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Diversity Of Language Is Beneficial

GQ-Street-Style-Europe-Favorite-635It has been shown in many studies that diversity in language is quite beneficial.  Whether people are bilingual or they are simply interacting with people who speak different languages, there are multiple positive benefits.

However, this does not come without challenges.  An excerpt from an article discusses how employers could find challenges when they attempt to diversify their workforce:

What difference will a more ethnically diverse work force make to you as an employer? In some cases, it could mean an increase in health insurance costs.

“There is growing research evidence that the health of minorities is frequently less than optimal, which could mean decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher health care costs for your company,” says Miriam Jacobson, director of the Prevention Leadership Forum at the Washington Business Group on Health.

“In order to be competitive, we need to recruit people from all segments of the population, and at the same time, be aware of the special challenges posed by various groups,” she maintains.

In addition to strengthening the work force by bringing new skills, customs, and perspectives, each minority group brings with it a unique set of health characteristics, Jacobson continues. “This diversity among populations is reflected in different languages, in cultural practices and beliefs regarding health and illness, in differences in their birth rates, in differences in how they die, and in differences in their needs for types of health services and the duration of health care,” Jacobson says.

Overall, minorities die more frequently than whites from cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cirrhosis, diabetes, murder, and accidents; they also have higher infant mortality rates, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Life expectancy for whites is about six years longer than for blacks.

Reasons for differences

Why do these differences occur? Differences in treatment outcomes and death rates can be attributed to, among other factors, educational levels, access to health care, and differences in physiological processes.

But all minority groups have one factor in common: economic disadvantage, notes WBGH’s Jacobson. “They are poor. Native Americans, blacks, Hispanics, and certain Asian/Pacific Islanders are three times more likely to be poor than non-minorities. And people at the lowest socioeconomic levels have higher death and illness rates,” she says.

Poverty is one explanation; different health practices is another. In an article in the Jan. 13, 1989 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, pollster Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health and his colleagues interviewed 10,180 people, 12.2 percent of whom were black. One of the findings was that blacks go to doctors less often than whites.

“Even after taking into account persons’ income, health status, age, sex, and whether they had one or more chronic or serious illnesses, blacks have a statistically significantly lower mean number of annual ambulatory visits and are less likely to have seen a physician in a year,” Blendon writes. While the average number of black visits to a doctor each year is 4.4, whites visit the doctor an average of 8.4 times annually, a figure that does not include clinic or emergency room visits.”  “

~Frieden, Joyce. “Valuing diversity: ways to answer minority needs.” Business & Health Jan. 1990: 32+. Academic OneFile.

 

If you as an employer are looking to increase the diversity in culture and language in your workforce, then stay up to date on various language learning pointers, as well as cultural talking points.

Overall it cannot hurt to add some differences in your workforce, especially depending on your industry.

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Using Technology To Aid In A Greener Planet

save-energy

On the African continent technology is becoming more and more commonplace.  The importance of preserving the region’s natural resources as well as the incredible diversity of the nature in the Sahara and other national parks is becoming important to the people as a source of pride as well as tourism.

Technology is a double edged sword – with it we have managed to carve out quite a dent in our planet’s health. Auto emissions, power plant pollution, and overall urban sprawl has had a negative effect on our planet’s health. However, things are swinging the other way. We are now starting to use technology to save energy in countless ways, helping to undo some of the damage that we have already done. However, people have often not even heard of some of the more recent advances in green technology. Here are a few of our editor’s favorites:

Home Network Connectivity

One of the coolest thing that has cropped up recently in the home tech industry are thermostats that “learn” your behavior and adapt to your habits. When you start manually turning the heat up and down, it will gradually learn your energy use habits and adjust accordingly. It will even learn that you go to church on Sunday, and stay late for happy hour on Fridays. And best of all, these thermostats are connected to your home network, and you can use a smartphone to manually adjust them if you’re going to be away for an evening or two and you forget to turn the heat or air conditioning off. It’s quite cool (no pun intended) and you can save a lot by just these small things adding up over time.

