A tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Gandhi Jayanti: A tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

On January 30, 1958, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mahatma’s passing, a young clergyman who was using Gandhian methods in America wrote an article for Hindustan Times on why India’s Father of the Nation belonged ‘to the ages’.

INDIA Updated: Oct 02, 2019 13:11 IST

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

Hindustan Times
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr stands next to a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in his office in 1966.
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr stands next to a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in his office in 1966.(Bob Fitch Photography Archive, Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries)

Mahatma Gandhi has done more than any other person of history to reveal that social problems can be solved without resorting to primitive methods of violence. In this sense he is more than a saint of India. He belongs — as they said of Abraham Lincoln — to the ages. In our struggle against racial segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, I came to see at a very early stage that a synthesis of Gandhi’s method of non-violence and the Christian ethic of love is the best weapon available to Negroes for this struggle for freedom and human dignity. It may well be that the Gandhian approach will bring about a solution to the race problem in America. His spirit is a continual reminder to oppressed people that it is possible to resist evil and yet not resort to violence.

Watch: From HT Archives: A tribute by Martin Luther King, Jr to Mahatma Gandhi

From HT Archives: A tribute by Martin Luther King, Jr to Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi had thousands of followers across the globe. One among them was Martin Luther King, Jr.
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The Gandhian influence in some way still speaks to the conscience of the world as nations grapple with international problems. If we fail, on an international scale, to follow the Gandhian principle of non-violence, we may end up by destroying ourselves through the misuse of our own instruments. The choice is no longer between violence and non-violence. It is now either non-violence or non-existence.

Oppressed people can deal with oppression in three ways. They can accept or acquiesce. Under segregation they can adjust to it. Yet non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The minute one accepts segregation, one cooperates with it. Oppressed people can, on the other hand, resort to physical violence, a method both whole nations and oppressed peoples have used. But violence merely brings about a temporary victory and not permanent peace. It creates ever new problems. Gandhi has come on the scene of history with still another way. He would resist evil as much as the man who uses violence, but he resists it without external violence or violence of the spirit. That is what Gandhism does. It is a method of the strong. If the only alternative is between cowardice and violence, it is better — as Gandhi said — to use violence, but there is another way.

Also read | A note from Pakistan: Why Gandhi matters beyond India’s borders

I myself gained this insight from Gandhi. When I was in theological school, I thought the only way we could solve our problem of segregation was an armed revolt. I felt that the Christian ethic of love was confined to individual relationships. I could not see how it could work in social conflict. Then I read Gandhi’s ethic of love as revealed in Jesus but raised to a social strategy for social transformation. This lifts love from individual relationships to the place of social transformation. This Gandhi helped us to understand and for this we are grateful a decade after his death.

Also read | Gandhiji’s name etched in the history of independent India, writes Mohan Bhagwat

First Published: Oct 02, 2019 04:01 IST

The Life And Times Of Blanche Anders Savage (The Cookie Lady) 1930-2000

The Life And Times Of Blanche Anders Savage (The Cookie Lady) 1930-2000

 

The Cookie Lady-A True Story of a wonderful person who lived from 1930-2000

 

My name is Blanche, I was born into a poor white family in Benson Minnesota in September of 1930. My mother is Sophie Amanda Hanson. She was born here in Benson Minnesota in December of 1905. My dad is Elbert Anders of Galax, Virginia. He was born in September of 1905. I only have one sibling, my brother Lonnie who was born in January of 1936 in Faith South Dakota. But, I won’t speak of Faith just yet. My mom’s parents came here from Norway in the late 1880’s and had more kids than the fingers could count. Mom was just one of many of the Hanson children but in my opinion was the sweetest of all. Mom obtained a seventh grade education, enough to read and write clearly. Dad was a rambler who was doing just that in 1928 when he and my mom met.

Dad seemed to always love two things most in life, horses and women. I don’t blame my dad for all of his faults; after all, we all have some. Dad never had any education at all and never did learn to read and write. It was the late 1960’s before he learned how to sign his name.

Watching my parents struggle throughout my childhood ingrained in me the determination to get an education and to stay in school and get my high school diploma. This was one of the few goals in my life that I was able to accomplish.  My childhood taught me many things; things like the rich had good educations. And that the rich got rich and stayed rich on the sweat off the uneducated poor man’s back. Even as a small child I was always aware that we were looked down upon by those who could afford the nice clothes, fancy cars and big houses.

Mom and dad got married in 1928 in Benson. I never could figure why mom would have married my dad. Maybe it was that she was considered an old maid, going on 23 and still not married. I know she was never happy in her life with the cards she had been dealt. You know, uneducated, poor women aren’t anything except slaves to their uneducated ignorant husbands. Even the children that they bare are just an extension of the male’s property.

Shortly after I was born dad moved us to a little town in western South Dakota called Faith. A saying that I remember about Faith was fitting, “Faith South Dakota, a hundred miles from anywhere”. Dad had a couple of brothers that lived out that away. So I guess it was fitting that he would up and ramble toward them next.

I remember our years in South Dakota as being a pure hell, Faith with its dirt streets and water that had to be trucked in. It seems like I was always cold and dirty there. We lived in several one room shacks, some just lean-to’s on the back of peoples’ houses, seems like we were always hungry and cold. There were several of the places we lived that had dirt floors with walls and roofs that you could see straight through to the outside. I guess Faith was the reason I never did like to do any camping, so many of the places we lived seemed almost like we were camping.

To be fair to the town, maybe things wouldn’t have been as bad as they were if dad would have cared more about his family and less about other women, horses and bulldogs. Dad always tried to keep a horse and a bulldog or two. The horse I could understand, we hardly ever had a car, so the horse was his transportation back in those years. The bulldogs, I don’t know why he liked to have them. I guess it was just so he could have something else to beat on. I was always scared of his dogs, yet I always felt sorry for them. They were always kept chained to a stake in the back yard. Looking back, it might have been that he knew the dogs would bark if we had any visitors. The way he was always chasing after women, I guess that wasn’t such a bad idea.

My brother Lonnie was born there in Faith in January of 1936. It was always nice having a brother. Throughout our childhoods we were each others best friends, confidants and play partners. Yet having a brother was difficult too. It wasn’t just having another mouth to feed and back to clothe. It was also the having to see the hardships put upon yet another one that you loved without being able to do anything to correct it, or stop it.

I remember one night it had gotten dark and dad wasn’t home from his job yet and mom was crying real hard. I didn’t understand why mom was so upset because it was normal that dad didn’t come home before dark. I asked mom what was wrong and she told me about the rent being due that night, and dad being paid that day, but he hadn’t paid the rent or come home with his pay.

This was in the summer of 1937 and I was almost seven years old. My brother Lonnie was just about one and a half at the time. Mom said she had to stay home with the baby, but she told me to go through town and look for dad’s horse, find him and ask him to please come home, pay the rent and buy the family some food. It wasn’t long before I found dad’s horse tied up beside a building that had a lot of music and noise coming from it. I noticed a window on the side of the building with some empty wood crates by it. I took a few of the crates and stacked them up to where I could get up on them and look into that window. What I seen shocked me a lot. There was a naked woman sitting on top of my dad in a chair and he was also naked. They were just laughing and seemed to be having a lot of fun. Well, I was so surprised that I stumbled and fell off the crates onto the ground, with the crates falling after me. I made such a noise that the woman and dad both came and looked out the window at me. Dad was sure mad at me and he whipped me all the way home.

