Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, January 31, 2016

By the Grace of God

"It is a beautiful country here, but it is very unforgiving."
"When he got off the plane, he was pretty keen on going back right away to Fort Severn [Hudson's Bay]."
"He'd been walking for the last two hours after his snow machine ran out of fuel. He said the road was fine when he left Peawanuck but it wasn't  until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. when he started missing the trail. It didn't help his headlight burnt out. Hence why he was walking around trying to feel for his track [made on the journey in] beneath the snow."
"He said he had difficulty finding his trail and he kept feeling disoriented, fatigue and hypothermia."
"He is a well-known and respected pastor, a highly respected community elder along the coast. He was dressed appropriately but didn't have a tent or stove. His sat [satellite] phone wouldn't work."
"He was tired. You could tell he was fatigued and  you could tell he had hypothermia but he was still in good spirits. He didn't want to go to the nurse's station; he wanted to go to a friend's house to rest and warm up."
Sgt. Matthew Gull, commander, Peawanuck patrol, Canadian Rangers
Sgt. Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers
Photo: Sgt. Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers    Sgt. Matthew Gull, on the left, of the Canadian Rangers, a largely aboriginal Canadian Forces reserve unit, coordinated the local rescue efforts

A man whose knowledge of the geography and weather conditions and how swiftly they change was bred in the bone, and further inculcated through a lifetime of experience, but whose trust in the Divine smiling beneficently down on a messenger of faith might perhaps have convinced him he would have nothing to fear, ever, at the hands of mother Nature.

Setting out on a winter afternoon at four p.m. with the intention of reaching his destination in six  hours' time, with no provisions should his plans go awry.

And they did, badly. He had insisted that he must return to St. Peter's Anglican Church in Fort Severn, about as remote a community as any southern-based Canadian might ever imagine. A community on Hudson's Bay, of 335 First Nations souls, all of whose spiritual well-being the Reverend Moses Kakekaspan, 71, felt responsible for. Not that they were his only charges, for he had been even further afield, on a pastoral trip to the community of Kashechewan.

Having completed his visit he flew from Kashechewan into Peawanuck, the closest destination to his Fort Severn home; from there he would snowmobile the 186-kilometre journey. As he set off for home he informed rangers that he anticipated his arrival time at Fort Severn to be around ten that evening. En route, with the wind chill calculated into the equation, the temperature dropped to a truly frosty -43C, with steadily falling snow.

The good Reverend was repeating his original path in reverse through Polar Bear Provincial Park near the Hudson Bay coast. Rangers in Peawanuck called in to their counterparts in Fort Severn at half-past ten to determine whether Reverend Kakekaspan had arrived safely, then checked with his wife, only to be informed he had not yet arrived. Still absent after another hour passed, a search was launched, calling in the Ontario Provincial Police to assist.

Father Kakekaspan was found eventually after his tracks were followed. He was intercepted by Rangers Maurice Mack and Aaron Isaac, walking 20 kilometres north of Peawanuck around 7 the following morning. He had run out of fuel twelve hours earlier, left his snowmobile and took up his journey by foot. His satellite phone failed to work. And he had decided to turn back to Peawanuck since it was closer at that point, he estimated, than Fort Severn.

Sgt. Matthew Gull, Canadian Rangers
Photo: Sgt. Matthew Gull, Canadian Rangers  Moses Kakekaspan recovers in a nurse’s station after being lost in a -43C winter storm

After he had recovered following a brief stay at the Peawanuck nursing station, he was escorted back to Fort Severn by two of the Fort Severn Rangers who had been among those searching for  him: Sgt.Mary Miles and Ranger Sinclair Childforever, the latter one of many children fostered by Father Kakekaspan and his wife Thelma, over the years.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Realities, Actions and Consequences

"The video shows three hands in the vicinity of the guard's gun as he was being choked from behind by Mr. Hind. The guard then fell to the floor, and fatally shot the male who began the assault [Donny Ouimette]."
"Mr. Hind then again attacked the guard from behind as the guard was standing up from the floor. Mr. Hind was shot as he and the guard grappled for control of the handgun."
Toronto East regional coroner Jim Edwards

"There has to be changes so this won't happen again. Nobody else should have to go through this. It needs to be finished. It's not finished."
"I wanted to see for myself what really happened. I needed to know [how her brother died]."
"Next [in the video shown her by Toronto police detectives at her request] you see [Ouimette]. He came up pretty quickly and bodychecked the security guard. It was not a little push, it was a bodycheck."
"The way he walks in [man shown on video] and moves, I knew it was Ryan [her brother]."
"[The attacked security guard fell to the ground] Kicking him, punching him, stomping on him."
"Ryan circled him [security guard prostrate on floor] and went to the counter ... and looked up. All of a sudden, when the security guard was on all fours [Ryan] attacked him. The next thing you see is Ryan roll off the security guard."
"Everyone who knew Ryan knows that that was not the way he was. He was the one, out of all of us, who was supposed to make it."
Brenda Hind, Toronto resident
Still from Global News video

Almost a year ago, on February 28, 2015, at three o'clock in the morning outside an east-end Toronto McDonald's, an off-duty security guard was standing at the counter of the restaurant looking at the menu, trying to decide what he wanted to order. What happened next was revealed in a closed-circuit camera in the store and which was shown to the sister of one of a trio of violent men who attacked the security guard, at her insistence because she wanted to know precisely what had happened in the altercation to leave her brother dead.

What happened is that a trained security guard, overwhelmed physically by the violent aggression of three strange men who had for reasons of their own, too late to share with anyone, decided to surprise a perfect stranger with the force of their instantaneous distemper at the presence of someone whom they had no knowledge of. There could not possibly be a more virulently hostile act than the viciously savage assault that took place there that night.

