMITTED TO HELPING DISPOSE OF GUILLEN'S BODY.
SHE FACES UP TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON.
WHILE THIS IS A VICTORY FOR VANESSA'S FAMILY, THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT AS WELL AS RETALIATION FOR THOSE REPORTING THESE CRIMES REMAINS A MAJOR PROBLEM AND ISSUE IN OUR ARMED FORCES.
THE DOCUMENTARY ' #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN' EXAMINES THESE ISSUES AND IS STREAMING ON UNIVISION.COM.
HERE'S A QUICK LOOK FOLLOWED BY MY INTERVIEW WITH THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND ONE THOSE IN THE FILM.
IT WAS A VERY NERVOUS VOICE.
SHE SAID SOMETHING HAPPENED AND NO ONE WAS BELIEVING HER.
SHE DID NOT KNOW, AND SHE WAS CON CON CON CONTEMPLATING HURTING HERSELF.
I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FEEL SAFE.
I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING.
A PART OF ME DIED BECAUSE SOMEBODY DECIDED TO DO THIS TO ME, AND NOBODY WANTED TO LISTEN.
I REPORTED IT AND I FOUGHT AND I'VE GONE THROUGH THE TRAUMA AND THE RETALIATION THAT I FACED AND NOW YOU HAVE A MISSING SOLDIER THAT WAS HARASSED.
I WROTE MY STORY AND PUT MY PICTURE BESIDES VANESSA BECAUSE I WAS VANESSA.
I AM VANESSA.
I AM VANESSA GUILLEN IS A HASHTAG GOING VIRAL HIGHLIGHTING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASMENT WITHIN THE MILITARY.
AT FT. HOOD, A SOLDIER GONE MISSING.
THEY CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT THAT CONTRIBUTED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT, EVEN MURDER.
THE ENVIRONMENT AT FT. HOOD WAS PERMISSIVE.
WE'RE JUST LIKE ANY ORGANIZATION.
WE'RE ALL ABOUT MAKING OURSELF BETTER.
BECAUSE THE MESSAGE AND CULTURE IN THE MILITARY HAS BEEN CLEAR -- SHUT UP, SUCK IT UP, AND DON'T ROCK THE BOAT.
IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD, PROSECUTORS MAKE THE DECISION TO PROSECUTE, AND THE MILITARY NONLAWYER COMMANDERS MAKE THAT DECISION.
90% OF SEX OFFENDER IN THE MILITARY WILL NEVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
AFTER 246 YEART TIME FOR CONGRESS TO GIVE THE MEN AND WOMEN SERVING OUR NATION A JUSTICE SYSTEM WORTHY OF SACRIFICES.
YOU MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, YOU NEED TO PASS THIS LEGISLATION.
WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
I REALLY FEEL LIKE WE'RE ON THE VERGE OF SUCCESS.
WE'RE GOING TO REFORM THIS SYSTEM AND WE'RE GOING TO GET TO A BETTER PLACE.
THE WOMEN VETERANS YOU ENCOUNTER HAVE THE ABILITY TO ADAPT AND OVERCOME BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.
BUT HERE'S THE THING -- YOU'VE CREATED A WOMAN WHO IS UNSTOPPABLE.
JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THIS POWERFUL NEW DOCUMENTARY IS THE FILM'S DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, ANDREA CONTRAERAS, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE KARINA LOPEZ, A SURVEVETERAN AND SURVI THE SEXUAL ASSAULT.
SHE'S THE CREATOR OF THE VIRAL HASHTAG #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN, WHICH INSPIRED THE FILM'S TITLE.
LADIES, THANK YOU TO P 'METROFOCUS.'
THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.
I WANT TO START BY ASKING ANDREA, YOU, THE QUESTION I ASK ALL DIRECTORS, AND THAT WAS WHAT MOTIVATED TO YOU CREATE THIS DOCUMENTARY.
WHAT WAS, YOU FELT, THE NARRATIVE THAT WAS NOT ALREADY OUT THERE?
SO, DURING 2020, OUR TEAM AT UNIVISION HAD BEEN COVERING THE DISAPPEARANCE AND MURDER OF VANESSA GUILLEN, WHO WENT MISSING AT THE FT. HOOD BASE IN APRIL OF 2020, AND LATER HER BODY WAS FOUND.
DURING THAT REPORTING, THE FALLING ONES, WE HEARD FROM A COUPLE OF CASES, KARINA INCLUDED.