When we got home dad was still mad and he hollered at mom for a long time, I know she cried for hours. Dad said that mom and I had embarrassed him something horrible by doing what we had done. A couple of days after that dad sold his horse and his dogs and he pulled up to the shack we were living in, in an old dilapidated 1922 Ford car. Dad and mom took what few things we had, stuffed them and the four of us into the car and we left Faith South Dakota for a place called Galax Virginia.

I didn’t know anything about this place we were headed, I just hoped it was better than the place we had been. I know I prayed that I would never see Faith or South Dakota again for all I remembered of them was hardship. As it turned out I would see both again, but at least it would wait more than thirty years.

The trip from Faith to Galax is about 2,000 miles and in that old piece of junk dad was driving it took us three weeks to make it to Galax. I learned that the reason dad chose Galax was because he had several brothers and sisters living in and around this town he was born in. The three weeks the trip took seemed like forever. At night we would stop alongside the road and we would sleep on the ground beside the car. I remember being so scared and so hungry, hoping that we could make it to our new home.

When we finally made it to Galax we were broke and hungry. None of dad’s folks knew we were coming but none the less they took us in and kept us alive. I know it embarrassed mom a lot as we moved from one of dad’s kin to another over the first two months. But eventually one of dad’s brothers was able to get dad on at the mine he was working at just across the North Carolina line. Mom got a job at the local hospital changing linens and bed pans for the patients.

After a couple of months mom and dad were able to save enough money to rent a house in “the bottom” there in town. The bottom was a place that the working white poor folk lived. But still the house we were renting was like a real home. It had windows and wood floors and you couldn’t see any stars at night while lying in bed. Even though you could feel the cold air in the winter around the windows and doors at least it wasn’t so bad that the snow would come through them when they were closed. A few years later we were able to buy a different house there in the bottom down by the swinging bridge. That was after the war had started and dad was getting to work regular. It was a two bedroom with an inside toilet and a pot-bellied coal stove in the living room that kept us warm in the winter.

With the move to Virginia our scenery got a lot prettier, the weather was a lot nicer, and the people seemed to be friendlier. Our housing situation was much more stable and mom and dad had regular work. So a lot of things were better, more stable for us now, but there was still many heartaches. The change of location didn’t change any of dad’s ways. We soon had a bulldog staked in the backyard and dad bought himself a horse and paid a farmer money to keep the horse at his place. Any money he had left was always spent on other women.

By now I was reaching an age to where I wasn’t as blind to the reality I was living in. For years I was required to take this little red wagon I had to a building downtown where I got food twice a month. This place handed out some flour, cornmeal, beans, bread, and cheese. If it wasn’t for Mr. Roosevelt, Mom, Lonnie and I would have been very hungry. I guess that is a big reason why I have been a lifelong democrat. I grew up believing that to vote republican you either had to be rich or stupid.

At the age of fourteen, I was able to get a job at the soda fountain inside the Peoples Drug Store in downtown Galax. I worked there three hours each evening and all day on Saturdays. I used this money to buy my own school clothes and the cost of my school supplies. I also worked in the school cafeteria serving food so that I could get my meals there for free. That was a lot better than having to run home at lunch, get a sandwich and a glass of milk then run back to school especially on the cold winter days.

I graduated high school in 1947. It was then I started working full-time at the drug store. I still lived at home and remained under dad’s control. I was never allowed to date. I’m sure it was because dad had his view of what women were and he wasn’t about to let me be anything like the women he had always known.

Dad worked with a man named Wayne Savage whom dad admired a lot because he was very strong and a real hard worker. As things worked out, Wayne had a younger brother named Bill who was getting out of the Navy from his two-year hitch in February of 1948. Wayne got Bill a job there at the mine when he was discharged from the Navy. So I ended up with dad’s insistence dating Bill and then marrying him May 29th, 1948. One truth I was always proud of is that I was a virgin on my wedding night.

Bill turned out to be a lot of the things dad was, and a lot of things he wasn’t. I think the reason Bill got married was for the free sex, free housekeeper, free cook and an extra paycheck. In my dad’s defense he was a hard worker and a non-drinker. Unfortunately Bill was an alcoholic and he never found a job he would stick with.

From 1949 through 1956 I gave birth to four children. Our oldest Larry was born in my mom’s home in June 1949 with a midwife. Our second child, Steven Ray was born in a hospital in Winston-Salem North Carolina in May of 1952. I have always been so glad that I gave birth to Steven in a hospital or I never would have been able to forgive myself. The doctors said Steven was born with a hole in his heart. In 1952 they couldn’t save him; he lived three days, never leaving the hospital. We buried Steven in the McKenzie Cemetery just outside of Galax. Our third child was our little girl Kay; she was born in September of 1954. Kay and our last child Ted were born in the hospital in Galax. Ted was born in August 1956. He was always sickly and skinny as a rail, at every meal it was difficult to get him to eat. This just made him a target for Bill. I dreaded every meal because you always knew that Bill would start yelling at him and then start beating him. Ted had to put up with that until he was seventeen. He stood up to Bill then and it was plain that Bill got scared, but he never treated Ted like that again. But that was 1973, so I’m getting ahead of myself so I’m going to step back in time to 1961.

Bill and our family had rented many places until we got lucky and was able to get the bank to finance us a small eight acre farm in nearby Woodlawn, Virginia. It was a dream come true for me, our own house. It was a three bedroom, one bath, two-story house with a small detached garage, a full size barn, and a hog house. The property was fenced in so we could have a cow and there was plenty of wild game such as squirrels, rabbits, pheasants and turkeys to keep the freezer full. In 1961 the cost of all this was $8,000.00.

By the time the spring of 1965 rolled around Bill had worked at about every place in the Galax area and none of the employers would have him anymore. That spring one of Bill’s drinking buddies stopped by our house and talked to Bill about the coal mines in Butte, Montana. Telling Bill about the good paying jobs there in the mines and how wonderful Montana was. In less than two weeks Bill was on a Greyhound bus.

The plan was for Bill to go there, get a good job, find the family a place, then in August come back to Virginia, sell the farm and we would move to Butte. Like always things didn’t work out that way. Bill came back on the bus the first of August without a dime in his pockets. He had been living in an apartment and had no place ready for us to move to. He said he had been keeping all his money in his apartment and shortly before he was to come back home someone broke into the apartment and stole all the money.

Bill’s plan was to come back to Virginia, sell the farm, and use the equity money to move with. It was many years later before we found out that the mines Bill was supposed to be working at had closed down. This explained why he was broke when he came back. This also meant that Bill had no job to move us to.  So he came back, we sold the farm for $8,500.00 netting a clear $800.00 to use for the move. Bill’s plan was to stop in Deadwood South Dakota where I had two uncles and aunts, play sick, say he went to a doctor, lie saying he had black lung and that he would be dead by forty if he continued mining. He was one month away from thirty-eight at that time.

So Bill, with no job to go to, sells our home, and moves his wife and three kids across the country headed to nothing. We stayed with my family for three days while Bill found a job in nearby Spearfish at the Homestake Sawmill. We then found a basement apartment to rent nearby the mill. The jobs in Galax all paid the minimum wage of $1.25 per hour. I found a job in a nursing home for, you guessed it, $1.25 per hour. Bills job at the mill paid $1.90 per hour.

