An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Not rapists: just abused*


An Open Letter to Donald Trump


Mr. President Trump:

Throughout the centuries, long before your mother arrived from Scotland, long before your grandparents arrived from Germany and had a lot of success in the hotel and brothel business in New York, the Mexicans had their families here and they had already named all of the Western states, rivers, valleys, mountains, and cities. The Californian architecture and the Texan cowboy, symbols of the “authentic American” are nothing more than the result of the hybridity—like everything else—of the new Anglo-Saxon culture with the long since established Mexican one. Can you imagine one of the founding fathers coming face-to-face with a cowboy?

When your mother arrived to this country in the 1930s, half a million Mexicans were deported. The majority of them were American citizens but they were very unlucky when the frustration nationwide, because of the Great Depression, got them speaking Chicano. They were blamed for the Depression since their faces looked as foreign as they could be.

Your idea that the Mexicans that come here are rapists, criminals, and invaders it’s nothing new and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In this country’s prisons, you will find that immigrants—both legal and illegal—are underrepresented. Immigrants in American prisons make up only one-fourth of what would be the total percentage of the immigrant population in the United States.  In case you still don’t understand: the statistics say that “wetbacks” are four or five times less likely to commit a crime than your own beautiful children are, Mr. Trump. Where immigration dominates, the crime rate drops and prejudice and racism increase.

These people were seen as foreigners and rapists (you aren’t the first person to know this) since the United States took possession (it’s best to say it this way so we don’t offend anyone) of half the Mexican territory in the middle of the 19th century. And as those people that were already there didn’t stop speaking such an uncivilized language such as Spanish and refused to change their skin color, were persecuted, deported or simply murdered, accused of being bandits, rapists, and foreign invaders. The real Zorro was dark skinned and didn’t fight against any Mexican despotism (as Johnston McCully depicted the story in order to be able to sell it to Hollywood) but instead he fought against the Anglo-Saxon invaders who took his land. Dark skinned and rebellious like Jesus, even though you see this Nazarene man always depicted as blonde haired with blue eyes and rather docile in the holy paintings. The hegemonic powers of that age that crucified him had obvious political reasons for doing so. And they continued crucifying him three centuries later when the Christians stopped being illegal immigrants and were persecuted so much that they hid in the catacombs. Eventually, they became the official persecutors when they took power.

Fortunately, Mr. Donald, the European immigrants, like your parents and wife, didn’t look like foreigners. Of course, if your mother had arrived forty years before, then maybe she would have been confused with an Irishwoman. Those people certainly did look like invaders. Besides being Catholics, they had hair just like yours, red and curly, something that offended the local white people, and by white people I mean those that, at one time, had been discriminated against by their Polish, Russian or Italian accents. But fortunately, immigrants learn quickly. As González Prada wrote more than a century ago, when an individual rises above the level of his social group he usually becomes its worst enemy.

This is what you and many other people demand, of course: that the immigrants should assimilate to this culture, instead of just integrate into it. But, which culture is that exactly?

In a truly open and democratic society, no one ought to forget who is to be accepted or, as I understand it, the virtuous thing to do must involve integration and not assimilation. Assimilation is violence. In many societies, it’s a requirement, especially in all of the societies where fascism survives in one way or another. 

Mr. President, the creativity that you see among the businessmen and women in this country is admirable even though its importance is exaggerated and many negative aspects are forgotten: It wasn’t businessmen who promoted democracy in Latin American but rather, they did just the opposite. Various successful American businesses promoted bloody Coups d’état and supported a long list of bloody dictators.

It was businessmen like Henry Ford, who made interesting contributions to the industry, but it’s often forgotten that, like many other businessmen, Ford was an Anti-Semitist who collaborated with Hitler. While the US denied refuge to persecuted Jews in Germany—as they now deny it to Muslims today for almost the same reasons—Alcoa and Texaco worked together with the fascist regimes of that time period.

