German Literature – Kafkas Diasporasi Sat, 25 Sep 2021 00:07:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 German Literature – Kafkas Diasporasi 32 32 Turkmenistan says it has not had a single case of Covid-19. Activists say it’s a lie Sat, 25 Sep 2021 00:07:00 +0000 Or at least that’s what the secret, authoritarian government of the Central Asian country claims.

But independent organizations, journalists and activists outside Turkmenistan say there is evidence the country is fighting a third wave that is overwhelming hospitals and killing dozens – and warns the president is downplaying virus threat deadly in order to maintain its public image.

Ruslan Turkmen, an exile from Turkmenistan and editor-in-chief of the Netherlands-based independent news organization Turkmen News, said he had personally collected the names of more than 60 people who he said died from Covid -19 inside the country, including teachers, artists and doctors.

Turkmens said they verified all recorded deaths with medical records and x-rays, revealing severe lung damage and medical treatment consistent with coronavirus victims.

“Instead of accepting it and cooperating with the international community, Turkmenistan has decided to put its head in the sand,” said the Turkmen.

The Turkmen government did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

How it went

As Covid-19 spread around the world in early 2020, Turkmenistan insisted there were no cases, even though border countries reported outbreaks.

Iran, with which Turkmenistan shares a long land border, has reported one of the world’s largest outbreaks of Covid-19 with nearly 5.5 million cases in total, according to the World Health Organization ( WHO).

“You look at what’s going on in other countries in the region and how different could Turkmenistan be? Said Rachel Denber, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch.

According to the websites of the British and Australian foreign ministries, all flights to Turkmenistan are currently suspended and only Turkmen citizens are allowed to enter the country.
Turkmens said his sources in Turkmenistan started contacting him about cases around May 2020 – around the same time Covid-19 was spreading around the world. He said the first messages he received spoke of a “strange, flu-like lung disease” that was affecting many people.

“It was at least 40 degrees Celsius outside (104 degrees Fahrenheit) – not a typical flu season,” he said.

In June 2020, the United States Embassy in the capital, Ashgabat, issued a health alert noting that “reports of local citizens showing symptoms consisted of Covid-19 tests undergone by Covid-19” and placed in quarantine up to 14 days.
The Turkmen government immediately called the statement “false news”.
A WHO mission to Turkmenistan in July 2020 did not confirm any coronavirus infection inside the country, but expressed concern about “the increase in the number of cases of acute respiratory infection and pneumonia” .
A WHO official said Turkmenistan should act “as if Covid-19 is circulating”.

At that time, the situation was out of control, according to the Turkmens. The government has advised citizens to take bizarre public health measures, such as eating a special type of spicy soup.

In January of this year, Turkmenistan announced that it had approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for use in the country. Then, in June, the World Bank agreed to lend the Turkmen government $ 20 million, mainly for health facilities and construction, as part of a program to “prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by Covid-19 “.

As late as Tuesday, President Berdymukhamedov said the efforts of the global community to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic were “insufficient”, although he did not mention the situation inside his own country.

“The pandemic has exposed serious systemic failures in the international response to this challenge,” he said.

“Turkmenistan is on fire”

Despite Berdymukhamedov’s claims that his country is Covid-free, the reality in Turkmenistan is radically different, according to journalists and independent activists.

Diana Serebryannik, director of the Europe-based exiles group Rights and Freedoms of Turkmen citizens, said her organization had heard from contacts in the country that hospitals across the country were currently struggling to cope with the influx of cases.

Serebryannik said that Turkmen doctors in his organization who were now living abroad were in contact with their former colleagues in the country, allowing them to find out the real situation and provide advice.

She said doctors in Turkmenistan told her oxygen and ventilators were hard to come by in the country, treatment was expensive, and deaths from the virus could number in the thousands.

“Turkmenistan is burning, it is burning with Covid … Sometimes they don’t even accept patients at the hospital, they just send them home,” she said.

A hermit nation ruled by an egomaniac: is Turkmenistan on the verge of collapse?

According to Serebryannik, the official cause of death in these cases is not listed as Covid-19 or even pneumonia – instead, medical certificates record a separate condition, such as a heart attack, she said.

When health workers tried to talk about the reality on the ground, they were forced into silence, according to the nonprofit Human Rights Watch.
Inside the country, press freedom and independent oversight are not allowed – Turkmenistan was ranked 178th out of 180 countries and territories in Reporters Without Borders 2021 global press freedom rankings, just above above North Korea and Eritrea.
According to Human Rights Watch, Turkmen citizens who peacefully criticize the government have faced severe penalties, including reports of torture and disappearances.
Foreign residents have also been affected by the Turkmen government’s denials of the coronavirus. In July 2020, Turkish diplomat Kemal Uchkun was admitted to Ashgabat hospital with Covid-like symptoms but was refused permission to evacuate to his home country, according to the Asian Affairs newspaper. .
According to the BBC, x-rays sent to Turkish hospitals by Uchkun’s wife have been confirmed to show evidence of Covid-19.

