World's Best

Anti-Gay ‘Therapy’ Offered at Uganda Health Centres Run by Aid-Funded Groups — Global Issues

Illustration by Inge Snip. Credit: openDemocracy
  • by Khatondi Soita Wepukhulu (kampala)
  • Inter Press Service

“Whoever wants to quit homosexuality, we connect them,” she said – to external counsellors, who have included Pastor Solomon Male, a locally known anti-gay campaigner. She also gave our undercover reporter the phone number of a man who “was once a patient here” and “was once a homosexual but isn’t anymore”.

The USAID aid agency – which says it supports LGBTQI+ inclusive development – gave the Most At Risk Populations Initiative (MARPI) that runs this clinic a $420,000 grant in 2019, ending this September. (It is unclear if any of this money went to this specific clinic.)

It is just one of several examples of health centres in Uganda where our undercover reporters caught staff providing, or providing referrals for, controversial anti-gay ‘therapies’.

Our investigation identified similar support for ‘anti-gay’ counselling activities at three hospitals in the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB) network. This network received more than $1m from USAID between 2019 and this April, though it is unclear whether the specific hospitals identified in this investigation received any of this money.

At one of these hospitals – Nsambya, Uganda’s biggest private health facility – staff referred our reporters to the private office of Cabrine Mukiibi, on the outskirts of Kampala, who mixed Freudian theories, biblical quotes and anti-gay insults in his diagnosis.

Mukiibi, who is also a staff counsellor at Nsambya, stated that sex without procreation “becomes evil” – before recommending what he called “exposure therapy”, telling our undercover reporter to “get a housemaid” that her supposedly gay teenage brother can “get attracted ’’, one who is “between 18 and 20 years of age”.

A spokesperson from the US embassy in Kampala, Anthony Kujawa, said that ‘conversion therapy’ goes against “the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics”.

In response to questions from openDemocracy, Kujawa explained that US funding for UCMB was supposed to support the capacity of Catholic health facilities involved in HIV and AIDS care. He said: “USAID does not fund or promote anti-LGBTQI+ conversion therapy and will investigate any report that a USAID funded partner is doing so.”

Rosco Kasujja, director of mental health at Makerere University’s school of psychology and head of the Uganda Clinical Psychologists Association, called openDemocracy’s findings “disturbing”. He blamed the lack of a national regulator for psychologists, which could ensure that all patients receive quality care.

“It’s really frustrating that we don’t have any power,’’ he said, in reference to his association’s voluntary and non-binding standards. “People are playing by their own rules and can’t do anything about it.”

‘Extremely unethical’

Globally, more than 65 associations of doctors, psychologists or counsellors have condemned ‘conversion therapy’ practices, according to a 2020 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) rights group.

Three countries (Brazil, Ecuador and Malta) have banned these practices – which range from ‘talk therapy’ to physical ‘treatments’ including so-called aversion therapy, while Germany has banned them when applied to minors. Several US states have also passed bans, while the UK recently pledged to do the same nationwide.

Anal sex is illegal in Uganda, and homosexuality is heavily stigmatised. It is unclear how common ‘conversion therapy’ is, but openDemocracy teamed up with local researchers to document the experiences of 20 LGBT Ugandan survivors of such ‘treatments’.

Interviewees said such ‘therapy’ “felt like murder” and that they “suffered depression and anxiety”, drug dependence and suicidal thoughts. Mulago and a hospital in UCMB’s network were among the facilities they named as having provided the treatments.

Godiva Akullo, a feminist lawyer in Kampala, said of those providing ‘conversion’ therapies: “I think it’s extremely unethical behaviour.”

Unregulated therapy

In Kampala, openDemocracy undercover reporters visited three hospitals in the aid-funded UCMB network, looking for ‘treatment’ for same-sex attraction, and were referred to providers of such therapy either within the health facilities or externally.

At Kisubi Hospital’s “youth-friendly” clinic, a counsellor offered a session for 50,000 Ugandan shillings ($14), saying a “17 is still a small child we can modify”.

At Lubaga Hospital, Matthias Ssetuba introduced himself as the facility’s “mental health focal person”. He claimed that homosexuality is caused by factors ranging from peer pressure to the internet, and also said that it can be “changed”.

“It is a mental health issue,” he added, “because once you start having sex with the same sex, much as those whites are saying ‘it’s normal’, in our society it’s abnormal. And anything to do with abnormality has something to do with mental health.”

He stressed that a person “has to accept” that they need help “in converting”.

In an email to openDemocracy afterwards, Ssettuba said it was the first time he’d had “such a case at the hospital”, which “has never aided any anti-LGBT conversion therapy”.

“We would only wish to support those who might want to do so at their own will,” he said. He did not reply to further questions about his statements to our undercover reporters.

