viernes, 1 de julio de 2016

MercatorNet: World War I marks a bloody anniversary today

MercatorNet: World War I marks a bloody anniversary today



World War I marks a bloody anniversary today

Why the Battle of the Somme marks a turning point of World War I
Mark Harrison | Jul 1 2016 | comment 1 
    




British infantrymen occupying a shallow trench before advancing during the
Battle of the Somme on the first day of battle in 1916. via Daily Mail


The British offensive on the Somme began on July 1, 1916. After 20 weeks, they had advanced six miles. The German line retreated, but was not broken. The horrifying casualties were shared equally between the two sides: 300,000 men died. Bloodier battles would come in 1918, but on the first day of the Somme the British Army suffered its greatest daily loss: 19,000 killed.

Coming at the mid-point of World War I, the Battle of the Somme is often taken to exemplify the stupidity of the war on the western front. But this terrible experience took place at a unique moment, defined by two facts.

On the one hand, Britain’s deployment of military manpower was nearly complete. On the other, the deployment of British firepower had barely begun. Firepower was produced by the economy, and it was this mobilisation of economies that would eventually decide the war.

To illustrate, Figure 1 below compares July 1916 (as the British offensive unfolded on the Somme) to February 1918 (before the German spring offensive of that year).



Over this period, the number of British and Empire soldiers on the western front rose by 30% (from 1.4m to nearly 1.9m). Over the same period, the shell stock of the British army in France grew by an enormous 150% (from 6.5m to 16.5m shells), while the home stockpile grew more than ten times (from 1m to 11m).

After the Somme the British army was supplied with vastly more firepower than before. There was a revolution of variety as well as of quantity. And it was firepower, rather than manpower, that would decide the course of this war.

Firepower  

 “Well, if you knows of a better ’ole, go to it.”Source: Bruce Bairnsfather, Fragments from France (The Knickerbocker Press, 1917). Courtesy of Major and Mrs Holt.Author provided

This is because the military technologies of 1914 – earthworks, barbed wire, heavy machine guns, and artillery – embedded the defender.

Facing these, the attacking soldier had a rifle. He could fire standing up, making him an easy target, or lying down, meaning he could not move. He could get up and move only if supporting shellfire of heavy guns from behind would stop the enemy shooting back. But, if the shellfire did not destroy the enemy line completely, the attacking infantryman would be cut down in the second after the shelling stopped. This is what happened on the first day of the Somme.

For the infantryman to be able once again to fire and move at the same time required new kinds of armament: light automatic weapons, rifle grenades, trench mortars, and the supporting fire of tanks and aircraft. These were available in significant quantities only after the Somme.

The statistics of British war production bear this out (Figure 2 below). The Somme offensive divides the war into two equal halves. After the mid-point, the British economy supplied guns and rifles at twice to three times the rate before; for shells, it was more than five times, and for the volume of explosives more than six times. For newer types of weaponry, the figures are also striking. After the Somme, trench mortars were delivered at four times the rate before; for machine guns the ratio was nine times, for engines and aircraft and engines eight and nine times respectively, and for tanks 34 times.



Notably, the British economy and its workforce supplied these tremendous increases at the same time as giving up young men to cover military losses and expand the army in the field.

A question of money and time  

While the British economy grew, the German economy shrank. German war production increased, but less rapidly than in Britain, and least in the most innovative branches of war production: aviation and armour. Germany could not supply the war without incurring widespread shortage and hunger. And Germany’s economy was industrially the most developed of the Central Powers alliance. Germany’s poorer allies were even less able to mobilise their young men, factories, and food resources.

Britain was initially the leading industrial power among the Allies. Then in 1917 they lost Russia, a poor country with a failing state, and won the support of the world’s largest and richest industrial country, the United States. By 1918 the Central Powers faced a coalition that represented two-thirds of the world’s prewar production and population. Taking the war as a whole, the Central Powers supplied their armies with more guns and almost as many rifles as the Allies (as Figure 3 shows). But more significantly, in supplies of machine guns and aircraft they fell short of the Allies by a half, and their production of tanks was negligible.



It was the mobilisation of the Allied economies that transformed Allied military power and enabled Allied soldiers to break the deadlock on the western front. But most products of the mobilisation reached the battlefield only after the Somme offensive had come to an end.

In The Pity of War, Niall Ferguson described the gradual mobilisation of the Allied economies as an “advantage squandered”. In The Economics of World War I, Stephen Broadberry and I responded: "Total war takes time.” The devastating losses of the Somme are explained by military mistakes and failures to learn, and by the time taken to mobilise production. This lesson was learned: when the next war came, the British economy would be fully mobilised in two years, not four.