This was August 1965, we didn’t escape there until November 1966. A representative from Chrysler Corporation came out there trying to recruit employees for a new assembly plant in Belvidere Illinois. Seems the local people were too offended that Chrysler was going to pay people more than $5.00 an hour with great benefits while the rest of the town was settled into jobs paying less than $2.00 an hour. I know that makes no sense, but a lot of people from South Dakota jumped on those jobs the Belvidere locals didn’t want.

In the fifteen months we were in Spearfish I was so depressed that we were going to end up stuck there forever. I have to admit we had a few good times while we were there. We did visit a few local parks, and Spearfish is in the “Black Hills”. During this time our oldest son Larry went back to Galax to live. He was sixteen, almost seventeen and he got a job at Vaughan Basset Furniture factory. He stayed there until just before we moved to Belvidere. He came back and helped us with the move then he decided to stay in Belvidere and when he turned eighteen he also got a job at Chrysler.

I remember that while we were in South Dakota we visited Mount Rushmore on our eighteenth anniversary (1966). We also took a trip in the summer of 66 to Faith to watch a big yearly rodeo they held. The roads were still dirt and I still saw water trucks, but they did have a good rodeo. On the Fourth of July 1966 we went to the big rodeo show in Deadwood. During an intermission they put on the Wild Bill Hickok Show, the one where he was shot in the back playing cards in the saloon. That’s pretty much all the good memories I have from there. I was just glad to get out of there in November of 66 as we headed east praying that Belvidere would be better.

When we got to Illinois we rented an apartment in the town of Cherry Valley for three months. The rent was $150.00 per month but after we had been there for three months they raised the rent to $200.00 so we looked around and found a nice old house in Belvidere for $85.00 a month. It was right by the city park, real close to the waterfall. If Bill could have ever quit his drinking and acted like a husband and a dad we could probably have been happy there.

We lived in that house from February 1967 till April 1970. We all survived the big F-4 tornado of April 21st, 1967 unharmed while living in that house. Also during that time frame Bill got hurt at work. Bill’s foreman told him to take a part over to a certain bucket and wash it off. Turns out the bucket had acid in it. Bill had only stuck his right hand down in it thank goodness. The acid really messed up his hand and the nerves with it. He ended up missing several months work and we sued Chrysler settling out of court for $10,000.00. We put $8,000.00 down on a home on the western outskirts of town that was priced at $25,000.00. It set on an acre of land bordering a large county park. Once again, if Bill could have just acted like a man we could have been very happy there.

In February 1974, Bill and I were in a car wreck in Belvidere as a man drove through a stop sign and hit us broadside. I wasn’t injured but Bill broke his left hip and cracked his left ankle. The day after Bill had his hip replacement he had a heart attack while lying in his hospital bed. He ended up having to have a four-way bypass operation. While Bill was recuperating he got a check in the mail from Social Security. Turns out that Chrysler went through the process to get him disabled because he had nine years in with them and at ten years guaranteed lifetime benefits would be coming into effect and they weren’t wanting to have to pay them.

Larry had gotten married in October 1968 to a lady with two kids; I think he married her to get out of being drafted into Vietnam, though I’ve always believed she really loved him. Kay got married in August of 1971; I believe just to get out of the house and away from Bill. My youngest, Ted, got married in May 1975. Now I was home alone with Bill all the time. Without the kids there Bill was still as hateful as ever.

In 1977 we sold the big house on the west side and bought a nice ranch style house only a couple blocks from my work in town. It was a beautiful house and I really loved it. Also about this time Bill finally quit drinking and I had high hopes for a better life but that was just wishful thinking. Bill stayed just as hateful and self-centered as he had always been. I had always hoped it was the alcohol, it wasn’t, it was just who he was.

I had a bad left hip during this time and it was real painful to try to work with. I had tried for Social Security but got turned down so I had to go back to work after about eleven months off. I had only been back to work less than a year when Bill came up to the office and told them I had to quit because I had gotten my Social Security. When we got home I found that was not true. It had only been suggested by my lawyer to appeal. Well, during this time our income was not enough to pay the bills. So in 1981 we had to sell the house before we lost it. We only had enough money to buy a new, but cheap single wide trailer that because of zoning laws we had to put into a mobile home court. It was the nicest court in town but losing our home because of Bill’s ignorance just made me sick.

Shortly after we got moved I was turned down again on the Social Security. I had to go back up to that hole I had worked at since 1968 and ask for my job back, to my surprise they reinstated me with full seniority. I did end up getting a left hip replacement on my birthday 1992. The month before my oldest son Larry died of an aneurysm in his apartment in Scranton Pennsylvania. Bill’s health was constantly deteriorating and he died just before Christmas 1993 from heart failure. I ended up retiring in February 1994.

Now I was truly alone except for my daughter Kay who lived locally and was now a Methodist minister. I did have a few people at church that I associated with. My son Ted was a long-haul truck driver who only got to stop in for a night or so about three or four times a year.

My dad died in his sleep in early March 1987. I had a major heart attack on June 1st, 1996 that really set me back physically. But 1996 would only get worse. Mom died all alone in a nursing home in August and my brother Lonnie died that November of brain cancer and heart failure.

The next year, 1997, I had to have my right hip replaced, again on my birthday. It was hard to make do on my own but I made it. Jackie came over and helped me some while I was recuperating and Ted would send me extra money when he could to help me out. He was paying my lot rent for me each month which really helped out. One day when Kay and her husband were over I got a letter from Ted with a check for $690.00 in it, $190.00 for the lot rent and $500.00 to put up for emergency needs. Kay and her husband got really mad at me for “taking Teds’ money” like that. So from that point on Ted and I never mentioned anything about him helping me.

In March of 1999, Ted had to have heart surgery after a heart attack and he was out of work with no income for a long time. So in the summer of 1999 I took a job at a local nursing home two hours per night. My job was to help clean up the dining area and kitchen after supper had been served to the residents. It wasn’t much of a job, I hated doing it but it did make my lot rent payment.

That fall an opening came up for an extra half hour per night to go from room to room passing out cookies. I took on the extra work, but I truly enjoyed doing it. I felt sorry for so many of these people who had been discarded and abandoned here by their family members. I enjoy talking with them each evening, trying to cheer them up. It wasn’t long before I became known as “The Cookie Lady”, I enjoyed that title, it made me feel wanted.

Well, this is Sunday morning August 20th, 2000. I sometimes find it hard to believe that with the life I have had that I would have made it to the year 2000. I just spoke to my son Ted at his home in Florida but I need to get going or I will be late for church. I still need to stop by Kay’s before church and get her newspaper put in her house because they are on a weekend vacation.


Mom never made it to church. As she slowed down and turned into my sister’s driveway a young man driving a four-wheel drive Dodge Ram pickup thought it was a good time to speed up and pass. He hit mom right in the driver’s door at about seventy miles per hour, killing her instantly. He had hit her so hard that the coroner said the impact tore all the arteries away from her heart.

A bright light put out. A life lived in the darkness of others, seldom being allowed to shine. A life lived in so much sadness, put upon by others. So many joys of life denied her. In so many ways, a light, a life, unfulfilled. But a woman who will always be very much-loved, and missed “The Cookie Lady”, our Mom.