"Ryan's life had to mean something", says his sister. "Just letting it go -- no accountability for anybody, no changes so this won't happen to someone else -- then he died for nothing." There is no gainsaying that conclusion. But simply because a sibling in mourning struggles to understand why her brother is no longer among the living, others struggle to attempt to understand why anyone would choose to threaten the life of anyone else; in this case a perfectly innocent man who worked for GardaWorld.
Donny Ouimette, left, and Ryan Hind, the two men who were shot and killed by an armed security guard in a McDonald's in February.
Donny Ouimette, left, and Ryan Hind, the two men who were shot and killed by an armed security guard in a McDonald's in February

Of all the unguarded people three men who had spent the night going from bar to bar might chose to vent their violent temperament on, they certainly chose unwisely. Even so, were it not for the fact that this man managed, under extremely violent circumstances to preserve his life even while his attackers appeared to feel he had no right to life and it was their intention to threaten it, abuse it, and remove it, he succeeded in the end in defending himself and in the process completely remove the threat to himself by doing to them what they planned for him.

The surveillance video was obviously there for a distinct purpose, however potential, and it proved its value.  In the video, the guard on his work break was shown at the counter as two men entered the restaurant and attacked the guard; one, then the other, as the surprised guard struggled against them. Repeatedly watching the video themselves, police had far earlier concluded that the man had done "absolutely nothing to provoke" his attackers.

When the overwhelmed guard fell to the floor the beating the men -- and there appeared to be three of them -- were viciously focused on simply continued. One of the men was no longer visible in the video and it was assumed that this is when a gunshot struck him. Soon the other man too was not visible and the video showed only the brother of the sister watching the video unfold standing over the guard trying to raise himself off the floor.

The man stood back as the guard succeeded in partially raising himself, then pounced on him and the two wrestled on the floor, until suddenly the sister's brother rolled away, off the guard. He was later pronounced dead at the scene, from gunshot wounds that hit his chest. It took months of procedural investigation but in July police stated that the guard would not be charged. The public, unaware of any of the details leading to the event, nor what took place in sequence and consequence, questioned that decision.

Police responded by stating that investigators and prosecutors had no intention of laying charges since there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction". The sister of one of the two dead men, 39-year-old Ryan Hind, who with his friend, 25-year-old Donny Ouimette had been shot by the guard insists she will not let matters lie as they are. Her brother, she stated, struggled with substance abuse and had attempted suicide on more than one occasion. The toxicology report indicated traces of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and anti-depressants circulating in his system.

After viewing the video, Brenda Hind wrote a note to the security guard whose identity has been kept anonymous, delivering it via police, to inform him that her crusade just tangentially involves him; she feels no animus, she declared in her note against him personally ... "that's what I want the security guard to know: he [her brother] wasn't trying to hurt [him], he was trying to hurt himself." But she insists that her campaign should prevail; she wants to know why the guard was alone, why he was armed on his break, and might extra training have prevented the shooting.

She has urged that there be a coroner's inquest. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders appeared in agreement, as a result of public pressure, that a coroner's inquest would provide a perfect forum for details in the incident to be released to the public. Toronto East regional coroner Jim Edwards had other ideas, when he declined an inquest request, feeling nothing whatever would be gained from the process. To explain why, in the fall he wrote a five-page letter to Brenda Hind.

"I do not wish to offend you in any way. However, I have personally viewed the surveillance recordings several times ... and am very concerned that public disclosure of the behaviour exhibited by your brother and [Ouimette] would be prejudicial to both of their reputations. The guard sustained a gunshot wound to the hand, and later told [police] officers he feared for his life."

Neither viewing the surveillance video, nor the letter of explanation have sufficed to convince the sister of a man who with his companion decided to set out to make a wreckage of another human being's life that they being the authors of their own misfortune paid the consequences in the final analysis. Had the security guard not been armed, even while on his break, that might very well have been his final break; as it turned out it was to his advantage and he lives now to muse over fate.

Should people in uniform always present in pairs in public? To ensure they will not become targets of abuse by social deviants? Someone who is focused entirely on saving himself from a death threat at the hand of three violent adversaries is highly unlikely to -- with a background of "extra training" in empathy or sensitivity toward people with mental health issues or under the influence of drugs or alcohol -- be gentle in attempts to both secure his life and theirs as well.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Desecration of Academia

"When I was a student, despite being deeply interested in comics and making them, it never occurred to me to do something with them as my work. It simply wasn't a possibility."
"And now I [get] to make comics at the highest level of study and teach them."
"If they [the public] can learn to look at themselves and the world in a slightly different way, they can discover new possibilities for how they can be in the world."
Nick Sousanis, post-doctoral fellow, comic studies, University of Calgary

"If there was a generation that resisted comics as literature, that generation is now gone. The battle has been fought and won."
"I  hoped people would understand, and clearly they did, that I'm a writer first. My main interest is story, and story structure. Regardless of the form or genre they were writing in, students appreciated my helping them get their story up on its feet structurally."
Scott Chantler, cartoonist, Waterloo, Ontario

"We've seen a definite transformation in terms of attitude toward comics and a recognition that they might not necessarily want to put them always on par with the great classics of literature, but definitely that they are a valuable form of reading."
"There are a lot of people working very hard but for not much remuneration [attempting to ply a living producing comics]."
Benjamin Woo, professor of communication studies, Carleton University
01654a8a-a23a-4e8a-913e-966d25c67a97-1
IDW Publishing

There you have it, academia surrendering to the new discipline of literary (?) comics. All right, comics generally as a medium for story-telling. Japanese manga led the way into public acceptance, no doubt. I once wandered through a manga shop in Tokyo and swiftly wandered my way back out again, finding nothing therein to arouse my interest; in fact if that exposure did anything it evoked in me a swift and total distaste in the knowledge that thinking adults would gravitate to the form of literary expression that manga represented.

But of course manga also explored and exploited the gritty side of human society and perhaps that was their real attraction for their readership. In Canada, no less a literary figure -- honoured by some and detested by others -- than Margaret Atwood has issued comic books and isn't that fascinating. Some might interpret that state of affairs as Ms. Atwood declaring her talents as a writer fit for comic book format and content, and some would be hard put to disagree.

Comic photo for a comic writer

Who might have imagined that academia might ever stoop so low as to offer courses in comic book literature? The very linkage of comic books and literature is breathtaking in its audacity and the breadth of its arrogance. Nick Sousanis represents what is put out as a growing cadre of 'scholars' who have emerged into the light of academic acceptance hastening to celebrate comics as a serious academic study field. Gag on that, if you will.

If you won't, then consider this from 1 Corinthians 13:11 : "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, I talked as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things." That recognized fitness of chronology and thinking pursuits from antiquity to the present has resonance here. Pictographs represent an undeveloped mind struggling to understand what language will eventually answer far more elegantly and precisely than a picture.

