The Travel Industry Sparks Backlash By Stressing Quantity Over Quality

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The view of Cartagena, Colombia from Tierra Bomba. Despite being one of the most visited cities in South America, Tierra Bomba remains highly impoverished. Why doesn’t large-scale tourism benefit such a community? Carter Hunt, CC BY-ND

Carter A. Hunt, Pennsylvania State University

Travel is a major global industry, but in 2017 it attracted unprecedented resentment and retaliation towards tourists. A growing global backlash against tourism extended from tropical rain forests to urban destinations like Rio de Janeiro and Venice.

I have studied tourism’s social and environmental consequences along the coastlines of Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, in the rain forests of Peru and Ecuador, on the islands of Fiji and the Galapagos and across the savannahs of South Africa and Tanzania. My research and that of numerous other scholars spotlights a key fact: More tourism is not always better. Increasing the number of visitors has generated profits for travel companies – particularly the cruise ship industry – but it has not always benefited local communities and environments where tourism occurs.

Fortunately, once people are aware of the often surprising ways in which their trips impact local people and places, it becomes easy to ensure that their travel has more positive consequences for the destinations they visit.

A demonstrator holds a Basque-language banner that reads ‘Tourism = a poverty salary’ during a protest against massive tourism in San Sebastian, Spain, on Aug. 17, 2017. AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos

Billions on the move

Born from the accessibility of mass air travel, modern international tourism has been popularized as “holiday-making” in regions that offer comparative advantages of sand, sun and sea. Travel is often portrayed as a tool for personal growth and tourism as an economic motor for destination countries and cities. There is a tendency to assume that tourism is good for everyone involved.

Today the big bang of tourism drives more than 1.2 billion tourists across international borders each year, generates 9 percent of global GDP and provides one out of every 11 jobs on earth. But many popular places are literally being loved to death. Recent protests in ports of call like Venice and Barcelona against disturbances created by larger and more numerous cruise ships show the unfortunate consequences of emphasizing quantity over quality in tourism.

Unabated tourism development has become a primary driver of social and environmental disruption. Tourism studies, which came of age as a scholarly field in the 1970s, provides much documentation of the many negative social impacts of tourism and resulting resentment that local populations direct towards visitors.

Early tourism scholars even developed an “irridex” to measure this irritation with tourists among local residents. Later, scholars identified stages through which tourist destinations evolve. Antagonism toward tourists typically develops in mature, heavily visited destinations. Protests in heavily visited destinations suggest that traditional tourism has overstayed its welcome.

Resentment toward tourists, attacks on foreign-owned hotels and increases in crime against both tourists and local residents were regularly documented in the 1970s and ‘80s, at a time when only 2 to 3 million tourists were crossing international borders annually. So it is not surprising that such protests have escalated in scale and frequency as tourism has grown.

In Barcelona, for example, growing resentment of neighborhood gentrification, elevated real estate and rental prices, and erosion of local social networks has led some residents to call tourism the city’s biggest problem and label tourists as “terrorists.”

Nations compete for market share at the 2015 New York Times Travel show.

Friends without benefits

Residents often become frustrated when the benefits of tourism are not felt locally. Although it can generate foreign exchange, income and employment, there is no guarantee that multinational hotel chains will allocate these benefits equitably among local communities.

On the contrary, when people stay at large resorts or on cruise ships, they make most of their purchases there, leaving local communities little opportunity to benefit from tourist spending. These forms of tourism widen economic and political gaps between haves and have-nots at local destinations.

In recent decades, local residents in destination communities also have found themselves negotiating new cultural boundaries, class dynamics, service industry roles and lifestyle transformations. For example, data show that tourism activity corresponds to increased alcohol, drug and sex abuse as local residents adopt the behaviors of tourists, often leading to parallel upticks in crime, addiction and prostitution.

All-inclusive resorts can also privatize access to important coastal, marine, forest and agricultural resources. And when foreign investment drives up local land values and living costs to international standards, it may put ownership out of reach for local residents. In such situations, even people who depend on tourism will often question its ethics, whether they are rural Nicaraguan residents working in a newly booming resort industry or urban dwellers being priced out of their apartments by the sharing economy.

All-inclusive resorts (shown: Hotel Majestic Colonial Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) offer amenities such as shopping, child care, religious services and multiple bars and restaurants, reducing incentives to spend time outside the gates. Batle Group, CC BY-SA

Cruise lines miss the boat

Jim Damalas, owner of Si Como No ecolodge in Costa Rica, observes that publicly traded corporations do “not fall in love with the country, they fall in love with the numbers.” No form of tourism is more in love with the numbers than cruises. While all forms of tourism have grown in recent decades, the rise in cruise travel is dramatic. For instance, cruise visitors to Belize grew from 34,000 in 1999 to 800,000 in 2005.