It wasn’t businessmen who developed new technology and science but amateur inventors or salaried professors instead; from the foundation of this country to the invention of the Internet, continuing with Einstein and finally, the arrival of the first man on the moon. Not to mention, the basis of the sciences—which were shaped by those horrible and uncivilized Arabs centuries before—from the numbers that we use to Algebra to algorithms and many other sciences and philosophies that are part of Western civilization today, continuing with the Europeans in the 17th century. None of these men were businessmen, of course.

It wasn’t businessmen who achieved, through resistance and popular activism, almost all the progress with the civil rights that are now known today in this country, when at the time they were demonized as dangerous revolutionists and anti-Americans.

Mr. President Trump, I know you have been all your life too busy making money, so you don’t know this simple evidence: a country is not a business, it’s not a company. As an employer, you can hire and fire as many employees as you wish, for the simple reason that there was a State that gave an education to those people before and there will be a State later on that will be responsible for them when they are fired, with social welfare services —or with the police, as a worst case scenario.

An employer doesn’t know how to resolve any of these externalities. He’s only concerned about his own success that he will later confuse it with the success of the whole country and sell it in that same way because that is what a businessman does best: selling. Call it what you want.

You always boast about being immensely rich. I admire you for your bravery. But, if we consider what you have done starting with what you received from your parents and grandparents—money aside—it could be said that almost any businessman, any worker in this country that has started from nothing—and in many cases incurring enormous amounts of debt from his educational costs—is much more successful than you.

The Turk Hamdi Ulukaya was a poor immigrant when he founded the yogurt company Chobani a few years ago, which is now valued at two billion dollars. That type of story is very common in a country as great as this one, without a doubt. But this creative businessman had the decency to recognize that he didn’t do all of this by himself. That it would have been impossible without his employees and having been in as free of a country as this one. And actually, recently, he donated 10 percent of the company’s stocks to his employees.

In Mexico, there are similar examples to yours. But better ones. The most well-known example is Carlos Slim, the son of Lebanese immigrants, who took advantage of the economic crisis at the time—as any man with money would—now has eleven times your fortune.

Mr. President Trump, democracy has its own Achilles tendons. It’s not the critics, as any fascist society normally considers them—it’s the demagogues. The ones that beat their nationalistic breast in order to abuse the power of their own nations.

Twenty-five centuries ago, the first democratic example, Athens, took pride in welcoming foreigners; this wasn’t her weakness—nor political or moral. Athens had slaves just like your country had for a couple of democratic centuries, and in a way it continued this disgrace with undocumented workers. Athens had its demagogues too: for example, Anytus, a successful businessman who convinced the rest of society, very democratically, so that they would put the thinking mind of their age to death. Socrates’ downfall was questioning everything too much, for believing too little in the gods of Athens and for ruining its youth with doubts.

Of course, almost no one remembers Anytus today and the same thing will happen to you. At least you can double your bet and turn into one of the figures just like we’ve seen in European history of the 20th century with your exacerbated nationalism and your hatred for those people who looked like foreigners without even being so. You will always find followers—because that is also part of the political game—and right now, we don’t have a better system.


Jorge Majfud





Another day of big number for old winners

Just an example:

The Wall Street ournal, July 22, 2011.

  • General Electric reported a 21% rise in second-quarter profit and issued an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.

  • Caterpillar posted a 44% rise in quarterly earnings on strong sales of machinery and power-systems equipment, though its bottom line fell short of Wall Street’s expectations.

  • McDonald’s reported a 15% rise in quarterly profit on sharply higher revenue, though it expects sales growth to ease this month.

  • Schlumberger’s second-quarter earnings rose 65% as the oil-field-services company posted double-digit revenue growth, led by North America.

    Verizon swung to a bigger-than-expected second-quarter profit, and formally named Lowell McAdam as chief executive, starting Aug. 1.

100 años de IBM

The first developers of IBM PC computers negle...

