Category Archives: International

The Millennial’s: the New Counter Culture that Can’t be Stopped

future-tech-100522312-primary.idgeBy Karla Fetrow

Half a dozen years ago, it was easy to dismiss the Millennial’s as young punks who spend all their time playing video games and will spend their lives flipping hamburgers. The quiet generation lived behind closed doors, battling computerized foes, writing their own fantasy scripts, engrossed in a world of dungeons, dragons and magic through increasingly realistic graphics. The Millennial’s are coming into their own. They are now the world’s largest work force, next to the baby boomers who are nudging unerringly into retirement.

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For the sake of chronological order, historians and analysts use a beginning and end date for generational identification. The identification includes common behaviors and attitudes characteristic of that generation. Technically; using chronological data: the Millennial’s were born between 1980 and 1999. As an identity, the lines begin to blur. The Millennial’s are the first generation to grow up with personal computers.

Their initiation began with Pac Man, Game Boy and Atari, youngsters following their jukebox and pinball daddies, children of the polished Generation X, who always bought the newest toys, then extended into the classroom, with six year old’s learning more computer savvy than the high school students wrapping up a short-lived Generation Y.

The majority of Generation Y became absorbed by the Millennial’s, although many float in limbo, neither wholly compatible with the commercially driven Generation X nor their technology-loaded younger counter-parts. They are the last sigh of a generation that rode on a wave of economic prosperity, affordable housing, advanced education and business enterprise. While they struggle to learn new applications that come to their younger cohorts as naturally as breathing, they know that beating out a surging work force, moving in at eighty million is impossible. It’s better to understand the Millennial’s and their underlying beliefs.

The Skeptical Generation

With the oldest Millennial’s now in their mid-thirties, the industry of advertising, which had largely ignored the reclusive Millennial’s throughout their growing years, have discovered this generation is a very hard sell. They appear to have little interest in fads, and will not respond to designs meant to appeal homogeneously to them. Their interests and tastes in foods, fashion, music and recreation are diverse, with the most common factor, an enthusiasm for electronics. They buy a large portion of their products online, checking product information first, and looking for the best bargains.

No other generation since the Great Depression has felt a greater economic impact on their social status than the youth who experienced the recent recession. Many who had just begun their careers were forced to return home with the housing collapse. Many are currently strapped with the costs of higher education, performing jobs that do not justify the expense of their studies.

The Millennial’s were children during the 9/11 attacks, and have heard all the conspiracy theories. They view politics with skepticism, with very few choosing a political party. Rather than apathetic, they are not convinced any of the candidates will adequately represent them. In terms of leadership, the Millennial’s have an agenda, one that will not be compromised by distractions.

Issues centering on racism, sexual orientation, border controls and religion that have exploded through the American press in recent times, have barely caused a hiccup among the Millennial’s community. The dynamics of culture are changing, with sixty percent of American Millennial’s claiming an inter-racial or multi-cultural heritage. Eighty percent of Millennial’s support gay marriage. Religion is a non-issue as most purport to be non-religious, atheist or skeptical.

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Millennial Ideals

Unlike the 1960’s culture that believed in trusting no one over thirty, the Millennial’s are a little more generous with their faith. Rejecting leaders in industry and finance, brushing aside most political affiliations, they still have heroes. Some of the characteristics for their heroes are fashioned from comic books and movies, some from notable humanitarians, some from teachers, counselors and others who had made an impact on their lives, and much from leading members of their families.

The Millennial’s have strong family values. More than half of the Millennial’s state their parents serve as their role models. They believe in respect for the elderly and cooperative family units. This sense of cooperation extends into their communities, through voluntary services and random acts of kindness. The majority of the Millennial’s state they want to make a positive impact on the future.

An entirely new political ideology would have to be developed to satisfy the Millennial’s. They believe in socialized medicine, open education, public assistance and shared resources. They have an aptitude for team work, recognizing the value of specialized skills and how to incorporate them into the whole. They also believe in self-determination. They defend the right to personal choices and individual rights to privacy. They are the least likely group to divulge personal information for data collecting agencies.

Also unlike their predecessors, the Millennial’s do not place a high value on a diploma or degree. They have every bit of information for everything they might wish to do right there at their fingertips. They feel performance is more valuable than formally written qualifications.

cropped-6be985910d33eea51f26e158fcaf42f1Show Me and I’ll Believe It

If Millennial’s are skeptics, it’s because they want proof that those who talk the talk can also walk the walk. They are very much a “show me” generation. With a youthful diet of Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, they are a generation equipped to understand biology, chemistry, Earth Geography and the evolution of the species. Their truths are based on actions and reactions, cause and effect. If your statement doesn’t fit the facts they have already gathered and understand to be true through documented procedure, they aren’t going to believe you.

They don’t respond well to traditional catch phrases, such as “miracle drug”, “once in a life time opportunity”, or “satisfaction guaranteed.” They want to know exactly what the product or service involves. They may do a quick search of the item or service for comparative prices, degree of quality and check public opinion sites.

The majority are environmentalists who favor companies with green policies and low environmental impact development plans. They support renewable energy development. They believe in recycling and reducing material waste. They are still a part of the throw-away society, but are not driven by materialism, spending less and utilizing their available resources more.

Stop Insulting the Millennial’s:  They’re Smarter Than You Thinkdownload

In many ways, the Millennial’s seem to be characters straight from a Ray Bradbury collection of science fiction stories. They think differently. Their early learning skills were shaped differently. They learned to recognize patterns, rhythmic sequences and problem solving skills through their computerized games. They developed excellent eye-hand coordination and quick responses through their controllers. Most are multi-taskers; able to perform several computer functions simultaneously, with varying degrees of accuracy.

They are hard-wired to their devices. They photograph the world around them, themselves and even items they are considering buying, but want a second opinion. They are able to text messages as quickly with their thumbs as a typist taps out sixty words a minute on a keyboard. Their communications are rapid, fluent and can range from small, private conversations to explosive events captured by an eye witness and shared instantly.

144677-146346They’ve created a new society that will change the way we do business and handle international relations through sheer necessity. The Millennial’s believe in working less, living more. Very few express loyalty for the company they work for, stating they would exchange their job for a higher paying one, or a more interesting one if the offer arises.

For the Millennial’s, office space means virtual real estate on an Internet platform. They feel no need for face to face consultations if it can be done from a computer. They work their own hours, at their own pace and save personal visits for important occasions, family affairs or pleasure.

The Millennial’s are reaching maturity and coming out of their self-imposed fortresses of electronic isolation. We see them in the streets, driving fuel efficient cars, walking with their toddlers, working in diners or department stores. They are polite and considerate. Their integrated community has prepared them well for hospitality services and positions that require diplomatic skills.

In their choices for entertainment, they are no different than anyone else. They love movies, live performances, water parks. Some are athletic. Some join marathons. Some enjoy outdoor recreation and camping. They may connect with their experiences more by sharing them digitally, but it is part of the unique experience of growing up wired into a global community.

The Millennial’s are moving in, over thirty million strong in the United States. They come, bringing their family values, their community commitments, their multi-racial life styles and their progressive view of the future. They are a puzzle to the world of commerce that has relied on advertised publicity to reach its audience. They are an enigma to business executives and CEO’s who believe ambition and competition drives the economy. They are among us, bringing changes quietly, almost imperceptibly, but permanently as their wired in children grow up behind them, discovering their own truths.

Donald Trump Hosts Saturday Night Live and Hollywood Says F**k You to Latinos

Donald Trump Hosts Saturday Night Live and Hollywood Says F**k You to Latinos

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by Vanessa Verduga

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend and delivered big ratings as predicted, which is precisely why producer Lorne Michaels brought him back.  He did so in spite of a Latino community protest, several advocacy group protests, and even knowing that there were protesters right outside NBC Studios making a scene.

Viewers tuned in Saturday to watch several sketches of very awkward comedy, Trump campaigning for president, and of course, Larry David yelling out “Trump is a racist!” for $5,000 dollars granted from the Deport Racism advocacy group.  Naturally, the bit was a joke, even though David did collect $5,000 according to the Deport Racism group, which said “Joke or not…it’s true.”

Next week, SNL will feature another Hollywood star, Elizabeth Banks, and everything will return to normal, right?  No, according to some very prominent members of the Latino community who claim that their Saturday Night Live boycott is the real thing and the protest is far from over.

And it’s not just because Donald Trump is trolling the media as he’s been doing all year long.  The problem is that for a long time now, Hollywood has been disrespecting the Latino community and Trump’s appearance on the show was the icing on the cake—a cake that went flying right into the face of a lazy-stealing-Mexican-rapist-illegal-immigrant stereotype that Hollywood thinks is hilarious.

What many people misunderstand about the issue is that it’s not a matter of silencing Donald Trump for his blatantly racist views.  The problem is that many other members of the Hollywood elite have been blacklisted over the last several years for saying and doing far less than what Trump has said, and it’s a shocking double standard.  The Latino Community is tired of letting White Hollywood get away with murder when it comes to allowing slanderous remarks about their people and culture, while still claiming to be a politically correct and non-hostile working environment.

What Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels did was give Donald Trump a huge platform to campaign for president and profited well from it.  He certainly didn’t need Donald Trump but sought him out and gave him just what his presidential campaign wanted—more airtime.  This was not merely “free speech” but corporately sponsored free speech that literally cost millions to produce.

Is There Anything Wrong with Using Controversy to Generate Publicity for a Show?

The age-old argument that controversy sells has long been retired in Hollywood, at least when it comes to the right kind of people.

