New York Times: Save the Gnostics

Like their ancestors, contemporary Mandeans were able to survive as a community because of the delicate balance achieved among Iraq’s many peoples over centuries of cohabitation. But our reckless prosecution of the war destroyed this balance, and the Mandeans, whose pacifist religion prohibits them from carrying weapons even for self-defense, found themselves victims of kidnappings, extortion, rapes, beatings, murders and forced conversions carried out by radical Islamic groups and common criminals.

When American forces invaded in 2003, there were probably 60,000 Mandeans in Iraq; today, fewer than 5,000 remain. Like millions of other Iraqis, those who managed to escape have become refugees, primarily in Syria and Jordan, with smaller numbers in Australia, Indonesia, Sweden and Yemen.

Unlike Christian and Muslim refugees, the Mandeans do not belong to a larger religious community that can provide them with protection and aid. Fundamentally alone in the world, the Mandeans are even more vulnerable and fewer than the Yazidis, another Iraqi minority that has suffered tremendously, since the latter have their own villages in the generally safer north, while the Mandeans are scattered in pockets around the south. They are the only minority group in Iraq without a safe enclave.

Full Story: New York Times.

Swedish Police Shuts Down Pirate Bay – Again

This Friday, it became known that the Swedish Police Board will shut down The Pirate Bay, the popular file sharing site, by classifying it as a child pornography site in the blocklist that Swedish Internet Providers respect. Some time next week, an update to the blacklist will include The Pirate Bay.

This means that anyone from Sweden visiting the well-known file sharing site The Pirate Bay will be greeted by a block page from the Police Board saying they’re not allowed to visit child pornography sites.

Full Story: The Pirate Bay.

(via Wes)

My new dream home

“I think you can have a good standard of living and use energy responsibly. You don’t have to feel bad about living well,” says Peter S?derholm, who lives in a futuristic eco-friendly apartment in Malm?, Sweden. It combines green living with insanely spaceage living. It’s sun and wind powered, has sod roofs, and cleans its own soil. It has remote control secuirity, weather reporting, ventilation control, etc. Anyone know of any other housing projects like this?
Link (via Wired).

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