But there it is, public acceptance of comics has long been a fact. A visit to any bookstore or library will invite those inclined to peruse the offerings of comic book publications. So that the child in the otherwise-reluctant reader of books can dally and tell themselves that they're indulging their inner child and simultaneously reading literature of an adult variety, even while they clearly are not. If the classics are now published in cartoon form, they have been cartoonishly edited and diminished.

This is an opinion of someone who treasures both reading and literature, someone quite obviously reluctant to be unpegged from tradition. Quite the opposite, for example, of Scott Chantler the cartoonist who was slotted into a three-month appointment as writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor's English department. Which to traditionalists represents an academic travesty, but to Mr. Chantler, recognition too long in arriving.

That a Holocaust memoir was produced and won a Pulitzer Price is something I cannot even imagine, let alone come to terms with. Nor does it appear possible that Carleton University professor of communication studies Benjamin Woo merited a Governor General's Gold Medal for his PhD dissertation on nerd culture: comic books as nerd culture? Aren't 'nerds' imagined as closet intellectuals?

The final blow to literary sanity is that Nick Sousanis presented a comic book format in his PhD dissertation at Columbia University's teachers college. Is nothing sacred any longer?

"Critical Inquiry" Merges Comics and Academia


Comic Book Resources

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tradition Beset By Aimless Addictions

"Smoking provides huge challenges to our health system, and it has huge societal impacts. It's something that people think about every day, whether they are smokers or non-smokers."
"It helps them through the day."
"Our lives have been hard and a lot of people don't see it as their primary concern. That isn't necessarily an excuse, it is just a reality."
Natan Obed, president, Inuit Taparlit Kanatami [national Inuit organization]

"Cancers such as lung and breast can be viewed as an indicator of the rapid social, economic and environmental changes that indigenous peoples are experiencing."
Study, International Journal of Circumpolar Health

"We hear from young women ... that they don't want their children to smoke, and they wish their mom had told them not to smoke when they were growing up."
"People recognize that they don't run so far in soccer, play so hard in hockey if they smoke. They understand it does affect their health."
"People do go outside and smoke, even in -50 and -60 C weather, and that's an enormous success."
Frankie Best, Nunavut health department
People make their way through the -46 C with wind chill temperatures in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2014.
Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press    People make their way through the -46 C with wind chill temperatures in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2014
 
As though Inuit peoples don't have enough challenges, struggling with poverty, isolation, familial dysfunction, food scarcity and mental health problems -- now their diminished lifestyle, so far removed from their heritage and traditions, while still living in the same environment which required resolute resourcefulness to ensure they would survive the hostile nature of that environment -- no longer practise the customary lifestyle that kept them healthy and alive.

Tobacco was used by First Nations as a ceremonial aid, much like people in Asia used incense:
"For many First Nations people, tobacco has been used traditionally in ceremonies, rituals, and prayer for thousands of years. It is used for a variety of medicinal purposes and its ceremonial use has powerful spiritual meaning establishing a direct communication link between the person giving and the spiritual world receiving. In the traditional sense, the most powerful way of communicating with the spirits is to smoke tobacco in a sacred pipe." Health Canada  www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Some southern First Nations people are said to have introduced the use of tobacco to Europeans, to begin with as the indigenous people interacted with them during European settlement in North America. And not until the 1700s was tobacco part of Inuit social life when whalers, fur traders and northern explorers arrived in the forbidding geography, coming in contact with Inuit communities. 

And then, it appears, just as occurred with the introduction to alcohol, the use of tobacco became an integral part of the social life of Inuit people, to the extent that the majority smoked.

It's estimated that about 90 percent of pregnant Inuit women smoke throughout their pregnancy. Statistics Canada's figure stands at 63 percent of adult Inuit devoted to tobacco use, while local research claims that figure to be a gross underestimation. Surveys conducted around Nunavut indicate that eight in ten of the Inuit population is given to smoking, representing a rate of tobacco use five times that of the general Canadian population.

This is not a feature only of Canadian Inuit, but is reflected as well among other ethnic populations across the Arctic in Greenland and in (Siberia) Russia, for example. A people among whom the incident of cancer was once uncommon now struggles with the steepest rate of lung cancer anywhere else in the world, as Inuit and other First Nations living in their remote communities absorb the most injurious habits of a southern lifestyle.

Territorial governments, only too aware of the scale of the problem, have committed to spending millions on anti-smoking programs. Stressing at the same time that smoking tobacco does not represent a tradition in Inuit culture. The tagline "Tobacco has no place here", represents a strenuous public relations effort on the part of authorities to wean Inuit away from their self-harming habit, among others that have proven to assail them with health conditions previously unknown. 

The rising rate of lung cancer among Canada's 165,000 Inuit is reflected in the Inuit of Alaska and Greenland, according to the study, co-authored by Kue Young, dean of the University of Alberta's public health department.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

 Bagel, Bagelry, Smoked Meat and Deli

"We must conclude that Christian Montrealers did not widen their taste for bagels, bagelries, smoked meat and delis to a taste for Jews nor for Judaism [for most had no idea they were buying] an artifact [of Jewish culinary heritage]."
"It would seem that Montreal's gastronomical heritage corresponds ... almost exclusively to Jewish culinary specialties."
"It was a neutral zone [affinity for traditional Jewish cuisine on St.Laurent Boulevard] that was a meeting point between the French, English and Jewish communities, and which enabled the bagel to become this iconic food." 
"Bagels and smoked meat were originally intended for the Jewish immigrant community but they soon became popular with workers [particularly those in the surrounding garment industry] who saw in them hearty and affordable food."
Oliver Bauer, theology professor, University de Montreal
bagel- fairmount- Jewish Food
Jewish Business News
"Quebecers likely think of smoked meat and bagels the same way they think of poutine -- as local Quebecois culinary staples."
"Those who are aware of their origins -- regardless of whether they harbour prejudice or not -- may subscribe to the same view as those who believe Jewish doctors are tops. A kind of reverse, albeit more gentle, racism."
Bill Brownstein, columnist, Montreal Gazette
montreal smoked meat sandwich (2)
Jewish Business News
According to Professor Bauer, and more than certified by the history of the Jewish presence in the Province of Quebec, and Montreal in particular, a general taste for Jewish dishes did nothing to persuade Quebecois to look upon the presence of Jews in their midst with more sympathy and favour. The culinary gap may have been bridged with the attraction of mouth-watering Jewish food specialties, but the culture gap remained unbridgeable.

