Monday, 14 November 2016

Prostitution

Female prostitution is “the most ancient profession in the world”, as Rudyard Kipling wrote an 1889 short story (1). It may even be part of Mankind’s animal instinct, as it has been observed amongst chimpanzees and penguins. Female Adélie penguins sometimes demand pebbles from male nests for their own before mating (2). Similarly, female chimps have been observed sticking their hands out for food from males before copulation (3).

Back in the human kingdom, each jurisdiction legislates on female prostitution in one of four ways: (i) prohibition of sale; (ii) prohibition of purchase; (iii) restriction; (iv) regulation.

(i) Prohibition of sale is the most widespread, existing in mainland China (but not Taiwan), Russia, and the USA (except for eight counties in Nevada). It drives the sex trade underground and criminalises female practitioners.

(ii) Prohibition of purchase - “The Nordic Model/Scandinavian Model” (pioneered by the American radical feminist activist Catherine MacKinnon) bans men from paying women for sex. It has been adopted in Canada, France (2015) and Northern Ireland as well as Norway and Sweden. This model results in suspected prostitutes being placed under police surveillance, and any man contacting them is prosecuted. Such women thus become outcasts, prevented from having a normal social life.

(iii) Restriction is imposed in places such as England, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and Spain. Prostitution (sale and purchase) is itself lawful, but all associated activities are not, eg advertising, brothel-keeping, organising, pimping and procuring. This allows the activity but makes it very difficult. It is thus self-contradictory!

(iv) Finally there is regulation. ie licensed brothels in recognised “red light” areas. eg in most Australian states, Bangladesh, Belgium, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Turkey. This system imposes institutionalism in recognised districts and thus discriminates against freelance, sole prostitutes.

There is, of course, also male prostitution (heterosexual and homosexual) - but that is a different story!

Notes And References

(1) On The City Wall, first page.
(2)The Auk by F.M. Hunter and L.S. Davis, (1998), (pages 526-8).
(3) See for example Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat for Sex on a Long Term Basis by Cristina M. Gomes and Christophe Boesch, (2009).

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Real People Who Became Legends

From ancient times, certain exceptional individuals have become everlasting legends with highly exaggerated histories of their exploits.

Ancient Hebrew mythological figures include:
Adam (circa 4000BC) “Father of Mankind”;
Enoch (c3700BC) first writing prophet;
Solomon the Wise (King of Israel 970-930BC) sage.

The Heroic Age of Ancient Greece lasted from 1456BC (the Universal Flood) to 1101BC (the Fifth Age of Mankind), and produced the legendary characters of Greek Mythology. The following are examples:

Perseus (1356-1300 BC). His rescue of Andromeda (the Chained Lady) in 1322BC is commemorated in the constellations named after him and her, plus Cassiopeia (her mother), Cephus (Andromeda’s father) and Cetus (the whale that threatened Andromeda).

Hercules (1286-35BC) was deified and a constellation was named in his honour, with others named after his exploits, ie Leo (Lion of Nemea, which he killed), Hydra (the Water Snake he killed), Cancer (the Crab that attacked him while he was fighting Hydra), Centaur (the Horse-man he killed accidentally), Aquila (the Eagle he killed), Sagitta (the Arrow he used to do so) and Draco (Dragon he killed to obtain the Apples of the Hesperides).

The epic journey of Jason and the Argonauts in 1246BC likewise produced constellations named after parts of his vessel the Argo, ie Carina (Keel), Puppis (Poop) and Vela (Sails).

India had its own mythical heroic age c1000BC with Lord Krishna, a deified folk hero.

There followed in Asia:

Zoroaster (628-551BC) founder of the Zoroastrian religion;
Buddha (563-483BC) founder of Buddhism;
Mani (216-74AD) founder of Manichaeism.

China’s folk heroes include:

Laozi (601-531BC) - founder of the Tao religion;
Han Xin (circa 231-196 BC) general who never lost a battle;
Hua Mulan (circa 581-618AD) female warrior;


Mu Guiying (circa 1000AD) female warrior;
Yue Fei (1103-42) general;
Ji Gong (1130-1207), and “Crazy Ji” unorthodox monk
Mu Ying (1345-92) general.

An Irish mythical hero was Fion mac Cumhaill, leader of the Fianna (killed circa 250AD).

The Middle Ages, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, produced more legendary heroes, amongst whom are the following:

Siegfried, hero and brother-in-law of Gundahar, King of the Burgundians (flourished 411AD);
King Arthur (494-537AD) “the once and future king” (of Britain) and his Knights of the Round Table (509-537), who defeated the invading Anglo-Saxons;
El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz (1043-99) Spanish folk hero;
Robin Hood (ie Robin of Loxley 1160-1247) who “robbed the rich to give to the poor”;
William Tell (c1280-1354) Swiss folk hero.
Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (reigned 1456-62), known as Vlad the Impaler, who became Dracula created by Bram Stoker in 1897.
Dick Turpin ((1705-1739) highwayman.

