The creaking trucks that ply Pakistan’s treacherous highways form a vibrant tapestry in the country’s often bleak and rugged landscape. Showcasing the Pakistani tradition of painting vehicles elaborately, the trucks are covered with everything from detailed arabesques and Urdu calligraphy to portraits of Pakistani pop icons — or some combination of all three. Often, drivers hang chains of bells from their vehicles’ bumpers, giving them their common English name: “jingle trucks.”
Iraqi Kurdish female guerilla.
A map of the world’s most and least racially-tolerant countries. Read the methodology of the study, and its conclusion, here. The analysis was as follows:
- Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.
- India, Jordan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong by far the least tolerant.In only three of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5 percent of Indians, 51.4 percent of Jordanians and an astonishingly high 71.8 percent of Hong Kongers and 71.7 percent of Bangladeshis.
- Wide, interesting variation across Europe. Immigration and national identity are big, touchy issues in much of Europe, where racial make-ups are changing. Though you might expect the richer, better-educated Western European nations to be more tolerant than those in Eastern Europe, that’s not exactly the case. France appeared to be one of the least racially tolerant countries on the continent, with 22.7 percent saying they didn’t want a neighbor of another race. Former Soviet states such as Belarus and Latvia scored as more tolerant than much of Europe. Many in the Balkans, perhaps after years of ethnicity-tinged wars, expressed lower racial tolerance.
- The Middle East not so tolerant. Immigration is also a big issue in this region, particularly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which often absorb economic migrants from poorer neighbors.
- Racial tolerance low in diverse Asian countries. Nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where many racial groups often jockey for influence and have complicated histories with one another, showed more skepticism of diversity. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in China and Kyrgyzstan. There were similar trends in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
- South Korea, not very tolerant, is an outlier. Although the country is rich, well-educated, peaceful and ethnically homogenous – all trends that appear to coincide with racial tolerance – more than one in three South Koreans said they do not want a neighbor of a different race. This may have to do with Korea’s particular view of its own racial-national identity as unique – studied by scholars such as B.R. Myers – and with the influx of Southeast Asian neighbors and the nation’s long-held tensions with Japan.
- Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier. Although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch.
Note that there are many caveats to keep in mind: for example, different societies have different perceptions of race (certain social, religious, and sectarian groups may be perceived unfavorably as distinct races) or may have no concept of race at all. Similarly, there is a difference between actually liking someone of a certain race, and being willing to live near them. Many national surveys from these countries will reveal strong racist attitudes in conjunction with a begrudging ability to tolerate said races.
Chiwa - Mchinji, Malawi Shot over a period of 18 months, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s project Toy Stories compiles photos of children from around the world with their prized possessions — their toys. Galimberti explores the universality of being a kid amidst the diversity of their circumstances.
Lithuanian, which is spoken only by around 3.2 million people worldwide (most of whom live in Lithuania), is one of the oldest and most linguistically-pure languages in the world.
In fact, it retains many features of “Proto-Indo-European,” which is the common ancestor of the Indo-European language family (which includes every major European language plus Hindi, Farsi, Bengali, and some others).
In other words, when you listen to Lithuanian, you come closest to hearing the one language that was spoken in 3700 BC before it diverged into the many languages we know today (although some scholars debate the exact time when the language split).
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide range of topics, from science to sharia, polygamy to popular culture. The survey finds that overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law to be the official law of their land, but there is also widespread support for democracy and religious freedom.
After decades abroad Saeed Malik (left) returned to his native Pakistan to rectify the poor education system. He remembered talking to a group of boys, 9 to 16 years old, and finding that the majority wanted to be freedom fighters and die as martyrs, because they had nothing else to live for. “And I felt, in what way can we bring these kids back to the beauty of life, to the beauty of future, to be of value to fellow mankind and to themselves and to the country,” he says. “And I started thinking in what way can we help the children.” Malik felt books were the way to broaden children’s minds, to introduce them to a whole world of subjects, and to help build tolerance for others. But he discovered that virtually none of the public schools in and around Islamabad had libraries. Through donations from the UN and private individuals, he founded the Bright Star Mobile Library, which now serves about 2,500 children, providing a range of books in Urdu and English.
Read more here.
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.
On closer inspection, the Indian miracle turns out to be pretty ordinary after all.
Now of course, scientific discoveries are (ideally) human endeavors done for the benefit of humanity as a whole, regardless of nationality. I just found this to be interesting.
1. Mamihlapinatapei (Yaghan, an indigenous language of Southern Chile): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.
2. Yuanfen(Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
3. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.
4. Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.
5. Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse or heartbreak the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.
6. La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
7. Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.
8. Ya’aburnee (Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
9. Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.
10. Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”
The world’s most influential and admired thinkers, according to an online poll of 10,000 respondents from 100 countries.