IBM 1981


I.B.M. was founded a hundred years ago today, as C.T.R., or Computing Tabulating and Recording Company, and it’s best known for its data machines: commercial scales and clocks, industrial time recorders and punch cards, and, of course, computers. It’s also famous for the impact it’s had on the information-technology industry, having helped tackle massive projects such as the U.S. Census and the creation of Social Security—the largest accounting project of its time. Less celebrated, though, is the company’s influential efforts in the field of design.Steve Hamm, the co-author of “Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped A Century and A Company,” which was published this month to commemorate the I.B.M. centennial, told me that the company’s design consciousness began in 1952, when Thomas Watson, Jr., took the helm of I.B.M. from his father, who had led the company for its first four decades. Watson, Jr.,’s eureka moment, Hamm told me, was spotting a display of Olivetti typewriters in a shop window while walking down Fifth Avenue. Soon after, he hired Eliot Noyes, an architect and the former curator of industrial design at MOMA, as the company’s design consultant, and Noyes in turn brought in some of the leading creative talents of the day, including Paul Randand Isamu Noguchi.Given I.B.M.’s preeminence in the generation and recording of data, it’s no surprise that the company keeps an extensive internal archive: thirteen thousand square feet of paper, a vast collection of outmoded products and artifacts, and hundreds of thousands of photographs, according to Paul Lasewicz, I.B.M.’s archivist since 1998. Drawing on those photographs, here’s a look at the history of design at I.B.M.

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Rebelión contra el «sexismo» de la Academia de la Historia

Por: Blogs

Por Tereixa Constenla

Gonzalo Anes en la Real Academia de la Historia. LUIS SEVILLANO
Josefina Cuesta Bustillo tiene dos condiciones para no estar en la Real Academia de la Historia (RAH). Es mujer y es catedrática de Historia Contemporánea de la Universidad de Salamanca, dos rasgos que la institución ha ignorado con frecuencia. Solo tres mujeres (Carmen Iglesias, Josefina Gómez y Carmen Sanz) pertenecen a la RAH, compuesta por 36 académicos. Y ninguno de sus integrantes es especialista en Segunda República, Guerra Civil y dictadura, una de las razones que pueden explicar que algunas biografías de ese periodo  incluidas en el famoso Diccionario  Biográfico Español estén cargadas de sesgo, parcialidad y falsedades. En suma, lo dicho: Josefina Cuesta tiene doble motivo para no interesar a la Academia. Como se imaginan, no es la única. Pero vayamos por partes.

La falta de mujeres en la institución fue incluso reconocida por Gonzalo Anes, director de la RAH, en una entrevista publicada por este diario. Ahora bien, su reflexión posterior sobre esto ha causado sarpullidos. Decía así: “Las hay muy preparadas pero menos que los hombres. Hay una cuestión: un historiador necesita disponer de muchas horas para documentarse en los archivos. Y por desgracia, en las mujeres esas miles de horas están dedicadas a criar a sus hijos y a ser amas de casa”. En la Universidad de Valencia y en la Autónoma de Madrid han comenzado arecoger firmas  contra Anes por estas palabras, además de pedir su dimisión.

“No reconozco al Gonzalo Anes que yo conocí”, comenta Josefina Cuesta. “Carece absolutamente de rigor científico decir que ‘las mujeres están menos preparadas que los hombres’. ¿Qué mujeres? ¿Qué hombres?  No tiene mas que consultar el escalafón del profesorado en Ciencias Humanas. Pero a muchos hombres les conviene mantener estas afirmaciones para no perder su poder”, plantea. Cuesta cree que el comentario ignora el trabajo de las historiadoras españolas y menosprecia su reconocimiento internacional.

Pero la catedrática es más contundente al analizar la desigualdad de género en la Academia: “No cumplen la ley de paridad. Estamos presionando a los consejos de administración de las empresas y vemos que las administraciones del estado son las primeras deudoras”. Y tampoco hace concesiones ante la baja presencia de reseñas de mujeres en la obra (3.800 sobre un total de 43.000, el 8,8%). “No hay justificaciones, puede haber alguna explicación que tendría que haber sido superada. La historia ha sido androcéntrica y ha olvidado a las mujeres, que están ahora en una fase de descubrimiento. Lo que ocurre es que la historia en conjunto se muestra reacia a incorporar a la otra mitad de la humanidad”. La catedrática sabe bien de qué habla: ha dirigido la monumental Historia de las Mujeres en España. Siglo XX. Más de 2.000 páginas centradas en ellas.