Nineteenth Century America, with its Wild West, is remembered for a whole succession of legendary characters:
Daniel Boone(1734-1820) frontiersman;
John Chapman (1774-1845) - known as Jonny Appleseed - frontiersman;
Davy Crockett (1786-1836) “King of the Wild Frontier”;
Wild Bill Hickok (1837-76) gunfighter and gambler;
Buffalo Bill (1846-1917) cowboy, bison hunter and showman;
Jesse James (1847-82) outlaw;
Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) gambler turned lawman;
John Henry (1850-1900) railroad builder;
Calamity Jane (1852-1903) frontierswoman;
Annie Oakley (1860-1926) sharpshooter;


Casey Jones (1863-1900) heroic train driver.
Butch Cassidy (1866-1908) and the Sundance Kid (1867-1908) outlaws.

The Australian equivalent was the outlaw, Ned Kelly (1854-80).

Legendary heroes of the First Indian War of Independence (1857-8) were:

Nana Sahib (1824-57) pretender;
Rani of Jhansi (1828-58) female warrior.

The “Roaring Twenties” resulted in gangsters, fighting unpopular American Prohibition (of alcohol), becoming legends:

Bugs Moran (1893-1957);
Machine Gun Kelly (1895-1954);
Legs Diamond (1897-1931);
Lucky Luciano (1897-1962);
Al Capone "Scarface"(1899-1947);


Bonnie and Clyde [Bonnie Parker (1910-34) and Clyde Barrow (1909-34)].

Supremely there is Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German Chancellor. Most of what is now written about him is false, showing that he has become a legend. Godwin’s Law describes this type of fantasy material, which originated in anti-Nazi wartime propaganda (1939-45) and is now used by journalists and politicians to dramatise their arguments, ie “this is what Hitler did” (or “would have done”).

Then Rocky - the film character who first appeared in 1976 - and was created by Sylvester Stallone, is based on Chuck Wepner (born 1939) who fought Muhammad Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title. Wepner’s purse was a fraction of Ali’s and he was expected to be an easy opponent, but he went nearly the full fifteen rounds.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Flags

Human beings are herd animals, influenced by their fellows. This is evinced by the 195 national flags of the sovereign world. There are certain parent flags which are templates for a family. They are as follows:

The Dannebrog flag of Denmark of 1219 (a crusader flag), with its distinctive cross shifted to the hoist, was copied by the other Scandinavian countries: Finland (1917), Iceland (1944), Norway (1905), and Sweden (1442).

The Netherlands flag - the Prinsenvlag (1572) using the the blue, orange (red) and white livery colours of the Prince of Orange - was copied by the Russian flag (1696) which gave rise to the blue, red and white colours chosen by the Pan-Slav Congress of 1848 at Prague and thus adopted as the basis for the national flags of Croatia (1991), Czechia (1918), Serbia (2006), Slovakia (1992), and Slovenia (1991).

The American Stars and Stripes of 1777 (one stripe for each state) was similarly copied by Cuba (1902), Greece (1828), Liberia (1847), Malaysia (1963), Togo (1960), and Uruguay (1830).

The French vertical Tricolor adopted in 1790 (white for France; blue and red for Paris) was copied by Andorra (1866), Belgium (1831), Cameroon (1960), Chad (1960), Guinea (1958), Guinea-Bissau (1974), Italy (1805), Ireland (1922), Mali (1960), Mexico (1821), Moldova (1990), Romania (1868), and Senegal (1960).

The Union Jack of 1801 was incorporated into the flags of four of its former colonies - Australia (1901), Fiji (1970), New Zealand (1902) and Tuvalu (1997). This is the Red Cross of St George for England on the Red Cross of St Patrick for Ireland superimposed upon the White Cross of St Andrew on a blue field for Scotland.

The blue, red and yellow of the Republic of Gran Colombia of 1819-31 (golden America separated by blue sea from bloody Spain) were adopted by its three successor states of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Ethiopia was the only African country to (with difficulty) maintain its sovereignty during the 19th Century European “scramble for Africa”. Its green, yellow, red flag adopted in 1897 (the colours of the Rainbow in the book of Genesis) thus became the Pan-African colours, a model for other African and Afro-Caribbean countries when they achieved independence in the 20th Century. As a result, the following countries adopted those colours for their flags:

Benin (1960), Burkino Fasso (1960), Cameroon (1969), Central African Republic (1960), Comoros (2002), Congo Brazzaville (1960), Dominica (1978), Eritrea (1993), Ghana (1957), Grenada (1974), Guinea (1958), Guinea-Bissau (1973), Guyana (1966), Mali (1960), Mauritius (1968) , Mozambique (1983), Namibia (1990), Sao Tome & Principe (1975), Senegal (1960), Seychelles (1996), St Kitts & Nevis (1983), South Africa (1994), South Sudan (2005), Surinam (1975), Togo (1960), Uganda (1962), Zambia (1964), Zimbabwe (1980).

