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Aug 23, 2021
Good morning! Slavery ended more than a century ago everywhere around the world, right? Wrong. It still exists — on farms, in massage parlors … and even inside fancy homes. Today, on the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, meet the Cameroonian engineering dropout who’s forcing Italy to reflect on its modern-day slavery. Check out the Indigenous languages that are innovating in bold ways to survive while many traditional tongues are dying. And join a game where throwing eggs at each other is part of the rules!
At least 26 people have died in flash floods in Tennessee and North Carolina over the weekend, and more than 50 are missing after rain lashed the southern states. Meanwhile, tropical depression Henri battered the Northeast yesterday, threatening further floods. Who do you blame most for this devastation? Vote here or on Twitter. (Sources: CBS, Fox, CNN)
2 - Battle for the North
The Taliban are sending hundreds of fighters to northern Afghanistan’s Panjshir region, where the Islamist militants are facing their most serious resistance since taking control of Kabul. The opposition is led by Ahmad Massoud, son of the legendary anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud. He says he wants dialogue with the Taliban — but that his forces are ready to fight. Over in Washington, President Joe Biden signaled that the U.S. would expand a safe zone around Kabul airport to fly people out faster, and he enlisted commercial airlines to ferry evacuees in third countries to America. (Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters, WaPo)
3 - Pelosi Predicament
A group of moderates within the Democratic Party have challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s insistence that a $1 trillion infrastructure package be passed alongside a broader $3.5 trillion budget aimed at bolstering America’s social safety net. They want the infrastructure plan, agreed upon through a bipartisan deal, to be taken up first. (Sources: WSJ, FT)
4 - Overdue Honor
Josephine Baker, the iconic American-born French performer, World War II resistance hero and civil rights activist, will be buried at France’s Panthéon after a yearslong campaign by her family. Baker will be the first Black woman to be interred among France’s greatest icons at the memorial. (Sources: Time, NYT)
5 - Rodent Revolution
It’s a (fat) cat and mouse game — and at the moment, residents of Argentina’s most prominent gated community are losing. Long accused of destroying nature by building on the wetlands of the Paraná river, the community is now facing a fightback from armies of capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, who have destroyed gardens and bitten pets. (Source: Guardian)
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A failed exam at his engineering school in Turin, Italy, meant the Cameroonian student was no longer eligible for the grant that allowed him to pursue his studies. So he took a low-paying farm job — only to discover how organized gangs were exploiting migrant workers. Sagnet led a successful farm revolt that has since turned him into an icon of efforts to end modern-day slavery in Italy’s agricultural sector. The 36-year-old activist has been knighted for his work, but he knows he’s only lifted the veil on an industry that’s still rife with slavery.
2 - Hasina Kharbhih
Her life as an activist began at birth, with her father housing refugees in their home. From there, Kharbhih founded a nonprofit that’s now rescued an estimated 72,000 trafficked women and children from India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, and partners with governments across the world to not just free victims, but to offer them compensation and a way back into normal life. Read more on OZY.
3 - Sheila Tilan
If you spot her on the streets of London, poring over her phone, she’s likely not ogling the latest Instagram trend — but plotting a daring escape. Amid the pandemic, domestic abuse rose globally. Migrant domestic workers have been at an even greater risk. Tilan, co-founder of the Filipino Domestic Workers Association, helps them escape servitude connected to a “tied visa” system in the U.K., under which foreign domestic workers risk deportation if they lose their jobs. Half of Britain’s foreign domestic workers are from the Philippines. Tilan saves them when British law won’t.
Keeping Languages Alive
Around the world, Indigenous languages have been in decline for years, and in many cases, have died. But thanks to innovative initiatives, a few languages are showing how others can survive … and thrive.
Can text messaging save endangered traditional languages? That’s the hope behind Motorola’s bold new initiative that lets phone users operate their devices in Nheengatu — spoken by Amazon tribes in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia — and Kaingang, which is used by nearly 20,000 in southern Brazil.
2 - Language Activism
Access to information in local languages has never been as important as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, 30 young Africans translated coronavirus guidelines into 18 of the most common African languages. And projects like WikiAfrica have volunteers translating online content into nearly 20 African languages such as Dagbani and Twi. These translated articles have been viewed more than 500,000 times, according to the nonprofit.
3 - Compromise in Tongues
Pre-colonization, continental Australia was home to as many as 300 languages. Those numbers have dwindled to fewer than 60. But younger Indigenous groups are combining traditional languages with modern English to spur a new surge in linguistic diversity, with amalgamations like Kriol spoken by tens of thousands across Australia. Read more on OZY.
Here’s a quiz! Which is the only country in the Americas where a majority of people speak the same Indigenous language? And what is the language? Send in your answers below.
If you’re a fan of combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts, you have to give slap fighting a try. Two opponents stand across from each other and exchange — you guessed it — slaps, until one fighter is knocked out or quits. The number one slap fighting organization in the United States is The SlapFIGHT Championship.
2 - Wife Carrying
This glorified trust exercise is not for the faint of heart. The Finnish race involves competitors carrying female teammates who can’t be lighter than 108 pounds as fast as possible through a 227-yard course with two dry obstacles and one in water. Acceptable carrying styles range from the piggyback to the fireman’s carry across the shoulders to Estonian-style, where the upside-down wife holds onto the husband’s waist with her legs around his shoulders.
On the heels of her Oscar win, R&B wunderkind H.E.R. joined Carlos for an open conversation about her early success and meeting the moment, revealing how she nearly formed a band with Kehlani and Zendaya, and the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement on her music. Watch now on Amazon Prime Video.
Why was there so little resistance when Afghanistan collapsed? What will be the aftermath of the Taliban’s victory? Vault yourself ahead on current events by followingOZY on Twitter, the fastest way to get OZY's fresh takes on world news.
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