Homosexuality, said Cabrine Mukiibi (the counsellor referred by Nsambya Hospital) is often caused by “unresolved competition” between a child and a same-sex parent for the attention of an opposite-sex parent during their development’s “phallic stage”.

He wore a label on his coat saying “clinical psychologist” when he met our reporters. He has also been quoted in local media as a “clinical psychologist”.

He said he had just finished (but not yet been awarded) a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Uganda Martyrs University, which is affiliated to the Catholic Church. But this degree is not listed on the university’s website, and Uganda’s higher education regulator told openDemocracy the university is not accredited to offer this programme.

Nsambya Hospital’s director Peter Sekweyama told openDemocracy that Mukiibi is “just offering counselling”, and that he is “trained in something like humanities”.

Kasujja, head of the psychologists’ association, said hospitals have a responsibility to ensure their staff are qualified – but warned that without national regulation of counsellors and psychologists, “there is going to be lots of abuse, lots of harm.”

No one from Kisubi Hospital responded to openDemocracy’s requests for comment. UCMB and the HIV clinic at Mulago Hospital also did not respond.

The US embassy in Kampala did not say if USAID funding to UCMB has been renewed.

Noah Mirembe, a human rights lawyer and trans man in Kampala, said that Ugandans who have been harmed by ‘conversion therapy’ practices and are interested in legal redress should contact the Taala Foundation (an organisation he co-directs) for support.

* Additional reporting by Nnanda Kizito Sseruwagi

This story was originally published by openDemocracy

© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

Culture Trips

Film review: Five stars for the ‘timely’ Summer of Soul

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr of The 5th Dimension are shown today watching the recording of their performance at the festival. On stage then, the group offers a perfect snapshot of the period’s pop music and fashion, wearing matching orange fringed vests and singing their number one hit medley, The Age of Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine In. But there are deeper currents. McCoo recalls that people used to say their voices sounded white, which was not what they wanted. Appearing in Harlem was important, she says with emotion, because “We wanted our people to know what we were about”.

Summer of Soul illuminates the role music and fashion play in our lives; how they reflect change and nudge it along in an endless cycle. Many of the acts on stage wore suits and ties. When Sly and the Family Stone took the stage, with a woman trumpet player and a funk style, it was a jolt that pointed to the future.

But the film and its historical echoes have a role in today’s social dynamic, too. Although the New York City police were at the concert, the Black Panthers added security because the community of Harlem distrusted the police, a distrust still painfully present for millions of people in 2021. Nothing encapsulates this vital film’s power and its timeliness better than that.


Summer of Soul streams on Hulu from 2 July, and is released on 2 July in Brazil and the US, on 16 July in Spain and the UK and on 30 July in France.

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Middle East

Saudi Arabia to launch new airline in tourism drive – Middle East Monitor

Saudi Arabia is to launch a second national airline as part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision2030 strategy, which aims to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from dependency on oil.

According to local media, the new flag carrier will make Saudi Arabia the 5th ranked airline globally in terms of air transit traffic. No details were given on when and how the airline will be launched. Last week Gulf News reported that the Saudis are looking to build a new airport in Riyadh which will serve as the base for the new airline.

The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund valued at $430 billion announced earlier this year that it is also looking to invest in aviation amid an expected boom in tourism. Saudi Arabia hopes to attract 100 million tourists annually by 2030, a six-fold increase from 2019.

READ: Saudi Arabia: political solution the only way to solve Syria conflict

The addition of a second national airline implies an increase in international destinations. It would also boost the kingdom’s air cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tonnes, almost double the present figure. The aviation sector, which has been hit severely by the coronavirus pandemic, might be able to recoup some of its losses.

Vision2030 aims for Saudi Arabia to boost non-oil revenues to about 45 billion riyals ($12 billion) by 2030. By becoming a global logistics hub, which requires the development of ports as well as rail and road networks, the transport and logistics sector’s contribution would increase gross domestic product to 10 per cent from 6 per cent, said the state-owned SPA.

READ: Saudi Arabia: fall in key indicator shows economy in poor health

Top Beaches

Summer is Here! Here are 8 Seasonal Menus to Enjoy Al Fresco

As the weather begins to heat up and the days grow longer, there’s no better time for some light bites and al fresco dining! Naturally, the summer months usher in cravings for fresh, seasonal flavors, including wild-caught seafood, hearty salads and fruit-forward cocktails. Lucky for us locals, Newport Beach’s restaurants take pride in curating summer menus that incorporate sustainably sourced ingredients from nearby farms and the region’s abundant coastline. Below we’ve compiled a list of 8 restaurants offering seasonal summer menus for you to enjoy!

Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

With an affection for locally-sourced ingredients, Chef Rich Mead of Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens brings a unique, farm-to-table approach when crafting his flavorful masterpieces. The restaurant has announced a flurry of new summer eats, including the all-new Farmhouse Vegetable Plate and sides like the Roast Asparagus with a lemon shallot vinaigrette and the Roast Carrots & Burrata Cheese with a grilled peach vinaigrette, mint and pistachios. The menu at Farmhouse is always rotating based on the seasons, so you’re sure to get the freshest flavors in town!

