Weekendish: Australian camels and a 'boring' beekeeper
- 27 June 2014
A collection of some of the best reads from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.
In a quiet suburb of Alice Springs, a town of 26,000 people in the heart of central Australia, there stands an unlikely building - the Afghan Mosque. Its minaret rises against the backdrop of the craggy rock and red dirt of the MacDonnell Ranges. Between 1860 and 1930 up to 4,000 cameleers came to Australia, bringing their camels with them. Long before them, and even before the Christian colonisers, other foreign Muslims had arrived in Australia, making regular contact with the country's Aboriginal peoples. The Makassans are one example - they apparently made annual trips to gather the sea cucumbers, writes Janak Rogers in When Islam came to Australia. @Alfakhiri tweets: "This is the kind of history which never really gets told." Hyder Abbasi adds: "Fascinating, a story that's nothing to do with jihad or terrorism."
A Victorian coal mine might be the last place one would expect to find disabled workers, yet there are accounts of miners with physical impairments working underground. The thing is, Victorians differentiated between "total" disability that prevented a person from working - and thus made them liable for state support under the Poor Law - and "occupational" disability that prevented a person returning to their old job, but who was still able to work. Disability historian David Turner looks at whether disabled workers enjoyed greater rights in centuries past in The good old days?. Andy Weltch tweets: "Has modern age made it harder for disabled to find work?"
If it wasn't for Jacqueline Rosadoni, the English-language library founded in Liguria on the Italian Riviera 136 years ago would have closed long ago. The English honorary librarian (she doesn't get paid) has been stamping books for some 27 years. The town once used to be the toast of British society. Nowadays, the permanent British community numbers about 15. According to the town's mayor, the library was part of Alassio life - it's not easy to find the money to preserve it but no one could bear to see it close. Vincent Dowd browses the rows and rows of faded spines the provide a curious snapshot of what appealed to the Alassio English of the 1920s and 30s in The Italian town with an English secret. Earl Moorhouse tweets: "Poignant true story about a woman who runs an English library in Italy!" Hannah Cox was inspired to take a visit: "This is beautiful and on my list to visit when I go to Italy."
Christopher Nevinson was an avant-garde British painter. He was sent to the Western Front as an official war artist commissioned by the war propaganda department. Government censors judged his painting Paths of Glory - a naturalistic image of two anonymous dead boys in the mud - bad for morale and refused to pay him for it. In The faceless men, veteran BBC war reporter Allan Little reflects on what the artwork tells us about the lure of conflict for young men. Mike Skuse leaves this message on Facebook: "The truth quite often hurts! Only now do we appreciate the honesty of such work. Pity he didn't get paid but I suppose if this was today he would be a 'whistleblower' and be accepted more." Marc Reygaert adds: "This should hang in every general's war office in the world and see what REALLY happens to human being in the war zone."
"My goal is not for bee-keeping to be seen as hip. I would like to be considered as slightly more boring the the model railroading club and slightly less boring than the orchid people." This is a member of Washington's DC Beekeepers Alliance who catches and "re-homes" wild swarming bees, using little more than a cardboard box. They are then moved to a community garden or rooftop hive. "Nice article on swarm collection," says @Scottworld. Watch the video, in which catching the bees is described as working with pastry: DC's swarm squad keeps bees at bay - without killing them
The role of added sugar in contributing to the obesity crisis is the subject of fierce debate - but calculating how much we eat is not as simple as it sounds. "It's nigh on impossible for people to work out how much added sugars they consume," nutritionist Katharine Jenner, of campaign group Action on Sugar, tells Christine Jeavans in How much sugar do we eat? "Some very interesting facts and figures, " says @PaulG_WPA. "Not good news if you have a sweet tooth," tweets @AHS_hotcats.
Here are some things we've enjoyed this week from elsewhere around the web:
Mislead Memories - Mashable
Nowhere Land - Foreign Policy
The Jihad Next Door - Politico
The Absolutist - The New Yorker
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