Contemporary cruise ships can entertain as many as 5,700 passengers. These boats themselves are the destinations. As they bounce from port to port, they are not beholden to any particular community and provide only the most superficial levels of engagement with local people and places. Their business model emphasizes packing the greatest number of travelers into the greatest number of places in the shortest amount of time.

Research into the industry’s impact has shown that few forms of tourism do less to improve the social, environmental or economic well-being of the places where they occur than cruises. These trips may give passengers a pleasurable experience, but they miss the boat – pun intended – with regard to supporting local communities and environments.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class cruise ships can carry more then 5,400 passengers and displace roughly as much water as a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Baldwin040, CC BY-SA

A better model

The United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. What does this mean for the everyday traveler? Here are a few of the U.N.’s suggestions, which research on tourism supports.

First, as Stephen Colbert has quipped, “There’s nothing American tourists like more than the things they can get at home.” All tourists should make every effort to honor their hosts and respect local conditions. This means being prepared to adapt to local customs and norms, rather than expecting local conditions to adapt to travelers.

Second, tourism is a market-based activity and works best when consumers reward better performers. Livelihoods, human rights and the fate of endangered species all can be affected by travelers’ decisions. In the information age, there is little excuse for travelers being uninformed about where their vacation money goes and who it enriches.

Informed travelers also are better able to distinguish between multinational companies and local entrepreneurs whose businesses provide direct social, environmental, and economic benefits for local residents. Such businesses are in love with the destination, not just the numbers, and are therefore deserving of market reward.

The ConversationIn the long run, the goal should not be just to minimize the impact of travel. Being a responsible traveler means ensuring net positive impacts for local people and environments. With the amount of information available at our fingertips, there has never been more opportunity to do so.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Hanukkah’s True Meaning Is About Jewish Survival

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http://www.shutterstock.com

Alan Avery-Peck
College of the Holy Cross

Beginning on the evening of Dec. 12, Jews will celebrate the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, perhaps the best-known and certainly the most visible Jewish holiday.

While critics sometimes identify Christmas as promoting the prevalence in America today of what one might refer to as Hanukkah kitsch, this assessment misses the social and theological significance of Hanukkah within Judaism itself.

Let’s consider the origin and development of Hanukkah over the past more than 2,000 years.

Early history

Though it is 2,200 years old, Hanukkah is one of Judaism’s newest holidays, an annual Jewish celebration that does not even appear in the Hebrew Bible.

The historical event that is the basis for Hanukkah is told, rather, in the post-biblical Books of the Maccabees, which appear in the Catholic biblical canon but are not even considered part of the Bible by Jews and most Protestant denominations.

The Maccabees receive their father’s blessing. The Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation via Wikimedia Commons.

Based on the Greco-Roman model of celebrating a military triumph, Hanukkah was instituted in 164 B.C. to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees, a ragtag army of Jews, against the much more powerful army of King Antiochus IV of Syria.

In 168 B.C., Antiochus outlawed Jewish practice and forced Jews to adopt pagan rituals and assimilate into Greek culture.

The Maccabees revolted against this persecution. They captured Jerusalem from Antiochus’s control, removed from the Jerusalem Temple symbols of pagan worship that Antiochus had introduced and restarted the sacrificial worship, ordained by God in the Hebrew Bible, that Antiochus had violated.

Hanukkah, meaning “dedication,” marked this military victory
with a celebration that lasted eight days and was modeled on the festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot) that had been banned by Antiochus.

How Hanukkah evolved

The military triumph, however, was short-lived. The Maccabees’ descendants – the Hasmonean dynasty – routinely violated their own Jewish law and tradition.

Even more significantly, the following centuries witnessed the devastation that would be caused when Jews tried again to accomplish what the Maccabees had done. By now, Rome controlled the land of Israel. In A.D. 68-70 and again in A.D. 133-135, the Jews mounted passionate revolts to rid their land of this foreign and oppressing power.

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Francesco Hayez, via Wikimedia Commons

The first of these revolts ended in the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple, the preeminent center of Jewish worship, which had stood for 600 years. As a result of the second revolt, the Jewish homeland was devastated and countless Jews were put to death.

War no longer seemed an effective solution to the Jews’ tribulations on the stage of history.

In response, a new ideology deemphasized the idea that Jews should or could change their destiny through military action. What was required, rabbis asserted, was not battle but perfect observance of God’s moral and ritual law. This would lead to God’s intervention in history to restore the Jewish people’s control over their own land and destiny.

