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The Big Crunch

The Big Crunch

The universe is collapsing. The love child of infinity and time has become the bastard of yet another failed marriage, unbalanced and withered, troublesome and empty.
At eighteen years old, I decided to try to ease the burden of this kind of apocalyptic, paraplegic cowboy wisdom and take to the streets in search of redemption. There was word of an oasis whispered on the fermented grape vine that gave me hope, tales told by toothless creatures of a bright town that had not yet been severed from its sisters of hope and divine substance.
So I headed down on the A303 hoping to drench my ‘John Majoresc’ universe in the kaleidoscopic colors of Brighton rock. Unwashed hair and linen shirt blew romantically in the salt soaked wind as I approached the chic, expensive Sussex countryside. My mind felt pulled toward infinity by the wild horses of providence.
The thud of their hooves beating on the tarmac sent serotonin pounding through my nervous system, enhanced only by the wisdom of Marks (Howard, not Karl) chattering away on Radio 2.
On arrival I promptly approached the nearest ‘head’ shop, brought a converted fire engine from the buy and sell section in the window and parked it slap bang in the middle of the town. Wheels and a home all in one. Every man called Sam should own one.
It did not take me long to settle in and meet some interesting characters. Bill ‘Bongo’ Burns; a protégé talented artist whose worked showed the suffering and hunger, living off aristocratic parents whilst trying to ‘make it big’, Little Jane;
a four foot nothing anti capitalist singer-songwriter who was in the process of accumulating massive financial wealth selling hallucinogenic drugs to manic depressives, and more of the same contradictive perversions of the human form. “Without contraries is no progression,” said Blake, so perhaps, I thought, this is a sign of a community truly alive. Hope and dope.
I immersed myself in the social scene, became a being of value, a face everybody knew and liked, I began to feel fulfilled. There was poetry reading every afternoon in dusty underground bars and at dusk, the Cowely Club filled with anarchist whores and virgins, vegan plotters talking in hushed voices, drunken lovers shouting public obscenities at each other.
The whole place seem to be pulled and swayed by the tide of the majestic ocean, the atmosphere was both enthralling and intoxicating to my hungry and depraved mind.
The town itself was charming and magical. The Lanes sweated life onto the nobly cobbled pavements whilst coffee shops, organic delis and colorful patrons lined the sidewalks. You felt somebody yet nobody among the freaks and the flowers of the cut and fold freedom fighters.
The sound of acoustic guitars seamed to float through the oak trees in the national park, mixing with the sweet smell of jazz cigarettes before groping your senses. Sun washed brown healthy spines.
I was Ernest Hemmingway every time I scribbled nonsense in my tattered notebook, glancing up only to catch glimpses of the peacocks flaunting their trending feathers, Miss Sixty jeans and pastel head bands.
“Brighton”, I remember jotting “Is the Rampant Rabbit of dwellings. The vibe here is so intense that life feels like one constant earth shattering orgasm, its juice thick and sweet like honey.” Typical drivel that so feels good at the time whilst high in the moment. It was how I had always dreamt San Fran to be in the sixties, rich and velvety with new age culture, but sharp like a wire whip ready to cut through the ugly, sleeping world into the fundamental forms of beauty and progression.
I had reached Nirvana I felt, but this was soon to be proven as the fool’s paradise. There is a crack in everything so they say, it is where the light gets in mumble the poets. Well in regards to the former, I can confirm. However, when the crack formed, instead of light, molasses poured from the splitting of the illusion, drenching my soul yet again in sticky darkness.
The contradictions I had dressed in lamb’s attire ached and throbbed like a stubbed toe until the truth bit into my sinew with its sharp wolf teeth. There was no romance in this rock; it was just a colorful version of the dissolute corridor I left behind. The difference between my archaic and neo-hell was a matter purely of cosmetics.
An ugly woman redeems some sense of her non-existent beauty by resigning herself to the fact she is ugly. On the other hand, an advanced state of revulsion is vomited upon humanity when the beast coats herself in three inches of flaky paste trying to hide her deformed bone structure.
Unless, of coarse you are a walking erection intoxicated with cheap liquor. And that, with hindsight and shabby metaphor is exactly what I was, dressed in linen and deliriously drowned in my own dopamine.
Brighton was beginning to reveal its self a brothel for illusionary dreamers, a dirty syringe full of numbing self-importance. My subconscious was working over time to blot the dark truth out of my waking life. At first when you get there and unpack you feel like you have struck gold, a soul rich like Christmas cake with Peruvian icing. Then the nightmares creep in.
Skeletons cloaked in velvet and joules dance round bright, rich fires of useless thought, swaying to sweet empty songs, clasping cracked porcelain doves. Blurred visions of rusty vintage cars in miles and miles of endless traffic, dead babies rot in grey booster seats. Trying to escape, finding another f*cking fence….
I knew that the wall would collapse at some point and reality would dawn, the future smelt of bi polar disorder.
………………………………………….
The diamond bullet penetrated my fragile skull one evening without warning. Nobody noticed the small pinprick as it entered my forehead with a silent hiss. I remained upright becoming increasingly aware of the pretentious drivel dibbling out of my mouth onto the crowded room. The damp wall behind me coldly witnessed my precious neurological palace of sand pour out of the exit wound like drunken diarrhea.
I felt not only the dissolution I had once felt but also a new, darker sensation entirely. I realized it was not just the world that was f*cked and ignorant but my judgment also. The clown of cynicism was being mocked and laughed at by the very subject he felt he was above and smarter than.
I had been fooled, there is nothing more depraving for a man’s soul than that. A cosmological kick in the balls. I did not waste any time, as my grandiose illusions of liberty and substance crumbled around me like the twin towers of prosperity and freedom, I ran like a rapid dog on fire until I could run no more.
Today that moment still haunts me. I felt in a macro-moment the loss of that dangling carrot giving me the will to stumble through each day, allowed me to fantasize about a world that still harbored a beating heart.
Adam cocked it all up. The soul of the world has cut itself loose to start a new life and it ain’t going to pay maintenance. God is dead, reborn into another cosmos or no cosmos at all.
I could travel the world looking for that divine magik in every nook and cranny, field and town. Perhaps he has learnt his lessons; do not play with time, do not masturbate and don’t become self obsessed enough to try to catch your reflection in every gleaming surface that manifests. Invest but don’t take risks, listen to Alan Sugar.
This is the Big Crunch, they Dying Room of the heavenly master that the conned and disillusioned have sacrificed their sensual pleasure for, in hoping to redeem eternal reward. A ghost town full of decaying tumble weeds. Elvis has left the building.
The universe is collapsing. The love child of infinity and time has become the bastard of yet another failed marriage, unbalanced and withered, troublesome and empty.
At eighteen years old, I decided to try to ease the burden of this kind of apocalyptic, paraplegic cowboy wisdom and take to the streets in search of redemption. There was word of an oasis whispered on the fermented grape vine that gave me hope, tales told by toothless creatures of a bright town that had not yet been severed from its sisters of hope and divine substance.
So I headed down on the A303 hoping to drench my ‘John Majoresc’ universe in the kaleidoscopic colors of Brighton rock. Unwashed hair and linen shirt blew romantically in the salt soaked wind as I approached the chic, expensive Sussex countryside. My mind felt pulled toward infinity by the wild horses of providence.
The thud of their hooves beating on the tarmac sent serotonin pounding through my nervous system, enhanced only by the wisdom of Marks (Howard, not Karl) chattering away on Radio 2. On arrival I promptly approached the nearest ‘head’ shop, brought a converted fire engine from the buy and sell section in the window and parked it slap bang in the middle of the town. Wheels and a home all in one. Every man called Sam should own one.
It did not take me long to settle in and meet some interesting characters. Bill ‘Bongo’ Burns; a protégé talented artist whose worked showed the suffering and hunger, living off aristocratic parents whilst trying to ‘make it big’, Little Jane; a four foot nothing anti capitalist singer-songwriter who was in the process of accumulating massive financial wealth selling hallucinogenic drugs to manic depressives, and more of the same contradictive perversions of the human form.
“Without contraries is no progression,” said Blake, so perhaps, I thought, this is a sign of a community truly alive. Hope and dope. I immersed myself in the social scene, became a being of value, a face everybody knew and liked, I began to feel fulfilled.
There was poetry reading every afternoon in dusty underground bars and at dusk, the Cowely Club filled with anarchist whores and virgins, vegan plotters talking in hushed voices, drunken lovers shouting public obscenities at each other. The whole place seem to be pulled and swayed by the tide of the majestic ocean, the atmosphere was both enthralling and intoxicating to my hungry and depraved mind.
The town itself was charming and magical. The Lanes sweated life onto the nobly cobbled pavements whilst coffee shops, organic delis and colorful patrons lined the sidewalks. You felt somebody yet nobody among the freaks and the flowers of the cut and fold freedom fighters. The sound of acoustic guitars seamed to float through the oak trees in the national park, mixing with the sweet smell of jazz cigarettes before groping your senses. Sun washed brown healthy spines.
I was Ernest Hemmingway every time I scribbled nonsense in my tattered notebook, glancing up only to catch glimpses of the peacocks flaunting their trending feathers, Miss Sixty jeans and pastel head bands.
“Brighton”, I remember jotting “Is the Rampant Rabbit of dwellings. The vibe here is so intense that life feels like one constant earth shattering orgasm, its juice thick and sweet like honey.” Typical drivel that so feels good at the time whilst high in the moment.
It was how I had always dreamt San Fran to be in the sixties, rich and velvety with new age culture, but sharp like a wire whip ready to cut through the ugly, sleeping world into the fundamental forms of beauty and progression.
I had reached Nirvana I felt, but this was soon to be proven as the fool’s paradise. There is a crack in everything so they say, it is where the light gets in mumble the poets.
Well in regards to the former, I can confirm. However, when the crack formed, instead of light, molasses poured from the splitting of the illusion, drenching my soul yet again in sticky darkness. The contradictions I had dressed in lamb’s attire ached and throbbed like a stubbed toe until the truth bit into my sinew with its sharp wolf teeth. There was no romance in this rock; it was just a colorful version of the dissolute corridor I left behind.
The difference between my archaic and neo-hell was a matter purely of cosmetics. An ugly woman redeems some sense of her non-existent beauty by resigning herself to the fact she is ugly. On the other hand, an advanced state of revulsion is vomited upon humanity when the beast coats herself in three inches of flaky paste trying to hide her deformed bone structure.
 
Unless, of coarse you are a walking erection intoxicated with cheap liquor. And that, with hindsight and shabby metaphor is exactly what I was, dressed in linen and deliriously drowned in my own dopamine.
Brighton was beginning to reveal its self a brothel for illusionary dreamers, a dirty syringe full of numbing self-importance. My subconscious was working over time to blot the dark truth out of my waking life. At first when you get there and unpack you feel like you have struck gold, a soul rich like Christmas cake with Peruvian icing. Then the nightmares creep in.
Skeletons cloaked in velvet and joules dance round bright, rich fires of useless thought, swaying to sweet empty songs, clasping cracked porcelain doves. Blurred visions of rusty vintage cars in miles and miles of endless traffic, dead babies rot in grey booster seats. Trying to escape, finding another f*cking fence….
I knew that the wall would collapse at some point and reality would dawn, the future smelt of bi polar disorder.
………………………………………….
The diamond bullet penetrated my fragile skull one evening without warning. Nobody noticed the small pinprick as it entered my forehead with a silent hiss. I remained upright becoming increasingly aware of the pretentious drivel dibbling out of my mouth onto the crowded room.
The damp wall behind me coldly witnessed my precious neurological palace of sand pour out of the exit wound like drunken diarrhea. I felt not only the dissolution I had once felt but also a new, darker sensation entirely.
I realized it was not just the world that was f*cked and ignorant but my judgment also. The clown of cynicism was being mocked and laughed at by the very subject he felt he was above and smarter than. I had been fooled, there is nothing more depraving for a man’s soul than that. A cosmological kick in the balls.
I did not waste any time, as my grandiose illusions of liberty and substance crumbled around me like the twin towers of prosperity and freedom, I ran like a rapid dog on fire until I could run no more.
Today that moment still haunts me. I felt in a macro-moment the loss of that dangling carrot giving me the will to stumble through each day, allowed me to fantasize about a world that still harbored a beating heart.
Adam cocked it all up. The soul of the world has cut itself loose to start a new life and it ain’t going to pay maintenance. God is dead, reborn into another cosmos or no cosmos at all. I could travel the world looking for that divine magik in every nook and cranny, field and town.
Perhaps he has learnt his lessons; do not play with time, do not masturbate and don’t become self obsessed enough to try to catch your reflection in every gleaming surface that manifests. Invest but don’t take risks, listen to Alan Sugar.
This is the Big Crunch, they Dying Room of the heavenly master that the conned and disillusioned have sacrificed their sensual pleasure for, in hoping to redeem eternal reward. A ghost town full of decaying tumble weeds. Elvis has left the building.
http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Jake_Gourd/15105
The Big Crunch, The Big Crunch The Big Crunch The Big Crunch ,The Big Crunch, The Big Crunch

Categories
Beauty

Qualities Of A Good Husband

Qualities Of A Good Husband
Qualities Of A Good Husband

When I was in College, I was often invited by so many groups on camps to speak on different issues pertaining to relationships. During one of my presentations, a beautiful young lady asked me one of the questions very dear to many women all around the world. Her question to me was, “What makes a man a good husband?” After her question, I knew I had a good and convincing answer for that dear and sweet looking lady (Hey! A little confession: I really did admire that lady and was actually slain by her beauty).

Suddenly, it occurred to me that I should first listen to what her colleagues (it was an all-girls show and my assistant and I happened to be the only guys in the auditorium) before giving them what I thought were and are the qualities of a good husband. Mon Dieu! I had the shock of the life that night! I just could not believe what these campus girls were looking out for in their ideal men. One short lady voiced out, “My ideal man is a guy who can rock me all night in bed.” What!, I surprisingly exclaimed. One usher at the show said, “If you are not a well built guy, you can never be my man.” Then another lady spontaneously said, “then Theo (referring to me) would never qualify!” The ladies went haywire as they the laughed at their pal’s teasing remarks. “Dear (referring to the former lady), why a well body built man and not a guy with my physique.” Excited they ladies became again.

“Well, a body built man can carry me easily in his arms into the car when I am pregnant, and of course, show me “whatz up” at night”, the lady replied. There were other answers and remarks. Some were very helpful to me and good to take note of (which I did signal my assistant to jot them down for me) but some, Oh God! where simply off target. One of the girls major priorities has to do with sex, sex, sex. But what should one expect from these young ladies whose sexual hormones are of a high entropy in their systems?

I strongly believe that no matter what ladies look out for in a man as a good husband, there are certain qualities they should always look out for. These qualities are the determining factors that differentiates good husbands from the bad ones. I am a young man and ladies believe me, we men are not perfect beings and the are some kind of “beast” in every man. Pardon us for our shortcomings but insist on seeing a high percentage of the following good qualities in us. Please, do always remember that there is no man that is perfect, no not even one! Ladies, if you happen to see one, hmm! he is a serious pretender.

So, who then is a good husband? What makes a man a good husband? I strongly believe that a good husband is a “house-band”, that is to say, like any band, for example, musical band, he is able bring members of the nuclear (himself, the wife and children as well as any other person living with them) together and become one, with every member living happily and every joyous. No matter what a man’s beliefs are, his culture, temperament, his looks or educational background, women should watch out for these qualities in their men. Let me share the qualities with you now!

1. A good husband should be a good keeper.

Okay! Now the question is, “A keeper of what?” I have met so many kids, for example, who do not love to be at home especially if their daddies are around. Most of these kids do not like and want to be at home because their dads are like “repellents”, always driving them away from home by their obnoxious actions. So when I say a good husband (house-band) is a good keeper, I mean, he is able to happily keep his children and wife at home, and they are also gleeful to be around their husband and dad. Also, he should have the ability keep the trust of his family, create and keep a good name for the family, keep the family together always, and most importantly, keep the dignity of the woman he has married, making her very special as compared to any other woman on planet earth.

2. A good husband gives good satisfaction.

A very husband should endeavor to make his family members always happy by satisfying them with their needs. You see, you do not necessarily have to be fantastically rich to be able to satisfy your family. Just them seeing you always putting up your best for them, makes them love you the more. But I would not deny the fact that there are some unreasonable wives who never appreciate what their husbands do for them. However, if you call yourself a husband, you should be able to satisfy your wife, to a greater extent, sexually, financially, emotionally, socially and psychologically. A good husband supply the need of his kids. Let your wife and kids be able to say, “We have a good dad and we are never in want.”

3. A good husband is a good director of the home.

If you are husband and you can not control or be in charge of your home, then I wonder if you are a good one. A good husband manages his home well. Your should submit to you gladly and your children should also obey you gladly. Lead your family to a life if you call yourself a good husband.

4. A good husband gives good guidance. A good husband is able to help advice his family members as to how to do something challenging and to deal with problems connected to the things they do or their personal relationships. He shows them the right path in life. Are you a good husband if your wife and kids are struggling in life?

5. A good husband ensures that there is always peace at home.

6. A good husband helps maximize the potentials of his wife and kids. He is not selfish. He goes to the top with them.

7. A good husband is trustworthy. Does not live a dual-life. He is a “constant” man and a “variable”.

8. A good husband protects his family. He protects family against any attack or criticism.

9. He is a good companion. He spends a lot of quality time with his family.

10. He is a perfect helper. Does not leave all house chores on the wife. Helps at home.

11. He gives perfect solace. He comforts wife and kids when they are feeling sad or worried.

12. He is a good provider.

13. A good husband gives his family joy and great happiness.

14. He gives good assurance. He makes his family develop the feeling of confidence and certainty in his abilities.

15. He is compassionate.

16. He gives his kids perfect destinies.

When I was in College, I was often invited by so many groups on camps to speak on different issues pertaining to relationships. During one of my presentations, a beautiful young lady asked me one of the questions very dear to many women all around the world. Her question to me was, “What makes a man a good husband?” After her question, I knew I had a good and convincing answer for that dear and sweet looking lady (Hey! A little confession: I really did admire that lady and was actually slain by her beauty).

Suddenly, it occurred to me that I should first listen to what her colleagues (it was an all-girls show and my assistant and I happened to be the only guys in the auditorium) before giving them what I thought were and are the qualities of a good husband. Mon Dieu! I had the shock of the life that night! I just could not believe what these campus girls were looking out for in their ideal men. One short lady voiced out, “My ideal man is a guy who can rock me all night in bed.” What!, I surprisingly exclaimed. One usher at the show said, “If you are not a well built guy, you can never be my man.” Then another lady spontaneously said, “then Theo (referring to me) would never qualify!” The ladies went haywire as they the laughed at their pal’s teasing remarks. “Dear (referring to the former lady), why a well body built man and not a guy with my physique.” Excited they ladies became again.