SHE REACHED OUT TO US TELLING US HER STORY, AND AT THAT POINT IN THE FALL OF 2020, WE HEARD FROM HER, AND IN DECEMBER OF 2020, I DECIDED TO FLY DOWN TO MEET HER.
AND ONCE WE MET, I KNEW RIGHT AWAY THAT WE -- THERE WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT STORY TO BE TOLD.
I WAS VERY STRUCK BY KARINA'S -- I TELL HER THIS ALL THE TIME -- BY HER INCREDIBLE ABILITY TO ARTICULATE HER FEELINGS AND REALLY EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT THAT WAS THROUGH AND KIND OF VERY COMPLEX -- YOU KNOW, IT'S A VERY TRAGIC SITUATION, BUT ALSO HAS REALLY DEEP AND GRAVE CONSEQUENCES FOR MENTAL HEALTH, YOU KNOW, AND KARINA, THE WAY SHE ARTICULATED THAT TO ME STRUCK ME.
SO I CAME BACK FROM THAT TRIP AND KNEW THERE WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT STORY TO TELL, NOT JUST ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND THE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY, BUT ALSO THE HUGE IMPACT AND LACK OF JUSTICE HAS ON SURVIVES.
THAT'S WHY I WANTED TO TELL THIS STORY.
FRONT AND SENTER THE STORY OF SUR SURVIVES.
KARINA IS THE MAIN BUT THERE'S ALSO OTHERS.
AND ALSO TELL THE STORY OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT TOOK PLACE BECAUSE OF VANESSA'S CASE.
IN PART BECAUSE OF KARINA'S HASHTAG, MANY CAME FORWARD.
MANY CHANGES TOOK PLACE.
THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO DO, BUT SOME THINGS HAPPENED THAT WERE PRISS UNPRECEDENTED.
KARINA, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN AND GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT WAS ABOUT ABOUT VANESSA'S STORY THAT RESONATED AND MADE IT CLEAR NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP?
I THINK WHEN I ORIGINALLY HEARD ABOUT HER CASE ALL I HAD KNOWN IS SHE WAS MISSING AND THE DAYS KEPT GOING WHERE YOU WOULD SEE HER FACE AND YOU WOULDN'T -- THERE WASN'T REALLY AN EXPLANATION AS TO WHY SHE WAS MISSING.
WHEN I TWRAEACTUALLY LOOKED UP STORY, SO MANY THINGS DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.
I WAS LIKE, THERE HAS TO BE MORE COVERAGE.
A COUPLE DAYS INTO IT I REALIZED I DIDN'T LOOK AT THE SPANISH SECTION OF THE NEWS AND MAYBE I'LL FIND SOMETHING THERE, AND THAT'S WHEN I -- WHEN I HEARD HER MOM SAY THAT SHE WAS SEXUALLY HARASSED AND NOW SHE'S MISSING AND SHE WANTS ANSWERS.
AND TO ME IT FELT LIKE A TON OF BRICKS JUST FELL ON TOP OF ME BECAUSE THIS WASN'T BEING SAID, YOU KNOW, IN THE ENGLISH MEDIA.
AND IT JUST MADE ME SO ANGRY.
I REMEMBER JUST SO MANY EMOTIONS, AND I STARTED, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT EVERYBODY.
I STARTED TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE THAT COULD LISTEN AND COULD UNDERSTAND THAT THIS -- YOU KNOW, WHAT HAPPENED TO HER WAS NOT AN INDIVIDUAL THING.
IT HAPPENED ALL OF THE TIME AND, YOU KNOW, MORE SPECIFICALLY, MY CASE AND HOW I HAD JUST LEFT AND I WAS FORCED OUT OF MY CAREER BECAUSE I WAS SPEAKING UP ON THIS, AND IT HAD GONE SO BAD AND CHAOTIC THAT, YOU KNOW, CONGRESS HAD TO GET INVOLVED IN MY CASE.
SO IT WAS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT, YOU KNOW, I WAS ANGRY, I WAS SENDING, YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY -- MORE SPECIFICALLY THE SISTERS, YOU KNOW, MY STORE, AND IT JUST, YOU KNOW, WASN'T REACHING THEM, WHICH I UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, WHY.
THERE WAS PROBABLY SO MANY MESSAGES COMING IN THERE IN BOXES AND TO THEM.
AND YOU KNOW, I -- I WAS LIKE, OKAY, I'M GOING TO PUT IT ON FACEBOOK, AND I'M GOING TO COME FORWARD AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT'S OUT THERE.
YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THIS ISN'T -- YOU KNOW, MANY PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND -- ESPECIALLY CIVILIANS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CAN'T COME FORWARD, AND YOU THINK THAT WHEN SOMETHING TRAUMATIC HAPPENS LIKE THAT THAT YOU'RE SAFE IF YOU GO TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
HOWEVER, THAT'S REALLY NOT THE CASE.
YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, AND THOSE RIGHT PEOPLE, THOSE DOORS ARE SHUT ON THEM TO PROTECT YOU.
AND THE RETALIATION THAT COMES IS -- IS -- IS HORRIFYING SO, YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST STAY QUIET AND JUST ENDURE EVERYTHING IN SILENCE.
YOU KNOW, IT'S -- IT'S A VERY SCARY THING TO GO THROUGH, AND I THINK PEOPLE NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THAT AND SEE THAT MORE SPECIFICALLY THROUGH MY STORY, BECAUSE I CAME FORWARD AND I HAD MOMENTS WHERE, SHOULD I HAVE COME FORWARD?
MAYBE I WOULD STILL HAVE MY CAREER IF I DIDN'T, AND I WOULD JUST GET MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES BEHIND THE SCENES, BEHIND, YOU KNOW -- BEHIND EVERYONE'S BACK AND JUST TOOK CARE OF IT THAT WAY.
YOU KNOW, WHO KNOWS?
ANDREA, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU, BECAUSE WE DID SHOW OF COURSE A CLIP FROM THE FILM, AND WE ALWAYS DEFINITELY WANT PEOPLE TO WATCH THE FULL DOCUMENTARY, BUT CAN YOU TELL US, JUST FILL IN FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE AWARE OF VANESSA'S STORY, WHO WAS SHE, AND WHAT DO WE NOW KNOW HAPPENED TO HER?
YEAH, SO VANESSA WAS A LATINA SOLDIER.
SHE WAS STATIONED AT FT. HOOD IN TEXAS.
SHE STARTED, AND SHE WAS VERY EXCITED TO JOIN THE MILITARY.
HER FAMILY SAYS SHE WAS JUST VERY PROUD TO SERVE.
HER FAMILY IS AN IMMIGRANT FAMILY.
THEY'RE MEXICANS, OF MEXICAN DES DESCENT, AND I THINK SHE SAW THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE HER COUNTRY AND WAS JUST VERY PROUD.
AT SOME POINT, VANESSA CAME HOME AND HER MOM NOTICED SHE WAS A LITTLE OFF, WASN'T SLEEPING, JUST SEEMED REALLY OFF TO HER, AND WHEN SHE ASKED HER WHAT WAS HAPPENING, VANESSA WOULDN'T TELL HER.
EVENTUALLY SHE TOLD HER SHE WAS BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED BY A SARGENT, BUT SHE DIDN'T WANT TO REPORT IT BECAUSE SHE WAS AFRAID OF RETALIATION.
FAST FORWARD A FEW MONTHS, AND VANESSA GOES MISSING IN APRIL OF 2020.
INITIALLY -- YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY KNEW RIGHT AWAY THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT, BECAUSE THEY WERE A VERY TIGHT KNIT FAMILY AND NOT HEARING FROM VANESSA WAS JUST REALLY OFF TO THEM.
THEY WENT TO THE BASE.
THEY WERE NOT GETTING A LOT OF ANSWERS.
THEY WERE, YOU KNOW, KIND OF KEPT -- PUSHED AWAY IN SOME WAYS.
BUT THEY WERE VERY, VERY PERSISTENT.
THEY WERE JUST DEMANDING ANSWERS.
AND EVENTUALLY, HER BODY WAS FOUND, AND WE KNOW THAT SHE WAS MURDERED BY SOMEONE IN HER UNIT.
WE KNOW THAT HE WASN'T THE PERSON THAT WAS HARASSING HER NECESSARILY, BUT THERE'S STILL A LOT OF ANSWERS THAT NEED TO BE -- TO BE CLEARED OUT, AND THE FAMILY'S STILL WAITING FOR A LOT OF ANSWERS.
AND THROUGHOUT THAT SEARCH, YOU KNOW, WITH KARINA'S HASHTAG WHEN VANESSA WAS STILL MISSING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CAME FORWARD WITH THEIR OWN STORY OF HARASMENT AS WELL.
KARINA, I WANT TO GO BACK AND GET YOU TO EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT FOR SO MANY OF US WHO ARE CIVILIAN, WHAT IS THAT MILITARY CULTURE LIKE THAT PUSHES, MAYBE COERCES, MAYBE EVEN DEMANDS THAT WOMEN WHO ARE SERVING REMAIN QUIET ON AN ISSUE LIKE THIS?
