America’s dirty little secret: Sex trafficking is big business

Sex trafficking in the United States (file photo)

 Sex trafficking in the United States (file photo)
by John W. Whitehead

The mysterious disappearance of 18-year-old Hannah Graham on September 13, 2014, has become easy fodder for the media at a time when the news cycle is lagging. After all, how does a young woman just vanish without a trace, in the middle of the night, in a town that is routinely lauded for being the happiest place in America, not to mention one of the most beautiful?

Yet Graham is not the first girl to vanish in America without a trace—my hometown of Charlottesville, Va., has had five women go missing over the span of five years—and it is doubtful she will be the last. I say doubtful because America is in the grip of a highly profitable, highly organized and highly sophisticated sex trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex.

It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged sex workers in the U.S. The average age of girls who enter into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old, with some as young as 9 years old. This doesn’t include those who entered the “trade” as minors and have since come of age. Rarely do these girls enter into prostitution voluntarily. As one rescue organization estimated, an underaged prostitute might be raped by 6,000 men during a five-year period of servitude.

This is America’s dirty little secret.

You don’t hear much about domestic sex trafficking from the media or government officials, and yet it infects suburbs, cities and towns across the nation. According to the FBI, sex trafficking is the fastest growing business in organized crime, the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns. It’s an industry that revolves around cheap sex on the fly, with young girls and women who are sold to 50 men each day for $25 apiece, while their handlers make $150,000 to $200,000 per child each year.

In order to avoid detection by police and cater to male buyers’ demand for sex with different women, pimps and the gangs and crime syndicates they work for have turned sex trafficking into a highly mobile enterprise, with trafficked girls, boys and women constantly being moved from city to city, state to state, and country to country. The Baltimore-Washington area, referred to as The Circuit, with its I-95 corridor dotted with rest stops, bus stations and truck stops, is a hub for the sex trade.

With a growing demand for sexual slavery and an endless supply of girls and women who can be targeted for abduction, this is not a problem that’s going away anytime soon. Young girls are particularly vulnerable, with 13 being the average age of those being trafficked. Yet as the head of a group that combats trafficking pointed out, “Let’s think about what average means. That means there are children younger than 13. That means 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds.”

Consider this: every two minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry. In Georgia alone, it is estimated that 7,200 men (half of them in their 30s) seek to purchase sex with adolescent girls each month, averaging roughly 300 a day. It is estimated that at least 100,000 children—girls and boys—are bought and sold for sex in the U.S. every year, with as many as 300,000 children in danger of being trafficked each year. Some of these children are forcefully abducted, others are runaways, and still others are sold into the system by relatives and acquaintances…






Posted in Activism, Bizarre, Conspiracy, Corruption, Curiositys, Mafia, Media&Culture, North America, Pedo, Sex, Unbelievable, Visions | 2 Comments

It is now illegal to share food with the homeless in Florida


by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) If you’re someone who believes in personal (not government-provided) charity and who likes to make sure that as many homeless people as possible get a decent meal each day, good for you. But you might want to avoid Fort Lauderdale, Florida, because you could wind up with a hefty fine and some jail time.


According to reports, police in the city issued citations and further threatened to arrest two priests and a 90-year-old World War II vet for the “crime” of feeding homeless people. A group of bozos on the city council recently approved a measure making the sharing of food a citable offense. As reported by The Daily Sheeple:

Fort Lauderdale police removed at least three volunteers, as well as the Sunday lunch they were serving to several dozen homeless people, citing a controversial new ordinance that prohibits food sharing. Passed in October, the measure was created to try to cut down the growing population of homeless people in Fort Lauderdale.

All it has really done is put a chill on charity.

‘The whole world is watching’

In video footage located on this web page, you can see three police officers show up and disrupt an in-progress feeding program, removing Arnold Abbott, 90, the Rev. Canon Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church.

As the men are being removed and the operation disrupted, several people begin to protest the police action, following the police officers as they escort the men to their patrol cars.