The Asian Affairs newspaper said Uchkun passed away on July 7. His official cause of death was heart failure.

More recently, the Turkmen said he confirmed the death of a 61-year-old Russian language and literature teacher, who had been hospitalized since August, according to Turkmen News.

Undermine the pink image

Many authoritarian governments around the world have announced their Covid-19 epidemics and received international aid, including China, the first affected country.

So why is Turkmenistan insisting until it has seen a single case yet?

The Turkmens and Serebryannik said it was President Berdymukhamedov who, as a dentist by profession and a former Minister of Health, had placed emphasis on the effective governance of the welfare of his people – at least in principle.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov remotely addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in a pre-recorded message on September 21, 2021.

Serebryannik said Berdymukhamedov, 64, wanted to appear as a savior of the country and an impressive world leader, keeping Covid-19 on the outside.

“Turkmenistan is a country where everything in the garden looks pink… you have these marbles, advanced equipment (health facilities) equipped with equipment from Germany, France, Japan, whatever,” the journalist said. Turkmenistan.

Admitting to the presence of a deadly virus would undermine the idealized image the president created and leave Berdymukhamedov open to criticism – and potentially to be held accountable.

“It would be someone’s failure, someone should be responsible for it and who has the ultimate say for it? The president,” said the Turkmen.

There is no indication yet that Turkmenistan is preparing to reverse its stance and admit to having Covid-19 cases inside the country, but Serebryannik has said she believes the government should eventually do so.

She said there had been “too many deaths”.

Denber of Human Rights Watch said international organizations interacting with Turkmenistan, including the WHO, have a duty to be honest with the world about the situation inside the country.

“At some point you have to say at what cost do you protect this presence (in the country)? Are the steps you take to protect your relationship… undermine your core business? ” she said.

Denber said that in a global pandemic, with many epidemics linked across international borders, countries have an obligation to provide accurate testing and correct public information.

“We are all interconnected,” she said. “When one of us fails, we all fail.”

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Albemarle native receives East Carolina University Brody Scholar Award – The Stanly News & Press Thu, 23 Sep 2021 18:57:45 +0000

An Albemarle native of East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine has been awarded the university’s most prestigious scholarship.

Quashawn Chadwick has been selected for the 2025 Class Brody Scholar Prize, valued at approximately $ 118,000.

As a Brody Fellow, Chadwick will receive four years of medical tuition, living expenses, and the opportunity to design his own summer enrichment program which may include overseas travel. The award will also support community service projects that students can undertake while studying medicine.

Since the start of the program in 1983, 150 students have received scholarships. About 76% of Brody fellows stay in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of them stay in eastern North Carolina.

Chadwick brings a unique experience to medicine with his BA and MA in Music Education.

Quashawn Chadwick

Chadwick graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and decided to pursue medical education while serving in the Artist Corps between 2016 and 2018.

“I was engaged with young students and the service focused on education, childhood development, emotions, learning and the brain,” he said. “I started to read a lot of scientific literature and decided that I wanted to work in psychiatry.”

Chadwick also attended UNC-Greensboro and found ways to explore a variety of different interests as he reflected on his future plans.

“I’m interested in a lot of things, including biochemistry, physics, linguistics, literature, music, philosophy and phenomenology,” he said.

He traveled to Europe and Canada during the college of music festivals, received a certificate of proficiency in German in 2017, published a series of poems in an anthology titled “Grosse Fugue 3” in 2020, presented researched genetics at an in vitro biology conference in Tampa, Florida in 2019 and won second place in a research competition at UNCG that same year.

He said he hopes to use that same thirst for discovery in his studies at the Brody School of Medicine.

“I hope to be able to distinguish myself and develop my particular interest in contributing to scientific literature, serving populations at risk and continuing to engage with young students, while keeping pace with a study program as well. intense at Brody, ”Chadwick said. “I hope to be an empathetic and sensitive psychiatrist with zeal and to publish on many mental health topics that interest me.”

Chadwick said he also hopes his fascination with psychiatry translates into excellent care for his future patients.

“I am particularly interested in how our emotions create and are informed by internal biochemical states,” he said. “I am curious about how a student’s brain is physically and visibly shaped by their emotions and experiences slowly over a long period of time, and the implications this might have on their ability to thrive and succeed in school, in his career and in his life. “

Wherever his path takes him, Chadwick plans to benefit from the experience as a Brody Fellow.

“For me, being a Brody Fellow means approaching every interaction and every step of my journey to becoming a physician with enthusiasm, curiosity, professionalism and sensitivity to represent and stand in solidarity with my peers,” he said.

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‘Godfather of black cinema’ filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles has died at 89 – FOX23 News Wed, 22 Sep 2021 23:36:27 +0000 > Read more trending news Van Peebles, the father of director and actor Mario Van Peebles, was the force behind the 1970s films “Watermelon Man” and “Sweet Sweetback’s …]]>

Filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, known as the “Godfather of Black Cinema,” died at his New York home on Tuesday, his family announced. He was 89 years old.