“Well, a body built man can carry me easily in his arms into the car when I am pregnant, and of course, show me “whatz up” at night”, the lady replied. There were other answers and remarks. Some were very helpful to me and good to take note of (which I did signal my assistant to jot them down for me) but some, Oh God! where simply off target. One of the girls major priorities has to do with sex, sex, sex. But what should one expect from these young ladies whose sexual hormones are of a high entropy in their systems?

I strongly believe that no matter what ladies look out for in a man as a good husband, there are certain qualities they should always look out for. These qualities are the determining factors that differentiates good husbands from the bad ones. I am a young man and ladies believe me, we men are not perfect beings and the are some kind of “beast” in every man. Pardon us for our shortcomings but insist on seeing a high percentage of the following good qualities in us. Please, do always remember that there is no man that is perfect, no not even one! Ladies, if you happen to see one, hmm! he is a serious pretender.

So, who then is a good husband? What makes a man a good husband? I strongly believe that a good husband is a “house-band”, that is to say, like any band, for example, musical band, he is able bring members of the nuclear (himself, the wife and children as well as any other person living with them) together and become one, with every member living happily and every joyous. No matter what a man’s beliefs are, his culture, temperament, his looks or educational background, women should watch out for these qualities in their men. Let me share the qualities with you now!

1. A good husband should be a good keeper.

Okay! Now the question is, “A keeper of what?” I have met so many kids, for example, who do not love to be at home especially if their daddies are around. Most of these kids do not like and want to be at home because their dads are like “repellents”, always driving them away from home by their obnoxious actions. So when I say a good husband (house-band) is a good keeper, I mean, he is able to happily keep his children and wife at home, and they are also gleeful to be around their husband and dad. Also, he should have the ability keep the trust of his family, create and keep a good name for the family, keep the family together always, and most importantly, keep the dignity of the woman he has married, making her very special as compared to any other woman on planet earth.

2. A good husband gives good satisfaction.

A very husband should endeavor to make his family members always happy by satisfying them with their needs. You see, you do not necessarily have to be fantastically rich to be able to satisfy your family. Just them seeing you always putting up your best for them, makes them love you the more. But I would not deny the fact that there are some unreasonable wives who never appreciate what their husbands do for them. However, if you call yourself a husband, you should be able to satisfy your wife, to a greater extent, sexually, financially, emotionally, socially and psychologically. A good husband supply the need of his kids. Let your wife and kids be able to say, “We have a good dad and we are never in want.”

3. A good husband is a good director of the home.

If you are husband and you can not control or be in charge of your home, then I wonder if you are a good one. A good husband manages his home well. Your should submit to you gladly and your children should also obey you gladly. Lead your family to a life if you call yourself a good husband.

4. A good husband gives good guidance. A good husband is able to help advice his family members as to how to do something challenging and to deal with problems connected to the things they do or their personal relationships. He shows them the right path in life. Are you a good husband if your wife and kids are struggling in life?

5. A good husband ensures that there is always peace at home.

6. A good husband helps maximize the potentials of his wife and kids. He is not selfish. He goes to the top with them.

7. A good husband is trustworthy. Does not live a dual-life. He is a “constant” man and a “variable”.

8. A good husband protects his family. He protects family against any attack or criticism.

9. He is a good companion. He spends a lot of quality time with his family.

10. He is a perfect helper. Does not leave all house chores on the wife. Helps at home.

11. He gives perfect solace. He comforts wife and kids when they are feeling sad or worried.

12. He is a good provider.

13. A good husband gives his family joy and great happiness.

14. He gives good assurance. He makes his family develop the feeling of confidence and certainty in his abilities.

15. He is compassionate.

16. He gives his kids perfect destinies.

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Theo_Amoo/853033

Categories
Beauty

Sciatic Nerve Treatment – The Pineapple Treatment

Sciatic Nerve Treatment – The Pineapple Treatment
Sciatic Nerve Treatment – The Pineapple Treatment

Sciatic nerve pain is without a doubt one of the most irritating pains out there. At its best, it can limit your day to day activities. At it’s worst…well at it’s worst it will end your every day life all together. Just today I saw a man on the bus who opted to get off 3 blocks before his stop because the way he was sitting was causing him too much pain, (crowded buses lead to very open conversations).

There is great news for you sciatica patients who are looking for a natural alternative to the nasty pills and painful treatments you are probably being subjected to with your current doctor. The secret to sciatic nerve pain treatment is no harder than a trip to your grocery store.

Pineapples – the tasty way to sciatic nerve pain relief

It’s pretty unexpected, I will admit. But pineapples contain an amazing enzyme called Bromelain. This enzyme is very powerful, and very potent in treating sciatica. I am not saying eating this alone will heal you. Obviously sciatica is a powerful little beast and it needs an equally powerful treatment plan to kick it to the curb. What I am saying is that food is part of a powerful arsenal of natural methods you can use to tame your sciatic shrew. Of all the foods that you should be putting into your daily diet to treat sciatica (such as anti-inflammatory and potassium rich foods), pineapples are the fastest actors, and can actually take a chunk of the pain out of a flare. Unlike other foods, that you have to build up in your system before you can really feel an impact on your sciatica, bromelain wastes no time getting to work. You do have to eat a decent amount in order to feel a difference, but if you are willing to have a serving of pineapples in each of your meals the next time you have a flare, then you should be well on your way to sciatic nerve pain relief. 

It’s no secret that I think Sciatica stinks. If you are reading this, chances are you do too. The pain can be a debilitating monster of a beast. More often than not the doctor’s advice is painful, pricey, or altogether useless, (‘Alternate heat and ice?’ Sure am glad I wasted my latte money on that stellar piece of advice).

Sciatic nerve pain is without a doubt one of the most irritating pains out there. At its best, it can limit your day to day activities. At it’s worst…well at it’s worst it will end your every day life all together. Just today I saw a man on the bus who opted to get off 3 blocks before his stop because the way he was sitting was causing him too much pain, (crowded buses lead to very open conversations).

There is great news for you sciatica patients who are looking for a natural alternative to the nasty pills and painful treatments you are probably being subjected to with your current doctor. The secret to sciatic nerve pain treatment is no harder than a trip to your grocery store.

Pineapples – the tasty way to sciatic nerve pain relief

It’s pretty unexpected, I will admit. But pineapples contain an amazing enzyme called Bromelain. This enzyme is very powerful, and very potent in treating sciatica. I am not saying eating this alone will heal you. Obviously sciatica is a powerful little beast and it needs an equally powerful treatment plan to kick it to the curb. What I am saying is that food is part of a powerful arsenal of natural methods you can use to tame your sciatic shrew. Of all the foods that you should be putting into your daily diet to treat sciatica (such as anti-inflammatory and potassium rich foods), pineapples are the fastest actors, and can actually take a chunk of the pain out of a flare. Unlike other foods, that you have to build up in your system before you can really feel an impact on your sciatica, bromelain wastes no time getting to work. You do have to eat a decent amount in order to feel a difference, but if you are willing to have a serving of pineapples in each of your meals the next time you have a flare, then you should be well on your way to sciatic nerve pain relief. 

It’s no secret that I think Sciatica stinks. If you are reading this, chances are you do too. The pain can be a debilitating monster of a beast. More often than not the doctor’s advice is painful, pricey, or altogether useless, (‘Alternate heat and ice?’ Sure am glad I wasted my latte money on that stellar piece of advice).

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Sarah_Neve/328744

Categories
Beauty

Salsa Music, Lifeblood of Cali

Salsa Music, Lifeblood of Cali
Salsa Music, Lifeblood of Cali

You step through the darkened entranceway, leaving the tropical night behind. Suddenly, waves of sound crash over you Iike ocean surf. Breaking out in a sweat, your heart pounds to the rhythm of bass, bongos, bells and brass. The walls seem to pulsate. The pungent smell of perspiration mixed with perfume assaults you. As your eyes adjust to the dark, broken by hypnotic flashes of the multi-colored strobes, you realize it’s not walls that enclose you, but dancers– scores of dancers gyrating, weaving and swirling, limbs flashing, hips thrusting in quarter–time beat. You fill your lungs with the spicy aroma, tighten your belt a notch and plunge in. Welcome to Chango’s in Cali, Colombia – one of Latin America’s hottest Salsa night clubs.

Cali, a modern, festive city, lies in the heart of “the Valley.” when Colombians say “the Valley” they mean the Cauca valley, a not so little Garden of Eden a hundred-fifty miles long and some fifteen miles wide between the coastal mountain ranges and the Central Cordillera. Until the turn of the century, this valIey was little more than a rural outpost.

Then, with a population of some 15,000, the Cauca Valley was largely cattle country, parceled out in vast tracts among the “haciendados.” These were proud, almost haughty men who raised cattle for leather and beef. Some had plantations of sugar cane used to produce the sweetener “panela” and distill the crystal-clear but potent “aguardiente” still sipped today. Life was slow, measured, patriarchal and unchanging.

It has been said that the Cauca region is to Colombia what the South is to the United States. Indeed, there are similarities. In bygone days “hidalgos walked the unpaved “calles” in coats of velvet or scarlet broadcloth embroidered and buttoned with gold and silver, their waistcoats of flowered silk, and the ruffles of their shirts were of the finest batiste,” says Kathleen Romoli, author of Colombia: Gateway to. South America. And like the Southern states in colonial rimes, large numbers of slaves were imported to work the fields and serve the gentry.

Time has brought many changes. Today vast sugar cane plantations still carpet the Valley. Mechanized production of cotton, rice and cattle has turned the Cauca Valley into Colombia’s most important agricultural area, after “King Coffee”. And with economic growth has come industry. A leisurely colonial town in 1900, Cali has grown into a large manufacturing center with more than a thousand industries at last count

There is Salsa in the air

Yet with all the changes, Cali retains a homey charm, a personality different from other cities, an atmosphere you might expect to find in the Caribbean. Romoli describes it well:

The most striking thing about Cali today is not the plaza with it imposing government buildings and rows of taxis, along the avenues of giant palms, nor the suburbs with their modem villas, and churches, whose bells chime melodies instead of clanging as it Bogotá, nor the busy factories. It is the pervasive air of cheerfulness almost of gaiety Not that it is a city of many amusements; Cali is not gay by virtue of commercial facilities for organized diversion but by the grace of god.

Cali attracts travelers from all over; tourists, businessmen, back packers, scientists, and students. And, of course, salsa fans and salsa artists. Recording studios, “rumberias”,”discothèques” and “viejotecas” abound.

What is Cali’s appeal? The city’s buoyant atmosphere? The spectacular sunsets? The natural beauty of the soaring Andes? The vaunted beauty of its women? Perhaps it’s the climate where it’s always June. Or could it be its remarkable cleanliness? Many Colombian towns are clean, but Cali is so clean it stands out. Or maybe it’s the trees and flowers–the billowing crimson and purple bougainvilla that tumbles in profusion from the walls, the cup-of-gold that drips from the eaves, the waxy bells of the trumpet flow, the poinsettia bushes, gorgeous gardenias, the trees with magenta leaves and carmine flowers or others with feathery green–white blossoms or pale clusters of pink–the wild extravagance of blooms among which humming birds with iridescent green bellies flit even in winter.

No Salsa No Dates

Cali has all these. But undoubtedly for many, the principal attraction that lures them to this charming city is Salsa music. The sensuous, tropical rhythms of Salsa pervade the lives of the two million plus Caleños. On every bus you’ll hear Salsa. Go for a walk, to school or shopping there’s salsa in the air. And, of course there’s Salsa on almost all of the more than two dozen local radio stations. All over town, 24-hours a day, Salsa blasts from speakers on the streets, in parks, in stores, from cars, portable radios and private homes. Cali lives and breathes Salsa. But why Salsa? Many other musical traditions, styles and types of folk music flourish in Cali (including the traditional Cumbia, where machete wielding dancers stomp around full-busted women in ruffled skirts). What’s so special about Salsa? After all Vallenatos, a brand of folk music with roots back to the days of the Spanish conquistadors, is still hugely popular–especially as sung by the likes of Colombia’s Grammy award winner Carlos Vives. Boleros (check out Luis Miguel’s “Inolvidable”) and Merengue continue to have strong followings here.

Why has this one style ingrained itself so deeply into the culture? To aficionados the answer is simple: “I love salsa music.” Whatever the reason for it’s universal popularity in Cali, Salsa is more than just music, more than a dance. It’s an indispensable social skill explains my friend, Carmenza, “No salsa–no dates.” You can’t meet others if you can’t dance.” And that’s why there are salsa dance schools throughout the city. You pay for lessons by the hour. Prices range from $2 up to $6 per hour for more private, one-on-one instruction. Group classes fu up fast. Salsa classes are not just the place to go for learning, but to practice and perfect your moves or pick up some new ones. They’re a good “meeting place” for neighborhood residents. “It’s important to dance very well or you’re boring,” says Sofia, an avid Salsa fan.

Cali calls itself the “Salsa Capital, of the World,” a title wrenched from post-Fidel Cuba and often shared with New York City. But even those who might take exception to “World Capital” will agree that Cali is certainly the “Salsa Capital of South America.” The top Latin salsa performers, like New York’s Jerry “King of 54th Street” Gonzalez, regularly fly in to strut their stuff. At any given time you can see all the famous names in salsa, artists hike Cuba’s “Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz; guitarist, singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra from the Dominican Republic; Frank Raul Grillo, the Cuban American also known as Machito; Reuben Blades, the popular Panamanian singer, songwriter, actor and politician renowned for his musical innovations as well as traditional Salsa; Willie Colon; Oscar d’Leon, and others.

SALSA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

And you don’t have to go far in this city of dancers to hear all the different styles and variations of Salsa. Juanchito, with 120 of the hottest dance halls, is the throbbing rhythmic heart of Cali’s Salsa nightlife. Every week throughout the year, two hundred thousand locals pour into this eastern suburb to party. Cali teems with discos and “viejotecas” for the young and not so young. Latinos of younger generations typically favor a smoother, more sentimental music known as Salsa Romantica, popularized by bandleaders such as Eddie Santiago and Tito Nieves. Internationally popular salsa singers of the 1990s included Linda “India” Caballero and Mark Anthony. The Puerto Rico-based orchestra “Puerto Rican Power” is another hot group with ardent fans both in Cali and Puerto Rico.

While it’s thrilling to hear famous performers of Salsa music from abroad, don’t forget Cali’s many own outstanding world class groups and musicians of Salsa fame blending the old with the new. The classic and the innovative. It’s worth a trip to Cali
just to hear the vibrant non-traditional sounds of Jairo Varela and the Grupo Niche. Or other artists like “Son de Cali,” the all–female “Orchestra Canela” and Lisandro Meza who also inject new blood into Cali´s Salsa scene. These and the intoxicating classic Salsa sounds of Kike Santander, Joe Arroyo and Eddy Martinez thunder through the air and flow in the veins of “coca-colos” (late teens to early 20s adolescents) and “cuchos” alike in discos, salsatecas and even in viejotecas that draw the over-35 crowd.

When I arrived in Cali 1995, I thought my salsa was OK. After all, l’d picked up some smooth moves from a bevy of hot Puerto Rican beauties during a summer stint in San Juan. Even back in my home state of Pennsylvania, there were opportunities on Friday or Saturday nights to slip out and mix with Latinos at our local Hispanic watering holes. I’d perfected a double-quick step in a rectangular pattern, too, and added whirls and spins to the heavy beat. I had no trouble getting, and keeping, dance partners. Then in Miami, during a Labor Day weekend retreat, I met a Latin cutie. I invited her for dinner and dancing later that week at “La Cima,” one of the city’s top Salsa clubs, to show off my moves. She was impressed. A year later we married and after a couple more years we moved to her native Colombia.

Colombian salsa is a different beast. The style, rhythm and beat are similar in other places but it’s a different story on the dance floor. My feet recognized the beat, but behaved as if 1 were wearing Bozo shoes. For a while, 1 stuck to downtown places like “Cuarto Venina,” perched on the banks of the brownish, knee-deep Cali River. It’s listening only, no dancing here. The music is so subdued you can carry on a conversation over empanadas and cold “Costeña”. It can be just the right touch for a Sunday afternoon. Nowadays, my Latin cutie and 1 are considered “cuchos” (the over-35 set). It’s been ten years. We’re still here though, still dancing Salsa. And I’m still showing off my moves.

You step through the darkened entranceway, leaving the tropical night behind. Suddenly, waves of sound crash over you Iike ocean surf. Breaking out in a sweat, your heart pounds to the rhythm of bass, bongos, bells and brass. The walls seem to pulsate. The pungent smell of perspiration mixed with perfume assaults you. As your eyes adjust to the dark, broken by hypnotic flashes of the multi-colored strobes, you realize it’s not walls that enclose you, but dancers– scores of dancers gyrating, weaving and swirling, limbs flashing, hips thrusting in quarter–time beat. You fill your lungs with the spicy aroma, tighten your belt a notch and plunge in. Welcome to Chango’s in Cali, Colombia – one of Latin America’s hottest Salsa night clubs.

Cali, a modern, festive city, lies in the heart of “the Valley.” when Colombians say “the Valley” they mean the Cauca valley, a not so little Garden of Eden a hundred-fifty miles long and some fifteen miles wide between the coastal mountain ranges and the Central Cordillera. Until the turn of the century, this valIey was little more than a rural outpost.

Then, with a population of some 15,000, the Cauca Valley was largely cattle country, parceled out in vast tracts among the “haciendados.” These were proud, almost haughty men who raised cattle for leather and beef. Some had plantations of sugar cane used to produce the sweetener “panela” and distill the crystal-clear but potent “aguardiente” still sipped today. Life was slow, measured, patriarchal and unchanging.

It has been said that the Cauca region is to Colombia what the South is to the United States. Indeed, there are similarities. In bygone days “hidalgos walked the unpaved “calles” in coats of velvet or scarlet broadcloth embroidered and buttoned with gold and silver, their waistcoats of flowered silk, and the ruffles of their shirts were of the finest batiste,” says Kathleen Romoli, author of Colombia: Gateway to. South America. And like the Southern states in colonial rimes, large numbers of slaves were imported to work the fields and serve the gentry.

Time has brought many changes. Today vast sugar cane plantations still carpet the Valley. Mechanized production of cotton, rice and cattle has turned the Cauca Valley into Colombia’s most important agricultural area, after “King Coffee”. And with economic growth has come industry. A leisurely colonial town in 1900, Cali has grown into a large manufacturing center with more than a thousand industries at last count

There is Salsa in the air

Yet with all the changes, Cali retains a homey charm, a personality different from other cities, an atmosphere you might expect to find in the Caribbean. Romoli describes it well:

The most striking thing about Cali today is not the plaza with it imposing government buildings and rows of taxis, along the avenues of giant palms, nor the suburbs with their modem villas, and churches, whose bells chime melodies instead of clanging as it Bogotá, nor the busy factories. It is the pervasive air of cheerfulness almost of gaiety Not that it is a city of many amusements; Cali is not gay by virtue of commercial facilities for organized diversion but by the grace of god.