Similarly, the Ottoman Empire was one of the few Islamic states to preserve its independence (despite Russian attacks) during the age of European expansion. Subsequent Moslem states thus copied its crescent flag ( adopted in 1793 to symbolise the lunar calendar in Islam), namely Azerbaijan (1991), Comoros (2002), Iran (1979), Libya (1951), Malaysia (1963), Maldives (1965), Mauretania (1960), Pakistan (1947), Tunisia (1956), Turkey (1923), Turkmenistan (1991) and Uzbekistan (1991).

In contrast, the black, green, red and white colours of the flag of the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1916 were adopted by most Arab countries which gained independence thereafter, ie Iraq (2008), Jordan (1946), Kuwait (1961), Libya (1956), Sudan (1956), Syria (1946) and United Arab Emirates (1971).

The Argentine flag (blue and white of the Order of Charles III) was adopted by the Federal Republic of Central America 1823-40 and the successor states of that republic, ie Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

The United Nations Organisation sponsored the creation of four countries, which accordingly copied the blue and white of its standard of 1946 (blue for the sea; white for peace), for Micronesia (1990) and Somalia (1960).

Communist China (1949) and Vietnam (1954) have national flags modelled on that of the former Soviet Union ie red for revolution, on which there is a five-pointed star representing the Communist Party.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Legal Systems

There are three main systems in use throughout the world, namely Civil (Roman) Law, Sharia (Muslim) Law and Common (Anglo-Saxon) Law. Most Civil Law systems use juries, some Common Law ones do not (eg India and Pakistan).

Civil Law (used in 90 countries) is based on the Corpus Civilis Juris (codification of Roman law) promulgated by Emperor Justinian the Great in 529-34AD. Its rules were applied by European courts with no binding precedent case law. Then in the 19th Century it was incorporated into national codes, starting with the seminal Code Napoleon of 1804. It has been adopted throughout Asia (including China, Japan and Turkey), Francophone Africa and Latin America. It is easy to export, as all that is necessary is to promulgate legal codes. Unlike Common Law, no corpus of decisions in leading cases is necessary because Civil Law is based on principles, not precedent (although it does use case law as an indirect source). Unlike adversarial Common Law trials, it has judge-led inquisitorial hearings.

Sharia Law is based on the Qur’an (632 CE) and Hadiths (rival Shia and Sunni versions) circa 900AD. It was adopted by every Islamic jurisdiction, but most have, however, since modified it by importing some Civil Law law codes (eg Egypt, Tunisia). Similarly some Common Law countries have readopted some Sharia Law (eg Malaysia, Northern Nigeria and Pakistan). As a result, there are few pure Sharia Law countries. Even Saudi Arabia has adopted some Civil Law.

Common Law (used in 40 countries) is grounded on the 1166 Assize of Clarendon. Henry II, King of England, was disturbed by the fact that local courts were applying different laws. He, therefore, sent judges from the Court of King’s Bench on circuit throughout the realm applying a common system based on binding case law precedent (not Roman Law principles). The British Empire spread the system throughout Africa, Australasia, North America, and South Asia. Civil Law countries which fell under Anglo-Saxon control had Common Law superimposed, thereby creating hybrid systems such as the Channel Islands, Louisiana, Philippines, Quebec, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka. Now (2016) some jurisdictions (such as Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates) are adopting the English law of contract, ie importing some common law.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Illogical Frontiers

According to the US State Department, at July 21, 2015, there were 195 sovereign states in the world. Their borders are products of history, not logic. They have been negotiated based on occupation, not geographical regions. This is illustrated by the following.

Divided islands:

1. Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia)
2. Cyprus (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Republic of Cyprus)
3. Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti)
4. Ireland (Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom)
5. Kataja (Finland and Sweden)
6. Market (Finland and Sweden)
7. New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua-New Guinea)
8. Sebatik (Indonesia and Malaysia)
9. St Martin in the Caribbean (France and Netherlands)
10. Tierra del Fuego (Argentina and Chile)
11. Timor (East Timor and Indonesia)
12. Usedom (Germany and Poland)

Divided peninsulas:

1. Arabia (Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen)
2. Balkan (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia,
Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey)
2. Iberia (Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain)
3. Italy (Italian Republic, San Marino and Vatican State)
4. Korea (North and South)
5. Malay (Malaysia and Thailand)
6. Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden).

