• The Political Animal

    Letter from Guatemala, Part 2

    . Development Ideology – Fraud or Nuisance? (II) by Dercum Over (Dercum Over recently completed a two-year service with the Peace Corps as a volunteer Healthy Schools coordinator. The Peace Corps officially discourages independent journalistic expression by serving volunteers, so he waited until his two years were concluded before writing this essay. Parts of it were published in the annual in-house Peace Corps Guatemala journal The Id in 2010. Publication of The Id was suspended without explanation in 2011. This is the second of two parts. You can read the first part here.) “Cultural exchange starts with misunderstanding. We are not afraid to misunderstand.” – Isamu Ohsuga of Byakko Sha, a Japanese Butoh dance troupe.…

  • The Political Animal

    Madrassas, Mosques, Migrations III

    3. Migrations Migrations came first. In search of food, shelter, safety. Changes in climate. Then agriculture, and people took root. Until the soil was depleted. Then floods. War. Conquest. Migration. Only later came the boundaries. My land. Your land. Their land. A better land. Now emigration. Immigration. Legal. Illegal. Welcome. Not welcome. People move over the earth, and always will, the borders a fiction, though one with a contract. I have always thought myself favored by fortune that I was born where I was, when I was, who I was. American. New Yorker. Jew. Man, what luck. Could have been, instead…. Why say it. No more than a pot to…

  • The Political Animal

    Madrassas, Mosques, Migrations II

    2. Mosques Bad feelings, it should come as no surprise, are not good for us. Anger, resentment, bitterness, even hate are all human emotions – they are emotions, so they are human – but we are told they are not healthy emotions, and surely, in time, in the experience of them, we feel that they are not healthy. Neither do bad feelings make a good impression. Angry, resentful, bitter, hateful people are not attractive people. This is one reason why at their not infrequent worst Tea Partiers and Town Hall criers and accusers have found so little sympathy from those not their like – they are ugly. Yet none of…

  • The Political Animal

    Madrassas, Mosques, Migrations

    1. Madrassas I was led to this video by Maureen Doallas at Writing Without Paper. As commenters at Maureen’s blog said, it presents us with a chilling reality and prospect. I’m not going to react to the video in the obvious way. Obviously, it is a brief, more detailed insight into what we already have knowledge of – religion become a disease of the mind, what the video tells us has to be present in our considerations every time we think about what to do in or about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Underneath this phenomenon is brainwashing. I’m not a professional psychologist or an expert in brainwashing, but I can see,…