>> Read more trending news

Van Peebles, the father of director and actor Mario Van Peebles, was the force behind the 1970s films “Watermelon Man” and “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” Variety reported.

His family, The Criterion Collection and Janus Films announced his death in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“During an unprecedented career characterized by relentless innovation, boundless curiosity and spiritual empathy, Melvin Van Peebles has left an indelible mark on the international cultural landscape through his films, novels, plays and his music, “the statement read. “Her work continues to be essential and is celebrated at the New York Film Festival this weekend with a 50th anniversary screening of her flagship film ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’; a Criterion Collection box set, “Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films”, next week; and a cover of his play “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death”, which is scheduled to return to Broadway next year. “

Melvin Van Peebles influenced a younger generation of black filmmakers that included Spike Lee and John Singleton, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Chicago native was also a novelist, songwriter, stage manager and painter, the website reported.

Son of a tailor, Melvin Peebles was born August 21, 1932. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan in 1953 with a literature degree, served almost four years in the US Air Force, and married a German woman, according to The Hollywood. Journalist. He studied at the Dutch National Theater and added “Van” to his last name, the website reported.

“Sweet Sweetback” was a groundbreaking film that Melvin Van Peebles funded and released as an independent production, Variety reported. This paved the way for independent filmmakers and it proved that black-produced films depicting black life in the United States could be profitable, the website reported.

“Dad knew black images matter,” Mario Van Peebles said in a Criterion Collection release. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth?” We want to be the success that we see, so we need to see ourselves free. True liberation did not mean emulating the mentality of the colonizer. It meant appreciating the power, beauty and interconnectivity of all people.

Melvin Van Peebles teamed up with his son on the 1989 film “Identity Crisis”, with Melvin directing and Mario writing the screenplay and playing a rapper possessed by the soul of a dead fashion designer, reported Variety. Mario Van Peebles directed his father in the 1993 films “Posse” and 1995 “Panther”, the website reported.

Melvin Van Peebles was commissioned by Columbia Pictures to direct 1970s “Watermelon Man,” a racial satire starring Godfrey Cambridge as a fanatical white insurance salesman who uses the toilet in the middle of the night in his suburban home. and finds out he’s black, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Columbia didn’t want anything to do with “Sweet Sweetback,” but Melvin Van Peebles received a $ 50,000 loan from comedian Bill Cosby, the website reported. He wrote, directed, produced, branded and edited the film and played the role of its anti-hero.

The film was shot in 19 days and cost $ 500,000, according to Variety. It grossed $ 10 million and is considered, along with “Shaft” and “Superfly,” as the trigger for the Blaxploitation film genre.

The soundtrack for the film, starring Earth, Wind & Fire, was released before the film. It was rated X by the MPAA, but Melvin Van Peebles turned that negative into a positive, claiming the film was “Rated X by an all-white jury,” Variety reported.

“If the rest of the community submits to your censorship, that’s their business, but white standards will no longer be imposed on the black community,” Van Peebles said at the time.

The New York Times called Van Peebles “the first black man in show business to beat the white man at his own game.”

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Homophobes and Autocrats by Nina L. Khrouchtcheva Wed, 22 Sep 2021 10:45:00 +0000

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently became the latest in a long line of autocrats to treat anyone who does not conform to conventional gender norms – especially gay and effeminate men – as a threat to society. But what is it about “non-manly” men that terrify dictators so much?

MOSCOW – The Chinese government has banned “sissy” and “sissy” men from television, as part of a vicious propaganda campaign that calls them “abnormal” and somehow in violation of the country’s morals . President Xi Jinping’s targeting of gay men – and anyone who does not conform to conventional norms of masculinity – should come as no surprise. Homophobia is an authoritarian mark.

When I was a student at Moscow State University in the early 1980s, one of my classmates – a soft-spoken literature lover – was kicked out, supposedly for plagiarism. But I’ll never forget when another classmate leaned over and whispered that in fact our expelled classmate’s crime was that he was “gay”.

Regardless of his sexuality, our classmate was clearly deemed too gentle for our “heroic” Soviet milieu. Indeed, even women had to be manly: Images of maids in orange waistcoats plowing snow and hammering nails were all too common in Soviet times. But for men, being nothing less than a quintessential “man of man” – with a swollen chest and a rifle at the ready – was, for all intents and purposes, criminal.

Dictators depend on order. They maintain their positions not by meeting the needs of the people, but rather by controlling as many aspects of life in the country as they can. This includes defining exactly how people should behave and portraying heterodoxy as untrustworthy and even dangerous. In China, as Rana Mitter pointed out, enforcing gender compliance is part of a larger campaign to ensure respect for state-endorsed political views.

State homophobia is also a hallmark of life in modern Russia. In 2013, President Vladimir Putin suddenly decided that homosexuality threatened his position. It is suspected that this has something to do with the lingering rumors that the relations between Putin’s ministers of power and his business partners are not strictly professional – or platonic. They may not be gay, but some (at least) are said to have sex with each other, partly as an expression of loyalty.

