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[URBAN NOTE] “The battle to preserve Bethlehem’s cultural heritage”

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Open Democracy’s Charlie Hoyle describes one filmmaker’s efforts to help preserve her native city of Bethlehem.

When Palestinian filmmaker Leila Sansour left Bethlehem in the 1980s there were no military checkpoints intimidating the city, no separation wall jutting into residential gardens, and no Israeli settlements dominating the horizon.

“I grew up in a very idyllic town, but I didn’t think of it like that as a child. There were forests of olive trees, fig trees, apricot trees and huge fields filled with grape vines,” she says. “All of this is lost in Bethlehem. Now what we have is a concrete forest of buildings.”

Sansour’s new documentary, Open Bethlehem, is the culmination of a ten-year journey of emotional reconnection with a city she left as a teenager to experience the wider world. It is also a tribute to the legacy of her father, who founded Bethlehem University.

[. . .]

The fabric of everyday life in Bethlehem has fundamentally changed since Sansour left in 1983. The ancient city that gave birth to Christianity is now guarded by Israeli military watchtowers, which jut into main thoroughfares, and an eight-metre high concrete wall, which abuts residential properties. The wall cuts off the population from Jerusalem, historically Bethlehem’s twin city.

Israeli soldiers raid the city almost daily to arrest Palestinians, and the rolling hills surrounding the city have been replaced by concrete Israeli settlements.

Only thirteen percent of the Bethlehem governorate is accessible to Palestinians due to Israeli restrictions. Sansour says the Israeli military occupation is threatening the very survival of a way of life that had thrived for generations.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 25, 2014 at 7:38 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO identifies the ten most important buildings in Toronto.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at evidence for plate tectonics in Europa’s ice crust.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of methane, carbon monoxide and ammonia in the atmospheres of some brown dwarfs and looks at implications of variability in brown dwarf atmospheres.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes China’s plans to launch a second space station into orbit.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ notes how Germany’s Left Party is continuing its strong support from Russia.
  • Joe. My. God. observes how Ted Cruz’ support for Israel was unpopular at an event for Middle Eastern Christians, including many Palestinian Christians.
  • Language Hat notes some signs of cultural cosmopolitanism in the Stalinist Soviet literacy scene.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that global warming will devastate forests in the western United States.
  • Otto Pohl notes the arbitrariness of race and geography in bounding Africa.
  • Discover‘s Out There and the Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla both note Rosetta’s views of its target comet.
  • The Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle chronicles with photos the story of the vole he found eating his potatoes.
  • Towleroad notes a mother in Alabama who is trying to cut her dead son’s husband out of his estate.
  • Why I Love Toronto celebrates Queen Street West.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that diasporas of Russian minorities should also be recognized as Russian, argues that Putin is cornered, and notes the significant differences between Estonians and Russophones in Estonia in beliefs about religious and the supernatural.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes controversy over whether Ukraine should try to cut a deal with Russia.

[NEWS] Some Tuesday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes the breakdown of the Libyan state.
  • Bloomberg mentions Finland’s new interest in NATO, notes European Union plans to strengthen sanctions against Russia, takes note of China’s vetoing of democracy in Hong Kong and looks at China’s strengthening of its South China Sea holdings, and in West Africa notes the unburied bodies in the street in countries hit by Ebola and observes the apparent spread of the epidemic to Senegal.
  • Bloomberg View observes how the crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong is alienating Taiwan, notes that Scotland may secure its future in the European Union by leaving a United Kingdom hoping to leave, looks at the frightening military theories of Russia, considers whether taxation may spur corporate consumption in Korea, wonders if France’s Hollande can pull off Mitterand’s turn to the right, examines secular stagnation, considers the issues of Macau, and warns Israel about economic issues ahead.
  • CBC looks at how walking bichir fish may explain how vertebrates moved onto the land, notes that Canadian federal government roundtables on the sex trade aren’t inviting sex workers, and notes that convicted serial killer Russell Williams has settled lawsuits made by some victims and their families.
  • Defense One notes that the Islamic State controls mainly areas around roads (but then, the roads are usually the areas that are controlled).
  • The Inter Press Service examines the settlement of Somalian refugees in Istanbul, considers the future of Ukrainian agriculture, looks at the spread of jihadi sentiments in Tajikistan, points out that the United States and Brazil will soon improve genetically engineered trees, examines anti-gay persecution in Lebanon, and looks at the legacies of the balsero migration from Cuba 20 years later.
  • National Geographic examines the positions of Yazidis in northern Iraq versus the Islamic State, notes the mobilizatin of Assyrian Christian refugees in the same region, and notes that more trees in the mountains of California means less run-off.
  • Open Democracy notes the precedents for Russian policy in Ukraine two decades earlier in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and provides a critical tourist’s perspective on Belarus.
  • Universe Today notes an ancient star that preserves legacies of the first generation of stars to form, and observes the preparation for the landing of the Philae probe on the surface of its comet.
  • Wired examines sriracha and maps where future roads should be placed.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

  • Al Jazeera notes the likely controversies surrounding a new Chinese cartoon spotlighting an Uighur concubine of a Chinese emperor, and looks at the deeper diversity of Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Bloomberg notes the risk of Israel slumping into recession, reports on Burger King’s interest in acquiring Tim Hortons, notes that Côte d’Ivoire is still trying to sell public debt, comments on the role played by Dutch anger over the MH17 plane attacl in organizing the European Union sanctions against Russia, and describes the slim hope for upcoming Russian-Ukrainian talks.
  • CBC Prince Edward Island reports on a shocking double homicide in eastern Prince Edward Island, a shooting of a father and his son.
  • The Forward wonders who leaked an Israeli cabinet consideration of the reoccupation of Gaza.
  • An older MacLean’s report suggests that Tim Horton’s depends on low-cost imported labour to sustain an ultimately unsustainable growth strategy. A much newer one reports on the defection of another Bloc Québécois MP.
  • The Toronto Standard notes that Rob and Doug Ford were the only people on city council to vote against a new practice facility for the Toronto Raptors.
  • Universe Today notes that the ESA has selected five landing sites for the Philae comet lander, and observes that NASA’s New Horizons Pluto probe has just crossed the orbit of Neptune.
  • In the realm of photography, Wired reports on Humans of New York’s new global coverage and examines street photography in New York City.

