Things do not end well when Chancelors denounce the presence of “foreigners” in German society

Via CS Monitor:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a gathering of young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party this weekend that the “multikulti” concept – where people of different backgrounds would live together happily – does not work in Germany.

At “the beginning of the 1960s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country,” said Ms. Merkel at the event in Potsdam, near Berlin. “We kidded ourselves a while. We said: ‘They won’t stay, [after some time] they will be gone,’ but this isn’t reality. And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side by side and to enjoy each other … has failed, utterly failed.”

The crowd gathered in Potsdam greeted the above remark, delivered from the podium with fervor by Ms. Merkel, with a standing ovation. And her comments come just days after a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think tank (which is affiliated with the center-left Social Democratic Party) found that more than 30 percent of people believed Germany was “overrun by foreigners” who had come to Germany chiefly for its social benefits.

Even more terrifying:

The study also found that 13 percent of Germans would welcome a “Führer – a German word for leader that is explicitly associated with Adolf Hitler – to run the country “with a firm hand.” Some 60 percent of Germans would “restrict the practice of Islam,” and 17 percent think Jews have “too much influence,” according to the study.

In between France’s expulsion of tens of thousands of Roma immigrants and the assimilation of would-be book-banner Geer Wilders and other nationalist politicians into the mainstream of European politics, one is faced with a sobering picture of Europe. The continent of the Enlightenment still dreams in unreason. It falls to us to confront their monsters, leading by humane example.

Pink triagnle

New language discovered in India

Via CNN:

Linguists announced Monday they have identified an endangered language known as Koro that is spoken by about 800 people in northeast India.  The language was unknown to science and recently came to light during an expedition by linguists traveling in India on fellowships for National Geographic, the linguists said in telephone interviews.Koro belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family, which is composed of a group of about 400 languages spoken primarily in east, central, south and southeast Asia and includes Tibetan and Burmese, according to linguist K. David Harrison.

Some 150 Tibeto-Burman languages are spoken in India alone, but no other language has been identified as closely related, said Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Like most languages, Koro is unwritten and transmitted orally. It is neither a dialect nor a sister language close to Hruso-Aka, despite being considered such by both Hruso and Koro people. Koro shares some vocabulary with other languages spoken in the region but shares more features with languages spoken farther east, such as Milang and Tani, the linguists said in a news release issued by National Geographic. Harrison and another National Geographic Fellow, Greg Anderson, led the expedition, called Enduring Voices, which brought Koro to light. Enduring Voices documents vanishing languages and cultures and assists with language revitalization.

Harrison and Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, in Salem, Oregon, focused on Arunachal Pradesh, a remote area of northeast India that is considered the black hole of the linguistic world. It is a language hotspot where there is room to study rich, diverse languages, many unwritten or documented. A permit is required to visit, few linguists have worked there and a reliable list of languages has never been drawn up.

“On a scientist’s tally sheet, Koro adds just one entry to the list of 6,909 languages worldwide. But Koro’s contribution is much greater than that tiny fraction would suggest,” Harrison writes in his book, “The Last Speakers.”

“Koro brings an entirely different perspective, history, mythology, technology and grammar to what was known before.”

In the news release, the linguists described their discovery as bittersweet: Of the approximately 800 people who speak Koro, few are under the age of 20, meaning the language is endangered.

“We were finding something that was making its exit, was on its way out,” Anderson said. “And if we had waited 10 years to make the trip, we might not have come across close to the number of speakers we found.”

The team set out in 2008 in Arunachal Pradesh to document Aka and Miji, languages spoken in a small district there. The expedition went door to door among homes propped up on stilts to reach potential speakers of those little-known languages. While recording the vocabularies, they detected a third language — Koro. It was not listed in Indian language surveys, Indian censuses or standard international registries.

“We didn’t have to get far on our word list to realize it was extremely different in every possible way,” Harrison said.

The inventory of sounds and the way these sounds were combined to form words were distinct from other languages spoken in the region. An Aka speaker would call a pig “vo” and a Koro speaker would call a pig “lele.”

“Koro could hardly sound more different from Aka,” Harrison writes. “They sound as different as, say, English and Japanese.”

Anderson and Harrison said Aka is the traditional language of the region’s historic slave traders, and they hypothesized that Koro may have sprung from the slaves; though they said more study is needed to determine the origin.

The project reports that a language becomes extinct every two weeks. By 2100, it is estimated that more than half of the 6,910 languages spoken on earth will vanish. The team will return to India to continue studying Koro in November.

Australian Q&A on legal accountability and the Catholic Church

“What Benedict Knew”

Ontario high court strikes down many anti-prostitution laws

Via CBC News:

An Ontario court has thrown out key provisions of Canada’s anti-prostitution laws in response to a constitutional challenge brought by a Toronto dominatrix and two prostitutes in 2009.

Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice ruled Tuesday the Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution contribute to the danger faced by sex-trade workers. Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford and Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch had argued that prohibitions on keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade force them from the safety of their homes to face violence on the streets.

