Monday, November 27, 2023

Top Links - 27 November

(1) Small islands try very hard to exert their influence in climate discussions – warming can mean their annihilation

I read this article from The Economist: "Many small islands have no room for manoeuvre at COP28." In brief, it discusses how small islands are basically screwed by global warming, so they are desperate for things to change:

Climate security matters more for sids than geopolitical wrangles do. It is an existential issue for them as their vulnerabilities are potentially extreme. In one night in 2015 Cyclone Pam, the second-most intense tropical storm ever recorded in the southern Pacific Ocean, caused damage equivalent to 60% of Vanuatu’s annual GDP and wiped out much of the country’s infrastructure. As for the Caribbean: to take one year, 2017, the estimated cost of the hurricane season for the region’s countries was $93bn.

As Abdulla Shahid, the departing foreign minister of the Maldives, puts it: “sids have the smallest carbon footprint, but we find ourselves in the biggest trouble.” Models suggest much of low-lying Kiribati, the Maldives and Tuvalu will sink beneath the waves by the century’s end. Climate is a threat not only to development but to sovereignty. The prospect helps the club pack a certain moral punch. Members’ striking gestures (cabinet meetings held underwater) and slogans (“Save Tuvalu, save the world”) reinforce that punch, as does their strength in numbers: sids account for a fifth of un members.

(2) China is trying to erase Muslim culture even beyond Xinjiang

I read this super cool article in FT: "How China is tearing down Islam" (by cool, I mean great reporting). It shows that China is trying to essentially erase Islam, even outside of Xinjiang. Where they don't demolish mosques, they force them to take on Chinese characteristics. I think an interesting thing is that there are mosques that were originally built in a Chinese style. However, the rise of Mao Zedong led Chinese Hui Muslims to build mosques in a more Arab style, as a kind of rebellion:

For centuries, Hui Muslims have built mosques in a variety of architectural styles, reflecting the period in which they were built. Many mosques and other religious buildings were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. But following the death of Mao Zedong, there was a push for more Arabic-style buildings. 

“In the 1980s, during Deng Xiaoping’s liberal era, a new mosque-building boom began, marked by a fashion for domed prayer halls and tall, slender minarets,” says Theaker.