This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Massive Hong Kong student demonstrations challenge Beijing
- Turkey braces for expected flood of hundreds of thousands more refugees
- Yazidis, Mosul Christians hold Obama responsible for ISIS
- Horse manure and climate change
Massive Hong Kong student demonstrations challenge Beijing
Student demonstrations at Chinese University of Hong Kong on Monday (AP)
Thousands of college students in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement,joined by hundreds of faculty members, boycotted classes Monday toprotest Beijing’s reneging on the 1997 agreement under which Hong Kongas a British colony reverted to Chinese control. The deal was knownas “one country, two systems,” meaning that Beijing would pursueCommunism and Socialism, while Hong Kong would retain its democracy,its capitalist system, and its way of life. Hong Kong was promisedfree elections, but Beijing is pre-determining the 2017 election byallowing only three Beijing-approved candidates to run for office.
Separately, Beijing has also been clamping down on the use of theCantonese version of the Chinese language, the native dialect of 50million Chinese people. In Guangdong province in southern China,Beijing authorities are forbidding Cantonese in any television shows,requiring the Mandarin (Putonghua) version favored by Beijing. HongKong also speaks Cantonese, and it’s feared that Beijing will imposesimilar requirements there. Cantonese and Mandarin are writtenusing the same characters, but are spoken differently.
A recent poll of Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong found that 20% of themwould like to leave Hong Kong and emigrate to other countries. Hugewaves of emigration previously occurred after the Tiananmen Squaremassacre in 1989, and again when Hong Kong sovereignty transferredfrom Britain to China in 1997.
Activists in Macau, a former Portuguese colony with similaradministrative status to Hong Kong, are planning to hold their ownpro-democracy referendum, and are watching the Hong Kongdemonstrations closely.
Taiwan is also closely watching the demonstrations in Hong Kong,especially the members of the pro-independence Democratic ProgressiveParty (DPP). Taiwan universities are scheduling lectures and otherforms of support for the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. HongKong and Taiwan were closely linked after World War II, whenNationalists fighting Mao Zedong’s Communist Revolution used Hong Kongas a transit point to escape to Formosa (Taiwan). AP and AFP and Deutsche-Welle and AFP
Turkey braces for expected flood of hundreds of thousands more refugees
Turkey has been home to over 1.3 million Syrian refugees since thebeginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, with 130,000 new refugeesflooding in since Friday. The tsunami of refugees in the last fewdays has been from border towns and cities where militias from theIslamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS) are going house tohouse, killing people, abducting girls, and enslaving others. Turkishofficials say that they are prepared for a flood of additionalrefugees in the next few days. The fear is that ISIS will sendsuicide bombers across the border, along with the refugees. Sabah (Ankara) and Zaman (Istanbul)
Yazidis, Mosul Christians hold Obama responsible for ISIS
According to MEMRI, many Arab writers blame president Barack Obama forthe rise of the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS). Hereis one column MEMRI quotes:
“The terrified Yazidi woman on Mount Sinjar countedher family members. The tally broke her heart. Those who did notarrive with her never would. She fled quickly and convincedherself that they had too. They never arrived. Her two sons andher daughter. Left to the mercy of ISIS. And this ‘merciful’organization beheads the infidels, crucifies them, or buries themalive. Left to the mercy of the caliph. He likes his state cleanand pure and will not tolerate toxic weeds in his garden.
[Arab League Secretary-General] Nabil Al-‘Arabi, because hiscompany [the Arab League] is known to be bankrupt. She won’t callon [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon, because he has nothing [tooffer her] but his own tears. She won’t call on the Iraqi army,since it has already fallen to ISIS and given it the best of itsweapons as a gift. She won’t call on the Peshmerga, since theirweapons are too meager for this campaign. There is but one element[she can turn to]. She spread her arms and said: ‘Where isAmerica? Where is Obama?’ …
The Yazidi woman is entitled to treat Barack Obama as acriminal. He quickly fled with his soldiers, leaving Iraq in thehands of the spiteful lovers of anonymous corpses andassassinations. He pretended to forget that his own countryinvaded Iraq, and that one of its witless administrators orderedto dismantle the Iraqi army. He ignored his moralresponsibility. He spared American blood, leaving us [to drown] inlakes of blood.”
Horse manure and climate change
Yesterday, I wrote that there’s ahistorical precedent for the climate change debate, that predictswe’ll all be underwater in a few decades. That historical precedentwas the horse manure debate of over a century ago, that predicted thatwe’d all be under horse manure within a few decades.
A couple of web site readers have requested further information.Here’s a summary:
- The world’s first international urban planning conference was held in New York City in 1898. The major topic that dominated the conference was not housing, land use, economic development or infrastructure. It was horse manure.
- Horse manure was causing all sorts of problems — urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, traffic accidents, and widespread cruelty to horses.
- A horse produces between 7 and 15 kilos of manure daily. In New York in 1900, the population of 100,000 horses produced nearly 1,200 metric tons of horse manure per day, which all had to be swept up and disposed of. In addition, each horse produces nearly a liter of urine per day, which also ended up on the streets.
- The 1898 conference ended in three days instead of the scheduled ten days, because delegates could not agree on any solution. (This would be similar to the big climate change conference in 2010 in Copenhagen.)
- The crisis was resolved quickly with new technology: the automobile. By 1912 there were more cars than horses on the road in New York City. By 1920, the problem had all but disappeared.
During my lifetime, I’ve seen any number of hysterical environmentdisaster predictions. My favorite was the prediction in 1970 by farleft-wing Ramparts Magazine that predicted that the oceans werebecoming so polluted that by 1980 they world’s oceans would be coveredby a layer of algae. It didn’t happen.
Like the horse manure crisis, the climate change crisis will be solvedby new technologies that today are barely foreseen. These willinclude things like intelligent computers that will perform cleanuptasks that humans can’t perform and microbiology technologies thatwill convert excess carbon dioxide back to harmless materials.Thousands of research labs around the world are motivated to identifysuch technologies, because any company finding one will patent it andmake billions of dollars. No further motivation is needed. From Horse Power to Horsepower and The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894 and Great Moments in Failed Predictions
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Hong Kong, China, Guangdong, Cantonese,Mandarin, Putonghua, Tiananmen Square massacre, Macau,Portugal, Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party,Mao Zedong, Communist Revolution, Formosa,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Yazidis, Mosul, Mount Sinjar
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