THAT'S THE QUESTION I GET FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE, AND I THINK -- I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S A REALLY GOOD ANSWER TO IT.
I THINK, FOR EXAMPLE, BEFORE I JOINED MY FAMILY SAT DOWN AND TALKED TO ME ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A WOMAN AND WORK IN A MALE FILLED INDUSTRY, AND THEN ME AS A MINORITY AS A WOMAN, ESPECIALLY BEING 19 YEARS OLD, BECAUSE I WAS 19 AT THE TIME.
AND THEY WENT THROUGH, YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT THINGS THAT COULD BE ISSUES.
YOU KNOW, THEY TOLD ME THAT I WAS VERY NAIVE, I WAS VERY YOUNG, AND YOU KNOW, THEY WANTED TO MAKE SURE I WAS SET UP FOR SUCCESS WITH KNOWING THINGS LIKE THIS.
I REMEMBER MY FAMILY SHOWED ME THE LIVEINA JOHNSON CASE AND I REMEMBER THINKING, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE STILL FIGHTING FOR THIS.
BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY CASE I REMEMBERED.
BUT THE STATISTICS OF THAT HAPPENING TO ME WERE PRETTY LOW.
HER FAMILY IS STILL FIGHTING FOR ANSWERS.
THEY'RE GOING TO GET THOSE ANSWERS.
I WAS VERY I WAS VERY NAIVE, VERY -- I HAD A LOT OF TRUST IN THE SYSTEM.
I WAS LIKE, I'M GOING TO DO THIS.
I'M GOING THE GO SERVE MY COUNTRY.
I'M SUPEREXCITED ABOUT IT.
THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES.
AND YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER BEING IN BASE, GOING THROUGH I.T., GOING THROUGH THE MILITARY PROCESS.
I REMEMBER JUST HOW MANY FEMALES PULLED ME ASIDE AND GAVE ME ADVICE OR TOLD ME TO STAY AWAY FROM A SPECIFIC PERSON OR, YOU KNOW, JUST SOMETHING THAT KIND OF -- THEY WERE DOING THE BEST THEY COULD TO GIVE ME ADVICE, BUT, YOU KNOW, TO A 19-YEAR-OLD, A 20-YEAR-OLD, YOU'RE JUST LIKE, THAT'S SO WEIRD THAT THAT PERSON HAD TO COME AND TELL ME AND GIVE ME THAT ADVICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I REMEMBER HAVING THIS REALLY, YOU KNOW, BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED IN ONE SPECIFIC INCIDENT IN KOREA, AND I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
I FELT LIKE I WAS, YOU KNOW, SUFFOCATING AND I WAS BLOCKED INTO A KITCHEN.
AND I REMEMBER GOING TO AN NCO, A FEMALE NCO AND I TOLD HER HOW I FELT BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS FEELING.
AND SHE TOLD ME -- SHE GAVE ME ADVICE AND SHE WAS LIKE, YOU KNOW -- SHE WAS BACKING ME UP THE FULL TIME AND TOLD ME HOW TO HANDLE SITUATIONS LIKE THAT, AND SHE MADE ME CONFRONT HIM AND TELL HIM THAT WAS UNACCEPTABLE AND JUST STAND UP FOR MYSELF.
SO WHEN THIS HAPPENED ON FT.
HOOD AND I THOUGHT THAT I COULD DO EXACTLY THAT, THAT I WAS SHOWN HOW TO DO IT AND I WOULD GET HELP IN MY SITUATION, AND I WAS INSTEAD REDIRECTED AND GUIDED TO NOT GET THAT HELP AND INSTEAD TO JUST STAY QUIET ABOUT THAT BECAUSE THE BASE DIDN'T -- THE UNIT DIDN'T NEED EYES ON -- OR EXTRA ATTENTION ON THE UNIT.
I KIND OF FELT ASHAMED.
I FELT LIKE I COULDN'T STAND UP FOR MYSELF.
I HAD ALWAYS BEEN THAT 19-YEAR-OLD THAT WAS LIKE, IF THIS EVER HAPPENS I'M GOING TO STAND UP FOR MYSELF, I'M GOING TO FIGHT BACK.
NO ONE'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT.