In this context, rabbis rethought Hanukkah’s origins as the celebration of a military victory. Instead, they said, Hanukkah should be seen as commemorating a miracle that occurred during the Maccabees’ rededication of the temple: The story now told was how a jar of temple oil sufficient for only one day had sustained the temple’s eternal lamp for a full eight days, until additional ritually appropriate oil could be produced.

The earliest version of this story appears in the Talmud, in a document completed in the sixth century A.D. From that period on, rather than directly commemorating the Maccabees’ victory, Hanukkah celebrated God’s miracle.

This is symbolized by the kindling of an eight-branched candelabra (“Menorah” or “Hanukkiah”), with one candle lit on the holiday’s first night and an additional candle added each night until, on the final night of the festival, all eight branches are lit. The ninth candle in the Hanukkiah is used to light the others.

Throughout the medieval period, however, Hanukkah remained a minor Jewish festival.

What Hanukkah means today

How then to understand what happened to Hanukkah in the past hundred years, during which it has achieved prominence in Jewish life, both in America and around the world?

Hanukkah today responds to Jews’ desire to see their history as consequential. Pixabay.com/en, CC BY

The point is that even as the holiday’s prior iterations reflected the distinctive needs of successive ages, so Jews today have reinterpreted Hanukkah in light of contemporary circumstances – a point that is detailed in religion scholar Dianne Ashton’s book, “Hanukkah in America.”

Ashton demonstrates while Hanukkah has evolved in tandem with the extravagance of the American Christmas season, there is much more to this story.

Hanukkah today responds to Jews’ desire to see their history as consequential, as reflecting the value of religious freedom that Jews share with all other Americans. Hanukkah, with its bright decorations, songs, and family- and community-focused celebrations, also fulfills American Jews’ need to reengage disaffected Jews and to keep Jewish children excited about Judaism.

Poignantly, telling a story of persecution and then redemption, Hanukkah today provides a historical paradigm that can help modern Jews think about the Holocaust and the emergence of Zionism.

In short, Hanukkah is as powerful a commemoration as it is today because it responds to a host of factors pertinent to contemporary Jewish history and life.

The ConversationOver two millennia, Hanukkah has evolved to narrate the story of the Maccabees in ways that meet the distinctive needs of successive generations of Jews. Each generation tells the story as it needs to hear it, in response to the eternal values of Judaism but also as is appropriate to each period’s distinctive cultural forces, ideologies and experiences.

Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Women’s NGOs Are Changing The World And Not Getting Credit For It.

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Women’s NGOs work hard to improve the lives of women in the developing world, including in countries like India and Tanzania. But then they’re often cut out from the process. This photo was taken in the remote village of Uzi on Zanzibar Island in Tanzania in April 2016. (Shutterstock)

By Dr. Bipasha Baruah, Western University and Dr. Kate Grantham, McGill University

In contemporary global development circles, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are now performing many more roles and activities than they did a few decades ago.

NGOs work with governments, community groups and the private sector — to develop and implement programs, monitor and evaluate their progress and help train people working on those projects.

They’re considered more nimble than other institutions in accomplishing development goals, because they can reach the most vulnerable or disaffected people in a community and find innovative solutions to problems.

Although their funding streams and institutional decision-making structures are typically multinational, NGOs’ legitimacy, indeed, often rests on perceptions of them being “local” and “close to the people.”

NGOs are increasingly taking on the responsibility of implementing the gender equality and women’s empowerment agendas of the global development sector.

But very rarely have researchers tried to understand or document the specific challenges and opportunities that NGOs working on gender equality, or those that define themselves as feminist NGOs or women’s NGOs, face — when participating in multiple-stakeholder projects like Canada’s new feminist international assistance policy.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015, and the Canadian initiative that includes $150 million in funding for advancing the rights of women and girls, will undoubtedly increase the engagement of women’s NGOs in a variety of activities.

That means understanding the opportunities and constraints faced by women’s NGOs in multiple-stakeholder projects is increasingly important.

Women’s NGOs in India and Tanzania

We’re basing our observations upon research conducted over the past decade in India, where women’s NGOs were involved in delivering urban basic services like water, sanitation and electricity, and in Tanzania, where women’s NGOs helped deliver community health and microenterprise development services.

In both contexts, we found that women’s NGOs played crucial roles in development projects, often mobilizing, organizing and building projects that otherwise would never have launched.

In India, for example, women’s NGOs in the state of Gujarat mobilized local communities to participate in urban development projects. They helped form community-based organizations to represent local interests and implemented community development projects — such as health services, adult literacy and child care.

A mother and child in a rural area in the Indian state of Gujarat in October 2015. (Shutterstock)

Women’s NGOs also conducted research to determine whether local communities could afford to pay for basic urban services.