Summer House

This charming “beach cottage” restaurant in the heart of Corona del Mar is a cozy spot that serves up fresh Cali fare with a comfort food twist. Snack on summer favorites like the Grilled Chicken Summer Salad, Blackened Ahi Sandwich, or Ginger-Crusted Fresh Ono, which comes with a dreamy orange beurre blanc sauce and a side of steamed jasmine rice. Snag a seat inside in one of the farmhouse-style booths or on the quaint sidewalk patio for a meal under the shady umbrellas. It may sound obvious, but when it comes to summer dining, CdM’s Summer House is the place to be!

Arc Butcher & Baker

While Arc Butcher & Baker doesn’t tend to sacrifice their signature comfort food flare just because it’s “swimsuit season,” they do add on a few seasonal summer light bites! This year, diners can devour a Seared Ahi Salad prepared with a medley of fresh, seasonal veggies and a sprinkling of chopped chives. This tasty salad pairs perfectly with a crisp glass of white wine or a pour or brut rosé.

The Cannery Seafood of the Pacific

When it comes to seafood, The Cannery keeps it fresh with an assortment of wild, line-caught fish. The menu features a variety of sea-to-table dishes like sushi rolls and sashimi, oysters, grilled octopus, crab cakes, calamari, cioppino and more. So whichever way you like your seafood, whether it’s on the half shell or wrapped in seaweed and rice, The Cannery will not disappoint! Pair your selection with an ice-cold ale or craft cocktail and cheers to a summer day well-spent.

Lido Bottle Works

Executive Chef Joel Gutierrez of Lido Bottle Works is bringing his A-game this season with a variety of swoon-worthy dishes. The summer menu features new creations like the Burrata Salad made with a blend of mixed greens from Sunny Cal Farms, whipped burrata, cherry gastrique, edible flowers, fresh mint, candied walnuts and a stone fruit and tarragon vinaigrette! The decadent Corn Agnolotti also made its debut, featuring a delectable mix of chorizo bolognese, poblano romesco, corn husk oil and manchego cheese. Many of these ingredients are sourced from the Lido Bottle Works’ garden, located around the perimeter of the restaurant!

A+O Restaurant | Bar

This newly reimagined waterfront restaurant at Balboa Bay Resort boasts stunning views of the bay, coastal-chic decor and a diverse menu featuring locally sourced meat, seafood and produce. Soak up the sun on the gorgeous wrap-around patio or find some shade under the yellow-striped umbrellas for a blissful summer dining experience. Feast on seasonal plates like the Prosciutto + Stone Fruit Salad, Ahi Tuna Ceviche, Sesame Chile Brussel Sprouts and more. Be sure to pair your meal with one of A+O Restaurant | Bar’s signature smoked cocktails—the definition of dinner and show!

Malibu Farm

It’s no secret Malibu Farm has some of the best warm-weather drinks and dishes in town. The entire venue in Lido Marina Village practically screams “I love summer” with its white walls, beachwood tables and airy ambiance. Plus, the menu is chock-full of beverages and bites perfect for an apres beach meal. Sip on an icy frosé made with vodka, rosé and berry lemonade agave! Then, take your pick from a menu with offerings like Baked Coconut French Toast for brunch and Miso Tahini Salmon, Crab Cakes and Vegan Chopped Salad for dinner.

Tavern House Kitchen + Bar

Chef David Wilhelm continues to wow the taste buds of locals and visitors with sensational seasonal flavors! Pop into Tavern House Kitchen + Bar for brunch, lunch or dinner this summer and relish the restaurant’s unbeatable harbor views and rotating menu of seasonal plates. Chef Wilhelm takes great pride in sourcing sustainable seafood and humanely raised poultry and livestock. Summer menu highlights include a Sunrise Mimosa and Spiced Carrot Margarita along with the “summertimed” Seared Day Boat Scallops reinvented using sweet summer corn, fire-roasted red peppers, bacon, scallions and chipotle aioli.

Written By: Kaylin Waizinger

Culture Trips

Top 10 books about circuses and spectacle | Books

The illusion. The tawdry glamour. The delicate balance between illusion and reality, a glittering spectacle and its dark underbelly. And above all, the wonder. It’s little surprise that novelists have been inspired by the circus since it first rolled into town, from Charles Dickens in Hard Times and The Old Curiosity Shop (“Dear, dear, what a place it looked, that Astley’s; with all the paint, gilding, and looking-glass”) to Angela Carter and her magnificent and bawdy invention, Sophie Fevvers.

