an expression of revolutionary culture

The oppression in Tibet

Tibet Self-immolations Calling For FREEDOM in Tibet & Dalai Lama Return

The website Free Tibet,, the following information about the situation…

“Tibet has been changed dramatically by the Chinese occupation. It was a country the size of western Europe when it was invaded in 1950. Many lives have been lost and Tibetans in Tibet do not enjoy basic human rights. The Chinese authorities have also introduced policies by which the unique culture, language and natural resources of Tibet are being systematically and irrevocably eroded.“

Ten facts about Tibet

1. The invasion of Tibet began in 1949. Chinese occupation has resulted in the deaths of at least hundreds of thousands of Tibetans, the destruction of over 6,000 monasteries, nunneries and temples, and the imprisonment and torture of thousands of Tibetans.
2. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, fled Tibet in 1959 to Dharamsala, India, followed by over 100,000 Tibetans and established the Tibetan Government-in Exile. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a steadfast dedication to non-violence, and the highest US civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 2007.
3. Tibet, before occupation, was a nation with an established sovereign government, currency, postal system, language, legal system, and culture. Prior to 1950, the Tibetan government also signed treaties with foreign nations. The Chinese government claims that Tibet has always been part of China, yet its invasion of Tibet resembles imperialist aggression that China accuses other powers of exhibiting.
4. The “Tibetan Autonomous Region” (TAR) is not Tibet, nor is it autonomous. The Chinese government has divided historical Tibet into one region and several prefectures and counties, with the TAR encompassing only the central area and some eastern regions of Tibet.
5. The basic freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly are strictly limited, and arbitrary arrests continue. There are currently hundreds of political prisoners in Tibet, enduring a commonplace punishment of torture.
6. The Chinese government increasingly encourages Han Chinese to migrate to Tibet, offering them higher wages and other inducements. This policy is threatening the survival of Tibetan people. Tibetans are becoming a minority in the TAR. Yearly, thousands of Tibetans still flee from Tibet, making the treacherous journey over the Himalayas into a world of exile.
7. Historical Tibet was a vast country, with an area roughly equal to Western Europe. Tibet is the source of five of Asia’s largest rivers, which provide water for two billion people. Tibet’s fragile environment is endangered by Chinese strip-mining, nuclear waste dumping, and extensive deforestation.
8. The Chinese government claims to have “developed” Tibet, with “developments” mainly benefiting the new majority Chinese, not Tibetans. China, neglecting education and healthcare, has spent millions of dollars building infrastructure; many roads, buildings, and power plants directly support heavy militarization, allowing China to maintain Tibet as a police state.
9. The Chinese government aggressively seeks foreign investment for its “Go West” campaign, with use of these international funds to develop Tibet as a resource extraction colony and consolidate regional control. Foreign investments in Chinese companies legitimise China’s colonisation and exploitative projects that harm Tibet.
10. The United Nations and international community have done very little to address the core issue of China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. China represents an enormous market and cheap labour force, and its associated businesses have such a strong lobby that officials are reluctant to take substantive measures. Since western countries adopted policies of so-called “constructive engagement” with China in the 1990s, the human rights situation in Tibet has only deteriorated. In November 2008, the UN agreed with Free Tibet’s report on torture, clarifying that it believes that torture is ‘widespread and routine’ in Tibet.

People in Tibet set themselves on fire to protest the oppressive Chinese forces. More than 30 Tibetans have now set themselves on fire since March 2011 in protest of China’s continued occupation of Tibet. I would definately seek a different solution personally, but this shows how outrageous the situation is. I do not support self-immolation at all, but it shows us how far they are going to protest. It is widely accepted that they are doing this in order to draw global attention to their situation. The link below shows a video of a 40 year-old mother setting herself on fire. This is horrible!! Something has to be done. The Chinese government needs to respect human life and stop taking by force. Globalization is leading to the destruction of the natural world in many ways (strip-mining, nuclear waste dumping, and extensive deforestation). All over the world human rights are being violated. The environment is being destroyed and violence continues to rapidly violate the innocent.

Respected environmental activists unfairly charged with criminal damage

“Gazaryan, a zoologist and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Vitishko, a geologist, are members of Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus. Gazaryan is known for his outspoken criticism of the Russian authorities on a number of issues, including the construction of a highway through the Khimki forest near Moscow and environmental concerns in Sochi connected to the preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
On November 13, 2011, Gazaryan, Vitishko, and other activists held a rally in Tuapse, calling for the protection of the Black Sea coast and the nearby forest. As part of the rally, the activists headed into the territory of the state forest fund, which, under Russian law, is open to the public. Inside the forest they discovered a fence surrounding a construction site.”

They moved a small part of the fence in order to enter the public park, and admitted having done so to the authorities. They didn’t cause any damage by their own testimony, but they were both given excessive criminal charges. It is believed that because they are outspoken activists that the authorities charged them excessively to shut them up…

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How do Homer’s the Iliad and Odyssey compare and contrast?

How do Homer’s the Iliad and Odyssey compare and contrast?