“Shame on you, arresting an elderly man!” shouted someone in the assembled crowd.

“The whole world is watching!” another shouted.

But the officers, who don’t have any choice but to enforce laws the city passes, were unrelenting. In the video one officer explains to the three men, “Basically you are going to be cited for serving to the community without proper accommodations. Everything is explained in here. This is a citation. If you guys continue to come out here you will face arrest.”

As The Daily Sheeple further reported:

The ban on sharing food is part of city officials’ recent efforts to cut down on the burgeoning downtown homeless population. The most recent law – passed by a 4-1 vote – limits where outdoor feeding can be located. It can’t be situated near another feeding site; it has to be at least 500 feet from residential property; and feed program organizers must seek permission from property owners for sites in front of their buildings.

City officials say the new laws are merely “public health and safety measures,” but opponents have begun referring to them as “homeless hate laws,” the Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported.

“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” Sims told the paper. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”

The program in question is operated by a group called Love Thy Neighbor. Abbott, its founder, has served food to homeless people for two decades.

‘We’ve lost our collective minds’

The anti-homeless feeding ordinances follow additional mandates in Fort Lauderdale that have banned homeless people from soliciting at the city’s busiest intersections, from sleeping on public property uptown, and have strengthened measures against defecating in public. There is also a new measure making it illegal for anyone to store their personal belongings on public property.

“I’m not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in the city of Fort Lauderdale,” said Mayor Jack Seiler, in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel. “Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive.”

But such ordinances don’t really do anything to address the cycle, either, or correct it – they just penalize anyone who wants to help such people.

“I think we’ve lost our collective minds. We’re arresting people who should be lauded and lauding people on Wall Street and elsewhere who should be arrested,” Joel Berg, executive director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger,according to Sheeple’s source.


Learn more:





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How Monsanto is Destroying the Brains and Health of Everyone

By: Dr. Matthew Buckley, PSc.D. |

Interested in slowing your aging process? Take note!

One of my most recent blog entries summarized roughly 10 years of research related to the consequences of inflammatory processes in the periphery of the body, such as the gut, and how this was driving brain degenerative inflammatory processes within the brain.

One of the key findings from that research was how pathogenic bacterial waste products known as “lipopolysaccharides” , (LPS) would trigger an immune response, and this immune response would then trigger the brains immune cells, the microglia, to become overly active and degrade brain cells. (LPS is basically small parts of the cell wall of the bad bacteria.) This response is called “microglial activation”. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it over the next 10 -20 years, because stopping this overactivation is central to correcting all degenerative neurological conditions, including Alzheimers, Autism, Anxiety, ALS, Insomnia, non-situational Depression, MS, and many endocrine system disorders including the unbiquitous adrenal and thyroid disorders that so many people are struggling with right now.

In short, the process can work like this (note there are other ways to trigger this):

1) Pathogenic bacteria overgnrn2038-f1row in intestines and create waste products (LPS) which activate the immune system to respond and produce a chemical called “Interleukin 1b”.

2) The activity of this immune response is communicated to the brain by way of the vagus nerve which connects the brain with our “second brain”, which is also called “the gut”.

3) The brains immune system cells called “microglia” become overly excited by the ongoing response to the toxins being produced in the gut (or elsewhere in the body), and these microglia break down neurons.

So how does Monsanto contribute to this?

Monsanto is a chief producer of genetically modified products. Among the most dangerous products that they produce is the herbicide RoundUp. RoundUp is a chemical called “glyphosate” that is combined with a few other chemicals. Conventional farming of corn, soy, cotton, canola, and wheat is increasingly using more and more RoundUp on their genetically modified crops as nature adapts to the toxicity of the RoundUp by becoming increasingly tolerant to it. Ultimately nature will win out, but in the process our food, water, and soil will become increasingly poisoned by the compound until those using these insane farming practices either recognize the foolishness of their ways, or they opt for something even more toxic such as Agent Orange on the crops.