Si Josefina Cuesta tiene dos motivos para no estar en la Academia, de Isabel Burdiel podríamos ironizar que tiene tres. Es mujer, catedrática de Historia Contemporánea de la Universidad de Valencia y brillante biógrafa, como demostró en su libro sobre la reina Isabel II. Esta es una síntesis apresurada de lo que piensa a propósito de Gonzalo Anes, la Academia y el Diccionario: “Las declaraciones de Anes sobre la falta de más mujeres suficientemente preparadas para ser académicas y las razones que daba para ello son de un sexismo intolerable, que demuestra una torpeza difícil de superar. Un insulto para todas las mujeres y, muy en concreto, para las historiadoras de este país. Desde esos supuestos, y siendo una persona así el director o coordinador del Diccionario, no es soprendente la marginación evidente de las mujeres en el mismo.
Es lamentable, además, que el buen trabajo de muchos colaboradores de esa obra quede envuelto en este escándalo”.


Gramatica portuguesa

O Globo:

«Entre as ‘blue chips’, ações mais negociadas na Bovespa, Petrobras ON desceu 1,45% (a R$ 27,05) e Petrobras PN teve queda de 1,22%, a R$ 24,10. OGX Petróleo ON registrou perdas de 0,13%, a R$ 14,90.»

{…} «O setor de construção civil respondeu pelas maiores baixas no dia: as ações da Rossi Residencial se depreciaram em 6,06% (a R$ 13,32) e os papéis da PDG Realty caíram 4,61% (a R$ 9,09). «

[…] «Em Londres, o índice FTSE 100 ganhou 1,07%, para 5.923 pontos; em Paris, o CAC 40 avançou 0,92%, para 3.978 pontos; e em Frankfurt, o DAX subiu 0,65%, para 7.304 pontos» […]


«RIO – Com o mercado de olho na alta da inflação chinesa, na dívida grega e na queda dos preços das commodities, a Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo (Bovespa) opera no vermelho e acentua a queda nesta quarta-feira. Por volta das 15h (horário de Brasília), o Ibovespa descia 1,59%, aos 63.843 pontos, com giro financeiro de R$ 3,984 bilhões. O Ibovespa futuro tinha queda de 1,51%, aos 64.350 pontos.

No câmbio, o dólar comercial avançava 1,05%, cotado a R$ 1,622 na venda. O dólar futuro tinha apreciação de 1,24%, a R$ 1,631.»


«Nos EUA, o índice Dow Jones cai 1,37%; o Nasdaq se desvaloriza em 1,32% e o S&P500 recua 1,44%.» (Fuente>>)

¿No es más fácil y simple decir (por ejemplo)?:

«Nos EUA, os principais índices caem: o Dow Jones 1,37%, o Nasdaq 1,32% e o S&P500 1,44%.» 

Los prescribistas castellanos tenian la misma manía: buscar una coleccion de sinonimos para no repetir la misma palabra sin observar que cuando se repite la misma palabra inecesariamente es porque hay un problema de estructura gramatical.  










El Observador de Montevideo (5 de setiembre de 20110):

Fuertes caídas en bolsas europeas por temor a una recesión global

17:12 | Fráncfort bajó un 5,28 %, Milán se dejó un 4,83 %, París perdió un 4,73 %, Madrid cedió un 4,83 % y Londres lo hizo un 3,58 %.







India elige el sexo del bebé y aborta a sus niñas

india kerala boat people

Image by FriskoDude via Flickr

Por: Ana Gabriela Rojas

En India cada vez más familias abortan cuando saben que están esperando una hija. Esa fue la conclusión más alarmante de los primeros resultados del censo 2011 que confirma que los indios ya son 1.210 millones y  representan el 17% de la población mundial, aunque aumentan a ritmo menos acelerado y cada vez hay menos analfabetismo.
El  gran fallo, sin embargo, ha sido comprobar que aumenta el “feminicidio”, o aborto selectivo de mujeres. Ahora en India, por cada mil varones de hasta 6 años hay solo 914 niñas. Esta tendencia no es nueva: inició en los años ochenta con la popularización de las ecografías, coinciden los expertos, pero es la diferencia más grande en la historia del país del sur de Asia. Hace 10 años,  en el censo pasado,  la diferencia era de 927 por cada mil.