As a setting, the circus is an irresistible place to explore power and control. After all, the showman’s job is to misrepresent, to spin outlandish stories, to hold a crowd in raptures. When I started writing Circus of Wonders, it quickly became a book about storytelling and appropriation. It is set in the booming age of the Victorian circus and so-called “freak show”, when showmanship exploded, when new inventions meant that fame could spread like wildfire, when little people and bearded women became rich and celebrated, when even Queen Victoria became known as “the freak-fancier”.

And with the circus’s focus on illusion and storytelling, it became the ideal setting to ask: who holds the pen? Whose voice is heard and whose is silenced? How far are we are willing to go in order to entertain? All of these books and collections are feats of the imagination, where the author’s hand never falters, and which cut through the dazzling trickery of showmanship with often devastating effect.

1. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
Oh, what a novel! Carter called it “psychedelic Dickens”, and the whole novel is a feast for the senses. The imagery is so lurid, the metaphors and double entendres so heaped, the quips so sharp and bawdy, that it almost leaves the reader queasy. While these are the qualities I most admire about Carter’s prose, I also loved it for how it played with reality and illusion. Sophie Fevvers, a winged aerialiste, is a cockney virgin, hatched from an egg. Or is she? The prosaic quest for truth is filtered through the journalist Jack Walser, an ingenious addition – insisting on reporting and facts, he longs to pin her down – but Fevvers will not be contained by convention, and joyfully takes up space. She chatters at length, fills the room with her scent and laughter and gestures, and exuberantly plays with the boundaries between fairytales and reality. This is the definitive book about the circus, and really, the definitive book about being alive.

2. The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell
This blistering poetry collection explores showmanship, the so-called freak industry, fairytales and spectacle – and, in fact, it doesn’t so much unpick these things as smash them to pieces and make them new. We meet “girls with beetle eyes” on display in a girl aquarium, captured mermaids held behind glass, a Bear Lady and Skeleton Man sipping beer. I love so much about it: how it kicks against tropes of disfigurement, how science jostles against fantastical circus, how it explores the way in which girls’ bodies can be sites of both self-discovery and exploitation. It is defiant, bold, brilliant. As the penultimate poem states, “Smash this circus to the ground”.

3. Beneath the Big Top: A Social History of the Circus in Britain by Steve Ward
This compact history is crammed with interviews, eye-witness accounts and facts so outlandish that even the most imaginative novelist couldn’t top them. Ward offers nuggets about Henry Kraul, the showman whose head was torn off by his pet lion; about George Wombwell’s escaped tigress who killed a young boy, a woman and a baby; and about the numerous conflagrations that have reduced tents and amphitheatres and circus rings to ash.

Nell Stroud at Giffords Circus.
Nell Stroud at Giffords Circus. Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Josser: The Secret Life of a Circus Girl by Nell Stroud
“The circus does cast a spell over some people. I felt overwhelmed by it. The circus filled up existence and left room for nothing else. What was there to do?” After leaving Oxford, Stroud did what many dream of doing but do not dare: she joined a travelling circus. Her memoir, told with great tenderness and spirit, helped me understand the excitement, the grime, the exhaustion, the belonging, of being part of a performing troupe. She went on to co-found Giffords Circus, entertaining more than a million people and travelling all over the world. It left me astounded by the singularity of her life and how much she crammed into it, made even more poignant by her early death in 2019.

Circus master PT Barnum (1810-1891) and General Tom Thumb (the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883). Portrait circa 1850.
Circus master PT Barnum (1810-1891) and ‘General Tom Thumb’ (the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883). Portrait circa 1850. Photograph: Science History Images/Alamy

5. The Wonders: Lifting the Curtain on the Freak Show, Circus and Victorian Age by John Woolf
Many will be unaware of how vast and booming the so-called freak industry was in mid-Victorian Britain, and how extraordinary and tragic and magnificent the lives of many of its performers were. In this remarkable social history, John Woolf recounts the lives of its biggest stars – for example conjoined “Siamese” twins Chang and Eng Bunker; former slave Joice Heth who was exploited by the showman PT Barnum; and little person Charles Stratton (known as “General Tom Thumb”), who, in the opening chapter, meets Queen Victoria. While Woolf acknowledges the opportunities offered to those that society shunned, he does not shy away from denouncing the exploitative nature of the industry – a world that could both offer freedom and take it away.

6. The Electric Woman by Tessa Fontaine
“The trick is there is no trick. You eat fire by eating fire.” In her memoir, Fontaine recounts how she trained as an escape artist, a fire-eater, a snake charmer. In doing so, she looks at the darker side of the circus and how to overcome it – specifically, her battle to ignore fear and danger, and participate in death-defying stunts. Like Josser, it’s an astonishing account of life in a circus, and the camaraderie, eccentricity and storytelling ways of its performers.