These are not the kind of rumors that a strong man like Putin wants to circulate. He is, after all, the same man who was photographed fishing in a Siberian lake and riding a shirtless horse. These photos quickly became popular icons in gay magazines around the world. For example, Russia passed a law banning “homosexual propaganda”.

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Much like the new Chinese rule, the law purportedly aimed to protect children from information promoting “denial of traditional family values.” In fact, it has dramatically reduced access to inclusive education and support services for LGBT people. Now, many in Russia are convinced that homosexuality is learned behavior. Even smart, educated people will gossip about someone they know as having “turned gay”.

But this law was only the beginning. One of the amendments passed in last year’s mock constitutional referendum banned same-sex unions and said marriage could only take place between a man and a woman.

This old, authoritarian, homophobic model is also emerging in the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte once said he had “cured” himself of homosexuality – as if it were some kind of shameful disease – with the help of “beautiful women”. While the country’s constitution allows same-sex marriage, its Family Code does not.

In Turkey, LGBT rights exist, but widespread discrimination and harassment persist. Earlier this year, after a wave of student protests, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “We will transport our young people to the future, not as LGBT youth, but as young people who existed in the glorious past. of our nation.

Even some putative democracies are embracing state-sponsored homophobia, as part of a larger illiberal shift. In Hungary, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has enacted a law banning the “promotion of homosexuality” or gender reassignment of minors. In Poland, “LGBT ideology free zones” or anti-LGBT “family charters” have been established in nearly 100 regions, towns and villages.

While Donald Trump is no longer President of the United States, he has adopted the same “macho” rhetoric as when he threatened protesters with violence. He even went so far as to boast about his testosterone levels and the size of his penis. Politically, aided by his ultra-conservative vice president Mike Pence, he has weakened protections for LGBT people and banned transgender people from serving in the military.

The United States has escaped Trumpism, at least for the time being. But the ranks of caricatured macho leaders nonetheless seem to be growing. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky had not previously presented himself as an aggressively male figure; one could have qualified his style of “metrosexual”. Today, however, he plays a beefy nationalist, often clad in military gear, defending his homeland from the Russian threat. He recently challenged Putin to meet him in the war zone on the border between Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Russian republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

These leaders’ use of “hegemonic masculinity” – the idea that men must be strong, tough and dominant – to strengthen their position should not be surprising. Authoritarian states are inherently weak and dictators are inherently insecure. Thus, they are constantly trying to project their strength.

But in today’s rapidly changing world, ordinary people also feel insecure – especially those who believe that their traditionally “dominant” positions are being eroded. This makes them eager to embrace strong men who promise a return to order and predictability from a more socially rigid past.

In other words, people are afraid of change and think they need macho rulers and patriarchal rules to protect them. Who is the sissy now?

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Cultural Courses | Journal review Wed, 22 Sep 2021 05:15:00 +0000

Io Maeda | Journal review

Wabash College offers four language courses: Chinese, French, German and Spanish. This year, the college welcomed four foreign language teaching assistants from Argentina, France, Spain and Taiwan. There are no German TAs due to the pandemic.

The Fulbright FLTA program is the opportunity for young English teachers from foreign countries to teach their respective native languages ​​at higher education institutions in the United States. The goal of this program is to improve their teaching abilities and English skills, while exposing themselves to American culture. and interact with people.

During the 10-month program at Wabash College, teaching assistants also take two courses each semester. This is one of the requirements to maintain their visa status. Therefore, they experience being a teacher and a student. They are also responsible for leading a weekly oral session of one hour, or a laboratory.

“They also provide a lot in terms of cultural education,” said Dr Jane Hardy, director of the Department of Modern Languages ​​and Literatures at Wabash College. “As the TAs are closer to the age of the students, they can help them with the culture of the young people in the countries where they come from. “

Hardy is not sure when the program started, however, she assumes it started in the early 1990s. There have been many changes in the department since the college accepted the first TA. Wabash ditched Russian, but added Chinese. Another TA for Spanish has been added due to its popularity. Therefore, it has become customary to have two TAs in Spanish in college.

Joaquin Sartori is a Spanish TA from Argentina. He is 30, the oldest among teaching assistants, and this was his last chance to enter the program due to the age limit. He learned about the program online while staying at home during the pandemic.

“I was like, ‘OK, maybe this is a good opportunity to travel abroad, to work and to live in another culture,” Sartori said.

Alba Gonzalez is another Spanish technical assistant from Spain. She is happy to study abroad in the United States thanks to the generous scholarship.

“I may sound crazy, but my life is kind of planned,” she said. “And so, Fulbright was one of my stops.”

Emeline Papinot is the French technical assistant in France. She learned about the program when she was a university student.

“I decided to give it a try because I want to experience new cultures and I thought it was a great opportunity,” Papinot said.

