The Belizean Garifuna ~ Organization Of Identity In An Ethnic Community In Central America

If the world had any ends, British Honduras would certainly be one of them. It is not on the way from anywhere to anywhere else’ (Aldous Huxley 1984:21).
When I had to do fieldwork in the Caribbean region for my final research several years ago, someone from the department of cultural Anthropology in Utrecht in the Netherlands asked me why I didn’t go to Belize. My answer to his question was at that time quite significant: ‘Belize??’  I had no idea where it was and could not picture it at all.
Libraries that I visited in the Netherlands hardly provided any solace. Most of the books on Central America hardly mentioned Belize. Booth and Walker describe the position of the country as follows in ‘Understanding Central-America’: ‘Though Belize is technically Central America, that English-speaking microstate has a history that is fairly distinct from that of the other states in the region. At present this tiny republic, which only became formally independent from Great-Britain in 1981, does not figure significantly in the ‘Central American’ problem’ (1993:3).

Multi-Ethnic Belize
The fact that Belize receives little attention in literature on Central America underlines the peripheral position of the country in this region. Some authors qualify it as part of the Caribbean world; others primarily see Belize as a member of the British Commonwealth. Besides that it is also seen as part of the Central American context. The Formation of a colonial Society (1977) by the English sociologist Nigel O. Bolland was the first scientific work on Belize that I was able to acquire. The Belize Guide (1989) by Paul Glassman provided me with a tourist orientated view of this ‘wonderland of strange people and things’ (Glassman 1989:1). Collecting sustaining literature was and remains a tiresome adventure. Slowly but surely my list of literature expanded.
My knowledge of the region was limited. Reactions from others also confirmed that Belize is a country with a slight reputation. For example, I still remember being corrected by someone from a travel agency. After asking the gentleman if a direct flight to Belize existed, he answered somewhat pityingly: ‘Sir, you must mean Benin´. In my circle of friends, Belize also turned out to be unheard of. The neighboring countries Guatemala and Mexico are better known. An important reason for this is that the media informs people of the most important happenings in these countries. This information is often clarified using maps of the area on which Guatemala and Mexico, but also Belize, are marked. Nonetheless, time and time again Belize turns out to be a country that does not appeal to the imagination.
The comments I heard from tourists coming in from Mexico or Guatemala are notable. ´This is a culture shock´, ´where are the Indians´, ´this doesn´t look at all like Central America´, ´it´s surprising how well you can get by with English here, that was not like that at all in Mexico´. Many of the tourists that come from Mexico quickly go through Belize city on their way to one of the islands off the coast of Belize where they relax for a few days before going to Guatemala. Most of the tourists coming into Belize from Tikal (Guatemala) spend a night in San Ignacio, comment on the fact that everything is so expensive, and quickly travel on to Chetumal (Mexico) the next day.
Belize is a country that lies hidden between two countries with a certain reputation. I do not really think that it is an exaggeration to state that Belize is something of a fictitious end of the world, as formulated by Huxley. In order to obtain an impression of the country, in which this research took place, the next section gives a general idea of the topographic and climatic characteristics. Besides that, the compilation of the population, the constitutional and political situation, the economic position, the religious context and the multi-lingual structure of the country are discussed successively. Furthermore, it is essential to provide an outline of the historic context in which the various ethnic groups in Belize have taken in their place. In other words: How has this country come to be so multi-ethnic?

Belize, A Central American Country on the Periphery
On 21 September 1981, the former British Honduras becomes independent. This date is the formal end of a process of independence that took seventeen years. In 1964, British Honduras of the time received the right to an internal self-government and in 1973 the name of the country was changed to Belize. With an area of 22,965 km2, Belize is the second smallest country in Central America. El Salvador is smaller (21,393 km2), but has considerably more inhabitants with it’s population of 5.889,000. According to the census of 1991, Belize has just 189,392 (Central Statistical Office 1992). This comes down to eight inhabitants per square kilometer, whereas El Salvador has 275 inhabitants per square kilometer. With that, the two countries are each other’s opposites in Central America, Belize is the most sparsely populated and El Salvador the most densely.

Google Images

Belize

Geography
Belize borders on Mexico in the north, on Guatemala in the west and the south, and on the east the country borders on the Caribbean Sea. The area along the coast consists mostly of marshland with dense mangrove forests, mouths of rivers, lagoons and, every now and again, a sandy beach. Countless small and large rivers, that have played a crucial part in the infrastructure throughout the centuries, run through the country. Much of the wood chopped in the inland found and finds its way towards its destination at the coast via these waterways. It can rain abundantly in Belize in the months May to November, especially in the south, and then the waterways swell up to become rapid rivers.

Climate
The climatic conditions in Belize vary from tropical in the south to subtropical in the north. The climate is warm and the temperature varies between twenty-seven and forty degrees Celsius. It was especially the humidity, with an average of 85% in the southern part of the country that drew heavily on the physical condition of this researcher. The country officially has two seasons. The dry season, that lasts from November to June, and the wet season from June to November. During the wet season, tropical depressions regularly develop in the Caribbean region that reveal themselves as hurricanes. For this reason, this season is also called the hurricane season. This destructive force of nature has hit Belize several times in this century. The hurricanes of 1931, 1955 and 1961 have not failed to leave behind a trail of disaster.