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

  • Al Jazeera America argues that depending on cars will hurt Newark’s urban renaissance, notes the emerging Indian-Israeli alliance and the import of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in sectarian communities in Northern Ireland, looks at the slowly reviving film industry of Côte d’Ivoire, chronicles the human rights issues of LGB Ukrainians and of Christian sects in the Caucasus, examines the legacies of German immigration in Brazil, and looks at the shantytowns of Mongolia.
  • Al Jazeera examines Russia’s Eurasianism, notes emergent water shortages in Syria, looks at the reaction of Sephardic Jews to a new Spanish citizenship law that would give them access to Spain, and chronicles the persecution of the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan.
  • Bloomberg notes that sanctions on Russia may hurt the Greek economy, notes the collapse in wages for young people in southern Europe, and looks at Germany’s serious impending demographic issues.
  • BusinessWeek looks at Tinder’s shabby treatment of a female co-founder, examines the stagnant economy of Thailand, looks at hospitals which mine credit card data to predict their future patients.
  • CBC notes with disappearance of anonymous public WiFi in Russia, takes a look at the consequences of the shutdown of the McCain potato processing plant in Borden-Carleton, points out the ongoing collapse of a caribou herd on the Québec-Labrador border, shows the sad toll of the Air Algérie plane crash in Québec, and notes that Vancouver’s aquarium can no longer breed cetaceans.
  • Global News looks at the impact of Air Algérie’s disaster in Montreal.
  • MacLean’s suggests Canada is not immune to an American-style housing crash, argues that the Canadian job market is weaker than it appears, and reports on the claims that restrictive American immigration policies could work to the benefit of Canada.
  • National Geographic notes some surprisingly social cephalopod populations and looks at naming ceremonies for some gorillas in Rwanda.
  • NPR reports that some big data firms claim Snowden’s data release has given terrorists ideas as to how they can be quieter, and notes some Ivoirien cacao farmers who taste
  • The New York Times notes the closure of an Upper East Side restaurant priced out by rising rents.
  • Reuters observes the worsening demographics of Italy.
  • Transitions Online takes a small-scale look on the effects of emigration in Uzbekistan.
  • Universe Today looks at how some Martian canyons were formed by different water releases.
  • Xinhua notes how emigration from Portugal has become mainstream.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Cody Delistraty links to an article of his at The Atlantic examining the connection between beauty and happiness.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh looks at Abenomics in Japan and notes that Japan’s economic problems run much too deep for simple fiscal and interest-rate changes to change.
  • On Tumblr, I Give In shares pictures of lady slipper flowers growing in abundance at CFB Gatetown.
  • Joe. My God., Lawyers, Guns and Money, and Towleroad all share the news that Texas governor Rick Perry was indicted on multiple felony charges.
  • Language Hat shares a paper suggesting that most languages above a certain size (35 thousand speakers) are not declining).
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig reposts her study of the correlation between ethnicity and political parties in Israel.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money traces the ongoing deterioration in Russian-Ukrainian relations to the point of open war.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the economy of Switzerland and wonders if deflation is a problem for the European economy.
  • Spacing Toronto shares a photo of the view over the Bathurst bridge.
  • Towleroad notes the struggles of gay Palestinians in Israel.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes problems with regulating certain Jewish rites on sanitary grounds.

[BLOG] Some culture-related links

  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas takes a look at the role of the Church in fostering technological and other innovation.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that ex-ex-gays are skeptical about claims of sexual orientation conversion, notes a study suggesting that Truvada does protect against HIV infection, and shares the news with Language Hat that the oldest ancient erotic graffiti has been found and turns out to be gay.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig notes how ridiculous it is to talk about “simple” languages.
  • Language Hat notes a study comparing the intelligibility of Maltese with different nearby Arabic varieties and examines the origins of the shtetl.
  • Language Log disapproves of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes‘ depiction of emergent ape language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the internal passports of whites living in the Confederacy and notes that farmworkers in California are suffering from the drought.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the languages of the world are more resilient to globalization than suspected, comments on immigration in Germany, and notes the study suggesting same-sex parents do a better than average job of raising their children.
  • The New APPS Blog traces the moral depravity of some pro-Israeli commentators and wonders if underfunding of infrastructure is bringing us to the days of the end of Rome.
  • The Numerati’s Stephen Baker notes that some drivers in Los Angeles appear to really dislike his ode to jaywalking.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw draws from memories of old horse-drawn Gypsy carts in Australia to talk about the importance of animal power in history.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg maps the distribution of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that China’s sex imbalances seem to echo historical Australian patterns.
  • The Search interviews online cuture scholar danah boyd.
  • Towleroad links to an Iranian government study of young people’s sexuality suggesting, among other things, that 17% of surveyed students are gay.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi talks about the existence of transfolk in his Old Man’s War universe.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the political consequences of spam.
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