The Iliad begins with Chryses, a prophet of Apollo, coming to a Greek camp and offering valuable “penalty tokens” requesting the return of his daughter who the Greeks had captured in a raid. Because Agamemnon believed she was rightfully his, he refused. Most of his fellow Greeks wanted him to return her in order to avoid conflict. In order to preserve his time (honor, respect, value), Agamemnon brings danger to them all. Chryses prays to Apollo and a plague is released upon the Achaeans. Achilles, a basileus in the Greek army, suggests seeking insight from the prophet Calchas. Upon doing so all are informed that Agamemnon is responsible for the plague because he refused to return his geras (prize), the daughter of Chryses.

In order to preserve his time and relieve the burden of the plague, Agamemnon decides to take someone else’s geras. He threatens to takes Achillesgeraand this make the destructive anger of Achilles “sing”. However, Athena intercedes and causes him to restrain himself. Agamemnon’s men seize hisgera, Briseis, and Achilles refuses to fight. Needing him for a successful battle, they offer him his gera and more, but he refuses. His rage is kindled against Agamemnon. Achilles rejects the system upon which heroic culture was built. Because he receives his time from Zeus, he doesn’t care what people think.

Upon hearing about the death of his companion Patroclus, Achilles attacks the Trojan forces and kills Hector, Patroclus’s killer. He drags his body behind his chariot for days wishing he would have fought sooner and prevented the death of his friend. When Priam, Hectors father comes to meet with Achilles, they celebrate a mutual respect for the lives lost and for each other and they make peace. Hector is buried and the city still stands. 

The Odyssey opens with Zeus reflecting on mortal affairs. He spoke among the deathless ones about the folly that mortals suffer by their own hands. Aegisthus, cousin of Agamemnon committed adultery with Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, and then helped her to murder Agamemnon. He went on to explain how Orestes, son of Agamemnon, then killed Aegisthus and his mother to avenge his father’s death and how this all could have been avoided if he would have taken the warning that Hermes gave him before all this happened to heart and abstained from adultery. Yet, mortals blame the gods for all evil, “when really it’s through their own folly they suffer, even more than necessary.”

Then Athena rises in the divine assembly and requests that the righteous Odysseus is released from imprisonment on the island of Calypso. Zeus then sends Hermes to set him free. The story focus’s on Odysseus who escapes from the island and sails upon the sea in a raft. But his enemy Poseidon, as the story attests, causes a storm that destroys the raft and makes Odysseus swim for three days until he lands on the island of Phaeacia, where King Alcinous rules. The virgin princess Nausicaa meets him on shore and takes him to the palace. After revealing his identity, Odysseus recounts his wanderings to the Phaeacians.

After leaving Troy, he and his men, with twenty boats, came to the land of Thracians and lost many men in a raid. After departing, a storm takes them to the land of the Lotus Eater. If anyone eats the lotus, they will forget their purpose, to go home again. Then Odysseus comes to the land of the Cyclops where many of his men are eaten alive and he is imprisoned in a cave. Odysseus tricks the Cyclops and escapes.

He then comes to the island of Circe, “hawk.” Then Odysseus gains the respect of the witch Circe with the help of Hermes and him and his men enjoy a year on the island. Then Circe tells him that he must consult the spirit of the prophet Tiresias to learn what awaits him. He sails away and speaks with spirits. The spirit of the murdered Agamemnon praises Odysseus’ wife Penelope for being faithful and warns Odysseus to beware of women when returning home. Traveling on, they pass by the island of the Sirens, whose seduce men with their song. Odysseus prevents his men from hearing their song and they make it past. Next, he passes by the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. Five men are eaten, and the rest go to the island of Helios Hyperion, the sun. Circe warned him not to eat the cattle but they did anyway. When they sail away, Zeus destroys their boat to punish their impiety. Odysseus alone escapes. He finally comes to the island of Calypso, where the story began.

In the text, “The Greeks, History, Culture and Society,” authors Morris and Powell compare and contrast the Iliad and the Odyssey as such, “The remarkable Odyssey…has a tripartite plot, but moves more in spirals than in a straight line. Whereas the Iliad describes a man at odds with his society, a man apart, the Odyssey describes a man who journeys far, suffers much then returns to his proper place in society…the Iliad is tragic, the Odyssey is comic [meaning the story ends in harmony and acceptance].”

In the Iliad, people die in combat, often times honorable men against honorable men. Morals are a major theme expressed in the Iliad. Upholding a state of honesty, restraint, discipline, honor, and respect are important characteristics that are sought for. The Odyssey deals with Odysseus striving to return home and the morals of mortals are critiqued by Zeus. While Achilles challenges his commander Agamemnon and abhors devious behavior, Odysseus uses trickery to survive and overcome obstacles.

The Iliad and the Odyssey compliment each other by telling two different stories that both give insight into the Trojan War, the Trojan Horse, the funeral of Achilles, and the return of Menelaus and Helen to Sparta. They both deal with the struggles and hardship of mortal life. The purity of women is praised in these stories. Nausicaa is an honored virgin princess and Penelope is known and respected as a virtuous woman who staves off lustful men seeking to sleep with her, while Clytemnestra dishonors her husband and dishonors herself by committing adultery.