And the simple fact seems to be that most gentiles have no idea whatever that bagels originated as a Jewish bakery item. "Most people are not making a political statement by going to Schwartz's", stated Professor Bauer, quoting sociologist Morton Weinfield of McGill University maintaining that a deliberate dissociation between smoked meat and bagels from Judaism and Jews helped Quebecoise support their traditional stance on "les Maudits Juifs"; detesting the latter and obsessively devouring the former.

The very fact that the Quebecois had the presence of Jews in their midst to thank for the presentation of delectable food had no bearing whatever in the general opinion of French Canadians with respect to the Jewish presence in their province, and complaints about the expanding Jewish presence at University de Montreal and McGill in the 1930s, were not about to be limited because of smoked meat and bagels.

The Jews thrived in Montreal, despite the presence of lively anti-Semitism, and so did the delis and bagel bakeries. The Jews thrived thanks to their insistence that they had a right to live there and attend university and do anything that any other person living in Quebec could aspire to, and they pushed back against adversity. The delis and the bagelries thrived because they had the custom of not only their Jewish clientelle but an ever-expanding army of specialty-food-appreciating non-Jews.



Schwartz's deli in Montreal is considered "a Quebec place and not a Jewish place". It was a 'Jewish place' and it still presents Jewish deli food, but it was bought out by Celine Dion, the Quebec/Las Vegas superstar celebrity, renamed La Charcuterie Hebraique de Montreal. Now in gentile hands, tradition prevails; mayonnaise, thought to be a dairy-based product, is not served with meat presented Kosher-style. And it is hugely popular with tourists who flock there to sample 'Montreal smoked meat'.

A Tourism Montreal blog invited readers to "taste Montreal's culinary heritage", listing ten restaurants, six of which are Jewish. Tourism guides always recommend bagels and smoked meat when visiting Montreal. Typically eastern European Jewish foods which 19th Century immigrants to Canada setting in Quebec to flee Central European pogroms brought with them, for nostalgia and comfort. St. Laurent Boulevard, the Main, was the dividing line between the city's anglophone and francophone communities, and it was there that most of the bagelries and delis were established.

Professor Bauer theorizes that the hole in the centre of bagels symbolizes the vacuum in the Jewish diaspora representing the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Others speak of the round shape representing infinity. Bagels are served at circumcision ceremonies for newborn baby boys, and during periods of mourning the death of a Jew. Symbolism galore.

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Within Evil's Dark Malice

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  • In Poland, 2,900,000 Jews were exterminated; 88 percent of Polish Jews met their death during the Holocaust.
  • In Belorussia, 245,000 of its Jews were annihilated, representing 65 percent of its Jewish population.
  • In Bohemia/Moravia those numbers were 80,000 death, 89 percent of its Jewish demographic.
  • Germany itself collected a mere 55 percent of its Jewish citizens to murder 130,000 during the Final Solution. 
  • For Greece 65,000 of its Greek Jews were rounded up and slaughtered, representing 80 percent of its Jewish citizenry.
  • Although 90,000 French Jewish lives were extinguished, this number represented only 26 percent of its Jewish citizens.
  • Hungary sacrificed 70 percent of its Jews for a total of 450,000 murdered.
  • Italy under fascist Mussolini surrendered 20 percent of its Jews, where 7500 met their deaths.
  • Latvia managed to dispose of 77 percent of Latvian Jews when 70,000 were sent to death camps for disposal.
  • Lithuania exceeded Latvia's cleansing accomplishing a 94 percent death rate in the murder of 220,000 Lithuanian Jews.
  • The Netherlands handed over 106,000 Dutch Jews for a 76 percent clearance.
  • Slovakia rendered to the Final Solution an 80 percent majority of its Jews when 71,000 were exterminated.
  • Ukraine surrendered 60 percent of its Jewish population in the deaths of 900,000.
  • Yugoslavia, with a death rate of 80 percent of its Jews, waved off 60,000 into the death chambers.
  • Austria: 50,000/36%; Belgium: 25,000/60%; Bulgaria: 11,400/14%; Denmark: 50/1.3%; Finland: 7/2.8%; Great Britain: 130; Luxembourg: 1950/50%; Norway: 870/55%; Russia: 107,000/ll%; Romania: 270,000/33%.
Numbing numbers in their totality, difficult to comprehend let alone interpret as the reality of destroyed lives of men, women and children; the hale the halt and the infants among them. Solely because they were Jews. Deliberately to destroy the presence of Jews in Europe. Had the Axis powers triumphed the extermination program would have continued.

From 1941 to 1945 Britain interned on Mauritius 1500 Jews anxious to travel to Palestine. The British Navy sank a ship in 1939 with Jews attempting to enter Palestine. A number of Jews were deported by Britain to camps on the Channel Islands during its German occupation. Thousands of Jews were deported by Britain to Athlit and Cyprus; thousands more shipped to British internment camps, while some were deported to Germany.

Switzerland curtailed the flow of Jewish refugees into its embrace through a policy of refoulement enforced from 1938 until 1944. Still, some 30,000 found refuge in or passed through Switzerland, while 10,000 were turned away. Trains en route to concentration and death camps in the
East were routed through Switzerland, but its prewar Jewish population of 12,000 was withheld from the Nazis.

The black hell of the Holocaust was illuminated with occasional examples of the "Righteous Among the Nations", a Talmudic distinction describing any who risked themselves to help save others' lives, even utter strangers. Some distinguished themselves by responding to that inner call for compassion, like Oskar Schindler, while others hid Jews in their homes and others yet assisted Jews to cross borders toward safety, while diplomatic status was used on occasion to issue transit visas or grant citizenship to fleeing Jews.