Anita Lee is the Chinese technical assistant in Taiwan. She applied for the program because one of the professors at her university highly recommended it.

“This is a very good opportunity, especially with the pandemic, and I am fortunate to travel all over the United States,” Lee said. “In Taiwan, we can’t go anywhere.

All teaching assistants started learning English as a non-mother tongue since they were young. They agree that English is not an easy language to master.

“Teaching assistants already have an excellent level of English, but the program still helps them learn slang and hear accents like our dialects,” said Rachel Barclay, FLTA program assistant at Wabash. Middle School.

Barclay helps TAs with visa applications and offers support to get them acclimated to their new life here.

Teaching assistants are enjoying their life in Crawfordsville. Sartori thinks the people are very nice and friendly.

“They welcome us all the time and I feel comfortable living here,” Sartori said.

Papinot said he felt like he was home from the day he arrived.

“It’s a small community and everyone is so nice. I feel like we already know so many people, ”Papinot said.

Gonzalez did not have high expectations as his last study abroad experience in Japan was not a good one. However, “I have lived in a total of nine different places because I change houses every year. And that [their house in the city] is the best house I have ever lived in, ”said Gonzalez.

Lee hopes that not only will people on campus learn various things from her, but she also wants to discover new things from them.

“I am actually very happy to meet other teaching assistants from Spain, France and Argentina and then many students,” said Lee.

Dr María Monsalve, assistant professor of Spanish at the college, was a teaching assistant for Spanish from 2010 to 2011. She was not an FLTA, but came to the college as an exchange student from his university in Ecuador. After earning a PhD in the United States, she returned to college as a faculty member in 2017.

She remembers when she was a teaching assistant.

“I hope they enjoy every minute… by the time you find yourself adjusted, you are about to leave,” Monsalve said.

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Humboldt Forum addresses colonial issue with new museums | Arts | DW Tue, 21 Sep 2021 13:18:10 +0000

Even before it opened, the Humboldt Forum in Berlin has been rife with controversy for years. Beyond the public reaction linked to its construction costs of 680 million euros ($ 800 million), the cutting-edge museum is at the center of a debate around the objects of the colonial era filling its rooms. ‘exposure.

The conservation team’s efforts to tackle the thorny issue are evident as the Humboldt Forum now inaugurates two new chapters. The museum rooms display some 20,000 African and Asian objects, which were once kept at the Ethnological Museum and the Asian Art Museum in Berlin’s Dahlem district.

The new museums were presented to the press on Monday, ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media Monika Grütters and Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as guests of honor.

Focus on restitution

Keywords such as provenance research, digitization of the collection, transparency, cross-cultural projects and restitution were at the heart of the introductory speeches of the three directors of the institution: Hartmut Dorgerloh, Director-General of the Humboldt Forum; Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation; and Lars-Christian Koch, director of the Ethnological Museum and the Asian Art Museum.

Hartmut Dorgerloh and Hermann Parzinger during the presentation of the new rooms of the museum

Addressing the difficult history of exhibitions should not be seen as a burden, but rather as “a real opportunity for a new intercultural dialogue”, said Parzinger.

The museum is “fundamentally willing to return exhibits,” he added, citing among others the infamous Benin Bronzes, which will be returned in 2022 following a brief exhibition in Berlin next year.

Some of the pieces that are currently in the museum, Parzinger added, “may one day be able to no longer be here, but that is part of that process and the result of that process is precisely that museums will completely redefine themselves.”

This is apparently a change of tone on the part of the director, who previously preferred the term “circulation of objects” to their actual rendering.

A new team to drive progress

Additional permanent posts have also been created to continue this process. As the new head of cross-cultural cooperation, Andrea Scholz described her duty as “pushing the door further, even if that means the institution needs to be reformed a bit”.

'Mandu Yenu' throne of Cameroon displayed at the Humboldt Forum Berlin

Mandu Yenu’s Cameroonian throne was “a gift” to the German Emperor. But what were the balance of power in the old colony?

That responsibility, Scholz told DW, is shared with a new team of four provenance researchers. Created in November 2019, it is directed by researcher Christine Howald, who underlined during the press conference that, given the thousands of pieces in the collections, they have work to do for several lives.

Priority is however given to “objects from the context of German colonialism”, she said, “as well as culturally sensitive objects and human remains”.

A re-examination of colonialist perspectives

Among the efforts to address the history charged with collections is a free booklet that guides postcolonial provenance research related to the permanent exhibits of the New Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art.

Provenance information is also available via QR codes in the museum, and multimedia stations address the issue of colonialism for children.

The temporary exhibition that opens the new Ethnological Museum was also designed in response to constant criticism. It focuses on traces of colonization in the former German territories of Cameroon, Namibia and Oceania.

Entitled “Matter (s) of Perspective: An Overture”, the installation examines the ways of seeing that not only contributed to colonialism, but that still shape Western views today, citing sociologist Robin DiAngelo’s best-selling book, White fragility: why it is so hard for white people to talk about racism (2018).

