WWI centenary to be marked in London and Paris, not Berlin
By DAVID RISING
Monday, November 5
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on French soil, and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be in London for a ceremony in Westminster Abbey with Queen Elizabeth II.
But while Germany’s leaders visit the capitals of its wartime enemies, at home there are no national commemorations planned for the centenary of the Nov. 11 armistice that ended the four-year war that left 17 million dead, including more than 2 million German troops.
Next week, the German parliament is holding a combined commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the first German republic, the 80th anniversary of the brutal Nazi-era pogrom against Jews known as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), and the 29th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Almost as an afterthought, parliament notes there’s also art exhibition in the lobby called “1914/1918 – Not Then, Not Now, Not Ever.”
More than just being on the losing side of World War I, it’s what came next that is really behind Germany’s lack of commemorative events.
For Germany, the Nov. 11 armistice did not mean peace like it did in France and Britain. The war’s end gave rise to revolution and street fighting between far-left and far-right factions. It also brought an end to the monarchy, years of hyperinflation, widespread poverty and hunger, and helped create the conditions that brought the Nazis to power in 1933.
The horrific legacy of the Holocaust and the mass destruction of World War II simply overshadows everything else in Germany, said Daniel Schoenpflug, a historian at Berlin’s Free University’s Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute. His new book, “A World on Edge,” explores the immediate aftermath of the war through individual perspectives.
“One can’t reduce it to the simple fact that one country won the war and the other lost,” Schoenpflug said. “Germany is a country that draws practically its entire national narrative out of the defeat of 1945” — and not the defeat of 1918.
By contrast in Turkey, which was also on the losing side in World War I, the war’s end produced a similar collapse of the Ottoman empire and a war of independence, but also gave rise to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern Turkish republic.
In Germany, even though the end of World War I is now viewed through the prism of Hitler and the Holocaust, in the immediate postwar period there actually was a time of utopianism, with movements promoting idealistic visions of peace and democracy, Schoenpflug said.
Yet on the other side of the political spectrum, utopianism on the right also gave birth to fascism, he said.
And as initial euphoria over the end of World War I faded, hopes for the future quickly gave way to feelings of resentment at the reparations and conditions imposed on Germany by the victorious powers. The Nazis and right-wing nationalists were able to garner support by pushing the “stab-in-the-back” myth, which held that Germany’s civilian leaders sold out the army by agreeing to the Nov. 11 surrender.
“There was a war of dreams, a clash of utopias” between the right and the left, Schoenpflug said.
Although there aren’t any national commemorations in Germany marking the war’s end, individual events are planned, including an exhibition at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. A special World War I religious service is also being organized by the German Bishops Conference at the Berliner Dom cathedral.
And in addition to German officials taking part in events in London and Paris, the Foreign Ministry said they and their British counterparts have worked together to coordinate the ringing of church and secular bells around the world on Nov. 11 to mark the war’s centenary.
“The bells will ring at midday to commemorate the more than 17 million victims of World War I and as a call for understanding and reconciliation across borders,” the ministry said.
This version corrects the spelling of Westminster Abbey.
Rediscovering America: A Quiz on the United States in World War I
By Jennifer Keene
November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, when Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allied powers that ended the fighting.
The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of the history and background of the United States’ role in the “Great War.”
1. Who was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces?
A. John J. Pershing
B. Douglas Haig
C. Douglas MacArthur
D. Dwight Eisenhower
2. World War I began in August 1914; when did the United States enter the war?
A. April 6, 1915
B. April 6, 1916
C. April 6, 1917
D. April 6, 1918
3. Which WWI battle lasted 47 days and is one of the most lethal in American military history?
A. The Somme
4. How many languages were spoken in the wartime American army?
5. What was the aim of President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points?
A. To enact Prohibition
B. To build a new international order
C. To strengthen the military
D. To regulate U.S. corporations
6. What were the names of the two lion cub mascots adopted by American fighter pilots in France’s Lafayette Escadrille unit?
