'Stupid coronavirus!' In uncertain times, we can help children through mindfulness and play

Shutterstock“Stupid coronavirus!” I heard my six-year-old mumble while talking in her sleep. Earlier that day her swimming and basketball lessons were cancelled, a birthday party postponed...

Ben Deery, Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, University of Melbourne - avatar Ben Deery, Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, University of Melbourne

'Zoombombers' want to troll your online meetings. Here's how to stop them

StanWilliams/Pixabay, Author provided“Zoombombing” in case you haven’t heard, is the unsavoury practice of posting distressing comments, pictures or videos after gatecrashing virtual...

David Tuffley, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics & CyberSecurity, Griffith University - avatar David Tuffley, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics & CyberSecurity, Griffith University

Can I visit my boyfriend or my parents? Go fishing or bushwalking? Coronavirus rules in the Northern Territory and Tasmania

ShutterstockEditor’s note: The following is current as at April 3, 2020. Things are changing quickly so best to keep an eye on the latest information from the NT government, the Tasmanian govern...

Sunanda Creagh, Head of Digital Storytelling - avatar Sunanda Creagh, Head of Digital Storytelling

Can I visit my boyfriend or my parents? Go fishing or bushwalking? Coronavirus rules in Western Australia

Shutterstock/IncEditor’s note: The following is current as at April 3, 2020. Things are changing quickly so best to keep an eye on the latest information from WA Health, as well as the federal g...

Michael Lund, Commissioning Editor, The Conversation - avatar Michael Lund, Commissioning Editor, The Conversation

Government secrecy is growing during the coronavirus pandemic

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration said it would reject all freedom of information requests -- and then reversed itself after public outcry.AP/Teresa CrawfordStudents at the Universit...

David Cuillier, Associate Professor, School of Journalism, University of Arizona - avatar David Cuillier, Associate Professor, School of Journalism, University of Arizona

Coronavirus case counts are going to go up – but that doesn't mean social distancing is a bust

Empty parking lots show social distancing’s costs. It could take time to see its benefits.Pete Starman/The Image Bank via Getty ImagesThe last few weeks have brought previously unimaginable chan...

Abram Wagner, Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan - avatar Abram Wagner, Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan

Blue dye from red beets – chemists devise a safer new pigment option

Through the wonders of chemistry, molecules can be rearranged to completely transform color.Erick Leite Bastos, CC BY-SAWhat’s your favorite color? If you answered blue, you’re in good com...

Erick Leite Bastos, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Universidade de São Paulo - avatar Erick Leite Bastos, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Universidade de São Paulo

How high will unemployment go? During the Great Depression, 1 in 4 Americans were out of work

Unemployed people wait outside a government office in NYC in 1933. AP PhotoCC BY-NDThe U.S. unemployment rate climbed from a half-century low of 3.5% to 4.4% in March – and is expected to go a ...

Jay L. Zagorsky, Senior Lecturer, Questrom School of Business, Boston University - avatar Jay L. Zagorsky, Senior Lecturer, Questrom School of Business, Boston University

China's big donors are pitching in to deal with the new coronavirus – and not just in their own country

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, left, is funding African entrepreneurs through his foundation.VCG/VCG via Getty ImagesLess than a month after China confirmed the emergence of what soon became the new coronav...

Charles Sellen, Global Philanthropy Fellow, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University - avatar Charles Sellen, Global Philanthropy Fellow, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University

7 things public schools do besides teach kids academic basics

Some schools have staff on hand to encourage students to get active during recess. Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesWith schools closed due to COVID-19, communities are scrambling t...

Samantha Keppler, Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - avatar Samantha Keppler, Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Social distancing works – just ask lobsters, ants and vampire bats

Caribbean spiny lobsters normally live in groups, but healthy lobsters avoid members of their own species if they are infected with a deadly virus. Humberto Ramirez/Getty ImagesSocial distancing to co...

Dana Hawley, Professor of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech - avatar Dana Hawley, Professor of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech

How coronavirus has ended centuries of hands-on campaigning for politicians

Bill Clinton displaying how not to social distance while campaigning in 1992.Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesOpening a rally for Bernie Sanders in early March, Rep. ...

Andrew Kettler, Ahmanson-Getty Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles - avatar Andrew Kettler, Ahmanson-Getty Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles

We spoke to hundreds of prison gang members – here's what they said about life behind bars

A ministry program student at a Texas prison. Some inmates cite religion to avoid gang recruitment.Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty ImagesThe United States incarcerates a larger propo...

David Pyrooz, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder - avatar David Pyrooz, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder

Census undercounts are normal, but demographers worry this year could be worse

Census Campaign executive director Victoria Kovari looks over a Detroit map showing city neighborhoods that were undercounted in the 2010 census.AP Photo/Corey WilliamsEditor’s note: Researchers...

Rebecca Tippett, Director of Carolina Demography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - avatar Rebecca Tippett, Director of Carolina Demography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Adam Curties' documentary "Bitter Lake" documents brilliantly the total failure of the US intervention and the arrogance of its Western stooges in Afghanistan. There are two bitter Lakes in "Bitter Lake": The first one is roughly the midpoint of the Suez Canal, where US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia forged an alliance in 1945, which becomes slowly but surely an unholy one. The content of the agreement between the two was simple: The US guarantee the survival of the Saudi regime, at any cost. In return, the Saudis facilitate American supremacy in the region.

The second "bitter lake" is situated behind the Kajaki dam on the Halmand river that US companies constructed during the cold war in order to drag the country into the Western sphere of influence. One consequence of the dam was the rise of the water table leading to salinization of the soil. One crop thrived in the saltier earth: opium poppy. The US Empire and its allies have invaded Afghanistan to fight "terror" and to stop the Taliban's fight against opium cultivation. The US financial oligarchy in New York City had thereby lost every month about 300 million US dollars. Under Western occupation the opium production skyrocket.

The documentary shows the incongruity between the high-tech armored soldiers strolling through villages build with adobe hunting an invisible enemy. For the villagers, they must be like aliens. The soldiers were dragged into this mess by telling them they would fight an "evil enemy". In fact, they have sacrificed their lives for a corrupt political class in Kabul that created the problems the soldiers thought they were tackling.

At the end of the documentary, Curtis argues that the huge deployment of resources in Afghanistan was a "wasteful fraud". He asserts that the mangers of this Western occupation "stopped to think whether what had happened to the Russians 20 years before might also happen to them. That, in a strange way, Afghanistan has revealed to us the emptiness and hypocrisy of our own beliefs. And that we may be returning from there haunted by mujahidin ghosts, knowing that underneath we believe in nothing.”

The documentary shows also Western arrogance and hubris toward a foreign nation whose policy and culture has been regarded as backward. The occupiers wanted to destroy the Taliban, which means large parts of the Afghan population, and bring these "boonies" the blessings of the West: democracy, the rule of law, accountability, human rights and women rights and all the other wonderful things the West cherishes and the Muslims despise. After 14 unsuccessful years, the occupiers have just walked off and left the Afghans with the chaos alone. Especially since 9/11, the boundaries between good and evil, true and false, right or wrong are blurring. Who is going to fix it?

The full movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov9BFqejsMk


Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog "between the lines" http://between-the-lines-ludwig-watzal.blogspot.de/