The proponents of Monsanto’s version of GMO farming like to argue that glyphosate is fine to use since the enzymes that kill the weeds which are affected by the RoundUp don’t exist in the human body, therefore they can’t hurt humans. Where their argument falls apart is that the enzymes do exist in the microbes which make up our gut, and the importance of a healthy gut ecology is central to good health. In other words, RoundUp residue is disrupting our “microbiome”, and this disruption of our microbiome can result in an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria relative to our beneficial bacteria (4). Among those toxic bacteria which are known to become dominant is Clostridium Botulinum, which produces one of the most potent bacterial toxins known to man. (4.5)The dominance of these pathogenic bacteria is amplified with the consumption of sugar and high fructose syrup so dominant in the Standard American Diet (SAD), as these harmful microbes love to eat the sweets so many Amercian’s put into their bodies. Likewise, the artificial sweeteners either disrupt our gut flora or they fuel the inflammatory processes within the brain directly. Also noteworthy, is the research which shows how the microbes in our gut will highly influence our bodies cravings. In other words, much of your cravings for junk food and sweets may be coming from an unhealthy gut microbiome. Recent research involving the parasite associated with Toxoplasmosis has shown that the parasite will affect behavior beyond just food cravings, too. The following video is a nice overview of how our microbiome affects our health….








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Ten Signs You Might Be Involved With A Sex Addict

Michael Fassbender and Elizabeth Masucci in the 2011 film “Shame”

Michael Fassbender and Elizabeth Masucci in the 2011 film “Shame”

Sex addiction is a hot topic. But when it comes to the man in your own life, his confusing, upsetting behaviors can often seem beyond belief. As a recovering sex addict, I may be able to help you.

By Brian Whitney

How fun is your boyfriend in bed? Is he charming? Does he say all the right things and blow your mind sexually? Check this list. Maybe he is a little too good to be true.


You’ve been hanging out with this guy for a while and everything is great. That’s what you tell people. The truth is, everything is not so great. Things he says and does don’t add up. When you’re together, there is often something forced, even fake, about how he relates to you. Maybe you’re beginning to find out things about his sex life that he has tried to hide. Maybe he has some odd sexual proclivities. What used to be charming or thrilling is starting to freak you out.

The guy may be going through a tough time. He may be a sexual dynamo. He may be banging someone else. Shit happens. But there may be a different answer.

I did all 10 of the things on this list, in all of my relationships. Some of them lasted for years. I was often accused by women of being a selfish, lying asshole or a straight-up freak, and I was both of those things. But they never knew the truth: I was a sex addict.

The list is a compilation of everything I’ve learned about sex addiction in my own experience and treatment and from many other men in groups I’ve been part of. Therefore it focuses on male sex addicts in heterosexual relationships, but these behaviors are often common to LGBT sex addicts and heterosexual women, too.

Most doctors would prescribe treatment to help your sex addict get his obsessions and compulsions under control. When he stays up until 3 am looking at cyber porn or jerks off eight times a day, he’s dosing his brain with dopamine and other chemicals that excite, distract and otherwise cover up the underlying distress or emptiness he suffers from.

Some sex addicts don’t care whether you get off or not; others want nothing more than to be the best sex you have ever had. But whatever your addict is into, he’s going to start doing it to you.

“The sex addict’s impulse is to cover the pain of feeling damaged, whereas the opportunist’s impulse is to take whatever he can get without having remorse. Sex addicts feel very guilty and ashamed of their behavior, and greedy individuals do not,” said Joe Kort, a sexual addiction therapist and a doctor of sexology. We sex addicts are generally filled with shame and self-hate, and are deceitful because we feel that if we are found out we will lose everything.

So what do you do if your partner is exhibiting three or more (my estimate) of these signs? Start off by talking to him. (Ending the relationship will still be an option in an hour or a day.) Don’t assume the worst just yet.