4 Ancient Cooking Devices Still Used Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Ancient Cooking Devices Still Used Today

In our world of pressure cookers, smart coffee mugs, and air fryers, it’s clear that cooking technology has come a long way over the years. But then, you take a look back at how ancient civilizations cooked and you realize that, despite our modern technology, we’re still using many of the same strategies and tools that were used back in the day. In particular, these four ancient cooking devices have stood the test of time in our modern era.

Clay Cooking Pots

Credit: Hagi / iStock

This one’s more of a modern take on an old idea.

In ancient Greece, a common cooking method was to place prepared meats and vegetables in tightly-sealed ceramic pots, which were often buried in the ground underneath hot coals. The concoction would be left to cook for several hours before being served—a “low and slow” method that bears a striking similarity to one of the modern era’s favorite cooking methods: slow cooking.

It’s not hard to see the resemblance. Many slow cookers have inserts made from ceramic, porcelain, or stone, and they’re fitted with snug lids that keep the heat locked in. And rather than heating over the fire, the use of coals allowed the ingredients to cook slowly and simmer over time until they reached tender, tangy perfection—just as modern slow cookers do. And while we’ve adapted the ancient device to fit our modern sensibilities, the fundamental concept is the same.

Mortar and Pestle

Credit: Barcin / iStock

The mortar and pestle has to be one of the oldest cooking tools in recorded history, with ancient specimens found as far back as 35,000 B.C. It’s a simple device usually made from stone, bronze, ceramic, or wood, with only two components: a small bowl and a club-like tool with a rounded edge.

Most of us are familiar with how it works. The mortar and pestle was (and still is) used for grinding up spices, herbs, and seasonings, though it also saw plenty of use in medical settings. In fact, the mortar and pestle may be one of the few ancient cooking tools that modern-day chefs use exactly as it was intended. The grinding action is perfect for preparing raw herbs and hard spices in ways that knives and other cooking tools can’t manage, and given that we’re still using it thousands of years after its invention, it’s clear that it still has value in the modern era.

Colander

Credit: Dragan Smiljkovic / iStock

Best known as our go-to tool for straining cooked noodles, sauces, and vegetables, the humble colander has a long history on the world stage. Colanders from ancient Rome and ancient Egypt sit in museums as historical artifacts, and historians believe that the straining device had a rich history of use across these cultures.

Modern colanders tend to be made from wire, plastic, or steel, but in the olden days, colanders were often cast from bronze—meaning they were reserved for the wealthy. More evidence of this comes from reports suggesting that colanders may have been used to strain and prepare wine, a luxury typically afforded to the rich.

Deep Fryer

Credit: Stefano Barzellotti / Shutterstock.com

Yes, although fried foods have become inexorably tied to American culture, deep frying as a practice has been around for thousands of years. The practice of frying foods in oil dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, though other countries — such as Egypt and Japan — also have a substantial history of frying. Of course, they didn’t have the fryer technology we take for granted today, which is probably a good thing. Fried foods can’t be considered healthy by any stretch of the imagination, and while ancient cultures used to enjoy fried options in (relative) moderation, our modern society goes all out, frying anything and everything we can find.

Time-Tested Cooking Classics

Credit: carlosbezz / iStock

New cooking technology is great, but as this list shows, you just can’t beat the classics. Many of the basic cooking tools we use every day—knives, pots, ovens, skillets—have all been used for years by cultures around the world. And while our air poppers and pressure cookers have their uses, ancient cultures seemed to do just fine without them.

MAN WHO GOT BMW FOR HIS BIRTHDAY PUSHED IT INTO THE RIVER BECAUSE HE WANTED A JAGUAR

((THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

MAN WHO GOT BMW FOR HIS BIRTHDAY PUSHED IT INTO THE RIVER BECAUSE HE WANTED A JAGUAR

A young man in India who received a BMW for his 22nd birthday pushed it into a river because it wasn’t the Jaguar he had been hoping for, police claim.

Villagers in Yamunanagar, in the northern state of Haryana, were shocked to see a pricey white BMW 3 Series sinking into the Western Yamuna Canal. One witness called police, who sent a recovery team to make sure nobody was trapped inside.

Police divers borrowed an earthmover and, with the help of locals, recovered the BMW from a patch of tall grass it was moored on. Authorities determined the car belonged to a man named Akash, reportedly the son of a prosperous local landowner.

According to police, Akash deliberately pushed his new car into the canal.

Jehlam Times@Jehlamtimes

Denied Jaguar, Haryana youth pushes BMW into river: Gifted a BMW by his parents instead of a Jaguar that he was demanding, a youth from Haryana’s Yamunanagar on Friday pushed his new car into a swollen river in a fit of anger, police said.

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“Akash was demanding a Jaguar car from his father, but when his father failed to buy him one, he threw away his BMW in a fit of anger, Mukesh Kumar, a station house officer for the Chhachhrauli police, told The Times of India. “His family had sold the [Toyota] Innova they had received from his in-laws to buy him the BMW,”

The car, which retails for more than $49,000, was a gift to Akash for his birthday two months ago. Sources told authorities that Akash made a video of himself pushing the vehicle down the embankment into the water and sent it to his parents.

Akash’s father, though, denied the sinking was intentional, claiming his son had swerved to avoid an antelope in the road. He added that Akash never requested a Jaguar for his birthday. Police claim Akash’s parents told them their son has an undisclosed mental health issue that impairs his judgement.

Officials don’t plan to make any arrests, as no criminal complaint has been filed. Whether the BMW can be driven again is still unknown.

BMW
A worker fixes a hood ornament on a new BMW 3-series on opening day of the BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany on May 13, 2005.SEAN GALLUP/GETTY IMAGES

This isn’t the first example of someone destroying their own luxury car, though: In 2011, a Chinese businessman was so upset by engine problems with his $200,000 Lamborghini Gallardo that he paid a group of workers to smash the car with sledgehammers on World Consumer Rights Day.

In 2013, another Chinese man intentionally totaled his Maserati Quattroporte after learning the service crew installed used parts.

That same year, a man smashed his 2008 BMW M6 with a sledgehammer outside 2013 International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany. He had paid more than $107,000 for the car when it was new, but complained he had gotten it serviced ten time in Germany and Italy and it still didn’t work right.

4 Ancient Cultures We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Ancient Cultures We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of

Unless you magically skipped world history in school, you’ve probably learned of the biggest ancient cultures over the years. Whether it was the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, or the aboriginal peoples of Australia, we know that this world has served as a home to shifting civilizations over the centuries. But while some cultures like those mentioned above tend to get consistent attention, others are lesser-known and are usually limited to academic communities. If you thought you knew about ancient cultures, here are four often-overlooked civilizations to expand your knowledge even further.

Caral Supe

Credit: Rudimencial / iStock

Location: Modern-day Peru

When you think of ancient cultures based in modern Latin America, we usually think of the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilizations. And maybe if you’re more well-read on the topic, you might know of the Olmec. But the region is rich in distinctive Pre-Columbian civilizations, including the Caral Supe. This culture dates back to 5,000 BCE and is centralized around the Supe River in Peru. The Caral Supe are also known as the Note Chico. So, what makes this civilization so unique?