A pesar de que el Gobierno ha implementado algunas medidas, como prohibir a los doctores anunciar el sexo del bebé, la situación sigue empeorando, coinciden los expertos. Hay un gran negocio detrás.


fuente >>


How to Get a Real Education

Princeton University buildings

Image by readerwalker via Flickr

Forget art history and calculus. Most students need to learn how to run a business, says Scott Adams


I understand why the top students in America study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward. But why do we make B students sit through these same classes? That’s like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn’t it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?

I speak from experience because I majored in entrepreneurship at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. Technically, my major was economics. But the unsung advantage of attending a small college is that you can mold your experience any way you want.

There was a small business on our campus called The Coffee House. It served beer and snacks, and featured live entertainment. It was managed by students, and it was a money-losing mess, subsidized by the college. I thought I could make a difference, so I applied for an opening as the so-called Minister of Finance. I landed the job, thanks to my impressive interviewing skills, my can-do attitude and the fact that everyone else in the solar system had more interesting plans.

The drinking age in those days was 18, and the entire compensation package for the managers of The Coffee House was free beer. That goes a long way toward explaining why the accounting system consisted of seven students trying to remember where all the money went. I thought we could do better. So I proposed to my accounting professor that for three course credits I would build and operate a proper accounting system for the business. And so I did. It was a great experience. Meanwhile, some of my peers were taking courses in art history so they’d be prepared to remember what art looked like just in case anyone asked.

One day the managers of The Coffee House had a meeting to discuss two topics. First, our Minister of Employment was recommending that we fire a bartender, who happened to be one of my best friends. Second, we needed to choose a leader for our group. On the first question, there was a general consensus that my friend lacked both the will and the potential to master the bartending arts. I reluctantly voted with the majority to fire him.

But when it came to discussing who should be our new leader, I pointed out that my friend—the soon-to-be-fired bartender—was tall, good-looking and so gifted at b.s. that he’d be the perfect leader. By the end of the meeting I had persuaded the group to fire the worst bartender that any of us had ever seen…and ask him if he would consider being our leader. My friend nailed the interview and became our Commissioner. He went on to do a terrific job. That was the year I learned everything I know about management.

At about the same time, this same friend, along with my roommate and me, hatched a plan to become the student managers of our dormitory and to get paid to do it. The idea involved replacing all of the professional staff, including the resident assistant, security guard and even the cleaning crew, with students who would be paid to do the work. We imagined forming a dorm government to manage elections for various jobs, set out penalties for misbehavior and generally take care of business. And we imagined that the three of us, being the visionaries for this scheme, would run the show.

We pitched our entrepreneurial idea to the dean and his staff. To our surprise, the dean said that if we could get a majority of next year’s dorm residents to agree to our scheme, the college would back it.

It was a high hurdle, but a loophole made it easier to clear. We only needed a majority of students who said they planned to live in the dorm next year. And we had plenty of friends who were happy to plan just about anything so long as they could later change their minds. That’s the year I learned that if there’s a loophole, someone’s going to drive a truck through it, and the people in the truck will get paid better than the people under it.

The dean required that our first order of business in the fall would be creating a dorm constitution and getting it ratified. That sounded like a nightmare to organize. To save time, I wrote the constitution over the summer and didn’t mention it when classes resumed. We held a constitutional convention to collect everyone’s input, and I listened to two hours of diverse opinions. At the end of the meeting I volunteered to take on the daunting task of crafting a document that reflected all of the varied and sometimes conflicting opinions that had been aired. I waited a week, made copies of the document that I had written over the summer, presented it to the dorm as their own ideas and watched it get approved in a landslide vote. That was the year I learned everything I know about getting buy-in.


source >>

The Privatization of God

Blaise Pascal first explained his wager in Pen...

