… Probably a good time to stop for the day.

(via No Swearing Gambling Drinking | Shorpy Historical Photo Archive)

January 1937. “Children of citrus workers in hallway of apartment house. Winter Haven, Fla.” Swearing, Gambling and Drinking, with their little brother Allowed. Photo by Arthur Rothstein, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

Juhuri, which belongs to the family of Iranian tongues, was the language of the Jews who live in the eastern Caucasus Mountains, an ethnic group whose members were also known as “Mountain Jews.’ For years the Jews of the Caucasus lived as a minority in the northern part of Azerbaijan and in Dagestan. In that region there is a larger population of Muslims of Persian origin, who speak a similar language, called Tat. That is why linguists call Juhuri “Judeo-Tat.”

According to a tradition prevalent in the community, the Jews of the Caucasus are descendants of tribes exiled from the Kingdom of Judea after the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the First Temple. They settled in Persia, where they acquired one of the dialects of Persian, at the same time preserving a considerable vocabulary of Hebrew words. When the Persian rulers wished to strengthen the northern borders of the empire, they resettled these Jewish tribes in the Caucasus.

Until the 20th century, Juhuri was used mainly as the everyday spoken language. Hebrew was the community’s principal written language, and was also the language of prayer and study, with almost all Jewish men in the Caucasus learning to read and write it from an early age. When the members of the community began using Juhuri as a written language, they used Hebrew letters similar to Rashi script (a semi-cursive typeface for Hebrew used by early typographers). The first two books printed in Juhuri in Hebrew script - a prayer book and a book about Zionism - were published in 1908 and 1909, respectively. The Jews managed to preserve their unique language for hundreds of years, until the Russians arrived in the Caucasus.

In the mid-19th century, Russia annexed the region, and the Russian language began to spread in the Caucasus. As education became more secular, the Jews developed commercial ties with the Russian community, and many of them moved from rural areas to the cities, which were populated by Russians. But only after the communist revolution did the mass transition from Juhuri to Russian begin.

In 1929, following the Russification efforts of the communist government and its attempts to suppress any trace of religion, speakers of Juhuri stopped writing in Hebrew letters and began using the Latin alphabet. Ten years later they began to write the language in Cyrillic letters. This transition made reading the language very difficult, because the Cyrillic alphabet did not suit the unique sound system of Juhuri.

Why is it that after hundreds of years, during which the Mountain Jews managed to preserve their unique language in a multilingual environment, it has almost disappeared over the course of a few decades in the 20th century?

Vitaly Shalem, a native of Pyatigorsk in the Caucasus, who immigrated to Israel in 1992, is so preoccupied by this question that he decided to write a master’s thesis on it in the linguistics department of Tel Aviv University. Shalem, 36, belongs to the generation whose mother tongue was Russian rather than Juhuri. “My parents didn’t speak Juhuri to me, although they did speak it between themselves,” he says. “The little I knew I learned from my grandmother.”

Shalem examines the sociolinguistic aspect of the language and tries to document its history from the pre-Revolutionary period to the present. “In my thesis, I ask whether the language is really in danger of extinction. My answer is yes, although not at the moment. My guess is that in about 40 years it will be extinct. Experts tend to blame the Soviet government and its enforced policy of Russification for the extinction of the language. But the linguistic policy of the Soviet government is only part of the issue. The more important reason for the decline of Juhuri was apparently sociological.

"Beginning in the 19th century, the prestige of the Russian language increased steadily, and fluency in it was considered a path to success. The Mountain Jews found themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Although they gave the Russians a friendly welcome, certainly compared to other communities in the Caucasus, the attitude of the Russian government toward them was not significantly different than its attitude toward the other inhabitants of the region. The Russians considered the Jews, like the other Caucasian communities, uneducated, inferior and lacking professions.

"The main reason for this attitude was the Mountain Jews’ ignorance of Russian. Even the Ashkenazi Jews in Russia [Jews of European origin] looked down on them. The key to success in the new world in which they found themselves was the ability to speak Russian without a trace of a foreign accent. Knowledge of Juhuri was considered an obstacle that was liable to prevent the people of the Caucasus from speaking perfect Russian. The attitude of the speakers toward their language changed, and they even stopped speaking to their children in Juhuri."

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From my uncle’s website.

Jews are natives, Muslims colonists

There has been a small but almost continuous Jewish presence in Palestine for 2,000 years.  When the state of Israel was declared in 1948,  Muslims in Palestine were colonists from other parts of the Ottoman Empire who had been resettled  there for less than 60 years. The narrative that Jews, Yazidis and Copts are settlers is false, Ezequiel Doiny argues in the Gatestone Institute:


Religious leader at the Yazidi temple at Lalish. Yazidis, Copts and Jews are not settlers in the Middle East

The Muslim rulers not only kept the number of Jews low through discriminatory taxes, they also increased the Muslim population by providing incentives for Muslim colonists to settle in the area. Incentives included free land, 12 years exemption from taxes and exemption from military service.
Bat Ye’or continues:

"By the early 1800s the Arab population in Palestine was very little (just 246,000) it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s that most Muslim Colonists settled in Palestine because of incentives by the Ottoman Government to resettle displaced Muslim populations because of events such as the Austro-Hungarian Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War and World War 1. Those events created a great quantity of Muslim Refugees that were resettled somewhere else in the Ottoman Empire… In 1878 an Ottoman law granted lands in Palestine to Muslim colonists. Muslim colonists from Crimea and the Balkans settled in Anatolia, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine."