These righteous hearts are honoured at Yad Vashem in Israel, and a tree is planted -- to honour each who valorously gave of themselves -- to express a living testimony to their heroism.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Discovering The Deep

"It's a whole new perspective on how the Earth works. We've our eyes and ears on a part of the seafloor that's really dynamic."
Daniel J. Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

"We're seeing it come alive. It's exciting. We're just starting to understand what's going on."
Maya Tolstoy, marine geophysicist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York
This images shows bands of glowing magma from submarine volcano.
Credit: NOAA/National Science Foundation

Scientists are forever discovering incredible things about Planet Earth. Voyages of discovery of the past centuries to the present have probed the length and breadth, the surface geology and secrets of the Earth's mantle upon which we live and breathe, prosper and advance technologically, using our natural surroundings as a base and the resources under the Earth's crust to enable us to forge ahead, and now probes of the ocean depths have revealed astonishing new realities to wonder at and decipher.

Hot vents discharging immense water plumes in which Zooplankton flourish in the rich hunting grounds of the mineral-dense warm and buoyant water emitted, have alerted scientists to an entirely novel brave new undersea world with creatures never before imagined. Whale calls have been tracked feeding on swarms of these minuscule creatures, along with red shrimp, brown mussels, pink fish whose tails  undulate and tubeworms with bright red plumes packed together.

The waters are as hot as 120 degrees Celsius but they're packed with swarms of sturdy microbes. These hot springs appear to act as global recycling centers turning complex carbon resulting from aeons of dead oceanic life into simple chemicals capable of forming new life-organisms. "They replace it with material that's biologically reactive. They're the lifeblood of the deep sea", explained Jeffrey A. Hawkes of the University of Oldenburg in Germany.
The Turtle Pits site on the mid-Atlantic Ridge, consisting of two sulfide mounds and a black smoker chimney. Credit Center for Marine Environmental Research/University of Bremen, Germany

From January to June, eruptions such as these take place from the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans. Dr. Tolstoy imagines this to be related to Earth's elliptical orbit around the sun which changes the power of the sun's gravitational grasp on Earth so that the magnitude of the tides squeeze the planet are timed accordingly. Those great watery eruptions like magma flowing under great power from above-ground volcanoes take place when the squeeze relaxes.

And these are indeed volcanic eruptions, deep undersea, with vents that extend in incredibly long lines. Over 65,000 kilometers, in fact, under the world's oceans, encircling the globe in great seams. These are the midocean ridges hidden deep below in pitch darkness, only known to oceanographers since 1973 for their volcanic nature. The ridges, lying over a kilometer and a half deep in the oceans of the world appear as long rift valleys powerfully shoving giant fields of gushing hot springs into the icy seawater.
The Nature Tower, part of Lost City on the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Credit University of Washington/University of Rhode Island/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ocean Exploration Trust

As they do, tons of minerals are brought to the ocean floor from deep below, rich in precious metals as well. One tower in the Pacific Ocean assumed tremendous height, earning the name Godzilla for its 15 story-height. There, thickets of snakelike tubeworms and bizarre aquatic life find their homes in the heated water, preyed upon by prowlers like spider crabs. This is water sufficiently hot to melt lead, where temperatures have been measured as high as 415 degrees Celsius.

Scientists have pooled resources to study ridges off the West Coast of North America where a highly active ridge has been wired with hundreds of sensors and cameras, the monitoring available to  scientists from around the world. The observatory was conceived of by John R. Delaney, an oceanographer working out of the University of Washington. A matter of huge interest is how volcanism alters, since studies may conclude that eruptions of such magnitude may influence both the global sea and the temperature of the planet.

Most of the world's volcanic eruptions occur in these oceanic ridges; about 70 percent. They carry with them not only heat and minerals but gases like carbon dioxide. The Earth's molten interior restlessly churns and oceanic slabs also called tectonic plates gradually pull apart under pressure, enabling molten rock and gases to find an escape route.There are two dozen or so such crustal plates, with the mid-Atlantic Ridge representing the world's longest mountain chain at almost 16,000 kilometers.

Dr. Tolstoy theorizes that the ice ages that regularly appear every 1,500 years produce falling ocean levels as massive continental ice sheets grow, compelling greater numbers of eruptions with reduced ridge pressure, spewing elevated carbon dioxide levels into the atmosphere, trapping heat and warming the planet. The gigantic ice sheets gradually melt and the oceans are refilled. This is a theory that has stimulated predictable debate in the scientific world, struggling with the realities of Climate Change.

The observatory itself sits on the Juan de Fuca Ridge where the volcanic center is over 480 kilometers in length, in a line off the West Coast, from British Columbia, to Oregon. Divided into two parts, the observatory is operated on its northern portion by Canada and at the southern half by the  United States. The two sites have over 1,600 kilometers of cables, countless junction boxes and hundreds of sensors.

On the seabed lie tilt meters, cameras, seismometers, temperature gauges, hydrophones, chemical probes, pressure sensors and fluid samplers as well as mobile platforms placed along stepped moorings to enable readings to be taken high in the water column
A triangular array that was to be deployed to measure the temperature of a venting hot spring below the surface. Credit University of Washington/National Science Foundation-Ocean Observatories Initiative/Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Dying To Succeed

"He was very excited. We used to tease him by addressing him as 'Doctor'. But after a few months, he began panicking. He was studying all the time, slept very little."
"Is it wrong to be ambitious? My son wanted to make the village proud by becoming a doctor."
"Every parent wants their child to become something big one day."
Mangal Singh, 52, Kolari, Rajasthan State, India

"Students are under a constant state of anxiety here. They are unable to study, concentrate, remember, sleep or eat. They complain of headaches and breathlessness. Many just weep in front of me."
"They feel guilty because their parents have spent so much money and have high expectations. Parents often impose their own unfulfilled ambitions on their children."
Madan Lal Agrawal, psychiatrist, Kota, India

"We have also told coaching schools to conduct screening tests to determine if students are really capable of scoring in Kota."
"This [sending results of bi-monthly tests to parents via text message] keeps the students on the edge all the time. The parents keep calling them to scold."
Sawai Singh Godara, Kota superintendent of police


How odd. Why would a city's police superintendent care about pupils studying in his city being under stress? Kota has a population of a million and a bit. Two decades ago the city had a small number of private math and science tutors. But in the space of that twenty years much has changed. Many private schools have opened for business in Kota, and it has become a hub for ambitious parents and their offspring to travel to in recognition that the city's business has become one of study preparations for academic opportunities and success.