Lighting system and home alarms are also connected to these networks as well, and you can see if you turned the lights off or even if you locked the doors just by looking at your smartphone. But the best thing is that you can leave your lights off during the day, and hit a button on your smartphone to turn them on in the evening so you never have to come home to a dark house.

If connecting a new thing to your home network seems to make you shy away because your computer system is slow or not performing very well, you can clean it up using a few easy to use software tools.

Electric Cars

Electric cars are becoming a reality these days. Although some of the more luxury brand such as Tesla are too expensive for the average person, it’s very exciting to see that the technology is now arriving. These cars have very low emissions, and hybrid cars are very light on gas usage which makes them a much greener alternative to the gas guzzlers that were popular 10-15 years ago. I personally drive quite a bit, and my next car is going to be a hybrid because I can’t stand filling up my tank anymore.

Along with these new vehicles are more advanced navigation systems. You can see the traffic on your phone map and choose an alternate route, saving on gas and emissions.

Conclusion

It can pay off to stay on top of green technology trends as it can save you a lot of money while at the same time saving the planet from excess energy waste. There are a lot more opportunities than we can provide here in this article, and new ones are being invented on a daily basis. Reading popular publications such as the New York Times, Wired, and Popular Mechanics is a great way to stay on top of the latest in emerging green technologies.

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Language Learning On Computers

languagesUsing computer software to learn a new language is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to learn new tongues.  There are so many advantages – there are different games to play, ways to track your progress, and you can even take the lessons with you on the go with your phone.  Overall it’s a huge step up from lugging around a huge textbook, especially if you’re learning at home by yourself and you’re not in a class.

There are a few different language learning software programs out there that we recommend.

One of the best and cheapest is the Rocket Languages series, which is an well priced and well-reviewed language learning software program.  They only have basic languages and not more obscure ones, but the ones they do have are very good.  I used the Rocket Languages series myself and found it to be very easy to use and intuitive.

Another great program is the Rosetta Stone series, but the “learn by immersion” system is a bit flawed for adults – we find that adults learn much better in a more traditional way as they aren’t quite at that infancy stage where you can just absorb everything that comes your way.  Adult brains are wired differently and thus learn a bit differently.

If you’re going to use these software tools on your computer, then you’ll want to ensure that it’s running well.  Using  a few tools can help you to improve the overall performance of your computer so that it’s running faster and more reliably.  I suggest that you look into getting yourself a good cleanup tool such as RegCure Pro or another similar cleanup utility.  This blog has some great tips on various software tools that you can use in order to make your computer run like the day you bought it, making your language learning process a breeze.

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Traditional Language And Literature

diversityI came across a very good article recently that has to do with the nature of the African languages and the bastardization of the cultures due to cultural genocide.  How does literary colonization affect a culture?  Very much it would seem – written works can become the lifeblood of a culture over time.

 

Akinwumi Isola We spend all our money sending them to school, but when they become capable they stop talking to us. Isn’t that a big loss? (A village head’s complaint at a community meeting where an address was being read in English)

Each time someone asks me why I write in Yoruba, restricting myself to the local audience instead of writing in English to reach the whole world, I wonder anew whether my or their conceptions about the role of literature and the responsibilities of the artist are at fault. Normally the society that structures the physical and cultural surroundings of children also provides them with their first language, which is the seminal foundation for literature. Sadly, however, the debate over the most appropriate language for African writers suggests that some disaster has befallen African society–a disaster that has either rendered it incapable of supplying its citizens with their first language or made it impossible for that language to support the production of written literature.

