Wednesday Night #2057

Written by  //  August 18, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

What a delightful experience with our first hybrid (in-person & Zoom) Wednesday Night last week, with the additional treat of Marc Nicholson in person for the first time in two years. What a wonderful feeling to have some Wednesday Nighters gathered together at a long table.  Many, many, thanks to Alex for hosting in a charming setting and Ali for rescuing the technology!

On our agenda:
Reuters Monday morning briefing cited:
Scenes of chaos as Afghans flee to the airport; Haiti hospitals are overwhelmed by quake victims, and Malaysia‘s political crisis escalates
We would expand the topic of Afghanistan and include geopolitical and governance implications for China; add the continuing wildfires and droughts, including the Colorado River; the march of Covid enabled by politicians and anti-vaxxers; and the launch of the Canadian election campaign nobody wants – along with the surprising results from the Nova Scotia election.

Breaking news: Canada has reached a deal for 2 military planes to resume ‘flying regularly’ into Kabul
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says two Canadian military aircraft are set to resume “flying regularly” into Kabul as part of the international effort to evacuate civilians and citizens fleeing the Taliban takeover.

Heather Cox Richardson August 16, 2021
It strikes me that some of the same people currently expressing concern over the fate of Afghanistan’s women and girls work quite happily with Saudi Arabia, which has its own repressive government, and have voted against reauthorizing our own Violence Against Women Act. Some of the same people worrying about the slowness of our evacuation of our Afghan allies voted just last month against providing more visas for them, and others seemed to worry very little about our utter abandonment of our Kurdish allies when we withdrew from northern Syria in 2019. And those worrying about democracy in Afghanistan seem to be largely unconcerned about protecting voting rights here at home.
Most notably to me, some of the same people who are now focusing on keeping troops in Afghanistan to protect Americans seem uninterested in stopping the spread of a disease that has already killed more than 620,000 of us and that is, once again, raging.

Thanks to Sam Stein who forwarded The Collapse of China’s Online Tutoring Industry Is Taking American Educators Down With It which reports on the effects of the new regulations issued by the government of China that drastically limit for-profit tutoring services and prohibit foreign investment in Chinese private education companies. The official reason for the crackdown is that the financial pressure on Chinese families and academic pressure on Chinese children has become untenable, however the author reports that “one unofficial reason for the new regulations, could be that companies like GoGoKid and VIPKid have provided Americans with unfettered access to young, impressionable Chinese children”.

Varia
Remember the Original Tree Huggers
In September 1730, soldiers representing Maharaja Abhai Singh arrived at Khejarli, the village of the Bishnoi people, with orders to cut down the community’s trees for the construction of a new palace. … Before the soldiers could begin their harvest, a Bishnoi woman named Amrita Devi ran forward to protect the native khejri tree (Prosopis cineraria). She did so by hugging the tree and refusing to move. When she was decapitated as a result, her three daughters promptly took her place. They too were killed in the same manner.

Long reads
A great profile by Derek Webster gives valuable insights into the role played by translation in fostering understanding
How One Translator Brought Quebec’s Greatest Authors to English Canada
For Sheila Fischman, translation represents the hope that our country’s fractured identity can be healed by understanding how others see the world
Deceptions and lies: What really happened in Afghanistan
Part one of an excerpt from “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War.” Part two can be found here.
Trying—and Failing—to Save the Family of the Afghan Who Saved Me
Twelve years ago, Tahir Luddin helped us both escape after we were kidnapped by the Taliban. Now I am struggling to get his family out of Kabul. By David Rohde, an executive editor of newyorker.com
They call them “obroni wawu” — dead white man’s clothes.
It’s the dirty secret behind the world’s fashion addiction. Many of the clothes we donate to charity end up dumped in landfill, creating an environmental catastrophe on the other side of the world.
The trade in second-hand clothing has steadily grown in Accra, just as it has around the world. Every year as many as 4 million tonnes of used textiles are shipped across the planet in a trade estimated to be worth $4.6 billion. The growing number of poor-quality clothes arriving at Kantamanto Market is a major driver of Ghana’s waste crisis. Another is the sheer volume of clothing being manufactured around the world.

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