The season in which it is relatively dryer than the rest of the year takes up a few months in the north (February to May), while in the south it only lasts several weeks (Dobson 1973:4). In fact, there is no telling what the weather will do in Belize. A Belizean friend of mine says the following on this matter: ‘We have two seasons here, a dry and a wet season; they generally take place on one and the same day’. Read more

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The Spinoza Web

spinozaThe Spinoza Web is a website that seeks to make the Dutch philosopher Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677) accessible to a wide range of users from interested novices to advanced scholars, and everything in between. It is a continually developing, active project whose success depends on its users. Please contact us with feedback, suggestions, and ideas!

At present our website offers two points of entry. The ‘Timeline Experience’ tells the story of Spinoza, using rich graphic and other supporting material through which the user can navigate to enter and experience his very world. The ‘Database Search’ is a gateway to an enormous repository for the study of Spinoza, whose goal is eventually to assemble all first-hand documentation pertaining to him. Attractively designed without compromising on scholarly standards, our website promotes a source-based contextual approach to Spinoza who, revered and reviled, has had countless rumours and myths attached to his name over the course of the centuries.

‘Spinoza’s web’-project
The Spinoza Web is a creation of the ‘Spinoza’s Web’-project of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It traces back to an early initiative of its main executive, Jeroen van de Ven, and was implemented by the project’s principal investigator, Piet Steenbakkers, who had entertained a long-time wish for a website dedicated to Spinoza. In 2014 postdoctoral researcher Albert Gootjes joined their ranks in a largely advisory capacity. Later that year the team commissioned the Rotterdam-based advertising agency Nijgh, which gladly welcomed the new challenge of combining creative inspiration with scholarly rigour.

Beta release
After extensive planning and user tests, November 2016 saw the beta release of The Spinoza Web, notably featuring the ‘Timeline Experience’ and Database with entries largely based on the historical and bibliographical research by Jeroen van de Ven. Subsequent releases are scheduled to boost the ‘Database Search’ by making available in open access Spinoza’s writings both in their original editions and in an authoritative English translation. Further plans include the addition of an interactive element facilitating Spinoza studies. To help us realize our pursuits, we welcome all contributions including but not limited to financial support. Potential contributors are encouraged to get in touch using the Contact page.

See: http://spinozaweb.org/

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The Real Adam Smith: Ideas That Changed The World

The Real Adam Smith: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg, takes an intriguing, two-part look at Smith and the evolution and relevance of his ideas today, both economic and ethical. It’s difficult to imagine that a man who lived with horse drawn carriages and sailing ships would foresee our massive 21st century global market exchange, much less the relationship between markets and morality. But Adam Smith was no ordinary 18th century figure. Considered the “father of modern economics,” Smith was first and foremost a moral philosopher. The revolutionary ideas he penned in The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments, changed the world. Norberg explores Smith’s insights regarding free trade and the nature of wealth to the present, where they are thriving and driving the world’s economy.

In the second hour, Ideas That Changed The World, Norberg traces Smith’s insights regarding the benefits of free trade and the nature of wealth to the present, where they are currently in operation. He talks with some of the most distinguished Adam Smith scholars, as well as leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies to discover how Smith’s ideas continue to be relevant and drive the global economy today.

Visit our media website to find other programs here: http://freetochoosemedia.org/index.php

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Umberto Eco ~ Ur-Fascism

nyrbWe must keep alert, so that the sense of these words will not be forgotten again. Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier, for us, if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Black Shirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances—every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: “I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” Freedom and liberation are an unending task.

In 1942, at the age of ten, I received the First Provincial Award of Ludi Juveniles (a voluntary, compulsory competition for young Italian Fascists—that is, for every young Italian). I elaborated with rhetorical skill on the subject “Should we die for the glory of Mussolini and the immortal destiny of Italy?” My answer was positive. I was a smart boy.

I spent two of my early years among the SS, Fascists, Republicans, and partisans shooting at one another, and I learned how to dodge bullets. It was good exercise.

In April 1945, the partisans took over in Milan. Two days later they arrived in the small town where I was living at the time. It was a moment of joy. The main square was crowded with people singing and waving flags, calling in loud voices for Mimo, the partisan leader of that area. A former maresciallo of the Carabinieri, Mimo joined the supporters of General Badoglio, Mussolini’s successor, and lost a leg during one of the first clashes with Mussolini’s remaining forces. Mimo showed up on the balcony of the city hall, pale, leaning on his crutch, and with one hand tried to calm the crowd. I was waiting for his speech because my whole childhood had been marked by the great historic speeches of Mussolini, whose most significant passages we memorized in school. Silence. Mimo spoke in a hoarse voice, barely audible. He said: “Citizens, friends. After so many painful sacrifices … here we are. Glory to those who have fallen for freedom.” And that was it. He went back inside. The crowd yelled, the partisans raised their guns and fired festive volleys. We kids hurried to pick up the shells, precious items, but I had also learned that freedom of speech means freedom from rhetoric.