The Conversation

Mark Harrison, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


MercatorNet
First the good news. The great news! The MercatorNet family was extended recently by the arrival of Emma Maria El-Rahi, the new little daughter of Tamara and Nadim whom Tamara introduces to us today in a post on Family Edge. Congratulations both, and thanks Tamara for sharing your joy with us. And thank you Emma for your sweet baby smile – the world needs it so much.
There are certainly reasons for gloom as, a hundred years after the Battle of the Somme, we are still in a kind of world war, now driven by religious fanaticism and terrorism.
Michael Cook suggests that the Somme can be seen as “the opening salvo in the culture of death” – that is, the war we wage against ourselves with technology for lack of a moral framework that would make it serve only humane ends. His reflections introduce the reminiscences of a German soldier who fought in the front lines on July 1, 1916, and which vividly illustrate what was new and shocking about the First World War – the industrial scale of the thing that swept away the lives of 38 million people.
Technology is neither good nor bad in itself, but it’s not always easy to work out when we are putting it to good use or bad. That seems to be the case with handing over human work to robots – a subject visited by Marcus Roberts. Of course, we have lived with automation for a long time, but we could still take a wrong turn with it, don’t you think?
Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,
MERCATORNET
When 19,000 British troops died in a single day
Michael Cook | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
The carnage of World War I was the opening salvo of the culture of death.
Read more...
 
New baby, new wonders
Tamara El-Rahi | FAMILY EDGE | 1 July 2016
First impressions from the first weeks of parenthood.
Read more...
 
Handshakes, Islam, and religious tolerance in the West
Jennifer S. Bryson | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
Genuine tolerance allows for difference.
Read more...
 
The robots are coming!
Marcus Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 1 July 2016
And our jobs are under threat.
Read more...
 
World War I marks a bloody anniversary today
Mark Harrison | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
Why the Battle of the Somme marks a turning point of World War I
Read more...
 
Don’t feed the trolls
Jennifer Roback Morse | CONNECTING | 1 July 2016
It only encourages the PIPsqueaks.
Read more...
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MercatorNet: When 19,000 British troops died in a single day

MercatorNet: When 19,000 British troops died in a single day



When 19,000 British troops died in a single day

The carnage of World War I was the opening salvo of the culture of death.
Michael Cook | Jul 1 2016 | comment 
    






One hundred years ago today began the 141-day Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in human history, with about 1.5 million casualties. A staggering 19,240 British troops died on the first day of the Allied assault on German lines.

The scourge of war is as old as human history, but there is something new in the scale of the carnage of World War I. With the advance of military technology and industrial management methods, human beings became just another resource. It became obvious that technology was mastering man, not man technology. From the Battle of the Somme, there is a direct line to Auschwitz and Hiroshima – although in the Somme the generals were killing their own men, not the enemy.

You could even call it the opening salvo of the culture of death. For the last century humanity has been fighting a battle with the destructive power of technology. On the one hand, it enables a much higher standard of living; on the other, it alienates people from themselves through abortion, drugs or pornography. On the one hand, it enables the comfortts of the welfare state; on the other, it takes away our jobs.

The moral darkness of the Battle of the Somme – which was just a drop in the bucket of the Great War’s 38 million casualties – ought to make us reflect upon what happens when technology advances without a moral framework. In the words ofPresident Obama, “Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us.  The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution, as well.”

Here are the reminiscences of a German soldier who fought on the front lines on July 1, 1916. They illustrate the horror of that appalling tragedy.

*******
The sun shines brightly. It is the 1st July 1916. In the splendour of this summer's day the English columns advance to the attack. They have the certainty, that their week-long drumfire, precisely calculated to the square metre, has destroyed every atom of life in our position.

The enemy's artillery fire suddenly transfers to our rear positions, onto the grounds of Serre village, onto the approach roads and the villages beyond.

250 to 400 Metres away from our destroyed trenches they advance to the attack!

They advance in columns, in thick, packed lines of attack, behind which are drawn up support troops, Indian lancers, ready to turn the English breakthrough on the wing of the attack front into a devastating defeat of our centre. The English infantry have their rifles at their necks, hanging from their shoulders, ready for the stroll to Bapaume, to Cambrai, to the Rhine!

The idea that there could still be life or any resistance in us (after this week) seems absurd to them! ….