But be prepared for deception. When I was confronted, I lied and continued lying, and tried to persuade my partner that she was full of shit. You never know, though: He may be relieved to have it out in the open.

1. He lies all the time.

How do you know when a sex addict is lying? He opens his mouth.

Because the addict is keeping a secret—and living a double life—he’s also covering it up. He’s typically not where he says he is, but that may be just the beginning of the lies. He may tell you he makes more money than he really does. He may lie about his past. He may tell you he’s working late but then comes home smelling like booze. The lies he tells might have nothing to do with sex, but the fact that he is a compulsive liar is itself a warning sign.

2. He cheats on you.

This is a tricky one. A lot of guys cheat.

Maybe he has some “character flaws” (like being a narcissist), maybe he’s super-attracted to someone else, maybe he no longer likes you and is on his way out. To qualify as sex addiction, the cheating has to be pretty much nonstop. It can take a million different forms. At my worst, I was carrying on three or four relationships at once outside of my primary one.

When you suspect your partner of cheating, you’re probably right. You’re also probably furious. When you cool down a bit, this is the time not only to confront him but to dig a little deeper. This might save you both a lot of pain in the future.

3. He has had no long-term stable relationships.

It may be that this guy has had no serious relationships, although he has had a lot of sex. Or he may have left a trail of relationships that failed for no discernible reason.

Either way, this is a big red flag if he’s in his 30s or 40s. Because what makes you believe you are “the one” who is going to break this pattern of failure? Falling in love with this man may have made you feel very special. But addiction is stronger than infatuation or even love.

4. He masturbates all the time, even after sex.

You just had some of the most awesome sex of your life. You’ve never felt closer to him; you fall asleep with a smile on your face. A half hour later you wake up and he’s beating off next to you in bed…





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The modernized slave labor system: Also known as the prison industrial complex

by Joseph Lemieux

The United States prison system, not only a machine for mass incarceration, but a machine for modernized slave labor. The United States has 5% of the worlds population, yet we have 25% of the worlds prison population. Land of the free right?

It would seem the statistics say otherwise, since the official drug war president Nixon announced in the 70′s, our prison population has grown over 700%! Recent estimates put our prison population to well over 2.4 million inmates. 50% of the federal prison inmates are for non violent drug offenses. All the while 20% of state prison inmates are drug related.
Prison Stats

Is this making Americans safer, or is there an entire industry making money off of imprisoning human beings? It’s estimated that nearly 1 million convicts fill the ranks of Unicor. Unicor being the government owned corporation that handles the labor of inmates! It’s no doubt the federal government see’s an opportunity in prison labor, as they have used Unicor to have $100 million worth of military uniforms made for as little as $2 an hour. The government has no problem with using prison labor, and Unicor is estimated at raking in over $900 million a year.

McDonald’s, Walmart, AT&T, Chevron, and IBM are just the names of a few companies that support the use of prison labor




Posted in Big Brother, Bizarre, Conspiracy, Curiositys, Financial Terrorism, Freak U.S.A, Money, North America, Rights, Visions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Are All Psychiatric Drugs Too Unsafe to Take?


by Dr. Peter R. Breggin

Psychiatric drugs are more dangerous than you have ever imagined. If you haven’t been prescribed one yet, you are among the lucky few. If you or a loved one are taking psychiatric drugs, there is hope; but you need to understand the dangers and how to minimize the risk.

The following overview focuses on longer-term psychiatric drug hazards, although most of them can begin to develop within weeks. They are scientifically documented in my recent book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and my medical text Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second Edition.