They negotiated subsidies, fair pricing and flexible terms of payment with utilities on behalf of marginalized people. They arranged access to loans from microfinance institutions for households that could not cover the cost of water or electricity connections.

And by insisting that water and electricity bills be issued in the names of female heads of households, women’s NGOs strengthened women’s access to property and housing.

The NGOs also educated stakeholders about the realities of life for the urban poor, and shared lessons learned in one urban area with NGOs in other cities in India.

In Tanzania, we studied the community partner role played by a women’s NGO in a project delivering health and microenterprise services across East Africa.

The project, which brought together the Tanzanian government, public research and medical institutions, international charitable organizations, community-based organizations and beneficiaries, envisioned the establishment of community kitchens across East Africa to produce probiotic yogurt.

The yogurt would be sold for profit and distributed for free to certain vulnerable groups, including children with nutritional deficiencies and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Women operated the yogurt kitchens

Local entrepreneurs were offered loans, technical assistance and other training to start up the businesses. A women’s NGO that had previously worked to reduce gender-based violence in Tanzania helped local communities establish, operate and maintain the kitchens.

Before the idea of community kitchens was taken up by more financially and politically powerful project partners, it was in fact the women’s NGO that had proposed the idea of establishing yogurt kitchens that could be run by local women in keeping with Tanzanian dietary, cultural and consumer norms.

The four earliest community kitchens were run entirely by women. The economic empowerment of poor women in Tanzania was identified as one of the founding goals of the project because of the advocacy work done by the women’s NGO.

In later years, the pilot project was expanded to include kitchens run by men.

The women’s NGO provided training on probiotic yogurt production, the health benefits of probiotics, financial accounting, entrepreneurship and the importance of combatting HIV/AIDS transmission and stigma.

Until 2012, when the women’s NGO withdrew from the project, community kitchen groups also received training on gender equality, the rights of women and girls and the links between violence against women and HIV.

Women’s NGOs easily marginalized

Common findings emerge from our research in India and Tanzania.

In both contexts, we found that women’s NGOs had made vital contributions to the success of development projects, but they were easily marginalized and trivialized once those projects got off the ground.

In India, after the success of the pilot projects, the other partners declared that they would “go it alone” and no longer involve the NGO partner in delivering basic urban services.

A similar pattern emerged in Tanzania. Once the project was well-established, it started to expand to include community yogurt kitchens run by men, as well as kitchens in other parts of Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. The women’s NGO was forced out.

What’s more, the gender equality training, identified initially as a key project priority in Tanzania, was discontinued entirely.

Although the contributions made by the women’s NGOs were critical to the existence and success of the initiatives, they were often dismissed as supplementary and dispensable by the other partners.

Because the NGOs’ role of organizing, mobilizing and helping local communities participate in development initiatives was seen as a “natural” extension of women’s care-giving work, it was easy for other partners to diminish and dismiss their contributions.

And because the other partners did not fully appreciate the contributions of the women’s NGOs, they were unwilling to share credit for the success of the project.

How to bolster the role of women’s NGOs

We recommend several strategies to strengthen and validate the role of women’s NGOs in development partnership projects.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) that defines the specific roles and responsibilities of each partner should be an essential requirement for multiple-stakeholder projects.

The lack of such formal agreements entrenches the perception that the role NGOs play is not particularly valuable. But the involvement of partners with a wide range of views, sizes, structures and experiences underscores the importance of formalizing the role of women’s NGOs.

When the relationship among the different parties is formalized, constructive debate can be encouraged among all partners.

The lack of a memorandum of understanding causes overlaps in function, weakens accountability and exacerbates conflict among partners. While it’s possible for diverse institutions with different philosophies to work in an integrated way, it doesn’t happen automatically or easily.

At a deeper structural level, advocacy work — whether it’s gender equality or community mobilization — must be treated as a non-negotiable priority in global development partnership projects, instead of as a value-added or supplementary task.

Women’s NGOs deserve recognition

Our research has shown that women’s NGOs play integral roles in the projects they participate in.

It’s unfortunate they must “justify” their long-term involvement in such initiatives, but it may be incumbent upon them to make their contributions to the project more visible to the different partners and to the development community at large.

Collecting, maintaining and analyzing data on a regular basis about key project impacts and outcomes will be crucial for making NGO contributions more visible and less dismissible.

The ConversationCollaborating with academics and other development professionals to publish and disseminate findings from such projects will also strengthen and validate NGO efforts. This article is one small contribution toward ensuring women’s NGOs get the credit and support they so richly deserve.