An installation with the quote I have a white frame of reference and a white worldview

First exhibit quotes “White Fragility”, a bestseller on race relations, as opening statement

Another temporary exhibition presents the results of a collaborative partnership between researchers in Berlin and the Museum Association of Namibia, on the Herero and Nama genocide. It includes work by internationally renowned Namibian fashion designer Cynthia Schimming.

Calls for “radical transparency”

But will the Humboldt Forum’s defensive efforts win over critics?

It was a topic of discussion at the Berlin International Literature Festival during a panel titled “Decolonizing Worlds: Loot, Booty, Art”, held on September 14th. It brought together German historian Götz Aly, Ghanaian curator Nana Oforiatta Ayim and French art historian Benedicte Savoy. .

Bénédicte Savoie

Leading the debate on renditions, Bénédicte Savoy is one of the most prominent critics of the Humboldt Forum

Savoy, who resigned from an advisory board of the Humboldt Forum in 2017 at odds with the museum’s handling of colonial history, warned of the “false transparency” that can be read in the approach to the institution.

In her view, the museum’s attempts to be transparent, which came “only as a result of enormous public pressure”, are “really not enough,” she said. “It must be honest transparency.”

She cited as an example the euphemistic vocabulary used in the exhibition’s short 500-character labels, which primarily describe violent colonialists as collectors “serving” in the German military.

“It creates haze with words. It’s almost worse than having nothing at all,” she said.

The Luf Island boat

One of the ethnological museum’s most impressive exhibits is a 15.2-meter (50-foot) boat that was transported from Luf Island (part of present-day Papua New Guinea) to Berlin in 1904.

Historian Götz Aly examined how the boat landed in the Berlin museum. His book, Das Prachtboot (The Prestige Boat), describes the massacre of the German army on the island, which took place 20 years before the boat was acquired.

He said it was “unbelievably easy” to find information on Germany’s impact on the island, particularly in relation to his previous work, on the Nazi era, where documents were in great abundance. part destroyed. “It was precisely documented and the files are all there,” he told DW at the Berlin Literature Festival. “But no one was interested.”

Historical photo of the Isle of Luf boat, a man standing in the water beside it.

Several other boats on Luf Island were destroyed by German colonialists

Published in May, Aly’s research was another bombshell for the Humboldt Forum. During a press tour in June, the institution was criticized for not having addressed the violent colonial history linked to the boat which had been unearthed by the historian.

Meanwhile, the museum responded by sending a filmmaker, Martin Maden, to search for the remains of the culture decimated by the German colonialists.

Maden actually managed to track down the descendants of the people who built the Isle of Luf boat. For the moment, the successors do not reclaim the boat itself, for lack of means for its preservation and its exhibition, but they have expressed their interest in recovering their lost tradition: “The knowledge must be brought back to us”, says Stanley. Inum in the film this is part of the exhibition, adding that they plan to come to Berlin to examine the boat in order to build a new one.

Maden and Aly were both invited to discuss their findings on the Isle of Luf boat at the museum on October 20.

Acceptance of the paradigm shift?

There will always be room for improvement in what the museum has described as an “ongoing process”, but arriving researcher Christine Howald believes the “paradigm shift has now been absolutely accepted” within the institution.

“For curators, it’s clear, it’s not about preserving collections forever,” she told DW. “We want to return where we should be returning, and even in legitimate acquisitions where the items are simply culturally important to another company. There have been many steps in this direction.”

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“We have proven that laboratory-grown coffee can be a reality” Mon, 20 Sep 2021 15:14:00 +0000

Cellular agriculture is generally associated with the production of protein from meat, dairy products and eggs. Today, Finnish researchers are turning to another restaurant staple: coffee.

The project responds to the growing global demand for coffee beans and the sustainability challenges facing the sector.

An “urgent need” for an alternative coffee

Coffee is the third most consumed drink in the world, behind water and tea, and global consumption is on the rise. Still, production is struggling to keep up and the International Coffee Organization expects supply to barely meet global demand this year.

This does not bode well for the future of the sector, with the potential for global coffee demand to triple by 2050.

At the same time, the sector faces several major sustainability challenges. As farmers increase their acreage to meet growing demand, deforestation is a concern. Fluctuations in prices endanger the livelihoods of coffee farmers, while rising temperatures due to climate change make it more difficult to grow Arabica coffee.

Creation of coffee cells in the VTT laboratory. Image source: MTB

According to the Finnish Technical Research Center (VTT), there is an “urgent need” for alternative methods of coffee production. An VTT research team, led by Dr. Heiko Rischer, has found a potential solution in cell farming.

How is cellular coffee made?

Cellular farming is perhaps best known for its applications in cell-based meat and seafood. However, it is also used to recreate dairy protein without the cow and egg protein without the hen.

In coffee, the concept of cellular farming is the same, explained Dr Rischer. “Instead of growing animal cells, it’s growing plant cells in this case.”