The women asked the court to declare legal restrictions on their activities a violation of charter rights of security of the person and freedom of expression. The women and their lawyer, Alan Young, were expected to hold a news conference later Tuesday afternoon.

The government had argued that striking down the provisions without enacting something else in their place would “pose a danger to the public.” Some conservative groups such as Real Women of Canada, who had intervener status in the case, argued that decriminalizing prostitution may make Canada a haven for human trafficking and that prostitution is harmful to the women involved in it.

However, in her ruling Tuesday, Justice Susan Himel said it now falls to Parliament to “fashion corrective action.”

“It is my view that in the meantime these unconstitutional provisions should be of no force and effect, particularly given the seriousness of the charter violations,” Himel wrote.

While prostitution is technically legal, virtually every activity associated with it is not. The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits communication for the purpose of prostitution. It also prohibits keeping a common bawdy house for the purpose of prostitution. Those laws enacted in 1985 were an attempt to deal with the public nuisance created by street walkers. They failed to recognize the alternative — allowing women to work more safely indoors — was prohibited, Young had said previously.

Young called it “bizarre” that the ban on bawdy houses is an indictable offence that carries stiffer sanctions, including jail time and potential forfeiture of a woman’s home, when the ban on communication for prostitution purposes is usually a summary offence that at most leads to fines. The provisions prevent sex workers from properly screening clients, hiring security or working in the comfort and safety of their own homes or brothels, he had said. Young cited statistics behind the “shocking and horrific” stories of women who work the streets, along with research that was not available when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the communication ban in 1990.

Anna North contextualizes:

[P]rostitution is legal in Canada, but “virtually every activity associated with it is not.” Sex workers were previously barred from “keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade.” Even a judge once called these prohibitions “bizarre” — and three sex workers filed a lawsuit saying that the laws forced them to work outside their homes and in unsafe conditions, and kept them from doing things like paying security guards or screening clients. Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford (pictured, left) told Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice that she still bore the scars from being attacked with a baseball bat by a client several years ago. But her job may be about to get a lot safer: the Court just ruled all three laws unconstitutional.

“These laws, individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Justice Susan Himel in her decision. Conservative group Real Women of Canada argued against repealing the laws, alleging that prostitution harms women. But being attacked with a baseball bat pretty clearly harms women too, and making prostitutes’ jobs more dangerous is hardly the way to help them. It appears that the Superior Court of Ontario has finally listened to sex workers’ voices — maybe some in the US will start doing so too.

It’s been going on forever, ctd.

ABC News profiles Sr. Mary MacKillop, a 19th century Australian nun and founder of the  Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, now up for sainthood, but who was excommunicated in her lifetime for trying to report child rape by a priest:

Mary MacKillop, the nun who will soon be Australia’s first saint, was excommunicated by the Catholic Church because she discovered children were being abused by a priest and went public, the ABC’s Compass program can reveal.

In 1871, after only four years as a nun, she was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and turned out onto the street with no money and nowhere to go.

MacKillop’s cause for sainthood began in 1925 and has had the tireless backing of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the order she founded.

On October 17, MacKillop’s canonisation by Pope Benedict XVI will be a momentous occasion for Australia’s 5 million Roman Catholics.

But these new revelations show there were some in the church who set out to destroy the order that put her on the path to sainthood.

While serving with the Sisters of St Joseph, MacKillop and her fellow nuns heard disturbing stories about a priest, Father Keating from the Kapunda parish north of Adelaide, who was allegedly abusing children.

They told their director, a priest called Father Woods, who then went to the Vicar General.

The Vicar General subsequently sent Father Keating back to his home country of Ireland, where he continued to serve as a priest.

Father Paul Gardiner, who has pushed for MacKillop’s canonisation for 25 years, says Father Keating’s fellow Kapunda priest Father Horan swore revenge on the nun for uncovering the abuse.

“The story of the excommunication amounts to this: that some priests had been uncovered for being involved in the sexual abuse of children,” he said.

“The nuns told him and he told the Vicar General who was in charge at the time and he took severe action.

“And Father Horan, one of these priests, was so angry with this that he swore vengeance – and there’s evidence for this – against Woods by getting at the Josephites and destroying them.”

Father Horan was by now working for Adelaide’s Bishop Shiel and urged him to break the sisters up by changing their rules.

When MacKillop refused to comply, she was banished from the church at the age of 29.

“Mary was not excommunicated, in fact or in law. She submitted to a farcical ceremony where the Bishop had … lost it,” Father Gardiner said.

“He was a puppet being manipulated by malicious priests. This sounds terrible but it’s true.”

Five months later Bishop Shiel was gravely ill and dying. From his deathbed he instructed that MacKillop be absolved and restored.

A statement from the Sisters of St Joseph says the events of September 1871 have “been comprehensively documented”.

“There were several factors that led to this painful period for Mary and the sisters,” the statement said.

“The reasons for Mary’s excommunication have been written about and commented on in the public domain since that time. This is consistent with the information contained in the Compass program.”