THAT STARTED THAT INNER WAR WITH MYSELF WHERE I DIDN'T -- I FAILED MYSELF, BECAUSE HERE I WAS, YOU KNOW, LETTING THEM WIN AND INTIMIDATE ME AND KEEP ME SILENT, AND I FELT UNSAFE, AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO -- MY FAMILY MEMBERS WERE THE ONES WHO TOLD ME ALL OF THIS, SO THEN I FELT COMPLETELY SHATTERED, BECAUSE THAT 19-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS TELLING THEM, I WILL STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR MYSELF AND I'LL DO WHAT'S RIGHT, AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL HAVE TO HELP ME.
NOW IT'S THE OPPOSITE.
SO WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS LIKE THAT, YOU GET -- IT'S THE SUBJECT THAT'S EXTREMELY HEAVY.
SO EVEN IF YOU DO TELL THE RIGHT PEOPLE, THEY DON'T KNOW REALLY HOW TO APPROACH THE SITUATION AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT IF YOU GO TO THE WRONG PEOPLE, THE WRONG PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO YOU ACKNOWLEDGE IT AT ALL.
IT'S YOUR FAULT AND THAT'S IT.
EVEN WHEN I STARTED RECEIVING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, I HAD BEEN TOLD IT WAS MY FAULT.
YOU START REALLY BATTLING YOURSELF, AND I THINK ULTIMATELY THAT'S HOW THEY KIND OF WIN, BECAUSE THEY TARGET -- THEY MAKE YOU QUESTION YOURSELF.
YOU'RE NOT QUESTIONING THEM.
IF YOU'RE QUESTIONING THEM YOU'RE LIKE, NO, I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, AND THAT'S WRONG.
BUT ONCE YOU HEAR IT ENOUGH AND YOU'RE IN THAT FRAGILE STATE OF MAYBE THIS WASN'T -- YOU KNOW, MAYBE THIS WASN'T THEIR FAULT.
MAYBE THIS WAS MY FAULT.
WHAT DID I DO WRONG?
YOU'RE RETRACKING AND GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS OF, OKAY, IT HAPPENED HERE, BUT WHAT DID I DO THAT LED ME TO BE PUT INTO THE SITUATION?
WELL, IT'S SOUNDING A LITTLE BIT LIKE PERHAPS ISSUES OF HIERARCHY AND CHAIN OF COMMAND ARE ALSO COMING INTO PLAY WITH YOU AS A 19-YEAR-OLD RECRUIT.
FOR THE NONSERVING CIVILIAN AUDIENCE, JUST VERY QUICKLY CAN YOU JUST LET EVERYBODY KNOW, SO THEY FULLY UNDERSTAND, WHAT EXACT LY IS AN NCO?
THE NCO IS BASICALLY THE -- THEY'RE KNOWN AS THE BACKBONE OF THE ARMY, OR THE MILITARY IN GENERAL.
THEY HAVE SERVED FOR SOME TIME.
THEY'VE GONE THROUGH THE BASIC LEADERSHIP SCHOOLS, AND THEY HAVE THAT RANK.
SO THEY'RE THE ONES THAT ARE PUT IN CHARGE OF THE LOWER ENLISTED SOLDIERS SOME BASICALLY THEY ARE A FORM OF LEADERSHIP.
THEY ARE SOMEONE YOU REPORT TO AND HELP YOU --
OKAY, AND DOES THAT STAND FOR SOMETHING?
I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE LIKE, OH, THAT'S WHAT NCO IS.
YES, NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER.
MY SECOND QUESTION IS ALSO -- YOU DO KEEP GOING BACK TO YOUR AGE, AND ONE THING I THINK EVERYONE CAN RELATE TO IS BEING A 19-YEAR-OLD AND THINK YOU UNDERSTAND BUT NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD YOU'RE STEPPING INTO.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU GOT TO FT.
HOOD DID YOUR ASSAULT HAPPEN?
AND I KNOW THAT YOU SORT OF TOUCHED ON IT, BUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN SHARE, CAN YOU SHARE WITH US WHAT HAPPENED?
SO I JOINED WHEN I WAS 19, JUST TO CLARIFY, AND I HAD SEEN, YOU KNOW, JUST THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT FROM 19, 20, YOU KNOW, THOSE AGES.
WHEN I WENT TO FT. HOOD I WAS 21 ALREADY, AND I HAD ARRIVED LATE JULY.
SO I WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS OF -- THEY CALL IT -- IT'S BASICALLY FOR CIVILIAN TERMS ONBOARDING WHEN YOU FIRST GET THERE, THEY HAVE TO IN-PROCESS YOU.