A. Mo and Larry
B. Adam and Eve
C. Whiskey and Soda
D. Gin and Tonic
7. Who played Alvin York, World War I’s most celebrated hero, in the 1941 biopic “Sergeant York”?
A. Clark Gable
B. Jimmy Stewart
C. Gary Cooper
D. Charlie Chaplin
8. What organization was founded by World War I veterans in 1919?
A. The Veterans of Foreign Wars
B. The American Legion
C. The Grand Army of the Republic
D. The American Protective League
9. What percentage of African American soldiers during World War I served in segregated non-combatant units?
A. 50 percent
B. 39 percent
C. 75 percent
D. 89 percent
10. What international organization was formed after World War I to resolve international disputes?
A. United Nations International Court of Justice
B. League of Nations
C. Amnesty International
D. North Atlantic Treaty Organization
ANSWERS: 1-A, 2-C, 3-C, 4-D, 5-B, 6-C, 7-C, 8-B, 9-D, 10-B
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jennifer Keene is a history professor at Chapman University, president of the Society of Military History, and curator of the forthcoming Ashbrook Center book compilation “World War I and the Roaring Twenties: Core Documents.” She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
College students with disabilities are too often excluded
November 5, 2018
Christa Bialka, Assistant Professor of Special Education, Villanova University
Disclosure statement: Christa Bialka does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
AnnCatherine Heigl, a sophomore at George Mason University, recently attempted to join all eight sororities at her school. All eight turned her down.
If you ask her sister, who Tweeted about how the experience left AnnCatherine “unwanted and devastated,” the reason the sororities denied AnnCatherine is because she has a disability: Down syndrome.
This kind of outright rejection isn’t the experience of all college students with disabilities. But AnnCatherine’s experience is hardly an isolated case. Since colleges and universities only have so much control over student-run groups, it’s important to consider how disability is viewed within the school community.
I’m a researcher who focuses on raising disability awareness in educational settings.
All students need to feel included in order to succeed in college. But when a student has a disability, inclusion can be more difficult to achieve. One study shows students with disabilities participate in fewer extracurricular activities, like clubs or on-campus events, than non-disabled peers. This is due to a lack of social inclusion, the study states. It also stems from the fact that many colleges and university programs “focus mostly on academic and physical accessibility.” The social participation of students with disabilities gets less attention. Since many extracurricular activities are student led and organized, it’s all the more important to understand how peers with disabilities are being excluded.
College students with disabilities are also more likely to drop out of school than their peers without disabilities. Research shows that only 34 percent of college students with disabilities complete a four year program. Conversely, 51 percent of their peers without disabilities finish school. This begs the question: How can colleges and universities become more inclusive?
First, teachers at the K-12 level need to develop skills to talk about disabilities. While educators might teach about topics like race, class, gender, or sexuality, disability is often left out of the discussion.
Ask yourself: How many books did you read in school that featured characters with disabilities? How much did you learn about the disability rights movement in your social studies classes? Or was it largely a hidden story?
Some educators have begun to recognize the importance of disability-based lessons. Still, I’d argue that those lessons need to be more deliberately incorporated in school.
By the time students enter college, they might hesitate to discuss disability because they are worried about saying the wrong thing. Awkwardness and avoidance can continue long after college.
Teachers can help by using literature to discuss disability in class. The mainstream success of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder – a book about a boy born with a craniofacial disability – shows how this is possible.
Think about language
When people do talk about disability, they may default to “disability rhetoric.” This sort of rhetoric casts people with disabilities as either inspirational or pitiable.
Ben Myers, an advocate for people with disabilities, explains the problem with disability rhetoric. When you say that a person can do something “despite” his or her disability, it sets disability up as something that strong people overcome and weaker ones live with. While rhetoric might seem harmless, this kind of speech furthers the idea that people with disabilities are incapable of success.
Inspiration-based language is problematic too. Colleges and universities should examine how disabilities are portrayed in their campus literature. They should also consider using language that reflects the reality of disability. Rather than glorify or pity a person with a disability, talk about them like they would anyone else. Recognize the person and don’t focus on the disability.
Provide opportunities for inclusion
Many colleges and universities bring individuals with disabilities to campus through community service programs. Partnerships between college students and community members with disabilities often result in mutual learning. However, it is equally important for college organizations to enable students with disabilities to participate as equals. On-campus disability groups can increase disability awareness, promote inclusion and create opportunities for all students to engage in social activities.