7. Patient by Bettina Judd
Joice Heth. Sarah Baartman. Betsey Harris. These are just three of the names of the black women who have been exploited and assaulted through history, their bodies violated as sites of curiosity and science, and whom Bettina Judd takes as the core of her unforgettable poetry collection. Like many narratives about showmanship that explore how the voices of the performers or the patients have been lost and overwritten, this collection returns the power of storytelling to those who were denied it, imagining their voices in conversation with a modern speaker.

8. The Circus 1870s-1950s
This nonfiction book is a trove of circus photographs, posters, lithographs, sideshow banners and engravings. When I found it in a library, I was so enchanted and inspired by the images inside – sequined girls smoking on circus wagons, Frank A Robbins firing a woman from a cannon – that I had to buy my own copy. It brings to life the grit and glamour of the circus, cataloguing photographers such as Frederick Whitman Glasier, Edward Kelty and Cornell Capa. As I turned each page, it was impossible not to ask the question that drives me to write: what would that have felt like?

US circus poster from 1890 printed by the Cincinatti, Ohio-based Russell & Morgan Factories Printing Company.
US circus poster from 1890 printed by the Cincinatti, Ohio-based Russell & Morgan Factories Printing Company. Photograph: Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This novel takes the illusion and intrigue of the circus and turns it into a fantasy, where magic becomes real and showmen wield dark powers. Le Cirque des Rêves glitters with imaginative delights – cloud mazes and gardens made of ice – but it is the combat between two rival magicians (and their lovestruck pawns) where the novel examines the darker, more controlling side of the show.

10. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Set in the US during the Great Depression, this novel begins almost like Nell Stroud’s memoir: Jacob Jankowski leaves university and joins the Benzini Brothers’ Most Spectacular Show on Earth. The book weaves together romance between Jacob and the equestrian star Marlena; jeopardy in the form of August, the circus’s controlling animal trainer; and tenderness in the form of Rosie, a performing elephant whom Jacob adores.

Middle East

British trade union highlights Israeli apartheid – Middle East Monitor

One of Britain’s leading trade unions, ASLEF, has published an article in its monthly journal highlighting Israeli apartheid. This is another sign of the growing awareness of systemic racism that Palestinians suffer under Israel’s brutal military occupation.

Under the headline “No peace without justice” the piece was written by Hussein Ezzedine, the secretary of the Edinburgh branch of the 22,000-member train drivers’ union. He denounced Zionism as a racist ideology and called on readers to join the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS seeks to end the structural racism in occupied Palestine, just as international sanctions played a leading role in dismantling the apartheid regime in South Africa.

“It is actually very simple,” wrote Ezzedine as he pointed out that Zionism is a racist ideology. “There is an occupier and an occupied. There are ethnic cleansers and the ethnically cleansed. There is discrimination and the victims of discrimination.”

He urged readers to think about their view of Israel. “We need to change the narrative. You don’t get to drop an entire colony on top of an inhabited land, grind the inhabitants into the dirt for decades and then claim self-defence every time they retaliate!”

There can be no equality, the ASLEF official argued. “By its very nature [Israel] places one people above another.”

His remarks echo the conclusion of Human Rights Watch, which declared Israel to be an apartheid state. Prominent Israeli human rights group B’Tselem also branded Israel as an “apartheid” state that “promotes and perpetuates Jewish supremacy between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.”

READ: Israel is an apartheid state, say ex-Israel envoys to South Africa

After highlighting “the brutal realities of this [Israeli] colonial project and what has become the world’s longest military occupation of modern times,” the article offered a number of suggestions on how people can give practical support to the Palestinians, including support for BDS. “We must uphold the simple principal that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”

Predictably, the article has been condemned by one of Britain’s leading anti-Palestinian groups. “ASLEF’s Jewish members will be very concerned to see the union publishing such a one-sided and offensive tirade against Zionism,” said the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl in the Jewish Chronicle. She also denounced the article as “a disgracefully biased perspective of the Israel-Hamas conflict.”

This comment appeared to be an attempt by the Board of Deputies to divert attention from the real issue, which is Israel’s 73-year-old occupation and colonisation of Palestine, not a “conflict” with Hamas.

Top Cities

New study reveals tree disparities across the US

As anybody who has ever sat under a tree has noticed, these tall, leafy plants provide shade. But what about people who live in neighborhoods without a heat-blocking tree canopy? They’re going to be a lot hotter and could possibly face worse health outcomes. A new study is raising awareness of shade disparity.

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Trees aren’t evenly distributed through neighborhoods. Poorer areas of cities, especially those where communities of color live, are often tree-deprived. This new report concludes that people need to plant 30 million more trees in urban areas of the U.S. in order to achieve tree equity.

Related: South Korea to plant 3 billion trees by 2050

Conservation organization American Forests recently released its first tally of tree equity scores, using a metric based on population density, existing tree cover, socioeconomic makeup and other relevant criteria. The study looked at 150,000 neighborhoods in 486 cities around the U.S. Current tree cover is about 10% short, the study concluded. Cities need to plant more than 31 million more trees to reach equity.