Dr. Bipasha Baruah, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues , Western University and Dr. Kate Grantham, Research Associate, International Development, McGill University

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit: Showcasing American Women in Business

By Christopher A. Garcia
Acting National Director
National Deputy Director
U.S. Department of Commerce
Minority Business Development Agency

November 28, 2017

Earlier this year, The President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the U.S. and India would co-host the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad City, India Nov. 28-30. The GES is an annual event that draws high-level investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world. It also provides phenomenal opportunities for professional networking, mentoring, and training intended to help entrepreneurs create new products and services that will transform the world we live in.

The 2017 theme, “Women First, Prosperity for All,” will spotlight the important role that women play in fostering global growth and prosperity.  Women leaders and business owners are critical to the economic development and success of our Nation in both the national and international marketplaces. America has more than 11 million women-owned businesses that employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1 trillion in revenue. First Daughter Ivanka Trump will lead the American delegation during this year’s summit. A live stream of select sessions can be viewed here.

Prior to my presidential appointment and joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, I was invited by The White House to speak at the GES in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015. In front of a crowd of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from around the world, I discussed the importance of entrepreneurship in both developed and developing economies. It was a dynamic experience both personally and professionally, and I’m excited to be able to continue that work here at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

As an alumnus of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, I’m proud to support both this year’s event and the White House’s efforts to expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs and empower American businesses. One of this Administration’s top priorities is ensuring that entrepreneurs have fair and equal access to the capital, markets, and networks they need to start their businesses, create innovative products and services, and export them around the world.  Through MBDA’s expansive network of strategic partners and stakeholders such as Essence Communications, Inc., Walker’s Legacy, National ACE, and The Latino Coalition, MBDA ensures that women of color have fair and equal access to business development resources and the technical expertise they need to grow their businesses all over the world.

As we close out National Entrepreneurship Month,let us recommit to seizing every opportunity available to showcase the best of America’s entrepreneurial spirit and promote home-grown ingenuity.

For more details on the GES, please visit https://www.ges2017.org/

How Filipino Artists are Responding to President Duterte and the ‘War on Drugs’


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In This Here. Land, a performance by Filipino and Australian artists in Sydney, the audience is asked to participate in a recreation of one of the Philippines’s drug killings. Jade Cadeliña

Anna Cristina Pertierra,
Western Sydney University

November 27, 2017

Along one long wall on the side of Manila’s Baclaran church, visual artist Emil Yap has been working for two years on a mural that depicts the cosmology and history of the Philippines.

Yap collaborates with others on the mural, which uses different sculpture and mosaic techniques. Recently, he trained volunteers who were victims of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declared “War on Drugs” – which is estimated to have led to more than 13,000 killings – to work on the mosaics for several months while seeking refuge in the church.

Yap is among a small but growing number of cultural producers whose work addresses the effects of Duterte’s presidency. Several of these artists seek to involve members of communities most affected by the upsurge in killings – which are mostly in low-income urban neighbourhoods.

Alwin Reamillo places images of President Duterte on everyday objects. Photo: Alwin Reamillo

Not far from Baclaran Church, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, performance-maker JK Anicoche collaborated with young widows of the drug war to perform Zumba as part of a performance entitled 15 Minutes of Your Time. A response to self-declared drug addicts across Manila being made to participate in mass Zumba sessions as part of their rehabilitation process, the dance-based exercise form now has a somewhat macabre presence in contemporary Philippine life.

Anicoche and Yap are part of an loose extended network of artists who have been working under the banner of the RESBAK collective (Respond and Break the Silence Against the Killings). RESBAK members make zines, hold film screenings, and produce videos for circulation on social media as part of their diverse efforts to protest.

Their launch video in December 2016 played a famous Filipino Christmas song as a backdrop to protesters silently holding cardboard placards that call to mind the homemade signs often left beside slain bodies.

Cultural projects such as these can offer tools for violence-affected communities to work through their trauma. Among the victims most deeply impacted are children. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism has published a children’s book, Si Kian, narrating the story of teenager Kian de los Santos, whose fatal shooting by police in August 2017 led to protests.

Journalist Kimberley de la Cruz, who had been covering the nightly killings for some months before meeting Kian’s family at his wake, collaborated with author Weng Cahiles and illustrator Aldy Aguirre to produce Si Kian within a matter of weeks. The illustrated book aims to provide a resource to teachers seeking resources for young students experiencing deaths like that of Kian’s within their neighbourhoods.

Shifting alliances

Like other Filipinos, artists are coming to terms with the tensions emerging between Duterte’s supporters and detractors. Some artists had been among those optimistic for change when President Duterte formed alliances with some leftist groups and promised to shake up elitist politics.