Those dreaming of being admitted to India's prestige colleges make the trek to Kota. Over 160,000 students from across the country flooded into Kota's admissions schools last year. The city has attained a reputation as India's capital for test preparation. Aspirants must meet rigid requirements, however, above all determination and commitment and ability.  Proving that one has all those characteristics can be beyond gruelling for many constantly under stress to perform and devoting uninterrupted hours to study schedules.

That kind of rigour takes its toll on the vulnerable. In the past five years, more than 70 students have taken their lives in despair. Last year there were 29 students who committed suicide, unable to cope with the unending stress and disappointment. These confused and unhappy young people have hanged themselves, set themselves on fire, and taken to leaping from high-rise buildings. Mangal Singh's son, Shivdutt Singh, was one of those; he had locked himself in a dorm room after non-stop studying and hanged himself from the ceiling fan.

A dutiful son, he left behind an explanatory, apologetic note: "I am responsible for my suicide. I cannot fulfill Papa's dream." How utterly devastating, for the young man of 20 and for his expectant father now grieving the loss of his son. Both loved one another of a certainty, and each wanted the best that the future might afford for one another; the son to be able to make his father proud of him, and the father wishing to see his son fulfilled in a profession of great meaning and status.

City officials have ordered that coaching schools appoint counsellors to intervene when required in assessing the psychological stability of students; further, to commit to the organization of relief days free of study when the object in the classroom would be to have "fun". And above all, to ensure that fees are refunded to any students unable to forge their way to completing the process they had entered the coaching schools to prepare for.



The atmosphere of fierce competition for college admissions has resulted in a test prep industry in Kota, where middle-class aspirations are on the rise, and parents have ambitions for their children which may be misplaced. Young people, urged along by their families, arrive in Kota to sign up for coaching classes and to study from three months to two years. The goal is to win admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology, representing 16 public colleges.

Those colleges are recognized for their potential in realizing some fortunate students' futures, for graduates are valued by global companies offering substantive salaries. It is considered the Ivy League of Engineering education to graduate from one of the IITs; a sure-fire ticket to elevated social status and a position in a top tech company, either in India itself or California's Silicone Valley. One of IIT's most prestigious graduates is Google chief executive Sundar Pichal.

Almost one and a half million students take the entrance exam each year, with fewer than 10,000 accepted. This is where the test prep industry comes in, motivating families of modest means to aspire on behalf of their children's future prospects, to join the student body of those schools. No longer the sole preserve of the socially elite in a growing atmosphere of middle-class entitlement, offspring of modest means have made the grade, inspiring in others of their class the will to make the attempt.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

You Have To Be Warm To Be Dead

"My clinical thought is very simple: you have to be warm to be dead."
"Something inside me just said, 'I need to give this person a chance'. You're not dead until you're warm and dead."
"We may have witnessed a game-changer in modern medicine -- medicine moves forward in extraordinary cases. His survival is a paradigm change in how we resuscitate and how we treat people that suffer from hypothermia."
Gerald Coleman  emergency department physician, Lehigh Valley Hospital

"I looked over and there was Justin laying there. He was blue. His face -- he was lifeless. I checked for a pulse. I checked for a heartbeat. There was nothing."
Don Smith, McAdoo, Pennsylvania
Justin Smith
A 26-year old man was nearly frozen to death last winter. His miraculous survival is drawing attention to the dangers of extreme cold temperatures to the body. Photo: Lehigh Valley Health Network/YouTube

Justin Smith had been doing what legions of 25-year-olds do with their Friday evenings; he had been out with friends, and afterward he decided to walk home. It was cold, below zero and snowing, but that wouldn't stop a healthy young man. Although there was no word whether or not he had been drinking with his friends, on most nights out this is just what young men do. Somehow, he recalled, he must have tripped and fallen into the snow. And that was all he knew.

It took twelve hours before he was found, and when he was, he showed no sign of life and his body temperature was under 20C. "All signs lead us to believe that he has been dead for a considerable amount of time", said a paramedic calling the hospital. That's when Dr. Coleman told the paramedics to start CPR irrespective of what they assumed. The doctor remembers saying at the time: "This is probably going to be a futile effort. But I think we need to do our best for him, OK?"

Justin's father Don had gone out looking for his son after it was discovered that he hadn't returned home. He was driving along a road in the early morning when he saw boots sticking out of a snowdrift at the side of the road. His horrified dismay at the condition he found his son in can be imagined. He called 911. On arrival, emergency personnel found no signs of life and a white sheet was draped over the body, a coroner called to the scene, and state police began working on a death investigation.

The mechanics of people "freezing" is pretty well known to medical science and to those who tempt fate by mountaineers summiting the forbidding frozen heights of the world's tallest mountains. Metabolism begins its gradual decline of 5 to 7 percent matching each one-degree drop in body temperature. At 35C, two below normal, a person begins shivering uncontrollably. At 32C, lips turn blue and speech slurs. At 28C consciousness abandons the person until finally when the internal temperature plunges to 15-20C, the heart stops beating.

When this classic body chill occurs just so, the very slowing of the metabolic processes conveys a protective process shielding from additional effects of exposure; not as much oxygen is required and a state of suspended animation occurs where the person appears dead, but still can survive if rescue falls within a still-sustainable time-frame, before the heart stops. And depending on whether CPR is initiated immediately.


For two hours paramedics and emergency staff laboured to pump the man's chest, puffing breaths into his mouth. He was flown to another hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania where doctors were equipped to pump the patient with warm, oxygenated blood in a treatment called extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation. And that evening his heart began beating without mechanical stimulus. A victory that left the concern whether or not his brain might have been affected without oxygen over a prolonged period.

Two weeks later, when Justin Smith emerged from his coma it was soon discerned that his brain had been unharmed. Exposure that he suffered on the night of February 20, 2015 did end in frostbite and his toes had to be amputated along with the smallest fingers of his hands, but he can still live a normal life after his extraordinary experience. "I consider myself a miracle", said the man determined to complete his degree in psychology.

"We've learned that there really is no temperature so low that you shouldn't try to save someone", advises University of Manitoba thermophysiologist Gordon Giesbrecht whom other scholars of hypothermia have named "Professor Popsicle".