Cali attracts travelers from all over; tourists, businessmen, back packers, scientists, and students. And, of course, salsa fans and salsa artists. Recording studios, “rumberias”,”discothèques” and “viejotecas” abound.

What is Cali’s appeal? The city’s buoyant atmosphere? The spectacular sunsets? The natural beauty of the soaring Andes? The vaunted beauty of its women? Perhaps it’s the climate where it’s always June. Or could it be its remarkable cleanliness? Many Colombian towns are clean, but Cali is so clean it stands out. Or maybe it’s the trees and flowers–the billowing crimson and purple bougainvilla that tumbles in profusion from the walls, the cup-of-gold that drips from the eaves, the waxy bells of the trumpet flow, the poinsettia bushes, gorgeous gardenias, the trees with magenta leaves and carmine flowers or others with feathery green–white blossoms or pale clusters of pink–the wild extravagance of blooms among which humming birds with iridescent green bellies flit even in winter.

No Salsa No Dates

Cali has all these. But undoubtedly for many, the principal attraction that lures them to this charming city is Salsa music. The sensuous, tropical rhythms of Salsa pervade the lives of the two million plus Caleños. On every bus you’ll hear Salsa. Go for a walk, to school or shopping there’s salsa in the air. And, of course there’s Salsa on almost all of the more than two dozen local radio stations. All over town, 24-hours a day, Salsa blasts from speakers on the streets, in parks, in stores, from cars, portable radios and private homes. Cali lives and breathes Salsa. But why Salsa? Many other musical traditions, styles and types of folk music flourish in Cali (including the traditional Cumbia, where machete wielding dancers stomp around full-busted women in ruffled skirts). What’s so special about Salsa? After all Vallenatos, a brand of folk music with roots back to the days of the Spanish conquistadors, is still hugely popular–especially as sung by the likes of Colombia’s Grammy award winner Carlos Vives. Boleros (check out Luis Miguel’s “Inolvidable”) and Merengue continue to have strong followings here.

Why has this one style ingrained itself so deeply into the culture? To aficionados the answer is simple: “I love salsa music.” Whatever the reason for it’s universal popularity in Cali, Salsa is more than just music, more than a dance. It’s an indispensable social skill explains my friend, Carmenza, “No salsa–no dates.” You can’t meet others if you can’t dance.” And that’s why there are salsa dance schools throughout the city. You pay for lessons by the hour. Prices range from $2 up to $6 per hour for more private, one-on-one instruction. Group classes fu up fast. Salsa classes are not just the place to go for learning, but to practice and perfect your moves or pick up some new ones. They’re a good “meeting place” for neighborhood residents. “It’s important to dance very well or you’re boring,” says Sofia, an avid Salsa fan.

Cali calls itself the “Salsa Capital, of the World,” a title wrenched from post-Fidel Cuba and often shared with New York City. But even those who might take exception to “World Capital” will agree that Cali is certainly the “Salsa Capital of South America.” The top Latin salsa performers, like New York’s Jerry “King of 54th Street” Gonzalez, regularly fly in to strut their stuff. At any given time you can see all the famous names in salsa, artists hike Cuba’s “Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz; guitarist, singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra from the Dominican Republic; Frank Raul Grillo, the Cuban American also known as Machito; Reuben Blades, the popular Panamanian singer, songwriter, actor and politician renowned for his musical innovations as well as traditional Salsa; Willie Colon; Oscar d’Leon, and others.

SALSA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

And you don’t have to go far in this city of dancers to hear all the different styles and variations of Salsa. Juanchito, with 120 of the hottest dance halls, is the throbbing rhythmic heart of Cali’s Salsa nightlife. Every week throughout the year, two hundred thousand locals pour into this eastern suburb to party. Cali teems with discos and “viejotecas” for the young and not so young. Latinos of younger generations typically favor a smoother, more sentimental music known as Salsa Romantica, popularized by bandleaders such as Eddie Santiago and Tito Nieves. Internationally popular salsa singers of the 1990s included Linda “India” Caballero and Mark Anthony. The Puerto Rico-based orchestra “Puerto Rican Power” is another hot group with ardent fans both in Cali and Puerto Rico.

While it’s thrilling to hear famous performers of Salsa music from abroad, don’t forget Cali’s many own outstanding world class groups and musicians of Salsa fame blending the old with the new. The classic and the innovative. It’s worth a trip to Cali
just to hear the vibrant non-traditional sounds of Jairo Varela and the Grupo Niche. Or other artists like “Son de Cali,” the all–female “Orchestra Canela” and Lisandro Meza who also inject new blood into Cali´s Salsa scene. These and the intoxicating classic Salsa sounds of Kike Santander, Joe Arroyo and Eddy Martinez thunder through the air and flow in the veins of “coca-colos” (late teens to early 20s adolescents) and “cuchos” alike in discos, salsatecas and even in viejotecas that draw the over-35 crowd.

When I arrived in Cali 1995, I thought my salsa was OK. After all, l’d picked up some smooth moves from a bevy of hot Puerto Rican beauties during a summer stint in San Juan. Even back in my home state of Pennsylvania, there were opportunities on Friday or Saturday nights to slip out and mix with Latinos at our local Hispanic watering holes. I’d perfected a double-quick step in a rectangular pattern, too, and added whirls and spins to the heavy beat. I had no trouble getting, and keeping, dance partners. Then in Miami, during a Labor Day weekend retreat, I met a Latin cutie. I invited her for dinner and dancing later that week at “La Cima,” one of the city’s top Salsa clubs, to show off my moves. She was impressed. A year later we married and after a couple more years we moved to her native Colombia.

Colombian salsa is a different beast. The style, rhythm and beat are similar in other places but it’s a different story on the dance floor. My feet recognized the beat, but behaved as if 1 were wearing Bozo shoes. For a while, 1 stuck to downtown places like “Cuarto Venina,” perched on the banks of the brownish, knee-deep Cali River. It’s listening only, no dancing here. The music is so subdued you can carry on a conversation over empanadas and cold “Costeña”. It can be just the right touch for a Sunday afternoon. Nowadays, my Latin cutie and 1 are considered “cuchos” (the over-35 set). It’s been ten years. We’re still here though, still dancing Salsa. And I’m still showing off my moves.

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Larry_M._Lynch/14967

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Beauty

Layap – The Nomadic Herders of Bhutan

Layap – The Nomadic Herders of Bhutan
Layap – The Nomadic Herders of Bhutan

The mule skids on the wet ice and slides forward on the steep track. The man springs forward and grabs it by the muzzle. They both strain against the slope, breaking skids on the edge of the sheer precipice. The mule is lying on its belly, its forelegs dangling over the cliff. Braced precariously, inches from edge, the man strains to hold the animal on the narrow track. Within seconds, the man’s teenage son runs back and deftly unloads the mule, handing over the heavy packs to the woman standing behind the animal, holding it by its tail. Together they haul the mule back on the path. Far below them the mist swirls over the jagged rocks which line the bottom of the deep gorge.

A few meters behind, a 73 year old woman is sitting on an icy path, inching forward on her buttocks, using both her hand and feet to maintain her balance. She sits still and watches calmly as her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson save the family mule and a year supply of food grain.

An hour later, along with other families, they reach a swift stream. Without a thought the men, women, children hitch up their Ghos and Kiras (Bhutanese dress) to the waist and wade across, oblivious of the water which is at about freezing point. Young men pass lewd remarks at the women who are forced to expose their upper thighs to avoid getting their kiras wet. The women respond with quick witty remarks.

By evening, families are camped along the way in caves or under leafy trees. They care for the horses first and then sit down to a simple hot meal. By dark, after a few bottles of Ara and Sinchang (Local brewed alcohol and wine); they share their experience of the past months. This year, the highlight was the meeting in Gasa (District Head Quarters), where they met their King and Queens. They marvel that their king walked just as they did, all the way.

THE LAND

The four day journey from Punakha, usually stretched over several weeks as they relay a year’s food supply, brings the Layaps home to one of the most spectacular region in the Kingdom of Bhutan, the raw natural beauty of the high alpine range.

Spreading upwards from 12000 feet above sea level, Laya sits on the Lap of the 7100 meters Masagang, One of Bhutan’s 20 virgin peaks which are above 7000 meters. The mixed conifer forest above Gasa Dzong, dotted with maple and rhododendron in full bloom, merge into groves of birch, juniper, maple and mountain cane. The entire slopes are richly colored by wild flowers.

Across Bari-la and Kohi lapcha, two rugged passes, the terrain leaves behind the tree- line and the vast alpine grassland undulate towards the great northern glaciers. High above the crystal waterfalls which often cut through the ice formations on the cliff side, and the clear rapid streams, are their sources, the turquoise fresh water lakes many of which the local population hold in sacred awe.

This is the world where the snow leopards roam, where the blue sheep, Sambar, and Musk deer graze in solitude. Lower down, this is the home of Takin, the Himalayan black bear, numerous deer and the wild dog. The winged inhabitants of the region include the raven, wild pheasants, snow pigeons, the red billed cough, the alpine swift, the snow partridge, and the black necked crane.

HISTORY

The Layaps called their home Bayu, the hidden land, with good reasons. The cluster of villages is completely hidden by ridges and appears suddenly when the travelers reaches the first houses. The people believe that they are protected by an ancient gate leading to the main village. It was here that their guardian deities kept a Tibetan invasion at bay. In an important annual ceremony, the Layaps pay homage to the protective forces which turned all the stones and trees around the gate into soldiers to repel the invaders.

But if such legend is history in Laya, history is also Legend. This was the place where Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal entered Bhutan. In a journey which resounds with conquest of human and supernatural dimensions the Shabdrung crossed a chain of Mighty Himalayan ridges and entered Laya from Tibet. In a small meadow below the villages, called Taje-kha a chorten shelters the footprints of the shabdrung and his horse.

History and legend are still the realities of today. The pristine mountain ranges have not succumbed to changes over the centuries. Neither have its people, like in many other parts of Bhutan, the land nor have the people existed in a harmony which the modern world does not adequately appreciate. And it is in this context that the Layaps must be viewed. It is against this rugged backdrop that they must be understood.

THE PEOPLE

“The Layap smell”, is one well known comment. “You cannot depend on the Layaps, is another, often from civil servants. “The Layaps are backward”, say people living in the lower valleys. “The Layaps are alcoholics,” say many who know them, most people stop to look when a layap woman passes by in her distinct, perhaps ‘quaint’ kira. Some would point her out to friends.

The Layaps is all of these, if you do not look beyond the surface or if you do not understand him in the right context. A discerning observer would probably find, however, that the Layap has far more substantial qualities to be admired than those passing these derogatory comments.

If the Layaps are weather beaten as the alpine rangelands they are as untamed and unpredictable as the forces of nature which are sometimes harsh That is why, perhaps, the frustration of a civil servants who finds that the Layap cannot be bound to a deadline or even to a responsibility. When you call them they always say yes but never turn up, explains one District official.

The Layaps are also as open as their environment, normally free of social inhibition. Men and women are open and relaxed on issues like the boundaries sexual behavior. This, in fact is, often exploited by occasional visitors like tourist guides, military patrolmen, and civil servants.

Survival has also sharpened the wiles of the Layap. Today, it is a nightmare for District officials to pin a Layap herder down on a number of yaks in his herd because he wants to avoid tax. Call a Layap family for official duty during the busy season and the best bet is an old woman who is not needed at home.

But inside the rough Layap exterior is a tenderness which is invisible to the casual observer. Every Layap, for example, identifies with a 46 year old horse owner who risked his life to scale and icy cliff to his horse which had fallen. The man was oblivious to the bitter cold as he sat with his dying horse for two days, feeding the animal water from his cupped palm, the water mixed with his tears.

The Layaps are most tender in their feelings for the Yaks which are the mainstay of their semi-nomadic existence. They officially own about 2000 of Bhutan’s 30000 yak population, both believed to be reduced figures. The 300 to 400 KG beast of burden is a source of food, shelter, draught power, transportation and part of the layap Identity.

THE LIFE

The carefree life-style comes with the alcohol consumption by the layap men. Nearly every men drinks heavily, often losing time, effort and hard earned money in drunken stupors and converting all the hard toiled food grain into alcohol. 63 years old Ap Tshering claims to be a typical example of the Layap man. “I have lived a hard life,” he says with a proud smile. “Now I have two important goals in life. I brew sinchang (local wine) during the day and I drink it at night.”

In this patriarchal society where girls are married early and move to the husband’s home, polyandry is on the decline. With clear cut gender roles the woman bears a serious domestic responsibility, looking after the Yak herds, digging the fields, weaving the traditional clothing, and generally keeping the home and family together. The men are responsible for trade and the transportation of goods, their own and for the Government.

THE COMMUNITY

With about 60,000 semi nomadic pastoralists spread across the kingdom’s northern region, the 800 or so layaps
share a strong community spirit. They are fiercely protective about the image of their community. Internal squabbles are normally settled within the community and even a child will not divulge the name of a Layap who is guilty of some wrong doing.

As a community, the Layaps are also proud of their self sufficiency in the basic necessities of life despite the day to day physical difficulties. Wealth is measured by the number of Yaks in a herd or the volume of rice. The Layaps are also quick to inform the visitors that they constitute an important proportion of the Workforce in Gasa District.

THE SPIRITUAL

There is a strong spiritual element in the cohesion of the Layap community. The men pay obeisance to their Pho-la, the local guardian deity. Every archery match, every business trip, every journey, every development project starts with a prayer at the Pho-la’s sacred shrine, a small chorten above the village.

Like the broader Bhutanese society the advice of the village astrologer is sought on most activities and the local medium is usually consulted during illness. It is the legacy of the Shabdrung that the Layaps celebrate the Bumkar festival to plant barley and the Aulay festival during harvest.

A superstition is strong and is, in fact, one of the protective forces of the Layap identity. E.g., the distinctive Kira (women’s cloth) of Layap women has been kept partly because of the belief in its necessity. A superstition also controls etiquette and other aspects of the local traditions.

TRADE

The layaps are traders, bartering their animal products for food grain and other edibles every winter. Starting in late October, when nature offers a respite between the rains and the snow, they move to Punakha, their horses and every person laden with Yak meat, butter cheese, incense plants from the wilderness and sometime trans border goods like dried fish, shoes and brick tea. By March, when the trail becomes accessible, they move back with rice, oil, salt, sugar, chillies, clothing and shoes.

The only relief in this annual venture is a visit to the popular Gasa Tshachhu (hot spring) where they join people from all parts of the country in the baths which are believed to be of curative value and a boost to general health.

Yak products account for 49% of Layaps earning, 18% comes from trade, 15% from animal transport and 4% from tourism, the last benefiting only 5 or 6 horse owners who are in contract with tour operators in Thimphu.

CHANGE

It is largely the exposure from these annual trips that have given Layaps a view of a rapidly changing world outside. A handful has ventured as far as Thimphu. And, in recent years, they have watched the widening gap in economic progress with some dismay.

The urge to reach out and pluck the fruits of progress which their fellow citizens are enjoying is beginning to gnaw at the roots of Layap culture. The goal of one man was to build a house like the one he saw in Punakha, a woman preferred a car so she would be spared a heavy loads, a young girl envied the Punakha School girls, and an eight year old boy rolled his father’s hat around the campfire, his mind on the plastic toy cars he had seen in the shops.

Two women who had been selected to visit Thimphu in a cultural entertainment team returned embarrassed about their Kiras because they were clumsy compared with the nylon kiras of the Thimphu women. When told by a Thimphu official that the beautiful and unique Laya kira should be preserved she retorted. “So you can send tourists to take photographs of us?”

PROGRESS

It is an enlightened policy that the Royal Government of Bhutan has sensitively pursued in the mountains of Laya. The goal is to improve the life of the people without upsetting the delicate balance in the distinct cultural identity of the people, the pristine natural ranges, and the rich wildlife.

Finely tuned to the migratory pattern of the people, the priorities reflect an emphasis on improving the Yak herds and fodder, on the crops, on the road, and on the transportation of goods.

But the main benefits of development in Laya have come from the establishment of Health unit, a veterinary service, and the School. The Layaps however, place their long term hopes on a 100 or so children who represent the education of the community.

The Layaps have not been aware of the image of backwardness they suffer among a section of Bhutan’s population. “Once educated, our children can face other people with pride,” said one weary mother. A 56 year old father summed up the general sentiments, “Last month, when I went to Thimphu, my son read the bus ticket and showed me where to sit,” he said glowing with pride, his right hand gripping the boys shoulder. “I did not have to face the shame of sitting in the wrong seat.”

BEING A LAYAP

Laya today confronts an issue which Bhutan, as a nation, has been grappling with for the past four decades. If change is inevitable, will the experience be more harsh than the bitter winds which blow over the mountains?

It is a question with a familiar ring to it. It is a question facing Bhutan. The Layaps represents the Bhutanese population on a smaller scale, the harmony with their natural environment, the deep pride in their unique cultural identity, and the fierce will to protect their home.

“We Layaps have our good points and bad points.” Explains one village elder. “But in the end, our biggest pride is our land and our self. Yes we go out to trade, buy supplies, to drink, to flirt. We complain about our hardships, the heavy workload, and the tough road. We are embarrassed about our backwardness. But we would never want to be anything but a Layap.”

The mule skids on the wet ice and slides forward on the steep track. The man springs forward and grabs it by the muzzle. They both strain against the slope, breaking skids on the edge of the sheer precipice. The mule is lying on its belly, its forelegs dangling over the cliff. Braced precariously, inches from edge, the man strains to hold the animal on the narrow track. Within seconds, the man’s teenage son runs back and deftly unloads the mule, handing over the heavy packs to the woman standing behind the animal, holding it by its tail. Together they haul the mule back on the path. Far below them the mist swirls over the jagged rocks which line the bottom of the deep gorge.

A few meters behind, a 73 year old woman is sitting on an icy path, inching forward on her buttocks, using both her hand and feet to maintain her balance. She sits still and watches calmly as her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson save the family mule and a year supply of food grain.

An hour later, along with other families, they reach a swift stream. Without a thought the men, women, children hitch up their Ghos and Kiras (Bhutanese dress) to the waist and wade across, oblivious of the water which is at about freezing point. Young men pass lewd remarks at the women who are forced to expose their upper thighs to avoid getting their kiras wet. The women respond with quick witty remarks.

By evening, families are camped along the way in caves or under leafy trees. They care for the horses first and then sit down to a simple hot meal. By dark, after a few bottles of Ara and Sinchang (Local brewed alcohol and wine); they share their experience of the past months. This year, the highlight was the meeting in Gasa (District Head Quarters), where they met their King and Queens. They marvel that their king walked just as they did, all the way.

THE LAND

The four day journey from Punakha, usually stretched over several weeks as they relay a year’s food supply, brings the Layaps home to one of the most spectacular region in the Kingdom of Bhutan, the raw natural beauty of the high alpine range.

