Thirty Things That Caught My Eye Today: China and the Uyghurs, Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters & More (September 8, 2020)

A man holds a Uyghur flag at a rally during China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit in Berlin, Germany September 1, 2020. (Michele Tantussi/Reuters)

1. The Washington Post: New evidence of China’s concentration camps shows its hardening resolve to wipe out the Uighurs

Previously, eyewitness accounts, government documents and satellite imagery published by scholars and journalists had shown that, since late 2016, China was forcing the Uighurs into a system of incarceration and cultural annihilation. The BuzzFeed probe indicates a new wave of determination and permanency. China’s resolve to wipe out the Uighur culture is hardening.

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BuzzFeed reporters examined satellite images from Baidu, an online maps tool widely used in China. They noticed that gray tiles were evident over certain locations. On closer inspection, these “masked” areas helped locate the prison facilities, which BuzzFeed then cross-checked with interviews and other data. BuzzFeed interviewed eyewitnesses who described the purpose of the camps and prisons: to wipe out Uighur culture, language and traditions, and to indoctrinate the detainees with Chinese Communist Party dogma.

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3. The Jerusalem Post: Turkey slated to deport Iranian anti-Hijab activist who faces execution

In 2018, the Iranian authorities arrested Shariatmadari, then a 32-year-old computer science student at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, for her role in a protest against the forced wearing of hijabs. A police officer pushed her off a utility platform from which she was waving her hijab in defiance of the Iranian regime’s gender apartheid system.

4. Axios: The coming coronavirus mental health crisis

Between the lines: The mental health infrastructure of the U.S. may not be up to the task of serving all of the people that need help in the wake of the pandemic.

  • “We really have a very broken — and I would say disjointed behavioral health system — even on the best of days,” Stuart Archer, the CEO of Oceans Healthcare, told Axios.
  • The behavioral health system, according to Archer, is underfunded and has been largely left behind by government aid made available to offset the economic effects of the crisis.
  • Many mental health facilities are already facing collapse due to the financial situation brought on by the virus, forcing organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association among others, to ask the Trump administration to help support struggling facilities during this time.

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6. Crux: Bishops in Paraguay condemn death of two girls in anti-guerrilla operation

The archdiocese argued that these attacks, where a flag of Paraguay was burned, “are manifestations of hatred and an offense against the Nation and God. This is not the way to build brotherhood or peace in the country.”

7. Isaac Stone Fish: Why Disney’s new ‘Mulan’ is a scandal

Disney filmed “Mulan” in regions across China (among other locations). In the credits, Disney offers a special thanks to more than a dozen Chinese institutions that helped with the film. These include four Chinese Communist Party propaganda departments in the region of Xinjiang as well as the Public Security Bureau of the city of Turpan in the same region — organizations that are facilitating crimes against humanity. It’s sufficiently astonishing that it bears repeating: Disney has thanked four propaganda departments and a public security bureau in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights abuses happening today.

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Why did Disney need to work in Xinjiang? It didn’t. There are plenty of other regions in China, and countries around the world, that offer the starkly beautiful mountain scenery present in the film. But in doing so, Disney helps normalize a crime against humanity.

8. Catholic News Agency: Attacks on French churches back to ‘normal’ level after lockdown, say young Catholics

Since 2017, the Paris-based L’Observatoire de la Christianophobie (Observatory of Christianophobia) has recorded anti-Christian incidents in France month by month on interactive maps. The most recent map available, for August 2020, shows 11 incidents, comprising six acts of vandalism and five thefts. The Observatory recorded nine disturbances on its map for August 2019.

9.  Michael Hobbes: No, The Government Did Not Break Up a Child Sex Trafficiking Ring In Georgia

More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”

Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia. 

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“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector involved with the operation, told HuffPost. Operation Not Forgotten, the name law enforcement gave the recovery effort, was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children. That term means they could be at risk for trafficking, but they could also be at risk of parental abuse or have medical conditions that make their recovery more urgent. 

10. Chris Arnade: Dignity to Endure

“There are a lot of hard jobs because life is hard, and a lot of people would rather focus their energies on being good at their lives. Work is only a part of that, let’s not try to make it the only part.”