Even though the culture pre-dates the ceramic age, archeologists were able to find a major site called the Sacred City of Caral-Supe with intact structures that included six massive pyramids, numerous temples, various plazas, and an amphitheater. While the site was first “discovered” by earlier archeologists in 1905, it was left untouched until a 1994 excavation because it didn’t contain gold, silver, or pottery. In fact, those six pyramids are so massive that they were initially mistaken for hills. Today the Sacred City of Caral-Supe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can visit.

Indus/Harappan

Credit: CRS PHOTO / Shutterstock.com

Location: Modern-day Pakistan & India

The Indus or Harappan civilization is one of the earliest recorded on the Indian subcontinent. However, not much is known about them since researchers have yet to crack their ancient language to translate any of their writings, drawings, or stone carvings. The culture existed between 3300 and 1600 BCE and occupied a region that stretched between Pakistan and India in the Indus Valley—hence their name.

Even though archeologists and anthropologists have been unable to decipher their language, the Harappan left behind structures that provide clear insight into their capabilities and ingenuity. This culture is best known for its advanced sewage and drainage systems, well-built granaries, and impressive walls. And according to artifacts, the Harappan believed in dentistry, too. So what happened to this culture? Experts believe climate change was the culprit that caused sustained rainfall reduction. This led to population decline as groups left in search of wetter regions.

Sanxingdui

Credit: bleakstar / iStock

Location: Modern-day China

Ancient cultures can be found nearly anywhere in the world. It can be hard to believe, in some cases, that there could be anything from pre-civilizations to long-standing cultures. But even in a country like China—which has a rich and ancient history—the current culture wasn’t the first. The Sanxingdui is a Bronze Age culture that lived in what is now the Sichuan province of China. So what do we know about this culture? Sadly, aside from beautiful artwork that has been discovered over the years, the Sanxingdui is a bit of an enigma. To date, no written words have ever been found from the archeological sites.

The culture is best known for creating massive carvings out of bronze and intricate engravings on delicate materials like jade. Artifacts from their settlements were first discovered in 1929 with later discoveries in 1986 unearthing eight-foot-tall statues. Experts theorize that geological events led to the settlement’s abandonment somewhere between 1200 to 1100 BCE. Geologic evidence shows that a possible earthquake and landslide took place 2,800 to 3,000 years ago that could have cut off their access to the Minjiang River. But a nearby settlement, Jinsha, features nearly identical artifacts that point to the possibility that the Sanxingdui relocated there.

The Bell-Beakers

Credit: nicolamargaret / iStock

Location: Modern-day Europe & northern Africa

Who built Stonehenge? Experts have proof that the Bell-Beakers heavily contributed to creating this unique structure. However, the culture is so obscure that they’re named purely for their most commonly-found artifact—shaped pottery that looks like an upside down bell. The Bell-Beakers are believed to have lived between 2800 and 1800 BCE and occupied lands across Europe from the present-day United Kingdom to the Czech Republic and as far south as northern Africa.

More recent research has shown that the Bell-Beakers weren’t the first people who inhabited the present-day U.K., but they ultimately became the dominant genetic contributors. DNA evidence of prehistoric skeletons reveal that a massive migration occurred over the course of hundreds of years, nearly replacing the previous Neolithic cultures. Present-day Brits have more in common genetically with the Bell-Beakers than the Neolithic peoples.

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4 Strangest Greetings From Around the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Strangest Greetings From Around the World

How do you say hello? If you’re in the United States, this typically means saying “hello”. If you don’t know the person very well, you shake hands. And if you do, you probably hug. Of course, there are variations, as a cheek kiss is common among many subcultures within the American fabric, like Hispanic Americans and Southerners. But we know that depending on the country you call home, greetings can vary. You typically bow in countries like Japan, China or South Korea, or present praying hands in countries like Thailand, India, and Malaysia. But there are a few cultures that have a truly unique way of saying hello.

Sticking Your Tongue Out (Tibet)

Credit: hadynyah / iStock

In the west, this isn’t the nicest way to greet someone. Typically, sticking your tongue out at someone is seen as an act of menace or something that children do to each other to show displeasure. But in Tibet, there’s a real reason why this greeting is considered positive. As the story goes, King Lang Darma ruled during the ninth century. However, he was a cruel leader and as if straight out of a storybook, had a black tongue to boot.

Because Tibet is a Buddhist nation, they believe strongly in the concept of reincarnation. So, as time passed, the people began the custom of briefly sticking out their tongue as a salutation. While it may seem odd to a westerner, this is meant to prove that the person you’re encountering is a friendly individual and not King Lang Darma reincarnated.

Hongi (New Zealand)

Credit: MollyNZ / iStock

While the Hongi is attributed to New Zealand, it’s important to clarify that this greeting isn’t performed by all Kiwis (New Zealanders). It has its origins in the indigenous Māori culture but has slowly been adopted by other Kiwis. The Hongi is a forehead press of sorts where you press your forehead down to your nose with another person. The greeting has mythological origins, stemming from the story of the creation of women. According to legend, after the Māori god Tāne-Nui-a-Rangi created the first woman (Hine-ahu-one) from the earth, he breathed life into her by pressing his forehead and nose to hers. Hence, the Hongi is often referred to as the breath of life.

Today, the Hongi can be performed for practically any occasion from a standard greeting on a regular day to an emotional one say, at a funeral or a wedding. And outside of Māori culture, the greeting is often seen at diplomatic events between New Zealand and friendly nations.

Adumu—The Jumping Dance (Masai)

Credit: JudyDillon / iStock

The Adumu is not a greeting in the traditional sense of the word. It is a traditional dance that is performed only by the Masai people of Kenya and Tanzania. And while they often perform the Adumu for traveling safari guests who are part of tour groups, it’s not a standard greeting for everyday occasions. In the Masai culture, the Adumu is a rite of passage dance that is meant to show that young men are now coming of age after completing 10 years of living apart from the rest of their community. So, in a sense, it is a greeting into adulthood.

The dance involves the new men showing off their prowess by performing a series of very athletic jumps with serious height—not just for the village elders, but for the eligible (and unmarried) women. And if they complete the dance they then re-enter the general Masai society as men and can marry and begin families of their own.

Kunik (Inuit)

Credit: Delmaine Donson / iStock

You’re probably more familiar with the Kunik greeting than you think. Most westerners know it by its lay name “Eskimo kisses”—but avoid using this term. The word “Eskimo” is considered disrespectful because it represents a time when European explorers labeled all of the indigenous people from Alaska, Canada, and Greenland under one name. Instead, call the indigenous people Inuit. The Kunik is more than just a nose rub though. It involves pressing your nose and upper lip onto another person’s forehead, nose or cheek and breathing in their scent.

However, the Kunik is an intimate greeting, so don’t expect to see perfect strangers performing it with each other. Instead, it’s usually reserved for family. Contrary to popular belief, the Kunik isn’t a replacement for “normal” kisses. And the weather isn’t so harsh up north that you can’t kiss someone on the mouth. Also, the Kunik isn’t meant to be romantic and is most often seen between a mother and her child.

Vietnam: Embracing seductive Saigon’s ‘time zones’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Embracing seductive Saigon’s ‘time zones’

Andrew Lam
Embracing seductive Saigon's 'time zones'

Ti Gong

Vietnamese American writer Andrew Lam at a dinner party with friends.