There's a choking in every throat, a pressure which is released in a wild yell, in the battle-cry "they're coming, they're coming!" Finally the battle! The nightmare of this week-long drumfire is about to end, finally we can free ourselves of this week-long inner torment, no longer must we crouch in a flattened dugout like a mouse in a trap.

No longer do we feel the dull impact of the shelter-breaker exploding downwards (an impact like a hammer-blow on the helmeted skull).

No longer must we calm, hold down, tie down those men whom almost lose their minds through this pounding, booming and splintering, through difficulty in breathing and through the jerking and swaying of the dugout walls, and whom with overtly trembling limbs want to get up away from this hole and this mousetrap, up into the open air, into a landscape of raging flames and iron - a landscape of insanity and death.

We call for a barrage!!

Red flares climb high then fade away as they fall to the ground. Destructive fire and barrage fire leave masses of green and red marks in the sky!

Dear God! The German barrage fire!

Behind us the guns lie destroyed in their emplacements, their wheels upwards, their barrels in the dirt.

An enormous crater left by the impact of the English heavy shells yawns at the site of the gun emplacements.

Most of the crews are dead, lying buried in tunnels and bunkers. On the waggon-tracks that led to the gun batteries lie shot-up ammunition waggons, shattered gun-limbers, spilled cartridges and shells, dead drivers, and the carcasses of horses torn apart by direct- and near-hits.

Our barrage is pitifully weak; there is no artillery in reserve. The summer of 1916, the time of the great artillery shortage.

So it was that on 1st July 1916 almost everything depended on us - the infantry!

Shots flew, whipped and cracked wildly into the enemy ranks, above us it hissed, whizzed and roared like a storm, like a hurricane; the path of the English shells which fell on what little artillery was left, on the support troops, on the rear-areas.

Amidst all the roar, the clatter, the rumble and the bursts, the lashing out and wild firing of the riflemen, the firm, regular beat of our machine-guns is solid and calm; -tack-tack-tack-tack....this one slower, the other faster in rhythm! - precision work in materials and construction! - a terrible melody to the enemy, it gives a greater degree of security and inner calm to our own friends in the infantry and to the other ranks.

The machine-gunners, who in quieter times were much mocked - and envied (excused from hauling ammunition!), are popular now!

One belt after another is raced through! 250 Shots - 1000 shots - 3000 shots.

"Bring up the spare gun-barrels" shouts the gun commander. The gun barrel's changed - carry on shooting! - 5000 shots - the gun-barrel has to be changed again. The barrel's scorching hot, the coolant's boiling - the gunners' hands are nearly scorched, scalded.

"Carry on shooting" urges the gun commander "or be shot yourself!"

The coolant in the gun jacket boils, vaporized by the furious shooting. In the heat of battle, the steam hose comes away from the opening of the water can into which the steam's meant to re-condense. A tall jet of steam sprays upwards, a fine target for the enemy. Its lucky for us that the sun's shining in their eyes and that it's behind us.

Had the enemy used close-in covering fire in 1916 as became customary for both sides in 1917 and 1918, the situation would have been highly critical for us.

The enemy's getting closer; we keep up our continuous fire! The steam dies away, again the barrel needs changing! The coolant's nearly all vaporized. "Where's there water?" shouts the gunlayer. There's soda water (iron rations from the dugout) down below. "There's none there, Corporal!" The iron rations were all used up in the week-long bombardment.

Still the English attack; even though they already lie shot down in their hundreds in front of our lines, fresh waves continue to pour over from their jumping-off positions.

We have to shoot!

A gunner grabs the water can, jumps down into the shell-hole and relieves himself. A second then also pisses into the water can - its quickly filled!

The English are already in hand-grenade range; grenades fly to and fro. The barrel's been changed, the gun jacket filled - load! Hand-grenades and rifle-grenades explode violently in front of the gun - its not just unsettling, the loading gets into a tangle! You recite loudly, slowly and clearly saying to yourself: "forward - feed - back!" (knock the cocking handle forward - feed in the belt - throw back the cocking handle) - the same again! Safety catch to the right! - "feed through!"....tack-tack-tack-tack....a furious sustained fire once more strikes the "khakis" in front of us!

Tall columns of steam rise from almost all the machine guns. The steam hoses of most guns are torn off or shot away.

The skin of the gunners, of the gun commanders, hangs in shreds from their fingers, their hands are scalded! The left thumb's reduced to a swollen, shapeless piece of meat from continually pressing the safety catch. The hands grip the lightweight, thin gun handles as if locked in a seizure.