“We need to make sure the trees go where the people are. Tree Equity Score steers us in the right direction, and now it’s up to all of us to go beyond business as usual and take bold action,” said Jad Daley, American Forests president and chief executive officer, as reported by The Guardian.

The study proved that white people have tree privilege. Neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color averaged about one-third less tree canopy than predominately white neighborhoods. Very low-income areas, where more than 90% of people live in poverty, have 65% less tree canopy than the most affluent neighborhoods. Because trees remove fine particulates from air, they help people breathe more easily. From its research in Dallas, American Forests showed that heat-related deaths could drop 22% if the city planted more trees and added more reflective surfaces.

According to the study, some of the country’s biggest cities really, really need more trees. These include Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Fresno, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose and New York City.

+ American Forests

Via The Guardian

Image via Jay Mantri


Port and Starboard: Which Side Is Which?

Are you new to cruising or even an experienced cruiser, but don’t know those nautical terms you often hear about cruise ships? It’s time to find out more about the left and right sides of the ship or should we say port and starboard sides!

nautical language can be a bit complicated—but for good reason. Left and right can be ambiguous on a ship depending on where the observing giving directions is standing.

As a result, the terms port and starboard were created to have less ambiguity. This way, no matter where the steering gear operator or captain was standing, they would be able to follow directions safely at sea.

However, this can be confusing for people who aren’t regular seafarers. That’s why, in this article, we’ll review where port and starboard came from and tips on how to remember them. Read on to learn more.

The History of the Nautical Terms Port and Starboard

Before we go into tips on how to remember these terms, we’ll review the history of port and starboard. This is also a way you can remember the terms if you happen to be a history buff type of person who remembers facts best in a historical context.

Before ships were powered by rudders, people would steer them by utilizing a steering oar.

Because many people are right-handed instead of left-handed, the people steering with these oars would sit on the ship’s right side.

The term ‘starboard’ comes from two words in the old English language: “stéor,” which means “steer,” and “bord,” which means a boat’s side. So, “stéor bord” became “starboard,” meaning, “the steering side of the boat.”

The steering oar belonged on the right, steering side of the boat, which we now call “starboard.”

Because of this, when ships were docked and moored, this would be done on the other or left, side. This other side was called, “larboard,” because it was the side on which the ship would be loaded.

However, over time, this term became confusing because it sounded too much like “starboard.”

So this term was changed to “port” because it was the side of the boat that would be used when the ship was coming into port. This other side of the boat was the right side.

Port (Red) and Starboard (Green)

With many ships sailing at night, it can be helpful to use lights so that they’re seen by other ships. This prevents issues such as navigating off course or ending up in a dangerous situation such as a shipwreck.

If you’re in a ship, and you see another one in the distance, you’ll be able to know if it’s coming toward you because of where the port (red) and starboard (green) lights are placed. If you need to navigate out of the way, you can.

This is useful not only at nighttime, but also if there’s fog, a storm, or some other type of inclement weather.

Photo Credit: Richard Nantais / Shutterstock

This color-coding is also used on ships where airplanes and helicopters land (for example, army vessels). This ensures that they can land safely, especially in the dark or in inclement weather.

This said, however, when a ship needs to be hidden (for example, during wartime), these lights won’t actually be on. However, the ships will still use the colors red and green, painted, so that landings can be safe.

Remembering Port vs. Starboard

Now that we’ve reviewed the historical differences between the port side and starboard side, we’ll review the different ways you can remember these terms so that you know your way around the cruise ship. These go beyond simple left and right, though we’ll include that, too.

Left and Right

Using what you’ve learned about the history of the nautical terms port and starboard, you can apply it by thinking of each side as left and right. However, depending on which way you’re facing on the ship, this can get a little complicated—so let’s cover that.

On the ship, the port and starboard are fixed. So what you have to do is look toward the front, or bow, of the ship. When you’re doing this, the starboard is on your right side and the port is on your left side.

However, depending on which way you turn, you’ll be facing them differently. For example, if you turn to your left, then the port side will be directly ahead of you and the starboard side will be directly behind you.

If you turn all the way around, then the port side will be on your right and the starboard will be on your left.

So you if you ever get confused, try to remember where the port of the ship is. Then, you can figure out where each side is based on that.

Carnival Cruise Ship Port Side
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

The Number of Letters

Of course, even though you might be able to know the facts above, it can get confusing until you actually get the terminology down. That’s why it can help to use a memory trick, such as this one, to learn the terms until they’re memorized completely.

With this trick, you’ll remember that the port side is on the left side when looking at the bow of the ship because both words—“left” and “port”—each have four letters in them.

Once you’ve figured this out, it’s easy to remember that starboard is on the opposite, or right, side.