At Villanova, where I teach, LEVEL, a student-run disability awareness group, provides opportunities for students to raise awareness and participate in fully accessible social activities on and off campus. Similarly, Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring, or (DREAM), is a national organization that advocates for campus disability groups and individual students. Groups like LEVEL and DREAM show the way toward greater inclusion. For example, members of LEVEL recognized that “service break trips,” where students travel and work together on a community service project, were not accessible to all students. In response, LEVEL organized the first fully accessible service break trip.
Make disability a part of diversity
Although many colleges and universities have embraced diversity initiatives, disability still gets short shrift.
For instance, in a recent study of the California State University System, researchers found that 66 percent of the websites had minimal information about disabilities on the home pages. Why does this matter? The home site is the “virtual face” of the university. It’s how a university represents itself to prospective students and the public. The authors of the study argue that visible representations of disability are important to make students with disabilities feel “welcome on campus in the same way that images of racial or gender diversity are used to attract diverse applicants.”
In a recent opinion piece, Rosemarie Garland Thomson, a disability justice leader and professor at Emory University, said that most people don’t consider people with disabilities as having a shared social identity or a political status. Given how the disability community has struggled to earn basic civil rights, including access to education, employment, and healthcare, it is important to think about disability in terms of diversity.
How disability can be visible and invisible
After the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, colleges and universities had to rethink what accessibility looked like on campus. In many cases, this involved ensuring physical access to previously inaccessible spaces.
Recently, there has been a movement to map the accessibility of colleges and universities. At Penn, a graduate student and his colleagues developed the Accessibility Mapping Project. This project is a an effort to digitally map the “emergence of physical and social barriers” around campus. The project shows that a lack of physical access, such as having stairs instead of a ramp, also erects a social barrier, as people with disabilities can’t participate in that space.
It’s important to remember that disability isn’t only physical. In fact, many college students with invisible disabilities, like learning disabilities or autism, still struggle to access appropriate accommodations in their university classrooms.
What AnnCatherine endured is something no individual should experience. While there is no simple solution to address the exclusion of students with disabilities in higher education, colleges, universities and K-12 schools need to do more to provide resources, education and experiences that include students with disabilities in the conversation.
Turkey: Saudi investigators worked to remove evidence
By SUZAN FRASER
Monday, November 5
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Members of a team from Saudi Arabia sent to help Turkish authorities investigate the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi worked instead to remove evidence of the slaying, a senior Turkish official said Monday.
The official confirmed a report in Turkey’s Sabah newspaper that an 11-member team of Saudi investigators that arrived in Turkey nine days after Khashoggi was killed to take part in a joint Turkish-Saudi probe included experts on chemistry and toxicology who were reportedly charged with obfuscating the evidence.
The official said Turkey believes that two members of the team “came to Turkey for the sole purpose of covering up evidence” before Turkish police were allowed to search the Saudi Consulate, where Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 after he entered to collect a document he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.
The official said the fact that a clean-up team was dispatched suggests that Khashoggi’s killing “was within the knowledge of top Saudi officials.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with government rules.
The official also confirmed the Sabah report which identified the two experts as Ahmed Abdulaziz Al-Janobi and Khaled Yahya al-Zahrani.
The information was the latest in a series of leaks from Turkish officials apparently aimed at keeping up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and ensuring that the killing is not covered-up.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, who is leading the investigation, announced last week that Khashoggi, who lived in exile in the United States, was strangled immediately after he entered the consulate as part of a premeditated killing and that his body was dismembered before being removed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an op-ed in the Washington Post last week that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest level of the Saudi government and added that the international community had the responsibility to “reveal the puppet masters” behind the slaying.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects who have been detained in Saudi Arabia, so they can be put on trial in Turkey. They include 15 members of an alleged Saudi “hit squad” that Turkey says was sent to Istanbul to kill the Washington Post columnist who had written critically of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia acknowledged last month that Turkish evidence indicates that the Khashoggi’s killing at the consulate was premeditated, shifting its explanation in an apparent effort to ease international outrage over the death.
On Saturday, Sabah newspaper, which is close to the Turkish government, said Khashoggi’s body — which still hasn’t been found — was dismembered and removed from the Saudi Consulate in five suitcases.
A senior official of Turkey’s ruling party — and a friend of Khashoggi’s — has suggested his body may have been dissolved in acid or other chemicals.
Turkey’s vice president, Fuat Oktay, told state-run Anadolu Agency that such reports need to be investigated.