Eighteen thousand shots!

The platoon's other machine-gun jams. Gunner Schw. is shot in the head and falls over the belt that he feeds in. The belt's displaced, taking the cartridges at an angle into the feeder where they become stuck! Another gunner takes over! The dead man's laid to one side. The gunlayer takes out the feeder, removes the cartridges and reloads.

Shooting, nothing but shooting, barrel changing, hauling ammunition and laying out the dead and wounded in the bottom of the trench, such is the harsh and furious pace of the morning of 1st July 1916. The harsh, clear report of the machine-guns is heard on every Division front.

England's youth, Scotland's best regiments, bled to death in front of Serre.

Our machine-gun, right by the Serre-Mailly road, commanded by the brave Unteroffizier [Corporal] Koch from Pforzheim, shoots through the last belt! It's driven twenty thousand shots into the English!

After the initial confusion and panic caused by our unexpected resistance, after the horrific loss of life in their closely-packed attack formations, the English re-form. For two hours and more, wave upon wave breaks against us.

With incredible tenacity, they run towards our trenches. In an exemplary show of courage and self-sacrifice, they climb from the safety of their jumping-off position only to be felled, barely having reached our shot-up barbed wire.

Twenty, thirty meters in front of our guns, the brave ones fall, the first and the last attack waves together.

Those following behind take cover behind their dead, groaning and moaning comrades. Many hang, mortally wounded, whimpering in the remains of the barbed wire and upon the hidden iron stakes of the barbed wire barricade. The survivors occupy the slight slope around and behind the remains of the barbed wire and shoot at us like things possessed, without much to aim at. They make cover for themselves from the bodies of their dead comrades and many of us fall in the fire. We shoot into the wire shreds, into the belt of barbed wire that winds to the earth. The hail of bullets breaks up at the wire and strikes downwards as an unpredictable crossfire into the protective slope. Soon the enemy fire dies out here as well.

Fresh waves appear over there, half-emerge from cover then sink again behind the parapets. Officers jump onto the thrown-up earth and try to encourage their men by their example. Flat-helmets emerge in numbers once more only to disappear again immediately. The hail of bullets from our infantry and machine-guns sprays over their defences.

The English officers no longer leave the trench. The sight of the field of attack takes the breath away from the attacker.

The attack is dead.

Our losses are very heavy. The enemy's losses are inconceivable. In front of our division's sector, the English lie in rows by company and by battalion, mowed-down, swept-away.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. The extract is from "Experiences of Baden Soldiers at the Front, Volume 1: Machine-guns in the Iron Regiment (8th Baden Infantry Regiment No.169)" by Otto Lais (1935), translated by Andrew C Jackson (1998).
     






MercatorNet
First the good news. The great news! The MercatorNet family was extended recently by the arrival of Emma Maria El-Rahi, the new little daughter of Tamara and Nadim whom Tamara introduces to us today in a post on Family Edge. Congratulations both, and thanks Tamara for sharing your joy with us. And thank you Emma for your sweet baby smile – the world needs it so much.
There are certainly reasons for gloom as, a hundred years after the Battle of the Somme, we are still in a kind of world war, now driven by religious fanaticism and terrorism.
Michael Cook suggests that the Somme can be seen as “the opening salvo in the culture of death” – that is, the war we wage against ourselves with technology for lack of a moral framework that would make it serve only humane ends. His reflections introduce the reminiscences of a German soldier who fought in the front lines on July 1, 1916, and which vividly illustrate what was new and shocking about the First World War – the industrial scale of the thing that swept away the lives of 38 million people.
Technology is neither good nor bad in itself, but it’s not always easy to work out when we are putting it to good use or bad. That seems to be the case with handing over human work to robots – a subject visited by Marcus Roberts. Of course, we have lived with automation for a long time, but we could still take a wrong turn with it, don’t you think?
Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,
MERCATORNET
When 19,000 British troops died in a single day
Michael Cook | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
The carnage of World War I was the opening salvo of the culture of death.
Read more...
 
New baby, new wonders
Tamara El-Rahi | FAMILY EDGE | 1 July 2016
First impressions from the first weeks of parenthood.
Read more...
 
Handshakes, Islam, and religious tolerance in the West
Jennifer S. Bryson | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
Genuine tolerance allows for difference.
Read more...
 
The robots are coming!
Marcus Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 1 July 2016
And our jobs are under threat.
Read more...
 