Once the coffee cell lines are established, they are transferred to bioreactors where they produce biomass. In the same way that growth media are used to smell animal cells in the production of laboratory-grown meat, nutrient media are used to grow plant cell cultures.

“However, nutrient media for plant cell cultures are much less complex than those for animal cells”, Dr Rischer told this publication.

By being less complex, the support is also less expensive. This is an undeniable boon for the future of cell culture coffee, because the high cost of growth media in laboratory meat is one of the main obstacles to the sector.

“Scaling is also easier because plant cells grow freely suspended in the medium while animal cells grow attached to surfaces.” added the head of the research team.

The undifferentiated coffee cells, or biomass, are then analyzed, before being harvested and dried. The dried powder is then roasted and infused to make filter coffee.

Does it taste and smell like coffee?

The new coffee has been evaluated by VTT’s sensory panel and the first results seem promising.

“In terms of smell and taste, our trained sensory panel and our analytical examination revealed that the profile of the brew was similar to that of regular coffee” Dr. Rischer revealed.

“However, coffee making is an art and involves iterative optimization under the supervision of specialists with dedicated equipment. Our work forms the basis for such work.

The experience of driving VTT’s first cup of cell culture coffee was “exciting,” said the head of the research team, who believes that lab-grown coffee production could be “scaled up” for production. commercial, with regulatory approval granted, within the next four years.

Elviira Kärkkäinen and Heiko Rischer at the MTB lab.  Image source: MTB

Cell-based coffee is a new food and would require approval from Novel Food before it can be marketed in Europe. It’s a similar story in the United States, where regulatory approval from the FDA would have to be sought before marketing.

Potential of cellular coffee

VTT researchers were not the first to believe in the potential of cell-based coffee, the idea having first been published in the scientific literature in 1974 (PM Townsley). However, they have now proven that lab-grown coffee “can be a reality,” according to Dr Rischer.

“Growing plant cells requires specific expertise when it comes time to scale and optimize the process. Downstream processing and product formulation as well as regulatory approval and market introduction are additional steps on the road to a commercial product ”, he added.

Of course, without a competitive price, the approach will not be successful. Future piloting will provide the exact numbers to calculate production costs, we were told, but thanks to the lower cost of media and high scalability potential, Dr Rischer expects the product to be ” certainly lower ‘than that of cell-based meat.

“The costs will be significantly affected by the economy of scale.”

Regarding the appetite for cellular coffee in Europe, the first unrepresentative surveys suggest that consumers are open to cellular agriculture.

A recent survey in France and Germany, for example, indicated that although awareness of cultured meat is low, 44% of French people and 58% of Germans said they would be ready to try cultured meat. Thirty-seven percent of French consumers and 56% of Germans said they would be willing to buy it themselves.


Elviira Kärkkäinen brews coffee in the VTT laboratory. Image source: MTB

For Dr Rischer, the “real impact” of this scientific work will come through companies that are ready to rethink the production of food ingredients and start developing commercial applications.

“Ultimately, all efforts should result in more sustainable and healthier food for the benefit of consumers and the planet.”

Currently, there is only one cellular agricultural food product on the market. Late last year, Eat Just received regulatory approval to market its cell-based chicken ingredient in Singapore.

There are several options for marketing a lab-grown coffee product, Dr Rischer continued. “Product development and regulatory approval require significant investment and we are keen to collaborate with dedicated industry players. ”

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Border to Japan: an artistic dream of an Afro-Asian cultural collision Mon, 20 Sep 2021 03:15:20 +0000

Zulu King, Shaka (public domain)

By Damian Flanagan

Once, while driving on the dusty roads of Zululand in South Africa, I came across a small art gallery that featured some memorable prints. The images told how, in the early 20th century, a group of Zulu warriors made the long journey to Japan, and depicted them in a variety of Japanese settings, in shrines and in picturesque gardens.

There was a narrative associated with the images – a Japanese traveler to Durban in 1910 called Naokichi Nakamura had met a Zulu named Mpunzi Shezi on his travels and invited him along with other Zulus to his homeland, where on a trip from mutual exploration of each other’s cultures began. Mpunzi, we were told, would continue to explain the Ubuntu philosophy to Japanese Buddhists, while also explaining Zen to Zulu.

The story was of course not true. The images were an invention, works of pure fantasy, as some of the more erotic elements – naked female torsos depicted against exotic Japanese backgrounds – immediately revealed. The series of images was called “Zulu Sushi” and was the creation of Durban-based artist Peter Engblom, who died in September of last year.

A descendant of Norwegian missionaries in South Africa, Engblom had developed a keen interest in both the Zulu culture of his native country and the Indian heritage of his hometown of Durban. As well as being an artist, he liked to describe himself as a sugar producer, yacht broker and professional snake catcher (although in just about everything about Engblom the facts and fiction are sometimes hard to tell. unravel). Living in a country where three very disparate cultures coexisted – Zulu, European and Indian – his fantasies seemed to have evolved in the direction of imagining an even stranger collision: the meeting of traditional Japanese and Zulu cultures.