Consider other well-known cases in which Hollywood turned on celebrities for their unacceptable opinions, either blacklisting them or even firing them from their shows.

  • Paula Dean – For making racist comments about African Americans in private
  • Mel Gibson – For making racist comments about Jews, gays and women in private
  • Isaiah Washington – For making homophobic comments in an interview
  • Hulk Hogan – For making racist comments on a radio show
  • Jim Caviezel – For playing the role of Jesus in a Mel Gibson movie
  • Rolan Martin – For tweeting homophobic comments
  • Alec Baldwin – For shouting homophobic comments at paparazzi
  • Kirk Cameron – For holding fundamentalist Christian views on many lifestyles

 

Actually, if you remember the well documented history of Saturday Night Live you would find that many celebrities have been permanently banned from the show for breaking protocol, saying offensive things to the cast, and generally being politically incorrect.

Banned Stars from SNL (Proof that SNL DOES discriminate when it feels the need)

  • Chevy Chase
  • Adrien Brody
  • Steven Segal
  • Sinead O’Connor
  • Martin Lawrence
  • Milton Berle
  • Elvis Costello
  • Frank Zappa
  • Charles Grodin
  • Robert Blake

 

The truth is that Saturday Night Live allowed Donald Trump to campaign for president under the guise of comedy and did so in defiance of the Latino community, who made their protests known.  In all likelihood, they orchestrated this event just to provoke Latinos and get them riled up about it, all the while benefitting from huge viewership.

It’s hard to imagine Lorne Michaels supporting an actor or director who publicly or even privately said offensive things about African Americans, gays or lesbians, transgender Americans, Christians or Jews.

Which brings up a certain elephant in the room topic.

The Jewish Parallel

Shouldn’t Lorne Michaels as a Jew in Hollywood, and one that has no doubt heard the anti-Semitic remark that “Jews run Hollywood”, know better than to buy into offensive stereotypes or support someone that uses them for profit?  It’s very likely that Lorne Michaels’ parents or grandparents faced bigotry when first arriving to North America.  When Jewish families first arrived in America and Canada, many lived in ghettoes and faced racist attitudes coming from whites, German sympathizers and other anti-Semites that were definitely anti-immigration.

The circumstances that necessitated the arrival of North American Jews was a chilling parallel of the plight of Latinos today.  The Madagascar Plan was proposed by Nazi Germany as a relocation plan for the Jews, which would send these unwanted and “troublesome” people to the now German occupied former French colony.

Before Nazis decided on the Final Solution they encouraged emigration of the Jewish population, then planned for forced deportation.  The Final Solution of genocide was just that—a final move after their other strategies proved unfeasible and the estimates of how many Jews could be settled in Madagascar proved to be too challenging for their future plans.

The Madagascar Plan is very similar to what Trump wants to do with Latino undocumented immigrants, in lack of a better solution—ship them all out to Mexico because they are essentially, thugs, drug dealers, rapists and “bad people.”  With his construction of a “Wall”, Trump would quite possibly outdo President Obama in the total number of Latino deportations, which would break up countless families, deport legal Latino citizens whose parents were never able to qualify for citizenship, and probably resulting in many deaths, considering the added possibility of police violence against protesters and criminal activity happening in Mexico.

Of all people, Jewish Hollywood—who so boldly stands up for the LGBT community and African American racism—should understand why Trump’s presidential campaigning was not appropriate for an entertainment show like Saturday Night Live.

What was Lorne Michaels excuse?  Besides ratings, which we’ve established mean nothing when facing allegations of bigotry that usually gets a person banned?

The Trump / SNL Boycott Lacks Strong Leadership

Some celebrity Latinos have joined the boycott, including John Leguizamo.  Director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Birdman) has also spoken against what he calls xenophobic comments.

However, many high-profile stars have done the unthinkable and defended NBC’s decision, as if they had no choice but to accommodate Trump’s “rights”.  Latino TV star Eva Longoria said “This is part freedom of speech, freedom of press…Trump has his right…not only that, Lorne Michaels has a right to book whoever he wants.”

Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, Longoria is also sleeping with the enemy.  She has a new show coming out on NBC Telenovela and has everything to lose in upsetting her bosses and other VIPs behind the scenes.  All of whom are conspicuously white, Jewish and not Latino.

One could literally count the number of Latino stars that have been part of the cast of Saturday Night Liveover the yearson one hand—twoFor that matter, only 19 of the 790 SNL episodes over the past 40 years have had a Latino guest host.

Rather than actually stand behind Latino comedians on the show, Lorne Michaels instead relegates them to digital platforms, including his upcoming digital channel “Broadway Video” where Latinos can produce their own sketches, get popular, and then pay Lorne Michaels extra Internet advertising profit.  It’s a great business strategy – invest nothing, keep Latinos off of network television, while letting their sworn enemy campaign on his show, and then profit from the suck-ups who still think they can get famous with a viral video.

This idea of “giving back” to the Latino community in the form of a digital production is not at all reparations for the blatant prejudice that has consistently been shown by Hollywood.  It’s vanity producing and predatory to the artist who really thinks these powerful people are doing them a favor by letting them perform on a medium that is already free.  It’s clearly a matter of Latinos pandering to Latinos and the answer is a firm “Thanks but no thanks!” from the boycotters.

The Trump–SNL debacle and the Latinos who supported it are more patronizing than any offensive stereotype on a comedy sketch.  Whatever great strides or triumphs we thought we had as a united front all seem worthless now.

We’re not fighting for equality if this is what we’re up against.  We’re fighting for the right to exist, living in the same territory as our white “superiors” who are “legal”.  We continue to be treated as second-class citizens and when push comes to shove we have no power because our own supposed leaders are in bed with the powers that be.

This is why now more than ever the Latino Community needs to stick together and boycott NBC, Telemundo, and all of Saturday Night Live’s sponsors, who never thought that letting a self-admitted xenophobe would be upsetting to us.

How Times Have Changed

A long time ago, now-retired talk show host David Letterman admitted that a certain presidential candidate offered to do comedy sketches on his show.  Letterman declined his request because he knew that it wasn’t in the interest of comedy—it was just a political campaign, an advertisement.  His show wasn’t going to be a platform for an agenda.  Common sense, right?

Have we fallen so far from civility and class that we consider Donald Trump an entertainer?  That his contributions to comedy are so important that it’s worth offending millions of Latinos fighting for their very lives?

Or are we only being suckered by Hollywood who doesn’t seem to care about Latino issues, but would rather give airtime to a racist buffoon trolling the media, rather than actually bring on a Latino comic that’s funny?

According to a story from The Huffington Post, in the midst of all the Donald Trump protesting taking place outside NBC Studios, there was one lone protester who held up a sign reading “Google it!!! Jews control Comcast NBC”.  He was quickly escorted out of the main protest area by police and taken away from the cameras.

Because of course, that was just plain racist.

Join the Boycott!

#RacismIsntFunny.  Freedom of speech means the freedom to boycott SNL and NBC/Telemundo for being sellouts.  A united community has the power to make a statement of protest by boycotting the sponsors for Saturday Night Live.

 

Vanessa Verduga is an actor, writer, singer, director, producer and lawyer committed to examining social issues for their impact on the underprivileged and disenfranchised. She is the creator and star of the popular award-winning web series and comic book “Justice Woman”, which follows the story of an Assistant District Attorney, by day, who becomes a defender of truth and justice at night. Vanessa also stars and produces “H.O.M.E.”, a feature film that examines the loss of communication told through the immigrant’s perspective, as well as “The Hunting for Lost Characters”, a sci-fi action short film that follow’s one man’s desperate attempt to save himself from deletion. Most recently, her dark comedy play “The Implications of Cohabitaton” has been picked up for a New York City off-Broadway production. Vanessa is also a member of the Women in Comics Collective NYC International, an artistic and informative initiative that seeks to educate communities about the role and value of Women working in the comic book profession. For more on Vanessa, visit http://www.VanessaVerduga.com

 

 

Is Robador the New Gaza? – An Interview with Miquel Fernández

Photo by Joan Colom
Photo by Joan Colom

Original article appears at Micmag.net

By:Ignacio Pato

This is a history of Violence, as this has been always in the Raval. However, this is not a story about violence that neighborhoods, but about which you suffer.

The anthropologist Miquel Fernández has just published Kill the Chinese; a portrait on the Raval has been described as a place of poor, prostitutes, anarchists and mariconas”, and that has become the symbol of social panics of the Barcelona bourgeoisie.

While currently the city pursues being a static space which does not happen anything unexpected (no obstacle, neither to control nor to consumption), el Raval defying the current city, it does not know how to interpret the popular neighborhood.

On social control and life and death of the ciudad-marca spoke with the author of  Kill Chinese.

 

It seems that el Raval exemplifies perfectly the clash between two Barcelonas. Why is theirs a history of violence?

 

Because it has demonized a place and people, simply because they are poor, hard-workingand little inclined to gentleness; they wanted us to believe that they don’t deserve respect, that they are not worthy of living in the city and their presence to dirty and pollutes the “Barcelona” brand. In the same Raval have been and remain different ravales. The Barcelonas of rumba of the Gato Pérez, the neighborhoods and the workers. Against these, the high neighborhoods, speculators. We could say that Barcelona is antagonism.

“Kill Chinese had signed it, but not at the price of end to squeeze out and confined to the weakest of the city population.”

“Poor, prostitutes, anarchists and mariconas”… For those who don’t know, it’s a powerful definition you give in the book about what El Raval.