World War I marks a bloody anniversary today
Mark Harrison | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
Why the Battle of the Somme marks a turning point of World War I
Read more...
 
Don’t feed the trolls
Jennifer Roback Morse | CONNECTING | 1 July 2016
It only encourages the PIPsqueaks.
Read more...
MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street, North Strathfied NSW 2137, Australia

Designed by elleston
New Media Foundation | Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George St | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AUSTRALIA | +61 2 8005 8605 

MercatorNet: Handshakes, Islam, and religious tolerance in the West

MercatorNet: Handshakes, Islam, and religious tolerance in the West



Handshakes, Islam, and religious tolerance in the West

Genuine tolerance allows for difference.
Jennifer S. Bryson | Jul 1 2016 | comment 1 
    




Two Muslim boys in Switzerland have declined, on religious grounds, to shake hands with their female teachers. The school district says Swiss custom should override religion and is now threatening to fine the parents of the boys $5,000 if the boys continue to refuse to comply.

Some years ago, I worked with a male Muslim intern who refused to shake my hand for religious reasons. The experience challenged me to think more deeply about tolerance and diversity, and I think the lessons I learned are worth sharing.

In the summer of 2010, as Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ, I hired my first Muslim intern, a young man named Muhammad. I was eager to move beyond studying Islam from a distance and to develop the Project into an opportunity for Muslim and non-Muslim Americans to collaborate together as partners on issues of shared concern.

I was impressed by Muhammad’s resume, which included a rigorous education at an excellent college that left him just as prepared to attend graduate school in Islamic studies or medical school (he has since done both). We had never met in person, as the internship had been arranged via e-mail. But on paper he sure seemed like a rising star.The first thing that happened when he arrived in Princeton to start his internship was that he refused to shake my hand. Shock. Shock was my initial response. I tried to hide how stunned I was, but it was difficult. He was absolutely gracious in declining. I felt angry when he refused to shake my hand just because I am female, but it was hard to be angry at someone who was so kind. It wasn’t even clear to me what or who the object of my confused anger was. He explained that it was due to his religious beliefs that he does not shake women’s hands. Was I, who had hired this intern to help with religious freedom work, going to reject his freedom to follow his religious beliefs?

I suppressed how baffled and worried I felt. I moved right along as if nothing had happened. I welcomed him to the Witherspoon Institute and began introducing him to the work we would be doing that summer. But inside, my head and heart were spinning.

I have zero patience—I mean zero—for misogyny. I’ve had boys in Yemen throw stones at me and another woman. I’ve been treated like a dangerous toxic substance by a Catholic priest who seemed to wish desperately that women just didn’t exist. “Misogyny” is a word I don’t use lightly, but there are times when it is the appropriate descriptor of some men’s attitudes. I could not help but wonder: was misogyny what I was experiencing? What I would be in for all summer long?

Yet, because I recognized that I did not understand why this young man refused to shake my hand, I did not jump to conclusions. Instead, I took a “wait-and-see” approach. He was an American. A kid from the Jersey shore. His refusal was religious, not cultural. I realized that I knew almost nothing about this young man. Who was I to judge him? Moreover, I badly needed an assistant at work and had prepared a mighty long to-do list for him. I knew we needed to work together in a spirit of collaboration to get through the busy summer ahead. An antagonistic relationship seemed like it would only get in the way. I swallowed my fears and acted like nothing had happened.

But something had happened: my assumptions about my own tolerance had been jolted with a radical challenge. Was I tolerant enough and sufficiently appreciative of diversity—particularly of religious diversity—to live and let live, even if it made me feel slighted?

That summer with Muhammed, along with subsequent collaboration at the Witherspoon Institute with Orthodox Jewish men who did not shake women’s hands, taught me many lessons.

Lesson one: I was reminded concretely of something I knew abstractly: namely, that Muslims are diverse. This young man was from a particular interpretive school of Shia Islam with which I was not very familiar. In over twenty years of academic studies and professional work related to Islam, I had never met a Muslim who, for religious reasons, would not shake a woman’s hand. Well, here was one. And then I met Orthodox Jewish men who would not shake my hand. And here too I was reminded: Jews are diverse. Moreover, for religious reasons, some Muslim women and some Orthodox Jewish women do not shake men’s hands. Issues of modesty, chastity, and ritual purity can involve both men and women; this is not just an issue of male attitudes toward women.

Lesson two: the reasons some religious men do not have social physical contact with women outside of their direct families should not always be reduced to misogyny. Where there is actual misogyny, it is something to be taken seriously. But painting all males with a broad brush is neither fair nor accurate. Men should be given the opportunity to speak for themselves, to explain their own thoughts, intentions, and consciences.