When I was 11 years old, I fled what was then Saigon, in Vietnam, with my family for America at the end of the Vietnam war.

Forty-four years later, I found myself moving back to the city now known as Ho Chi Minh City.

I discovered that I live in many different time zones all at once.

In the present: an energetic city where making money is the main preoccupation. I see it outside my very window. High-rises line the river, gleaming during the day and lit up at night with the promise of a prosperous future. You can also hear it, day and night, the din of construction and the roar of traffic.

If I once thought of Vietnam as backwards and America as modern, I now need to think of a new modern world versus an aging modern world.

In the coffee shop where I go in the morning to write, I spend quite a bit of time eavesdropping. The phrase — mot ty — is mentioned the most. It means one billion dong — or around US$42,000.

It is often used to describe prices of real estate, as in “that property is worth about 70 billion and you need to get it before it goes up in price.”

Most conversations somehow one way or another have to do with money, and money usually involves real estate dealings.

“Let me tell you how to get him to sell. I’ll get my company to back you,” is a sentence I wrote down after hearing someone saying it rather loudly at the next table.

I bask in this excitement. It’s an energy that is seductive and admittedly contagious. I watch with awe as the wealthy spend their money with such abandon at high-end nightclubs and restaurants.

Up the street from where I live, a shopping mall recently opened. It sells Lamborghini and Rolls Royce at its posh entrance. Always there are people taking selfies with the sparkly cars in the background.

Yet some nights strolling the darker alleys I am reminded that so many people are still mired in humiliating poverty — the hunched backs, the tattered clothes, the skin and bone bodies, squatters with cigarettes in mouth, a melancholic ballad on the radio.

Another time zone is the many memories I have of past Saigon, a sleepy town lost in time. Sometimes they arrive unexpectedly into the present.

A rush of memories

The other day on my way to a dinner party, my taxi drove past a building that I instantly recognized despite all the years.

“You came to this world at that hospital, in that room,” my mother had said many times whenever our car drove pass it during the war. There on that second floor, that room with its wooden shutters always wide open, I came to this world.

That moment in the taxi was odd — the past and the present intertwined. Old Saigon superimposed itself on New Saigon, and a rush of various memories of a tropical childhood overwhelmed and made me slightly breathless.

Vietnam is highly mobile now. The country is booming. It’s both a manufacturing hub and a hot tourist destination. And as it opens its doors wider many foreigners are making it their home, among them Viet Kieu — Vietnamese who live abroad.

Many have done well, too, investing and opening businesses, especially those who set up years earlier. To them I am a relative newcomer, and as such there is a lot of advice. Chief among them is: “Try your best not to live in the past.”

Easier said than done, of course.

Like many Viet Kieu, we are cursed with superimposed memories of this city. Sometimes we dwell on them.

The names of streets that have changed, which colonial buildings came down to be replaced by a high-rise, which restaurants once served the best pho during the war, which stalled the best Banh Mi, the dramatic evacuation at the end of the war, the bombs, the corpses.

The past can be a trap, a Vietnamese American friend who came back earlier admits.

The burden of memories keeps him from moving forward, from seeing and doing new things.

“I’m tired of the Vietnam story,” he told me over dinner one evening.

“Me too,” I said. Then we continued to talk about Vietnam.

Thus the future tense.

I carry memories of losses and exile — my childhood in old Saigon in wartime, my abrupt departure. I wear them all like a scar, or a medal.

But I am quite aware that I am also bringing the larger world back to my birthplace. Mine is after all a complicated sense of home.

Given that the bulk of my life was spent in America, writing in my third language (after Vietnamese and French), home is rooted in a sense of plurality.

And if there’s one set of self knowledge of which I am certain of after all these years, it is this: There is no such thing as coming home for those of us who were once exiled.

There is, however, something else the returnee can do — build a new one from scratch.

Diverse, pluralistic, complex is what Saigon has become. A “multi-verse.” A city of multi-ethnic enclaves. A city of immigrants. And a city full of returning Vietnamese. And it is full of young people, eager to surge ahead. Saigon is therefore both forgetful yet secretly longing for its history.

Growing more complex

In truth her nature has always been feminine and individualistic. Her power is alchemy. She turns foreign ideas into local fare.

She seduces stern conquerors and over time turns them into businessmen and epicureans with savior-faire. She takes in their ideology and idolatry, gives them back a tad of hedonism.

Standing in contrast to the public narrative of itself — the male version of events — are the stories of desires and ambition — thirst for knowledge, yearning to travel, wanting to better one’s self, dreaming of owning a house, working toward sending one’s child to study abroad, a kind of American dream.

Such as it is, Saigon, growing ever more complex, is in desperate need of a new framework.

That is my guidepost, my re-entrance. A professor at a college here recently asked me to give a talk about the history of the Vietnamese people in America. Another teacher at an international school asked me to teach a writing workshop to her students.

“Tell them how to think outside of the box,” she said.

A cafe owner who organizes talks invited me to read from my work. I tell listeners of my American life, my adventures abroad. I show images of myself as a child in this self-same city. I share my discoveries of the self. That it is multi-layer, and not etched in stone. Slowly, it feels that I am of use here.

Soon, I will make my pilgrimage. I will enter my old school. I will walk around the old courtyard, finding shade under the tamarind trees, and listen to echoes of my childhood.

I will stand in front of the old house, too, which have yet to visit, and in whose verandas I once read my books and whiled away the hot afternoons, my three dogs at my feet. I will mourn what’s lost and gone.

I will incorporate all this into a new story.

I will try to build bridges of all these fragments, across time zones and languages.

I will try my best to not recreate nor stay mired in the past. Instead, I will marry the tenses as if they are bricks and mortars and build a new home here.

Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Donald Trump, All Racist Bitches?

Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Donald Trump, All Racist Bitches?

 

If you have been paying any attention at all lately to the U.S. news then you have heard a lot about ‘race’ or racism in the conversations within the news programs. First I would like to talk with you about Senator Kamala Harris who is now considered to be one of the front runners (top 5) in the Democratic Presidential debates. Ms. Harris up until the first debate was nothing much more than a ‘also ran’ but it was this debate that has propelled her upward on the ladder. Mainly there was just one question, one moment that did this for her. She was able to slam the front runner Joe Biden on his record about bussing fifty years ago. I am not a fan of Mr. Biden but when a person has been in politics for the past 50 years there are going to be plenty of areas to be critical of a person’s record, it’s just reality, in 50 years a person is going to change their opinions on different issues sometimes. Ms. Harris is a first term Senator from the state of California, her political record is much shorter.