This formula summarizes the imaginary about Chinatown since its christening in the 20-30 years until our days. It has sought to apply the malignant aura around the Raval: its confusing working classes with dangerous kinds to justify brutal interventions against the weakest and most incorrigible population. In the Raval were born CNT and UGT. If the city it became known as “La Rosa de Foc”, is thanks to the Raval.

Call the anarchist terrorist, to define the place as “an urban burrow against the order, tranquility, peace and the work of Barcelona”, call the poor, whores and faggots “the binds human”, that he lived in “that dark and degraded parapet of the underworld”… are details that abound in this confusion. This justified a few only comparable urban destruction to the Francoist bombings.

 

“Kill the Chinese” to “save the Raval”?

Is the latest strategy. Until 1988, the current Raval was a depot of working classes and legendary Chinatown was the dark side of powerful and police of Barcelona. There summary executions were carried out, he trafficked drugs and women. Now the fight is in who monopolizes this “black market”. Large international speculators have driving you the tooth to the Raval and are contesting the local elites. Kill Chinese had signed it, but not at the price of end to squeeze out and confined to the weakest of the city population. Now it’s keep”true taste outsider”(as say tourist guides) but tidy and under control.

 

What is the challenge posed by the Raval district today to the institutional model of city?

 

Precisely, not be regulated in a model. Resist with their own bodies–the only thing that many left – is an example for the rest of the fights for the city.

“On TV and the press used the myth of el Raval, as dangerous site to fill spurious news about the district or to sell garbage as in the street-type programs”

2015, what is the story of el Raval, which now makes the official Barcelona? How this story would puts the neighborhood in question?

 

On the one hand trying to “wash the image” of the neighborhood, talk about the new ‘barrio hipster’. On the other hand, before any hint of insurrection – as of thed Street sex workers ‘ d’en Robadoraims to summon the moral panics of the neighborhood Chinese, referred to as “the Harlem Barcelona, an impregnable jungle in the heart of Barcelona”. The traditional neighborhood resist as you can to the new urban colonialism. A Robador prostitutes call it Gaza. These neighbors Castle in rights to the street, to work and to live freely without systematic harassment from police, speculators and now the burden of mass tourism.

City Council is buying farms of this street to take forward the plan “Robador / Sant Ramon”, another operation of transfer of public money to the private market. All this at the same time increasing therazzias policeon the area, with military tactics as the of “saturation”, completely cutting off access and exit of streets such as Sant Ramon and Robador while they catch all the passers-by like fish in a net.

 

Is Illa Robador the symbol of all this?

 

Illa Robador is the last place of the resistance of what Marti Abella – responsible company which demolished much of Ciutat Vella – called “a place where he lived very normal people”. Oppressed one of the few corners of the “historic centre” Barcelona is perhaps where he still lives, works and enjoys very normal people.

“Much of the Raval is still an authentic island of freedom”

Today is there sense of el Raval, as dangerous site, as a site to avoid, for part of inhabitants of other districts of Barcelona?

 

Still has force the myth, especially because in the press and television is used to fill spurious news about the district or directly to sell waste as in “Street” type programs.

 

What is the future of the Raval? Are they doomed to disappear neighborhoods like this?

 

The neighborhood is disappearing by dint of Pickaxe and police harassment. But they don’t get the long-awaited “renewal of people”, the purification and atonement of the Chinese has been achieved, traditional residents were expelled or new neighbors have managed to “take on the street”. Much of el Raval is still today an “authentic island of liberty”. While they do not tear down the entire neighborhood or imprisoned or expelled all its inhabitants, the place will remain a model of struggles and resistancesagainst the rule of the exchange value and the pettiness, against the pursuit of profit at all costs.

 

http://www.playgroundmag.net/articulos/entrevistas/Pobres-anarquistas-mariconas-control-Barcelona_0_1434456559.html

When There is no Chance of Peace: The Russian/ American Stand-Off

Putin-ObamaBy Karla Fetrow

Building the Nuclear Wall

No two nations have been able to create as much opposition on a global scale as the conflict between the United States and Russia. Beginning as a political struggle between one-party Marxist theorists and capitalism with the power of democratic vote at the end of World War II, it escalated from a silent agreement to disagree to a not-so-silent nuclear arms build-up along Eastern/ Western European borders. Few countries chose neutrality. The non-aligned bloc consisted primarily of Yugoslavia, Egypt and India; countries that rejected the political structure of either communism or democracy.

Appropriately, the steady accumulation of nuclear arsenal led to a doctrine referred to as MAD; Mutually Assured Destruction. Each side advanced a technology of nuclear deterrents, in which the aggressor would be quickly attacked at the first sign of nuclear weapons deployment. Realizing that their wall of heavy-metal protection could easily result in their total annihilation, both countries engaged in a campaign strategy of psychological warfare, subversive activity and a tangled network of spy versus spy. Open Cold War conflicts were confined to the smaller, less-developed countries of the Mideast, Asia and in Latin America.

The Power Locked Triangle

Sitting on the sidelines, menacing in its policies of non-communication, was the powerful country of China. While it was also communist, China had split from Russian ideology of Leninism/ Marxist interpretation to Maoism/Marxist doctrine. The split became exaggerated when China began seeking to replace the Lenin philosophy as the world’s interpretation of communism and when Russia began deviating from Stalinism.

During the upheaval of the 1950’s and 1960’s, China’s leader, Mao Zedong, proposed an aggressive, more militant attitude toward the Western countries, rejecting the ideas of Nikita Khrushchev that the capitalist and communist countries could co-exist. Zedong perceived the diplomacy of Khrushchev as the work of a communist revisionist and contrary to the ideals of Marxism.

Divide and Conquercold_war_by_costalonga-d4bdjsg

The sharp division in ideologies came to a head in 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis. With the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, an effort by the CIA para-military troops to remove the Communist leader, Fidel Castro reached an agreement with Russia. The Soviet Union would place missile bases to deter further US intervention. The agreement was stimulated, in part, by the recent presence of American Jupiter missiles staged in Italy and Turkey, with Moscow within range.

When US spy planes confirmed the Russian missile bases had been established in Cuba, the US established a military blockade and demanded that the weapons be dismantled. The world was held in tense captivity for thirteen days as the Cold War gained steam; each day counting down the minutes to a possible nuclear war. A series of rapid negotiations began between Russia and the US, ending with an agreement that Russia would withdraw its weaponry if the US would never again try to end Cuba’s government forcibly. Secretly, the US also dismantled its Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey, as the project was not then known to the public.

The event caused the US and Russia to create a special hotline, where communications could be set up quickly to reduce further tensions. Khrushchev announced this was a clear indication that peaceful resolution could be found. Zedong felt the Soviet leader was a traitor to their cause.

The hotline enabled more fruitful negotiations between American and Soviet leaders, including policies in arms control and the Vietnam conflict. The US, however, decided to drive the wedge in deeper between the two communist power houses. In 1972, US President Nixon paid his first visit into China.

When it Takes Three to Tangle

7107_image003Nixon’s initial trip into China was motivated by the desire to make sure the two communist super powers never did form a common agreement with each other. The objectives stated; a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan crisis and a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam war; were never realized. Taiwan continues to face a military threat from the Republic of China, and the Vietnam War was settled by its own people with the aid of China as Nixon began with-drawing troops shortly after his initial visit. The trip, however, did create an unforeseeable new economic landscape. As relationships between the US and China thawed, China began opening its doors to foreign investors and gave permission to entrepreneurs to start business. At the same time, Russia, with a largely regional based economy, began to falter.

There are various reasons stated for the collapse of the Soviet Union. A large concentration of its economy had gone into the expansion of its military forces and technology. Many of its natural resources, such as mining, were under-developed. A new mood had taken over the Union; one of more liberal interpretations of government ideologies and policies and of independent nationalist movements. A series of conflicts riveted throughout the nation between 1988 and 1989. In 1990, the Communist Party for the Soviet Union gave up its seventy year old monopoly of political power and held its first competitive election involving all fifteen of its constituent republics. The CPSU lost in six of the voting republics.

Although perhaps not in the manner he intended, Nixon’s trips to China defused the Communist threat. The country that had once advocated active militarism against capitalists, was about to show the world how well it was able to perform in capitalistic ventures. The country that had appealed for peaceful co-existence, underwent a metamorphoses from a Stalinist state, to a series of independent nations exercising their power of vote.

Leadership in Capitalism

China and Russia were never on the best terms throughout the Cold War period. Along with differences in interpretation of Marxism, there were territorial skirmishes and other policy disagreements. Analysts sometimes perceived China as the patient giant, waiting for an inevitable war to break out between the United States and Russia, and ready to swoop in among the pieces.

The Soviet Union was enormous in size. It covered one- sixth of the world’s land mass, making it nearly the same size as the entire continent of North America. It rivaled the United States in military strength and space technology. Russia was feared, but China entered public television screens with a different perspective.

For the first time in twenty years, America was able to see live footage in China. What they saw was a primarily rural people engaged in labor, living much as they had during the 1930’s. China was quickly absorbed into the commercial landscape. As China gained knowledge of American electronics, technology and fashions, manufactured products from Korea, Malaysia and Latin America were slowly eased out in preference for the lower costs involved in Chinese goods. It began taking active part in global enterprise. It began quietly and patiently building its economic empire.graphic ENGLISH - DER SPIEGEL 46/2009 Seite 76

According to mathematicians, numbers don’t lie. The strength of a country is demonstrated in its Gross Domestic Product. Its successful governance is illustrated in its consistency in paying back debt, in generating profits, in its ability to lend money and invest in natural resources. Currently, China is considered the strongest economy in the world. Its investments in the United States alone amount to $14 billion. Its industry includes energy, mining, real estate and transportation, with a high concentration of its development projects scattered throughout Africa and the Mideast.