But as curator and academic Lisa Ito-Tapang has noted, over the past year Duterte’s alliances have steadily shifted, including a more prominent alliance with the family of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and “a lot of the positionings of artists also reflected those kinds of shifts”.

For example, a 2016 recent exhibition at the University of the Philippines, Dissident Vicinities, featured works by the militant leftist group BAYAN among other activists and artists. The group is known for making effigies of politicians to be burned at rallies.

However, during Duterte’s first State of the Nation address in 2016, BAYAN instead produced six “Portraits of Peace” murals, inviting Duterte to address pressing challenges across the Philippines. But a year later, BAYAN returned to making effigies in protest at the political repression.

The view from the diaspora

Beyond the Philippines, political tensions are also reflected in the work of artists in the diaspora. At Western Sydney’s Blacktown Arts Centre – Filipinos are the largest migrant community in Blacktown – glimpses of Duterte could be seen across many works in Balik Bayan, a recent exhibition of Filipino-Australian artists.

Underneath a house built by artist Alwin Reamillo, a toy Japanese cat waved welcome. With Duterte’s face plastered over the cat’s head, the wave looks increasingly like the president’s signature fist-pump. Alwin has been adding Duterte’s head to different items (matchboxes and wooden pieces) for several months, and plans to keep reworking Duterte’s image in upcoming exhibitions. Alwin is openly critical of the consequences of Duterte’s Presidency upon Philippine society.

Marikit Santiago’s images present Duterte in ways both religious and profane. Photo by Jade Cadeliña

In the same exhibition, Marikit Santiago presents an image of Duterte at once religious and profane. Although Santiago says she does “not have a strong political voice”, her work was prompted by conflicting opinions on Duterte within her own extended family, where political discussions had not previously been common.

In Sydney this October, the LabAnino collective of Filipino and Australian artists performed a new work, This Here. Land. It reflected political differences held within the collective, where members were variously supportive and critical of Duterte.

In the piece’s culmination, outgoing audience members participated in a recreation of the most famous photographic image to emerge from coverage of Manila’s late-night killings. Incoming audience members, meanwhile, used their phones to illuminate and document the recreation of the image. All are complicit in the witnessing, debating and disputing of new political realities.

Across the political and geographic differences that mark Filipino communities at home and abroad, artistic initiatives may be creating small spaces in which people can attempt to bridge increasingly tense divides.

The ConversationThese may offer hope not only to those caught up in its violence, but also to other Filipinos seeking ways beyond the political realm to make sense of their circumstances.

Anna Cristina Pertierra
Senior Lecturer
Cultural and Social Analysis
Western Sydney University

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
November 22, 2017

 

WASHINGTON, DC – In observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on November 25 and the accompanying 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the United States reaffirms its commitment to defending the rights of women and girls to live free from violence.

IDEVAW and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to focus global attention on the scourge of violence against women, including child and forced marriage, domestic violence, and all forms of human trafficking. We know that violence against women and girls undermines global peace and security. It weakens the social fabric that binds families and communities together and prevents countries from achieving social stability and economic development.

Nearly two decades after the United Nations General Assembly established IDEVAW, we continue to recognize that violence against women remains a persistent threat and an obstacle to achieving women’s equality. The United States is especially alarmed by violent extremist groups’ use of violence against women as a tactic of terror to suppress women, recruit terrorists, and stigmatize communities. We denounce terrorist organizations’ use of forced conscription, sexual exploitation, and abuse, including sex trafficking of women and girls.

The United States will never waver in its support for women’s equality. In partnership with governments, international organizations, and civil society around the world, we will continue to work to end violence against women and girls globally and to ensure that women and girls have equal rights and opportunities. On IDEVAW and throughout the 16 Days of Activism, we call on all governments to join us in our shared responsibility to end violence against women.

U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Dumping of Imports of Carbon and Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Belarus, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

November 21, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod (wire rod) from Belarus, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The United States is dedicated to free, fair, and reciprocal trade with these countries, and this case was decided strictly on a full and fair assessment of the facts,” said Secretary Ross. “The Department of Commerce is committed to protecting U.S. companies being hurt by foreign manufacturers that refuse to play fair.”

The Commerce Department determined that exporters from Belarus, Russia, and the UAE sold wire rod in the United States at 84.10 – 756.93 percent less than fair value.

As a result of today’s decisions, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of wire rod from Belarus (280.02 percent), Russia (436.80 – 756.93 percent), and the UAE (84.10 percent) based on these final rates. Since Commerce also found that critical circumstances exist with respect to all Russian exporters/producers, Commerce will instruct CBP to collect cash deposits retroactively on all entries of wire rod from Russia for a period beginning 90 days prior to the preliminary determinations (September 5, 2017).