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Justin Smith embraces members of the Lehigh Valley Hospital team who saved his life. He returned to the hospital to thank them on Jan. 18, 2016.  WNEP-TV

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Asia's Water Supply

"China is more prone to the adverse effects of climate change because China is vast, has diverse types of ecology and has relatively fragile natural conditions."
Du Xiangwan, chairman, National Expert Committee on Climate Change

"Floods in the Hexi Corridor are related to the torrential rains and precipitation from fronts. It's caused by climate change."
Wang Ninglian, glaciologist, Chinese Academy of Sciences

"The thing most sensitive to climate change is a glacier. In the 1970s, people thought glaciers were permanent. They didn't think that glaciers could recede. They thought this glacier [the Mengke Glacier] would endure. But then the climate began changing, and temperatures climbed."
Dr. Qin Xiang, Qilian Mountain research station
The Mengke Glacier, one of China’s largest, retreated an average of 54 feet a year from 2005 to 2014. From 1993 to 2005, it retreated 26 feet a year. Credit Adam Dean for The New York Times
In western China the glaciers of the Himalayas and associated mountain ranges are seeing unexpected glacier retreat, thanks to the global phenomenon known as climate change, and that shrinking of the glaciers pose a stupendously dangerous threat to Asia's future water resources. The Hexi Corridor on the historically fabled Silk Road has seen towns and villages flooded and torrential rains causing catastrophically destructive landslides disrupting life in towns and villages there.

The Tibet-Quinghai Plateau is experiencing permafrost disappearance, another hugely destabilizing geographic feature threatening the ongoing existence of plants and animals, along with infrastructure integrity, such as the railway that the Chinese government built to Lhasa, Tibet. What politics and hegemonic conflict leading to the triumph of the powerful has accomplished, nature now steps in to destroy.

All of these changes and what they portend for the future have had a chastening effect on Chinese authorities, leading the government to become more engaged in climate change negotiations internationally. Those future fears, augmented by the current situation of deadly urban air pollution brought on for the most part by industrial coal burning emitting carbon particulates generously in the atmosphere through giant smokestacks existing all over China's cities compromising the quality of urban life have sobered government.

A detailed scientific report on climate change was released in late fall of 2015 by China, predicting disastrous consequences to fall upon the future of the country's 1.4-billion population. Rising sea levels along the urbanized coastline, storm-causing floods across the country, and glacier erosion with over 80 percent of the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau losing its permafrost. A rise of temperature between 1.3 to 5 degrees Celsius by century's end heralding and ushering in all of the above.

Some 62 percent of Chinese cities have experienced floods between 2008 and 2010, some on multiple occasions. The surface area of glaciers on Mount Everest have shrunk almost 30 percent in the last 40 years, according to a separate report issued by Chinese scientists. An estimated 46,000 glaciers of the "Third Pole" region traditionally sustains 1.5-billion people living in ten countries, with waters flowing to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, the hills of eastern Myanmar [Burma], and Bangladesh's southern plains.

Those glaciers, scattered across a five million square kilometres area on the north end of the Tibetan Plateau where the Qilian range crosses three provinces, towering to 5,500 meters with the Mengke Glacier representing a coverage area of almost 21 square kilometers, rapidly receding, causes ever more powerful and frequent floods. The Mengke Glacier retreated an average of 16.5 meters a year  between 2005 and 2014, as compared to the period 1993 to 2005 when it retreated 8 meters annually.

The town of Shibaocheng, situated closest to the glacier, where 1,250 residents have traditionally grazed yaks, horses and sheep during the summer months, has been devastated. A storm initiated flooding that destroyed around 200 homes, killing close to 14,000 animals in 2012.

ANZENBERGER/URBAN GOLOB/EYEVINE    The Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram mountain range feeds the river Indus. 
'Running 2,000 kilometres from east to west and comprising more than 60,000 square kilometres of ice, the Hindu Kush–Karakoram–Himalayan glaciers are a source of water for the quarter of the global population that lives in south Asia. Glaciers are natural stores and regulators of water supply to rivers, which, in turn, provide water for domestic and industrial consumption, energy generation and irrigation."  Nature
 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Superlatively Good At What He Does

"If this guy can't help you -- nobody can. He does the stuff that other doctors are too scared to do. I knew I couldn't possibly be in any better hands anywhere in Canada. But the downfall of that was that I was in those hands because I needed to be."
"I wouldn't be around today if not for him. the only way you can thank somebody for that is to live your life as well as you can, and to somehow show him that he didn't waste his effort."
Brian Voykin, former surgical patient with cancerous tumour of the heart

"We want the ball to start rolling so that when a doctor finds a mass in your heart they are not thinking you're dead, but that there is a guy in Toronto or Houston or Oslo doing this surgery."
"I am still amazed to touch someone's heart. If you look at a person's lung, you don't really see it moving. But you look at the heart -- it beats -- it moves."
"You do the operation but you don't determine the outcome [belief in a higher power]. I believe there is something more than my expertise."
Toronto heart cancer specialist R.J. Cusimano

"The most interesting thing about him [Dr.Cusimano] is his compassion. He takes on higher-risk, difficult surgeries, and he accepts patients that other doctors refuse and why he does this, I think, is because he thinks about the patient."
"He thinks about what giving them and their family a chance means -- and he lives this compassion. It is at the base of his work. When you see these patients and they survive, it is a beautiful thing."
Juglans Alvarez, Brazilian physician on Canadian fellowship
Laura Pedersen/National Post
Laura Pedersen/National Post  Dr. RJ Cusimano has become the go-to-surgeon for removing heart cancer in Canada

Dr. Robert James Cusimano, 56,  comes from an accomplished family. His father Salvatore is of Italian immigrant stock. And the furthest he reached in achieving a formal education was Grade 8, forced by circumstances to go out to work to help his family survive the Depression. Nonetheless, Dr. Cusimano gives his father the credit due him: "Education was my father's big thing. He put eight kids through university", of which number R.J. was third.

Of the Cusimano offspring of that generation there is himself, a brain surgeon, another is a family physician, another an architect, another an accountant, and the remainder are teachers. All, it is safe to say, excel in their professions. Dr. Cusimano and his wife, another doctor, have two children. Presumably, with this background they will have been stimulated to do exceedingly well in the professions of their choice, as well.