Deja Vu with a Twist

Even with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is still an imposing country. Its shrunken size still covers one-eighth of the world’s land mass. It shares borders with fourteen countries and maritime waters with the US and Japan. It rose out of its economic crash within ten years, running a strong surplus trade in oil revenues by the year 2000. During the global real estate crash, Russia never flinched. Russia had begun to rely more on barter than on the banks, which left a much lighter impact on producers. The domestic industries had benefitted from Russia’s economic slump as the prices of imported goods became too steep for the public to afford. Unemployment dropped and consumer demands for Russian goods and services began to rise.

According to the numbers, Russia is a self-sustaining nation, a strong bloc of influence with very little need of Western banks, Western technology or Western products. Trade agreements with Western countries have largely been matters of convenience and mutual benefit. They were engineered in the spirit of peaceful resolution.

Placing sanctions on Russia was like telling an independently wealthy contractor you’re not going to do business with him anymore. It may cause some discomfort. Amenities you had both grown to enjoy might be lost in your dissociation, but it’s not going to destroy either business. As the largest country in the world with a vast number of natural resources, its own advanced technologies and intellectual property, Russia has a lot to offer, particularly in energy, which is China’s number one investment.

Hot Seat in an Icy Political Climate

We are staged for another Cold War, with the same three players, although this time the script is written differently. Russia and China are moving closer together, while the United States drops to the sideline and contemplates its waning political/economic clout.

It’s ironic that the two countries that differed in points of view on a common ideology, have found their accord in capitalist interests. It’s ironic that the very tool that had been used to wedge the two countries apart, is now being used by these two countries in the global arena.

02f06c7486011375125825The United States is faced with a new dilemma. Like the Soviet Union, before its collapse, a large portion of its funding has gone into its military complex and very little into the infrastructure of its social system. Its union is fractured by civil disaccord and rumbles of dissolution. Its torn between ideologies.

Like Russia, it may go through a metamorphoses. It may take a closer look at its values, determining the aspects of common good and individual needs. It may concentrate more on developing its domestic products and rely less on imports. It may incorporate a system of barter, with less reliance on banking. It may realize that this particular monopoly game is over, and it’s time for a new round.

It could sit on the sidelines and wait for Russia and China to fail. It could anticipate a break-down in negotiations between these two super-powers and prepare to swoop up the pieces. It could remain doggedly uncommunicative with Russia or quarrel over the country’s every statement, in which case, there will be no peace. It will be a long, drawn-out and suppressive period of military activity, a stagnating society, a struggling economy and civil unrest.

Terror Won

CONTACT/S: 30 Exhibition -ACP By: Grainne Rhuad

Today marks the anniversary of what we have come to call “The Attacks of 9/11.”  For myself, I almost always forget that this date is some sort of holiday in the U.S. until I notice Boy Scouts putting flags in lawns and people flying flags at half mast. This year I had some warning due to my high school student’s current event with a historical connection assignment.  She had wanted to talk about the new findings in the Jack the Ripper case.  Her teacher told her no, that it wasn’t historical. (?)  and insisted on her covering something from 9/11.  I was oppositionally resigned.  I wanted my young one to do their report on whatsoever they damn well pleased. However, I get it that 9/11 is still and likely always will be a BIG deal for a lot of people in our country.

Who am I kidding?  The actual occurrence was a BIG deal for me.  I can remember getting in my car to leave for the morning school drop and hearing the report on the local rock station as delivered by Mark and Brian.  Where usually there was comedy in the morning, all of a sudden there wasn’t.

Funny enough, my first thought was: “I need to pick up a newspaper and save it.”  This stems from the hours I spent as a child pouring over the newspapers my Grandmother had saved from the Great Depression and WWII era.  They had been intriguing and invaluable to me.  I didn’t end up picking up a newspaper.  Part of me wishes that I had.  But people don’t chronicle things the same way today as they did before.  My Grandparents had huge scrapbooks of newspaper articles and pictures of them on or around the day the events occurred.  Poetry and letters from loved ones.  I don’t do that. Mostly because I haven’t the patience to sit around cutting and pasting but also because Scrapbooking in its current state is ridiculous pseudo-art for bored mommies.

I remember getting home and calling my partner who hadn’t yet heard.  Being a counselor, he was spending the day in quiet rooms with people.  It was his decision and a good one at that to go pick up all of our school aged young ones.  No learning was going to happen that day and we wanted our family to receive information at a pace and mood that we controlled.  The media was already saturated. After about half an hour of no new information and the same disturbing reels playing in a loop I turned off the television. It was pivotal point for our family. It was the moment we all stopped watching news on television altogether.  I still don’t get my news from television.  The medium of twenty four hour news is designed to keep us upset, in a state of unknowing and fear.

I felt helpless.  It was a moment when I wanted to help, but really what could someone in California with no skills in search and rescue or funds do?  I turned my mind to working on something I could  do.  I stacked wood.  We had just split 5 cords of wood and it all needed stacking and I stacked wood for the rest of the week.  It was a great lesson to me, turning my mind to something I could impact.  Letting everything else go; I use this lesson everyday now.

This year, as I look back at the events of 2001 I am incredibly saddened by where we as a nation allowed ourselves to go.  I had such hopes that at least this tragedy would teach us some lessons.  Lessons like, we are not invincible and unreachable. We should be looking out for one another and coming together.

Instead, we as a nation rushed to war.  With sadness I watched as no dissension occurred in our Congress over taking military action.  Nobody wanted to wait and see or better yet, defeat the whole purpose of terrorism by not reacting to it. We appeared then and today still as extremely egocentric as a country.  Other countries have been dealing with terrorism for quite some time now.  We, feeling protected by our isolation were shocked that what the rest of the world already had a handle on responding to, felt some sort of deep affront that it should happen to us.  How dare they? In the time since that day it seems we have learned no lessons regarding our behavior.

If anything we as a nation have become worse.  Racism, which seemed like it was on the decline, has jumped exponentially since 9/11.  It extends to everyone of brown skin.  People of colour, no matter what their race are immediately more suspect  than Caucasians.  This profiling is out of control. And yet, most of our most dangerous and terrifying killers have in fact been Caucasian.

We fear our national neighbors more than ever. But mostly our brown neighbors, Canada is still A-Okay with us.  We have gotten ridiculously vigilant at the border.  We daily and weekly see stories of terrifying disease and infection that we blame on our Mexican neighbors and we seemingly make no distinction in all the other South Americans who also cross the same border.  If they come from Mexico to the wide audience, they are Mexican.

We have also handed over control of our lives to a police state.  With the Patriot Act, we gave permission for the commander in chief  and Homeland Security to do whatsoever he likes with whomsoever he likes.  Things like warrants and due process and Miranda rights.

Furthermore, as has been shown this year, our state and local police force can hurt, maim, humiliate and otherwise harry citizens with no fear of being reprimanded much less losing their job.  Cecily Macmillan, an Occupy Protester was found guilty of assault and sentenced to prison for having a seizure. (Police officer claiming assault).  While she is far from the only person abused and blamed her high profile case and refusal to plead guilty to lesser charges put this situation squarely in the public eye.

We are afraid.  We are so afraid of anything and anyone different that we are willing to go to other countries and kill those who make us afraid.  President Barack Obama, the man who in his campaigning stated he would pull us out of Afghanistan and Iraq, just yesterday, Sept. 10, 2014 announced the start of air raids on Syria.  Another country full of brown people.  And in case anyone thinks this is an anti-Islamist issue, understand, Syria is largely Eastern Orthodox.  That’s Christian, just like most of mainstream America.

I have seen so many memes, posts, articles even books centered on the idea that if we did away with religion we would have less of these problems as if somehow believing in spiritual being and congregating to talk about it is the cause of war. I don’t believe it is.  The cause is fear, dare I say; Terror? We have allowed terror to overcome us and by doing so terror and by association terrorists win. The President was right about one thing: The war on Terror is over, and Terror is victorious.  And we did all this, because we were afraid.  We, as Americans were willing to protect our liberty by giving it up.

!Yes this is me and My Name is Palestine !

10339667_733379040055373_3080011058870364609_nBy Adeel Ahmad

As I lay in the pool of my own blood, half my body buried under the ruble and the ruins of what five minutes ago was my ancestral home, Where my father taught me how to walk before his father told him how to walk ….

Yes, it’s me as I gasp for air because the force of the concrete is pressing against my chest and with each breath of air, the ruble constricts around me like a Zionist snake constricting it’s victim. I am Palestine….

Yes, it’s me in shock where my mind is trying to tell my body, it’s all a dream and it will be over when I wake up in the afterlife; while you sleep peacefully in your abodes of abundance in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, uae so on and so forth…

Yes, it is me. My name is Palestine as I breathe the fumes of the bomb that took away my family, my little 2 year old daughter who called me baba. When I came home with nothing; not even a piece of candy for her after a failed day of obtaining any labor, she still welcomed me with open arms and her smile was as divine as the smiles of Angels themselves..Alas I can not even move to gather the small pieces of her angel body that lays across the ruble to give her a hug goodbye before i join her in a few minutes….

