News

Blog Official~ I’m #Moving!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time ⌚to make the official blog 🖋announcement📣 – I’m moving again!  I’ll be staying abroad in China🗺, but after 3 years in central Henan I’m going North. Way north. As in Arctic Circle ❄ level north!  

We will be moving to a city called Changchun in the province of Jilin.  For those of you familiar with China, it’s up by Harbin – land of the ice sculptures. For those of you who have no idea what those words even mean – it’s up in the arm of China that is surrounded by Mongolia (great! Horses 🐴!), Siberia (Brrrrrr💂), and North Korea (0_0)❌❗.  

china-provinces-map

See the blue circle in the map up there? That’s Changchun.  I’m moving clear up to the land of Winter Olympics⛷🏂⛸, Forests with wild Bears 🐻 and Tigers, and Deer Antler soup. 😵 Craziness I tell you!

No, actually it looks like it will be really nice.  😀 The university 🏫 is called NorthEast Normal (NENU) and I will be working with the joint program with Rutgers University 🏫.   I will be teaching Economics 💹 and International Business 📈 this semester.  Economics and maybe some other classes next semester. The hours are a bit more than at my current university, but the pay is better, the students are of a higher academic quality (1st tier univ. instead of 4th tier univ.), I get most of the same benefits🚪, and it’s a new adventure 📷 awaiting me!

I was delighted to find out that one of my students and good friends 👭(Simon and his girlfriend Alice) live about 15 minutes away from my school. They are moving home and already invited me to BBQ.  Such a relief to have someone in the area!  I have two students👩👩 from Mongolia that I am hoping to get a chance to visit, and the train goes from Changchun directly to Moscow💂!  🚉 Course it takes a week one way, but still – I think I can get up to see Russia.  Not taking time to see North Korea ❌ – I’m sure it’s lovely, but not my cup of tea. Still, that’s a lot of new open doors 🚪 waiting to be checked out!  😀

I’ll keep you up to date on the details as I go.  My schedule 🕔 this week is insane.  Tomorrow I leave at 7:30 for the city (one hour) to get a Physical 😷done (surprise! wasn’t expecting this – just found out this afternoon). Then on from there a 3 hour trip to Beijing 🚝 (+ 1.5 hour subway ride to my stop) for some government paperwork on Wednesday.  Then back to school 🏫so I can give Final Exams on Thursday. Friday, back to the city to pick up my physical 🏥results. Back to school 🏫to grade and get signatures.  Then on Saturday, entering grades into the computer. Sunday off to Changchun ✈to get all my paperwork complete. Monday back to school 🏫to pack and get ready.  It’s a wild ride, but I am so excited to welcome the new year! 

Advertisements

The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit

“The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit”

via “World Observer

I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

 -Winston Churchill

The British had a ruthless economic agenda when it came to operating in India and that did not include empathy for native citizens. Under the British Raj, India suffered countless famines. But the worst hit was Bengal. The first of these was in 1770, followed by severe ones in 1783, 1866, 1873, 1892, 1897 and lastly 1943-44. Previously, when famines had hit the country, indigenous rulers were quick with useful responses to avert major disasters. After the advent of the British, most of the famines were a consequence of monsoonal delays along with the exploitation of the country’s natural resources by the British for their own financial gain. Yet they did little to acknowledge the havoc these actions wrought. If anything, they were irritated at the inconveniences in taxing the famines brought about.

Image source

The first of these famines was in 1770 and was ghastly brutal. The first signs indicating the coming of such a huge famine manifested in 1769 and the famine itself went on till 1773. It killed approximately 10 million people, millions more than the Jews incarcerated during the Second World War. It wiped out one third the population of Bengal. John Fiske, in his book “The Unseen World”, wrote that the famine of 1770 in Bengal was far deadlier than the Black Plague that terrorized Europe in the fourteenth century. Under the Mughal rule, peasants were required to pay a tribute of 10-15 per cent of their cash harvest. This ensured a comfortable treasury for the rulers and a wide net of safety for the peasants in case the weather did not hold for future harvests. In 1765 the Treaty of Allahabad was signed and East India Company took over the task of collecting the tributes from the then Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. Overnight the tributes, the British insisted on calling them tributes and not taxes for reasons of suppressing rebellion, increased to 50 percent. The peasants were not even aware that the money had changed hands. They paid, still believing that it went to the Emperor. 

 

Image source

Partial failure of crop was quite a regular occurrence in the Indian peasant’s life. That is why the surplus stock, which remained after paying the tributes, was so important to their livelihood. But with the increased taxation, this surplus deteriorated rapidly. When partial failure of crops came in 1768, this safety net was no longer in place. The rains of 1769 were dismal and herein the first signs of the terrible draught began to appear. The famine occurred mainly in the modern states of West Bengal and Bihar but also hit Orissa, Jharkhand and Bangladesh. Bengal was, of course, the worst hit. Among the worst affected areas were Birbum and Murshidabad in Bengal. Thousands depopulated the area in hopes of finding sustenance elsewhere, only to die of starvation later on. Those who stayed on perished nonetheless. Huge acres of farmland were abandoned. Wilderness started to thrive here, resulting in deep and inhabitable jungle areas. Tirhut, Champaran and Bettiah in Bihar were similarly affected in Bihar.