 

This one question was a trap for Mr. Biden for someone to use as being a race issue whether race had anything to do do with his vote back then or not. Ms. Harris was able to use this as a race issue and the media, correct or not, jumped onto the side of Ms. Harris. I had heard of Ms. Harris ever since she became a member of the U.S Senate, but, basically everything that I had heard from or about her has had to do with race. It seems to me via the things that I had heard from Ms. Harris is that she is like a one trick pony and that the pony she is riding is race. I consider myself a moderate, sort of like an old southern conservative Democrat mixed with a liberal Republican. In other words I don’t like either political party at all, this is why I have been a registered independent for decades now. I had always taken Ms. Harris to be a Black person, just a lightly skinned person but evidently I was wrong on this issue. I can’t stand the Trump family but Don Jr. posted a tweet about her race so I started to check out her linage a little bit. Turns out her Mom is from India and her Dad is from Jamaica, so, if this is the truth, she isn’t Back at all. Yet she does seem to cater to the base of the Black voters. Yes she is a ‘person of color’ as is every human on the planet, even White is a color you know. But I do understand where that term came from as racists Whites used to call Black folks ‘colored’. Stupid of them then and now as is reversing the term. Personally I do not care what paint job a person has on their bones, I only care about what is between their ears and if any racism is there, I do not want them to hold any political position, especially not the Presidency. To me, I believe that Ms. Harris is a blatant racists so I would never vote for her.

 

Now I am going to gripe abit about the Bronx’s new Congresswoman Ms. Cortez or ‘AOC’ for short. She and a few of her Freshmen Congress ladies ‘of color’ have been playing the race issue to the hilt it seems, especially Ms. Cortez. She is in a running feud with the Democratic head of the Congress Ms. Pelosi who happens to be a White lady. I very much do not like Ms. Pelosi either but by all accounts I have ever heard including from other Congressmen and women of color, Ms. Pelosi is not a racist person. Yet as soon as AOC started getting shut down on some of her ideas she then went straight to calling Ms. Pelosi a racists because she wasn’t jumping on AOC’s ‘progressive’ bandwagon. To me, this is like the folks who talk about how much they hate haters, in other words, if you don’t agree with me, then you are a hater. Or, if you don’t follow me and my ideas, then you are a racists. Ms. AOC to me seems to be one of these people. To me, it appears that Ms. Harris and Ms. AOC have no other ideas or agenda accept race which to me is the bottom of the basement of human ignorance. Have you noticed during your life that the people who scream the loudest about racism are almost always extremely racist themselves?

 

Now, concerning our “racists, cowardly President”, Mr. Trump. First, I do believe that he is nothing more than a piece of trash as a person. I do believe that he is blatantly racists as well as a cereal rapists and a habitual liar and about as wise as a dead dog in the street. He always plays to the very lowest IQs he can find, it seems that they flock to this cowardly habitual liar. That the so called ‘Christian’ right support him or ‘Tea Party’ support him I find quite disgusting as he is anything but Christian. I call him a coward because of his Daddy getting him six deferrals from military service during the Vietnam war. He could have gone into a reserve unit like George W. Bush did, at least George W. didn’t seem to be ashamed to put on our Nations Uniform. Mr. Trump appears to not only have used his daddy’s money and influence to keep out of combat he didn’t even have enough guts to join the Reserve and with his College credits he could have gone in as an Officer like George W. did. Or is it possible that he simply loathed the U.S. military, or maybe it was just that the Uniform wasn’t “his color”?

 

Now in case you are wondering why I used the title that I did here are the reasons. One I guess was to get your attention, whether for or against my thoughts. Two, I do believe that all three of these people are blatant racists that everyone should totally discard as being credible. Three, from a Christian moral standpoint I believe that anyone who is racist has lowered themselves to the level of dead rabid dog. Also you may be wondering why I used the term ‘bitches’ for these three people is simple, in our U.S. slang it is common to call a hate filled woman a bitch, not meaning that they are actually a dog. Then why did I call Mr. Trump a bitch? That is simple also, in our U.S. slang it is also common to call a man who is considered to be a total coward a Pus-y, and that is exactly what I believe Mr. Trump is, a loud mouthed, racist, coward. Like it or hate it, this is my comment letter to you today. I know that some will hate what I wrote, some because they think I am to critical and some because they think I am not being critical enough. Either way, when I write these letters to you what I am mainly trying to get you to do is to think about the issues listed within the letter.

Four decades later, did the Iranian revolution fulfill its promises?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)

 

Four decades later, did the Iranian revolution fulfill its promises?

Ali Fathollah-Nejad

If Iran were to hold a referendum on the Islamic Republic today, over 70% would clearly oppose it—among them the wealthy, academics, clerics, village, and city-dwellers. This remarkable hypothetical was not declared by an exiled Iranian dissident, but by the well-known Tehran political science professor, Sadegh Zibakalam, in an interview during the upheaval that took place in late 2017 and early 2018.

But how is it that even a formerly enthusiastic supporter of the Islamic Revolution has delivered such a devastating verdict? To understand this radical shift and the frustration behind it, we must revisit the promises that the revolution made four decades ago. The 1979 Iranian revolution promised three goals: social justice, freedom and democracy, and independence from great power tutelage.

IRAN’S PARADOXICAL QUEST FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

Framed in a Marxist–Islamist mindset, the revolution was made on behalf of the mostazafin—the downtrodden—who were left behind by the monarchy’s uneven development model. In the following four decades, intense controversy has erupted over the Islamic Republic’s socio-economic performance. While some claim that under the Islamist regime remarkable progress has been made, others depict an entire country mired in misery. More nuance and contextualization is needed.

Iran has indeed experienced progress over the last 40 years. Whether these successes have been a result of post-revolutionary policies, societal pressures, or the foundations laid by the shah remains hotly debated.

The shift from the shah’s pro-urban, elite-centered policies to a pro-rural and pro-poor (populist) approach under the Islamic Republic included expanding infrastructure and basic services—such as electricity and clean water—from cities to the countryside. In short, the revolution sought to eliminate the rural-urban divide. In rural Iran, the expansion of health and education led to a clear reduction in poverty: The 1970s poverty rate of 25% dropped to less than 10% in 2014. These social policies, biased in favor of the poor, help explain why Iran’s Human Development Index (HDI) has been relatively positive.

Unlike before the revolution, most Iranians today enjoy access to basic services and infrastructure, while the population has almost doubled and most of the country is urbanized. Other measures of social development have similarly improved. Literacy has more than doubled, especially among women, and now encompasses almost all the population. Meanwhile, female students have outnumbered their male counterparts at universities for more than a decade.

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However, while statistics indicate that absolute poverty has declined sharply, a majority of Iranians continue to suffer from socio-economic precarity. Official sources state that 12 million live below the absolute poverty line and 25 to 30 million below the poverty line. Estimates suggest that one-third of Iranians, as well as 50 to 70% of workers, are in danger of falling into poverty. Fourteen percent of Iranians live in tents, according to the Statistical Center of Iran, and one-third of the urban population lives in slums. The living conditions of what anthropologist Shahram Khosravi calls Iran’s “other half,” or working-class poor, are striking: a 17-fold increase in the number of Iranians living in slums; 50% of the workforce have only irregular employment; approximately 10 to 13 million Iranians “entirely excluded from health, work or unemployment insurance.”

And Iran’s socio-economic challenges cannot be separated from its political economy that favors regime loyalists and is marked by mismanagement, cronyism, nepotism, corruption, and the absence of much-needed structural reforms. Although U.S. sanctions have undoubtedly had negative repercussions, their overall impact on Iran’s economic situation is often overstated. For instance, in the summer of 2018, Hossein Raghfar, an economist at Tehran’s Allameh Tabataba’i University, has suggested that as little as 15% of Iran’s economic problems can be attributed to sanctions. The “illiberal neoliberalization” in various Iranian economic policies since the 1990s, featuring client alistic privatizations and de-regulated labor market, has helped form nouveaux riches on one hand and precarious social strata on the other.