Literature in Africa has suffered the same bastardizing fate as politics and the economy. During colonial times, a few familiar ideas about traditional political governance (e.g., the legal system) were chosen, redefined beyond recognition, forced into the western model and imposed upon the people with disastrous social effects. In the economic sector, food and cash crops are sold cheaply, exported, processed into bland garbage devoid of nutritional value, packaged neatly, imported, and sold at prices that are unaffordable for the farmers who originally grew the crops. So it is with literature. The rich resources of African languages, literature, religion, culture, and philosophy are being tapped only to be hurriedly translated and given literary form in a foreign language, where they remain forever inaccessible to the original producers of these materials. Under such circumstances, the traditional purpose of literature is being bastardized in contemporary Africa.

Literature thrives in society the same way that species prosper in an ecosystem, and it is just as dependent upon the health of that society as any given species is upon its physical environment. Every society has a literature, which is linked to the people by means of a two-way umbilical cord–the language that makes possible a mutual nurturing that ensures the emotional and philosophical health of the people and their literature, just as the ecosystem, when properly nurtured and preserved, provides that which is necessary to satisfy the physical needs of a people. When an ecosystem is destroyed, the loss is multidimensional and ultimately incalculable. The same is true of the African literary “ecosystem,” which is confronting real and redoubtable threats from the very people who have been raised and educated in it.

The psychological and cultural loss suffered as a consequence of linguistic colonization pales in comparison with the void created by literary colonization. When the so-called leaders of Africans quote exclusively from European-language texts to reinforce their points, ignoring the rich treasury of oral and written African literature, they are seriously undermining their own sense of individual and collective identity. When African nursery school pupils are instructed to chant “Bah, bah, black sheep, Have you any wool?,” in a region where sheep have scarcely enough hair to cover their skin, the principle of irrelevance has clearly been carried to an absurd extreme. If these children are ever to enjoy a relevant information and an acute sense of their own identity, they need to be exposed to a literature that has been written in their own mother tongue.

Isola, Akinwumi. “The African writer’s tongue.” Research in African Literatures 23.1 (1992): 17+.

 

What do you think?  How does literature and language influence the culture from which it springs forth from?

If you want to read more about linguistic anthropology then check out Your Language Place, where there are several articles that deal with this phenomenon which is more interesting than you may think.  There are also several reviews of top language learning software that can help you to learn a new language.

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What Is Blaxploitation?

blaxploitationBlaxploitation, also commonly referred to as blacksploitation, is the name of a genre that first reared its head in the music industry in the 1970’s in the United States. It is considered by many to be the ethnic subgenre of exploitation films. Exploitation films are just films that have a very low budget. Films within this genre were originally created with the intention of being viewed by urban African Americans. It was not long before the appeal of this genre reached passed ethnic lines.

When these films are set to take place on the West Cost or in the Northeast they are usually placed in very poor neighborhoods. A lot of ethnic slurs are used against the Caucasian characters in these movies including words such as crackers or honkies. A lot of these films take place during slavery. It is also not uncommon for mixed marriages, also known as miscegenation, to take place in these films.

This particular film genre is a great way to explore and learn about the race relationships that have taken place in the United States over the years. There were some people who claimed that the African Americans would use these films as a token of empowerment. There were other people who claimed that they were just used to perpetuate all of the common stereotypes that white people would use to describe black people. Due to the sensitivity and the extreme controversy that surrounded this particular genre it was not long before people called for the genre to end.

While this unique and controversial film genre definitely endured a rough battle there are still films being made within this genre today. There are still a lot of people who feel that this film genre is an important part of Black History. A lot of the films made in this genre are so brutally honest about the relationships that black and white individuals had at one point in time. A lot of people believe that the pureness and honesty of these films is why so many people are against them. They do not like seeing how ugly the history was when it comes to race relationships in the United States.

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The language of African literature: a writer’s testimony

literatureThe language of African literature: a writer’s testimony

I was born to Ogoni parents at Bori on the northern fringes of the delta of the Niger during the Second World War. I grew up speaking one of the three Ogoni languages–Khana, my mother-tongue–and listening to and telling folk tales in that language.