Yes, this is me as the shine in my eyes slowly fades away due to lack of blood and oxygen in my Brain; but don’t be fooled. All of my life is flashing right before my eyes right now in full splendor – My wife the ever patient companion through thick and thin, through sickness and health, through poverty and abundance – She was sitting right beside me as we were about to open our fast ..My Mother, bless her smiles, was on the other side with my little son in her lap, looking at us her whole universe …

We didn’t have much to eat but it was enough to take us to tomorrow..not that it matters anymore.. My little son, the man of the house, just 4 years old but wise beyond years. I never remember him asking me for anything; neither candies nor toys. Now that i come to think, I never even saw him laugh. He was an old soul in the body of a 4 year old, walked to the end of the street with me every morning as i went to search for work and waited for me there every evening when I returned home…he insisted on carrying my tools on the short walk back home and in those few steps he became my strength…

Yes, this is me as my eyes have grown dark and I can’t see but my mind is still echoing with distant memories..i remember they said Pakistan has got nuclear bombs. Now they will come to save us they said…yes i remember celebrating in the streets of gaza of khanyounis camp of ramallah the sense of pride…but as time passed those happy moments faded away too like the memories in my mind are fading away as i descend in to the dark abyss of the hereafter..

Yes, this is me as my soul soars above my crushed body and I rise towards the heavens I can see the ruins of my home. A little more height and i can see clouds of smoke rising from the Gaza strip all around me. I hear screams and I see other souls departing the open air prison that I called home …I See settlers on the other side of the wall on high hills sitting in camping chairs lighting camp fires and having beers while they see us being killed…I see it all…

Yes, this is me. My Name is Palestine and I see a lot of things, but my regret is what I don’t or rather didn’t see in my life time.

• i didn’t see…I don’t see the custodians of the two holy mosques declaring sermons to the Ummah to come to the Aid of Me and my people in Palestine..I didn’t see them donating their Oil money and their zakat to light our homes so that our children could know how it feels to have luminescence in the night, to have heat in the winter and to have cooling in the summer.

• I didn’t see the Neo Ottomans, the turks, the warriors, the liberators of Muslims, I didn’t see them coming to the aid of the forgotten people of Palestine with their EU trade agreements and with their nato bases and with their armies..

• I didn’t see the Mujaheddin of Syria and the isis of the Iraq and Ikhwan of Egypt coming to the aid of the oppressed brothers here, in the only place where Jihad should have been declared 60 years ago.

• I didn’t see the ayatollahs of Iran, the clerics whose words spit fire towards the western nations but whose actions speak otherwise.

• I didn’t see the armies of Azerbaijan and Pakistan coming to the aid of the oppressed of the Ummah for which they have to answer very soon.

Yes, my Name is Still Palestine and even as these are the last words, I will ever utter, I will still remain Palestine since I was here before Mosis and I will remain here after Israel will be long gone…For Palestine is not made out of flesh and blood or brick and stone but it is made out of the flames of resistance that can never be put out. Yes, my Name is Palestine and I am the last thorn into the side of Zionism, and if I fall you shall all be next lest you wake up and Hold on to the Rope of Allah and Unite not for the sake of my salvation but yours .

Monsters of Greed and the Demons of Need

1975243_675691985824079_759207107_nBy Adeel Ahmad

Welcome to life little grasshopper, As this is your first day on earth let me whisper to you a story that has no beginning and has no end. A story that can not be told but lived, The story of Monsters of Greed and demons of Need.

Long ago before you and me and everything the light touches was born there was a sound. The first sound was a command that uttered “?? (Happen)” and so it did, and oh boy were we about to have the ride of a life time. Universes, galaxies upon galaxies, stars, planets, the very fabric of time and space all happened. That is not the story we for today little grasshopper but another day. Today i tell you the story of the greatest of all creations and the worst of all creations. Today I tell you the story of Monsters that live inside men and the demons that walk among us.

As it would happen, man evolved to be a social animal if using the word animal is the appropriate term here. The reason being, the only thing that separates us from animals is not the ability to think or deduct logic from experiences; no not that; but all the wants we don’t need and all the needs we don’t want. This separates us from the honorable animal kingdom and puts us in to a class of our own.

The story, little miracle of creation, is about the invention of greeds that don’t serve our needs. From the moment you will learn to process information, you will find a divine algorithm at work on the principal of uncertainty. Uncertainty ,chance, random occurrences in your environment will shape you in to the kind of person you will become when you grow up. Man and even The Divine creator himself has put methods and procedures into place to keep this uncertainty in check. They have different names for it. Some call it religion, some call it law, some call it the code of life, some call it a moral code. The truth little grasshopper is that whatever it is, it comes from inside of you and can not be influenced from the outside. The only way you can realise it is when your gut tells you if something is right or wrong; that right and wrong will be influenced by society and its laws and religion but ultimately you will be the judge of it.

Need is a unique thing a gift and a curse at times. It keeps one focused on to a perspective. It gives one a mission, a goal, a direction of sorts. Need is what makes you get out of bed and go about in to the unknown random event generator that is this world. Need will give you a sense of self preservation and be the catalyst to your cognitive thinking process. You will learn to prioritise. Need is a demon too, as it will keep you going like a tyrant master and will ride you till the day you draw your last breath my precious grasshopper .Needs if left un-catered for, can become a demon that will make you compromise on what your gut says and do what it commands of you if you are not careful. It will evolve in to its alter ego, and its a monster and it goes by the name Greed.

Greed unlike need is not unique at all. It isn’t even picky. It is everywhere and desires to engulf everything that is, like the darkness that falls at night greed engulfs everything in its path. Unlike need, there is no end to it. Greed like needs will try to govern your life, yet it will not be a tyrant master but a seductive mistress. Greed will leave you with nothing but will always make you want for more. Greed is when your needs take precedence over the needs of the many and you turn a blind eye towards their suffering. Greed is a more destructive force as coupled with the uncertainty principal, you in time will get the illusion that your greeds are actually your needs and that feeling in your gut will die.

I don’t want you to be scared of the needs and greeds little grasshopper. Fear not the demons that their needs make out of the poor; Fear the monsters that their greeds make out of the rich. I wonder, you will be wondering, what is rich and what is poor. Just a few minutes on earth and you have to face the reality of life. Rich my little grasshopper are the monsters who put their needs above all the needs of the many. Poor are the people who struggle to keep up with their needs because the rich have left not many resources and means for them to do so.

As i said before this story has no beginning and has no end for as long as men shall live monsters and demons of need and greed will walk among us. I am not asking you to be a saint or even if there is any such thing as one. The irony of life is that when you finally realise that all the futile wants you needed were not the needs you wanted; life ends . i am asking you my little grasshopper be the master of your needs and the shunner of your greeds and leave the earth when your time comes light as a feather . This my little grasshopper when and if you are born will be my will to you .

Taking no Sides, a Lesson from the Edhi Foundation

Edhi03By Karla Fetrow Our Limited Perspective

Politics are complex and become more so when you begin adding the differences in cultural perspectives, religious affiliations, ideologies and the demographics of location. We have become accustomed as a people, to comparing the politics in different regions to our own, deciding for foreign entities the most favorable way to govern their countries, whether or not we know the first thing about them or their problems. Somehow, we seem to believe it’s our responsibility to install the democratic vote and persuade developing countries to adopt the commercial ventures of Western enterprise.

For too many countries, our intervention has seemed more like an invasion into life styles that had once been peaceful, into value systems that have suddenly disappeared in value, into evolving social system that have been interrupted in its progress than like a call for liberation.  Instead of stability, they are thrown into restlessness and confusion.  Among the countries torn apart with inner turmoil and riddled with border disputes, is Pakistan.

Pakistan rarely makes the headlines. General knowledge is that its northern presence separates India from Afghanistan. Its population is primarily Muslim and it has been known to shelter the Taliban. It’s not particularly feared. Even though it is engaged in both internal and external border conflicts, it hasn’t posed a direct threat to Western countries. In fact, it’s considered an ally, even though it is bombed by US drones on a daily basis.

Less understood are certain features of Pakistan’s history. With the “Independence of India Act” of 1947, the British Empire split the northern area of India into modern day Pakistan, leaving two independent countries; the largely Hindu population of India, and Muslim dominant Pakistan. Over two million people migrated between the two borders with the separation and over one hundred thousand died during the inter-religious upheavals between the two countries. RZ01-00039A Time for Kindness

It’s within the heat of turmoil, as the two newly independent countries struggled to establish their governments, their leaders, and proceeded to engage  in a mutual ethnic cleansing that rivaled the horrors of Nazi Germany, that our story begins. It’s not a story that tries to make sense out of the violent upheaval or take sides with any particular warring faction, just one that illustrates courage, faith and kindness against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Abdul Sattar Edhi was born in 1928, in what is now known as Gujarat, west India. His exposure to human suffering came early. His mother was in poor health. By the time Edhi was eleven, she was feeling the ravaging effects of diabetes, as well as a paralysis that left her completely handicapped. The young boy devoted his waking hours caring for her, but her condition did not improve. Despite her debilitating health, she had a strong determination to teach her son compassion for the less fortunate. According to the stories concerning Edhi’s early childhood, each day she gave the boy two paisas, one for himself and one for someone less fortunate. In a country torn apart by religious and political turmoil, resulting in millions of refugees, it wasn’t hard for him to find someone less fortunate.

However, what had begun as a simple practical decision to create two separate countries with two separate religious bases became an inexorable machinery uprooting and weeding out all those who did not comply to the majority of that region.  By the time he was nineteen, the young Muslim was also forced to flee the country and settle in Pakistan.

