An Afghan Village on the English Channel
In some erudite, parallel-universe version of our world, no earthlings ever form opinions about America's next invasion or diplomatic overture without scrutinizing their atlases, poring over press accounts in seven languages, and re-familiarizing themselves with the passages they underlined in their dog-eared volumes of Thucydides, Talleyrand, Kennan, Kissinger, Clausewitz, and Sun Tzu. But in our own world, opinions get shaped by messy local events such as France's decision to bulldoze a makeshift refugee camp last Tuesday.
French police razed the encampment and arrested nearly 300 "undocumented migrants" -- most of them from Afghanistan and many of them not yet adults.
These migrants don't even want to be in France. They are in Calais to try and fail and try again, as often as might be necessary, to sneak across the English Channel.
One British newspaper quoted a 26-year-old man from Kandahar: "Every night I try to get to Britain. It's dangerous — of course it's dangerous — but I'm never going to stop trying ..."
NPR summed up Britain's hold on the migrants:
"Some already speak a little English. Many have family or friends there in large Pashtun communities and nearly all believe there are better asylum and job prospects in Britain."
One British commentator complained:
"A migrant camp is demolished in Calais and guess what? Yes, we are expected to wrestle with remorse. If you show concern over the number of asylum seekers in Britain, you are 'anti-poor'."
The UNHCR's representative to the United Kingdom countered that of the "42 million uprooted people in the world last year, only some 0.7 per cent entered Europe and 0.074 per cent reached the UK. The UK is not in danger of being 'swamped' by asylum claimants ..."
The hundreds of Calais migrants vex France and Britain. But George Rupp, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, can put those hundreds in context. Speaking with Big Think in April, Rupp said as many as 8 million Afghans were refugees when troubles peaked.
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Three scientists publish paper proving that not Venus but Mercury is the closest planet to Earth
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbour must be planet two of four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbour is... Mercury!
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.
- Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
- These ten novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
- The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard and hiding out in inner city Newark.
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