When I went to primary school in 1947, I was taught in my mother-tongue during the first two years. During the other six years of the primary school course, the teaching was done in English, which soon imprinted itself on my mind as the language of learning. Khana was the language of play, and it appeared on the class time-table once or twice a week as “vernacular”–wonderful, story-telling sessions in Khana. We spoke Khana at home, and we read the Bible at church in Khana. It was enough to make me literate in Khana to this day.

The Ogoni lived a simple, circumscribed life at that time; farming and fishing were their sole occupations. There were a number of primary schools in the area, but no secondary school. All those who wished or were able to go to secondary school had to move to other parts of the country.

Accordingly, in 1954, at about 13, 1 proceeded to Government College, Umuahia, which was the best school in the area. I was the only Ogoni boy in the entire school. Others were mostly Igbo, Ibibio, Ijaw, and representatives of other ethnic groups in what was then Eastern Nigeria. A few came from the Cameroons, which was at that time administered as a part of Nigeria. The English language was a unifying factor at the school; in fact, there was a regulation forbidding the use of any of our mother-tongues at work or during recreation. This rule ensured that boys like myself did not feel lost in the school because we could not communicate with any other boy in our mother-tongues. There were no books in any other language, apart from English, in the school’s excellent library. We worked and played in English. One result of this regime was that in a single generation, the school produced Chinua Achebe, Gabriel Okaral the late Christopher Okigbo, Elechi Amadi Vincent Ike, and I. N. C. Aniebo, who was my contemporary.

There, at Government College, I began to write poems, short stories, and plays in English, the language which, as I have said, bound us all together. There was no question of my writing in Khana because no one else would have understood it.

From Government College, I proceeded in 1962 to the University of Ibadan, where I met young men and women from different parts of a vast country. By then, Nigeria had become independent. The language of instruction at Ibadan was English of course. There was no restriction as to what language we could use outside the lecture halls. So, those who were there in sufficient numbers invariably spoke their mother-tongues among themselves. However, English was what enabled students from different ethnic backgrounds to communicate with each other. English was also the official language of the country, by necessity. I wrote poems, short stories, and plays in English. Once again, there was no question of my using my Khana mother-tongue, which no one else at the university would have understood. I was studying English and, at that time, had come across the argument of Obi Wali (whom I was later to meet and to know intimately). According to him, English was the dead-end of African literature.

In those days, African literature was a fashionable course of study, although I did not find it so. I had read most of the novels published by Africans in English and did not feel that they added up to much as a course of study. I was also preparing to be a writer, and I was not impressed by Dr Wali’s arguments for the simple reason that I did not consider myself as a writer of African literature. I wanted to be a good storyteller, no more, no less. Putting me in a category would be the business of the critics. In any case, I was yet to publish anything. That was 1963 or thereabouts.

Nigeria had become independent three years earlier, and the country was gradually gravitating towards war. As a boy, I knew that I was an Ogoni. Of that, there was never any doubt. I also knew that Khana was my mother-tongue. Most Ogonis spoke Khana. It was a secure world.

Growing up at Government College in Umuahia, I interacted with boys my age from different parts of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. And because the school taught us to be good citizens, I had learned the necessity of being a good Nigerian. By independence in 1960, I had taken the fact for granted. I had travelled to different parts of the country and knew something of the great mixture of peoples that is Nigeria. Somehow, as long as I could speak and read English, it was easy to relate to the rest of the country–away from my Ogoni home. So, English was important. Not only as the language which opened new ideas to me, but as a link to the other peoples with whom I came into contact during my day-to-day life.