Image via Wikipedia

The Privatization of God

by Jorge Majfud

The University of Georgia

Custom-made for the consumer

In the 17th century, the mathematics genius Blaise Pascal wrote that men never do evil with greater pleasure than when they do it with religious conviction. This idea – from a deeply religious man – has taken a variety of different forms since. During the last century, the greatest crimes against humanity were promoted, with pride and passion, in the name of Progress, of Justice and of Freedom. In the name of Love, Puritans and moralists organized hatred, oppression and humiliation; in the name of Life, leaders and prophets spilled death over vast regions of the planet. Presently, God has come to be the main excuse for excercises in hate and death, hiding political ambitions, earthly and infernal interests behind sacred invocations. In this way, by reducing each tragedy on the planet to the millenarian and simplified tradition of the struggle between Good and Evil, of God against the Devil, hatred, violence and death are legitimated. There is no other way to explain how men and women are inclined to pray with fanatical pride and hypocritical humility, as if they were pure angels, models of morality, all the while hiding gunpowder in their clothing, or a check made out to death. And if the leaders are aware of the fraud, their subjects are no less responsible for being stupid, no less culpable for their criminal metaphysical convictions, in the name of God and Morality – when not in the name of a race, of a culture – and from a long tradition, recently on exhibit, custom-fit to the latest in hatred and ambition.

Empire of the simplifications

Yes, we can believe in the people. We can believe that they are capable of the most astounding creations – as will be one day their own liberation – and also of incommensurable stupidities, these latter always concealed by a complacent and self-interested discourse that manages to nullify criticism and any challenge to bad conscience. But, how did we come to such criminal negligence? Where does so much pride come from in a world where violence grows daily and more and more people claim to have heard the voice of God?

Political history demonstrates that a simplification is more powerful and better received by the vast majority of a society than is a problematization. For a politician or for a spiritual leader, for example, it is a show of weakness to admit that reality is complex. If one’s adversary expunges from a problem all of its contradictions and presents it to the public as a struggle between Good and Evil, the adversary undoubtedly is more likely to triumph. In the final analysis, the primary lesson of our time is grounded in commercial advertising or in permissive submission: we elect and we buy that which solves our problems for us, quickly and cheaply, even though the problem might be created by the solution, and even though the problem might continue to be real while the solution is never more than virtual. Nonetheless, a simplification does not eliminate the complexity of the problem in question, but rather, on the contrary, produces greater problems, and sometimes tragic consequences. Denying a disease does not cure it; it makes it worse.

Why don’t we talk about why?

Let’s try now to problematize some social phenomenon. Undoubtedly, we will not plumb the full depths of its complexity, but we can get an idea of the degree of simplification with which it is treated on a daily basis, and not always innocently.

Let’s start with a brief example. Consider the case of a man who rapes and kills a young girl. I take this example not only because it is, along with torture, one of the most abhorrent crimes imaginable, but because it represents a common criminal practice in all societies, even those that boast of their special moral virtues.

First of all, we have a crime. Beyond the semantics of “crime” and “punishment,” we can evaluate the act on its own merits, without, that is, needing to recur to a genealogy of the criminal and of his victim, or needing to research the origins of the criminal’s conduct. Both the rape and the murder should be punished by the law, and by the rest of society. And period. On this view, there is no room for discussion.

Very well. Now let’s imagine that in a given country the number of rapes and murders doubles in a particular year and then doubles again the year after that. A simplification would be to reduce the new phenomenon to the criminal deed described above. That is to say, a simplification would be to understand that the solution to the problem would be to not let a single one of these crimes go unpunished. Stated in a third way, a simplification would be to not recognize the social realities behind the individual criminal act. A more in-depth analysis of the first case could reveal to us a painful childhood, marked by the sexual abuse of the future abuser, of the future criminal. This observation would not in any way overturn the criminality of the deed itself, just as evaluated above, but it would allow us to begin to see the complexity of a problem that a simplification threatens to perpetuate. Starting from this psychological analysis of the individual, we could certainly continue on to observe other kinds of implications arising from the same criminal’s circumstances, such as, for example, the economic conditions of a specific social underclass, its exploitation and moral stigmatization by the rest of society, the moral violence and humiliation of its misery, its scales of moral value constructed in accordance with an apparatus of production, reproduction and contradictory consumption, by social institutions like a public education system that helps the poor less than it humiliates them, certain religious organizations that have created sin for the poor while using the latter to earn Paradise for themselves, the mass media, advertising, labor contradictions… and so on.