Spreading upwards from 12000 feet above sea level, Laya sits on the Lap of the 7100 meters Masagang, One of Bhutan’s 20 virgin peaks which are above 7000 meters. The mixed conifer forest above Gasa Dzong, dotted with maple and rhododendron in full bloom, merge into groves of birch, juniper, maple and mountain cane. The entire slopes are richly colored by wild flowers.

Across Bari-la and Kohi lapcha, two rugged passes, the terrain leaves behind the tree- line and the vast alpine grassland undulate towards the great northern glaciers. High above the crystal waterfalls which often cut through the ice formations on the cliff side, and the clear rapid streams, are their sources, the turquoise fresh water lakes many of which the local population hold in sacred awe.

This is the world where the snow leopards roam, where the blue sheep, Sambar, and Musk deer graze in solitude. Lower down, this is the home of Takin, the Himalayan black bear, numerous deer and the wild dog. The winged inhabitants of the region include the raven, wild pheasants, snow pigeons, the red billed cough, the alpine swift, the snow partridge, and the black necked crane.

HISTORY

The Layaps called their home Bayu, the hidden land, with good reasons. The cluster of villages is completely hidden by ridges and appears suddenly when the travelers reaches the first houses. The people believe that they are protected by an ancient gate leading to the main village. It was here that their guardian deities kept a Tibetan invasion at bay. In an important annual ceremony, the Layaps pay homage to the protective forces which turned all the stones and trees around the gate into soldiers to repel the invaders.

But if such legend is history in Laya, history is also Legend. This was the place where Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal entered Bhutan. In a journey which resounds with conquest of human and supernatural dimensions the Shabdrung crossed a chain of Mighty Himalayan ridges and entered Laya from Tibet. In a small meadow below the villages, called Taje-kha a chorten shelters the footprints of the shabdrung and his horse.

History and legend are still the realities of today. The pristine mountain ranges have not succumbed to changes over the centuries. Neither have its people, like in many other parts of Bhutan, the land nor have the people existed in a harmony which the modern world does not adequately appreciate. And it is in this context that the Layaps must be viewed. It is against this rugged backdrop that they must be understood.

THE PEOPLE

“The Layap smell”, is one well known comment. “You cannot depend on the Layaps, is another, often from civil servants. “The Layaps are backward”, say people living in the lower valleys. “The Layaps are alcoholics,” say many who know them, most people stop to look when a layap woman passes by in her distinct, perhaps ‘quaint’ kira. Some would point her out to friends.

The Layaps is all of these, if you do not look beyond the surface or if you do not understand him in the right context. A discerning observer would probably find, however, that the Layap has far more substantial qualities to be admired than those passing these derogatory comments.

If the Layaps are weather beaten as the alpine rangelands they are as untamed and unpredictable as the forces of nature which are sometimes harsh That is why, perhaps, the frustration of a civil servants who finds that the Layap cannot be bound to a deadline or even to a responsibility. When you call them they always say yes but never turn up, explains one District official.

The Layaps are also as open as their environment, normally free of social inhibition. Men and women are open and relaxed on issues like the boundaries sexual behavior. This, in fact is, often exploited by occasional visitors like tourist guides, military patrolmen, and civil servants.

Survival has also sharpened the wiles of the Layap. Today, it is a nightmare for District officials to pin a Layap herder down on a number of yaks in his herd because he wants to avoid tax. Call a Layap family for official duty during the busy season and the best bet is an old woman who is not needed at home.

But inside the rough Layap exterior is a tenderness which is invisible to the casual observer. Every Layap, for example, identifies with a 46 year old horse owner who risked his life to scale and icy cliff to his horse which had fallen. The man was oblivious to the bitter cold as he sat with his dying horse for two days, feeding the animal water from his cupped palm, the water mixed with his tears.

The Layaps are most tender in their feelings for the Yaks which are the mainstay of their semi-nomadic existence. They officially own about 2000 of Bhutan’s 30000 yak population, both believed to be reduced figures. The 300 to 400 KG beast of burden is a source of food, shelter, draught power, transportation and part of the layap Identity.

THE LIFE

The carefree life-style comes with the alcohol consumption by the layap men. Nearly every men drinks heavily, often losing time, effort and hard earned money in drunken stupors and converting all the hard toiled food grain into alcohol. 63 years old Ap Tshering claims to be a typical example of the Layap man. “I have lived a hard life,” he says with a proud smile. “Now I have two important goals in life. I brew sinchang (local wine) during the day and I drink it at night.”

In this patriarchal society where girls are married early and move to the husband’s home, polyandry is on the decline. With clear cut gender roles the woman bears a serious domestic responsibility, looking after the Yak herds, digging the fields, weaving the traditional clothing, and generally keeping the home and family together. The men are responsible for trade and the transportation of goods, their own and for the Government.

THE COMMUNITY

With about 60,000 semi nomadic pastoralists spread across the kingdom’s northern region, the 800 or so layaps
share a strong community spirit. They are fiercely protective about the image of their community. Internal squabbles are normally settled within the community and even a child will not divulge the name of a Layap who is guilty of some wrong doing.

As a community, the Layaps are also proud of their self sufficiency in the basic necessities of life despite the day to day physical difficulties. Wealth is measured by the number of Yaks in a herd or the volume of rice. The Layaps are also quick to inform the visitors that they constitute an important proportion of the Workforce in Gasa District.

THE SPIRITUAL

There is a strong spiritual element in the cohesion of the Layap community. The men pay obeisance to their Pho-la, the local guardian deity. Every archery match, every business trip, every journey, every development project starts with a prayer at the Pho-la’s sacred shrine, a small chorten above the village.

Like the broader Bhutanese society the advice of the village astrologer is sought on most activities and the local medium is usually consulted during illness. It is the legacy of the Shabdrung that the Layaps celebrate the Bumkar festival to plant barley and the Aulay festival during harvest.

A superstition is strong and is, in fact, one of the protective forces of the Layap identity. E.g., the distinctive Kira (women’s cloth) of Layap women has been kept partly because of the belief in its necessity. A superstition also controls etiquette and other aspects of the local traditions.

TRADE

The layaps are traders, bartering their animal products for food grain and other edibles every winter. Starting in late October, when nature offers a respite between the rains and the snow, they move to Punakha, their horses and every person laden with Yak meat, butter cheese, incense plants from the wilderness and sometime trans border goods like dried fish, shoes and brick tea. By March, when the trail becomes accessible, they move back with rice, oil, salt, sugar, chillies, clothing and shoes.

The only relief in this annual venture is a visit to the popular Gasa Tshachhu (hot spring) where they join people from all parts of the country in the baths which are believed to be of curative value and a boost to general health.

Yak products account for 49% of Layaps earning, 18% comes from trade, 15% from animal transport and 4% from tourism, the last benefiting only 5 or 6 horse owners who are in contract with tour operators in Thimphu.

CHANGE

It is largely the exposure from these annual trips that have given Layaps a view of a rapidly changing world outside. A handful has ventured as far as Thimphu. And, in recent years, they have watched the widening gap in economic progress with some dismay.

The urge to reach out and pluck the fruits of progress which their fellow citizens are enjoying is beginning to gnaw at the roots of Layap culture. The goal of one man was to build a house like the one he saw in Punakha, a woman preferred a car so she would be spared a heavy loads, a young girl envied the Punakha School girls, and an eight year old boy rolled his father’s hat around the campfire, his mind on the plastic toy cars he had seen in the shops.

Two women who had been selected to visit Thimphu in a cultural entertainment team returned embarrassed about their Kiras because they were clumsy compared with the nylon kiras of the Thimphu women. When told by a Thimphu official that the beautiful and unique Laya kira should be preserved she retorted. “So you can send tourists to take photographs of us?”

PROGRESS

It is an enlightened policy that the Royal Government of Bhutan has sensitively pursued in the mountains of Laya. The goal is to improve the life of the people without upsetting the delicate balance in the distinct cultural identity of the people, the pristine natural ranges, and the rich wildlife.

Finely tuned to the migratory pattern of the people, the priorities reflect an emphasis on improving the Yak herds and fodder, on the crops, on the road, and on the transportation of goods.

But the main benefits of development in Laya have come from the establishment of Health unit, a veterinary service, and the School. The Layaps however, place their long term hopes on a 100 or so children who represent the education of the community.

The Layaps have not been aware of the image of backwardness they suffer among a section of Bhutan’s population. “Once educated, our children can face other people with pride,” said one weary mother. A 56 year old father summed up the general sentiments, “Last month, when I went to Thimphu, my son read the bus ticket and showed me where to sit,” he said glowing with pride, his right hand gripping the boys shoulder. “I did not have to face the shame of sitting in the wrong seat.”

BEING A LAYAP

Laya today confronts an issue which Bhutan, as a nation, has been grappling with for the past four decades. If change is inevitable, will the experience be more harsh than the bitter winds which blow over the mountains?

It is a question with a familiar ring to it. It is a question facing Bhutan. The Layaps represents the Bhutanese population on a smaller scale, the harmony with their natural environment, the deep pride in their unique cultural identity, and the fierce will to protect their home.

“We Layaps have our good points and bad points.” Explains one village elder. “But in the end, our biggest pride is our land and our self. Yes we go out to trade, buy supplies, to drink, to flirt. We complain about our hardships, the heavy workload, and the tough road. We are embarrassed about our backwardness. But we would never want to be anything but a Layap.”

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Druk_Tshering/399779

Categories
Beauty

What Is Bivvying?

What Is Bivvying?
What Is Bivvying?

Wild camping! A fun and exciting way to get close to nature and embrace the outdoors – all you need is a bivi bag and the options of where to go are endless; even better it’s totally free! Want to sleep under the stars and wake up with the orange haze of the dawn? Then wild camping using a bivvy bag is for you.

Wild camping, or even adventures that involve hiking from one campsite to the next, give a rather satisfying sense of carrying everything you need on your back. Going for a three day walk across Dartmoor is all very well in the ideas stage but when you factor in carrying your tent, in size and weight, along with sleeping bag, cooking tools, food, water, clothes, pet raccoon etc, it’s enough to make even the toughest peak-bagger grow weary.

Bivvy bags, bivi bags or bivouac sac for those who love a good vowel hug, are fundamentally waterproof socks for sleeping bags. They’re tents shrunk to keep just your sleeping-bag-enclosed body safe from the elements. They’re simple. You put your sleeping bag in your bivvy bag and you put yourself in your sleeping bag. Honestly, even after an exhausting trek up a mountain or a full day surfing the bivvy bag doesn’t require any effort or thought which is one of its greatest attributes. Most camping trips involve the glum realisation that not only do you, at some point, have to erect your tent, bendy poles and all, but you also have to take the damn thing down again. Join the smug owners of bivvy bags instead and just roll them up and stuff them in their tiny bags in under a minute.

At the end of the day, tents are usually the most cumbersome beast in the backpack and take up more space than their worth. When you stick your tent on your back at home it’s all fine and dandy but ten miles up the moors and you’ll be weeping gently into a bog and letting your tears of plight water Dartmoor’s famous moss species. They don’t want your salty misery. Bivvy bags can weigh around 200g, around a 20th of your average tent. They’re so light that if you toss them in the air in a strong breeze you might not see them again and they’re a beauty to carry on any distance walk. You won’t even realise you’re carrying it – to the point where you might have to stop to check.

In order to bivvy, you need a backpack, a sleeping bag and a bivvy bag. You don’t get into a dual layered room with zero connection to the outside; you stay outside, protected but still very much present in your surroundings. Get snug in your bag and lie down, look at the stars, watch the trees waving, feel fresh air on your face. Hear the waves, hear the owls and best of all, you’ll wake up to sky, not nylon.

Wild camping! A fun and exciting way to get close to nature and embrace the outdoors – all you need is a bivi bag and the options of where to go are endless; even better it’s totally free! Want to sleep under the stars and wake up with the orange haze of the dawn? Then wild camping using a bivvy bag is for you.

Wild camping, or even adventures that involve hiking from one campsite to the next, give a rather satisfying sense of carrying everything you need on your back. Going for a three day walk across Dartmoor is all very well in the ideas stage but when you factor in carrying your tent, in size and weight, along with sleeping bag, cooking tools, food, water, clothes, pet raccoon etc, it’s enough to make even the toughest peak-bagger grow weary.

Bivvy bags, bivi bags or bivouac sac for those who love a good vowel hug, are fundamentally waterproof socks for sleeping bags. They’re tents shrunk to keep just your sleeping-bag-enclosed body safe from the elements. They’re simple. You put your sleeping bag in your bivvy bag and you put yourself in your sleeping bag. Honestly, even after an exhausting trek up a mountain or a full day surfing the bivvy bag doesn’t require any effort or thought which is one of its greatest attributes. Most camping trips involve the glum realisation that not only do you, at some point, have to erect your tent, bendy poles and all, but you also have to take the damn thing down again. Join the smug owners of bivvy bags instead and just roll them up and stuff them in their tiny bags in under a minute.

At the end of the day, tents are usually the most cumbersome beast in the backpack and take up more space than their worth. When you stick your tent on your back at home it’s all fine and dandy but ten miles up the moors and you’ll be weeping gently into a bog and letting your tears of plight water Dartmoor’s famous moss species. They don’t want your salty misery. Bivvy bags can weigh around 200g, around a 20th of your average tent. They’re so light that if you toss them in the air in a strong breeze you might not see them again and they’re a beauty to carry on any distance walk. You won’t even realise you’re carrying it – to the point where you might have to stop to check.

In order to bivvy, you need a backpack, a sleeping bag and a bivvy bag. You don’t get into a dual layered room with zero connection to the outside; you stay outside, protected but still very much present in your surroundings. Get snug in your bag and lie down, look at the stars, watch the trees waving, feel fresh air on your face. Hear the waves, hear the owls and best of all, you’ll wake up to sky, not nylon.

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Alex_Blackheart/1643038

Categories
Beauty

Understanding Youth Conflict And Sustainable Initiative Model (Part 2)

Understanding Youth Conflict And Sustainable Initiative Model (Part 2)
Understanding Youth Conflict And Sustainable Initiative Model (Part 2)

NIGER DELTA MILITIA PSYCHOLOGY THE ART OF WAR

In most of the militant camps, there is an ideology of warfare that is preached and accepted by a handful of militant of less than 21% not synonymous with criminality or any form of Negative acts other than for the emancipation of all the communities within the Niger-Delta region. The occidental philosophy is, in life one must be a warrior, and war (either by conspiracy or in collaboration) requires stamina achievable in its entire ramification by all means necessary. As strong as this 21% are, while others (the 52% militant criminal, bunkerers, and collaborators in high places) may find beauty in endless dreams, the latter finds it in all its shapes, figures and colours in reality and persistent struggle for survival and liberation of the several communities being sabotaged by those with Presidential and Federal government immunity.

The truth is underpinning in a relationship between the 52% of the criminals and the conspirators, they have forgotten that their limits can set up predicated ethnic cleansing, set the stage for another civil war. The master strategists have seen the Nigerian problematic economic schematic from mountaintop of several debates, and critical observation of whole government. It is clear, that both side will lose, yet more success is to certain groups, which I may somewhat classify in this book; yet in war, there is no victor. The jigsaw puzzle can be unraveled like the cat; they are aware and looking for the perfect economy of motion and gesture in the way to give their blows the greatest force with the least expenditure of effort. The Militant Groups from all indication are ready to give the insensitive federal government a good fight. They also realize that if they are to fall, they will do so with gallantry and ferocity, and not as cowards.

Although the Amnesty package was a welcome development on the negotiation and conflict resolution process of the federal government and all restive groups in the area; only if the right words are used, and from a standpoint, it is not clear if the government understands the common grounds for reconciliation. For the Amnesty truce to work, the both party must shoulder certain blames, and must take responsibility for atrocity perpetuate on the innocent and to the communities over time. Reasons why Asari Dokubo went haywire on the lukewarmness of the federal government to accept fault, and declare state of emergency on the region for immediate development as compensation for the age-long deprivation, genocide, environmental degradation and injustice; government should call up a genuine sovereign national conference in order to deliberate and reconcile all ethnic, economic and socio-politico bitterness. If this presidency is sincere enough, the gaps between the people of the region, the federal and proposal for development of the area can be closed. Both parties must sue for Peace and tranquility.

In militant camps today, agenda have been compromised things have fallen apart, reasons why the centres could not hold for this long. With Ateke tom, Soboma George, Soboma Johnson and co on my end; with Tom Polo, Henry Okah on the other end, while Asari Dokubo and others yet on another end could grieve the bitter horse wipe. While I may have had first hand information on situation as regard current activities in these camps with my very limited intelligent network, I have concurrently loss the motion and gesture for the actual master plan with the main zones of the intelligent reports. However subtle, it is necessitated by the available and limited resource and manpower. With the right finding, results are as ripe as a drop fruit from the tree top.

In my report, I am aware that these militants (more than 21%) have been exhausted in terms of resources, but not in manpower; still the 52% indulge in all known atrocity in the area, such as kidnapping and vandal have in all ramification both resources and manpower, with their major supports from multinationals corporations who are themselves cronies in this widespread international conspiracy, haven be cut temporary because of fervent observation and monitory of non-governmental agencies. While the 21% recognizes and appreciated their limits, there are things they can never do, talents they will never have, loft goals they will never reach; that hardly bothers them. As ferocious warriors they focus on what they have the strength that they do possess and that which they must use creatively; knowing when to slow down, to renew, to retrench and retreat, they outlaw their opponents. They play for the long-term, because by their establishment and oath, they respect the wishes and aspiration of the people which they represent and fight to death for.

There ware time when their calculation and strategies misfire; what had seem to them during the early years of Kaiama Declaration of 1999, the Ogoni Crisis genocide of 1992, the Ijaw/Itsekeri ethnic crisis of late 1990s, and IYC agitation of 2000 – 07, and other numerous campaign has ignite the beast of conflict across the Niger Delta region in relation fair share of resource control and development, a farce brokered between the region, the multinationals and the government. The Militant groups are aware that not everything can be foreseen, the master-strategist amongst them have known how to pick their battles carefully, along with their ability to know when and how to quit. This honor has preserved them till this day in their engagement militarily of the Federal government. Although there have been clamour of criminality perpetuated by them in the name of militancy and somewhat thwarted emancipation, their funding has been genuine even though Limited and Transparency International attested to this facts with regard to the UNO’s fireman policy.

The 21% may have agreed and concurred with this advocacy of warfare, they have controlled their pride and anger, despite the death toll in several communities within the region by the insensitive action of the joint task force (JTF), and the inhuman Arial bombing that have claimed more than 1,162 lives, displaced more than 2430 people and destroyed properties worth Millions of naira in the just concluded Gbaramatu saga. As servants and puppets of the conspirators both the federal, State/Local government and the JTF have done the dirty work of these blood-thirsty clowns called the bigwigs, or the “Blue Blood”. More to our surprises, almost 80% of the 52% criminals in the Niger-Delta have been infested with the “Share the National Cake syndrome” due to greed and selfish gains, 90% of the 21% have stick to their aims and objectives. They have not allowed anger and pride to overtake their powers of reason and limitedness; they have not fallen into bogus offers and irreparable traps because they certainly knew when to stop.

