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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Glass beads found off Georgia shed light on Spanish empire

Roughly 70,000 beads said to provide clues to the social structure and wealth of people from the 17th century Spanish empire have been excavated by a team of scientists, an archaeologist said Tuesday. Of the 70,000 beads found over the decades, a few were in the walls of a church that had fallen.

Since 1974, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History have been digging beneath the Santa Catalina de Guale Mission, a remote outpost of the Spanish empire on St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia and "the largest repository ever from Spanish Florida," museum spokeswoman Kristin Phillips said.
"The mission was a major source of grain for Spanish Florida and a provincial capital until 1680, when the mission was abandoned after a British attack," Phillips added.
The study is a small part of a larger effort to uncover the history of the mission.
Thus far, the study has revealed "evidence of ancient trade routes from China via Manila's galleons to Mexico and Spain," said Lorann Pendleton, director of archaeology.
She said the indigenous people were wealthy in part because of their bead trade.

"Some of the highest status individuals were children," an observation determined by the number of beads one was buried with, Pendleton said. "This gives us lots of information about Guale society and means that status was ascribed with birth."

source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/14/spanish.beads/index.html

So what has happened to the status of children since the 17th century? I have read books dealing with the status of children in our world. Children have been and still are used as a cheap source of labor,in some societies they were worked to the death at a young age. Poverty,malnurishment,lack of access to education, and sexual explotation are some of the issues facing children in today's so called "modern world". In many countries girls are not given the same levels of health care,education,and nutrition as their male counterparts, and are even forced to enter into arranged marriages at young ages. In 1990 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child" (see:http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm). Nations who ratified this international convention are bound to it by international law. According to
Wikipedia:

"As of December 2008, 193 countries have ratified it, including every member of the United Nations except the United States and Somalia.Two optional protocols were adopted on 25 May 2000. One restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts, and the other prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Both protocols have been ratified by more than 120 states.(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child)." It is time that political bureaucrats pay more attention to enforcing this convention, the children of the world deserve that this happen! For instance, in India there is no outright ban on child labor; Canada has ratified the Convention but has not fully implemented the Convention in Canadian domestic laws; In 2006, following concerns expressed by the committee that the wording of the Irish Constitution does not allow the State to intervene in cases of abuse other than in very exceptional cases, the Irish government undertook to amend the constitution to make a more explicit commitment to children's rights; Saudi Arabia ratified the Convention in 1996, with a reservation 'with respect to all such articles as are in conflict with the provisions of Islamic laws, and in the United States of America, The United States government played an active role in the drafting of the Convention and signed it on 16 February 1995, but has not ratified it.Opposition to the Convention is in part due to what are seen as potential conflicts with the Constitution and because of opposition by some political and religious conservatives!!
President Barack Obama has described the failure to ratify the Convention as 'embarrassing' and has promised to review this fact.

Lets hope due to the efforts of President Obama and other concerned administrators of the World's political systems, that the convention is not only radified in the United States, but also becomes the norm for how children should be treated in our world.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.