Lesson three: refusal to have physical contact with women is not necessarily equivalent to refusal to recognize that women have professional abilities. This intern had absolutely no problem having a woman as his boss that summer. He was eager to assist me, and he always listened attentively to directions I gave him. He consistently did an excellent job carrying out the tasks I assigned to him.

Lesson four: refusal to have physical contact with women is not necessarily equivalent to refusal to recognize that women have intellectual abilities. That summer, starting from that very first day, this intern and I had fantastic discussions about some of the greatest minds in Muslim intellectual history. He asked me lots of questions about my dissertation and treated me as a person from whom he thought he might learn something. He gave me brilliant reading recommendations in modern Islamic theology, all of them profound and challenging sources. He never treated me as if he thought I was stupid. Never.

Muhammad was a fantastic intern. We were lucky to have him work with us that summer at the Witherspoon Institute. He was a delightful colleague for all of us at the Institute and, significantly, he treated all the women with respect.

While I do not know the particular reasons for the refusal of the two Syrian boys in Switzerland to shake women’s hands, I can’t help but think of my intern Muhammad. After his internship, he went on to do a Master’s Degree at Harvard in Islamic theology, and now he is in medical school preparing to serve others in society as a doctor. As an American, I feel my country is lucky to have such a talented man, who values public service, as a citizen. If these two boys are even half as talented and kind as Muhammad, the loss will be Switzerland’s if this family cannot stay there.

I can’t say that I genuinely understand why Muhammad won’t shake women’s hands, but having to live without fully understanding is something that I think comes with the territory of genuine diversity. Muhammad allows me the freedom to shake the hands of men who choose to partake of this cultural practice, and I allow him the freedom not to.

The principle of religious freedom demands that we allow space in our society for difference. Genuine tolerance allows for difference. Of course, this is something quite different from trying to pass off imposition of the cultural norms of those who are in power as “tolerance” simply by labeling it so. I hope that the Swiss government is able to tell the difference between the two—not only for the sake of those boys and their families, but for the sake of their own society.

Jennifer S. Bryson, PhD, is Director of Operations and Development at the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom in Washington, DC. This article was originally published on The Public Discourse. View the original article.






MercatorNet
First the good news. The great news! The MercatorNet family was extended recently by the arrival of Emma Maria El-Rahi, the new little daughter of Tamara and Nadim whom Tamara introduces to us today in a post on Family Edge. Congratulations both, and thanks Tamara for sharing your joy with us. And thank you Emma for your sweet baby smile – the world needs it so much.
There are certainly reasons for gloom as, a hundred years after the Battle of the Somme, we are still in a kind of world war, now driven by religious fanaticism and terrorism.
Michael Cook suggests that the Somme can be seen as “the opening salvo in the culture of death” – that is, the war we wage against ourselves with technology for lack of a moral framework that would make it serve only humane ends. His reflections introduce the reminiscences of a German soldier who fought in the front lines on July 1, 1916, and which vividly illustrate what was new and shocking about the First World War – the industrial scale of the thing that swept away the lives of 38 million people.
Technology is neither good nor bad in itself, but it’s not always easy to work out when we are putting it to good use or bad. That seems to be the case with handing over human work to robots – a subject visited by Marcus Roberts. Of course, we have lived with automation for a long time, but we could still take a wrong turn with it, don’t you think?
Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,
MERCATORNET
When 19,000 British troops died in a single day
Michael Cook | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
The carnage of World War I was the opening salvo of the culture of death.
Read more...
 
New baby, new wonders
Tamara El-Rahi | FAMILY EDGE | 1 July 2016
First impressions from the first weeks of parenthood.
Read more...
 
Handshakes, Islam, and religious tolerance in the West
Jennifer S. Bryson | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
Genuine tolerance allows for difference.
Read more...
 
The robots are coming!
Marcus Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 1 July 2016
And our jobs are under threat.
Read more...
 
World War I marks a bloody anniversary today
Mark Harrison | FEATURES | 1 July 2016
Why the Battle of the Somme marks a turning point of World War I
Read more...
 
Don’t feed the trolls
Jennifer Roback Morse | CONNECTING | 1 July 2016
It only encourages the PIPsqueaks.
Read more...
MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street, North Strathfied NSW 2137, Australia

Designed by elleston
New Media Foundation | Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George St | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AUSTRALIA | +61 2 8005 8605