I had barely graduated from the University of Ibadan when I was confronted with the true nature of Nigerian society as an agglomeration of peoples and cultures, much like the rest of Africa. By the way, school taught me about Africa. As a boy in my Ogoni home, the idea of Africa never arose. It is not an Ogoni concept. Nor was Nigeria. But to get back to 1965. The great argument that later tore Nigeria apart and led us to a murderous civil war was already raging. By 1967, the war had broken out. I was then a Graduate Assistant at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

During that war, I played a role which I had not bargained for. Forced to choose between Nigeria and Biafra, I clung to the former because the arguments for Biafra were the same as the arguments for Nigeria. Simply put, Biafra was a mish-mash of peoples and cultures, where the Igbo predominated oppressively just as Nigeria was a mish-mash of peoples and cultures where the Hausa Fulani, the Igbo, and the Yoruba predominated oppressively.

Yes, colonialism is not a matter only of British, French, or European dominance over Africans. In African society, there is and has always been colonial oppression. In my case, the Ogoni had never been conquered by their Igbo neighbors. But the fact of British colonialism brought both peoples together under a single administration for the first time. And when the British colonialists left, the numerically inferior Ogoni were consigned to the rule of the more numerous Igbos, who always won elections in the Region since ethnic loyalties and cultural habits were and continue to be strong throughout Nigeria. Biafran propaganda invariably claimed that the Biafrans were one. But this was a lie, a hoax. I saw it as my responsibility to fight that lie. I did.

Since the end of that war in 1970, I have been engaged, as a writer and as a man of public affairs, in fighting the oppression and bad faith of the majority ethnic groups–the Igbo, the Hausa-Fulani, and the Yoruba–in Nigeria. The end of that struggle is not in sight. The facts of it are so sordid that even well-known Nigerian writers would gladly keep them away from the rest of the world. For that reason, not much has been heard about it outside Nigeria.

All the foregoing might seem irrelevant to the question of the language of African literature. Yet what I have tried to show is that, using Nigeria as an example, different languages and cultures exist in Africa. The fact that we share a common color or certain common beliefs or a common history of slavery and exploitation are not enough to just lump all Africa into a single pigeon-hole.

If Europeans speak of French literature, Spanish literature, and English literature, why do we insist on having an “African literature” and debating what language it should be written in? Africa is the second largest continent in the world. It has a multiplicity of languages and each language has its own literature. So, there is an Ogoni literature, a Yoruba literature, a Wolof literature. Most of this literature is oral because these societies are, in most cases, preliterate. That is a fact.

However, the need to communicate with one another and the rest of the world, and the fact of colonialism (which is also real) have forced us to write in the languages of our erstwhile colonial masters. I, for one, do not feet guilty about this. Were I writing in Khana, I would be speaking to about 200,000 people, most of whom do not read and write. Writing in English as I do, I can reach, hypothetically speaking, 400 million people. That cannot be bad. So, for me, English is a worthy tool, much like the biro pen or the banking system or the computer, which were not invented by the Ogoni people but which I can master and use for my own purposes. Writing in English has not prevented me from writing in my Khana mother-tongue. I am, indeed, working on a Khana novel at the moment, but that is not because I want to prove a point. I am writing this novel so I can offer it to my seventy-year old mother. She is always reading the Bible–the only book which exists in the Khana language–and I would like to give her some other literature to read.

But I am also writing this novel because I can self-publish it. I am lucky to be in a position to do so; none of the established publishers in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world would have accepted to publish it for the simple reason that it would not be profitable to do so. I have also self-published most of the twenty books I have written in English because publishers of fiction by African writers are few and fat between. But that is another story.

I am aware of Ngugi wa Thiongo’s argument about decolonizing the mind and his determination to write in his native Gikuyu. He is of course welcome to do so. In Nigeria, many writers have been writing in their mother-tongues for a long time. There are newspapers in Hausa and in Yoruba. There is no need to blow this matter out of proportion. Besides, I detect some posturing in Ngugi’s stance. Because he had already made his mark as a writer in English, his works have become instant subjects of translation into English, enabling him to live by his writing. If this were not the case, he might not be so sure of his decision. I also wonder if he has thought or cares about the implications of his decision for the minority ethnic groups in Kenya and for the future of Kenya as a multiethnic nation or, indeed, as a nation at all.