Meanwhile, two of Khashoggi’s sons appealed for his remains to be returned so that he may be buried in Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, the sons also said they hoped he did not suffer when he was killed.
“All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi (cemetery) in Medina with the rest of his family,” Salah Khashoggi said.
“I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon,” he said.
Prenatal blood screening may predict Zika virus-associated fetal defects
November 2, 2018
Authors: Suan-Sin Foo and Weiqiang Chen, Postdoctoral scholars, University of Southern California
Disclosure statement: The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The sudden and rampant outbreak of Zika virus in 2016 terrified pregnant women, particularly those residing in Zika-endemic regions, such as Brazil, as well as those in the U.S. Their fear was justified given the link between Zika virus infection during pregnancy with having a small head, a condition known as microcephaly, and other congenital defects.
The absence of early prenatal diagnosis, or treatment, for birth defects has left thousands of mothers-to-be worrying about their baby’s well-being. Others, meanwhile, have terminated their pregnancy rather than risk having a child with birth defects.
Our research revolves around mosquito-borne viruses such as Chikungunya virus and Zika virus. Each causes a distinct set of symptoms. Chikungunya virus produces debilitating persistent joint pain in adults and neurological symptoms in children; Zika virus causes defects in babies. In Jae Jung’s lab at the University of Southern California, we are investigating the mechanisms that underlie the devastating consequences of these viral infections and developing new prenatal diagnostic tests to determine whether Zika babies are in good health.
Zika and pregnancy
Zika is the first mosquito-borne virus known to cause congenital defects. Aedes aegypti, one of the most invasive and widespread species of mosquito, is the primary vector for transmitting Zika. When healthy individuals, who are not pregnant, are infected with the Zika virus the infection often escapes notice because the symptoms are mild or negligible. However, infection during the first and second trimester of pregnancy boosts the risk of miscarriages and diverse fetal defects such as eye abnormalities, neurological impairment and in more severe cases, microcephaly.
Health workers try to assess the health of Zika babies using ultrasound during the second trimester or later. But it is difficult to see from these images whether the baby has developmental abnormalities.
On the other hand, fetal MRI captures high-resolution snapshots of the fetus. But this imaging technique can only be used in the second or third trimesters – when it is more difficult to terminate a pregnancy. A diagnostic assay that could detect abnormalities early in the pregnancy could alleviate the mother’s stress and make it easier to make swift reproductive decisions.
Developing a new diagnostic test
During the Zika outbreak in Brazil, there were other co-circulating mosquito-borne viruses such as Dengue virus and Chikungunya virus. So we also chose to take blood samples from women from the U.S. where these viruses are not endemic. In our recent research, we surveyed blood samples from 74 pregnant women: 30 were Zika-positive, 30 were negative and 14 were from women in Los Angeles. This study was led by Jae Jung, in collaboration with Patrícia Brasil of the Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas in Brazil, and Karin Nielsen-Saines and Genhong Cheng of UCLA.
Our findings revealed an elevated production of 16 specific protein biomarkers, which are present in the blood of pregnant women who gave birth to babies with developmental delays and eye abnormalities. These biomarkers are potentially useful for predicting the outcomes of Zika pregnancies simply using blood specimens from the mother-to-be at any stage of pregnancy.
The number of Zika cases has dramatically declined following the major outbreaks in 2016. Yet, many Zika babies are still suffering from the dire consequences of prenatal infection. With the widespread abundance of Aedes mosquitoes, and the fact that Zika virus has not been eradicated, new outbreaks of Zika can occur anytime.
We are continuing our research to understand how Zika disrupts the development of the fetus, treatment strategies for babies affected by the virus, and ways to prevent Zika infection in the first place. Only when we have a thorough understanding of Zika infections can we assure the health of future generations.
Christians in Egypt bury their dead after attack
By SAMY MAGDY and HAMZA HENDAWI
Saturday, November 3
MINYA, Egypt (AP) — Hundreds of Egyptian Christians attended a funeral service Saturday after seven people were killed in an ambush by Islamic State militants of buses carrying pilgrims to a remote desert monastery.
The service at Prince Tadros church in the central city of Minya was held amid tight security. Minya’s top cleric, Anba Makarios, led prayers over a row of six white coffins, all victims from the same family. A separate funeral was held for the seventh victim, a bus driver.