Abandoned

Prior to this, whenever the possibility of a famine had emerged, the Indian rulers would waive their taxes and see compensatory measures, such as irrigation, instituted to provide as much relief as possible to the stricken farmers. The colonial rulers continued to ignore any warnings that came their way regarding the famine, although starvation had set in from early 1770. Then the deaths started in 1771. That year, the company raised the land tax to 60 per cent in order to recompense themselves for the lost lives of so many peasants. Fewer peasants resulted in less crops that in turn meant less revenue. Hence the ones who did not yet succumb to the famine had to pay double the tax so as to ensure that the British treasury did not suffer any losses during this travesty.

After taking over from the Mughal rulers, the British had issued widespread orders for cash crops to be cultivated. These were intended to be exported. Thus farmers who were used to growing paddy and vegetables . . . .

READ MORE

Italy’s culture minister looks abroad for overhaul of art galleries and museums

“Italy’s culture minister looks abroad for overhaul of art galleries and museums”

by Rosie Scammell via “The Guardian

Dario Franceschini ruffles local feathers by appointing seven foreigners to head Italy’s most prestigious galleries, including Florence’s Uffizi and Accademia

 The Uffizi gallery in Florence. The new director wiull have to develop innovative cultural programmes and bring some creative flair to financing as government budgets are cut.
The Uffizi gallery in Florence. The new director will have to develop innovative cultural programmes and bring some creative flair to financing as government budgets are cut. Photograph: John Kellerman/Alamy

Italy’s culture ministry has appointed 20 new directors to manage some of its top museums, including Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, with a number of foreigners brought in to revamp the way the country’s vast heritage is presented to the public.

Fourteen art historians, four archaeologists, one cultural manager and a museum specialist make up the new directors, who will be at the forefront of cultural reform in Italy. The majority have international backgrounds and half are women, although the culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said nationality and gender had no influence on Tuesday’s appointments.

Beyond daily museum management, each director will be tasked with coming up with innovative cultural programmes and impressing both local and international visitors. The new bosses will also need to bring a creative flair to financing, making way for alternative funding models such as philanthropic donations in the face of tight government budgets.

READ MORE

FBI hopes grainy video will help solve 25-year-old $500 million art heist

“FBI hopes grainy video will help solve 25-year-old $500 million art heist”

by Scott Malone via “Yahoo News”

Security footage shows unidentified man allegedly being allowed inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston before 1990 theft

Federal investigators in Boston on Thursday released 25-year-old surveillance video showing a security guard admitting a man to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum the night before it was robbed of $500 million worth of art in the largest such heist in U.S. history.

The six-minute, 40-second video shows a young white man with a short jacket being let in by the guard through a rear entrance to the museum shortly after midnight on March 17, 1990, about 24 hours before the heist.

The statute of limitations on the crime has long passed, meaning that if the thieves are found they will not face prosecution. But the FBI, the Boston office of the Justice Department and the museum hope to recover the art.

“This latest request for the public’s assistance illustrates the FBI’s continued commitment to the Gardner investigation,” said Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston. “By releasing this video, we hope to generate meaningful leads and ultimately recover the stolen artwork.”

The newly released grainy video shows a car pulling up to the museum that matches the description of a vehicle spotted outside shortly before the heist.

The theft occurred when two men dressed as police officers were admitted by security guards to the museum in the early morning hours of March 18, 1990. They allegedly went on to overpower the guards who were found duct-taped to chairs in the museum’s basement the next morning.

Works of art including Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” Vermeer’s “The Concert” and Manet’s “Chez Tortoni,” were among the 13 pieces stolen from the museum, which features the collection of the eccentric Boston socialite Gardner.

Due to a quirk in Gardner’s will, the empty frames from which the paintings were cut still hang on the museum’s walls. . . . .

READ MORE

Protecting Indian Culture Need Of the Hour: Guv

“Protecting Indian Culture Need Of the Hour: Guv”

via “Express News Service

Governor Vajubhai Vala and Infosys Foundation chairperson Sudha Murty presenting the Rama Gana Kalacharya Award to instrumentalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat on Sunday | express photo

BENGALURU: Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala has called for protecting Indian culture, which he said is the only way to achieve progress.

Speaking at the Rama Gana Kalacharya Award programme here on Sunday, he said, “No country can ever make progress if its culture cannot be protected. This is imperative and the need of the hour.”

He said the Mughals and the British, who once ruled the country, tried to destroy Indian culture. “However, we have prevailed and our culture is still rich.”

Vala also rued that the youth these days hardly have any cultural knowledge. “Understanding of one’s culture must be inculcated from a young age. However, the youth these days hardly have any knowledge. This is bad,” he added.

The Rama Gana Kalacharya Award  was presented to Hindustani classical music instrumentalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat.

READ MORE