sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ramadan in China

In China:

Xinjiang has been the site of murdered Chinese police officers off and on for the last two decades as the Religion of Peace tried to take control of the region from the national government. The Chinese reaction was predictably harsh because "harmony" with the Party is important in China. And if you're not harmonious they will always find a way for you to see the light. Political correctness is defined in that way in the worker's paradise.

Uighurs burn a Chinese flag in protest---in Turkey. This sort of thing is
classified as a "hate crime" against the state in China and those participating
would pay a heavy price. Much easier to pull off in Turkey.
This year, Chinese authorities again banned Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang in western China from observing Ramadan. Workers and students may not fast at work or school or engage in other displays of Islamic devotion. In one town, authorities held a beer-tasting competition.
A school website in Ruoqiang County in Xinjiang puts it this way: “No teacher may participate in religious activities, instill religious thoughts in students or coerce students into religious activities,” read a statement on the website of the No. 3 Grade School in 

“Students shall not participate in religious activities; they shall not study scripts or read poems at script and choir classes; they shall not wear any religious emblems; and no parent or others can force students to have religious beliefs or partake in religious activities.”
Restaurants have been ordered to stay open in Xinjiang province, including those owned and operated by Muslims. Shops have been threatened with closure if they do not continue selling cigarettes and alcohol throughout the month of Ramadan. The ban on burqas and other female expressions of devotion that was imposed last year remains in effect.

The restrictions this year are similar to those ordered in Ramadan in past years. China tolerates religious and other forms of diversity only to the extent that they serve the interests of the communist party or the peoples’ republic. 

The population of Xinjiang autonomous region is predominantly Muslim Uighurs (an ethnic minority), rather than Han Chinese. A low-level Uighur secessionist movement has survived multiple Chinese security campaigns to eradicate it. Nevertheless, tightened security measures and the crackdown on Islamic practices in the past two years have helped stabilize the region, which is China’s top priority.

The Politics of Race

No, it's not all about being African American. These days you can become African with spray-on tan and a Sideshow Bob hairdo and the progressive left embraces it as being "diversity". (check the link for more on that) and it's NAACP certified. That's not what I want to discuss with you all today.

The issues of race run a lot deeper than that, though, because in some cases, it bears on your right to own a casino on "homeland" soil. The Umatilla tribe of American Indians are still angry about the discovery of Kennewick Man on their land (under the suzerainty of the Army Corps of Engineers) and the disclosure that he was not of their race. Yes it's true that after several DNA tests, researchers have found common links with Indians (Kennewick man had five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot - and the Native Americans tend to have the same number).
The Umatilla argue that their oral history goes back 10,000 years and say that their people have been present on their historical territory since the dawn of time. Kennewick Man was found to have lived at their dawn of time and, inconveniently, he's not from their band of Indians.
Clay bust of Kennewick Man - yes, he looks
disturbingly like the actor Patrick Stewart
The political battles over Kennewick Man were/are framed in a large part by people who want to know to what "race" he belongs. Yet, the evidence reflected in the Kennewick materials is further proof that race is not what we think it is. The Kennewick man, and most of the Paleo-Indian and archaic human skeletal materials that researchers found to date are not "Indian," nor are they "European." They don't fit into ANY category that we currently define as a "race." Those terms are meaningless in prehistory as long ago as 9,000 years--and in fact, if you want to know the truth, there are NO clearcut scientific definitions of "race."

But the Kennewick man problem isn't that simple; he represents a part of a problem which archaeologists have yet to solve. For the past thirty years or so, we've believed that the peopling of the American continent took place around 12,000 years ago, in three separate waves, from three separate parts of the world. But recent evidence has begun to indicate a vastly more complicated settlement pattern, a steady influx of small groups from different parts of the world, and probably somewhat earlier than we had assumed. Some of these groups lived, some may have died out. We just don't know.

Apart from the Kennewick Man debate is archeological evidence of temples and grave mounds in South America that date back to over 20,000 BC. Archeologists are forced back to the drawing table, trying to decide when people first came to South America and where they came from, because you create theories to explain facts and not the other way around.

Even the Africans are Upset

There is an interesting series on PBS about early man that is now airing. I don't think that it's the end of the discussion about early man because as was discussed on this blog last week (OUT OF ISRAEL?) Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago. According to researchers, the discoveries made in the Qesem Cave may overturn the theory that modern humans originated on the continent of Africa. In recent years, archaeological evidence and human skeletons found in Spain and China also undermined this proposition, but the Qesem Cave findings because of their early age is an unprecedented discovery.

Add to that the genetic fact that is your ancestors come from Europe or Asia, between 1% and 3% of your DNA comes from Neanderthals. Human and Neanderthal were sexually compatible and they made the most of that arrangement. It falls to us do decide what all of that means, if it means anything. The only people without Neanderthal DNA come from Africa.