Relatives of the victims cried and held each other for support. Some rested their heads on the coffins and wept. A list of the victims’ names released by the church said a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were among the dead. Nineteen were wounded in the attack, according to the church.
Aida Shehata, who was shot in her legs, said masked men opened fire on three buses from different directions. Two of the buses were able to speed away and reach the monastery, but the militants stopped the third one and killed the driver and six of the passengers, including her husband and his brother.
“The driver tried to go to the monastery but they (the militants) were faster,” Shehata told a Coptic TV network.
An Islamic State affiliate based in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula claimed the attack, calling it revenge for the imprisonment of “our chaste sisters,” without elaborating.
The attack cast a shadow on one of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s showpieces — the World Youth Forum — which opens Saturday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The forum is drawing thousands of local and foreign youth to discuss a wide range of topics, with Egypt’s 63-year-old leader taking center stage.
In an apparent effort to keep the attack from overshadowing the start of the three-day conference, two state-owned newspapers ran front-page banner headlines about the forum. Akhbar al-Youm ran a large photo of el-Sissi cycling in Sharm el-Sheikh. Its reference to the attack lower down in the page made no mention of casualties.
IS has repeatedly targeted Egypt’s Christians as punishment for their support of el-Sissi, who led the military’s 2013 ouster of an elected but divisive Islamist president.
El-Sissi, who has made security among his top priorities since taking office in 2014, wrote on his Twitter account that Friday’s attack was designed to harm the “nation’s solid fabric” and pledged to continue fighting terrorism. He later offered his condolences when he spoke by telephone with Pope Tawadros II, spiritual leader of Egypt’s Orthodox Christians and a close ally of the president.
Begemy Nassem Nasr, the priest of the church of St. Mary in the central Egyptian city of Minya, near where the attack took place, suggested it was meant to embarrass el-Sissi as he hosted the youth forum. “I think that this is a terrorist act which is targeting Egypt through playing the card of the Copts,” he said.
Friday’s attack was the second to target pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in as many years, indicating that security measures put in place since then are inadequate. The previous attack in May 2017 left nearly 30 people dead. IS has also targeted Christian churches with a series of suicide bombings since December 2016 that have killed scores of people.
The attacks led to tighter security around Christian places of worship and Church-linked facilities, where metal detectors and armed police are routinely deployed. They have also underlined the vulnerability of minority Christians in the conservative, Muslim-majority country.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said Friday’s attackers used secondary dirt roads to reach the buses carrying the pilgrims, who were near the monastery at the time of the attack. Only pilgrims have been allowed on the main road leading to the monastery since last year’s attack.
Some Christians in Minya said police negligence was partly to blame for the latest attack, saying they stopped providing armed escorts for pilgrims’ buses.
“They should have escorted them. They know it is dangerous to leave them alone on that road,” said Youssef Attya, a 38-year-old health worker from Minya.
The Interior Ministry said police were pursuing the attackers, who fled the scene.
Egypt’s Christians, who account for some 10 percent of the country’s 100 million people, have long complained of discrimination. Christian activists say the church’s alliance with el-Sissi has offered the ancient community a measure of protection, but sectarian violence still flares from time to time, especially in poorer and more rural areas.
Christians make up some 35 percent of the population in Minya, more than in any other governorate. The area has also seen the most acts of violence against Christians in recent years.
Christians there accuse the local police of going easy on Muslim assailants, saying authorities prefer to resolve disputes through reconciliation rather than arresting and prosecuting those who commit crimes.
Hendawi reported from Cairo.
Pope decries attack on Christian worshipers in Egypt
Sunday, November 4
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has decried the attack on pilgrims in Egypt, saying they were killed “for being Christians.”
Francis invited faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday to pray with him for the seven slain as they were making their way to a remote Orthodox Coptic monastery.
Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population and have long complained about discrimination.
Francis voiced “sorrow for the terrorist attack which two days ago struck the Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt.”
He said he was praying for the “pilgrims killed for the sole fact of being Christians,” asking that those grieving be comforted.
In 2017, an attack on the same monastery killed 29 persons.
On Sunday, Egypt said security forces killed 19 militants in a shootout, including the gunmen suspected in Friday’s attack.