Newer or atypical antipsychotic drugs: Risperdal, Invega, Zyprexa, Abilify, Geodon, Seroquel, Latuda, Fanapt and Saphris

Antipsychotic drugs, including both older and newer ones, cause shrinkage (atrophy) of the brain in many human brain scan studies and in animal autopsy studies. The newer atypicals especially cause a well-documented metabolic syndrome including elevated blood sugar, diabetes, increased cholesterol, obesity and hypertension. They also produce dangerous cardiac arrhythmias and unexplained sudden death, and they significantly reduce longevity. In addition, they cause all the problems of the older drugs, such as Thorazine and Haldol, including tardive dyskinesia, a largely permanent and sometimes disabling and painful movement disorder caused by brain damage and biochemical disruptions…

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10 Signs That Russia Is Preparing to Fight (and Win) a Nuclear War with the United States


by Michael Snyder

If the United States and Russia fought a nuclear war, who would win? You might be surprised by the answer. Under the Obama administration, the rapidly aging U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal has been shrinking. Meanwhile, the Russians have been developing an entirely new generation of bombers, submarines and missiles that have the capability of delivering an absolutely crippling first strike. At this point, most Americans consider a full-scale nuclear war to be inconceivable. But in Russia attitudes are completely different. To the Russians, the United States is enemy number one these days and the Russians are feverishly preparing for a potential military showdown. Of course the Russians don’t actually want to have to resort to nuclear war. Such an event would be an unspeakable horror for the entire globe. But if one does happen, the Russians want to make sure that they are the ones that come out on top.

A lot of Americans are still operating under the faulty assumption that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” still applies. The thinking was that both sides had so many nuclear missiles that a launch by one side would guarantee the destruction of both parties.

But since that time, so much has changed.

For one, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is far, far smaller than it was back then. Back in 1967, the U.S. military possessed more than 31,000 strategic nuclear warheads. Now, we only have 1,642 deployed, and that number is scheduled to be further reduced to about 1,500.

Sadly, reducing the size of our nuclear arsenal by close to 95 percent is not enough for anti-nuke crusader Barack Obama. He has spoken of unilaterally reducing the size of our strategic nuclear arsenal down to just 300 warheads.

During this same time period, the Russians have been developing some very impressive stealth delivery systems which have the capability of hitting targets inside the United States within just minutes of an order being issued. This is particularly true of their submarine-launched missiles. The newest Russian subs have the ability to approach our coastlines without us even knowing that they are there. If the Russians came to the conclusion that war with the United States was unavoidable, an overwhelming first strike using submarine-based missiles could potentially take out nearly our entire arsenal before we even knew what hit us. And if the Russians have an anti-ballistic missile system that can intercept the limited number of rockets that we can launch in return, they may be able to escape relatively unscathed.

In order for “mutually assured destruction” to work, we have to see the Russian missiles coming and have enough time to order a launch of our own. Thank to emerging technologies, the balance of power has fundamentally shifted. The old way of thinking simply does not apply anymore and the Russians understand this.

The following are 10 signs that Russia is preparing to fight (and win) a nuclear war with the United States…

#1 Russia is spending an enormous amount of money to develop the PAK DA Strategic Bomber. Not a lot is known about this stealth bomber at this time. The following summary of what we do know comes from an Australian news source

Russia’s answer to the B-2 “Spirit”, this next-generation strategic bomber is intended to be almost invisible to radar and capable of carrying a huge array of conventional and nuclear missiles. Little else is known other than its expected service date: 2025.

#2 Russian nuclear bombers have been regularly buzzing areas in northern Europe and along the coast of Alaska. The Russians appear to be brazenly testing NATO defenses. Here is just one recent example

Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Six Russian aircraft, including two Bear H nuclear bombers, two MiG-31 fighter jets and two IL-78 refueling tankers were intercepted by F-22 fighters on Wednesday west and north of Alaska in air defense identification zones, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Two other Bears were intercepted by Canadian jets on Thursday.

#3 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says that Russian nuclear bombers will now conduct regular patrols “in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico“.

#4 Russia is constructing an anti-ballistic missile system which will supposedly be superior to anything that the U.S. currently has

- See more at:





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Global Drug Survey 2015: why you should tell us what you take

Help us in this scientific research to find out the world’s drug consumption patterns. See what we learned from last year’s study and what we hope to find out in this one

Click here to take part in Global Drug Survey 2015

Illegal steroids displayed inside a police compound in Madrid.