In 2016, imports of wire rod from Belarus, Russia and the UAE were valued at an estimated $10.4 million, $32.3 million and $7 million, respectively.

The petitioners in these investigations are Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc. (FL), Nucor Corporation (NC), Keystone Consolidated Industries (TX), and Charter Steel (WI).

The AD law provides U.S. businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of unfairly dumped imports into the United States.

Enforcement of U.S. trade law is a prime focus of the Trump administration. From January 20, 2017, through November 7, 2017, Commerce initiated 77 AD and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations – a 61 percent increase from 48 in the previous year.

Commerce currently maintains 412 AD and CVD orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

If the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes affirmative final injury determinations, Commerce will issue AD orders. If the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued.

Click HERE for a fact sheet on today’s decision(s).

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based solely on factual evidence.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to AD duties.

The Strange Story of Turkey Tails

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Headed for export? Ryan McDonough, CC BY

Michael Carolan,
Colorado State University

Intensive livestock farming is a huge global industry that serves up millions of tons of beef, pork and poultry every year. When I asked one producer recently to name something his industry thinks about that consumers don’t, he replied, “Beaks and butts.” This was his shorthand for animal parts that consumers – especially in wealthy nations – don’t choose to eat.

On Thanksgiving, turkeys will adorn close to 90 percent of U.S. dinner tables. But one part of the bird never makes it to the groaning board, or even to the giblet bag: the tail. The fate of this fatty chunk of meat shows us the bizarre inner workings of our global food system, where eating more of one food produces less-desirable cuts and parts. This then creates demand elsewhere – so successfully in some instances that the foreign part becomes, over time, a national delicacy.

Spare parts

Industrial-scale livestock production evolved after Word War II, supported by scientific advances such as antibiotics, growth hormones and, in the case of the turkey, artificial insemination. (The bigger the tom, the harder it is for him to do what he’s supposed to do: procreate.)

U.S. commercial turkey production increased from 16 million pounds in January 1960 to 500 million pounds in January 2017. Total production this year is projected at 245 million birds.

That includes a quarter-billion turkey tails, also known as the parson’s nose, pope’s nose or sultan’s nose. The tail is actually a gland that attaches the turkey’s feathers to its body. It is filled with oil that the bird uses to preen itself, so about 75 percent of its calories come from fat.

Ready to eat. Mark Turnauckas, CC BY

It’s not clear why turkeys arrive at U.S. stores tailless. Industry insiders have suggested to me that it may simply have been an economic decision. Turkey consumption was a novelty for most consumers before World War II, so few developed a taste for the tail, although the curious can find recipes online. Turkeys have become larger, averaging around 30 pounds today compared to 13 pounds in the 1930s. We’ve also been breeding for breast size, due to the American love affair with white meat: One prized early big-breasted variety was called Bronze Mae West. Yet the tail remains.

Savored in Samoa

Rather than letting turkey tails go to waste, the poultry industry saw a business opportunity. The target: Pacific Island communities, where animal protein was scarce. In the 1950s U.S. poultry firms began dumping turkey tails, along with chicken backs, into markets in Samoa. (Not to be outdone, New Zealand and Australia exported “mutton flaps,” also known as sheep bellies, to the Pacific Islands.) With this strategy, the turkey industry turned waste into gold.

By 2007 the average Samoan was consuming more than 44 pounds of turkey tails every year – a food that had been unknown there less than a century earlier. That’s nearly triple Americans’ annual per capita turkey consumption.

When I interviewed Samoans recently for my book “No One Eats Alone: Food as a Social Enterprise,” it was immediately clear that some considered this once-foreign food part of their island’s national cuisine. When I asked them to list popular “Samoan foods,” multiple people mentioned turkey tails – frequently washed down with a cold Budweiser.

American Samoa is a U.S. territory covering seven islands in the South Pacific. National Park Service

How did imported turkey tails become a favorite among Samoa’s working class? Here lies a lesson for health educators: The tastes of iconic foods cannot be separated from the environments in which they are eaten. The more convivial the atmosphere, the more likely people will be to have positive associations with the food.

Food companies have known this for generations. It’s why Coca-Cola has been ubiquitous in baseball parks for more than a century, and why many McDonald’s have PlayPlaces. It also explains our attachment to turkey and other classics at Thanksgiving. The holidays can be stressful, but they also are a lot of fun.

As Julia, a 20-something Samoan, explained to me, “You have to understand that we eat turkey tails at home with family. It’s a social food, not something you’ll eat when you’re alone.”

Turkey tails also come up in discussions of the health epidemic gripping these islands. American Samoa has an obesity rate of 75 percent. Samoan officials grew so concerned that they banned turkey tail imports in 2007.