The conditions in Pakistan were by no means better than those he had left behind. Infants were abandoned by the road sides and corpses were left out in the open, their decomposition unheeded and apparently unnoticed. Jobs in the city of Karachi, where his family settled, were scarce. Abdul Sattar Edhi spent his first few years earning a livelihood as a street vendor, selling pencils and match boxes. The desire to be of service to others, however, had not left him.

Although he had received no formal education, Edhi was highly intelligent and perceptive. He realized a crucial need for more medical assistance to the district, and began saving money to open a charitable clinic. His medical education was entirely voluntary, and perhaps augmented by the skills he had learned in nursing his mother. He became friends with a medical doctor, learned to assist him in his practice, and spent his nights on the concrete floor outside the clinic, making himself available to anyone who needed his help at any time.

In 1951, he opened a tiny dispensary in one of Karachi’s poorer districts, Mithador. His main priority was to help the poor and the needy. When in 1957, a major flu epidemic broke out in the city of Karachi, it was Abdul Sattar Edhi who took control over the crisis. Setting up tents on the outskirts of the town, he began distributing free immunizations. Public support for his efforts was enormous. As funds began pouring in, his charitable practice grew from one tiny corner of a complex, to owning the entire building. Here he established the Edhi Foundation, which continues to serve people in need and is completely supported by public donations.

Tireless Serviceabdul-sattar-edhi-7

One of Edhi’s first achievements was an ambulance service. It was not an ambulance detail in the ordinary sense of the word. His service didn’t just transport patients in need of emergency medical care, it bravely arrived in times of conflict, picking up the dead and wounded during enemy fire. It was also used for picking up runaway or destitute children and giving them safe housing.  It is now a fleet of four hundred and it is considered one of the largest and best organized ambulance services in the world.

He needed the whole building and more for the size of his dream. He set up a free maternity center and a nursing school. When he began expanding the number of clinics, he included mental health facilities and homes for the physically handicapped.

What he has accomplished in the sixty plus years since he first hit the streets selling match boxes has been amazing. The Edhi foundation is now the largest charitable institution in Pakistan. It runs over 300 clinics, 2000 ambulances throughout the country, eight hospitals in Karachi alone, mobile clinics and a cancer hospital. His foundation contains a legal aid department and free services and doctor visits for inmates. He is responsible for the building of orphanages, adoption centers, blood banks, maternity centers and shelters for children and battered women.

How he has done this is astounding. His giant network of care services is completely public funded. He receives no government grants, no gifts from political or religious organizations. He insists that the foundation remain completely independent, assessing the needs of the individual based solely on the immediate distress. Edhi not only concerns himself with the protection of women, but their potential to generate independent income. He recognizes their abilities as capable workers, providing education and training in a number of professional positions, as well as providing shelter and counseling for abuse victims.

Portrait of the Man

“I had accepted at the onset that charity was distorted and completely unrelated to its original concept. Reverting to the ideal was like diverting an ocean of wild waters. Another major obstacle in the promotion of welfare was exposed… the disgust of man toward mankind. There was only one expression, one reaction from everyone… cringing. We could not reduce suffering unless we rise above our own senses… cringing was the first and greatest obstacle that blocked our way, the most brutal, but the most understandable”.

-Abdul Sattar Edhi

You would not know he was a great man if you simply passed him in the street. In fact, if you belonged to a paranoid Christian community, you might suspect him of being in league with terrorists. In 2006, he was detained in Toronto for sixteen hours. He was met by officials at the John F. Kennedy airport in 2008, where he was interrogated for eight hours, during which time his documents and passport were seized. In 2009, he was refused entry into Gaza by the Egyptian authorities. When asked what he believed the reason might be for his frequent border detentions, he answered it could be his beard and clothes.

Abdul Sattar Edhi keeps only two sets of clothing. He dresses in traditional Muslim attire. His long beard has turned gray over the years. He travels and lives humbly, refusing a salary and spending only what it takes to survive. Your key to his greatness might only come if you sat down for a meal with him, or drew him into conversation. He is considered the greatest humanitarian that nobody knows; except in the areas where his principles have had a direct effect on the social well-being of the community.

The community has not been limited to Pakistan. The Edhi Foundation provided aid to New Orleans following the hurricane of 2005, and has run relief operations in Africa, the Mid East, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus region; a mountainous area located between Europe and Asia. He was awarded the prestigious Magasay award by the Philippines in 1986, the Balzan peace award by Italy in 2000 and a peace prize by Russia for services during the 1988 Armenian earthquake disaster. He was recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 by the Pakistan Government.

Rising Awareness

A moving documentary titled, “This Bird Walks” carries you through one of the aspects of Edhi’s social services; the life of the ambulance driver and the shelter for run-away and lost children. It focuses primarily on one young boy who struggles with his own evolving maturity, seeks to answer moral questions and discover where he truly belongs. It takes a candid view of the boy’s interactions and his deeply spiritual nature.

It also follows the rounds of the ambulance driver as he divides his time between picking up the dead and reuniting children with their families. The ambulance creeps through crowded thorough-fares, alive with bicycles, pedestrians and street side stalls to tiny apartments huddled close together, to sometimes joyful reunions with families, to reproofs and recriminations. It travels through dark, empty streets, the wastes of living flapping by the sides of the road, ruins of concrete buildings crumbling into the dust. It reveals a Pakistan that is despairing yet hopeful, a culture ruled by gentleness under the rumbling layers of discontent.

Under the highly critical eye of global affairs, we have a tendency to focus on the government of a country instead of the society. We judge its spiritual growth by our own religious standards.  We measure morality based on our own perceptions. We view the differences in ethnicity, cultural identification and life styles as obstacles in understanding the individual. As human beings, we’re all wired to the same basic human needs. Beyond food, water, and shelter, there is the broken fabric of good health to be mended.  There are also broken hearts waiting for someone to pick up the pieces. We need the strength of others to overcome our fears, communications to drive away loneliness, consolation for our grief. Suffering is Universal. It recognizes no borders, no age, no social status, no gender.

958-1234439_594459817279294_391390565_nOur Hope for Peace

Pakistan is a beautiful country, with some of the highest mountains in the world, forests, lakes, rivers, sweeping plateau’s and deserts. It has a rich diversity of indigenous plant and wildlife. It’s abundant in natural resources. It also has a population in excess of 160 million people and the eighth largest standing army in the world in terms of full-time service.

It is the second largest Muslim country, after Indonesia, and the only Muslim county to be declared a nuclear power. After years of internal and external conflict, Pakistan struggles with terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.  It continues to clash with India, yet its message is progressive.

While fiercely stating its independence, its policies have been of pursuing mutual beneficial interests, the sovereign equality of states and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs. It has been a leader in scientific breakthroughs with significant contributions to the medical field and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for its discovery of Electroweak Interaction. Although it’s a nuclear power, only three percent of its energy comes from nuclear power plants.  Its most dominant energy resources are hydroelectric and thermal energy.

It has an active space research program and is one of only a small handful of countries with an active research center in Antarctica. In recent years, the tourist industry has viewed Pakistan favorably, voting it one of the least racist country in the world. It has an extremely rich and ancient history, with civilizations dating back to three thousand years BCE.  It joined the rise of the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, and a succession of several other cultural changes before the incorporation of the last great empire, the Mughals, who ruled from 1526 -1857.  The Mulghal empire left behind a legacy of highly developed Persian literature and culture.

While the Western world gazes nervously at the conflicts that rise through the Mideast, Asia and Africa, wondering what its role should be and how to resolve differences, perhaps it should take some lessons from the Edhi Foundation. Don’t worry about the manner in which a country shall govern itself or the religion it chooses to follow. Just care about the integral needs of the people; shelter them from violence, feed them when they’re hungry, give them hope that somebody is concerned for their well-being. It’s the voices of people like Abdul Sattar Edhi that should be heard; voices that say, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe. What matters is, are you in pain? Do you need assistance? It’s voices like this that will create a bridge of understanding between all countries and political divisions.

“10 People Who Escaped Prison More than Twice”

1337-3-prison-escape

By Michael Arangua

 

We all love that scene in The Shawshank Redemption when Andy finally scratches his way through a stone wall towards freedom and redemption, and the happy music plays in the background. Of course, that was the sort of fictional prison break everyone roots for. In reality, prison breaks are not that happy and actually quite horrifying and humiliating for the facility that fails to keep the inmates under lock down.

Thanks to some poor planning, disorganized protocol, and some criminal ingenuity, some prisoners have escaped from prison in amazing ways. Worse yet, these prisoners have escaped from prison on more than one occasion. Makes you wonder about that whole, “prison is a deterrent” thing.

 

1. Frank Schmoekel

Escaped six times

 

Schmoekel was a German child rapist and murderer, and if that isn’t terrifying enough just consider that the man escaped from prison a whopping six times. One of his biggest escapes, in 2000, caused a nationwide uproar and actually caused the official in the Brandenburg state Health Ministry to resign. Over the course of six break outs he has sawed through window bars, and fled during escorted outings. His latest escape involved attacking one security guard, while the others stepped out for a cigarette. Schmoekel is certainly not the smartest man on this list, but the poor planning of the prisons who let him go is worth a special mention. Hopefully, by now German prisons are investing a little more funds in security tactics. According to Schmoekel, who’s now serving life in prison, as the child of holocaust survivors he is entitled to rape and murder Germany’s children. His appeal for release was denied, if you can believe that.