Even landmasses have artificial borders. The frontiers between Canada and the United States consist almost completely of straight lines, adopted in the 19th Century as compromises of conflicting geographical claims to river basins by British North America and USA. The colonial powers did likewise in Africa in the late 19th Century, resulting in the linear frontiers of Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and the Sahara states.

The same thing happened in the Middle East after the First World War, producing the straight borders of Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

Non-linear borders can also be artificial; the northern frontier of France snakes through flat, Francophone farmland without a geographical basis. It is merely the limit of territory conquered by the great King Louis XIV in his push to the Rhine, which he wanted as a natural border for France.

Not only are all these borders geographically artificial, they are also ethnically unjustified because they divide people speaking the same language. The 195 countries of the world speak only a few main languages eg Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi-Urdu, Indonesian-Malay, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Partition

The partitioning of a country against the will of the majority of its inhabitants violates its right to self-determination. The Twentieth Century produced several instances:

Ireland in 1922
India in 1947
Korea in 1948
Germany and China in 1949
Vietnam in 1954
Cyprus in 1974.

In Ireland, India and Vietnam, partition was imposed by the colonial power as a result of its “divide and rule” policy. In Ireland, the support for Ulster Unionism by the British Conservative Party caused the creation of Northern Ireland in 1921. Britain imposed separate electoral lists for Hindus and Muslims in India (1919), thereby starting the sectarian politics which culminated in the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan in 1947. Vietnam was partitioned by France into a Communist northern state and an anti-Communist southern one in 1954. In other words, in each case the colonial power conquered a united country and wrecked it by creating two hostile states. The results caused warfare between India and Pakistan ( 1947, 1965, 1971, 1999 ), between North and South Vietnam (1965-1975), civil war in Southern Ireland (1921-3), and insurrection in Northern Ireland (1969-98).

The partitions of Korea and Germany were created by the rival occupying powers after the Second World War. The outbreak of the Cold War between the West and Soviet Union in 1948 meant that the latter established communist republics in its zones of occupation (North Korea and East Germany). Similarly, United States naval power prevented the mainland communist Chinese taking the island of Taiwan, to which the Nationalist Government fled, resulting in the creation of two rival Chinese states. All this could have been avoided by negotiation, as happened in Austria where the occupying powers all agreed to evacuate the country (which thus became a neutral state in 1955).

Cyprus was divided by Turkey’s invasion of the north coast in 1975 to protect its ethnic compatriots. Turkish Cypriots fled thither, and Greek Cypriots were expelled. The result is two rival governments in the North and South. Forty years of negotiations for reunification have proved abortive. Once a country is destroyed, it is very difficult to reunify it. It is, nonetheless, achievable. Vietnam did so by force of arms in 1975, after a ten year war costing three million lives. Germany did it peacefully, because the imploding Soviet Union was no longer able to sustain its ally, the (East) German Democratic Republic which then collapsed. North Korea’s attempt, however, failed and resulted in the Korean War (1950-53) in which five million perished.

The partitions of the Twentieth century were thus all disastrous. They helped minorities avoid “the tyranny of the brute majority” (as Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, said), but the cure was worse than the disease.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Fiction Becomes Reality

Some fictional characters acquire a life of their own and become real people. This is because they are based on archetypal real persons. Five examples are as follows.

Father Christmas is based on Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus who lived 270-343AD). He was Bishop of Myra (Demre in Turkey) famed for his generosity. His Feast day was December 6, close to the Midwinter festival and he became the personification of Christmas.

Father Frost is based on an ancient, childless Russian blacksmith, who fashioned a substitute daughter out of snow ever year (the Snow Maiden). They became the personifications of winter.

Haji Firouz is based on Prince Siāvaš who was assassinated in ancient Iran. His son avenged his death, and so every spring Firouz reappears - black-faced and red-coated - on March 21, the first day of the Persian year, with his uncle, Amu Nawruz (Uncle New Year).

Sherlock Holmes (private detective) is based on Joseph Bell (1837-1911) whom the author Conan Doyle met in 1877. Bell was a lecturer in medicine in the University of Edinburgh who was renowned for his analytical skills and powers of deduction. The first appearance of Sherlock Holmes was in the 1887 novel A Study In Scarlet, and he became immediately so popular that he is now a world famous character and the subject of numerous new stories and films.

James Bond (secret agent) was created by Ian Fleming in 1953 and is based partly on his brother, Peter Bond, who was a British Intelligence Officer in the Second World War. The first novel was Casino Royale; this and subsequent books were made into films and have since been augmented and grown into a permanent industry, the highest-ever grossing film series.

Finally, there are purely fictional beings, such as Frankenstein (a Gothic horror creature created by Mary Shelley in 1818), Superman (created 1938) and Batman (created 1939), to mention but a few.