AND I REMEMBER SENDING MY MOM A TEXT MESSAGE, RIGHT, THAT FIRST DAY, AND I REMEMBER TELLING HER I FELT LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT.
I REMEMBER TEXTING HER AND TELLING HER I WAS CRYING, BECAUSE SHE WAS LIKE, MAYBE YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT.
I WAS LIKE, I DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO TEXAS, BUT WHATEVER.
I'M SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME.
I WANTED TO GO TO FT. BRAGG AND BE CLOSER TO MY FAMILY AFTER BEING AWAY FROM THEM FOR A YEAR.
I WANT TO BE CLOSE TO MY FAMILY.
THAT FIRST DAY WAS FRUSTRATING FOR ME.
I FELT LIKE EVERY TIME I ASKED A QUESTION THEY WERE SETTING ME UP FOR FAILURE.
THEY THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY FUNNY THAT I WAS ASKING THESE QUESTIQUE QUESTIONS SO I WOULDN'T BREAK ANY RULES BECAUSE THEY WERE GIVING ME THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE ANSWER.
IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE BACKED AGAINST A WALL AND I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BELIEVE OR DIDN'T.
THAT WAS EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING.
ON TOP OF THAT IT WAS THE COMMENTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT THEY WOULD MAKE.
THAT WAS BEFORE I GOT TO MY UNIT.
I WAS SEXUAL ASSAULTED IN SEPTEMBER, SO I HAD BEEN THERE TECHNICALLY ONE FULL MONTH AND A COUPLE WEEKS.
BUT ALSO WITH THAT, TOO, YOU KNOW, ONE THING I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE IS, WE GROW UP WITH OUR PARENTS TELLING US DON'T TALK TO SPRAI STRANGERS, DON'T GET IN THE CAR WITH STRANGERS, BUT IN THE MILITARY, YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, SO THERE WERE A LOT OF TIMES THAT I WAS IN A CAR WITH A STRANGER, BECAUSE I -- YOU KNOW, SOMEBODY WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO PICK ME UP DIDN'T SHOW UP, SO THEY SENT SOMEONE ELSE.
SO TECHNICALLY I'M GETTING IN THIS CAR ON A BASE WHERE I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE ANYTHING IS OR WHO ANYONE IS AND THEY'RE DRIVING ME AND IT'S LIKE, OH, I NEVER MET THIS PERSON IN MY LIFE.
SO IT KIND OF GOES INTO THAT KIND OF SITUATION WHERE IT'S LIKE, WE'RE TOLD OUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIVES NOT TO GET INTO CARS WITH STRANGERS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT THEN THAT'S WHAT WE DO IN THE MILITARY.
AND BEING THAT YOUNG AND STILL, YOU KNOW, DOING WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, YOU THINK THAT WHAT YOU'RE BEING TOLD IS LAW AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT.
SO THERE'S A LOT OF INTIMIDATION THAT COMES INTO WHEN YOU'RE TELLING YOUNGER SOLDIERS, HEY, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS OR YOU HAVE TO BE HERE AND IN A LOT OF CASES AND A LOT OF STORIES, THAT, ESPECIALLY FROM THE SURVIVES THAT CAME FORWARD WITH THE HASHTAG, THEY'LL TELL YOU, I WAS DOING WHAT THEY TOLD ME TO DO BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT WAS EXPECTED FROM ME.
THERE'S A LOT THAT GOES INTO BEING YOUNG.
I HAVE HAD SURVIVES TELL ME THAT THEY WERE 25, 26 EVEN, AND STILL, IT'S THAT -- IT'S JUST WHEN YOU COME INTO THE MILITARY, EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY BRAND NEW BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE CIVILIAN WORLD.
IT IS ABOUT AGING BUT IT'S THAT INTIMIDATION FACTOR WHERE YOU HAVE SOMEBODY SUPERIOR TO YOU OR TELLING YOU OR GIVING YOU AN ORDER THAT IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW THAT ORDER YOU COULD GET IN TROUBLE.
IT'S ALSO, I DON'T WANT TO MAKE THIS PERSON UPSET, BECAUSE THIS PERSON LEGIT HOLDS ALL OF THE POWER FOR MY CAREER.
MY CAREER PROGRESSION AND MY REPUTATION AS WELL.
BECAUSE IF I DON'T DO THIS, THEN THAT PERSON'S GOING TO GO AND TELL EVERYONE THAT I'M A BAD SOLDIER AND I DON'T LISTEN AND I'M DISRESPECTFUL.