Sometimes, the genetic inheritance of an entire family is well shared and extraordinary.

Surgeon brothers Michael Cusimano, left, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael's Hospital, and R.J. Cusimano, a cardiovascular surgeon at the University Health Network, are both leaders in their fields.
David Cooper / Toronto Star 
Surgeon brothers Michael Cusimano, left, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael's Hospital, and R.J. Cusimano, a cardiovascular surgeon at the University Health Network, are both leaders in their fields.

Not that Dr. Cusimano hasn't experienced episodes throughout his career when surgeries were not successful, when even his expert and caring capability failed to save a life. The "first one" of any catastrophic event is no doubt always the hardest to come to terms with, an event that helps shape one's philosophical outlook and to teach just the right amount of humbleness. Believing, as a man of religious faith, that it is a higher power that directs the outcome and he is but an intervenor, it seems evident that Dr. Cusimano needs no lessons in humility, in any event.

"It wasn't a surprise that he [the first patient he lost] died; it was a risky thing", he noted in an interview*. "But what was a surprise was the family -- how grateful they were. I am not saying everybody is thankful when someone dies. People are angry -- and they should be. But I have been taken by how people react to a bad outcome, where they are almost consoling to me. And it's because I think they see how much a bad outcome affects me. My patients have taken care of me as much as I have taken care of them."

One of whom was Brian Voykin who had suffered the strange phenomenon of an indefinable itch which doctors were unable to diagnose. For years he felt that the malady that was affecting him was related to an anxiety disorder. Until after years of feeling his heart racing with strange force, and his body breaking into heavy perspiration, he was diagnosed with a rare and potentially lethal, heart-sized tumour. That tumour the size of his heart was in fact  bound to and wrapped around his heart, causing it to struggle to perform its mission in Mr. Voykin's chest.

His life was preserved when he moved from Western Canada to Toronto and was given a new lease on life when Dr. Cusimano agreed to conduct the kind of surgery that would make most cardiac surgeons blanch. This was a rare condition; no more than 30 to 40 such cases are seen in a typical year in the country. Dr. Cusimano is a specialist extraordinaire, one committed to addressing a life-threatening condition that few others would commit their expertise to.
 
*Dr. Cusimano's interview was with Joe O'Connor, National Post

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bashar al Assad's Sunni Citizens

"It was 7 in the morning. I was preparing breakfast for the kids. We heard the sound of government 
 warplanes flying over the town. Shortly afterwards, they started dropping bombs."
"Everyone in this house is depressed. We have lost weight. My sisters and my other brother have also been looking for jobs. But they are struggling."
Ahdaab Almajed, Syrian refuge , Mersin, Turkey 

"We observe an increase in criminal activities such as murder, kidnapping, and most importantly prostitution among Syrian refugees in Mersin."
Huseyin Kar, journalist, IHA news agency

"Syrian women come from a traditional and conservative society. It is an insult for a woman to work. So women do not have business or social lives. Naturally children are sent out to work."
"Although Turkish schools are free of charge, some families are so poor and helpless that they don't even know how to register their children to schools. Besides, some children are the household's primary breadwinners so they have to work."
Arzu Kaymak, Mersin University postgrad, public administration

"One Syrian teacher had a nervous breakdown today, which is a common thing here. She cried and collapsed. They need compassion."
"Syrian children are surprisingly more resilient compared to adults. They seem to have moved on."
Nupelda Akaslan, Turkish language teacher, Mezitli education centre

refugee hotel
The view of Mersin from the top floor of the Green Tower "Grand Refugee" hotel.
Fabio Bucciarelli for Al Jazeera America

In Mersin, located on the east Mediterranean coast, approximately 350,000 Syrian refugees have gathered to live. That number of refugees is overwhelming for a city of one million people. Many Syrians arrive in Mersin viewing it as a launch point toward the boat journey across the Mediterranean, hoping to reach Europe and a new life. And then there are the single Syrian women with their children, struggling to cope with what fate has delivered them to.

refugee hotel
A Syrian refugee observes the sea at the beach in Kiz Kalesi, around 60Km west of Mersin, while waiting to board a ship that will smuggle her to Europe.
Fabio Bucciarelli for Al Jazeera America

They feel lost and abandoned in a foreign country, and are harassed. They feel trapped in poverty, loneliness and fear, according to a United Nations report on their situation that also noted that in desperation some women become prostitutes to keep body and soul together. Sometimes there are few choices; whether to send their children to school, or out to work to help the family attain the necessities of life.

So Syrian children can be seen on the streets of the city, begging, collecting trash or selling things while others go to work in textile factories even though it is unlawful. Turkey has instituted a system of "temporary education centres" offering an Arabic-language curriculum, with eleven of those centres located in Mersin. One of the city's districts is called "Little Syria", Mezitli; the education centre located there is capable of accommodating 1,300 students taught Arabic, Turkish and English.

One of a number of charitable organizations established to help Syrian refugees, the Syrian Social Gathering was founded by Syrian businessmen in support of educating Syrian children. "We register Syrian refugees, visit them regularly, collect data, and introduce our services. We try to help poor families and make sure their children have access to education", explained chairman of the charity, Mohammad Zein.

People walk outside a private clinic operated by the Syrian NGO Syrian Social Gathering in Mersin, south of Turkey on March 10, 2015. AFP Photo
People walk outside a private clinic operated by the Syrian NGO Syrian Social Gathering in Mersin, south of Turkey on March 10, 2015. AFP Photo

Even though school attendance is free and despite the attempts of the government and NGOs to enlist the children in schools that offer state-approved curricula, 75 percent of Syrian refugee children don't attend school for one reason or another. Medical centres have also been established for the Syrian refugees where both Turkish and Syrian doctors work. "The medical centres are very vital, but they are not adequate", feels Dr. Ful Ugurhan, president of the Doctors' Association of Mersin.

"Turkey is not experienced in handling millions of refugees. We could have handled the refugee crisis better Despite all difficulties, our society is still compassionate toward Syrians. At the moment, both locals and Syrians live peacefully without hurting each other. But locals are afraid Syrians will stay forever", observed Dr. Ugurhan. "Local people will then [post-Syrian-war] start to question and that's when the real problems will arise."


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