11. Catholic News Agency: His own father murdered, Catholic archbishop speaks against death penalty

In his video, Naumann said that “Murder is an unspeakable evil. Those who perpetrate such a crime have inflicted a grave injustice, not only upon the person who was murdered but also upon all their loved ones.”

“The criminal justice system has a responsibility to protect the innocent from victimization and to deter the commission of violent crimes. However. in the United States in 2020, we have the ability to protect society from violent criminals without resorting to the death penalty.”

12. Jonathan Turley: ACLU Official Attacks University for Admitting Nick Sandmann While Professor Denounces His “Anti-Intellectual” Views

I appreciate Tompkins noting that students cannot be denied admission based on their political views, though that was once assumed. Yet, Tompkins labels this incoming freshman as part of an anti-intellectual movement and publicly assumes that Sandmann will reject core principles of learning. This is a freshman being publicly shredded by a professor at his school. Tompkins then expresses the same uncertainty why this student would pick a university dedicated to higher education and “the antithesis of what he believes and promotes.” 

13. Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: A victim of racial persecution in Uganda, Alberta’s new Lieutenant-Governor found safety in Canada

In listening to the voices of those who view the history of Canada as a racist criminal enterprise, we wonder: Did our parents make a mistake in sacrificing so much to come here? Canadian history is not without shadows, but were so many like our parents, from so many different places, wrong to see the light of justice and opportunity here?

A bright light shone last week in Edmonton at the installation of Salma Lakhani, selected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be the 19th lieutenant-governor of Alberta. 

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The Lakhanis are from Kampala, Uganda’s capital. They were part of the vibrant “Asian” community, as people from the subcontinent were referred to. In August 1972, Idi Amin expelled all such “Asians” — some 60,000 people — from the country, stripping them of their status and despoiling them of their property. In the long and lamentable history of racism, the expulsion of the Uganda Asians — given 90 days to leave the country — is one of the more egregious chapters.

14. Richard Bernstein: Inside an Elite Culture Session, Where Leftists Met the Enemy, and It Was . . . One of Them

The Zoom meeting’s purpose was not to award Romano a lifetime achievement award; it was to debate and vote on a motion to expel him from the critics’ board.

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While liberals and conservatives still battle on the largest political stage, the Critics Circle fight illustrates the arcane factional struggle within the left, in which the radical faction takes on comparatively easy targets like Romano because they are accessible and vulnerable in a way that actual racists and other non-insiders are not. 

15. The Atlantic: If You Can Grocery Shop in Person, You Can Vote in Person

16. Matthew Schmitz: For Christians, the new politics is full of temptation

Christian conservatives are no longer a moral majority. Because they no longer define the limits of decency, they must look to allies with whom they do not agree. If those allies are respectable, Christians will face pressure not to offend progressive pieties. If the allies are deplorable, Christians will be tempted to make excuses for things that offend their own pieties.

17. Charles C. Camosy: Popular culture played a role in the rise and fall of the ‘religious left’

To me, the tradition of Catholic social teachings informs much of the progressive spirit of the Religious Left alongside the Social Gospel tradition of the Protestant church dating back to the early 20th century. The rhetorical and spiritual resources available to both traditions are rich and there for mobilizing, but it’s going to take actual prophetic sacrifice and utterance to make possible the change sought after. Figures such as Cornel West speak to such a vision of the public that can manifest once those in power, including those at seminaries and universities, are willing to accept the consequences of speaking prophetically.

18. Stephanie Slade: Will-to-power Conservatism and the Great Liberalism Schism

There’s nothing wrong with caring about the common good. It’s just that the self-named Common-Good Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on the idea.

19. Rod Dreher: The Disembodied Brain of Christ

It’s a big mistake to think of one’s church life as only receiving information about Jesus Christ and the Bible, and arranging your own thoughts and emotional reactions to it. Like I said, I was never Evangelical, but I pretty much lived that way as a Catholic — and I struggle not to live that way as an Orthodox. It’s the intellectual’s temptation: to live inside his head. The church is not the Disembodied Brain of Christ; we are the Body of Christ. Online church as a substitute for the gathering of the body forms Christian gnostics, whose minds are free from the prison of the body, from the “prison” of talking to their neighbors, from the “prison” of making an effort to get to church on Sunday morning, from the “prison” of coffee hour. Just you and Jesus, there on your sofa, with your coffee, and in your sweatpants. Download the sermon and listen to it in the afternoon, after you’ve gone golfing on Sunday morning. Optimize your consumer church experience.