Furthermore, I have examined myself very closely to see how writing or reading in English has colonized my mind. I am, I find, as Ogoni as ever. I am enmeshed in Ogoni culture. I eat Ogoni food. I sing Ogoni songs. I dance to Ogoni music. And I find the best in the Ogoni world-view as engaging as anything else. I am anxious to see the Ogoni establish themselves in Nigeria and make their contribution to world civilization. I myself am contributing to Ogoni life as fully, and possibly even more effectively than those Ogoni who do not speak and write English. The fact that I appreciate Shakespeare, Dickens, Chaucer, Hemingway, et al., the fact that I know something of European civilization, its history and philosophy, the fact that I enjoy Mozart and Beethoven–is this a colonization of my mind? I cannot exactly complain about it.

I am also aware of the proposition that Africa should adopt one language–a continental language. Wole Soyinka once suggested the adoption of Swahili. Quite apart from the fact that the idea is totally impracticable, it seems to me to lack intellectual or political merit. Once a language is not one’s mother-tongue, it is an alien language. Its being an African language is a moot point. As I said earlier, Africans have practiced colonialism as much as Europeans. In most cases, this colonialism has been harsh and crude; it is as detestable as European colonialism. The position in today’s Nigeria is a case in point. The Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo have inflicted on three hundred other ethnic groups a rule that is most onerous. Were I, as an Ogoni, forced to speak or write any of these languages (as is presently proposed), I would rebel against the idea and encourage everyone else to do the same. Moreover, people of the same tongue are not always of the same mind.

African literature is written in several languages, including the extra-African languages of English, French, and Portuguese. As more and more writers emerge, as criticism responds to their works, as African languages increasingly acquire written form, and as communities become more politically aware of the need to develop their languages and cultures, African literature will break down into its natural components, and we will speak of Ogoni literature, Igbo literature, Fanti literature, Swahili literature, etc. But there will continue to be an African literature written in English and French and Portuguese. The fact that these languages have been on the continent for over a hundred years and are spoken by many African peoples entitles them to a proper place among the languages that are native to the continent.

With regard to English, I have heard it said that those who write in it should adopt a domesticated “African” variety of it. I myself have experimented with the three varieties of English spoken and written in Nigeria: pidgin, “rotten,” and standard. I have used them in poetry, short stories, essays, drama, and the novel. I have tried them out in print, on stage, on the radio, and with television comedy. That which carries best and which is most popular is standard English, expressed simply and lucidly. It communicates and expresses thoughts and ideas perfectly.

And so I remain a convinced practitioner and consumer of African literature in English. I am content that this language has made me a better African in the sense that it enables me to know more about Somalia, Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa than I would otherwise have known.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition)

Saro-Wiwa, Ken. “The language of African literature: a writer’s testimony.” Research in African Literatures 23.1 (1992): 153+.
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Let Us Not Forget Assad’s Past

assadExcerpt from an article from 1986:

 

THE ECONOMIC aspect of present heightened Syrian-Israeli tensions is less evident. It is not by any means less real.

For several years, President Hafez al-Assad has publicly sought to achieve an “independent balance of forces” with Israel. He wants Syria itself, exclusive of the other Arab nations, to have a military capacity equal to or exceeding that of the Jewish State. The policy has involved huge arms purchases from the Soviet Union, plus some smaller ones from Western suppliers. Its objective is to put Syria in a position to settle its differences with Israel by force.

The new wrinkle in all this is Assad’s sudden muscle-flexing. In two recent extremely violent speeches, he has declared his intention to go to war with Israel not solely to recapture the Golan Heights, but to “make them the center of Syria rather than a border province.” In other words, he also plans to occupy northern Israel, west of the Golan Heights. Besides ringing alarm bells, the speeches have raised a couple of questions: Since Assad is not the type of Arab dictator who is prone to empty bellicosity, why is he making his threats now? And if he is really preparing an attack on Israel in the near future, why has he thrown away the element of surprise?