We can understand terrorism in our time in the same way. The criminality of an act of terrorism is not open to discussion (or it shouldn’t be). Killing is always a disgrace, a historical curse. But killing innocents and on a grand scale can have no justification or pardon of any kind. Therefore, to renounce punishment for those who promote terrorism is an act of cowardice and a flagrant concession to impunity.

Nevertheless, we should also remember here our initial caveat. Understanding a social and historical phenomenon as a consequence of the existence of “bad guys” on Earth is an extremely naive simplification or, to the contrary, an ideologically astute simplification that, by avoiding integrated analysis – historical, economic, political – exempts the administrators of the meaning of “bad”: the good guys.

We will not even begin to analyze, in these brief reflections, how one comes to identify one particular group and not others with the qualifier “terrorist.” For that let it suffice to recommend a reading of Roland Barthes – to mention just one classic source. We will assume the restricted meaning of the term, which is the one assumed by the press and the mainstream political narratives.

Even so, if we resort to the idea that terrorism exists because criminals exist in the world, we would have to think that in recent times there has been an especially abundant harvest of wicked people. (An idea explicitly present in the official discourse of all the governments of countries affected by the phenomenon.) But if it were true that in our world today there are more bad people than before, surely it isn’t by the grace of God but via historical developments that such a phenomenon has come to be. No historical circumstance is produced by chance, and therefore, to believe that killing terrorists will eliminate terrorism from the world is not only a foolish simplification but, by denying a historical origin for the problem, by presenting it as ahistorical, as purely a product of Evil, even as a struggle between two theological “essences” removed from any social, economic and political context, provokes a tragic worsening of the situation. It is a way of not confronting the problem, of not attacking its deep roots.

On many occasions violence is unavoidable. For example, if someone attacks us it would seem legitimate to defend ourselves with an equal degree of violence. Certainly a true Christian would offer the other cheek before instigating a violent reaction; however, if he were to respond violently to an act of aggression no one could deny him the right, even though he might be contradicting one of the commandments of Christ. But if a person or a government tells us that violence will be diminished by unleashing violence against the bad guys – affecting the innocent in the process – not only does this deny the search for a cause for the violence, it also will serve to strengthen it, or at least legitimate it, in the eyes of those who suffer the consequences.

Punishing those responsible for the violence is an act of justice. Claiming that violence exists only because violent people exist is an act of ignorance or of ideological manipulation.

If one continues to simplify the problem, insisting that it consists of a conflict produced by the “incompatibility” of two religious views – as if one of them had not been present for centuries – as if it were a matter of a simple kind of war where victory is achieved only with the total defeat of the enemy, one will drag the entire world into an intercontinental war. If one genuinely seeks the social origin and motivation of the problem – the “why” – and acts to eliminate and attenuate it, we will most assuredly witness a relaxing of the tension that is currently escalating. We will not see the end of violence and injustice in the world, but at least misfortune of unimaginable proportions will be avoided.

The analysis of the “origin of violence” would be useless if it were produced and consumed only within a university. It should be a problem for the headlines, a problem to be discussed dispassionately in the bars and in the streets. At the same time, we will have to recognize, once again, that we need a genuine dialogue. Not a return to the diplomatic farce, but a dialogue between peoples who have begun dangerously to see one another as enemies, as threats – a disagreement, really, based on a profound and crushing ignorance of the other and of oneself. What is urgent is a painful but courageous dialogue, where each one of us might recognize our prejudice and our self-centeredness. A dialogue that dispenses with the religious fanaticism – both Muslim and Christian – so in vogue these days, with its messianic and moralizing pretensions. A dialogue, in short, to spite the deaf who refuse to hear.