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2. Joseph Bolitho Johns

Escaped from prison five times

This Australian “bushranger” was active in the 1800s. After being arrested for horse stealing (more more specifically unauthorized horse branding) Johns was brought to the Toodyay facility and then broke out of his cell in the night, repeating his former feat of escaping from a youth detention center. He was arrested for jail breaking but served out his sentence choosing not to escape even when having the chance. After his release, he was arrested for a crime he denied, and so escaped a second time from a work party. Now nicknamed Moondyne Joe, the clever convict was recaptured. However, even after petitioning the Chief Justice for a reduced sentence, he still tried to break out. With the help of a few other inmates, he escaped again. The next time he was caught, he was sent to the escape­proof Fremantle Prison, which was made of stone and contained over a thousand nails. The governor even said if he could break out of this totally secure prison, he would be pardoned. However, he broke so much rock during his sentenced labor he created a pile that obstructed the guard’s view of him.This allowed him to swing at the limestone wall of the prison regularly until he created a wide­enough hole. Authorities searched for him but he went missing. He was returned to prison, tried to escape occasionally, but never did. Fortunately, the new governor remembered the pardon the previous governor promised, and decided not to punish Joe beyond his current sentence. He was eventually released.

 

3. Jack Sheppard

Escaped from prison four times

Sheppard lived in 18th. century London and showed tremendous potential as a carpenter. However, he soon descended into alcohol and and chose a life of vice over his career, because as everyone knows, work is just not as much fun as liquor and easy women. He became a thief to support his ways, but did uncover a new talent: escaping prison. Sheppard’s first prison escape from. St Gile’s Round House happened when he broke through the timber ceiling and lowered himself to the ground using rope from his bedclothes. He disappeared into the crowd (who was already looking for him) directing their attention to a non­existent shadow claiming it was, well, Sheppard. The third time, he was awaiting a death sentence at Newgate, but still managed to escape the day of execution by loosening an iron bar in a window while his wife and associates distracted the guards. Best of all, he managed to escape in women’s clothing, which his visitors had delivered to him. Back to Newgate again, he was now a celebrity jail breaker. He escaped one more time by unlocking his handcuffs and climbing up a chimney. Even an iron bar that blocked his path wasn’t enough to faze him; he removed the bar and used it to break through the ceiling. The people who were there insist the devil must have helped him escape. Maybe…or maybe all that carpentry knowledge just paid off.

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4. Steven Jay Russell

Escaped from prison four times

Steven Jay Russell was such a brilliant con artist, Hollywood couldn’t help but make a movie about him starring Jim Carrey. (Well, to be fair, starring the washed up Jim Carrey of the 2000s) Still, Russell’s life was amazing, and all the more so since he escaped prison in the nearly modern era of the 1990s, when you would think prison wardens should know better. The first time he escaped, he impersonated a prison guard using only a walkie talkie and a set of clothes. After losing his boyfriend, Russell met new beau Phillip Morris and then landed himself in prison again for embezzlement. He escaped by impersonating a judge and lowering his own bail. He was sent to the Maximum Security Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas but escaped once again after using green markers to color a prison uniform green, making it appear to be a a doctor’s scrubs. He walked out the front door. Arrested again and facing stiff penalties, he had to think big and came up with a doozy. He used laxatives and a bit of method acting to fake the symptoms of AIDS. Using a typewriter, he created his own medical records showing his HIV condition. This resulted in Russell receiving a special ­needs parole to a nursing home for terminal care. He then called the prison and parole board and told them, while impersonating a doctor, that the prisoner Russell received experimental treatment but died. Even after his jail break, he still found time to impersonate a judge and get his lover moved to a different prison so he could meet with him. He is currently in a 23 ­hour a day lockup facility, in order to prevent a future escape. Now that’s as close to a Pulitzer Prize as Russell will ever get, but at least the justice system concedes his talent.

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5. Alfred George “Alfie” Hinds

Escaped from prison four times

Alfred George Hinds broke out of three high security prisons over his career in crime. The first escape was from a Borstal Institution for teens. He also deserted the armed forces in World War II and was then sentenced to 12 years of jail time. He escaped Nottingham Prison by sneaking through the locked doors and climbing over a 20-foot prison wall, which earned him a Houdini comparison. When he was arrested again, he started early on his next escape, by suing the prison commissioners for illegal arrest. Using this distraction, he was able to escape using a hidden padlock that was given to him at the Law Courts. He was uncuffed to use the bathroom, but then trapped the accompany guards in the cubicle by snapping the padlock onto the screw eyes that he had asked to be installed by his accomplices. He was captured shortly after, but would escape again, this time from Chelmsford Prison. As if his escaping prison wasn’t enough “salt in the wounds”, he also filed a libel lawsuit against the arresting officer (who denied Hinds’ innocence) and won.

6. Nikita Joakim Fouganthine or Juha Veikko Valjakkala

Escaped four times

Juha was convicted of a triple murder and given a life sentence. However, whereas his accomplice only received two years, Juha had to serve a longer period of time. Finding prison to be rather stifling to his creativity, he decided to escape the Riihimaki prison in Finland. He used a teacher as a hostage but was captured shortly after his escape. He escaped again from the Pyhäselkä prison and actually traveled all the way to Sweden from Finland. After a failed suicide attempt (which doesn’t really count as major league prison break) he again broke out from the Sukeva prison. His next break out was from the labor prison in Hamina in 2006. He also gets extra credit for “escaping” with a suspended sentence, as he was arrested yet again in 2008 for minor violations and released again in 2009. However, he was arrested in 2011 and escaped parole prison in late 2011. The whole thing has inspired him to write an autobiography, which will presumably not be titled “How to Repeatedly Break Out of Prison.”

 

7. Matti Haapoja

Escaped four times

Matti Haapoja from Finland was a serial killer (confessed to at least 18 murders) and a talented escape artist. Living in the 1860s, he didn’t have much holding him back except a few guards and a prison wall. So it’s not too surprising that he escaped the
Turku  Prison four times over a ten year period. Even after he was shipped to Siberia, and then Eastern Siberia for killing more people, he broke out of prison again and returned to Finland in 1890. He tried to break out least one more time by killing a guard, but couldn’t finish the job. He tried to commit suicide by self stabbing but did not wound himself fatally. However, the story of Haapoja teaches us persistence if nothing else. He successfully hung himself in 1895. For a time, his skeleton was displayed at the Museum of Crime in Vantaa, otherwise known as the creepiest museum ever.

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8. Yoshie Shiratori

Escaped four times

Shiratori from Japan, was convicted of murder in 1933 and escaped from prison four times over a three year period which is a pretty good batting average, even amongst all his jail breaking friends. He escaped Aomori prison in 1936 and was re arrested, only to escape again in 1942. Years were added onto his prison sentence as he was continually recaptured. One of Shiratori’s innovations was rusting. He rusted his handcuffs and inspection hole with miso soup. He escaped again in 1944 from Abashiri prison and again in 1947 after digging a tunnel in Sapporo prison. He was finally paroled in 1961, as officials didn’t seem to think he was a lifelong killer, and no crimes were ever reported after the initial murder. His legacy was immortalized in author Akira Yoshimura’s novel “Hagoku”. His memorial is inside the Abashiri Prison Museum. Oh well, next best thing to an Academy Award.

9. Richard Lee McNair

Escaped three times

McNair was a murderer and not much good to the world—well, except for his amazing ability to escape from prison. The first time, he used only lip balm to grease his hands for a handcuff escape. The next time, he escaped capture by crawling up and through a ventilation duct. His last breakout from a federal prison in 2006 (we still hadn’t figured out how to keep people in jail apparently) happened when McNair mailed himself out of  prison in a crate. While he didn’t quite receive the fame of other 20 featured on America’s Most Wanted. McNair didn’t have the most creative ideas but he was certainly an opportunist and one who never stopped looking for a way out. He is currently serving two life imprisonment terms, so he has more than enough time to think up another escape plan.

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10. William “Willie” Sutton

Escaped three times

Sutton, like many other escape artists of the glorious past was a bank robber first and then became a notorious Houdini prisoner later in life. He broke out of prison three times mostly due to his uncanny ability to dress up in disguise. He even earned the name “Slick Willie” well before the Clinton years. The first time he was arrested he used a smuggled gun to hold a prison guard hostage. Next, he escaped with other convicts through a tunnel. The third time, he and other convicts dressed up as prison guards and carried ladders to the wall. Even when authorities spotted him, Sutton yelled “It’s okay!” and convinced them nothing was happening. A judge suspended Sutton’s sentence in 1969 for good behavior and Sutton’s deteriorating health. Ironically, after release he spoke to banks on anti­robbery technology and ideas. Lesson learned, always be a team player whether you’re preaching good or evil.

 

Deadliest Medical Professionals and Quacks in History

The_Mad_Doctor_3

 

By Michael Arangua

 

Medical practitioners are considered to be among the noblest and most beneficial of all

professionals, with the exception of a few who lurked in the shadows, such as the mysterious

Jack the Ripper, who was never identified but still believed to have been a medical doctor.

History treats most doctors kindly, even those whose practice, by modern day terms, seem

rather barbaric and extreme. Take Robert Liston, whose speed in amputations made him one of

the most sought after surgeons during a time when anesthesia had yet to be invented. He was

so quick with his saw, however, that in one instance, he sawed off the finger of an assistant, and

cut into a spectator while performing an amputation. All three victims died; two of infection and

the spectator from shock, but he was still well loved. Modern forensics, however, tell us a

different story. There were just some medical professionals who forgot the meaning of the

Hippocratic Oath.

1. Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death

Proven victims ­ over 1,000

As the leading physician for the Nazi experiments conducted during WWII, there is no way of

verifying the exact number of victims who died by his hand, but the indirect number is over a

million. He was responsible for the gas chambers and crematorium. Seven hundred fifty women

in one prison block who were infested with lice were treated by deadly gas.  He was

especially fascinated with twins, however. His experiments involved sewing gypsy twins together

to see if he could create Siamese twins, and adding chemicals to their eyes in an attempt to

change their eye color. He also ordered fourteen pairs of gypsy twins to his operating table,

where he injected them with chloroform directly into the heart, killing them instantly, then began

to dissect them, taking note of each body part. He was never captured after the war, but is

believed to have died in the 1980’s. A DNA test taken in 1992 on some remains in West

Germany, confirmed his death.

Top 10 Evil Scientists in the History2. Shiro Ishii, the Father of Germ Warfare

Proven victims ­ 500­600

For forty years following WWII, Japan was able to keep its own dark secret; the development of

biological weapons. Unit 731 was the laboratory of Shiro Ishii, a specialist in microbiology,

focused his preliminary work on three contagious diseases; anthrax, glanders and plague.

Victims were kept well­fed and healthy during his experiments while he drew 500 cc’s of blood

each day to measure the disease’s progress. Once they had become too weak for further use,

they became “logs” for one of the three blazing furnaces.  Although many of his

experiments also included the effects of frostbite, injecting horse urine into the prisoner’s

bloodstream, and slow electrocution, his research was considered valuable, landing him over

200 biological patents as a result of his findings. Biological weapons were never mentioned

during the warfare crime trials and Ishii died a free man in 1959.

3. Harold Shipman; Doctor Death

Proven victims ­ 218

Times of war bring out the cruelties in man, but times of peace cultivate the silent killer. Dr.

Harold Shipman seemed a mild sort of man with a pleasant bedside manner, but over the course

of the years as a practitioner for elderly care, the fatality rate for his patients became disturbingly

higher than that of his colleagues. As they were elderly however, not much thought was put into

it until a rather lively and active 81­year­old woman died suddenly in his care.  The

woman’s daughter became suspicious when she noticed her mother’s will had been altered in

the favor of Shipman and demanded an inquiry. It was proven Kathleen Grundy had not died of a

heart attack as the good doctor had claimed, but of an overdose of diamorphine. This reopened

an investigation that had been closed six months earlier through lack of evidence, and oddly

enough, it was the lack of evidence that caused his downfall, and that was the disproportionately

large number of patients for which he had co-­signed certificates for cremation. Although he was

convicted of fifteen counts of murder, he was credited with 218, and possibly many more in his

thirty ­year career.  Apart from the one time he tried to acquire material benefits from a

death, no other motive could be drawn other than he simply liked to kill. His last murder was the

taking of his own life.

4. Hu Wanlin, the Deadly Alternativeint_soup_1025

Proven victims ­ 146

Practicing alternative medicine might be a good way to become a serial killer. Without anything

more than a basic education, Hu Wanlin decided to set up shop as a medical practitioner while

still in prison serving time for homicide, swindling and human trafficking. Upon his release, he set

up two hospitals where he treated people through a Chinese traditional method called qigong, a

type of faith healing where the healing powers flow from practitioner to the patient with no

contact involved. He could have stopped there, but he had also concocted his own herbal

remedy that included large quantities of sodium sulfate, which made it more lethal than curative.

Credited with 146 deaths and possibly more, he was sentenced back to prison for

illegally practicing medicine. Apparently, he’s still trying to perfect his herbal cure. A young

college student recently died after drinking Hu Wanlin’s deadly soup.

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5. Walter Freeman, the Lobotomy Salesman

Proven victims ­ 103

Becoming a serial killer wasn’t exactly what Dr. Walter Freeman had in mind when he began

practicing and advocating lobotomies for the mentally ill. In fact, he believed he was doing a

great service by opening up the skull and severing the frontal lobe from the thalamus ­ the seat

of human emotion. Never mind that by his own count, only fifty-­three percent of the operations

were even mildly successful. One of his famous patients was John F. Kennedy’s sister,

Rosemary, who then proceeded to need full time care for the remainder sixty-­four years of her

life.  Beginning with American veterans, he enthusiastically performed lobotomies on

nearly 3,500 patients, with a three percent death rate. That equals 103 physically healthy people

who were simply having a hard time getting it together mentally and another 1,500 zombies. His

youngest patient was four years old. He thought lobotomies were so wonderful, he even

encouraged psychiatrists untrained in surgical methods, to perform lobotomies by driving ice pick

like tools through the patient’s eyes.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s and the advent of anti­-

psychotic drugs that people began losing their fascination with Dr. Freeman’s lobotomy horror

show.

6. Harry Howard Holmes of Murder Castle

Proven victims ­ 27

It’s the kind of tale to beat out all horror stories. Harry Howard Holmes, born Herman Webster

Mudget, was so fascinated with surgery, he began his career by practicing on animals. While a

medical student at the University of Michigan, he stole corpses to falsify insurance claims.

Losing his interest in the already dead, he took over a three ­story pharmacy in Chicago, Illinois

after the owner mysteriously disappeared. There, he created an elaborate maze of small rooms

with secret passages and chambers for torturing his victims. There were also trapdoors and

chutes for easy disposal in the basement’s kiln.  Some of the rooms were gas

chambers for asphyxiating his victims. Swindle then kill was one of his favorite occupations. He

had a long resume of fiancés who disappeared after their short engagement. To this day, some

historians believe he was the elusive Jack the Ripper.   The killing spree in London

began when Holmes took a leave of absence from his macabre pharmaceutical cures and

eyewitness accounts agreed the ripper bore a striking resemblance to Holmes. He was finally

apprehended after inviting Benjamin Pietzel in on an insurance scam, then later killing him, along

with three of the five Pietzel children. He confessed to 27 murders, but it is suspected there were

as many as two hundred. He became the United States’ first official serial killer and was put to

death by hanging in 1896.

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7. Miyuki Ishikawa, the Baby Killing Midwife

Proven victims ­ 85

As the hospital director of the maternity ward at Kotobuki, Japan in the 1940’s, Miyuki Ishikawa

had a lot of impoverished mothers on her hand who showed no signs of an ability or willingness

to take care of their newborn children. With no social service or charitable structure to lend

support, her practical mind told her to simply neglect them.  The horror of seeing so

many infants starve to death caused many of the maternity staff to quit, but she did entail the

assistance of a doctor, Shiro Nakayama, who falsified the death certificates. If it seems like

Ishiskawa was playing God, she was a materialistic one. She also attempted to solicit large

sums of money from the bereaved parents, claiming it was far less than the costs of raising the

children. Her activities were accidentally discovered by two policemen who found the remains of

five infants. An autopsy confirmed they had not died of natural causes. An investigation

uncovered 40 dead bodies in the house of a mortician and 30 more at a temple.  A

modest estimate of her murder by neglect places the death toll at 103, but it’s suspected there

were a great many more. Ishikawa was charged with a crime of omission and spent four years in

prison for her misdeeds.

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8. Jane Toppan, the Nurse that Loved You to Death

Proven victims ­ 31

By her own confession, the better she liked you, the longer she prolonged your death.

Apprehended in 1901, she willingly confessed to 31 murders, although it was suspected there

were at least seventy more. Hiring out her services as a private nurse, she prolonged her

patients’ care with carefully measured morphine injections.  Once she grew tired of

them, they were dismissed with an administrated over ­dose of her favorite poison. Only one

known patient survived her care; her brother-­in-­law, who she kept lingering between life and

death before finally deciding she didn’t love him enough to send him to the grave. When

confronted with her crimes, she told the court she felt no remorse and would kill more people if

she could. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of her life at the

Tauntin Insane Asylum in Tauntin, Massachusetts.

9. Steven Massof, the Forceful Abortionist

Proven victims ­ 100+

With a love for performing abortions on second trimester babies, Steven Massof was

incarcerated in 2011 for eight counts of murder, one for a woman who died during an abortion

and seven more for the murder of babies who survived the abortion procedure against all odds.

He took his lead from Kermit Gosnell, his employer at the Gosnell Abortion Clinic, who

he said, snipped the babies at the spine, resulting in decapitation. Massof told the court “it would

rain fetuses, fetuses and blood all over the place.” After one employee testified she saw a baby

moving in a toilet, and another that she definitely saw babies breathe and whimper before

Massof snipped the spinal cord, he confessed to murdering over one hundred babies delivered

live. He also confessed to holding women down who had changed their minds and did not want

to complete the abortion process. Massof accepted a third degree murder plea in exchange to

providing testimony for Gosnell’s capital murder trial.

10. Waltraud Wagner, Elderly Care Solution

Proven victims ­ 49

Waltraud Wagner was entrusted to the care of the elderly, but if they got on her nerves, she

dispensed with them quickly “to a free bed with the Lord”. After teaching three other nurse aides

how to use insulin and tranquilizers, she was finally apprehended and convicted of a seven year

killing spree at Vienna Lainz Hospital, Austria, that began in 1983 and ended in 1989.

Wagner argued her murders were mercy killings of the very old and weak, although some of her

methods were not very merciful. One of her methods involved holding the victim down, grabbing

the tongue and forcing water into the lungs. Wagner received fifteen years for her crimes, but

was set for release in 2008. Two of her accomplishes were convicted of attempted murder and

manslaughter.