Illegal steroids displayed inside a police compound in Madrid. Photograph: ANDREA COMAS/REUTERS


For the last few years the Guardian has been collaborating with the Global Drug Survey to find out about what drugs people take, how and why. If you have not already done it then you can take the survey here.

Last year 80,000 people from across the globe completed the survey on their drug usage, making it the largest research project of its kind. It gives us a wealth of information about how people were approaching the consumption of substances both legal and illegal.

We learnt last year that the UK was buying more drugs online. Just under 60% of respondents said they had heard of online drug marketplace Silk Road and 44% of those had accessed the site. We also found out that cannabis was the most popular drug for people to purchase on the site, which was closed down in October last year.

We discovered that among the people that took the survey, more were likely to have used MDMA (45.2%) than drunk a high-caffeine energy drink (44.7%) in the past year.

There was cause for concern when it came to one of the most prevalent drugs in the world – alcohol.

Of those classed as “probably dependent drinkers or at risk of becoming dependent”, 34.5% thought that their drinking was average or less than average compared to others.

The aim of this year’s survey is to to reach 120,000 people. It has been launched in partnership with media organisations in20 different countries and has been translated into 10 separate languages.

The study will, as always, look at prevalence, price, purity, value for money and the proportion of people seeking medical treatment but there are a few specific areas that will be explored this year including:

Performance enhancing drugs – weight loss agents and anabolic steroids
Cognitive enhancers – Ritalin, modafanil and atomoxetine use among students and working people
The dark net - now Silk Road has closed, how are people buying drugs online?
Nitrous oxide - the risks of neurological harm from this drug
E-cigarettes - whether these might be used for something other than nicotine
Why do people stop using different drugs – and when?

Completing the survey will help us cover a subject which is, for obvious reasons, often shrouded in secrecy. The researchers do not track or store IP addresses, browser types, or other identifying information. As always though, caution is suggested when sending information over the internet.

Click here to take part in Global Drug Survey 2015




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The host

'This is the body of Christ'. Photo by Silvia Izquierdo/AP/PA

‘This is the body of Christ’. Photo by Silvia Izquierdo/AP/PA

The Communion wafer is food and symbol, relic and rite. In an age plagued by fears of disease, can it still help us connect?


(Benjamin Dueholm is associate pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Wauconda, Illinois. His writing has appeared in The Christian Century, The Washington Monthly and Pacific Standard, and he co-edits the theological journal Let’s Talk.)

Helen didn’t know me, but she loved me. I met her at the nursing home when the Catholic lay minister asked me if I would bring her, a Protestant, communion. He led me to her, sitting in the memory-care unit.

‘Are you Helen?’


‘Would you like to receive Holy Communion?’

Her face lit up.

‘Helen, this is the Body of Christ. It is given for you,’ I said as I gave her the wafer. I held her hand and prayed, and her head sunk onto my shoulder. When I was done, she looked at me and in a perfectly lucid, solemn voice said: ‘I love you.’

Each time I returned, it was the same: ‘This is the Body of Christ.’ ‘I love you.’ She did not know my name nor connect one visit to another, but she spoke as dementia sufferers often do, with conviction and urgency. Then one day I came to find her not in the common room near the birdcage or the big television but confined to her bed. ‘Helen, this is the Body of Christ, given for you.’ And the wafer, diaphanous and saliva-soluble though it was, simply stuck. She could no longer swallow. I hastily retrieved the disk of unleavened bread. ‘I love you,’ she said, all the same.

I put the wafer in the pocket of my clergy shirt. Four days later, Helen died. The wafer, the Body of Christ, that had been in her mouth, sat on my desk – bread, body, symbol, sacrament, now a relic. What should I do with it?

It was possible, surely, to simply discard the moistened but uneaten wafer. Possible, but theologically complicated. The action we call Holy Communion, Eucharist, Lord’s Supper and Mass is the most distinctive, characteristic ritual in Christianity, and the bread and wine we use in it become in some sense sacred.