So far, fighting economically on both sides have built an angle of momentum. The Federal Government, Amnesty group, Transparency International and stakeholders should think of finding common ground for possible negotiation, thereby creating a perfect balance between what both groups are capable of and the task of economic development of the region. Since it is an internal insurgency network, the military should diverse a way of peaceful negotiation between the militants. Best of all, the perpetuators of this conflict, of which focal point is the multinationals and pillars of oil hegemony, should not shy away from the problem which they out of technical problems caused. Instead, they should establish a proper community relations and conflict management units. Expatriate should be trained in conflict management and community relation so as to equip them with ready knowledge of averting problems developed in communities by virtue of their explorative activities on the one hand, while the powers that be who have established their stronghold on the blood and sweat of innocent Niger Deltans should not be left out. Though the Stick may smoke, yet it will never be burnt. As urgent as possible, the FGN and stakeholders through their various Alternative Di
spute Resolution (ADR) networks and departments should provide a better and lasting solution other than the Amnesty package to avert further distress in the region.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TRUCE

In our contemporary Nigerian society, we live in a culture that promotes democratic value of being fair to one and all, the importance of fitting to a group, and knowing how to cooperate with other people, and being able to resolve any types of conflict that may arise peacefully without war within or without is what guarantees peace. Let none at this mourning moment be over confidence, the losses at both side is immeasurable, and the federal government and every actor of this drama are incapacitated with economic resources. The innocent citizens, the militants and federal government through its blood-thirsty servants of doom (JTF) cannot be too overconfidence of victory.

By virtue of our national ethos, the actors were necessitate with ignorance and excesses, all the groups have involved in murder and any civilized society, these groups should be sued and tried for war crime. There is no such action as protecting internal and external security can make for the lives of the innocent who have died for the unconstitutional excesses of the government and militant. Whatever the prime motives and agitation, the death toll has ruled out any genuine index of success; neither will it make anyone go far. We should be aware that the pull of emotion is inevitable, to notice it when it is happening, and to compensate for it when there is time.

The result toward peace and conflict management is that, in all its primordial process, which in turn is galvanized in stages, it requires prospective dichotomy of interest that may arose the resource control discourse, the heart of which pervades our Federal uniqueness. Peace is a process, and if we must end conflict and crisis, both religiously motivated and ethnically or socio-politically initiated, negotiation, intervention and identification paradigm should be put into play in our contemporary Nigeria especially in the Niger Delta region, North Central and Middle Belt of Nigeria; the causes of conflicts are deep rooted. Ideally the only solution to averting future recurrence and predominant crisis is through rigorous applications of the peace process paradigm (PPP – P3).

Although scholars of non-violence and clinical mediation have stipulates in their peace process model, that the only stages of identifying the causes of conflict is through Community’s Negotiation and Resolution Engagement (CNRE). Even though it was used before Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Many others, in my several papers and publication, it is evident that P3 and CNRE when appropriately applied will produce far yielding results in conflict management. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is pious with several proposals by scholars on peace and conflict management, yet in addition to this, it can make use of numerous academic yet empirical landmarks. While it is impossible to avail ourselves with general situation of a conflict, we end up losing our hold on reality and reflecting on solution. This is certainly because we have not reflected back ward on the root cause of the conflicts or Schism; we have only dwell in daydream of short-term solution.

In other online articles and papers on the P3 and CNRE it was made clear that Africa union (AU) is only playing the gimmick, and consequent on the fact that the initial goals of the AU in its outlined articles is on two major agenda:-

o Promoting Africa’s peace/unity and

o Economic development in its entire ramification.

It is imperative to note that the AU is yet to fulfill its pristine objectives; and it has also failed to copy the progress made by ECOWAS in reaching an Africancentric Peace Process (APP). I therefore wonder if the AU has brokered any peace process so far, since its inception.

RECONSTITUTING VIABLE SUSTANABLE DEVELOPMENT

In the just concluded economic summit in calabar, organized by the south-south governors and the federal government in lieu of looking into some major MDG plans. From the scheme of things, in a paper delivered to the Institute of Conflict resolution and community development; a theme formulate as an approach to curb the rhetoric family with sabotage, by engaging the youths and the economically challenge. It is in this conception that The “Nigerian Youth Initiative forum” was born. Although still in its sketch-board, yet with proper implementations in line with the sustainable development target; any government can sue for peace and development in host communities, both in the Niger-Delta oil and gas sabotaged zones, and the religiously aggrieved people. In my theories as articulated, it will go a long way in answering questions of utmost economic viability. With regard to the master plan, the application of the theory will only see the light of the day if its mission statement is respected.

However, as I advanced in the NYIF mission statement towards corporate implementation and the preliminary interpretation of the 7+2 point Agenda, it is imperative that the Nigerian youth initiative forum (NYIF) if properly galvanized by the right power politics will not only nearly 76% youth converted and motivated crisis, but the sum-total of peace in the region. The NYIF has designed a model for the proper execution of the 7+2 point agenda of the Yar ‘Adua/Jonathan administration in the rural levels. As a non-profit establishment, its goal therefore should be, to collaborate with other donors, such as the NDDC, NAPEEP & state/local government in reaching its maximum goals as entertained in this administration’s mission statement.

This organization is a major citadel in my master plan and efforts to address some of the seven point Agenda which hinders the youth and the general capacity to major players in the economic development of the marginalized Niger-Delta and the religiously troubled Northern Nigeria.

In the NYIF mission statement, I have laid out in clear and concrete terms the NYIF vision of providing opportunities for the youths of Niger-Delta to access economic fortunes through micro-finance, cooperative ventures, business and commercial activities. The mission of the NYIF will be to create the enabling environment and provide the necessary support to a large percentage of the Niger-Delta of our population, especially the youths and women groups, to be engaged in productive economic activities for the good of all. This is in line with stake holder’s drive towards addressing the marginalization and economic, socio-political and psychological disparity over time; both in the insurgent and economically deprived oil rich Niger-Delta.

The following are some of the objectives of the NYIF is properly implemented and given the necessary attention, which is needed in any developing society of today. And these objectives and visions as I have articulated towards the successes of NYIF, and they includes but not limited to:

– The economic emancipation and the empowerment of our youth, women (especially the widow) and the economically challenged groups through skill acquisition for various trades and ventures.

– The establishment of an ICT (information technology centre) to improve the ICT knowledge of rural and urban dwellers, towards accessory opportunities locally and internationally.

– The creation of a business environment and economic culture which will address the absence of entrepreneurial know-how among the youths

– To stimulate the creative imaginations, talent and curiosity of our youth in the pursuit for development and excellence.

– To promote self-reliance, particularly among our youth and women, thereby eliminating idleness with its attendant vices.

– To enhance the socio-economic status of our local people.

Recently, from my intelligent report Niger-Delta states, urban centres, and local governments have been engendered by the resource which has been lavishly kept in the dark for too long, with explosive mobilization of NYIF peace process and the proliferation of sustainable development paradigm. The group or any other groups for that matter must have to come up with articulate models; which should be of economic and political values, and the network coverage area cannot be undermined – it is part of the success stories that state governments and the FGN may adopt in their political card’s scoring techniques. It is based primarily on the premise that the already processed model will for the first time be experimented in line with the rational behind the statistical work ability of the model.

In the pursuit of the above objectives, the NYIF has established a ‘Targeted Economic empowerment and Sustainability framework,’ under which the overall objectives will be realizable. This was created in view of streamlining all activities designed for implementation under the programmer. The targeted economic empowerment and sustainability framework (TEESF) is structured into three operational branch of the NYIF, namely,

Bureau for skills acquisition, Bureau on business development, Bureau for Small and Medium scale; and they have been so named “Bureau” for convenient usage.

BUREAU FOR SKILLS ACQUISITION

The framework for the realization and implementation of the proposed bureau in the social term will be dialogued in the context of the overall NYIF communities’ sustainable development agenda. However this bureau shall be responsible for the training of various categories of unskilled and semi-skilled youths and women for self-employment, as well as retooling and educating them for specific needs of the manpower market.

Studies carried out in this model indicated that business often located or expanded wear cluster (similar business, input supplies, customer base, etc) vertically increase economic growth, this is impossible without overall empowerment process. From previous studies it has shown that a targeted economic development often lead to more effective use of scarce local and community resources. These facts present a targeted approach to local economic growth index, leading to efforts of several potential data/information sources. An economy is composed of all the households and businesses within the community space and their numerous functions, interactions, and change through time, as expressed in the holistic psyche of any existing society, Niger-Delta state inclusive.

In view of this bureau, the group will be able to work/partner with other NGOs to implement the proper sensitization of the frame work within the ambit of the group master plan. There is already a cooked prerequisite model above board, while there is need to also work with government’s existing models is already in place, as group must concurs with the philosophy of the seven point Agenda of the present administration.

BUREAU ON BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

If sustainable development truly evolved from a specific planning of today and tomorrow in order to meet the required challenges, goals and the benefit of social economic and political awareness. Then with the concretization agenda of the bureau, a balance will be reached between people with various economic states and in all level of the society in the utilization of the amenities and scarce resources. From previous studies it was discovered that such dimension centers on the ecological and cultural trends of the people. For any development to be called sustainable it must contain the perspective transformation of the general solution of Ecology, culture and local natures; this is incomplete without the participation of
all stakeholders in the process.

In practice, the bureau will sever as the storehouse for business ideas. It will offer guidance and consultancy services for business development. In essence, this bureau will teach our women and youths the arts of starting and succeeding in business.

BUREAU ON SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

The Niger-Delta labour market is at the moment undergoing a shift towards a pattern that reflects a more contingent employment economy. Vocational rehabilitation service providers are gradually reconsidering their current practices and strategies which are in tune with emerging trends. Consequently, most global economies of today are marked by an interrelated environmental and developmental crisis in their overall economic trends, as such; Niger-Delta states government, philanthropist and stakeholders should articulate models to deal with community issues. Some of these crises are rooted in the structural dynamics of an economic model which is centered on profit rather than the promotion of the welfare of communities.

In line with the above enumerated discourse, the bureau will provide a platform for accessing capital to promising business and commercial initiatives to establish small and medium scale ventures. It is envisaged however that micro finance banks, committees on loans (philanthropy), corporate civic responsibility by multi-national companies and private/corporate/NGO bodies shall play a crucial role in the realization of the objectives of the NYIF as they shall be confronted for partnership. Various models of developments are particularly manifested in local content to considerably alleviate poverty; this is also a condition for the NYIF’S community development paradigms.

POVERTY STRICKEN DYNAMICS

Due to the long periods of marginalization in the derivation formula, the states of Niger Delta are comprises of civil servants, and medium scale enterprises in scarce levels and location of business. The situation has developed over time without solution to community ills, such as community people oriented policies and programs. The better part of the work of the various bureaus that has been structured by the Executive of the NYIF in line with the Niger Delta Agenda (NDA) is to curb poverty, illiteracy and social ignorance. In the past, the above is resultant and often led to destructive consequences, poverty, diseases, and deforestation. Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, and Cross-River states are a reflection of the aforesaid consequences, as seen in the use of citizens are house boys and girls and other forms of economic deprivation of its citizens.

At the moment, there is a great disparity in wealth, which must be balanced at all cost through sustainable development in various local governments and communities across the states of the country, of which emergency situation on the Niger-Delta region, the core western and eastern (Erosion driven) and the north central of Nigeria, should urgently be put into consideration. So far, the social, cultural, political and economic injustice as a result of corruption of public offices office holders, politically elected representatives, is eating deep into the viable sustainable development pattern especially in the deprived and aggrieved Niger-Delta State, which has indeed forced her youth to idleness and militancy.

By comparison, more than 62% of the funds allocated to the state are consumed by 38% of the population, vis-à-vis while 62% of local environmental degradation is created by the same 38%, at which point the power and resources is also increasing the concentration of wealth within richest 38%, which amounts to a handful of civil servants and public offer holders. The recurrent imbalances also give rise to the Niger-Delta communities. Two communities in Akwa-Ibom was used by the group, is a case study for the realization of the models already developed so far.

On partnership with both states, local governments, etc in private individuals, NGOs, multi-national/indigenous companies etc in carryout these land able model. We intend to commence by introduce by establishing an economic empowerment programme immediately, which shall flag-off a series of skills sensitization workshops, semi-skilled and economically challenge youths across the approval by donor bodies and agencies, mainly of artisans, primary and secondary school leavers and the physically challenged, whose creativity and productive potentials to be harnessed and upgraded. Likewise, the refugees from Somali etc. that litters the streets of major towns across the regions will not be left out.

DEVELOPMENT CYCLE

The NYIF on sustainable development has with in the time frame developed a characterized effect of emergency procedural effect of developing the Niger-Delta region and timed youths and women respectively, the specialized process can delay the creation of a community economic development plan.

With the evolving of the NYIF into the scheme of things, a structured analysis is necessary for communities to realize their useful economic potentials. Such analysis is useful for examining the economic make up of area and how those areas respond to internal and extends trends. Community development is reliant on competent internal leaders in the accomplishment of set objectives and how it can minimize obstacles poised by external bureaucratic agencies. The NYIF is ready to engage community leaders, heads and chiefs in the overall actualization of our set goals. We are also aware of the facts that effective and articulate leadership structure will encourage community members to identify with recurrent local sustainable development agenda, and hence take necessary steps in ameliorating their situation. NYIF through its bureau help in training youth in certain leadership courses bodies, NGOs, multinational companies etc in community leadership structure.

Therefore through this orientation and leadership training exercise, an economic analysis of Niger-Delta communities, coupled with strategies development plants providing the framework to combat common local issues such as are enshrined in the orbit of the community development framework (CDF).

DEVELOPMENTS STAGES

As a bid to answer some of the militating economic issues, the group in future partnership with NGOs, government bodies have, with clear hopes underscore some of the vital steps to be followed in solving the ills of sustainable development.

SUSTAINABLE CONTINUTY

With the urgency to transform the youth of the Niger-delta communities under the aegis of The National Youth Initiative Forum (NYIF) – a youth enterprenurerial organization, through it ideologies has suggested the need for groups to make initial decision in revamping our national federal pledges, so as to secure the nation’s hero’s past. Among the agenda is to build a community strategy and help to galvanize the awareness necessary for youth centered sustainable growth. At this point, the communities will have to decide if benefits of such process are worth the effort before implementation. NGOs, as well as NAPEP could be contracted to partner in their advisory and technical capacity of the project.

ENGAGEMENT RULE MODEL

Plans are not if a handful of individuals are involved. Broad community support is critical, and wider the range of participation, the greater the talent pool available. Such may, plus or minus involve the public sector group- civil society, private sector representation, volunteer organization etc, should be encouraged to participate. Such models, was first introduced in macrocosm by the group through the sharing of eye-glasses area of Akwa-Ibom, an LGA in the Niger Delta region.

PROVISION OF INCENTIVE TO PARTICIPATING YOUTH AND WOMEN

Participation in any event either for personal or collective development is of consideration, people tends to participate in event that more rewarding, both in principal and in practice than those of little significant which are usually long-term Kurt lumen (1980). In support of this view, the government and NYIF through a com
mittee should also approve the payment of stipends to all participations during the training exercise.

This will cause ten major trends which includes.

– Create increased participation in the exercise by youths and women across the region thereby reducing to it’s barest minimum, idleness, youth militancy, prostitution and empowerment initiatives.

– Help launder the success stories across the nation and globally, thereby increasing investment and economic development of the regions by indigenous and non-indigenous investors.

– It enhances peace and unity in the region.

– It will enhance rural-urban transformation and lead, to successive urban decoration.

– It creates and generates even distribution of wealth and the use of scarce resources.

– It boosts the entrepreneurial viability of the youths and women towards self-reliance and independence.

– It helps in the building up of new cultural and ecological development, as perception of participants towards marginalization, conflicts, militancy, deprivation would have be reduce to the lowest degeneration of the word. Youth and women beneficiary at the end of the day, haven successfully graduated from the institute, will be equipped with vast entrepreneurial skills, sent-off grants and the use of micro-finance loans will enable them engage in meaning employment.

– It reduces government work load and enhances the number of fax payers, hence a booming economy as everybody will be a co-participant in the government of the day.

– It reduces poverty as well as creates wealth and self-reliance.

– It boosts the overall standard of living.

– On successful completion of the training programme, participants will be assisted with take -off grants and would be encouraged to access loans form selected state micro-finances.

NIGER DELTA MILITIA PSYCHOLOGY THE ART OF WAR

In most of the militant camps, there is an ideology of warfare that is preached and accepted by a handful of militant of less than 21% not synonymous with criminality or any form of Negative acts other than for the emancipation of all the communities within the Niger-Delta region. The occidental philosophy is, in life one must be a warrior, and war (either by conspiracy or in collaboration) requires stamina achievable in its entire ramification by all means necessary. As strong as this 21% are, while others (the 52% militant criminal, bunkerers, and collaborators in high places) may find beauty in endless dreams, the latter finds it in all its shapes, figures and colours in reality and persistent struggle for survival and liberation of the several communities being sabotaged by those with Presidential and Federal government immunity.

The truth is underpinning in a relationship between the 52% of the criminals and the conspirators, they have forgotten that their limits can set up predicated ethnic cleansing, set the stage for another civil war. The master strategists have seen the Nigerian problematic economic schematic from mountaintop of several debates, and critical observation of whole government. It is clear, that both side will lose, yet more success is to certain groups, which I may somewhat classify in this book; yet in war, there is no victor. The jigsaw puzzle can be unraveled like the cat; they are aware and looking for the perfect economy of motion and gesture in the way to give their blows the greatest force with the least expenditure of effort. The Militant Groups from all indication are ready to give the insensitive federal government a good fight. They also realize that if they are to fall, they will do so with gallantry and ferocity, and not as cowards.

Although the Amnesty package was a welcome development on the negotiation and conflict resolution process of the federal government and all restive groups in the area; only if the right words are used, and from a standpoint, it is not clear if the government understands the common grounds for reconciliation. For the Amnesty truce to work, the both party must shoulder certain blames, and must take responsibility for atrocity perpetuate on the innocent and to the communities over time. Reasons why Asari Dokubo went haywire on the lukewarmness of the federal government to accept fault, and declare state of emergency on the region for immediate development as compensation for the age-long deprivation, genocide, environmental degradation and injustice; government should call up a genuine sovereign national conference in order to deliberate and reconcile all ethnic, economic and socio-politico bitterness. If this presidency is sincere enough, the gaps between the people of the region, the federal and proposal for development of the area can be closed. Both parties must sue for Peace and tranquility.

