Various writings on culture

Cargo Cults of the Melanesian Islands


What happens when aboriginal people who are living a hunter/gatherer or farmer life style come face to face with 20th century technology and civilization too quickly? Their minds could not fathom the rest of earth's human civilization gradual progression over the past 5,000 or so years.

The people of Tanna island of Vanuatu suddenly woke up during World War II to the U.S. Navy establishing airfields, forward bases, and housing close to 250,000 people, with all the necessary support services, including telephone and cinemas.

Maltese poem: Mejju gie, May has arrived - a translation by an Arabic speaker



In a previous article, I attempted a translation of the oldest know literary work in Maltese, Il-Cantilena, without looking up any translations, and relying only on my knowledge of Arabic as a native speaker of both classical and a North African dialect (Egyptian). I was largely successful.

Tim Franks: "This is the Middle East, but it is not the Middle Ages ..."



The BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Franks, reflects on remaining impartial in the Middle East.

He notes the dissociation that most Israelis exhibit to the plight and conflict in the West Bank. Many more observations. A very good read.

The best quote? "This is the Middle East but, no, it is not the Middle Ages".

BBC on the African-Palestinian community in Jerusalem


The BBC has an interesting look at the African-Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Their ancestry comes from Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, and Senegal.

They settled and married from other Muslim Arabic speaking non-African Palestinians in Jerusalem, and face the same challenges that the broader Palestinian community faces.

Holding a dead person's remains for ransom?


How low can criminals go? Kidnapping for ransom is repulsive, since it preys on the fears of the victim and the victim's family who are forced to give money to the kidnappers in order to get their loved one back.

How how low can someone go, ransoming the remains of a dead person? Here is a case where the ex-president of Cyprus remain were held for ransom!

Prof. Massimo Marcone's book on exotic and expensive foods


Massimo Marcone is a food science professor at the nearby University of Guelph. A few years ago, he released a book titled: In Bad Taste?: The Adventures And Science Behind Food Delicacies which lists many foods around the world that are considered repulsive. That book is now renamed to "In Bad Taste? A Quest for the World's Most Exotic Foods".

Swine Flu, social networks and media spreading misinformation


Two recent articles from Al-Jazeera show the misinformation that is widespread about Swine Flu.

The first was an article lamenting how some Arab countries has imported pork meat, including Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE. The article implies a connection between consuming pork, and catching swine flu. An avalanche of equally uninformed comments from visitors as response to the article. Many of the comments are focusing on the Islamic ban on consuming pork.

The other article is about Egypt's parliament considering discontinuing pig farms, with the approval of the Coptic Orthodox Church. At issue are the jobs affected by that, including the garbage collectors and recyclers providing feed for the pigs.


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