Once embedded in an actual meal, the sharing of the staple foods of bread and wine re‑presented Christ in the form of his Body, the Church. The earliest Christians don’t seem to have set apart a particular person to ‘consecrate’ the meal, and the words attributed to Jesus – ‘This is my body, given for you; do this for the remembrance of me’ – were irregularly used, if they were used at all. A forest of explanations for this practice has grown up over the centuries, some quite far-fetched and some plausibly troubling to mainstream Christianity. But the heart of the rite – a community, bread and wine, and the ineffable presence of Jesus of Nazareth – proved remarkably resilient.

Of course, 2,000 years of continual practice around the world will occasion major changes in a ritual. Politics, metaphysics, and hermeneutics have made it a source of division since the beginning. Paul the Apostle’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth suggests that class differences interfered with the holy meal. Later on, the Greek and Latin churches would rupture enduringly over whether leavened bread or unleavened was required for the celebration…




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Marrakech is set to become photography’s global HQ – so why aren’t locals happy?

Eve Arnold's photograh of Joan Crawford in 1959Eve Arnold’s closeup of Joan Crawford in 1959, part of a recent temporary exhibition at El Badi Palace, in Morocco. Click to view full image. Photograph: Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos


As one of the world’s biggest photography galleries prepares to open in Morocco, some locals are still furious about having their – and even their horse’s – picture taken

Among the photographs in an expansive temporary exhibition space at El Badi Palace in Marrakech is a black-and-white shot of a couple kissing on the Paris Metro in the 1960s. Though there are many striking works by Moroccan artists such as Yto Barrada, Hassan Hajjaj and Carolle Benitah, it is this oddly old-fashioned image by Lewis Morley that has caused a stir.

“It gets the most interest by far,” says Mostafa Aghrib, cultural director of the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art (MMPVA). “School children gather round it, and many adults, too. Then the questions begin: ‘Why is this picture important?’ ‘Why is it on the wall of a gallery?’ ‘How can a photograph of a couple kissing be art?’ It’s not the subject matter that intrigues or offends them. It’s just that they don’t get it. In a way, this is where we are starting from.”

As these encounters with Morley’s kissing couple attest, Marrakech is not a city known for the arts. For most local people, photography means one thing: the often intrusive presence of tourists with digital cameras in search of local colour. Last year, when I attended the opening event of the MMPVA’s ambitious programme, which featured a group show by Moroccan artists and an exhibition by five photographers from the renowned Magnum agency, the resulting review was headlined Marrakech: the city that distrusts photographers. Experienced photographers, such as Jim Goldberg and Susan Meiselas, experienced many difficulties as they tried to assemble a body of work on the city’s streets in just a few weeks. Chief among them was the locals’ utter aversion to being photographed. One man admonished Goldberg for taking a picture of his horse, shouting: “No! Stop! My horse does not want to be photographed.”

Even more telling was the furore that erupted in the gallery when a local woman berated her sister for posing for a portrait by Meiselas. “Everything is very complex here when it comes to making a photograph of a woman,” said Leila, one of Meiselas’s local assistants. “The husbands or a family member could object … People are afraid about who will see the image, how it will be used.”

Marrakech, then, would seem an unlikely place to build one of the biggest photography galleries in the world – but that is what is scheduled to happen in the next three or four years. Designed by architect David Chipperfield, and conceived by financier and philanthropist Keren Ruimy and her family, who have strong ties to Morocco, the museum will house an extensive permanent collection of photography from the 19th century to the present day, as well as hosting contemporary exhibitions by photographers from Africa and around the globe. Until it opens (the scheduled date was 2016, though that now seems unlikely), the El Badi Palace, a stately ruin that originally housed Ahmad al-Mansur, the sultan of the Saadi dynasty, will be the locus of all things photographic in the city that distrusts photographers…






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