In militant camps today, agenda have been compromised things have fallen apart, reasons why the centres could not hold for this long. With Ateke tom, Soboma George, Soboma Johnson and co on my end; with Tom Polo, Henry Okah on the other end, while Asari Dokubo and others yet on another end could grieve the bitter horse wipe. While I may have had first hand information on situation as regard current activities in these camps with my very limited intelligent network, I have concurrently loss the motion and gesture for the actual master plan with the main zones of the intelligent reports. However subtle, it is necessitated by the available and limited resource and manpower. With the right finding, results are as ripe as a drop fruit from the tree top.

In my report, I am aware that these militants (more than 21%) have been exhausted in terms of resources, but not in manpower; still the 52% indulge in all known atrocity in the area, such as kidnapping and vandal have in all ramification both resources and manpower, with their major supports from multinationals corporations who are themselves cronies in this widespread international conspiracy, haven be cut temporary because of fervent observation and monitory of non-governmental agencies. While the 21% recognizes and appreciated their limits, there are things they can never do, talents they will never have, loft goals they will never reach; that hardly bothers them. As ferocious warriors they focus on what they have the strength that they do possess and that which they must use creatively; knowing when to slow down, to renew, to retrench and retreat, they outlaw their opponents. They play for the long-term, because by their establishment and oath, they respect the wishes and aspiration of the people which they represent and fight to death for.

There ware time when their calculation and strategies misfire; what had seem to them during the early years of Kaiama Declaration of 1999, the Ogoni Crisis genocide of 1992, the Ijaw/Itsekeri ethnic crisis of late 1990s, and IYC agitation of 2000 – 07, and other numerous campaign has ignite the beast of conflict across the Niger Delta region in relation fair share of resource control and development, a farce brokered between the region, the multinationals and the government. The Militant groups are aware that not everything can be foreseen, the master-strategist amongst them have known how to pick their battles carefully, along with their ability to know when and how to quit. This honor has preserved them till this day in their engagement militarily of the Federal government. Although there have been clamour of criminality perpetuated by them in the name of militancy and somewhat thwarted emancipation, their funding has been genuine even though Limited and Transparency International attested to this facts with regard to the UNO’s fireman policy.

The 21% may have agreed and concurred with this advocacy of warfare, they have controlled their pride and anger, despite the death toll in several communities within the region by the insensitive action of the joint task force (JTF), and the inhuman Arial bombing that have claimed more than 1,162 lives, displaced more than 2430 people and destroyed properties worth Millions of naira in the just concluded Gbaramatu saga. As servants and puppets of the conspirators both the federal, State/Local government and the JTF have done the dirty work of these blood-thirsty clowns called the bigwigs, or the “Blue Blood”. More to our surprises, almost 80% of the 52% criminals in the Niger-Delta have been infested with the “Share the National Cake syndrome” due to greed and selfish gains, 90% of the 21% have stick to their aims and objectives. They have not allowed anger and pride to overtake their powers of reason and limitedness; they have not fallen into bogus offers and irreparable traps because they certainly knew when to stop.

So far, fighting economically on both sides have built an angle of momentum. The Federal Government, Amnesty group, Transparency International and stakeholders should think of finding common ground for possible negotiation, thereby creating a perfect balance between what both groups are capable of and the task of economic development of the region. Since it is an internal insurgency network, the military should diverse a way of peaceful negotiation between the militants. Best of all, the perpetuators of this conflict, of which focal point is the multinationals and pillars of oil hegemony, should not shy away from the problem which they out of technical problems caused. Instead, they should establish a proper community relations and conflict management units. Expatriate should be trained in conflict management and community relation so as to equip them with ready knowledge of averting problems developed in communities by virtue of their explorative activities on the one hand, while the powers that be who have established their stronghold on the blood and sweat of innocent Niger Deltans should not be left out. Though the Stick may smoke, yet it will never be burnt. As urgent as possible, the FGN and stakeholders through their various Alternative Di
spute Resolution (ADR) networks and departments should provide a better and lasting solution other than the Amnesty package to avert further distress in the region.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TRUCE

In our contemporary Nigerian society, we live in a culture that promotes democratic value of being fair to one and all, the importance of fitting to a group, and knowing how to cooperate with other people, and being able to resolve any types of conflict that may arise peacefully without war within or without is what guarantees peace. Let none at this mourning moment be over confidence, the losses at both side is immeasurable, and the federal government and every actor of this drama are incapacitated with economic resources. The innocent citizens, the militants and federal government through its blood-thirsty servants of doom (JTF) cannot be too overconfidence of victory.

By virtue of our national ethos, the actors were necessitate with ignorance and excesses, all the groups have involved in murder and any civilized society, these groups should be sued and tried for war crime. There is no such action as protecting internal and external security can make for the lives of the innocent who have died for the unconstitutional excesses of the government and militant. Whatever the prime motives and agitation, the death toll has ruled out any genuine index of success; neither will it make anyone go far. We should be aware that the pull of emotion is inevitable, to notice it when it is happening, and to compensate for it when there is time.

The result toward peace and conflict management is that, in all its primordial process, which in turn is galvanized in stages, it requires prospective dichotomy of interest that may arose the resource control discourse, the heart of which pervades our Federal uniqueness. Peace is a process, and if we must end conflict and crisis, both religiously motivated and ethnically or socio-politically initiated, negotiation, intervention and identification paradigm should be put into play in our contemporary Nigeria especially in the Niger Delta region, North Central and Middle Belt of Nigeria; the causes of conflicts are deep rooted. Ideally the only solution to averting future recurrence and predominant crisis is through rigorous applications of the peace process paradigm (PPP – P3).

Although scholars of non-violence and clinical mediation have stipulates in their peace process model, that the only stages of identifying the causes of conflict is through Community’s Negotiation and Resolution Engagement (CNRE). Even though it was used before Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Many others, in my several papers and publication, it is evident that P3 and CNRE when appropriately applied will produce far yielding results in conflict management. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is pious with several proposals by scholars on peace and conflict management, yet in addition to this, it can make use of numerous academic yet empirical landmarks. While it is impossible to avail ourselves with general situation of a conflict, we end up losing our hold on reality and reflecting on solution. This is certainly because we have not reflected back ward on the root cause of the conflicts or Schism; we have only dwell in daydream of short-term solution.

In other online articles and papers on the P3 and CNRE it was made clear that Africa union (AU) is only playing the gimmick, and consequent on the fact that the initial goals of the AU in its outlined articles is on two major agenda:-

o Promoting Africa’s peace/unity and

o Economic development in its entire ramification.

It is imperative to note that the AU is yet to fulfill its pristine objectives; and it has also failed to copy the progress made by ECOWAS in reaching an Africancentric Peace Process (APP). I therefore wonder if the AU has brokered any peace process so far, since its inception.

RECONSTITUTING VIABLE SUSTANABLE DEVELOPMENT

In the just concluded economic summit in calabar, organized by the south-south governors and the federal government in lieu of looking into some major MDG plans. From the scheme of things, in a paper delivered to the Institute of Conflict resolution and community development; a theme formulate as an approach to curb the rhetoric family with sabotage, by engaging the youths and the economically challenge. It is in this conception that The “Nigerian Youth Initiative forum” was born. Although still in its sketch-board, yet with proper implementations in line with the sustainable development target; any government can sue for peace and development in host communities, both in the Niger-Delta oil and gas sabotaged zones, and the religiously aggrieved people. In my theories as articulated, it will go a long way in answering questions of utmost economic viability. With regard to the master plan, the application of the theory will only see the light of the day if its mission statement is respected.

However, as I advanced in the NYIF mission statement towards corporate implementation and the preliminary interpretation of the 7+2 point Agenda, it is imperative that the Nigerian youth initiative forum (NYIF) if properly galvanized by the right power politics will not only nearly 76% youth converted and motivated crisis, but the sum-total of peace in the region. The NYIF has designed a model for the proper execution of the 7+2 point agenda of the Yar ‘Adua/Jonathan administration in the rural levels. As a non-profit establishment, its goal therefore should be, to collaborate with other donors, such as the NDDC, NAPEEP & state/local government in reaching its maximum goals as entertained in this administration’s mission statement.

This organization is a major citadel in my master plan and efforts to address some of the seven point Agenda which hinders the youth and the general capacity to major players in the economic development of the marginalized Niger-Delta and the religiously troubled Northern Nigeria.

In the NYIF mission statement, I have laid out in clear and concrete terms the NYIF vision of providing opportunities for the youths of Niger-Delta to access economic fortunes through micro-finance, cooperative ventures, business and commercial activities. The mission of the NYIF will be to create the enabling environment and provide the necessary support to a large percentage of the Niger-Delta of our population, especially the youths and women groups, to be engaged in productive economic activities for the good of all. This is in line with stake holder’s drive towards addressing the marginalization and economic, socio-political and psychological disparity over time; both in the insurgent and economically deprived oil rich Niger-Delta.

The following are some of the objectives of the NYIF is properly implemented and given the necessary attention, which is needed in any developing society of today. And these objectives and visions as I have articulated towards the successes of NYIF, and they includes but not limited to:

– The economic emancipation and the empowerment of our youth, women (especially the widow) and the economically challenged groups through skill acquisition for various trades and ventures.

– The establishment of an ICT (information technology centre) to improve the ICT knowledge of rural and urban dwellers, towards accessory opportunities locally and internationally.

– The creation of a business environment and economic culture which will address the absence of entrepreneurial know-how among the youths

– To stimulate the creative imaginations, talent and curiosity of our youth in the pursuit for development and excellence.

– To promote self-reliance, particularly among our youth and women, thereby eliminating idleness with its attendant vices.

– To enhance the socio-economic status of our local people.

Recently, from my intelligent report Niger-Delta states, urban centres, and local governments have been engendered by the resource which has been lavishly kept in the dark for too long, with explosive mobilization of NYIF peace process and the proliferation of sustainable development paradigm. The group or any other groups for that matter must have to come up with articulate models; which should be of economic and political values, and the network coverage area cannot be undermined – it is part of the success stories that state governments and the FGN may adopt in their political card’s scoring techniques. It is based primarily on the premise that the already processed model will for the first time be experimented in line with the rational behind the statistical work ability of the model.

In the pursuit of the above objectives, the NYIF has established a ‘Targeted Economic empowerment and Sustainability framework,’ under which the overall objectives will be realizable. This was created in view of streamlining all activities designed for implementation under the programmer. The targeted economic empowerment and sustainability framework (TEESF) is structured into three operational branch of the NYIF, namely,

Bureau for skills acquisition, Bureau on business development, Bureau for Small and Medium scale; and they have been so named “Bureau” for convenient usage.

BUREAU FOR SKILLS ACQUISITION

The framework for the realization and implementation of the proposed bureau in the social term will be dialogued in the context of the overall NYIF communities’ sustainable development agenda. However this bureau shall be responsible for the training of various categories of unskilled and semi-skilled youths and women for self-employment, as well as retooling and educating them for specific needs of the manpower market.

Studies carried out in this model indicated that business often located or expanded wear cluster (similar business, input supplies, customer base, etc) vertically increase economic growth, this is impossible without overall empowerment process. From previous studies it has shown that a targeted economic development often lead to more effective use of scarce local and community resources. These facts present a targeted approach to local economic growth index, leading to efforts of several potential data/information sources. An economy is composed of all the households and businesses within the community space and their numerous functions, interactions, and change through time, as expressed in the holistic psyche of any existing society, Niger-Delta state inclusive.

In view of this bureau, the group will be able to work/partner with other NGOs to implement the proper sensitization of the frame work within the ambit of the group master plan. There is already a cooked prerequisite model above board, while there is need to also work with government’s existing models is already in place, as group must concurs with the philosophy of the seven point Agenda of the present administration.

BUREAU ON BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

If sustainable development truly evolved from a specific planning of today and tomorrow in order to meet the required challenges, goals and the benefit of social economic and political awareness. Then with the concretization agenda of the bureau, a balance will be reached between people with various economic states and in all level of the society in the utilization of the amenities and scarce resources. From previous studies it was discovered that such dimension centers on the ecological and cultural trends of the people. For any development to be called sustainable it must contain the perspective transformation of the general solution of Ecology, culture and local natures; this is incomplete without the participation of
all stakeholders in the process.

In practice, the bureau will sever as the storehouse for business ideas. It will offer guidance and consultancy services for business development. In essence, this bureau will teach our women and youths the arts of starting and succeeding in business.

BUREAU ON SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

The Niger-Delta labour market is at the moment undergoing a shift towards a pattern that reflects a more contingent employment economy. Vocational rehabilitation service providers are gradually reconsidering their current practices and strategies which are in tune with emerging trends. Consequently, most global economies of today are marked by an interrelated environmental and developmental crisis in their overall economic trends, as such; Niger-Delta states government, philanthropist and stakeholders should articulate models to deal with community issues. Some of these crises are rooted in the structural dynamics of an economic model which is centered on profit rather than the promotion of the welfare of communities.

In line with the above enumerated discourse, the bureau will provide a platform for accessing capital to promising business and commercial initiatives to establish small and medium scale ventures. It is envisaged however that micro finance banks, committees on loans (philanthropy), corporate civic responsibility by multi-national companies and private/corporate/NGO bodies shall play a crucial role in the realization of the objectives of the NYIF as they shall be confronted for partnership. Various models of developments are particularly manifested in local content to considerably alleviate poverty; this is also a condition for the NYIF’S community development paradigms.

POVERTY STRICKEN DYNAMICS

Due to the long periods of marginalization in the derivation formula, the states of Niger Delta are comprises of civil servants, and medium scale enterprises in scarce levels and location of business. The situation has developed over time without solution to community ills, such as community people oriented policies and programs. The better part of the work of the various bureaus that has been structured by the Executive of the NYIF in line with the Niger Delta Agenda (NDA) is to curb poverty, illiteracy and social ignorance. In the past, the above is resultant and often led to destructive consequences, poverty, diseases, and deforestation. Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, and Cross-River states are a reflection of the aforesaid consequences, as seen in the use of citizens are house boys and girls and other forms of economic deprivation of its citizens.

At the moment, there is a great disparity in wealth, which must be balanced at all cost through sustainable development in various local governments and communities across the states of the country, of which emergency situation on the Niger-Delta region, the core western and eastern (Erosion driven) and the north central of Nigeria, should urgently be put into consideration. So far, the social, cultural, political and economic injustice as a result of corruption of public offices office holders, politically elected representatives, is eating deep into the viable sustainable development pattern especially in the deprived and aggrieved Niger-Delta State, which has indeed forced her youth to idleness and militancy.

By comparison, more than 62% of the funds allocated to the state are consumed by 38% of the population, vis-à-vis while 62% of local environmental degradation is created by the same 38%, at which point the power and resources is also increasing the concentration of wealth within richest 38%, which amounts to a handful of civil servants and public offer holders. The recurrent imbalances also give rise to the Niger-Delta communities. Two communities in Akwa-Ibom was used by the group, is a case study for the realization of the models already developed so far.

On partnership with both states, local governments, etc in private individuals, NGOs, multi-national/indigenous companies etc in carryout these land able model. We intend to commence by introduce by establishing an economic empowerment programme immediately, which shall flag-off a series of skills sensitization workshops, semi-skilled and economically challenge youths across the approval by donor bodies and agencies, mainly of artisans, primary and secondary school leavers and the physically challenged, whose creativity and productive potentials to be harnessed and upgraded. Likewise, the refugees from Somali etc. that litters the streets of major towns across the regions will not be left out.

DEVELOPMENT CYCLE

The NYIF on sustainable development has with in the time frame developed a characterized effect of emergency procedural effect of developing the Niger-Delta region and timed youths and women respectively, the specialized process can delay the creation of a community economic development plan.

With the evolving of the NYIF into the scheme of things, a structured analysis is necessary for communities to realize their useful economic potentials. Such analysis is useful for examining the economic make up of area and how those areas respond to internal and extends trends. Community development is reliant on competent internal leaders in the accomplishment of set objectives and how it can minimize obstacles poised by external bureaucratic agencies. The NYIF is ready to engage community leaders, heads and chiefs in the overall actualization of our set goals. We are also aware of the facts that effective and articulate leadership structure will encourage community members to identify with recurrent local sustainable development agenda, and hence take necessary steps in ameliorating their situation. NYIF through its bureau help in training youth in certain leadership courses bodies, NGOs, multinational companies etc in community leadership structure.

Therefore through this orientation and leadership training exercise, an economic analysis of Niger-Delta communities, coupled with strategies development plants providing the framework to combat common local issues such as are enshrined in the orbit of the community development framework (CDF).

DEVELOPMENTS STAGES

As a bid to answer some of the militating economic issues, the group in future partnership with NGOs, government bodies have, with clear hopes underscore some of the vital steps to be followed in solving the ills of sustainable development.

SUSTAINABLE CONTINUTY

With the urgency to transform the youth of the Niger-delta communities under the aegis of The National Youth Initiative Forum (NYIF) – a youth enterprenurerial organization, through it ideologies has suggested the need for groups to make initial decision in revamping our national federal pledges, so as to secure the nation’s hero’s past. Among the agenda is to build a community strategy and help to galvanize the awareness necessary for youth centered sustainable growth. At this point, the communities will have to decide if benefits of such process are worth the effort before implementation. NGOs, as well as NAPEP could be contracted to partner in their advisory and technical capacity of the project.

ENGAGEMENT RULE MODEL

Plans are not if a handful of individuals are involved. Broad community support is critical, and wider the range of participation, the greater the talent pool available. Such may, plus or minus involve the public sector group- civil society, private sector representation, volunteer organization etc, should be encouraged to participate. Such models, was first introduced in macrocosm by the group through the sharing of eye-glasses area of Akwa-Ibom, an LGA in the Niger Delta region.

PROVISION OF INCENTIVE TO PARTICIPATING YOUTH AND WOMEN

Participation in any event either for personal or collective development is of consideration, people tends to participate in event that more rewarding, both in principal and in practice than those of little significant which are usually long-term Kurt lumen (1980). In support of this view, the government and NYIF through a com
mittee should also approve the payment of stipends to all participations during the training exercise.

This will cause ten major trends which includes.

– Create increased participation in the exercise by youths and women across the region thereby reducing to it’s barest minimum, idleness, youth militancy, prostitution and empowerment initiatives.

– Help launder the success stories across the nation and globally, thereby increasing investment and economic development of the regions by indigenous and non-indigenous investors.

– It enhances peace and unity in the region.

– It will enhance rural-urban transformation and lead, to successive urban decoration.

– It creates and generates even distribution of wealth and the use of scarce resources.

– It boosts the entrepreneurial viability of the youths and women towards self-reliance and independence.

– It helps in the building up of new cultural and ecological development, as perception of participants towards marginalization, conflicts, militancy, deprivation would have be reduce to the lowest degeneration of the word. Youth and women beneficiary at the end of the day, haven successfully graduated from the institute, will be equipped with vast entrepreneurial skills, sent-off grants and the use of micro-finance loans will enable them engage in meaning employment.

– It reduces government work load and enhances the number of fax payers, hence a booming economy as everybody will be a co-participant in the government of the day.