Analysts here attribute his timing to two main factors. The first is the rioting in Cairo. Whether or not he actually believes it, Assad has presented the unrest as stemming from opposition to Egypt’s peace with Israel. He has urged the Egyptians to rise up against Mubarak and join Syria against the common enemy. The riots, it is felt, seemed to him an opportunity to take a swipe at Egypt’s President that could not be missed.

The second, more important factor cited is Syria’s serious economic predicament. Mismanagement and enormous military expenditures have combined to create, among other problems, grave budget deficits and severe foreign currency shortages. Syria owes the Soviet Union $12 billion, of which $10 billion is for arms, and it owes Iran over $1 billion for oil. Foreign currency reserves are down to what is barely enough to cover two weeks’ worth of imports. The GNP has declined, too, with a two-year drought badly hurting agricultural production. Further, the drop in oil revenues experienced by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait has forced them to reduce their grants to Damascus from $1.6 billion in 1984 to $700 million in 1985. The overall result is a general shortage of everyday necessities, a flourishing black market, and increasingly loud grumbling.

The military expenditures, the analysts point out, have become a convenient explanation for the economic crisis. But to justify their size, Assad must make it appear that a war with Israel is imminent. In rational terms, Syria’s situation should reduce the chance of any fighting. Slogans have a way of escalating, however, and this would not be the first time an Arab country went to war to distract the people’s attention from economic troubles. Nor would it be the first time an Arab country in crisis acted irrationally.

Lurking in the background, moreover, is the collapse of King Hussein’s attempts to get Jordanian-Israeli peace talks under way with PLO Chief Yasir Arafat’s tacit approval by convincing him to accept UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. Some observers suspect that a 10-year cycle of Middle East peace efforts has come to an end. Washington may maneuver to revive the notion of negotiations and thereby stave off hostilities for a year or two, they say, particularly if Syria is not yet fully persuaded that its Armed Forces are indeed equal to Israel’s. But the predominant assumption here is that an Israeli-Syrian confrontation will replace the Palestinian issue as the focus of attention in the Middle East.

Several scenarios have been put forward: Israel’s deterrence may erode in Assad’s eyes, encouraging him to try a repeat of Sadat’s 1973 surprise attack. Or he may try a minor land grab in the Golan Heights, hoping to hold the territory until international intervention freezes the lines to his advantage.

Israel, on its part, may have a few surprises in store for Assad. Or it may simply be ready to respond to any Syrian thrust with an all-out counterattack against Damascus.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition)

Salpeter, Eliahu. “Mideast economic sparks.” The New Leader 69 (1986): 3+.
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South Africa: Mandela unstable at times

 nelson

Associated Press CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA August 24, 2013

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former South African leader Nelson Mandela remains in critical but stable condition in hospital, though “medical interventions” are required because his health sometimes becomes unstable, the South African government said Saturday.

Doctors are working hard for a “turnaround” in the condition of 95-year-old Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital in June with what officials said was a recurring lung infection, the office of South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

In the statement, Zuma’s office quoted doctors as saying the anti-apartheid leader has “demonstrated great resilience” and that his condition has tended to stabilize after medical treatments when his health deteriorates.

“Doctors are still working hard to effect a turnaround and a further improvement in his health and to keep the former President comfortable,” the statement said.

Mandela remains very fragile, and many details of his medical condition have not been divulged or are tightly controlled by his family and Zuma’s office. Zuma urged South Africans to pray for Mandela and to keep him in their thoughts at all times.

Since June 8, when Mandela was taken to a Pretoria hospital to be treated for a recurring lung infection, there has been a groundswell of concern in South Africa and around the world for the man who spent 27 years as a prisoner under apartheid and then emerged to negotiate an end to white racist rule before becoming president in the country’s first all-race elections in 1994.

Zuma’s office said the president will travel to Malaysia Saturday on an official visit during which he will receive a peace award on behalf of Mandela.

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