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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, December 15

People in Japan and Palestine find common ground rebuilding their communities. A Jewish survivor of the Holocaust decries racist attitudes towards modern refugees. And the Front National, a populist and xenophobic party in France, rises in electoral support. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on political and societal news from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Although the nature of the devastation wrought on their communities is different, both the people of Tohoku, Japan and the Gaza Strip in Palestine have much to mourn. But out of tragedy a sense of camaraderie and friendship can sometimes emerge. Visitors from Gaza to northeast Japan experience a raise in spirits as they see Japanese communities work to rebuild what they've lost.

Just how real is the so-called "war on Christmas?" The Public Religion Research Institute gathers data on the public debate about whether stores should greet their customers with "happy holidays" or "merry Christmas" and whether the holiday is predominantly religious or secular.

Eighty years ago, an ethnoreligious minority sought protection and refuge from persecution. Eighty years ago, most of the world denied them. They were the Jews, fleeing persecution from Nazi Germany. Today, one survivor from that catastrophe argues the Western world's approach to Syrian refugees shows it's learned very little.

Many here in the U.S. are worried about the rise of candidates like Donald Trump who are calling for a block on all Muslim travel to the U.S. and for the erection of a wall between the country and Mexico. But xenophobia isn't unique to the U.S. In France, the populist party National Front, who has compared Muslim immigrants to Nazi occupiers, has seen a recent alarming rise in support.

Let's be honest: politics and controversy can both be tiring, all the more so when they're combined. It's natural to want a break from subjects that have no easy answers and arouse a lot of emotion. But more damaging to the public discourse than outrage by far is outrage over outrage, which in many cases is just a means of shutting people down.


Top image by Charles14082011

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.

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