IN MY CASE, YOU SEE THAT WHERE IT'S LIKE, EVERY TIME I WOULD COME ALL OF A SUDDEN SOMETHING WOULD COME OVER MY HEAD AND SAY, YOU WANT TO GO TO I.G.? HERE'S THIS.
WE'RE GOING TO SAY YOU DID THIS.
IT'S LIKE, WAIT A MINUTE, WHY ARE YOU BRINGING THIS UP AT THIS EXACT MOMENT WHEN I'M TRYING TO GET HELP?
IT SILENCES YOU AGAIN AND YOU JUST KEEP GOING ON WITH YOUR LIFE, UNABLE TO LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AND REALIZE, YOU'RE JUST STUCK.
WELL, ANDREA, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK IN.
WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT, BUT YOU DID MENTION ABOUT SOME OF THE LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT WERE BEGINNING TO TAKE PLACE.
CAN YOU JUST LET US KNOW WHAT IS POTENTIALLY ON THE TABLE TO HAPPEN TO ADDRESS SOME OF THESE ISSUES?
THE BIGGEST CHANGE THAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR -- ONE OF THE MAIN ISSUES IN THE MILITARY, GOING BACK TO KARINA'S STORY IS THAT BASICALLY THE MILITARY -- YOU KNOW, LIKE, CHECKS THEMSELVES.
YOU HAVE -- IF YOUR CASE IS IN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, IT'S YOUR COMMANDER WHO DECIDES WHETHER THE CASE OF ASSAULT OR HA HARASSMENT IS PROSECUTED.
CHAIN OF COMMAND IS NONLAWYERS SO IT'S NOT AN UNBIASSED BROSS.
FOR DECADES ACTIVISTS HAD BEEN WANTING TO TAKE THOSE CASES OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND TO A BODY THAT WOULD REGULATE, AND THAT WAS ACHIEVED LAST YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND IT'S A HUGE CHANGE.
IT'S GOING TO TAKE A FEW YEARS FOR IT TO BE IMPLEMENTED.
BUT THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT STILL NEED TO CHANGE.
FOR INSTANCE, THOSE -- THE CASES THAT WE'RE TAKING OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND WERE SEXUAL ASSAULT BE AND MURDER AND OTHER REALLY GRAVE ASSAULTS.
BUT FOR INSTANCE SEXUAL HARASSMENT WAS NOT TAKEN OUT OF THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, AND THAT IS VERY CONTRADICTORY BECAUSE SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS A HIGH INDICATOR OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, RIGHT?
SO IF THE COMMANDERS ARE STILL HANDLING THOSE CASES THEN IT KIND OF FEELS LIKE A BIT OF A CONTRADICTION.
LIKE, PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO FEEL COMFORTABLE.
THAT'S A HUGE CHANGE.
I THINK CULTURE NEEDS TO CHANGE AS WELL, AND THAT'S OBVIOUSLY GOING TO TAKE MANY, MANY YEARS.
I DON'T MEAN TO CUT YOU OFF, BUT WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME.
I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.
THE FILM IS ' #I AM VANESSA GUILLEN'. YOU CAN STREAM IT ON UNIVISION.COM.
AND OF COURSE I WANT TO THANK THE FILM'S PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR, ANDREA.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.
AND OF COURSE KARINA, ALSO, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.
SO THANK YOU BOTH.
THANKS FOR HAVING US.
THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.
I recall years ago a village voice article about women in the NYPD with tons of accusations.
The woman in the metrofocus video said she was 18 and naive, but when I was 12 I knew the military or nypd were not organizations for a black person to be in. Maybe I simply had honest parents but it bothers me that the woman abused was told by relatives the environment of the military was abusive to women and she thought the military would be this mythological knights of the round table place.
I am not trying to suggest women should be abused by men in any environment . But, in all earnest, women who join organizations that should be commonly known as abusive to women, are fools to me. It is the same with Blacks, male or female. I don't have the desire to give lenience to a person, in my opinion, who should know better. Women, stop joining the military, that is the answer.
I have always called feces of bull on Black people who feel joining organizations that are clearly anti black is the best way to change them. I have always felt that is a stupid thing to do and has no proof of being a historically valid strategy. The NYPD is still anti black, the military, anti black, the federal government anti black. Am I wrong? If you want to change an organization , the best thing to do is to not try to change it and make a new one with a similar purpose that you control so you can start it with the cultural principles you want. It is that simple.