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22. John Cleese: Can you tell me a woke joke?

“I don’t think we should organise a society around the sensibilities of the most easily upset people because then you have a very neurotic society.”

23. Michal Matlak: ‘A Dictatorship Is Being Created’: An Interview with Lech Wałęsa

We challenged the role of God in our lives, and now people are looking for a redefinition of their values. We want to venerate heroes from the past. If we want to build something bigger, we must overthrow the bandits and find new heroes to believe in.

24. ‘We’re writing the book’ — McCracken jail sees strong early success from vocational programs

Puckett said that, while helping the individual inmates is important and worthwhile, the success of the program reaches far further.

“The true success is the family units that have improved because of this,” he said.

“If you can positively affect a family … that’s probably more rewarding than anything we’ve talked about.”

25. The Philly Voice: After decades of research, Temple doctor sees ‘real hope’ in promising ALS drug combo

Dr. Terry Heiman-Patterson is the director of Temple University’s Neurodegenerative Disease Center and the ALS Center of Hope, a foundation that raises money for specialized ALS treatment and research. She served as the center’s principal investigator for the buzzworthy Amylyx breakthrough that raised the eyebrows of the ALS community this week, delivering results from a small phase 2 trial for AMX0035.

“This is real hope,” Heiman-Patterson said of the drug combination, which was developed by a pair of undergraduate students at Brown University.

26. National Catholic Register: All-Time NFL Scoring Leader Speaks of Need for Fatima

There are parallels, Carney believes, between his playing career and how the visions of Fatima can be heeded. The parallels have come to the forefront as the movie, Fatima, was released on Aug. 28. John and his wife, Holly, are executive producers at Origin Entertainment, a company that partnered in the production of the movie. Fatima was made in the hope, not simply of catching an audience’s attention, but of transforming their souls.

The record-setting Carney sees the answer to all mankind’s ills encapsulated in the simple and stark revelations of Fatima. He explained his belief, in this interview, that the more the revelations are heeded, the more peace, hope and love will prevail.

27. Tony Abbott: Remembering Fr. Paul Mankowski

By the time of his ordination, Paul was well on the road to becoming the Jesuits’ fiercest internal critic. Sometimes, writing under his own name and sometimes using a pseudonym, he excoriated priests and bishops who’d only wear a clerical collar to a protest meeting or who thought that celibacy could be selective. His satire was devastating; his judgments uncompromising; his logic impeccable. For all their commitment to Christian charity, religious superiors have never coped well with criticism, especially when it’s justified, so Paul endured years of ostracism within the order. Literally for decades, he was on the verge of expulsion and denied the opportunity to take final vows.

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Why did he have to be so unappreciated by his own colleagues; why not join the less militantly progressive Australian province; or be incardinated into the Sydney Archdiocese where George Pell was a friend and fan, I sometimes asked. But this, of course, would have been taking too worldly or too self-centered an approach. Paul’s self-appointed mission was to prod the Jesuits into once more being the special forces of faith and if that meant that he was often a lonely outcast, so be it.

28. Sean Tehan: Notre Dame Announces Religious Liberty Initiative

Professor Garnett’s goal for this ambitious project is “to not only improve our understanding of religious liberty through scholarship and research, but also to provide wonderful educational opportunities to top law students who are interested in that topic and who want to learn while working in the trenches on cutting edge religious freedom cases.” Professor Garnett stated that “this initiative and this clinic will very soon be the flagship effort of its kind in the whole country.”

29. Slate: Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters Are Still Fighting California’s Wildfires

We’re launching four crews [of mostly formerly incarcerated people] doing fire prevention and post-fire cleanup work. They’re going to receive $15 an hour and get on-the-job training. They’ll be with us for six to 16 months depending on parole or probation. And then they’ll transfer to a professional job. We partner with homeowners associations, local fire safe councils. We’ve been running since 2015, and we’ve helped over 80 people get jobs.

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