A tribute giraffe presented to Emperor Yongle (public domain)

In our culturally hypersensitive time, perhaps an artist might be hesitant to produce such works. Engblom imagined that his Zulu guru Mpunzi was learning “tantric sex with geishas” and was also interested in “Buddhism, bondage and bonsai”. A fierce individualist who refused to fetter his imagination, in a 2003 interview with a German magazine he provocatively remarked that “ethnic identities are fundamentally constructions we are made to believe. My images are constructions of events that never took place ”.

Engblom never visited Japan (or, at least, that’s what he said). And yet, there is something exciting and fascinating about the cultural collision envisioned by Engblom. Throughout the 19th century, as Europeans and Americans explored the world, encounters of European civilizations with Asian and African civilizations were common, but direct interactions between traditional African and Asian civilizations were much rarer.

How would the Zulus have behaved in the Japan of 1911? Engblom may have conjured up a wild fantasy, but he went out of his way to give his fantasy an air of authenticity, even including in his images fake telegrams announcing the arrival of the Zulus in Japan.

One of the most fascinating episodes in history is that of the early 15th century maritime expeditions of Chinese Admiral Zheng He who, at the head of a massive fleet along the trade routes established since the Han Dynasty, headed to the Arabian Peninsula and all along the eastern side of Africa, and brought home exotic animals such as giraffes and lions to present to Emperor Yongle. The fact that Emperor Hongxi put an end to these expeditions and that China retreated into its own cultural sphere for the next six centuries will prove to be a major turning point in world history.

Within Africa itself, “Bantu migration” is the name given to the theory explaining how peoples, originating from the homelands of central Africa, resettled for thousands of years to the eastern and southern ends of the country. African continent. Later, European settlers appeared, establishing trade centers on the African coast.

At that time, as very different peoples moved around the world, history could have moved in a number of directions. Flourishing contacts between Asia and Africa could have taken place several centuries earlier than they actually did.

Instead, we end up with artistic and historical fantasies such as “Zulu Sushi”, left only to ponder a curious “What if” story, dreaming of what it would have been like if curious Zulu had gone. wander east and land on the shores of a still deeply traditional Japan.


Emperor Yongle (public domain)

(This is part 39 of a series)

In this column, Damian Flanagan, researcher in Japanese literature, wonders about Japanese culture during his trips back and forth between Japan and Great Britain.


Damian Flanagan is an author and critic born in Great Britain in 1969. He studied in Tokyo and Kyoto between 1989 and 1990 while a student at the University of Cambridge. He was engaged in research activities at Kobe University from 1993 to 1999. After completing master’s and doctoral courses in Japanese literature, he obtained a doctorate. in 2000. He is now based in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture and Manchester. He is the author of “Natsume Soseki: Superstar of World Literature” (Sekai Bungaku no superstar Natsume Soseki).

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Willie is said to be proud of the talent that won the award that bears his name Sun, 19 Sep 2021 12:40:10 +0000

Bloody Scotland winner: Willie would be proud of the talent who won an award named after him

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]]> 0 Hou Yifan Challenge: Pragg always perfect Sat, 18 Sep 2021 21:43:39 +0000

Almost no draw

Due to the odd number of players, five players had a bye round on Saturday. Table favorites Praggananandhaa and Vincent Keymer – the only two players with a 2600+ rating – were not among them, however, and they ended the day as the top scorers with 5/5 and 4/5 points respectively.

Much like Pragg, Keymer had four wins in the first four rounds, but a loss to Christopher Yoo kept him from keeping pace with his young colleague – Keymer was born nine months before Pragg. Yoo’s victory over the German star was no accident, as the 14-year-old Californian IM was the only player other than the leader to end the day undefeated (Yoo is currently third with 3½ / 4 points).

Among the girls – six participants are in the mix – Vaishali Rameshbabu, Pragg’s sister, had the best performance on the first day of action. The Indian WGM is in 2½ / 4, having lost to his brother only on Saturday.

Hou Yifan Challenge 2021

Pragg is not only an excellent tactician, but he also knows how to turn a strategic advantage into victory when the opportunity presents itself. Facing Balaji Daggupati in the first round, the Indian star showed good technique in a position of good rider against bad madman.

35.Td5 was Daggupati’s losing mistake. Pragg quickly traded turns, as his knight will be the strongest minor piece in the technical endgame. Daggupati resigned 20 shots later.

Finals specialist Karsten Müller sent a more in-depth analysis of Pragg’s instructive victory.

While his brother got the better of Daggupati, Vaishali was defending a lower final against Poland’s IM Pawel Teclaf.

GM Müller reminds us that we should not rush into the final phase, because Teclaf 44 … f5 + came too early. At this point the winning move was 44 … h4, leaving White in zugzwang.

After Teclaf’s mistake, Vaishali continued to defend until he got the draw six strokes later. Don’t miss GM Müller’s insightful analysis in the replayer below.

Ranking after the 5th round

All the games


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