- Show previous comments 1 more
Thank you @Chevdove I live in NYC, people talk about the federal military but the NYPD is just as bad with a smaller profile. I give as proof, Eric Garner. From my memory , when he was murdered the senior police officer at the scene was a black female police officer, maybe lieutenant, maybe captain, I don't recall the rank, but she was at the scene. Why didn't she do something? She was the senior officer. But the reason why I think we all know. She fears confronting male cops especially white male cops even if they are her juniors.
Many people use financial need as the culprit for putting themselves in bad environments, and I argue financial need isn't a culprit. I am not suggesting being poor is easy, being homeless is easy. living in a place absent financial opportunity is easy or wanted. But, people like the female soldiers or the immigrants to the usa, gamble. When the gamble works out well and a female soldier never was harassed and becomes a general, or an immigrant is given opportunities and never taken advantage of, the media and many of us make that the truth but those are exceptions or rarities aren't they?
I know the opportunities in the military were inviting but I am glad you didn't cause many women , as said documentary proves have a far worse time in the military than meets the eye.
"I know the opportunities in the military were inviting but I am glad you didn't cause many women , as said documentary proves have a far worse time in the military than meets the eye."
Oh yes. I absolutely agree.
I did not know the head police in Eric Garner's killing was a Black woman!
You are so right though, this kind of situation, whereby a Black woman is elevated in that type of position could be extremely oppressive such as in Eric Garner's case, because, of the fear of checking a White perpetrator. How sad!
@Chevdove yes, the thing about most stories involving nyc, is they are usually told partially, rarely completely. Media focused on elliot spitzer paying for call girls as an act of immaturity or impropriety. yet, the fact that spitzer had eyes on the banks of nyc, specifically targeting their financial illegality or abuse , which connects to nyc's biggest industry, the real estate market was not mentioned as much. Most people remember the banking collapse but don't know that the only bank that was taken to court was a small chinese american community bank in nyc. why was a little community bank taken to court but big banks that owed billions were not given any oversight, just a blank check. focusing on garner's murder is convenient. Black elected officials can make speeches and garner votes or support, the clan of the deceased regardless of their true feelings to the murdered when alive will get alot of money in a civil case, the nypd community or organization is kept safe from critique or modulation while an individual law enforcer is the media focus. The news style makes all sides profit. Asking black elected officials why they have been in nyc as a force since the 1960s but have never made the nypd a major initiative when the nypd pushed drugs in the black community and publicly treated the black community differently while negatively its entire history. Publishing clan members of the deceased true feelings of the deceased when alive will display the falsehood in their claims in civil court or the larger problem amongst common folk in nyc in general. Asking why the NYPD never succeeds and constantly supports criminality, will then emphasize why nyc has never tried to change the laws to lessen that which is illegal in the first place. Like the legal marijuana scenario in nyc, that demands a huge fee for a license to sell marijuana but then suggest the marijuana industry is supposed to be more phenotypically equitable, as if black people have an equal rate of money per capita.
Title: roberto dacosta aka sunspot - colors by thedadodesign
Artist: shawn alleyne < Pyroglyphics Studio > OR < https://www.deviantart.com/pyroglyphics1 >
Shawn Alleyne post
Title: unknown title - Faith and Love
Artist: Deidre SMith Buck < https://www.deviantart.com/corpor8chic >
Deidre Smith Buck Post
Title: Demigoddess and a calico
Artist: GDbee < https://gdbee.store/ >
Jumbie Animated Series Official Opening Title Sequence
from GemGfx Animation Studios
Jumbie is a 2D animated series about a young girl who decides to use her misfortune to fight the evil forces plaguing her country.
Art by : Dixie Ann Archer-McBain and Everard J. McBain Jr - the creators or owners of Gemgfx animation studios
Music by : Evan Loquan aka Ebbn Flow - 2ebbnflow
Vocals by : vocals from Jalifa < JalifaNataki > and Hd57 The Ninjah < ninjahofficial >
Jumbie Pilot Episode Official Opening Cinematic Clip
Official Opening Cinematic Title Sequence
First Official Trailer
More post from GEMGFX
Bedtime with Sudowoodo Plushie coloring page, done as part of a charity, read the details for the reading list and colored versions and join my newsletter, linked in the description https://www.deviantart.com/hddeviant/art/Deviantart-plushie-coloring-page-944022788 If you are interested in being part of the next charity, tell me and I will make a list and note you when the time comes
your right, @Troy a large percentage of whites in the past or now, enjoy images of black suffering. I do think many black people want to erase images as if that erases truth or facts or pain. I am glad you accept the book. It isn't easy or pleasant, but ...
well done @Troy