The Port Wine Tricks

There are also two port wine memory tricks. The first is to remember that port, a type of fortified red wine, is red in color. When you’re on a cruise ship, you’ll notice that the signs and navigational lights that lead toward the port side are colored red.

By associating the color of port wine with the port side of the ship, you can easily find your way toward this side of the ship. This is an especially useful trick if you’re on an area of the ship where you can’t see the ship’s bow.

Port Wine
Photo Credit: Capricorn Studio / Shutterstock

The other port wine trick is a fun mnemonic device. Pretend you’re a pirate at sea who loves to drink. Then pretend that you’d love to have a drink of port, and ask the question, “Do we have any port left?”

By associating the “left” in this sentence with “port,” you’ll be able to remember that the port side is on the left side and the starboard side is on the right when you’re facing the ship’s bow.

Count the Number of Rs

Another way you can remember which side is which is by counting the number of Rs in both terms. While “port” only has one R in it, “starboard” has two. Then, apply the logic that more Rs means being more right. It will be easy to remember that the starboard is on the right side.

Remember, however, that for this method to work, you need to remember to face the front of the boat when doing it.

Use the Alphabet

If you’re someone who alphabetizes all the books on their bookshelf or uses the alphabet to organize another area of your life, then this can be a useful trick. It can also be great for parents since the alphabet is one of the first things kids learn.

You might notice, when looking at the terms port and starboard, that port comes before starboard alphabetically.

When it comes to the directions left and right, this is also the case. Left comes before right alphabetically. And guess what? You can match up the terms this way to remember.

This way, you can remember that the port is on the left side and the starboard is on the right side when you’re facing the front of the ship.

Cruise ship bridge
Photo Credit: VladyslaV Travel photo / Shutterstock

Get Fun Socks

This isn’t exactly a memory trick…but if you really have trouble remembering which side is which, this can be a great way to remember which side is which. All you have to do is buy some novelty socks that say “port” and “starboard” on each.

Of course, you’ll still need to put the correct one on each foot. Otherwise, you’ll get totally lost!

Jot down a note of which side is which on your dresser where you’re keeping the socks so that you put the “port” sock on your left foot and the “starboard” sock on your right foot.

Then, once you’re out and about on the cruise ship, all you need to do is look down at your feet to know which side is which. However, keep in mind that this only works if you’re directly facing the front of the ship.

Another way is using red and green cufflinks that can be used while onboard or even a simple fun port and starboard t-shirt.


Now that we’ve reviewed the history of the terms port and starboard as well as the different tricks you can use to remember which side is which, we’ll go over some of the most frequently asked questions people ask about this topic.

What Are the Other Important Terms I Need to Know?

Other important terms you should know are “bow,” “fore,” “stern,” and “aft.” The “bow,” which is also referred to as the “fore” of the ship, is the front side of the ship—the direction in which the ship is going. The “stern,” also called the “aft,” is on the other side.

The “stern” or “aft” are used to refer to the rear side of the ship. All of these places stay the same no matter where you are on the boat, just like “starboard” and “port” never change.

However, depending on which direction you’re facing, you’ll see these areas from different angles.

Where Does the Term “Larboard” Come From?

“Larboard” also comes from old English. It’s a corruption that comes from middle English “ladeboard,” the combination of the two words “lade” and “board.” “Lade” meant to put cargo on a ship, while “board” was close to “on board,” as we use it today.

When Did the Terms Port and Starboard Become Popular?

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as the English began to sail their trading ships more often, these terms started to become popular. It was a way for navigators to give each other instructions while sailing the great seas.

As England colonized countries such as the current United States and India, sailors in the countries all over the globe that the English colonized began to use these terms, too. As a result, it became a global way of referring to sides of the ship.

Since this time, maritime terms have become regularized and made uniform by international bodies. Because port and starboard were already being used by so many, they became the official terms used worldwide.

Need More Information?

Now that you’ve learned about the history of the port and starboard and fun ways to remember these terms, you might need more information. Maybe you want to learn more about how to know your way around a multi-level cruise or a specific cruise you’ve just booked. You can find out more by browsing our expert cruise tips.

Port and Starboard

Culture Trips

America: the Motion Picture review – puerile Netflix animation | Animation in film

A spirit of literal playfulness, in the anarchic smashing-action-figures-into-one-another sense, typifies the cinema of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The current kings reigning over what remains of the studio comedy got their start on TV as the creators of Clone High, a cartoon that threw assorted figures of global history together to hang out in a modern-day classroom, and an early articulation of the mashup instincts that would follow them through their career.

