random notes: 11/02/12

some eskimo groups engaged in blood feuds. ruh-roh. from Eskimos and Explorers about the mackenzie eskimos (mackenzie inuit) [pg. 195]:

“Murders committed in anger were relatively common, and blood revenge led to further retalitory murders and family feuds. In one instance a woman’s rejected suitor killed her as she slept. In another a man who refused to sell his belt was stabbed in the back and killed by a person who hoped to buy the belt.

“A feud that erupted about 1860, soon after intensive historic contact, was recorded by Nuligak, a Mackenzie Eskimo. One man hoped to marry the daughter of another, but the father of the girl refused to permit the match. The rejected suitor took a valuable steel-bladed knife from one of the father’s younger sons, and the father was furious. At the first opportunity he killed not only the thief but one of his companions. As the feud spread, a cousin of the original murderer allied himself with the thief’s relatives, and more people were killed. Finally the father of the girl and the betraying cousin killed each other, but the feud continued on. As Nuligak wrote, ‘In the olden days the Inuit slew those who killed their kinsmen. One vengeance followed another like links in a chain.’

“Terrible feuds have been reported among most Eskimos, and they often spanned a number of generations….”

dunno about the mackenzie inuit, but the yupik eskimos (are mackenzie eskimos yupik eskimos? i didn’t figure that out…) have one of the highest incidence rates of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) — and carriers of CAH alleles can show “symptoms of androgen excess” — like being more aggressive, perhaps? dunno. melykin pointed out that there are high rates of violent crime in areas of canada populated by eskimos.
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from ed west in the telegraph u.k.:

“The EU was dreamed up in French and German. That’s why the British have never fitted in”

“The European project developed in the region between Paris, Brussels and the Rhineland, the heartland of the old Frankish Empire….”

isn’t THAT curious?! the modern european feudal project (for what else is the e.u. apart from feudal with a bunch of local [i.e. national] politicians playing vassals to the eurocrats?) had its origins pretty much right where medieval feudalism got going — austrasia. what is it about those people in that region?
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more on extended family human traffickers (can’t we just call them slavers?) from the balkans:

“Police bust Balkan child trafficking ring in Nancy”

“French police have arrested seven people for running an international child trafficking ring in Nancy, north east France.

“The ring is thought to have bought children from Macedonia or Kosovo for €1000 to €1500 and then sold them on to Belgium and Germany for €10,000.

Seven members of a family originally from the Balkans were arrested on Tuesday after a month of police investigation.

“According to local paper Est Républicain, several other members of the family had also been arrested in Germany in relation to the ring.

“Police took in two girls, both about 12-years-old, for questioning. They say they do not believe the girls were subjected to sexual abuse or used as slaves, but traded in line with ‘local customs’ in the traffickers’ home countries.”

in line with WHAT “local customs”?!
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corruption in china — it’s a family affair. from the nyt:

“Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader”

“[N]ow 90, the prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, not only left poverty behind, she became outright rich, at least on paper, according to corporate and regulatory records. Just one investment in her name, in a large Chinese financial services company, had a value of $120 million five years ago, the records show.

“The details of how Ms. Yang, a widow, accumulated such wealth are not known, or even if she was aware of the holdings in her name. But it happened after her son was elevated to China’s ruling elite, first in 1998 as vice prime minister and then five years later as prime minister.

“Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion….

“Unlike most new businesses in China, the family’s ventures sometimes received financial backing from state-owned companies, including China Mobile, one of the country’s biggest phone operators, the documents show. At other times, the ventures won support from some of Asia’s richest tycoons. The Times found that Mr. Wen’s relatives accumulated shares in banks, jewelers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, sometimes by using offshore entities.

“The holdings include a villa development project in Beijing; a tire factory in northern China; a company that helped build some of Beijing’s Olympic stadiums, including the well-known ‘Bird’s Nest’; and Ping An Insurance, one of the world’s biggest financial services companies.

“As prime minister in an economy that remains heavily state-driven, Mr. Wen, who is best known for his simple ways and common touch, more importantly has broad authority over the major industries where his relatives have made their fortunes. Chinese companies cannot list their shares on a stock exchange without approval from agencies overseen by Mr. Wen, for example. He also has the power to influence investments in strategic sectors like energy and telecommunications.

“Because the Chinese government rarely makes its deliberations public, it is not known what role — if any — Mr. Wen, who is 70, has played in most policy or regulatory decisions. But in some cases, his relatives have sought to profit from opportunities made possible by those decisions.

“The prime minister’s younger brother, for example, has a company that was awarded more than $30 million in government contracts and subsidies to handle wastewater treatment and medical waste disposal for some of China’s biggest cities, according to estimates based on government records. The contracts were announced after Mr. Wen ordered tougher regulations on medical waste disposal in 2003 after the SARS outbreak.

“In 2004, after the State Council, a government body Mr. Wen presides over, exempted Ping An Insurance and other companies from rules that limited their scope, Ping An went on to raise $1.8 billion in an initial public offering of stock. Partnerships controlled by Mr. Wen’s relatives — along with their friends and colleagues — made a fortune by investing in the company before the public offering….”

tptb in china NOT amused by nyt story.

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but what about the congenital disorders?

in response to the post on inbreeding in pakistan, j asked: “Many peoples discovered that inbreeding causes birth defects and they imposed social rules to avoid it. How is that these Pakistanis are not aware of the danger and on the contrary, they enforce it?”

well, really, endogamy of some sort seems to be the default setting for non-hunter-gatherer groups of humans, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when we come across a group that is rather fond of inbreeding. the rates of consanguineous marriages for pakistan (and places like saudi arabia, et. al.) are really extraordinary, tho; and in some areas of pakistan endogamous marriages (cousin marriage + marriage within the patrilineage) can reach levels like 90% of all marriages.

but why aren’t pakistanis (and other groups) put off all these close marriages by the negative side-effects like congenital disorders? some of it seems to be that they’re just not informed enough on the matter (so i suppose that they never figured out the connection on their own either?) — and some of it seems to be that they’re just resigned to their fate. pakistanis have decided that the benefits (e.g. keeping the property in the family) outweighs the drawbacks, i guess.

here from a paper entitled “Cosmopolitan Knowledge and Indigenous Perceptions of Congenital Diseases Among the Cousin Marriage Practitioners in Kabirwala Community – Pakistan” (which was read at quad-e-azam university, islamabad, but i’ll be d*mned if i can find where i got this paper from! – this is the author though):

“For the Pakistani communities, it is rather a matter of destiny and luck than a medical concern.”

example:

“Mehboob [the names have been changed to protect the innocent], a 57-year-old male lawyer is married to his cousin Rubia, 42 years old. Rubia has 5 years schooling. The couple has 9 children (2 sons and 7 daughters), one of which died within his first month. Among the 9 children, two are blind and one has hearing problems…. However, the couple call it taqdeer (destiny) and argue that two children are blind due to their own sins and that one has died because ‘us kay din poray ho gaye that’ (He has completed his life period). It is believed that God has given a specific life to every person at the birth of a child. According to local belief, the child has to spend only the prescribed life which God has given. When I mentioned a genetic problem as a possible interpretation during the interview, the parents said that it was ‘God’s will’, that this was the reason for their son’s death. According to the couple, Islam does not forbid cousin marriage. Therefore, there is no need to argue the issue on the basis of genetics. It is a matter of luck and destiny. Genetics have a minor role to play.”

c’est la vie, eh?

previously: anarchy in the u.k. and inbreeding in pakistan

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