– It reduces poverty as well as creates wealth and self-reliance.

– It boosts the overall standard of living.

– On successful completion of the training programme, participants will be assisted with take -off grants and would be encouraged to access loans form selected state micro-finances.

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Carl-Collins_Oshodi/110994

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Beauty

When Our Galaxy's Dark Heart Exploded

When Our Galaxy’s Dark Heart Exploded
When Our Galaxy’s Dark Heart Exploded

Voracious, bizarre, and bewitching, supermassive black holes are thought to haunt the mysterious hearts of perhaps every large galaxy in the observable Universe–including our own Milky Way. Our Galaxy’s resident dark heart is named Sagittarius A*–Sgr A*, for short (pronounced saj-a-star), and it is dormant now, but still manages to awaken from its slumber now and then to dine on an unlucky star or cloud of gas that has wandered too close to its gravitational embrace. Sgr A*, despite its currently quiet nature, still has enough “life” left to surprise astronomers with a sudden and dramatic episode of turbulent activity. In October 2019, a team of astronomers announced that they had found evidence of a recent cataclysmic flare that exploded so far out of the Milky Way that its destructive influence was felt 200,000 light-years from its origins.

This enormous, expanding beam of energy erupted close to Sgr A* only a “mere” 3.5 million years ago–which is only a blink of the eye in cosmic time. The flare shot out a cone-shaped burst of radiation through both poles of our Galaxy, that then rushed screaming into deep space.

This new finding is based on research conducted by a team of scientists led by Dr. Joss Bland-Hawthorn from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ARSTRO 3D). Their work is published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Our Milky Way’s Bewitching Heart

Sgr A* is a brilliant and compact astronomical radio source. It is situated at the very heart of our large spiral Galaxy, close to the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. As supermassive black holes go, Sgr A* is relatively light in weight. Similar dark hearts inhabiting other galaxies sport millions to billions of times more than our Sun. Sgr A* sports “only” millions of solar-masses.

Observations of many stars circling around Sgr A* have been used to provide important evidence for the presence of, as well as providing data about, our Milky Way’s supermassive black hole. These observations have caused some astronomers to conclude that Sgr A* is a black hole beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The shredded remains of what were once stars, as well as clouds of unfortunate and disrupted gas, create the wreckage that eventually tumbles down into the waiting maw of a supermassive gravitational beast like Sgr A*. This terrible banquet of swirling material creates a massive disk encircling the black hole. The disk itself, termed an accretion disk, grows hotter and hotter with the passage of time–particularly when it is pulled into the bizarre vortex close to the dreaded point of no return, called the event horizon. Nothing can return to the outside once it has entered this point. Not even light can return once it has been swallowed. The event horizon is situated at the innermost region of the brilliant accretion disk.

Supermassive black holes, along with their surrounding glaring accretion disks, can be as large as our Solar System–at least. These mysterious entities are described by their greedy appetites, large masses, and messy table manners. When Sgr A* was a young black hole, billions of years ago, it tripped the light fantastic as a searing-hot young, dazzling quasar in the ancient Universe. However, it has grown quiet in its old age, with only a shadow of the appetite it once had when it was in its flaming youth. Quasars lit up the ancient Universe, but like Sgr A* many of them have also lost their sparkle in their old age.

All black holes are dense, compact regions of space. Sgr A* sports the compressed mass of approximately 4.5 million suns, and this hefty mass is squeezed into a relatively small area of space.

In a paper published on October 31, 2018, astronomers announced their discovery of conclusive evidence that Sgr A* is a black hole. Using the GRAVITY interferometer and a quartet of telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to form a virtual telescope 130 meters in diameters, the scientists spotted clumps of gas traveling at approximately 30% the speed of light. Emission from highly energetic electrons very close to Sgr A* was visible as a trio of brilliant flares. The flares precisely matched theoretical predictions for hot spots circling close to a black hole of about four milliion times solar mass. The flares are believed to originate from magnetic interactions in the extremely hot gas circling close to our Galaxy’s resident dark heart.

What has been seen, so far, of Sgr A*, is not the black hole itself. However, the observations are consistent only if there really is a black hole lurking near Sgr A*. In the case of such a black hole, the observed radio and infrared energy emanates from the gas and dust that is heated to millions of degrees while falling to its doom into the maw of the black hole. But the dark-hearted beast itself is believed to emit only Hawking radiation at a negligible temperature.

Sgr A* is invisible to the eyes of observers. Like all others of its kind, it sends no energy out into space, and it is completely dark. Our Galaxy’s elderly, quiet resident supermassive black hole shows very little of the greedy appetite of its youth, when it was still in its brilliant quasar stage. Indeed, at least in the case of Sgr A*, it’s been a very long time between dinners. It is thought to have feasted on its last big buffet about six million years ago, when it dined on an unfortunate large cloud of messed up gas. Afterwards, the sloppy black hole, its hunger now quenched, dispatched a huge bubble of gas into interstellar space that was equivalent to millions of solar masses. This gas bubble now bounces both below and above Sgr A*. These after-dinner bubbles are termed Fermi Bubbles, and they were first discovered by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope back in 2010.

Black holes are indisputably weird denizens of the cosmic zoo. Our Galaxy’s own resident beast is encircled by a twinkling cluster of baby stars, some of which have had the misfortune of falling to within only a few million miles of where Sgr A* was lying in terrible wait for its dinner to come tumbling down to it.

Not all black holes are of the supermassive kind. Indeed, there are smaller black holes of only stellar-mass inhabiting the Cosmos. These much less hefty black holes form when an especially massive star has finished burning its necessary supply of nuclear-fusing fuel, and it blasts itself into oblivion when its core collapses. This results in a Type II (core-collapse) supernova explosion. There is also a likely population of intermediate-size black holes that weigh-in between the mass of black holes of only stellar-mass and the supermassive variety. It has also been suggested that a population of hypothetical primordial black holes were born in the Big Bang birth of the Universe almost 14 billion years ago. Indeed, if enough mass is squashed into a small enough space, a black hole will invariably form.

Seyfert Flare

The violent flare that broke our Galaxy’s heart is known as a Seyfert Flare. It created two immense ionization cones that ripped through our Milky Way–starting with a relatively small diameter near Sgr A*, and then ballooning greatly in size as they rushed out of of our Galaxy.

This particular Seyfert Flare was so powerful that it ran into the Magellanic Stream, which is a long trail of gas extending from the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds–which are two dwarf galaxies close to our own. The Magellanic Stream is situated at an average distance of 200,000 ligh
t years from our Milky Way.

The catastrophic explosion was so powerful, according to the Australian team of astronomers, that it could not have been ignited by anything other than nuclear activity originating from our Galaxy’s supermassive black hole.

“The flare must have been a bit like a lighthouse beam,” commented Dr. Bland-Hawthorne in an October 2, 2019 ScienceinPublic Press Release. Dr. Bland-Hawthorne is also of the University of Sydney in Australia.

“Imagine darkness, and then someone switches on a lighthouse beacon for a brief period of time,” he added.

Using data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the scientists determined that the enormous explosion occurred only a little more than three million years ago–a mere wink of the eye on cosmological time scales. Indeed, in Galactic terms, that is amazingly recent. On our own planet, at that time, the asteroid that was the final, fatal blow to the dinosaurs was 63 million years in the past. Humanity’s ancient ancestors already existed. Called the Australopithecines, these ancestors of human beings were already roaming the African continent.

“This is a dramatic event that happened a few million years ago in the Milky Way’s history,” noted Dr. Lisa Kewley in the October 2, 2019 ScienceinPublic Press Release. Dr. Kewley is Director of ASTRO 3D.

“A massive blast of energy and radiation came right center and into the surrounding material. This shows that the center of the Millky Way is a much more dynamic place than we had previously thought. It is lucky we’re not residing there,” she added.

The explosion, the astronomers calculate, lasted for a mere 300,000 years. This is an extremely brief period in Galactic terms.

In conducting the research, Dr. Bland-Hawthorne was joined by colleagues from the Australia National University and University of Sydney, and, in the US, the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), University of Colorado (Boulder), and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The new paper follows earlier research, also conducted by Dr. Bland-Hawthorne, that was published in 2013. The previous work studied evidence of a tremendous explosive event originating in the center of our Galaxy, and it ruled out a nuclear starburst as the trigger. Instead, the earlier study tentatively tied the explosion to activity in Sgr A*.

“These results dramatically change our understanding of the Milky Way,” commented study co-author Dr. Magda Guglielmo of the University of Sydney (Australia).

“We always thought about our Galaxy as an inactive galaxy, with a not so bright center. These new results instead open the possibility of a complete reinterpretation of its evolution and nature. The flare event that occurred three million years ago was so powerful that it had consequences on the surroundings of our Galaxy. We are the witness to the awakening of the sleeping beauty,” she continued.

The recent research considers Sgr A* as a prime suspect. However, the researchers concede that there is still much more work to be done. How black holes evolve, influence and interact with galaxies, they conclude, “is an outstanding problem in astrophysics.”

Voracious, bizarre, and bewitching, supermassive black holes are thought to haunt the mysterious hearts of perhaps every large galaxy in the observable Universe–including our own Milky Way. Our Galaxy’s resident dark heart is named Sagittarius A*–Sgr A*, for short (pronounced saj-a-star), and it is dormant now, but still manages to awaken from its slumber now and then to dine on an unlucky star or cloud of gas that has wandered too close to its gravitational embrace. Sgr A*, despite its currently quiet nature, still has enough “life” left to surprise astronomers with a sudden and dramatic episode of turbulent activity. In October 2019, a team of astronomers announced that they had found evidence of a recent cataclysmic flare that exploded so far out of the Milky Way that its destructive influence was felt 200,000 light-years from its origins.

This enormous, expanding beam of energy erupted close to Sgr A* only a “mere” 3.5 million years ago–which is only a blink of the eye in cosmic time. The flare shot out a cone-shaped burst of radiation through both poles of our Galaxy, that then rushed screaming into deep space.

This new finding is based on research conducted by a team of scientists led by Dr. Joss Bland-Hawthorn from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ARSTRO 3D). Their work is published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Our Milky Way’s Bewitching Heart

Sgr A* is a brilliant and compact astronomical radio source. It is situated at the very heart of our large spiral Galaxy, close to the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. As supermassive black holes go, Sgr A* is relatively light in weight. Similar dark hearts inhabiting other galaxies sport millions to billions of times more than our Sun. Sgr A* sports “only” millions of solar-masses.

Observations of many stars circling around Sgr A* have been used to provide important evidence for the presence of, as well as providing data about, our Milky Way’s supermassive black hole. These observations have caused some astronomers to conclude that Sgr A* is a black hole beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The shredded remains of what were once stars, as well as clouds of unfortunate and disrupted gas, create the wreckage that eventually tumbles down into the waiting maw of a supermassive gravitational beast like Sgr A*. This terrible banquet of swirling material creates a massive disk encircling the black hole. The disk itself, termed an accretion disk, grows hotter and hotter with the passage of time–particularly when it is pulled into the bizarre vortex close to the dreaded point of no return, called the event horizon. Nothing can return to the outside once it has entered this point. Not even light can return once it has been swallowed. The event horizon is situated at the innermost region of the brilliant accretion disk.

Supermassive black holes, along with their surrounding glaring accretion disks, can be as large as our Solar System–at least. These mysterious entities are described by their greedy appetites, large masses, and messy table manners. When Sgr A* was a young black hole, billions of years ago, it tripped the light fantastic as a searing-hot young, dazzling quasar in the ancient Universe. However, it has grown quiet in its old age, with only a shadow of the appetite it once had when it was in its flaming youth. Quasars lit up the ancient Universe, but like Sgr A* many of them have also lost their sparkle in their old age.

All black holes are dense, compact regions of space. Sgr A* sports the compressed mass of approximately 4.5 million suns, and this hefty mass is squeezed into a relatively small area of space.

In a paper published on October 31, 2018, astronomers announced their discovery of conclusive evidence that Sgr A* is a black hole. Using the GRAVITY interferometer and a quartet of telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to form a virtual telescope 130 meters in diameters, the scientists spotted clumps of gas traveling at approximately 30% the speed of light. Emission from highly energetic electrons very close to Sgr A* was visible as a trio of brilliant flares. The flares precisely matched theoretical predictions for hot spots circling close to a black hole of about four milliion times solar mass. The flares are believed to originate from magnetic interactions in the extremely hot gas circling close to our Galaxy’s resident dark heart.

What has been seen, so far, of Sgr A*, is not the black hole itself. However, the observations are consistent only if there really is a black hole lurking near Sgr A*. In the case of such a black hole, the observed radio and infrared energy emanates from the gas and dust that is heated to millions of degrees while falling to its doom into the maw of the black hole. But the dark-hearted beast itself is believed to emit only Hawking radiation at a negligible temperature.

Sgr A* is invisible to the eyes of observers. Like all others of its kind, it sends no energy out into space, and it is completely dark. Our Galaxy’s elderly, quiet resident supermassive black hole shows very little of the greedy appetite of its youth, when it was still in its brilliant quasar stage. Indeed, at least in the case of Sgr A*, it’s been a very long time between dinners. It is thought to have feasted on its last big buffet about six million years ago, when it dined on an unfortunate large cloud of messed up gas. Afterwards, the sloppy black hole, its hunger now quenched, dispatched a huge bubble of gas into interstellar space that was equivalent to millions of solar masses. This gas bubble now bounces both below and above Sgr A*. These after-dinner bubbles are termed Fermi Bubbles, and they were first discovered by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope back in 2010.

Black holes are indisputably weird denizens of the cosmic zoo. Our Galaxy’s own resident beast is encircled by a twinkling cluster of baby stars, some of which have had the misfortune of falling to within only a few million miles of where Sgr A* was lying in terrible wait for its dinner to come tumbling down to it.

Not all black holes are of the supermassive kind. Indeed, there are smaller black holes of only stellar-mass inhabiting the Cosmos. These much less hefty black holes form when an especially massive star has finished burning its necessary supply of nuclear-fusing fuel, and it blasts itself into oblivion when its core collapses. This results in a Type II (core-collapse) supernova explosion. There is also a likely population of intermediate-size black holes that weigh-in between the mass of black holes of only stellar-mass and the supermassive variety. It has also been suggested that a population of hypothetical primordial black holes were born in the Big Bang birth of the Universe almost 14 billion years ago. Indeed, if enough mass is squashed into a small enough space, a black hole will invariably form.

Seyfert Flare

The violent flare that broke our Galaxy’s heart is known as a Seyfert Flare. It created two immense ionization cones that ripped through our Milky Way–starting with a relatively small diameter near Sgr A*, and then ballooning greatly in size as they rushed out of of our Galaxy.

This particular Seyfert Flare was so powerful that it ran into the Magellanic Stream, which is a long trail of gas extending from the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds–which are two dwarf galaxies close to our own. The Magellanic Stream is situated at an average distance of 200,000 ligh
t years from our Milky Way.

The catastrophic explosion was so powerful, according to the Australian team of astronomers, that it could not have been ignited by anything other than nuclear activity originating from our Galaxy’s supermassive black hole.

“The flare must have been a bit like a lighthouse beam,” commented Dr. Bland-Hawthorne in an October 2, 2019 ScienceinPublic Press Release. Dr. Bland-Hawthorne is also of the University of Sydney in Australia.

“Imagine darkness, and then someone switches on a lighthouse beacon for a brief period of time,” he added.

Using data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the scientists determined that the enormous explosion occurred only a little more than three million years ago–a mere wink of the eye on cosmological time scales. Indeed, in Galactic terms, that is amazingly recent. On our own planet, at that time, the asteroid that was the final, fatal blow to the dinosaurs was 63 million years in the past. Humanity’s ancient ancestors already existed. Called the Australopithecines, these ancestors of human beings were already roaming the African continent.

“This is a dramatic event that happened a few million years ago in the Milky Way’s history,” noted Dr. Lisa Kewley in the October 2, 2019 ScienceinPublic Press Release. Dr. Kewley is Director of ASTRO 3D.

“A massive blast of energy and radiation came right center and into the surrounding material. This shows that the center of the Millky Way is a much more dynamic place than we had previously thought. It is lucky we’re not residing there,” she added.

The explosion, the astronomers calculate, lasted for a mere 300,000 years. This is an extremely brief period in Galactic terms.

In conducting the research, Dr. Bland-Hawthorne was joined by colleagues from the Australia National University and University of Sydney, and, in the US, the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), University of Colorado (Boulder), and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The new paper follows earlier research, also conducted by Dr. Bland-Hawthorne, that was published in 2013. The previous work studied evidence of a tremendous explosive event originating in the center of our Galaxy, and it ruled out a nuclear starburst as the trigger. Instead, the earlier study tentatively tied the explosion to activity in Sgr A*.

“These results dramatically change our understanding of the Milky Way,” commented study co-author Dr. Magda Guglielmo of the University of Sydney (Australia).

“We always thought about our Galaxy as an inactive galaxy, with a not so bright center. These new results instead open the possibility of a complete reinterpretation of its evolution and nature. The flare event that occurred three million years ago was so powerful that it had consequences on the surroundings of our Galaxy. We are the witness to the awakening of the sleeping beauty,” she continued.

The recent research considers Sgr A* as a prime suspect. However, the researchers concede that there is still much more work to be done. How black holes evolve, influence and interact with galaxies, they conclude, “is an outstanding problem in astrophysics.”

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Judith_E_Braffman-Miller/1378365

Categories
Beauty

The Ghosts of Brockley Combe

The Ghosts of Brockley Combe
The Ghosts of Brockley Combe

With several ghost sightings in the area, Brockley Combe is thought to be one of the most haunted locations in England. Situated to the south west of Bristol, the combe is a picturesque beauty spot by day; however at night there is a distinctly otherworldly atmosphere…

The apparition of a terrified elderly woman has been sighted in the woods of Brockley Combe. The ghost is believed to be that of Dinah Swan, a 90 year old woman who allegedly died of fright in 1833 after her house was broken into by ruffians. The old woman’s body was discovered at her home and several of her belongings were missing. Her ghost was last seen in 1940 by a woman from Weston-super-Mare. Dinah’s spirit apparently appears around midnight and is said to bring misfortune to those who witness it.

A phantom coach has been seen on at least three separate occasions. The first to behold this spectacular manifestation were a group of gypsies residing in the woods at the time. The coach was a hearse-like vehicle drawn by four horses and, according to them, its driver also appeared to be headless! The second sighting was by a sceptical chap who, having heard that Brockley Combe was haunted, decided to investigate for himself. After fleeing from a party of footballers of which he had previously had a set-to after encountering in the woods, the man happened upon the unearthly coach and subsequently reassessed his former scepticism. Another person to witness the phantom coach was a cyclist who was seriously unnerved when the spectral vehicle materialized from nowhere and seemingly passed right through him!