But asking Samoans to abandon this cherished food overlooked its deep social attachments. Moreover, under World Trade Organization rules, countries and territories generally cannot unilaterally ban the import of commodities unless there are proven public health reasons for doing so. Samoa was forced to lift its ban in 2013 as a condition of joining the WTO, notwithstanding its health worries.

Author Michael Carolan cooks turkey tails for the first time.

Embracing the whole animal

If Americans were more interested in eating turkey tails, some of our supply might stay at home. Can we bring back so called nose-to-tail animal consumption? This trend has gaining some ground in the United States, but mainly in a narrow foodie niche.

Beyond Americans’ general squeamishness toward offal and tails, we have a knowledge problem. Who even knows how to carve a turkey anymore? Challenging diners to select, prepare and eat whole animals is a pretty big ask.

Oxtails were a popular Depression-era meat cut in the United States, but now are found more frequently in Asian cuisine; shown here, oxtail soup at a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles. T. Tseng, CC BY

Google’s digitization of old cookbooks shows us that it wasn’t always so. “The American Home Cook Book,” published in 1864, instructs readers when choosing lamb to “observe the neck vein in the fore quarter, which should be of an azure-blue to denote quality and sweetness.” Or when selecting venison, “pass a knife along the bones of the haunches of the shoulders; if it smell [sic] sweet, the meat is new and good; if tainted, the fleshy parts of the side will look discolored, and the darker in proportion to its staleness.” Clearly, our ancestors knew food very differently than we do today.

It is not that we don’t know how to judge quality anymore. But the yardstick we use is calibrated – intentionally, as I’ve learned – against a different standard. The modern industrial food system has trained consumers to prioritize quantity and convenience, and to judge freshness based on sell-by-date stickers. Food that is processed and sold in convenient portions takes a lot of the thinking process out of eating.

The ConversationIf this picture is bothersome, think about taking steps to recalibrate that yardstick. Maybe add a few heirloom ingredients to beloved holiday dishes and talk about what makes them special, perhaps while showing the kids how to judge a fruit or vegetable’s ripeness. Or even roast some turkey tails.

Michael Carolan, Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Research, College of Liberal Arts, Colorado State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Dumping and Subsidization of Imports of Softwood Lumber from Canada

November 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the affirmative final determinations of the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of softwood lumber from Canada.

While significant efforts were made by the United States and Canada, and the respective softwood lumber industries, to reach a long-term settlement to this on-going trade dispute, the parties were unable to agree upon terms that were mutually acceptable.  As a result, the investigations were continued and Commerce reached its final determinations.

“While I am disappointed that a negotiated agreement could not be made between domestic and Canadian softwood producers, the United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada,” said Secretary Ross. “This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices.”

The Commerce Department determined that exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber the United States at 3.20 percent to 8.89 percent less than fair value.  Commerce also determined that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of softwood lumber at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent.

As a result of today’s decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of softwood lumber from Canada based on the final rates.

In 2016, imports of softwood lumber from Canada were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion.

The petition was filed on behalf of the Committee Overseeing Action for Lumber International Trade Investigations or Negotiations (COALITION), which is an ad hoc association whose members are Plywood filed the case on behalf of its individual members:  U.S. Lumber Coalition, Inc. (DC), Collum’s Lumber Products, L.L.C. (SC), Hankins, Inc. (MS), Potlatch Corporation (WA), Rex Lumber Company (FL), Seneca Sawmill Company (OR), Sierra Pacific Industries (CA), Stimson Lumber Company (OR), Swanson Group (OR), Weyerhaeuser Company (WA), Carpenters Industrial Council (OR), Giustina Land and Timber Company (OR), and Sullivan Forestry Consultants, Inc. (GA).

The antidumping duty and countervailing duty laws provide U.S. businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of dumping unfairly priced and unfairly subsidized imports into the United States.

Enforcement of U.S. trade law is a prime focus of the Trump administration. From January 20, 2017, through November 1, 2017, Commerce has initiated 77 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 61 percent increase from 48 in the previous year.

AD and CVD laws provide U.S. businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of dumping unfairly priced and unfairly subsidized imports into the United States.  Commerce currently maintains 412 AD and CVD orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

If the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes affirmative final injury determinations, Commerce will issue AD and CVD orders. If the ITC makes a negative final determination of injury, the investigation will be terminated and no order will be issued.

Click HERE for a fact sheet on today’s decision(s).

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based solely on factual evidence.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to AD duties.  Foreign companies that receive financial assistance from foreign governments that benefits the production of goods from foreign companies and is limited to specific enterprises or industries, or is contingent either upon export performance or upon the use of domestic goods over imported goods, are subject to CVD duties.