The True God

According to the true believers and the true religion, there can be only one true God, God. Some claim that the true God is One and he is Three at the same time, but judging by the evidence, God is One and Many more. The true God is unique but with different politics according to the interests of the true believers. Each one is the true God, each one moves the faithful against the faithful of other gods, which are always false gods even though each one is someone’s true God. Each true God organizes the virtue of each virtuous people on the basis of true customs and the true Morality. There is only one Morality based on the true God, but since there is more than one true God there is also more than one true Morality, only one of which is truly true.

But, how do we know which one is the true truth? The proper methods for proof are disputable; what is not disputed is the current practice: scorn, threats, oppression and, when in doubt, death. True death is always the final and inevitable recourse of the true truth, which comes from the true God, in order to save the true Morality and, above all, the true believers.

Yes, at times I have my doubts about what is true, and I know that doubt has been condemned by all religions, by all theologies, and by all political discourses. At times I have my doubts, but it is likely that God does not hold my doubt in contempt. He must be very busy concerning himself with so much certainty, so much pride, so much morality, behind so many ministers who have taken control of his word, holding Him hostage in a building somewhere so as to be able to conduct their business in public without obstacles.

Jorge Majfud

Translated by Bruce Campbell.

Monthly Review (New York)

El cultivo masivo de arroz también destruye el clima

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China.

Image via Wikipedia





El cultivo del arroz libera grandes cantidades de gas metano. Científicos cultivan en Filipinas nuevas variedades de arroz más respetuosas con el medio ambiente y menos vulnerables a los efectos del cambio climático. »

Arroz asesino del clima


Meta medioambiental: reducir las emisiones de metano, un gas de efecto invernadero, generadas por el cultivo de arroz
Objetivo del proyecto: desarrollar e implantar nuevos métodos de cultivo que suponen un ahorro de agua y reducen las emisiones de metano
Efecto sobre el medio ambiente: el cultivo de arroz genera alrededor de 60 millones de toneladas de metano anuales

Para más de 3.000 millones de personas -la mitad de la población mundial-, el arroz constituye su fuente de alimentación más importante. Pero la planta del arroz es muy vulnerable a los cambios climáticos. Además, su cultivo genera enormes cantidades de metano, un gas de efecto invernadero. Los científicos del Instituto Internacional de Investigación del Arroz (IRRI, por las siglas en inglés) investigan para encontrar nuevas y más robustas variedades para preparar al arroz de cara a los cambios derivados del calentamiento global. Además, desarrollan nuevos métodos de cultivo que reducen las emisiones de metano. El destino de regiones enteras de todo el mundo depende del éxito de dichas investigaciones.

Un reportaje de Carl Gierstorfer


Los hombres son de Wikipedia y las mujeres de Facebook

The New York Times building in New York, NY ac...

Image via Wikipedia

Los hombres son de Wikipedia y las mujeres de Facebook

Por: Delia Rodríguez

A veces una sola cifra sirve para desatar la polémica. La última ha sido esta: sólo un 13% de los artículos de la Wikipedia han sido escritos por mujeres. La proporcionó The New York Times en un reportaje que ha hecho correr ríos de tinta porque resulta que en la fuente de conocimiento virtual en la que en teoría no debería existir ningún tipo de discriminación (escribe quien quiere y ni siquiera es necesario desvelar el sexo) la participación femenina es menor aún que en otros foros. Por ejemplo el OpEd Project la ha calculado en un 15% para las páginas de opinión de los principales diarios norteamericanos. 

¿Significa una tasa tan baja que la enciclopedia (o sus enciclopedistas) son machistas?

(Fuente >>)

Sitios de interés

Linguistic diversity

Image via Wikipedia

Alai – Agenica Latinoamericana de Información



Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity

El Correo

El Mercurio Digital




Realidades y ficciones

Lobo Atlántico

Ala de cuervo

Verdad y Justicia