As one of the two credited writers on Into the Spider-Verse, Lord cherrypicked alternate-dimension Spider-Men (or is it Spiders-Man?) hailing from anime and film noir, and the duo’s revival of the 21 Jump Street property included faux plans for a string of sequels sticking the main characters in fantasy scenarios from “Ninja Academy” to “Scuba Class”. The Lego Movie epitomized their attitude toward intellectual property as another toy to be zoomed around while using the mouth to make airplane noises; Batman, Gandalf and Han Solo all pop up in a purer, more knowing expression of the hyperactive crossing-over that’s since given us Ready Player One, Avengers: Endgame and soon the Space Jam sequel.

Netflix’s irreverent new release America: the Motion Picture, on which Lord and Miller are only listed as producers albeit touted in the trailer, resumes their distinct anything-goes approach to fun-time with an added grownup bent. (And not just because Will Forte voices Abraham Lincoln for the third time in his decades-spanning partnership with the two of them.) A 101-level United States social studies textbook supplies the playground this time around, filling out a super-squad roster with names and faces from the national mythos. But the Lord-Miller sensibility is filtered here through the mediating influence of director Matt Thompson, bringing his experience with adult-geared small-screen animation to bear on features for the first time. Most well-known as the creator of Archer – a show that busied itself by repeatedly sending its characters from one genre to the next, ditching espionage for Indiana Jones-style adventure and sci-fi – he’s adept at orchestrating the bickering between a fractious squad of teammates.

Thompson and Miller/Lord make for a natural pairing, though the same can’t be said of screenwriter Dave Callaham, the clear wrench in the machinery. With far and away the least impressive CV (he’s shared credits on Wonder Woman 1984, Mortal Kombat and Zombieland: Double Tap in recent years), he’s odds-on the one responsible for draining all wit from a premise that needed to be clever, more than merely imaginative. After turncoat and werewolf Benedict Arnold (Andy Samberg) shacks up with the British “fun police” and kills Honest Abe, born leader George Washington (Channing Tatum) must realize his destiny and rally a resistance to gain independence. Roll call: there’s beer-swilling frat boy Sam Adams (Jason Mantzoukas), a female and Asian take on Thomas Edison (Olivia Munn), horse-raised weirdo Paul Revere (Bobby Moynihan), an exasperated Geronimo (Raoul Trujillo), and a thoroughly woke John Henry (Killer Mike), all of them joined in their mission to kick Redcoat ass.

Under Callaham’s inelegant pen, the characters all speak in this overexcited 13-year-old’s vernacular, prone to F-bombs and dick-talk. The real immaturity lies in his attempt to get in on the fictive free-for-all, however. His script brings together reference points from the past half-century of pop culture, but his allusions come from the most played-out sectors of nerdery – Star Wars, Robocop, Lord of the Rings, Mad Max, John Wick, to name only a handful. The sophomoric cuss-laden medium into which this stew of fandom has been poured doesn’t recall any of the creators’ other work as much as it does the grab-bag stop-motion program Robot Chicken, or to go even farther back, the early Flash short The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. Good guys, bad guys and explosions, indeed – and little more to say for itself than that.

Some of the grace notes take more colorful liberties with the factual record, such as the demonic sentient soccer ball that the corpulent King James (Simon Pegg) keeps as a pet. Even so, it’s all cast in a harder-to-love light due to adolescent nose-thumbing over giddy earnestness, the secret ingredient making Lord and Miller’s imagineering work. Their Lego Movie didn’t dig much deeper into the toy box, it just did so with a childlike enthusiasm that primed the audience by making them feel like kids again. This romp through the remixed American Revolution ages that kid into an acne-specked, body-odorous middle-schooler. Who wants to play make-believe with someone treating “Sic semper my dick, bitches!” as the height of hilarity?

Middle East

Israel votes to condemn China abuses against Uyghur Muslims – Middle East Monitor

Israel signed a statement presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) yesterday urging China to allow independent observers access to its western Xinjiang region, where UN experts say nearly a million Uyghurs and other minorities have been unlawfully detained in camps.

The decision, the first of its kind by Israel, came after pressure from US President Joe Biden’s administration, Walla news reported.

The joint statement – backed by Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the US – cited reports of torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilisation, sexual and gender-based violence and forced separation of children from their parents.

Beijing denies all allegations of abuse of Uyghurs and describes the camps as vocational training facilities to combat religious extremism.

“Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uyghurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uyghur culture,” the joint statement said.

READ: US Muslim urges Hilton to drop project on bulldozed Uyghur mosque

“We urge China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the High Commissioner,” it added.

According to the Walla report, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid decided to accede to a request from the US State Department to back the measure, after a long debate in the Foreign Ministry about possible fallout from the move.

However, Israel, which views China as one of its most important trading partners, did not put out a public statement explaining its backing for the UNHCR call, in an apparent bid to keep a low profile and avoid angering Beijing.

Since 2017, China has carried out massive and systematic abuses against Muslims living in Xinjiang.

China’s alleged erosion of religious, cultural and human rights for more than one million ethnic Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang in the last decade has enraged western countries, prompting sanctions against Chinese officials and firms.