Justin McCarthy, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, writing in his Annotated Map, “Forced Migration and Mortality in the Ottoman Empire,” also notes that there were about five million Muslims displaced due to the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War, Balkan wars, the Turkish war of independence and World War I.

Sergio DellaPergola, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in his paper "Demography in Israel/Palestine: Trends, Prospects and Policy Implications,” provides estimates of the population of Palestine in different periods. As the demographic data below shows, most Muslims living in Palestine in 1948 when the State of Israel was created had been living there for fewer than 60 years:

1890: Arab Population 432,000
1947: Arab Population 1,181,000
Growth in Arab population from 1890 to 1947: 800,000

The Yazidi in Iraq and the Christian Copts in Egypt are not “settlers” and “occupiers;” neither are the Jews in Israel. They are victims of a common enemy that seems to want a Middle East free of non-Muslims.

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Point of No Return

Fletched and Nocked || Open

Ffffft. The gentle glide of a finger resettled the edges of the feather fletching the most recent arrow. A pile sat in front of the silver-gold elf, and had been steadily growing in the stillness of the day. When the Wood sat quiet this way, Legolas often found himself pushing the limits of his travels as far as he could before returning as to not upset his father.

Things had not truly settled well for him since the Battle, and Legolas could not abide the unrest he often felt. Though his father’s latest quest had him curious as to why he was looking for the creature, he could not stop himself for searching for a glimpse of flashing chestnut hair amongst the trees while he hunted. This, of course, made him feel foolish as he knew his old friend was no longer of the living.

A soft sigh, a rare sound of his, escaped him as he gathered the fletched and nocked arrows, tucking them carefully into his quiver. A fissure of awareness rippled up his spine and just as quick, an arrow was nocked on his bow as he turned, barely stopping himself from releasing the tensed strings.

In our country, the Taliban will come and they will slash our throats and finish our lives. It will take 10 minutes to die. But here, they are killing us by pain, taking our soul and our life slowly. In our countries there is physical torture, but here we are being tortured mentally.

Unnamed refugee (x)

More than 50 refugees have been resettled by the Australian government on Nauru, where they reportedly don’t have enough food or water, can’t get enough work to cover the most basic living expenses, live in appalling conditions and feel they have been “abandoned to live like animals in the jungle”.

Meanwhile, 44 other asylum seekers remain in indefinite detention, despite having been found to be legitimate refugees, due to adverse security findings. (Note: This does not mean they pose any actual threat to Australia. We’re talking, for instance, a Tamil refugee who was forcibly recruited into the Tamil Tigers before fleeing the civil war.) Their incarceration is in breach of more than 140 international laws and conventions. (x)

And this is just from today’s newspaper. This has been going on for years, under both Labor and Liberal governments, and it’s only getting worse. In onshore detention centres, on Manus Island, on Christmas Island, on Nauru, on a customs ship in the middle of the fucking ocean — asylum seekers (including children) in Australian immigration detention are being subjected to mental anguish and abuse and denied basic needs.

And when they are driven to self-harm and suicide, the Australian government accuses them of emotional blackmail.

And remember, none of these people have committed a crime by seeking asylum. They are not “queue-jumpers”. They are not “illegal immigrants”. These are people fleeing death and persecution in their home countries, and if their refugee status is upheld, then Australia is obliged under international law offer them protection.

And instead our government is torturing them.

And we’re letting it happen.

anonymous said:

Hi! i am a scifi/fantasy lover who dabbles in most all other genres but recently i've been in a slump due to the fact that i feel like i have already read all the good popular books. are there any lesser known gems that you can recommend to me? i would greatly appreciate it!

Hello, my darling dove, you’ve come to the right place.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi that not a lot of people know about:

Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness - it’s like frontier/western on a newly resettled planet, which is kind of a mix of sci-fi and dystopia. The books will ruin you. Read them.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - beautiful, epic scale high fantasy. 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson- great characters, great story, fantasy not based on western history.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan - One word: dragons. Very reminiscent of the Lost World by Conan Doyle. Written in the style of a diary, very 18th century.

Sabriel by Garth Nix - high fantasy, but it’s like the 1960’s England mixed with actual fantasy world together. Necromancy, zombies, monsters. It’s fascinating. 

Deathless by Catherine M Valente - set in WWII Russia, a somewhat modern fairy tale about Koshei the Deathless and Marya Morevna.  It’s like Shadow and Bone, but like 100x better, and doesn’t appropriate Russian culture. 

The Emperor’s Edge  by Lindsay Buroker -  fantasy/steam-punk mix, very Emperial fantasy/mystery. Very Tamora Pierce. (first e-book if free on Amazon)

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - DRAGONS!!!!!! (that’s all you need to know) Best goshdarn dragon book ever.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins - first of all it’s funny. Second, a very modern feminine kick ass girl  who gains magical powers and has to protect the one guy she wants to strangle. I recommend it for humor alone.

Tamora Pierce Tortall Universe books - I’m re-reading these now, and I gotta be honest, they’re the kind of book you appreciate more when you’re younger. The first series Song of the Lioness, is actually pretty badly written, but you’ve gotta wade through it because it sets up the world of Tortall and you get to meet a lot of the amazing characters that show up in the later series in order— The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Daughter of the Lioness, Provost’s Dog — which get exponentially better with each book. 

Hope you find something you like. 

December 1935. “Typical squalid homes, Hamilton County, Ohio.” 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans for the Resettlement Administration.