A chief failure of the Islamic Republic has been the lack of job creation, with jobless growth even increasing during oil booms. Unemployment rates remain high, especially among the youth, university graduates, and women. Officially, every eighth Iranian is unemployed. According to the Iranian parliament’s research center, the unemployment rate will reach 16% by 2021 in an optimistic scenario, 26% if conditions are less auspicious. Among the youth, one in four is unemployed (but some estimates go as high as 40%). These figures rank Iran’s youth unemployment rate as among the highest worldwide.

Iran’s Gini index of income inequality has remained consistently high at above 0.40, pointing to the lack of inclusive economic growth. Studying levels of inequality in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani found that inequality in 2002 was about the same as in 1972, adding:

The findings on inequality raise important questions about the nature of the Islamic Revolution. Did it significantly affect the power structure as a social revolution of its magnitude should have? This is particularly relevant in the case of Iran because, in addition to changes in the distribution of productivity, the distribution of access to oil rents also affects inequality. Since access is directly related to political power, inequality may reflect the distribution of power. Thus, the finding that inequality in 2002 was about the same as in 1972 raises questions about the significance of the Islamic Revolution as a social and political revolution.

In other words, the class character of Iranian society has remained unchanged, with one ruling class replaced by another only with another social composition. In political cartoons, this was reflected in pictures of the shah’s crown merely being replaced by the mullahs’ turban. Such continuity led some scholars to interpret the 1979 revolution as merely a “passive revolution, a revolution without change” in class relations. Today, there is a strong public perception of high income inequality, given the ostentatious display of wealth and nepotism by the offspring of regime affiliates, the so-called âghâzâdeh, that Iranians observe on the streets of Tehran or on their smartphones through Instagram accounts like “Rich Kids of Tehran.”

The Islamic Republic’s relative achievements in the fields of rural infrastructure, education, and literacy, along with its failure to create jobs, have produced a socio-economic paradox that is politically explosive. Iran’s job market can simply not absorb the hundreds of thousands of university graduates. This paradox has produced a stratum of “middle-class poor,” as described by sociologist Asef Bayat. Defined as those with middle-class qualifications and aspirations but suffering from socio-economic precarity, this group was considered the social base of the 2017-18 uprising and is widely expected to continue to voice its anger and frustration.

On the situation of Iran’s youth under the Islamic Republic, Bayat explained in a 2016 interview:

The youth not only want a secure future—that is reasonable jobs, a place to live, get married, and form a family in the future—they also want to reclaim their “youthfulness,” a desire to live the life of youth, to pursue their interests, their individuality, free from the watchful eyes of their elders, from moral and political authority. This dimension of young people’s lives adds to the existing social tensions in Iran.

As alluded to before, Iranians face another structural impediment to socio-economic opportunities. Regime “insiders” (khodi) or those with access to state resources and privileges also enjoy privileged access to jobs. These frustrations have led many young Iranians to vote with their feet. Even under the Rouhani administration, Iran has continued to experience world record-breaking levels of brain drain, losing an estimated $150 billion per year.

7 Jaw-Dropping Architectural Masterpieces

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Jaw-Dropping Architectural Masterpieces

Of all the artistic works we humans have come up with over the years, our architectural achievements may be the most powerful. Great architecture combines form and function; it serves a purpose while acting as a symbol of the culture that created it. Much of our understanding of ancient cultures comes from the architecture they left behind, making it a crucial part of world history and our understanding of civilization as a whole.

If you get a chance, pay a visit to a few of these jaw-dropping masterpieces to get a full idea of how powerful architecture can be.

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), Chiang Rai, Thailand

Credit: espiegle / iStock

Created in 1997 by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the White Temple is one of the newest architectural wonders on this list, though it certainly deserves its place. A sparkling wonder of white plaster and glass, the White Temple is an artistic expression that combines traditional Thai beliefs with modern culture.

Though the exterior of the temple was designed in the Buddhist fashion common in Thai temples, the interior contains an expansive series of pop culture imagery, including depictions of Spider-Man, The Terminator, Michael Jackson, and more. Yes, really. And while photos of the inside of the temple are prohibited by Thai law, seeing the exterior alone should be enough to give you an idea of the grandeur of this bizarre project.

Great Wall of China

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Yes, China’s Great Wall certainly makes our list. And while it’s not the easiest architectural wonder for Americans to reach, it’s worth the trip. Sections of the 13,000+ mile wall were built as far back as the 7th century BCE, with new additions and revisions made over the next several thousand years.

There’s not much else to say about this one, because you already know it! The Great Wall of China is one of the most enduring works out there, with historians agreeing that it’s one of the most impressive architectural feats in human history.

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran

Credit: master2 / iStock

Known casually as “the Pink Mosque,” the design of the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque is stunning.

This isn’t your grandma’s mosque; rather than the plain grays and slates typical of religious buildings, the Pink Mosque features a kaleidoscope of color, with pink floor tiles, rainbow stained glass, and painted geometric patterns adorning every interior wall. The outside is similarly impressive, but for this one, you really need to go inside to see its most impressive elements.

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Credit: stock_colors / iStock

Another architectural favorite, the Colosseum is one of those ancient works that always seems to capture our imaginations. Completed around 80 AD, modern scholars believe that the Colosseum represents the brutality of Imperial Rome, noting its dark history of public executions, gladiator matches, and violent chariot races.

Despite its brutal history, it’s hard to ignore the Colosseum’s beauty as an architectural achievement. Reported to hold anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 spectators in its prime, it dwarfs many modern arenas and serves as a constant (and fragmented) reminder of a lost world.

Santorini/Thera, Greece

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If you ever find yourself in Greece, stop by the island of Santorini. One of many islands on the Aegean Sea, Santorini doesn’t feature one specific architectural achievement. Instead, the whole island can be considered an architectural achievement, acting as a modern representation of ancient Cycladic architecture.

On the island, you’ll see a series of white painted villages dotting red island cliffs, with residents adorning their homes in bright yellow, cyan, and red. Combined with the lush greenery of the region and its proximity to the deep blue Aegean, the whole island bursts forth in vivid colors and unique cliffside architecture unlike any you’ll see in the world.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

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The Golden Gate Bridge is a masterpiece of engineering if we’ve ever seen one. The bridge’s impressive length of 1.7 miles is matched by its height, standing a cool 220 feet above the waters of the Golden Gate Strait. Designed primarily by Charles Alton Ellis, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most enduring modern architectural works in the United States, even being named one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Credit: TomasSereda / iStock

One of the most visually striking buildings on this list, the Sagrada Familia basilica is an unfinished Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudi in 1852. However, despite Gaudi devoting his life to the building’s creation, he would die with less than a quarter of the project complete. And while a current team of architects is working to finish what Gaudi started, the fact that the church is unfinished is a selling point to many of the basilica’s 2.5 million annual visitors. With a surprisingly modern design approach that blends traditional church architecture with Gothic elements, this one is worth a visit—finished or not.

Monuments to Culture

From China to Italy to right here in the U.S., our architectural monuments are more than just buildings. They’re tributes to our culture. If you ever get a chance to scope out one of these engineering marvels, we suggest you take it. These wonders won’t be around forever, and when they go, they’ll take huge chunks of history with them.

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