The condemned spirit of an evil parson has been observed prowling along a road which runs through the combe. The spectre is supposedly that of a man called John Hibbetson who in 1776, witnessed the squire of Chelvey, James Stevens, have a serious fall and subsequently nursed him back to health. However, as soon as Hibbetson had wormed his way into James’s favour, and the squire had altered his will so that the parson would inherit a substantial amount of his fortune, Hibbetson promptly murdered him. John Hibbetson was also rumoured to practice devil worship and it is said that on his death, a terrifying beast was witnessed entering the parson’s abode to claim his soul.

A number of other ghosts are said to haunt Brockley Combe. These include a phantom known as the Bounding Ghost, which is apparently a slender figure who bounds silently along a road through the wood. An apparition known as the Phantom Girl is thought to be that of a young woman who, legend has it, killed herself by jumping off one of the crags in the combe after a love affair ended in tragedy. A spectre simply known as the Ghost Man has been occasionally glimpsed in the woods by several witnesses. The mysterious figure is swathed in black and stands at the foot of one of the trees.

St Nicholas’ Church in the village of Brockley is reputedly haunted by an apparition known as the Little Lady in Brown. The spirit is thought to be that of a former cleaner who died around 1900. A number of visitors to St Nicholas’ have witnessed the ghost in the church’s aisle and vestry. The renowned ghost hunter Elliott O’Donnell conducted an all-night vigil at the church back in the 1940s but failed to witness the Little Brown Lady, although he did report strange whisperings and footsteps of which a source could not be identified.

The combe is also home to Brockley Court, an old manor house where apparently an actual ghost was once photographed. Elliott O’Donnell visited Brockley Court on several occasions and arrived at the conclusion that it was indeed very haunted. Accompanied by a range of acquaintances O’Donnell oversaw a number of all-night vigils at the house where he witnessed a variety of supernatural phenomena. Perhaps the most terrifying however was the ghost of a monk. One of O’Donnell’s companions was frightened out of his wits when a monkish figure with a horrible skull-like face suddenly leapt up the stairs towards him. This apparition put in a second appearance in a chamber dubbed the ‘haunted room’ and was subsequently photographed by another of O’Donnell’s acquaintances. When the film was developed, it showed the face of an evil-looking monk…

With several ghost sightings in the area, Brockley Combe is thought to be one of the most haunted locations in England. Situated to the south west of Bristol, the combe is a picturesque beauty spot by day; however at night there is a distinctly otherworldly atmosphere…

The apparition of a terrified elderly woman has been sighted in the woods of Brockley Combe. The ghost is believed to be that of Dinah Swan, a 90 year old woman who allegedly died of fright in 1833 after her house was broken into by ruffians. The old woman’s body was discovered at her home and several of her belongings were missing. Her ghost was last seen in 1940 by a woman from Weston-super-Mare. Dinah’s spirit apparently appears around midnight and is said to bring misfortune to those who witness it.

A phantom coach has been seen on at least three separate occasions. The first to behold this spectacular manifestation were a group of gypsies residing in the woods at the time. The coach was a hearse-like vehicle drawn by four horses and, according to them, its driver also appeared to be headless! The second sighting was by a sceptical chap who, having heard that Brockley Combe was haunted, decided to investigate for himself. After fleeing from a party of footballers of which he had previously had a set-to after encountering in the woods, the man happened upon the unearthly coach and subsequently reassessed his former scepticism. Another person to witness the phantom coach was a cyclist who was seriously unnerved when the spectral vehicle materialized from nowhere and seemingly passed right through him!

The condemned spirit of an evil parson has been observed prowling along a road which runs through the combe. The spectre is supposedly that of a man called John Hibbetson who in 1776, witnessed the squire of Chelvey, James Stevens, have a serious fall and subsequently nursed him back to health. However, as soon as Hibbetson had wormed his way into James’s favour, and the squire had altered his will so that the parson would inherit a substantial amount of his fortune, Hibbetson promptly murdered him. John Hibbetson was also rumoured to practice devil worship and it is said that on his death, a terrifying beast was witnessed entering the parson’s abode to claim his soul.

A number of other ghosts are said to haunt Brockley Combe. These include a phantom known as the Bounding Ghost, which is apparently a slender figure who bounds silently along a road through the wood. An apparition known as the Phantom Girl is thought to be that of a young woman who, legend has it, killed herself by jumping off one of the crags in the combe after a love affair ended in tragedy. A spectre simply known as the Ghost Man has been occasionally glimpsed in the woods by several witnesses. The mysterious figure is swathed in black and stands at the foot of one of the trees.

St Nicholas’ Church in the village of Brockley is reputedly haunted by an apparition known as the Little Lady in Brown. The spirit is thought to be that of a former cleaner who died around 1900. A number of visitors to St Nicholas’ have witnessed the ghost in the church’s aisle and vestry. The renowned ghost hunter Elliott O’Donnell conducted an all-night vigil at the church back in the 1940s but failed to witness the Little Brown Lady, although he did report strange whisperings and footsteps of which a source could not be identified.

The combe is also home to Brockley Court, an old manor house where apparently an actual ghost was once photographed. Elliott O’Donnell visited Brockley Court on several occasions and arrived at the conclusion that it was indeed very haunted. Accompanied by a range of acquaintances O’Donnell oversaw a number of all-night vigils at the house where he witnessed a variety of supernatural phenomena. Perhaps the most terrifying however was the ghost of a monk. One of O’Donnell’s companions was frightened out of his wits when a monkish figure with a horrible skull-like face suddenly leapt up the stairs towards him. This apparition put in a second appearance in a chamber dubbed the ‘haunted room’ and was subsequently photographed by another of O’Donnell’s acquaintances. When the film was developed, it showed the face of an evil-looking monk…

http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Ben_H_Wright/652310

Categories
Beauty

Masking European Animism

Masking European Animism
Masking European Animism

The ancient peoples of Europe were more fond of masks and religious ritual than you

would suspect if you saw Europeans today. Mask wearing and shamanism was part

and parcel of everyday life in ancient Western European tradition, say researchers.

There are stories abound about African and North American tribal shamans but not a

lot is known about ancient European peoples’ involvement with masked ritual or the

practice of magic. That is why finding out about similarities between the ideas behind

masks from around the world and those originating from European soil, is a

discovery of intriguing and real beliefs.

The less obvious link of European societies with shamanism or religious ritual than

for instance the North American native Indian customs or magic activity in the past is

due to the more ‘sanitised’ way Europe has developed because of church

interference in people’s lives. The church dominance virtually stamped out any pagan

ritual.

It was not until after 1960, when the Americans experienced a revival of the

interest in shamanism, that much has become known about the European version of

the practice of magic and mask wearing. There is more verifyable information about

the true roots of Western European civilisation than initially suspected.

“The spirit if not the exact practise of shamanism has been passed on through

Europe’s generations”, one authority on the subject, Leigh Ann Hussey, believes. The

earliest recordings of ceremonies involving masks were found in the caves of the

Trois Freres (Three Brothers) in France where paintings of a Paleolithic scene

depicting European animism of the first order.

Ian Bracegirdle, a mask expert, describes the cave: A central figure stands wearing

the head and antlers of a deer. He stands, shaman like, surrounded by animals.

Animals that are important to the culture he represents. Some of the animals no

longer exist in this area. Ibex, reindeer, bison, stag and horses. The shaman, for that

is what he seems to be, stands, a human figure amongst the potential food.

It is believed that the paleolithic cave served as a place where hunters were initiated.

The sorcerer or shaman was symbol to sympathetic magic. He wore ears and horns

of a stag, the eyes and beak of an owl, the bearded face of an old man, the tail of a

wolf, the paws of a bear and the legs of a dancing shaman. He stood in front of

painted hunting murals. The Shaman served as mediator between humans and their

venerated animal kin.

This is pretty much the best evidence in tangible form that we have of our ancestors’

animistic beliefs. It dates back 10,000 years and is accompanied by an abundance of

myths and stories showing our ancestors had plenty of similar ideas. A close analogy

exists in the stories of Kernunnos, forest god of the later Celts. The masks express

animism to some extent.

His information is confirmed by Ms Hussey, who went on a hunt in European

shamanism and found when she examined ancient sources, that she did not need to

borrow from other traditions. “It is clear that tribal Europe had as strong a shamanic

tradition as, for example, any of the American Indian tribes,” she said.

Summing up the general symbolism that unites masks from around the globe,

Bracegirdle says that there are many striking similarities between the ancient cultures

of the Pacific West Coast of North America and the tribal traditions of Africa. Symbols

that all these cultures share are relating to fertility, the hunted animal, ancestors,

initiation into rites, circumcision, cannibalism real and symbolic, healing and crossing

over into the spirit world for guidance and healing powers or to appease the gods or

ancestors are the accompanying ideas behind masks.

Not a lot has been passed on from generation to generation in any much

recognisable form or shape, but among the most powerful links is the seasonal

nature of many traditions we still know about. In the UK, the Green man and the

Hobby horse are two potent examples. “To me there is a tremendous link which is

bound up with the very nature of the people we are and how we have developed. Our

formative roots live in our societies now”, believes Bracegirdle.

The links to ancient beliefs can also be found in many European languages. When

we say in English that we are going berserk, we even directly refer to the shamanic

state of extasy. The adjective comes from the noun ‘berserker’, or ‘berserk’, the Old

Norse for ‘wild warriors’ or ‘champions’. ‘Ber’ referring to ‘bear’ and ‘serkr’ to ‘shirt’ or

‘coat’.

These berserkers became frenzied in battle, howling like animals, foaming at

the mouth, and biting the edges of their iron shields as if they acted in a Nike

commercial. Berserker is first recorded in English in the early 19th century, long after

these wild warriors ceased to exist. This is illustrative of how the tradition seemingly

interrupted, still lived on.

Similar “Bear Doctors” stories have been found among California tribes. In some

cases, the Berserkr or Ulfserkr would even eat the heart of the bear or wolf to gain its

power. Another feast of hearts occurs in the seiðr trance, as described above.

Not a lot was known about Western shamanism until it hit the limelight in the 1960

and the undoubted expert in the field is the late Mircea Eliade, a religion historian

who taught at the Sorborme in Paris and later at the University of Chicago.

He described Shamanism, or ‘witchcraft’ as it is referred to also, as not a religion but

more as a technique. Shamanism, he says, is ‘not strictly medicine men/women,

magicians, or healers’. This is the conclusion of extensive studies of the phenomenon

around the world in his book ‘Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy’.

He

believes that shamans are not the same as priests; they may have coexisted with

priests or even have fulfilled priestly functions as well as shamanic ones. A shaman

was more a mystic than a priest or a minister.

A shaman was not “possessed”, as many people now believe, says Eliade. Neither

was the shaman a medium or trance channeler. “Shamans control the spirit beings

with whom they work, or at least they do not surrender to them. Like a medium or

channeler, a shaman may appear unconscious when working, but upon returning, the

shaman can tell where he or she has gone”, he says.

The shaman is not the instrument of the spirits. Traditional shamans cure people

through their trances, accompany the souls of the dead to the Otherworld, and

communicate with the gods. “This small mystical elite not only directs the

community’s religious life but, as it were, guards its ‘soul.”

Modern day processions where you can still see old masks being worn include

processions in which giants and witches are displayed. These and other

masquerades are among the more powerful tangible links we still have to ancient

witchcraft ritual.

In well known childrens’ stories and folklore narrative, the links are also obvious.

Dragons for instance are examples creatures pervading every alley you can imagine

of old folklore and mythology, straight into modern times stories. Descriptions of the

beast’s benevolence vary from the playful Puff (of Peter Yarrow’s song) to the sinister

Smaug in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. Babylonian legends portray the Queen of

Darkness as a multi-headed dragon – Tiamat. Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty

features a battle between Prince Phillip and the evil Maleficent about a curse than

can only be broken by three fairies. Likewise, the Germanic myth “Die Nibelungen”

climaxes with the battle between Siegfried and the giant Fafnir, who has transformed

himself into a dragon in an effort to become more frightening.

Our reaction to the physical characteristics of the dragon is another element that we

share with and which connects us to our ancestors. Around the world the beasts are

typically depicted as huge lizards, larger than elephants on average. Long fangs are

generally accepted as are twin horns of varying length. Western cultures generally

include large bat-like wings giving the dragon the capability of flight. But eastern

dragons, usually wingless, use a more magical means of flying. Eastern dragons also

tend to be more snake-like in nature, albeit with front and rear legs.

The ancient peoples of Europe were more fond of masks and religious ritual than you

would suspect if you saw Europeans today. Mask wearing and shamanism was part

and parcel of everyday life in ancient Western European tradition, say researchers.

There are stories abound about African and North American tribal shamans but not a

lot is known about ancient European peoples’ involvement with masked ritual or the

practice of magic. That is why finding out about similarities between the ideas behind

masks from around the world and those originating from European soil, is a

discovery of intriguing and real beliefs.

The less obvious link of European societies with shamanism or religious ritual than

for instance the North American native Indian customs or magic activity in the past is

due to the more ‘sanitised’ way Europe has developed because of church

interference in people’s lives. The church dominance virtually stamped out any pagan

ritual.

It was not until after 1960, when the Americans experienced a revival of the

interest in shamanism, that much has become known about the European version of

the practice of magic and mask wearing. There is more verifyable information about

the true roots of Western European civilisation than initially suspected.

“The spirit if not the exact practise of shamanism has been passed on through

Europe’s generations”, one authority on the subject, Leigh Ann Hussey, believes. The

earliest recordings of ceremonies involving masks were found in the caves of the

Trois Freres (Three Brothers) in France where paintings of a Paleolithic scene

depicting European animism of the first order.

Ian Bracegirdle, a mask expert, describes the cave: A central figure stands wearing

the head and antlers of a deer. He stands, shaman like, surrounded by animals.

Animals that are important to the culture he represents. Some of the animals no

longer exist in this area. Ibex, reindeer, bison, stag and horses. The shaman, for that

is what he seems to be, stands, a human figure amongst the potential food.

It is believed that the paleolithic cave served as a place where hunters were initiated.

The sorcerer or shaman was symbol to sympathetic magic. He wore ears and horns

of a stag, the eyes and beak of an owl, the bearded face of an old man, the tail of a

wolf, the paws of a bear and the legs of a dancing shaman. He stood in front of

painted hunting murals. The Shaman served as mediator between humans and their

venerated animal kin.

This is pretty much the best evidence in tangible form that we have of our ancestors’

animistic beliefs. It dates back 10,000 years and is accompanied by an abundance of

myths and stories showing our ancestors had plenty of similar ideas. A close analogy

exists in the stories of Kernunnos, forest god of the later Celts. The masks express

animism to some extent.

His information is confirmed by Ms Hussey, who went on a hunt in European

shamanism and found when she examined ancient sources, that she did not need to

borrow from other traditions. “It is clear that tribal Europe had as strong a shamanic

tradition as, for example, any of the American Indian tribes,” she said.

Summing up the general symbolism that unites masks from around the globe,

Bracegirdle says that there are many striking similarities between the ancient cultures

of the Pacific West Coast of North America and the tribal traditions of Africa. Symbols

that all these cultures share are relating to fertility, the hunted animal, ancestors,

initiation into rites, circumcision, cannibalism real and symbolic, healing and crossing

over into the spirit world for guidance and healing powers or to appease the gods or

ancestors are the accompanying ideas behind masks.

Not a lot has been passed on from generation to generation in any much

recognisable form or shape, but among the most powerful links is the seasonal

nature of many traditions we still know about. In the UK, the Green man and the

Hobby horse are two potent examples. “To me there is a tremendous link which is

bound up with the very nature of the people we are and how we have developed. Our

formative roots live in our societies now”, believes Bracegirdle.

The links to ancient beliefs can also be found in many European languages. When

we say in English that we are going berserk, we even directly refer to the shamanic

state of extasy. The adjective comes from the noun ‘berserker’, or ‘berserk’, the Old

Norse for ‘wild warriors’ or ‘champions’. ‘Ber’ referring to ‘bear’ and ‘serkr’ to ‘shirt’ or

‘coat’.

These berserkers became frenzied in battle, howling like animals, foaming at

the mouth, and biting the edges of their iron shields as if they acted in a Nike

commercial. Berserker is first recorded in English in the early 19th century, long after

these wild warriors ceased to exist. This is illustrative of how the tradition seemingly

interrupted, still lived on.

Similar “Bear Doctors” stories have been found among California tribes. In some

cases, the Berserkr or Ulfserkr would even eat the heart of the bear or wolf to gain its

power. Another feast of hearts occurs in the seiðr trance, as described above.

Not a lot was known about Western shamanism until it hit the limelight in the 1960

and the undoubted expert in the field is the late Mircea Eliade, a religion historian

who taught at the Sorborme in Paris and later at the University of Chicago.

He described Shamanism, or ‘witchcraft’ as it is referred to also, as not a religion but

more as a technique. Shamanism, he says, is ‘not strictly medicine men/women,

magicians, or healers’. This is the conclusion of extensive studies of the phenomenon

around the world in his book ‘Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy’.

He

believes that shamans are not the same as priests; they may have coexisted with

priests or even have fulfilled priestly functions as well as shamanic ones. A shaman

was more a mystic than a priest or a minister.

A shaman was not “possessed”, as many people now believe, says Eliade. Neither

was the shaman a medium or trance channeler. “Shamans control the spirit beings

with whom they work, or at least they do not surrender to them. Like a medium or

channeler, a shaman may appear unconscious when working, but upon returning, the

shaman can tell where he or she has gone”, he says.

The shaman is not the instrument of the spirits. Traditional shamans cure people

through their trances, accompany the souls of the dead to the Otherworld, and

communicate with the gods. “This small mystical elite not only directs the

community’s religious life but, as it were, guards its ‘soul.”

Modern day processions where you can still see old masks being worn include

processions in which giants and witches are displayed. These and other

masquerades are among the more powerful tangible links we still have to ancient

witchcraft ritual.

In well known childrens’ stories and folklore narrative, the links are also obvious.

Dragons for instance are examples creatures pervading every alley you can imagine

of old folklore and mythology, straight into modern times stories. Descriptions of the

beast’s benevolence vary from the playful Puff (of Peter Yarrow’s song) to the sinister

Smaug in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. Babylonian legends portray the Queen of

Darkness as a multi-headed dragon – Tiamat. Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty

features a battle between Prince Phillip and the evil Maleficent about a curse than

can only be broken by three fairies. Likewise, the Germanic myth “Die Nibelungen”

climaxes with the battle between Siegfried and the giant Fafnir, who has transformed

himself into a dragon in an effort to become more frightening.

Our reaction to the physical characteristics of the dragon is another element that we

share with and which connects us to our ancestors. Around the world the beasts are

typically depicted as huge lizards, larger than elephants on average. Long fangs are

generally accepted as are twin horns of varying length. Western cultures generally

include large bat-like wings giving the dragon the capability of flight. But eastern

dragons, usually wingless, use a more magical means of flying. Eastern dragons also

tend to be more snake-like in nature, albeit with front and rear legs.

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