Read more: http://www.nybooks.com/

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Mijn generatie, tien jaar later. Generatiebesef, jeugdervaringen en levenslopen in Nederland

ester

Verder niets, er zijn alleen nog een paar dingen
die ik houd omdat geen mens er iets aan heeft
dat zijn mijn goede jeugdherinneringen
die neem je mee zolang je verder leeft

– Boudewijn de Groot

“Mijn generatie liet zich meer leiden door kerk en politiek en werd daardoor minder zelfstandig”, “In mijn generatie was er voor vrouwen geen pensioen en moest je ophouden met werken als je trouwde”, “In mijn generatie kon het niet op, er was werk genoeg en overal kreeg je subsidie voor”, “Mijn generatie heeft het moeilijk gehad om aan de slag te komen”, “Wat mijn generatie typeert is die enorme vrijheid die we hadden. Je mocht alles onderzoeken”. Dit zijn uitspraken van mensen uit verschillende generaties. Uitspraken die voor velen herkenbaar zijn. Ze suggereren dat personen uit een zelfde generatie gemeenschappelijke ervaringen hebben. Veelal gaat het om ervaringen uit de jeugdjaren die een blijvende indruk achterlaten en een stempel drukken op een generatie. Ervaringen die de lotgevallen van een generatie ook na de jeugdperiode tekenen.

Inhoudsopgave
Inleiding
1. Theorie over generaties
2. Jeugdjaren van generaties
3. Onderzoek naar generaties
4 .Onderwijs
5. Arbeid
6. Cultuur
7. Politiek
8. Toekomst
Epiloog
Literatuur

Mijn generatie, tien jaar later verscheen in 2008 bij Rozenberg Publishers. ISBN 978 90 361 0099 1

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Mijn generatie, tien jaar later ~ Inleiding

esterVerder niets, er zijn alleen nog een paar dingen
die ik houd omdat geen mens er iets aan heeft
dat zijn mijn goede jeugdherinneringen
die neem je mee zolang je verder leeft

Boudewijn de Groot

“Mijn generatie liet zich meer leiden door kerk en politiek en werd daardoor minder zelfstandig”, “In mijn generatie was er voor vrouwen geen pensioen en moest je ophouden met werken als je trouwde”, “In mijn generatie kon het niet op, er was werk genoeg en overal kreeg je subsi­die voor”, “Mijn generatie heeft het moeilijk gehad om aan de slag te ko­men”, “Wat mijn generatie typeert is die enorme vrijheid die we hadden. Je mocht alles onderzoeken”. Dit zijn uitspraken van mensen uit verschil­lende generaties. Uitspraken die voor velen herkenbaar zijn. Ze suggere­ren dat personen uit een zelfde generatie gemeenschappelijke ervaringen hebben. Veelal gaat het om ervaringen uit de jeugdjaren die een blijvende indruk achterlaten en een stempel drukken op een generatie. Ervaringen die de lotgevallen van een generatie ook na de jeugdperiode tekenen.

De media verklaren opvattingen en gedragingen van bepaalde groepen vaak uit generatielidmaatschap. Ze putten zich uit in het bedenken van rake generatiestereotyperingen. Een willekeurige greep: de ‘generatie van nix’ (De Volkskrant en De Groene Amsterdammer), de ‘generatie van genieters’ (HP/De Tijd), de ‘meerkeuze generatie’ (NRC Handelsblad), de ‘betalende generatie’, de ‘generatie fantastisch’ (De Standaard), de ‘Mammoetgeneratie’ (Intermediair), de ‘grenzeloze generatie’ (HP/De Tijd), de ‘stille generatie’ (Elsevier), de ‘anti-nix generatie’ (De Groene Amsterdammer), de ‘achterbank generatie’ (De Volkskrant), de ‘XTC ge­neratie’ (Nieuwe Revu), de ‘laconieke generatie’ (De Volkskrant), de ‘op­timistische generatie’, de ‘weg-van-de-waanzinnige-werkelijkheid-genera­tie’ (Adformatie), de ‘hapsnap-generatie’ en de ‘schnabbelgeneratie’ (HP/ De Tijd), de ‘generatie nuchter’ (Elsevier) en de ‘eliminatiegeneratie’, de ‘schokvaste generatie’ en de ‘ouderloze generatie’ (De Volkskrant).

Deze labeling wordt vaak opgediend met een dun cultuursociologisch sausje (vgl. Pijffers, 1993; Popcorn, 1991; Popcorn & Marygold, 1996). Soms worden daarbij hele decennia verdicht tot één uniek sociaal, cultu­reel en politiek klimaat, zoals de zompige, saaie en zelfgenoegzame jaren vijftig, de experimentele jaren zestig (‘the Gay Sixties’), of de een diepgaande reflectie op de feiten. Het zijn speculaties die niettemin een gevoel van herkenning oproepen, makkelijk weg lezen, kundig in de markt gezet worden, en lekker in het gehoor liggen. Read more

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