They both deal with the gods interceding in human affairs. Human behavior is portrayed in both stories along with the challenges of life. The mortals in both stories have to struggle against fear, anger, and other ego-based dimensions of human existence. Both stories give us insight into the minds of the inhabitants of the earth during this time period and their perception of reality. The reality of the “gods”, supernatural beings, was common knowledge for most people during this time. Today, the existence of the gods is dismissed by most, questioned by many, and known by few. Reality, as they perceived it, was similar in many ways as it is today, but it was also very different. Both stories help up us reflect and gain a deeper understanding of life in ancient Greece.


“God” particle??

Physicists say they have all but proven that the “God particle” exists. They have a footprint and a shadow, and the only thing left is to see for themselves the elusive subatomic particle believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape.

Scientists at the world’s biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have nearly confirmed the primary plank of a theory that could restructure the understanding of why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight.

The idea is much like gravity and Isaac Newton’s discovery: It was there all the time before Newton explained it. But now scientists know what it is and can put that knowledge to further use.

The focus of the excitement is the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle long sought by physicists.

Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, say that they have compiled vast amounts of data that show the footprint and shadow of the particle, even though it has never actually been glimpsed.

But two independent teams of physicists are cautious after decades of work and billions of dollars spent. They don’t plan to use the word “discovery.” They say they will come as close as possible to a “eureka” announcement without overstating their findings.

“I agree that any reasonable outside observer would say, ‘It looks like a discovery,'” said British theoretical physicist John Ellis, a professor at King’s College London who has worked at CERN since the 1970s. “We’ve discovered something which is consistent with being a Higgs.”

CERN’s atom smasher, the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border, has been creating high-energy collisions of protons to investigate dark matter, antimatter and the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.

The phrase “God particle,” coined by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, is used by laymen, not physicists, more as an explanation for how the subatomic universe works than how it all started.

Rob Roser, who leads the search for the Higgs boson at the Fermilab in Chicago, said: “Particle physicists have a very high standard for what it takes to be a discovery,” and he thinks it is a hair’s breadth away. Roser compared the results that scientists will announce Wednesday to finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur: “You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.”

Fermilab, whose competing atom smasher reported its final results Monday after shutting down last year, said its data doesn’t settle the question of the Higgs boson, but it came tantalizingly close.

“It’s a real cliffhanger,” said Gregorio Bernardi, a physicist at the University of Paris who helped lead one of the main experiments at Fermilab. He cited “strong indications of the production and decay of Higgs bosons” in some of their observations.

Fermilab theorist Joseph Lykken said the Higgs boson “gets at the center, for some physicists, of why the universe is here in the first place.”

Though an impenetrable concept to many, the Higgs boson has until now been just that — a concept intended to explain a riddle: How were subatomic particles, such as electrons, protons and neutrons, themselves formed? What gives them their mass?

The answer came in a theory first proposed by Scottish physicist Peter Higgs and others in the 1960s. It envisioned an energy field where particles interact with a key particle, the Higgs boson.

The idea is that other particles attract Higgs bosons and the more they attract, the bigger their mass will be. Some liken the effect to a ubiquitous Higgs snowfield that affects other particles traveling through it depending on whether they are wearing, metaphorically speaking, skis, snowshoes or just shoes.

Officially, CERN is presenting its evidence this week at a physics conference in Australia but plans to accompany the announcement with meetings in Geneva. The two teams, known as ATLAS and CMS, then plan to publicly unveil more data on the Higgs boson at physics meetings in October and December. Each of the teams involves thousands of people working independently to ensure accuracy.

The scientific threshold for discovery is high. Scientists have to show with complex formulas that there’s a less than 1 in 1.7 million chance that the findings are a statistical fluke. With two independent experiments showing that there’s less than 1 in 16,000 chance of being wrong, it’s a matter of how their work is put together.

Scientists with access to the new CERN data say it shows with a high degree of certainty that the Higgs boson may already have been glimpsed, and that by unofficially combining the separate results from ATLAS and CMS it can be argued that a discovery is near. Ellis says at least one physicist-blogger has done just that in a credible way.

CERN spokesman James Gillies said Monday that he would be “very cautious” about unofficial combinations of ATLAS and CMS data.

“Combining the data from two experiments is a complex task, which is why it takes time, and why no combination will be presented on Wednesday.” he said.

But if the calculations are indeed correct, said John Guinon, a longtime physics professor at the University of California at Davis and author of the book “The Higgs Hunter’s Guide,” then it is fair to say that “in some sense we have reached the mountaintop.”

Sean M. Carroll, a California Institute of Technology physicist flying to Geneva for Wednesday’s announcement, said that if both ATLAS and CMS have independently reached these high thresholds on the Higgs boson, then “only the most curmudgeonly will not believe that they have found it.”

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